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Writing the Comedy Blockbuster: The Inappropriate Goal Paperback – February 1, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Keith Giglio grew up in New York City in a family that felt like the cast of a Woody Allen movie starring Robert Deniro. His love of film comedy began at an early age. After graduating New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate School of Film and Television, Keith moved to Los Angeles because he didn't want to miss the riots. He began writing with his wife, Juliet, and they sold their first four scripts, thus forcing them to work together. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America and has had 6½ movies produced and many more optioned. In addition to writing and producing, Keith teaches screenwriting at Syracuse University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161593085X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615930852
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Stan Laurel -- the creative half of the funniest comedy team of all time -- once said: "I don't know why people laugh, I just know how to make them laugh." No one can teach you how to be funny. And no one can teach you to be creative, or even how to write.

However, if you are already a creative, funny person, and if you naturally think in absurdist ways and want to write a movie -- then this terrific book is definitely helpful in teaching you how to think in a structure on which to hang your characters and story. Like an architect learning how to draw a blueprint for a building, Keith Giglio's detailed and instructive book will guide the determined writer -- including beginner -- in shaping a legitimate comedy screenplay that will be professional.

Giglio's an experienced screenwriter. His tips gleaned from hard labor in the rock quarry of comedy writing are useful and true. I especially liked the way the book was broken down. From a brief history of comedy, through idea, character, plot, sequencing pitching and much more. His bottom line emphasis on the "inappropriate goal" that somehow seems to underscore almost all comedies is a good reminder in shifting one's tone of thinking. His observations on Epiphany and Satisfying Endings I think are crucial.

On a side note, I worked in Hollywood in a number of creative capacities that included developing ideas and adapting books for movies. I have worked with famous "comedy" actors and can highly recommend Giglio's book as a fundamental guide that covers all the basic material. But it won't make you funny -- although it is a fun read as well.

If you already have an idea for a comedy and are serious about actually writing the screenplay -- this book is PERFECT for you.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking for a book on writing horror at my local library, when I found this book. I am glad I found it.
I am not an aspiring screenwriter. I do, however, want to write fiction. I will be ordering a copy to have in my writing refernce library. The deceptively simple plotting and character building techniques presented make the book worth three times the cover price in my opinion. I have read many books of writing. This one is not preachy. I did not feel a sense of writers' anxiety while I read it. The author does not promise that you will EASILY create a comedy blockbsuter, hower it does provide a very CLEAR understanding of HOW to create a blockbuster. IThe reader gets the secret recipe so to speak.
The book provides a history and background on the genre, without being boring, overly academic or philosophical. Each step of the way we are presented with examples from modern and classic comedy films. Most importantly, the book is fun to read! I would love to have this guy as a teacher.
You ever take a class in college or grad school because you had to, or it was the only course open that would fill a requirement? Then you get to the class and the professor is so well versed in his area of expertise and presents in a manner that piques your interest in the subject. The professor delivers information with wit, using analogies and examples that help make the complex subject relateable to your life and your goals. Oh yeah, I laughed out loud severalmes while reading it.
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Someone smarter than me once said: "Dying is easy, comedy is hard." After writing my fourth comedy script, I can completely concur with that statement. Comedy IS hard and writing the comedic script is much harder than writing a dramatic script. Why? Well...you have to make people laugh. And what are people going to find funny? My son and I have non-stop laughs at the cleverness of "Spongebob Squarepants." My wife shakes her head in derision. "Monty Python?" Brilliant, in my book. For my wife? Uh...no. So how do you write that comedy script?

The first thing, as Mr. Giglio tells us, is that you've got to have the inappropriate goal. A nebbish relative of Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced FRANNNkenstein) decides to create a monster. A drunken ne'er-do-well is assigned to coach a little-league baseball team. God decides he's going to have a produce manager from a local grocery store speak for him. These are inappropriate goals. Think of some comedy scripts...what are their IG's?

Mr. Giglio goes through the ins-and-outs of what makes a comedy blockbuster in the first 100 pages of his book - forming the idea, shaking it down to pitch form, figuring out characters and just helping the writer get his thoughts in a row. Then he spends the remaining 100 pages, give or take, drilling it all down into the 8 comic sequences.

The what, you ask?

Many books on screenwriting talk about breaking your script out into the various parts (three act structure, hook, mid-point break, etc.) - but Mr. Giglio goes one step farther and includes the standard parts - but places those parts in the 8 comic sequences. His explanation is that each sequence is equal to (give or take) 15 pages of your script. 8 x 15 = 120 pages.
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Format: Paperback
There's a famous quote, "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."

The same certainly can be said about humor.

That certainly doesn't stop Keith Giglio from trying in his book WRITING THE COMEDY BLOCKBUSTER. It's important to keep in mind that comedy films come in a variety of styles and approaches, and Giglio's is that of the big studio comedy film (but really, in book title only, as he covers a number of different films: The appendix covers "10" through "Zero Hour").

Providing some solid advice, analysis of characters, structure, conventions and plenty of applicable recommendations, WRITING THE COMEDY BLOCKBUSTER is an excellent companion to writing a comedic screenplay.

Although, if you're not funny to begin with, no book in the world can help you.
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