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Writing the Comedy Blockbuster: The Inappropriate Goal Paperback – February 1, 2012
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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.
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.
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.
It is an interesting concept and works very well in helping the writer get started and, in the process, helps them concentrate on what the script needs at this point. Think you've got the first 15 pages done - but struggling with the next 30 pages - this book can help you. He also encourages the writer to buy 500 3x5 cards (yes 500) and to use the book, and those cards and the overall idea (see first 100 pages) to really expand it out and nail those jokes.
Using films like "Wedding Crashers," or "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (and many others) as examples - he explains in great detail what it takes to go from Sequence A to Sequence B to...and what needs to be included in each to keep the story moving.
Where the book falters a bit is in his encouragement to "read lots and lots of scripts." I don't disagree with this point but I caution any first time writer out there to try your best to find SPEC versions of scripts. You want to read "Knocked Up?" Try to find a spec version and not a production version. Most scripts that end up in book form, or on the internet, often are production versions, thus they have scene numbers or camera movements or other notes/pages that may very well confuse a first time writer. So, yes, PLEASE read scripts. Just know the difference between a shooting script and a spec script.
The only other issue in find in the book - is a general understanding of comedy. Why is it that I find things funny and my wife doesn't? How do you write for the varying tastes of people? Or even CAN you? What I do know is that there are comedy movies out there that every time I see them; first time, tenth time, fiftieth time - the jokes still work.
Yes, someone once said: `Dying is easy, comedy is hard.' Mr. Giglio attempts to make writing the comedy blockbuster easy and I have to say he succeeds. Whether you've written a comedy script or even thinking of writing a comedy script - you need to read this excellent book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
and the best use of the 8 sequences method I have read