… Comedic tension, like story tension, also escalates and builds on itself. And you can get a lot of mileage out of context.
Say a city kid and his estranged father are in a restaurant. The kid’s unwrapping a birthday present. He pulls out a fishing pole. He says, It’s a pole. The dad says yes. The kid stares at it. What do you do with it? You catch fish with it, says the Dad. The kid looks at the pole. He looks at his plate. There are fish sticks on the plate. Looks at the pole again. You pull back and realize they’re at a fish and chips place. The kid says, I see.
What you’re getting in that is a juxtaposition between character interaction and place. What possible point could there be to catching fish with a pole when you can just get them on a plate at a fish and chips place?
Flash forward. It’s the cafeteria at school. It’s fish day. The kid’s using the “fishing” pole to hook other kids’ fish sticks off their plates. Maybe he shouldn’t have hooked the fat kid bully’s fish sticks —
Flash forward. Dad and his [worse for wear after the chase and fight] kid in a meeting with the principle. The principle asks, Where would he get such an idea? Dad, growling, I have no idea….
The idea there is that you keep the joke going. First, the pole appears useless. But, maybe not. Then, expectations Dad had for that pole and expectations the kid had for that pole collide. If you can keep a joke going, turn it so it goes in unexpected directions, and then smack characters with very different expectations of the same situation together, you derive comedy from it. And, context is everything.
[excerpted from a discussion on comedy writing, max adams, feb 2011]
This is a spoof put together by JimJimGrande after the Silver Screenwriting/Julie Gray dust up.
There are by the way alternatives to any person [ahem Julie Gray] who has no experience or credentials. There is me. There is Joanne. There is David — who for fuck’s sake wrote THE Screenwriter’s Bible. Why would you hire someone with no creds?