Comedy Script Writing

Comedy Writing

When you write for comedy, you should never try to be funny. Trying too hard is always visible, and in comedy, it might make the jokes and the characters unbelievable. The “funny” stuff should arise from the situations, the characters, and the story itself. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to sharpen up your comedy abilities. If you’ll want to learn more about comedy script writing, check the scriptwriting course at  WritersStore Sale Items.

Find your own taste in comedy

To be good at comedy writing you need to find your own writing voice and your type of favorite comedy. There are many types of comedies out there. There are:

  • Goofy comedies like Office Space or Old School
  • Romantic comedies like Chasing Amy and the classic When Harry Met Sally
  • Dramatic comedies like Harold and Maude and The King of comedy
  • Action comedy such as Beverly Hills Cop and Pineapple express

There are also Slapstick, parody or spoof film, Black comedies, Gross-out films And screwball comedies so find out what are the ones that you want to do.

I recommend reading my post on finding your own voice, but there is another fun exercise you can do to find your own type of humor:

Listen to your favorite comedians and watch your favorite comedy films, listen to the jokes and write down those that really makes you fall down from your chair. Now, look at these jokes and find out what they all got in common. Start to become aware of what makes you laugh.

Even in comedy writing – Build a good story

When you have a good story the jokes won’t be forced. Writing a good story is essential for comedy.  Pay attention to the 3 act structure of the story and to the characters. If you are having problems with writing a good story, find a writing partner that is good at this and work with him.

Writing with a partner will work also when you write a good story, but having trouble making it funny.

Build funny characters

Even in comedy writing. good funny characters are 3D characters. I recommend reading my post on writing a good character, but also check out comedy films from different countries. You will find out that every country has its own character type that works best for them. For example, the British love dumb characters, while the Americans like a protagonist that keep on fighting in a crazy world.

You will find out that every country has its own character type that works best for them. For example, the British love dumb characters, while the Americans like a protagonist that keep on fighting in a crazy world.

Also, notice the job of every character in a joke. Some characters are there to comment on the protagonist’s actions. Sometimes a joke might won’t work without a good reaction from a secondary character.

In this scene from the Love Guru, Steven Colbert explains the Five hole trape. The scene wouldn’t be as funny without the reactions of Jim Gaffigan

 

Know your audience

Who are your audience and what are they expecting. It is very important to know your audience and to find a way you can reach them. You may like writing American humor, but if that kind of humor doesn’t work in your country, you need to find a way to make it work for them.

Writing the punchline

Many writers have problems with the punchline or funny ending for a sketch or a scene. Many writers try to start from the punchline and develop the funny situation out of it. Others like to start with a specific setup and then to try 10 different punchlines. You should do what works best for you, but I recommend starting from what is important. If it’s the setup then start with the setup and if it’s the punchline then start with it.

Surprise the audience

The element of surprise is a very basic element  in comedy. Taking the audience expectations and turning them around is what makes every punchline work. The characters should share the audience expectations too. The bigger the gap is between the character’s expectations and the true result of the situation, the funnier it will be. Also, make sure your jokes haven’t been done a thousand times before.Be original!

Find locations with potential to be funny

If you find a good location, jokes will come with them. Go through your script and see which scenes can be done in a more interesting location and think about all the funny situations you can draw out from it. Also, think about the props that every location can offer and what you can do with them.

being creative

Your first tool as a comedy writer is your imagination. Being creative is important if you want to surprise your audience. You have to create as many jokes as possible with the characters, props, and locations you have. Look at the objects around you and train your mind to find funny situations that relate to them. Observe really interesting people that you think might be great to build characters from. Maybe it is one element about them that interest you. Write everything down in a little notebook. Observe and ask yourself what would happen if…?

Bob Newhart once said that a comedian can never have a vacation because he is always observing at everything around him. That is basically the comedian’s job and the same for the comedy writer.

That is basically the comedian’s job and the same for the comedy writer.

Writing with a partner

When you’ll look at the credits in most of the comedy films out there, you will see that most comedies has a few script writers. Writing with a partner is not always easy and fun as it may sound, but in comedy writing it is very recommended. When you write with others, you get to see live reactions for your ideas and jokes. When working with a partner on comedy, it is recommended to find someone with the expertises you are missing, so he’ll complete you and won’t go against you. As in love & marriage, when you find your partner, make sure it will be someone you will love to work with and that it will be easy to divorce from if needed.

