Laughing Out Loud: Writing the Comedy-Centered Screenplay

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University of California Press, Jan 3, 2000 - Performing Arts - 230 pages
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Whoever wrote "Make 'em laugh!" knew that it's easier said than done. But people love to laugh, and good comedy will always sell. With the help of this complete and entertaining guide, writers and would-be writers for film and television can look forward to writing comedy that goes far beyond stereotypic jokes and characters. In Laughing Out Loud, award-winning screenwriter and author Andrew Horton blends history, theory, and analysis of comedy with invaluable advice.

Using examples from Chaplin to Seinfeld, Aristophanes to Woody Allen, Horton describes comedy as a perspective rather than merely as a genre and then goes on to identify the essential elements of comedy. His lively overview of comedy's history traces its two main branches—anarchistic comedy and romantic comedy—from ancient Greece through contemporary Hollywood, by way of commedia dell'arte, vaudeville, and silent movies. Television and international cinema are included in Horton's analysis, which leads into an up-close review of the comedy chemistry in a number of specific films and television shows.

The rest of the book is a practical guide to writing feature comedy and episodic TV comedy, complete with schedules and exercises designed to unblock any writer's comic potential. The appendices offer tips on networking, marketing, and even producing comedies, and are followed by a list of recommended comedies and a bibliography.
 

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Contents

Writing Comedy
2
Comic Elements and Exercises
17
A Writers Overview of the Traditions and Genres of Comedy
41
From Commedia dellArte
58
American Screwball Romantic Comedy
64
Standup Sitcom and Everything
72
Closeups on Comedies
101
Seinfeld and The Simpsons
121
The FifteenWeek Feature Comedy Screenplay
139
The SevenWeek HalfHour Television Comedy
168
A Recommended Viewing List
179
Networking Marketing and Making
192
Food Recipes and Comic Screenwriting
201
Index
211
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Andrew Horton, the Jeanne H. Smith Professor of Film and Video Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is author of the popular Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay (California, 1994) and other books. Most recently he coedited Play It Again Sam: Retakes on Remakes (with Stuart McDougal, California, 1998) and wrote the introduction to Three More Screenplays by Preston Sturges (California, 1998).

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