Hidden away along the banks of the River Tees in far northern England is a group of five geeks with their own FM radio program entitled, fittingly, "The Geek Show." I have an affection for geeks because most of them tilt at windmills. During the recent Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games - which was an outstanding best-ever success, by the way - I was a guest on "The Geek Show" and I'd like to send an encouraging shout-out to Phil, Rob 1, Rob 2, Becca and Harry, the lovable geeks themselves. You guys are doing a terrific job while also having fun, and I wish you continued success. Thank you for including me in your Geek-dom.
IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN IT . . .
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards and is available (most reasonably priced) on iTunes. A big knuckle rap to Moonbot Studios for landing Louisana in the winner's circle. Lovely work, guys!
RANGO MARKS A TRANSITION IN THE INDUSTRY
In my most recent AWN blog post, I go into detail about why this film is going to prove historically significant. I welcome your comments.
Sixteen Quick Pointers about Comedy
“Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.”
― Mark Twain
1. Do not try to be funny. Try to be truthful.
2. Comedy is about human limitations. Death is the ultimate limitation. Woody Allen’s comedy is based on him realizing that every moment could be his last.
3. The joke is not in the trip, fall or spill; it is in the way the character tries to maintain dignity while recovering. This is the genius of Charlie Chaplin.
4. Stupid people do not think they are stupid. Nothing is much funnier than a stupid person that thinks he is being clever. Do not condescend to or make fun of your character.
5. Never repeat a gag more than twice.
6. Comedy is drama extended, oxygenated, amplified.
7. One Oedipus on stage is tragic; two Oedipus on stage simultaneously is comedy.
8. A funny looking character is not inherently funny. Behavior is what’s funny.
9. Surviving is what we do in life. Comedy is what happens to us along the way.
10. A person will laugh when put into a potentially life-threatening situation. This is gallows humor. Most battle-themed video games could use more of it.
11. The younger the audience, the more physical the comedy.
12. Empathy is essential for comedy. Your audience identifies with your character’s dilemma and embarrassment.
13. Human laughter is a social thing, a mutual acknowledgement that we aren’t dead yet. This is why you rarely laugh out loud when you are at home alone. It is why a full house is more responsive to a comedy than a half-filled one.
14. It is the kiss of comedic death for an actor or animator to start patting himself on the back for how funny he is.
15. Wile E. Coyote has one objective and one objective only: to catch and eat the bird. He is obsessive, and that is why he is funny. We all are obsessive in one way or another. Obsession is one of life’s cruelest jokes.