Fixing the script

Mel Brooks once said that writing is all about re-writing. When you work on the second draft of a scene or a full script, read the dialogue out loud and see how they sound. With comedy, the text is not enough, they should be acted funny as well. Pay attention to the rhythm of the lines. Sometimes simply moving an adverb can make all the work or simply changing one word (Is Pepsy is funnier word than Cola?)Read it also to others and see their reaction.

Film Editing Techniques: Cutting On The Action

Using the cut In Action

The biggest challenge of a video editor is to make the editing unnoticeable. cutting on the action is one way to do that. That is why it’s the first thing they will teach you in each video editing course out there. In this post, I will teach you everything you need to know about cutting on action from the shooting stage and to the editing.

 

Cutting on the action definition

Cutting on the action is a cut that is done in the middle of an action. The shot changes to a different angle when the character that the viewer has most focus on is in a middle of an action.

The advantages of cutting on action

As a video editor, your first job when cutting is to look for the action. This is a great technique to create an unnoticeable cut because the audience is too distracted by the action to notice the cut. Cutting on the action also helps to draw the audience into the story. For example, you can have a character typing on the computer and while he types, we cut to his fingers. Another advantage to the Cut on action is that it’s the perfect seamless continuity technique. Even if you’ll shoot each angle in a different location, it is most likely that the audience won’t notice that. 

Planning the cut on action in shooting

It is the director and the cinematographer’s job to make sure the two shots are shot in a way that will be easy to connect the shots. On our typing example, the actor will have to do the action twice at each angle and at both times, he’ll have to type the same way. The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right plannings.  

The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right planning.  

When to do the cut

Some video editors like to debate about when it’s the right time to cut- at the beginning of an action, the middle or towards the end. Some claim that if you cut in the beginning of a cut, then you leave the viewer with a long shot until the next cut. Others will claim that cutting towards the end of the action will be too late and the viewer will already be bored.

I  wouldn’t suggest to limit yourself with any rules about it. Simply try different cuts and see when it work best. With time, you’ll develop the sense that will help you understand the right timing for the cut, but  basically, you should find a spot where the action looks the same at both shots.

 

Film Directing: Rehearsal Techniques

Film Directing: Rehearsal Techniques

In this post, I’m going to give you some great rehearsal techniques, to use while you’re directing your actors. Rehearsal is a very important part of film directing. in fact, this is where  most of the film directing is happening. Putting efforts on the rehearsal stage will save you a lot of time and money on shooting. Rehearsal is a good chance to see how the crew members react to each other and to create your own way of communication with them. It is also a good way to learn each actor’s method of acting. 

When to start rehearsal?

Before we talk about any rehearsal techniques, Remember! it will take time for the actors to have full control on their lines and to get to know each other, so You want to start it as soon as you can. Once you got most of your crew ready. Don’t just run into rehearsal. Before you start the rehearsal stage, you have to make sure you understood the script completely.

Preparing for rehearsal

Rehearsal is not only about rehearsing but also about preparing.  This is a stage where everybody can expose them.  Everyone can share experiences that relate to the film. Rehearsal is all about discipline, but you need to make sure the atmosphere will be also the kind that will promote creativity and exploration of the characters and their situations. This will be a great opportunity to check out the actor;s ideas. Encourage your actors to be creative and to try different ideas. This creative atmosphere can only be created if you’ll make them fill safe.

Working with the actors – Rehearsal techniques

The first step of rehearsal is learning the lines and making sure the actors are feeling comfortable with them.

After you established that, your next step will be to make sure the actors understand their characters “wants” in every scene.

Now you’ll need to play the full scene and then start to break it into beats. After all the beats are clear, play the scene again and see how it looks.

Quick Tip
When you give direction to your actors, talk to their characters and ask them questions about it. This will help your actor to stay in character.

Correcting the actors

Be honest- If something the actor think or does, doesn’t seem right to you, let him know. Don’t be afraid to criticise. There is nothing worse for an actor, then to be sure he is on the right track and on the shooting day, to realise that he isn’t.

