Preston Sturges: 11 Rules For Box Office Appeal

advice, comedy writing, features

Eleven Rules For Box Office Appeal:

1. A pretty girl is better than an ugly one.

2. A leg is better than an arm.

3. A bedroom is better than a living room.

4. An arrival is better than a departure.

5. A birth is better than a death.

6. A chase is better than a chat.

7. A dog is better than a landscape.

8. A kitten is better than a dog.

9. A baby is better than a kitten.

10. A kiss is better than a baby.

11. A pratfall is better than anything

Paul Feig's Lessons In Comedy Writing

comedy writing, T.V. writing

Paul Feig–writer/producer of Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development, The Office–gives The Guardian some great comedy writing lessons. Here’s one:

“3. Make them cringe

“Regardless of where or when your story is set, it’s important for the people in any comedy to act just like real people act. That means not speaking in a constant stream of pithy one-liners. It means getting into the same sort of horrible, awkward situations we all get into every day. Easily the most funny, fascinating and cringeworthy time in anyone’s life is school. It’s the only time that you get lumped in with a whole bunch of people without any filter; it’s not to do with skills or interests, just age. And you’re forced to spend every day with them for years. With Freaks And Geeks I wanted to write scenes that people would squirm while watching because it would seem so familiar. Seeing people cringe is the jackpot for me. The thing is, not everyone wants to sit through the exact same situations they already had to go through at school. So it’s the jackpot that nobody wants to win!””

via Paul Feig gives Sam Delaney some lessons in comedy screenwriting | Culture | The Guardian .