Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

Give me Direction II

29th April 2010

After the success of last year’s event, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board announced yesterday the return of the screenwriting event Give Me Direction, which will be run in association with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

This year the focus of the conference will be on interrogating the topic of comedy in filmmaking. The two day event will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th June in Dublin.

Further details of the event and the release date for tickets will be announced shortly.

Big 5 Comedy Award

15th March 2010

Northern Ireland Screen reports that the The John Brabourne Big 5 Comedy Award is a new comedy writing award to write a comedy short film script funded by the Cinema and TV Benevolent Fund, The UK Film Council and Working Title Films.

You can apply under three criteria – under-represented groups, disadvantaged individuals or transitional talent. This is to encourage new voices in cinema and to help those in need of opportunity.

Five short-listed scripts will be judged by a panel made up of:

* Kenton Allen, Big Talk Productions
* Dan Mazer, Oscar nominated writer of Borat and Bruno
* Sarah Farrell, Comedy Central
* Amelia Granger, Working Title
* Sally Caplan, the UK Film Council

The winning script will receive £1,000 as a cash prize from Working Title Films and will be made into a 35mm film directed by a well known director.

The first criteria applies to all new writers who are women, ethnic minorities, writers from the regions or any other under-represented group.

The second refers to new writers with a personal disadvantage such as long term sickness or financial disadvantage.

Transitional talent refers to writers who have worked in other disciplines such as stand up, theatre or radio who have not yet had the opportunity to work in cinema. TV writers with shared credits also qualify under this criteria, but not those who have been sole commissioned writers on shows.

All scripts must be received by Monday 22nd March 2010.

Advice for Radio Comedy

6th January 2010

Anyone interested in writing for radio comedy will find it useful to read The Stage’s article, “Waves of Thought: Harry Venning on writing radio comedy”.

Harry Venning has written Clare in the Community a radio sitcom for the BBC, and his new show, Sneakiepeeks has just launched on BBC Radio 4.

My friend Anil Gupta, an award-winning writer and producer in both mediums, and a man who has shamelessly stolen lines from Clare in the Community for his own scripts, once gave me the best definition of sitcom – telling a story through jokes. With more naturalistic comedy in vogue, the joke is currently regarded as something of a debased currency, but I personally feel that nothing beats a good punchline. Character, plot, atmosphere and story arcs can all be revealed through jokes. The trick is finding the right balance, so that they complement rather than dominate each other. It’s also labour intensive, but ultimately more satisfying.

At which point it is worth mentioning the conventional wisdom prevalent amongst Radio 4’s light entertainment department regarding the scheduling of comedy shows. The 11.30am slot has what they call a “lean to” audience, which imagines a listener with his/her ear to the radio, attention fully engaged, apart from the quilt he/she is darning. Such listeners can cope with more complicated, plot-driven comedies. At 6.30pm, the listener is besieged by a multitude of domestic chores and distractions, which limits their concentration to the occasional quick-fire joke, funny voice or impersonation. Which means sketch shows.

Before embarking upon a radio comedy script, it is worth considering this distinction and then ignoring it completely, as it is bollocks. Funny is funny at any time of the day.

The BBC Writersroom has a script online of Venning’s series five episode, “Name Calling”, from Clare in the Community.

Dialogue Writing

7th December 2009

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a one and a half day Dialogue Writing course starting on December 17th in Galway. The tutors are Bobette Buster and Iain Morris.

Participant Profile:
This course is designed for professional television scriptwriters, screenwriters, script editors and development executives working in the Irish film and television industry.

Course Profile:
The purpose of this course is to explore the craft of dialogue writing across all genres in film and television.

Day One:
Tutor Bobette Buster will give participants an overview of the dialogue writing and editing process, and provide participants with tips and techniques that will hone their dialogue writing skills. The course will cover the following:

  • Dialogue where, when, how, why, what for?
  • Writing to reveal subtext
  • Writing to reveal character
  • Tone
  • Dialogue to advance plot
  • Combining dialogue with visuals

Day Two (morning session):
Iain Morris will speak about his approach to dialogue writing for comedy. This will include capturing the voice of the character, timing in comedy writing and working with a co-writer. This course is in association with the Galway Film Centre.

The course costs €100, and details on how to apply are on the web site.

Don’t Make Me Laugh

1st September 2009

The Irish Film Board has announced that it is organising a panel discussion at the Dingle Film Festival called Don’t Make Me Laugh, which will explore the art of writing comedy for the screen

Don’t Make Me Laugh will be chaired by IFB Development Executive Andrew Meehan and panelists will include Emmy Award winning screenwriter Marc Flanagan; stage, radio, screen and TV writer Pearse Elliot, (Man About Dog); and producer Ned Dowd. The seminar will explore the challenges of writing comedy for the screen, different ways of developing character, the role of TV in developing talent as well as looking at what makes comedy travel.

Marc Flanagan is a two-time Emmy award-winner, writer and producer of the very funny Tracy Ullman Show while Pearse Elliot wrote and directed the Irish comedy box office success Man About Dog as well as The Mighty Celt. Ned Dowd is producer of a number of comedies including Shanghai Noon and The Wonderboys. The panel will take place in the Festival Marquee, Garden Café on Friday 10th September.

Following on the theme of comedies there will be a special screening of award winning Irish short comedies on Sunday 13th September at 11am in The Phoenix Cinema. The mix of animated and live action shorts include Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Whatever Turns You On and The Wednesdays.