Fixing an actor’s work isn’t that hard. Simply make sure he understand the situation and his character’s need and objective.  Also, make sure your directions are clear. Don’t say stuff like “Do it again, only much more angry/sad/crazy”. When directing actors you should think about the actions that will describe what the character fills at the moment. Read the post on directing actors to fully understand the workflow with an actor.

Shooting the rehearsal

Doing rehearsals is all about coming prepared to the shootings.That’s why Some directors even like to shoot rehearsal (documentary style) in the locations of the set. Shooting the rehearsal is a great rehearsal technique because it will also help you think about the right shots for each scene. When you will watch the footage you shot at the rehearsal, new ideas will come up.

Improvisation in rehearsal

Improvisation is one of the best rehearsal techniques. Many directors like to be open for improvisations. I’ve talked about improvising in the post Tips for directing actors. Personally I believe that there needs to be a balanced between what is improvised and what is not. Improvisation simply gives you more options to work with. In the movie Waterfront, the part where Brando is pushing his brother’s gun away was an improvised gesture. That is a great gesture since it is followed by a great monologue from Brando.  There is no doubt as to how this small gesture helped the scene to become  one of the most classic scenes in cinema.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2e_Rd5Y8qw

 

The Technique of Color Correction Workflow

Many independent films want to save money and sometimes there is simply not enough time (or money) to send the movie to a professional colorist, so the video editor will be asked to do some color corrections on the film. That is why in this post I will guide you through all the steps to create an image with perfect colors. It is not a color correction tutorial or a “How to make cinematic color correction post”, but it will teach you all the basics you need to learn about color grading.

The color correction workflow stage(also known as color grading workflow) is at the end of the film video editing of the film and it’s purpose is to change the color in the images. Color correction helps the film director to get the artistic look he is having trouble to get on the locations. For example, controlling the viewer’s eyes with colors. Sometimes the reason for color correction is the bad lighting, bad exposure, bad white balance on the locations, simply matching the colors between the shots, and sometimes it will be old footage that simply requires color correction.

What equipment is best for color correction

Before we go into the color correction workflow, let’s start with the equipment you’ll need. There are many color correction software out there. Some are very expensive and some of them are free. Even though it is recommended to do color correction with the right equipment, All of the big 3 editing software: Avid, Premier, and Final Cut offer a variety of great tools for color correction and as a video editor you will be asked to use them. You can also use the  DaVinci Resolve software which is more complicated, but much more professional and some video editors even use After Effects for color correction (Personally, I recommend using After Effects only for small clips). Avid has also a plugin called Symphony, which is also a great tool for color correction and you can do the secondary color correction, which means painting specific areas in the image. If you want to be a professional colorist, I would recommend learning the DaVinci Resolve software, but to start with the Avid color tools or the Avid Symphony and then to turn to the  DaVinci Resolve only for deeper and complicated color changes.

You also need to have a good monitor. One that is suit for color correction.

1st step in color correction workflow – understand what you see

Your first step is to understand the colors in the image – what are the problems you are facing? Is there a problem with the general tone of the image?

When you deal with colors on an image, you can’t rely only on your eyes. Use scope tools like RGB parade or waveforms. 

Using the scopes

When working on color correction, don’t trust your eyes. Scopes are the only way you can really understand the colors in the movie. With the scopes tools, you can balance the blacks and whites and the red, green and blue colors.

The Histogram scope, for example, displays you the brights levels of the image. So you can check if there are parts in your image that are too dark or overexposed. The waveform also is a popular scope in color correction for balancing the lights. In Final Cut, you have the option to see Zebra patterns imposed on the image as a warning for areas that are too bright. Learn your software tools to understand the colors in the image.

The RGB scope shows you the amount of blue, green and red colors in your image. Before you start working on the colors, try to visualize the picture in the graph. Try to understand what each piece of the graph is representing in the picture. Now your job is to fix what looks wrong.

Use the vector scope to understand the science of colors. The vectorscope shows you opposite colors and what are the colors that build other colors.  For example, if you have too much yellow, you can see in the vector that it. With the scopes tools, you can balance the blacks and whites and to balance between the red, green and blue.

Remember, when doing color correction you must have a professional monitor. Making the color look good in the scopes won’t promise a good picture.

