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Archive for the Category "Humor"

The Villain’s Point of View Oct 19

Crafting an Authentic Villain

Gone are the days of the mustache-twirling villain who is just evil for evil’s sake. These days to make your villain engaging and believable he or she must be authentic.

So to craft your realistic villain, it’s critical that you see the world from their point of view. After all, “Everyone’s the hero of their own narrative.”

As a great reminder of that truth, has produced another terrific movie-themed article: 26 Great Movies from the Villain’s Point of View.

Here are a few of my favorite user-submitted posters:

The Jewelry Thieves (Lord of the Rings)

The Senator Kelly Story (The X-Men)

Terrible Shepherds (Brokeback Mountain)

Iceberg (Titanic)

The Empire Tries Really Hard (The Empire Strikes Back)

Alone (Alien)

The full article has a bunch more great ones, so check it out.

Which one is your favorite? And can anyone explain the “Vector” movie poster to me?

Category: Diversions, Humor, Villains  | 5 Comments
Surprise Your Audience Mar 27

Ros goes down the elevator shaftA friend sent me this excerpt from a recent interview with David E. Kelley (Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, Boston Public, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, L.A. Law). It highlights an important mindset to have when crafting scenes:

L.A. Law is where we first got a taste of what would be your trademark, those surprise, odd twists, like Roz going down the elevator shaft. Where do those ideas come from?

I promise it isn’t drugs. You know, you sort of get smarter through the years, but that’s the one question I’m really still unable to answer. I do subscribe to the theory that it is entertainment, and when people sit down in their La-Z-Boy chair at the end of the night, they maybe should be able to see something that they’re not going to see in everyday life. So arguments of mine [between characters] will tend to be more melodramatic, and some of the eccentricities will be heightened. That’s just kind of what I like to do. Also, I loved The Twilight Zone as a kid, and Outer Limits and shows like that, which went in directions that you just never imagined. I do do that. I do say, “Okay, this is the scene, this is the normal way it would go. Is there another way it could possibly go that fits within the context of the show that you may not see coming?”

So what are the important takeaways? Give the audience:

A) “something that they’re not going to see in everyday life.”
B) something that they “may not see coming.”


If you have 4 1/2 minutes, I highly recommend watching the following animated short that I found recently, created by Graham Annable. It has several moments that I hadn’t seen before and definitely didn’t see coming.

Pay special attention to how the slow pacing (especially in one particular scene) is brilliantly utilized for humorous effect.

Full David E. Kelley interview via Vulture.

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Deciphering Notes from Executives Oct 10

Exec Notes

At some point in your writing career, hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to receive notes from a development exec.

Just pray it’s not this guy.

H/T to Scott for the link.

Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Workshop Part 1 Jun 07

Steve Kaplan Comedy IntensiveThis past weekend I attended Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Intensive workshop in Los Angeles.

He had some pretty nifty insights for comedy writers. So over the next few days I’ll try to decipher my chicken scratchings and post a few of the key things I learned or that I think you’ll find interesting.

The focus of day one was The Six Hidden Tools of Comedy. I’ll tell you about three of them that I thought were especially compelling.

First up…


Great comedies tend to feature “an ordinary guy or gal, struggling against insurmountable odds, without many of the required tools to win, yet never giving up hope.”

Of course many great dramas also feature ordinary guys or gals struggling against insurmountable odds, but the main point he was making was that the comedy protagonist is so woefully unprepared as to be laughable.

Those characters in Tropic Thunder had zero actual skills to survive in the jungle. Whereas Schwarzenegger and his team in Predator were army commandos.

Paul Blart was just a mall cop, who had difficulty detaining an old man in a wheel chair. Whereas John McClane in Die Hard was a trained police officer with a gun.

And so on…

Does the protagonist of your comedy have too many skills at the outset? Is (s)he too aware of what’s going on? “In drama your characters know too much. In comedy they don’t know enough.”


Tomorrow I’ll go over another one of Steve Kaplan’s comedy tools — the “Metaphorical Relationship.”

Note: There’s never a good substitute for taking a class yourself, so if any of the ideas posted here intrigue you, I encourage you to sign up for the workshop the next time it’s offered.

For more information go to

Need someone to review your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Friday Fun Jun 04

Came across a couple of fun and interesting articles today:

1) Have you seen this newspaper?

Odds are, the answer is “yes.”

Similar to the Wilhem Scream, there’s apparently a newspaper prop that’s been used for years in television and movies.

Al Bundy's favorite paperAl Bundy’s favorite paper
(Married with Children)

No Country for Old MenTommy Lee likes it too
(No Country for Old Men)

Many more photos, etc. at /Film

2) Great Comedy Sequels?

Quick — name a great comedy sequel! It’s not so easy is it?

While there are many brilliant non-comedy sequels that have been produced, there are very few comedy sequels that compare to their original.

If you discount the Toy Story movies, I can only think of Meet the Fockers and Shanghai Knights off the top of my head. How about you?

The big question: Why is that? Perhaps it’s really true what they, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

More discussion at RopeOfSilicon

Need someone to review your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

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Category: Diversions, Humor  | Leave a Comment