How to Write a Fresh, Stand Out Comedy

Getting Your Unique Sense of Humor on Paper
Taught by Melissa Daykin Cassill

$249

On Demand Class - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

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Class hosted by: Melissa Daykin Cassill

Vice President at State Street Pictures

About Your Instructor, Melissa Daykin Cassill: Melissa Daykin Cassill is Vice President of State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays) . She began her career at The Firm and Creative Artists Agency where she worked in the Motion Picture Literary Department. She went on to Miramax as a Creative Executive and Gunn Films (Freaky Friday, Race To Witch Mountain) as Vice President. Full Bio »

Week 1 - Introduction

Melissa will introduce herself to the class and talk about her company. Melissa will then talk about the comedy genre overall and give personal experiences on comedies she has developed and have been sold/made. She will explain the word “broad” and what the difference between a broad comedy and a character driven comedy (and which one is more marketable). Then there will be a focus on themes, ideas, or characters that would be unpalatable or unwatchable if done straight, but if conveyed through the prism of comedy are actually more communicable. Melissa will talk about her favorite comedy film, and why it worked so successfully. She will then talk about personal experiences with projects and circumstances where a script they had to be reconfigured in a certain way to make it more marketable.

Week 2 - Tone

Volunteers will go over their scenes in class and Melissa will critique them. Melissa will explain the importance of the emotional crescendo of a comedy script and when the humor should start and how to implement a successful crescendo that will have the comedy build on top of each other. Also will discuss the difference between adult and four quadrant comedies. Melissa will use the previous assigned movie as an example of how the crescendo worked. This will lead into a general discussion between her and the class on the movie overall and what they felt worked and what didn’t. Lastly, Melissa will talk about the importance of setting up the tone immediately in the first 5 pages. By page 5 the executive should already know what type of comedy it is.

Week 3 - Characterization and Layering

Volunteers will go over their scenes in class and Melissa will review what worked and what didn’t. This will lead into a discussion about balancing the comedy with humanity of the characters. Comedies needs time to breathe during the plot so the audience can catch up with the characters and check in with them. The balance between keeping the comedy escalating and keeping the characters humanistic is really important. Melissa will give advice and tips on how to find an appropriate balance and times in the script that the balance usually shifts. She will then go over ensemble comedies and how each character in an ensemble needs a distinctive quirk. She will give examples of ensemble comedies that have worked successfully because of the eclectic, distinct cast.

Week 4 - Pitching

Volunteers will go over their scenes in class and Melissa will review them. Melissa will then give pitching advice on how to successfully pitch your comedy film and other advice on how to market your comedy script when completed. This week will be dedicated entirely on pitching, tips on how to get an agent, productivity steps, how to increase the value of your material, getting a director attached, filming a short, etc. She will also give case studies on how other careers got launched.


Summary:

Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, Vice President of State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays)

The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Little Miss Sunshine. What is it, exactly, that makes these comedies stand out from the crowd? With so many different types of comedies in the marketplace, it is becoming the toughest genre to break into. More executives are turning to A list comedians to write than actual screenwriters, so how do you get an executive's attention? How do you get past executives that have different senses of humor, jokes that don't translate internationally, and storylines that can easily get deemed outdated a year later?

Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our 4 week online intensive class How To Write A Fresh, Stand Out Comedy taught by the Vice President of State Street Pictures, Melissa Dayin Cassill. In this hands on 4 week course, you will learn the importance of the emotional crescendo of a comedy script, how to balance the comedy with the humanity of the characters, and how to pitch your comedy script once you're ready, all while molding your pages under Melissa's supervision. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a fresh stand out comedy script that will grab executives' attention!

Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.
Although Melissa is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.


About Your Instructor:

About Your Instructor, Melissa Daykin Cassill:

Melissa Daykin Cassill is Vice President of State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays) . She began her career at The Firm and Creative Artists Agency where she worked in the Motion Picture Literary Department. She went on to Miramax as a Creative Executive and Gunn Films (Freaky Friday, Race To Witch Mountain) as Vice President.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 2 to 4 week ongoing broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the class software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The class software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live class and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the class afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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