The stage of color correction is done only after the video editing is final. When you send the finished video to the sound design you can send it also to color correction.

2nd step in color correction workflow – Make the color consistent

A lot of times the lighting in a scene will change with every change of camera angle. So your first job is to make sure all the colors in each scene are consistent.  Only after you feel you did a good job on that part, you can move on to understand what kind of ‘look’ the film should have

3rd step in color correction workflow – Setting up the color theme

After you went through these 2 steps. start thinking about the general color for the film. Remember- color correction is also about telling your story with colors, and expressing the mood and the feelings of the scene. Cold colors will express sadness while warm colors can express happiness.

Recommended books on color correction

Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema

Color Grading with Media Composer and Symphony 6

The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction

Directing A Dialogue Scene

How to Direct A Dialogue Scene

Shooting a dialogue scene can be a chalanging task. You need to make the text interesting even if it’s not. There are several techniques to use that will make that happen and I will explain them here.

 

A dialogue scene starts with the subtext

Before planning a dialogue scene, you need to understand the subtext of the scene. A Subtext is a content that is not said directly by the characters, but it exists in the observer perception of the scene. sometimes it’s in the observer’s subconscious and he even not aware of that.  The subtext of the scene should be drowned from the film’s premise.

All the great dialogue scenes show that, but here is a great example for a subtext in a scene. Look at the funny trick Woody Allen uses to show us what the characters are really thinking

Plan your shooting script

When shooting a dialogue scene you should plan the shooting script, so it will express the subtext of the scene and the dialogue in it. Read my post on types of camera shots to understand the psychology behind each shot.

The classic way to shoot a dialogue scene is to start with an establishing shot, to let the audience know where the characters are placed. Then you’ll need to break the scene into the shots you think are right for the scene.  A very popular shot on dialogue scene is Over The Shoulder because it shows us the character that talks and the reactions of the characters that’s listening. When shooting Over The Shoulder shots you might want to use the Depth of Feild technique. You want the focus to be on the talking character so the shoulder of the character that listens should be a bit blur and to take only one-third of the frame.

Here is a great scene that is built in a classic way

Quick tip

When the dialogue is important and you want the audience to focus on what the characters are saying, keep the shots simple as you can, while staying loyal to your story’s premise

Use inter-cuts

Think about the inter-cuts you want to add to the scene, if you want to give the editor maximum flexibility to work with. The inter-cuts can be Close-ups on the listening characters, their hands (if they’re doing something that is important to the scene), their eyes, objects on the set & etc. Of course, when using intercuts you should think how are they contribute to the scene and its subtext.

Use the master shot technique

The master scene technique is a method used by lots of directors. What you do is shooting the whole scene in wide angle from the start to the end and then you start shooting all the inter-cuts. This way if one of the cuts you shot didn’t go well, you can always come back to the master shot. I recommend reading my post on The master scene method to learn how to do it well.

Think about how you want to edit the dialogue scene

You should also think about the editing of the scene.  If it’s a quick paced editing then the shooting script should take it under consideration. If needed, consult with your video editor as to understand what he needs to get the kind of editing you are planning for the scene.

 plan which lenses you want to use

The lenses you’ll choose for the scene will affect the emotion the audience gets from the scenes. There are many types of lenses, and you need to consult with your cinematographer what he prefers. Many like to use the Zoom lenses because you can play with their focal lengths in different ways. They are great for documentary films and action scenes. Cannon has some pretty good zoom lenses.  The most popular lenses to shoot with are the prime lenses. They are very affordable compared to others and very sharp. They are also good to shoot in low light locations. Personally, I like to use the Rokinon Cine Lenses, but there are many others.

Make the dialogue scene entertaining

The planning of the shooting should also take into consideration the length of the scene and it’s atmosphere. For example, if we are shooting a long dialogue scene, then maybe we’ll want to move the camera during the dialogue. Moving the camera can be done handheld or with a steady cam or even with a dolly. another way is to shoot it all in one take without any camera movement. That’s a less interesting way to shoot, but sometimes it will fit better to the atmosphere of your scene.

