Being funny is hard. Unless you’re a comedian and have been doing it for years, chances are that writing comedy isn’t easy.
But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it has to be impossible. With the right tools and techniques, anyone can write an awesome comedy screenplay that will make us laugh out loud and possibly even sell! In this blog post, we’ll go over some tips for how to write a funny script so that you can do just that.
|1. Focus on strong character development to create relatable and engaging protagonists and antagonists.|
|2. Craft witty and memorable dialogue that reflects the unique voice of each character and contributes to the comedic tone.|
|3. Incorporate unexpected twists and turns in the plot to keep the audience intrigued and entertained.|
|4. Balance humor with emotional depth by exploring relatable themes and character growth.|
|5. Understand the importance of timing and pacing in delivering comedic moments effectively.|
|6. Study successful comedy screenplays and analyze what makes them work in terms of humor and storytelling.|
|7. Collaborate with others to gather feedback and refine your screenplay for maximum impact.|
|8. Revise and polish your screenplay to eliminate any weak or forced comedic elements.|
|9. Consider the target audience’s preferences and expectations while infusing humor into the story.|
|10. Embrace the creative process, take risks, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different comedic techniques.|
1. Learn How To Write A Comedy Script
Comedy writing is a lot more complex than it appears. There are many aspects of comedy that need to be considered, and they all play a role in the writing process. You cannot just write anything and expect it to be funny you have to understand how different elements work together to make your screenplay a success.
Many people don’t realize this until they’ve written their first script (or even several). They may have started with good intentions and gone through the motions of writing their screenplay, only to find out years later that what they produced wasn’t as good as they had hoped for.
If you want your comedy screenplays to succeed, then you must learn about comedy from other writers before you start trying your hand at screenwriting yourself.
In this guide on how to write a comedy script without sucking, I’ll give an overview of some common mistakes made by newbie writers as well as provide some tips on how not to suck at comedy scriptwriting myself!
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2. Make It Personal, But Don’t Make It About You
When it comes to writing comedy, this tip is the most important. First of all, you don’t have to tell anyone that your screenplay was inspired by your life.
But more importantly, if you are trying to make people laugh with something as personal as an inside joke or private detail about yourself, chances are good that they won’t find it funny.
This is because when we think of comedy being “about us” and our experience in some way (which isn’t inherently bad), what we’re saying is: “I’m here for the world’s amusement.”
And I hate to break it to you, but no one wants a class clown around them at all times–especially if their jokes always focus on how much smarter or funnier than everyone else they are.
So what does this mean for screenwriters? Well…if you want people laughing at your script then stop thinking about yourself so much!
The best way not only to ensure that your movie has mass appeal but also to increase its chances of success overall? Write something relatable and by relatable I mean something based on universal themes rather than specifics from your own life story (and certainly nothing too personal).
3. Write Something That Makes You Laugh
This is where things get tricky. You want to write something that makes you laugh, so why would you ever want to write something that doesn’t make you laugh? Well, that’s where I’m going to jump in and say: the reason why we don’t write comedies that don’t suck is that they almost always do suck. And when they don’t suck, they’re often not funny at all.
I have seen far too many scripts that start with a joke but end up being just one giant clump of dull exposition or plotting devices with very little comedy in between.
It’s as if writers think that once they put their characters in an interesting situation where there are lots of funny things happening out-of-character .g., people getting shot at or cars crashing into each other that will automatically be hilarious without any effort from the writer!
But it rarely works like this; instead, these scenes end up feeling forced and awkward because the writer hasn’t thought through what kind of humor fits well within their story
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4. Keep Your Sketches Separate
Know the difference between a sketch, a scene, and a plotline. A sketch is one of many short scenes that make up the overall structure of your screenplay.
Each scene can be broken down into smaller sub-scenes or beats, which represent specific actions and exchanges between characters. A plotline is made up of several sketches that are related to each other through plot points (the events that drive your story forward).
Keep sketches separate if they’re unrelated or don’t need to be linked together in any way. If two scenes aren’t connected at all, it’s best to keep them separate so each can stand on its merit rather than being lumped together as filler material between other scenes.
For example: say you have two characters who walk into an office building and there isn’t anything particularly interesting about either one; then instead of having them interact with anyone else while they wait for their appointment time (which would make it feel forced).
Just have one character wait while the other goes ahead & comes back later with news he was able to get an earlier appointment time.
This way we get more info about what happens after these two meet but we don’t lose audience interest by putting them too close together because now they’re just hanging out waiting around instead of doing something interesting like talking about each other’s lives/etc., etc., etc.
5. Look For The Funny In Everyday Situations And Characters
A lot of comedy is based on our own experiences, so you must be able to take a step back and find the humor in your own life before trying to write comedy for others.
But you also need to get outside yourself and look at other people’s lives too and not just people like you or those who have similar experiences or backgrounds as you do. Find ways in which their actions or reactions are unintentionally hilarious, even if they’re not aware of it themselves yet!
I took this advice from one of my favorite television shows growing up: Seinfeld (if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it).
In every episode, there was usually some plotline about one character’s neurotic tendencies making them obsessed with something ridiculous like keeping all their birthday cards after they’re used or wearing clothes that don’t fit because they think they look good which sets them up for hilarity when another character tries to intervene by being practical (or “normal”).
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6. Find Your Comedy Voice And Make Sure It Comes Through In Your Writing
The best comedy writers don’t try to make people laugh with their writing, they let the characters and situations do all the work for them. It’s a fine line, but you need to be able to find your voice and make sure it comes through in your writing.
You can’t force something funny just because you think it should be funny, or put in a joke that doesn’t feel natural for who your character is (even if it is).
