- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 6/20/13 edition (July 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1615931406
- ISBN-13: 978-1615931408
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 157 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hidden Tools of Comedy: The Serious Business of Being Funny Paperback – July 1, 2013
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I like the book so much I'm going to attend his two-day intensive session in Los Angeles in January 2016. I'm flying from Colorado to do it.
If you're trying to write and trying to add humor to scenes you NEED this book.
Don't think you can sit and just read this. If you're a writer you're going to need a notebook with you while you read.
I want to gush about the things I've learned but then that would spoil your fun.
Okay... I'll share just one good thing I got. Don't try to write funny. In each situation let your Bill Murray character just do what they would naturally do in a scene to get what they are trying to get. As Steve Kaplan says, "Give them permission to win." If you try to write funny bits, and wouldn't it be neat if--you're going to fail. Instead, just ask, "What would I do in this situation? What would a normal person do in the situation?" Don't try to make them do something silly or funny for a gag or a laugh-be honest. Let your characters be honest. The humor will come from their struggle.
The book is stuffed with things like this (and it will make much more sense when you read it from Steve Kaplan's own words.
I laughed out loud several times reading this book. Really. Wait until you encounter the three people leaving the room, and also the slap interview.
If you're a writer or story lover, or film student this book is a must.
WARNING: Once you read this you'll never again be able to watch half-assed comedy with the same respect. After reading this book you're going to see good story, good acting and good comedy much more clearly.
This book transforms you from 'Non-hero' to 'Hero'. Arming you with the required skills and tools with which to win at sharpening your comic ability to see what's wrong with your scenes and how to fix them.
I've been writing comedy for over 20 years and I still discovered countless 'ah-ha!' moments. Things I never realised or considered before and things I knew and felt, but could never articulate. The thin line/wavy line theory is a prime example of that.
I would recommend this book to anyone who writes comedy in any shape or format, as a must-have compendium to your comic toolbox.
There are dozens of books that teach Comedy Writing based on the setup/punchline formula. Those books are all very good and you'll also need to read them if your goal is to become a better joke writer.
However, this book is a cornerstone of the genre because Steve Kaplan explains the fundamentals of Comedy in plain, easy-to-understand terms. He begins with a logical explanation of Comedy (the Comic Equation) and then spends the next eight chapters proving this equation. His insight on "Straight Line/Wavy Line" is enough to convince anyone that Steve's dedication to the genre is not only unique but one of the best that's ever been put to paper.
I was fortunate enough to study The Hidden Tools of Comedy during one of Steve's weekend seminars. Every student in that room found themselves impressed by the wide-range of examples used from Film and Television (also highlighted in this book) to illustrate each of the Comedic Tools. Steve's analysis of "There's Something About Mary" is brilliant in both its logic as well as its precision. The same can be said for breakdowns of "Who's on First" "Groundhog Day" and "Seinfeld" amongst others.
Even if you're not a dedicated humorist you will still benefit from this book. Steve's understanding of Comedy comes from an equal understanding of Drama. He highlights the similarities and differences between the two genres, leaving a detailed analysis of how to write for either.
One of the best things about this book is that Steve's writing is also very funny, making this book not only a page-turner but an easy read as well. The chapter "Archetypes or Commedia Tonight!" is a hilarious crash course into the history of Comedy. His explanation of Moliere's contribution to Comedy serves as a great indicator of how the genre developed into the artform we know it as today.
If you are a Comedy Writer this is a book you cannot afford to miss out on. Buying this book was an eye-opener for me as I'm sure it will be for you.
Most recent customer reviews
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