Blocking for dialogue scene

Blocking is planning where the actors are going to be in the scene and their movements inside the scene. When blocking a dialogue scene, you need first to understand the subtext of the dialogue. For example, if the characters lines mean they are getting closer to each other, they can show it by walking towards each other. If one character fears the other, it can walk away. Making your characters stand and not move at all, can also have subtext meanings in it. When you plan the blocking you should use the mindset of a choreographer.  Think about all the elements in the scene and how you can use them to express the subtext of the dialogue.

 

 

Writing A Shooting Script

A Guide to Writing A Shooting Script

The shooting script is the filmmaker’s way to communicate well with the other departments of his production. It also saves time and money and if your shooting script is detailed enough, they’ll be fewer chances to make mistakes that may crash your film.

The shooting script is really the film on paper so it is a very important tool to deliver your director’s vision to the crew along with storyboard and floor plan. In the shooting script the director is breaking down the screenplay into shots, so it is kind of another draft of the script written by the director, Therefore the shots you write in the shooting script will define the scene. 

The preparation for the shooting script

Before you start working on the shooting script, make sure the script is written in the right format. It is very important. If the script is not formatted in the right way, you are working with a broken tool and you won’t be able to know how long each scene is. You can read my post on film script format to learn more about the subject but for now, the most important element is that the scenes are numbered.

Now, 

read the script again and this time, think about the general atmosphere of the script. Don’t go into too many details at this point, just think about the general atmosphere. Your next step will be to decide how to get that atmosphere from your shots. I recommend reading my post on the director’s vision to understand how to do this.

Writing the shooting script

When writing the shooting script, you should think about 3 main aspects:

1. The camera, 2. The lightning and 3. Blocking of the characters.

The camera

When we say camera, we mean camera angle shots and the type of lens you plan to use. Think about the shot you want for each action. I like to write it down first in the script itself since it helps me to visualize the film better. When you are done, go through all the script and see if something pops up to you in a wrong way and if the staging in each scene is clear. Now, go through the shots again and think what type of lens will bring you the best results.

Lighting and colors

Now it is time to think about more image techniques to create your atmosphere, so this is a good time to talk with your photographed director (if you haven’t done so until now) and see if he has any ideas. Your object now is to make sure that the theme or premise of the film is expressed by these shots.

Blocking of the characters

The third step is to think about the blocking of the characters. How do you want them to move within the frame? Every move they make will has a meaning, so bring some good thoughts into this.

The shooting script format

Click to see shooting scripts templates and shooting script examples to see what does a shooting script look like.

The shooting script is a table with details about the shots. It should contain these details: Number of the scene, Number of the shot, the explanation as to who is in the shot, what is happening in it, time of day, the special camera needs (like Steadicam) and the location of the scene. If there are camera movements, write them down too. you should also write the dialogues in each shot and special sound effects that are important for the scene. If the rhythm of the scene is important (like in most action scenes, for example), then write down the timing of each shot too.

Homework- write your own shooting script

  Your homework is to find a screenplay (you can find many on google), choose a scene you like. It is better to find a scene you don’t know well and to start. If it possible, find the real scene and compare the director choices for shots with yours

Film storyboard – The director’s tool

How to make film storyboard

film storyboard definition

A film storyboard is a pre-production tool that is a must tool for every film director. As the director of the film, you are in charge of everything that gets in the frame and the storyboard is a tool that helps you deliver your director’s vision to the rest of the crew members. You can see the film storyboard as a transition tool between your script to the film. It is also a tool that helps the production of actors blocking and camera setups.  

The great advantage of the storyboard is that it makes you think in a visual kind of way, which is what filmmaking is all about.  The storyboard is a series of pictures that each picture represents a shot in the film. It looks kind of like a comic book. It describes the shots that are going to be shot by illustrations of how the frame is going to look like.

Some beginner directors fear the storyboard stage, but with time and practice, you’ll learn to develop your visual thinking very easily. 

The storyboard drawing is also a good chance to try things. If you can draw well or you are using a storyboard artist and you are not sure about a few shots, you can ask the storyboard artist to try different shots until you’ll find the one you’ll like.

When to start working on a film storyboard?

The most important tip I can give you about drawing a storyboard is to plan it carefully in your mind before you start the drawing. Know exactly what you want to see before you take it out to the storyboard.