You have to find what makes sense for this particular script, then focus on making sure that comes across on paper as well as it does in your head. Figure out how to get what’s funny about each scene down so that whoever reads it will get an overall sense of what makes this story tick and that means knowing where its heart lies!
7. Do Comedy That Makes Sense To You, Not Just What’s Popular Or Considered “In Vogue” At The Time
Last but not least, do comedy that makes sense to you, not just what’s popular or considered “in vogue” at the time. Don’t worry about what other people think; don’t worry about what’s popular; don’t worry about what’s in vogue, and for the love of all that is holy please don’t write something just because it happens to be cool.
There are plenty of cool things out there already! Instead, focus on writing something funny and original that no one has ever seen before.
This is where being an insider/outsider comes into play: if you know enough about a particular subculture (or professions) to make jokes about it but also don’t know so much as a single thing about it so as not to get bogged down by detail or over research, then your script will be unique and fresh and therefore likely hilarious!
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8. LEARN HOW TO WRANGLE AND CONTROL THE MANY DIFFERENT ELEMENTS OF COMEDY WRITING
It’s time to get serious.
Know your characters: Every protagonist, antagonist, and supporting character should be given the same amount of attention and depth as the protagonist.
The audience has to like a character before they can laugh at them they need to feel some sort of connection with them for their jokes to land. If you don’t know why your protagonist is doing what they do and why they’re funny, how can we?
Know your story: This includes knowing where it fits into the genre space (in other words, if it’s an action movie or a romantic comedy), whether it’s linear or non-linear, three acts or four acts, etc.
Know your plot: Plot is usually discussed when talking about screenwriting formula but even if yours isn’t following one exactly there still needs to be some kind of arc for each character involved for things do not go off track too much during production (especially if there are multiple writers).
You also need some sort of beginning middle end structure for each activity within this larger story arc so that everything progresses organically throughout all four acts rather than just randomly jumping from one scene into another without any warning signs beforehand unless those sudden jumps work well within context!
4 . Know Your Setting: Where do these events take place? Is it indoors? Outdoors? In outer space? On another planet? Why did you choose this location instead of another one (if applicable)?
9. Know Your Audience And What They Want
If you have a strong sense of who your audience is, you’ll be able to write a screenplay that appeals to them. Your goal is to get as many people as possible into the theater or onto their couches at home and laugh. To do this, you must understand what your potential viewers like (or don’t like) so that you can deliver something that will satisfy them.
For this step to work out well, it’s important not only that you know who the target consumer is but also where they fall on certain polarizing issues like politics or religion.
A lot of comedy writers are liberal and more than willing to make fun of conservatives but there are plenty of conservative-leaning folks out there who would rather see their own beliefs mocked than someone else’s (i.e., when Seth Rogen did his Canadian TV show).
10. Have Fun!
You’ve done it! You’ve written a comedy screenplay that doesn’t suck! Congratulations. Now all you have to do is sell it, and then the world will be your oyster. So get out there and start writing that next hit screenplay you’re on your way to fame and fortune!
Above all else, remember that writing comedy is supposed to be fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously; don’t get caught up in the details; don’t be afraid to make mistakes; don’t be afraid to change your mind (and then change it again); and above all else, don’t be afraid of being funny.
And if you’re not having fun while doing any of these things… well then I’m sorry but I think something’s gone wrong somewhere along the way
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As we’ve shown, there are many different types of comedy and they don’t all fit into neat little boxes. But what they do have in common is that they’re all trying to make us laugh.
The key to successful comedy writing is to find your unique voice and be true to yourself as a writer. You can start by exploring some of the best scripts ever written for inspiration on how others have achieved this goal before you! Start by reading through our list of great comedies here at Scripts & Scribes HQ (listed below).
Here are some additional resources to explore for further insights into screenplay writing and related topics:
How to Write a Screenplay That Doesn’t Suck and Will Actually Sell (Audiobook) Short Description: Dive into this audiobook to learn practical tips and strategies for crafting a compelling screenplay that stands out and has the potential to succeed in the industry.
Goodreads: How to Write a Comedy Screenplay That Doesn’t Suck Short Description: Discover this highly recommended book on Goodreads that delves into the art of writing comedy screenplays that are both entertaining and impactful.
UCLA Extension: How to Write Funny & Compelling Dialogue That Doesn’t Suck Short Description: Explore this course offered by UCLA Extension, focusing on the intricacies of writing humorous and engaging dialogue that adds depth to your screenplay.
What are some essential elements of a well-written comedy screenplay?
A well-written comedy screenplay often includes strong character development, witty dialogue, unexpected twists, and relatable humor that resonates with the audience.
How can I improve the comedic timing in my screenplay?
Improving comedic timing involves understanding pacing, delivery, and the context of the situation. Experimenting with different setups and punchlines while considering the rhythm of the story can enhance comedic moments.
Are there specific techniques for developing unique comedic characters?
Yes, creating unique comedic characters involves defining distinct traits, quirks, and motivations. Utilizing contrasts, exaggerated qualities, and relatable flaws can make characters memorable and amusing.
How can I maintain a balance between humor and storytelling depth in my screenplay?
Balancing humor and storytelling depth requires integrating comedic elements seamlessly into the narrative. Use humor to enhance character arcs, conflicts, and themes while ensuring it serves the overall story.
Are there resources for learning about writing compelling dialogue for comedies?
Absolutely. The UCLA Extension offers a course titled “How to Write Funny & Compelling Dialogue That Doesn’t Suck” that can provide valuable insights into crafting engaging and humorous dialogue for your screenplay.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.