A Dreamer Walking

Humor!

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on August 14, 2011

When it comes to filmmaking humor is actually a pretty serious thing. There are several routs you can take to draw out a laugh from your audience. One way is to have something that is completely out there, on the border of being considered wrong. Movies like Dumb and Dummer, Superbad, and American Pie are only a few examples of what I am talking about. These kind of films think that toilet problems, drinking parties, and sexual insecurities are funny and they rely on making the crowd uncomfortable enough to feel they need to laugh rather then, dare I say, express how shallow the jokes truly are.

Another way to get a laugh is from gags. These are humorous acts you can see in any old movie, but can be quite funny if pulled off right. I think of the Loony Toons and Funniest Home Videos as good examples. They get their humor from every day situations. It is through the verbal or physical slip up that the funny stuff happens. The last way to create humor is through having your audience know the character you are portraying. The characters personality generates the humor. A good example is Wall-E. He is a lonely robot who happens to have a personality. It is through his unique perspective on the world we find the humor. The box holding the diamond ring is more important then the ring, plastic silverware is interesting enough to collect, and cockroaches make good pets in Wall-E’s world.

When the humor comes from the character rather then some lame toilet joke or some kind of sight gag, you impact the audience to a much higher extant and give them reason to come back. The visual gags and toilet jokes can come from anywhere, however the humor coming from the heart of the character can’t be copied. We are also able to get the audience more involved with the story when the humor comes from the essence of the character. Humor can be used as a connection device, it can help the audience buy into who the character is and the adventure he or she is on.

Have the humor come from the character rather then the gag. When the character is more important then the gag the gags become funnier. We laugh more from the mistakes Wall-E makes because we know who he is. When trying to connect to his love interest Eva he falls down a building, gets hit by lightning, and gets ran over by a stampede of carts. These gags are all the more humorous and emotional to us because we know who Wall-E is and how much he wants Eva’s affection.

Humor can be such a powerful tool for the filmmaker. Make humor be more then this insecure need to make the audience laugh. Make it be about connection and development. We need a reason for the humor we express on screen. The laugh can be used to demean and hurt our views of the people around us or it can be used to strengthen our understanding and love towards others. Everything depends on the quality of the humor and how you use it.

One Response

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  1. minnow said, on August 15, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Great points! I especially like the idea that even gag humor can be enhanced by having it come from the heart of the character.


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