Your next step will be to write a shooting script. The shooting script is a list of all the shots in every scene. You can start the work on the storyboard only after you decided which shots and camera angles are required to express your interpretation of the movie script. 

Do I need to know how to draw?

Well, you don’t have to, but it will help. You don’t have to be a sketch artist, but if you’ll learn the basic rules of drawing like the rule of third, learn how to draw basic figures and basic rules of perspective, you’ll be good.

There is some great storyboard software you can use, so I recommend checking it up too.

How many details does a film storyboard need?

Most of the time the details you’ll need will be, the number of the shot, the camera angle, camera movement if there are any and a short description of what’s going on in it, but it really depends on the kind of film and scenes you are drawing. In dialogue scenes, you usually won’t need to go into deep details, but in action scenes, more details will be needed for the length of every shot and sometimes even how fast the object in the shot is going to move around the frame.

Basically, there are 3 details you need to have with each picture:

  • If there are special effects or camera movements, you should write them down
  • What happens in the shot. that includes dialogue if they are important to the shot
  • The location of the shot and time of day

It is a good idea to take pictures of your locations before you start drawing and if you are using a storyboard artist, you can even take him to the location.

 

Homework

Your homework for today is to find a script of a movie that exists (you can find many scripts in google), print a few pages from it and start drawing them as you see it. Then look at the real movie and compare what they did with what you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Script Format

Write Your Story in a Screenplay Format

Now you have your story structured and characters well developed, You need to write your story in a professional film script format. This is where all the creative work kind of stops, since professional film script format  has very strict rules, so be careful.

Now:

Many writers use  a script writing software to write in script format even if you plan to use a screenwriting software, you should go through the rules mentioned here, so you can make sure that everything is in place. It may sound complicated at the start, but, trust me, once you’ll understand the basic, it will come easily to you.

I am going to walk you through the basic format rules and if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject, I recommend reading the book The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style

Film Script Format’s First Page

The first page needs to have the title on about line 25, on the page center in quotes and in caps letters.

Four lines under the title should be the “Written by” (also centered) and 2-3 lines after that should be the name of the writer.

I also like to write my contact information at the bottom of the page.

Writing The Scenes

The important thing to remember is that every scene needs to start with the details of who, what, where and when. The script should be written is present tense since revealing to us on the paper as we read it, as if we are watching the film. 

The Slugline

The first line that describes the scene called slugline, which is the headline of the scene. Each time your character moves from one location to another, it’s a new scene and you’ll need a new headline. The slugline reveals to us the number of the scene, is it shot inside or outside (writing as INT/EXT), the location of the scene and the time of day (day or night).

The order here is very important.

It should all be in capital letters, so it should look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

The reason for being strict about the slugline is so the producer/cinematographer/sound man and all other crew members can go through the script quickly and get the general idea about the production.

For example, they can learn how many scenes in the film need lighting (those that are shot inside) and how many are going to use sunlight (those that are shot outside at daytime). If you’ll read the lesson about Script Breakdown, you will understand why this is very important when working on the budget

This is why many directors and producers ask for the script in a Final Draft format because it makes it easy for them to divide the scenes like that.

The Scene Description

After writing the slugline, you should write the scene description. The scene description is built from a few short sentences and should give us a clear image of what we are going to see on screen.It should be written two spaces below the slugline and between the margins.  Every scene will start with a scene description, but it can be written during the scene every time something happens that is not a dialogue.
When a character is introduced for the first time, you should write her name in capital letters and add a short description of her.

Remember! You can only write what we see. You can’t write stuff like “Leroy is sad”, you should show us he is sad. You have to remember that the audience is not going to read the script. You can sometimes use metaphors to set the mood, but be careful there.

So it what we have now will look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a fat, 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is           crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

Notice I didn’t write “sitting with HIS dog”. If I want the audience to understand that the dog belongs to Leroy, I need to find away show it.

Writing The Dialogues

The talking character’s name should be written 3 lines below the description and about 4 inches from the edge in capital letters. The character’s lines will be 1 line below and about 3 inches from the edge.

The whole thing should lool like this:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

     Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is              crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

Adding action lines

Now, Leroy wants to get up in the middle of the conversation. This is how we write it:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while
looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

DOG

                                         Why?                                                                                              

          Leroy gets up without looking at him

LEROY

                                        I don’t want to talk about it!

