It’s now time for the last part of Brent Forrester’s TV Comedy Course: the dreaded rewrite.
Actually, this is one of the best parts. It’s way more complex and more stressful figuring out a storyline. The final rewrite is about punching up jokes, adding gags, and having fun with the script.
The final step in the process is a doozy: feedback with notes, rewrite, group rewrite, actor table read with notes, final rewrite, and shoot it. If you are by yourself, find a way to get a table read done. You could post on social media and quickly organize a read using Zoom. You get a lot of valuable feedback when others read the script aloud.
Punchup writers were consistently the most-paid writers in the industry. Punchup is a big part of rewriting. You can leverage several mechanisms for joke writing:
- The contrast between the sacred (religion, babies, funerals, and old people) and the profane (sex, violence, and bathroom stuff)
- Defiance of expectation
- Wordplay like puns (careful puns might not make people laugh), alliteration, rhyming, etc.
- Visual comedy often works better – the reversal of scale
- Mismatch of the attitude to the situation
- Freezeframe jokes (things in the background)
- The rule of three (two good ones and a bad one)
- Strong sounds in words (plosives, K sounds)
- Callback (a mechanical and contrived reference to a previous joke)
The cold open must be funny. Just set up a comedic character in a situation. Find the easy path.
The principle of comedy that Brent shared comes from Wayne Federman: C.B.S. (clear, brief, and specific). If you were going to use the word animal in a joke, punch it up with a specific animal. Aardvark.
Whew. We made it through six weeks of classes from Brent Forrester. Each class was dense and compelling. I really appreciate Brent’s enthusiasm and encouragement along the way.
“The act of completing something is miraculous and could be life-changing!”Brent Forrester
Set a deadline and get something done.