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Thread: As an author vs filmmaker - where's the funny?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Bickernicks's Avatar
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    As an author vs filmmaker - where's the funny?

    I've been writing and shooting funny films and videos for my entire life. I know exactly where the funny parts of my videos are because I can watch an audience and they'll tell me with a laugh. (or tweak things if I'm getting no response)

    Recently I wrote a novel. I wasn't necessarily trying to be FUNNY...but I guess it just came out that way. (I was just shooting for 'merely amusing'.) Cut to a year later and now I'm getting reviews from people saying "this was a really funny book." Some people claimed they laughed out loud. The problem is I don't know WHERE it was funny. I've asked these people to tell me on what page and what paragraph WAS FUNNY. They're usually of no help. I typically get "I dunno...it was just funny."

    Obviously not everything was funny...but I'm trying to zero in on what worked. Short of sitting next to a person and watching them read my entire book, I don't know how I'm supposed to get better at this. Include a high light marker with each copy?

  2. #2
    The Scavengers AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    Have the people who read your book been experienced beta readers? If not, maybe they would be able to give you more concrete answers. it could be the tone of the book or just what a character said, or how a characters acts. Take some time to get to begin getting acquainted with the beta readers forum. it may help.
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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Bickernicks's Avatar
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    Beta Readers? No no, this is just the feedback I'm getting from the public. The book went live a year ago. In fact, the few beta readers I had weren't crazy for the book. I was trying to find some consistent feedback, but it seemed everyone had a different bone to pick. It was weird. At that point I just stuck to my guns.

    I suspected my beta readers (librarian types with degrees) were only into REAL literature. For them it wasn't good until someone died or got raped and there was much gnashing of teeth. It wasn't good until you cried. Woody Allen complained about this with his comment (at the Oscars) "comedy is assigned to the kids table".

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Trying to spot when and where written comedy hits the spot is a thankless task. One man's funny is another's inane. I've had people read something with a straight face and even seem mildly annoyed at the end, and then tell me it was funny. I've also seen people laugh spontaneously before declaring it to be too predictable. People tend to have general themes in their taste with regards to music, art, literature, fashion, etc.. Comedy bypasses that.

    Don't overthink it; what's funny one day might not be the next. I once wrote a radio piece and when we tried to record it it took around four hours for a four minute slot because we couldn't stop laughing. Then we listened to it back and scrapped it. It wasn't funny!

    Identifying the right level is difficult in performance, video and radio. It's even harder to qualify in written work. Just accept that it's funny and move on!

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Bickernicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffrey View Post
    I once wrote a radio piece and when we tried to record it it took around four hours for a four minute slot because we couldn't stop laughing.
    I've been there. (TV VO's) It's like the lack of oxygen getting to your head (for laughing) keeps the cycle going. It helps if everyone knows each other.

    The opposite is when a professional VO guy screws up, shouts out an obscenity and makes a big deal that he screwed up. It's like: "yea dude, we KNOW you're a pro and hardly screw up - just read the damn thing."

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