There are much more and if you want to get perfect in it, 

You can also get Screenplay template from this link 

Free Film School Online

Digital Video Editing for a Comedy

Video Editing To Comedy

digital video editing for comedy
digital video editing for a comedy

In this digital video editing lesson, We’ll talk about digital video editing for a comedy. In comedy, the digital video editing has an important role. A joke can fail or succeed by changing one frame or two, so understanding and learning the art of digital video editing in a comedy is very important.

What kind of comedy is it?

The type of comedy you work on will have a lot of influence on the video editing. This is why your first job as a video editor will be to find out what kind of comedy it is. For example, in character-based comedies like Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Austin Powers, Peter Sellers and so on, the editor will have to meet certain expectations from the audience regarding the comic character. In this cases, if the comic character is doing a good job, you shouldn’t do too much editing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7g-K0bvmOs

In Satires, the humor can be vastly exaggerated and one of the editor’s decision will be when to stop the joke. If the joke is at the expense of the other, the video editor will highlight the brutality of what happened to the victim up to a certain limit, when it is no longer funny.

If the joke is at the expense of the other, the video editor will highlight the brutality of what happened to the victim up to a certain limit, when it is no longer funny.

Make sure you completely understand the type of comedy you are editing and what is it purpose. Is it to make the main comic character look very funny or crazy or is it the situations that need the focus.

Timing in digital video editing for a Comedy 

In verbal comedies such as sitcoms, the video editor can’t do a lot but using his timing sense. The timing sense is an important tool the video editor must develop when working on a comedy. The editor should keep asking himself, how long can we pull that joke on? When do I raise the rhythm of the editing? And when to put the punchline?

In sitcoms timing will also be to decide how long the crowed laughter is going to last.

The only way to decide what’s the right timing for each joke is to simply try. There are many ways to show each joke so be patient and don’t be an afraid to keep trying new ideas.

Get involved in production

I recommend visiting the shooting set when you can. It will help you to get into the atmosphere of the humor in the film and you can also give the director notes that will help in the editing room. Visiting the set might be hard in feature films, but can work great on sketches, short films or even sitcoms.

Make sure the everything is clear

When the audience is confused, he won’t be relaxed enough to laugh at the jokes. Many directors like to show unusual camera angles – personally, I thing that is the kind of thing that interrupt the comedy. In a case like this, you should have a talk with the director and to understand what id more important for him? To show these great camera angles or that audience will laugh?

The main tip you need to understand here is that the more realistic your situation is going to be presented (even when it far fetched from reality), the easier it will be for the audience to relate and to laugh at it.

Reaction shot – the #1 tool for digital video editing for a comedy

The reaction shot is a very important tool of the comedic editing. It is a shot that shows how the characters in the situation react to the situation. I recommend looking for the good re- action shots in the going through the rushes stage. The reaction shot allows the audience to relate to the characters and express what they are feeling, but can’t express it. It also gives time for the audience to laugh before the joke continues.

 

In this example, Dr. Evil talk about his childhood life. The reaction shots show us how the other characters are starting to understand that he is crazy and the more they realize it, the more we are on the same level and the scene becomes funnier.

If you want to edit a comedy, I really recommend watching lots of comedies and understand what is it that the video editor does, that makes the joke work.

Post-production

Working With Post-Production

post production is an important stage to understand. The last changes in the field of digital filmmaking have made this stage less expensive, but with the many new options out there, it is also a lot more complicated.  Many independent productions fail to understand the importance of the post-production process, and by that, the whole production either fails or not keeping up in schedule or simply taking too long which make everything much more expensive. understanding the basic is a must for every producer and director.

post-production definition

When you are working in the industry, it’s amazing to see how many producers don’t really understand what does post production mean. I’m going to explain it now.

After you finished all the shooting it’s time to assemble everything together. In this post lesson, I will talk about the post-production workflow. If you read my pre-production lesson, you know that the post-production process should really start at the pre-production. Back then you’ve already decided how the movie is going to be shot and edited. You’ve also planned already how much time the post-production stage is going to take and how much money you are going to spend on it. You should have also known where you are going to edit everything and who are the crew that will do all that.
Some producers even send the film’s footage during the shooting to the editing room, so the editor will start going through them.

