Any film that’s made you laugh could easily have been a drama. Tootsie? Oh the yearning of breaking free from this prison Michael Dorsey has shackled himself in! Facing an impossible dilemma, Dorothy Michaels asks for her character to be written off, yet the executives won’t do it, so she kills herself on live television. The end. All the great comedies could have been made into straight, serious dramas were it not for the gifts and hard work of their makers.
So, at which point did the story change course? What makes the difference? Humor is tragedy plus time, they say. Or distance: because, as Charlie Chaplin said: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”
So you start writing, and what have you got? A mess. You want to make the next big comedy hit, following The Hangover, Bridesmaids, or Ted? Let’s look at some of the highest-grossing comedies, and study the serious business of making comedy.
Read the rest on the Raindance blog.