Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Writing the Comedy Film

Instructor: Jennifer Mackenzie

In Hollywood it's still and always true that "funny is money." While advertisers live by the motto "sex sells," film producers know that nothing sends an audience home ready to tell their friends about a movie more than a couple of hours filled with laughter.

Could comedy even be considered a healing art? In 1981, a small book appeared that would challenge the world's perception of disease and healing. Titled Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, the nonfiction chronicle by Norman Cousins was perhaps the single work credited with inspiring the American consciousness to entertain the notion of using creativity and humor as essential tools in healing. It began a revolution in mindfulness that exploded in the early 1990s and continues today.

Select readings on the mind-body connection will supplement and enrich the main focus of this course: writing the comedy film.

To learn the fundamentals of screenwriting structure vis-à-vis the comedy film, we will watch blockbuster and award-winning comedy films - both current and classic - read screenplays, engage in writing exercises, and apply ourselves to comedic scene study. Short critical writing analyzing screenwriting craft will be an integral part of the academic work. Explore your potential for bringing comedy to the screen as you learn how Hollywood makes a living out of laughter.

Last Update: March 5, 2013