Even if have a post manager, you should have some knowledge on to the technical issues of the post production and at the post-production’s crew jobs and what each one of them does.

what is post production in a film?

Many directors and producers believe that the post-production stage will fix all of their shootings error. That is not true. I mean, you can fix a lot in the post, but it is usually the basic errors and some of them can be fixed, but will cost a lot. Sometimes there’s simply not enough time to fix everything, so don’t count on it too much.

stages of post production

Post production – step 1 – Prepare for video editing

Well, the truth is you were supposed to look for the editor in the pre-production stage, but since it a post-production issue, I’ll give you some tips about it now:

  • The video editor is the one that creates your final draft of the movie, so don’t look for the cheapest video editor out there. You need a video editor that know his editing software perfectly and has enough experience to know when to cut.
  • When you look for video editors, see what are their strengths and if it is what you need for your film.
  • You should meet with the editor before shooting, to see if there is anything you can do to make the editing process easy.
  • I recommend reading the lesson about stages in video editing to learn the process better.
  • Before meeting with your video editor, Organize your tapes and SD cards. Each tape or SD card should be tagged with a number, location, and date of shoot.
  • If you want to save money, you can rent video editing rooms in “dead hours” like night time or the-the weekend.

 

Post production – step 2 – Color correction

The color correction is a stage you get to only after the editing is final and been approved by everyone. Color correction is working with the colors elements of the frame like saturation, contrast, and the balance of colors. You should send your film to color correction, but if you don’t have enough money for that, maybe you can send only a few scenes that have really bad lighting. This is the kind of decision, you should make during the shooting while watching the rushes.

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Sometimes you can ask the video editor to do some basic color correction like playing with contrast and saturation, but only if the editor is professional and has the right equipment to deal with it. Sometimes colors may look good on the computer but bad on the big screen. That is why colorists have an expensive monitor that helps them know how to deal with the colors. If you want the video editor to deal with the colors, you have to make sure he knows it right at the start.

You should make sure the editor knows how the colorist would like to get the movie (does he need the project with media files or one big file…)

Post production – step 3 – Take care of film’s soundtrack

There are few ways to get music to your film. Many producers like to use music libraries, mostly to save money. There are many music libraries out there. I know many of my friends like The Premium Beat site. They have many royalty free music with high-quality track and SFX.  

I kind of like music libraries, but not for every movie and not for every scene. You got to remember that these music pieces are sold for everyone for whatever use they wish to do with it, so it might suck to use a piece of music on a dramatic scene and, later on, to find it on a commercial for cell phones.

Another way is creating an original score with a few musicians. If you are doing that, you have to go all the way. Hire as many musicians as you need and record it in the best place you can. Before you go that road, you need to think how important is it for your film to use original score.
These days you can find a musician that play many instruments through a computer software that sounds pretty good. You can also try to get a discount by maybe letting him keep some of the rights to the music,

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The third way is playing records. It can be cheaper if you’ll use unknown songs. If you find a song that you really believe, it can do good to your movie, you need to start working on license agreements.

Post production – step 4 – Sound editor

You’ll be surprised from what  the sound designer can do for your film. After getting the final draft of the video editing, you should send the movie to the sound designer. The sound designer is in charge of the dialogue, the sound effects, and the music and with all these threes, he creates a new dimension to your film. The sound is important to help the continuity between shots, but it is also a great tool to create manipulations on the audience, so you really shouldn’t skip that stage.

Sometimes, on small projects, the video editor can work on the sound by himself, but on bigger films, it is recommended to work with a professional sound designer.

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When working with a sound designer, you should send him the film at the rough cut stage, so he’ll already have a first look at it. Send it with notes and ideas and music cue sheets.

I recommend reading my posts on sound design, especially the introduction to sound design and the stages of sound design

So as I said, you really should start working on the post-production at the pre-production stage. There are a few reasons for that, but the main ones are you are going to be very tired when you’ll get to the post-production stage. You simply won’t have the strength to deal with contracts and negotiations, but also because you don’t want any surprises at that stage. 

That’s it for now. Please let me know if you have any questions.