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Comedy Writing Techniques with Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis

Final Draft, A Cast & Crew Entertainment Company

Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM (PST)

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General Admission Ended $23.96 $0.00

Share Comedy Writing Techniques with Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis

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Comedy Writing Techniques with Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis

Take Your Comedy Screenplay to the Next Level
An Online Event Brought to You by Final Draft, Inc.

Comedy writers need three skills to ply their craft: 1) creating jokes; 2) integrating the jokes into plays, novels and scripts; and 3) coping with frustration. This presentation will deal with two of these skill sets.

Joke Creation – Since jokes function as the molecular unit of comedy. We will discuss their role and function.

  • One of the most commonly used joke writing techniques is Joke Switching. This is changing an existing joke to make it fit in a new context. We will discuss techniques for identifying jokes that can easily be switched and then look at techniques for learning and practicing switching techniques.
  • Then we will present the two-story model for creating jokes that progresses from identifying a topic all the way to writing punches. The model places a great deal of attention to creating setups … the most difficult part of joke creation. It stresses misdirection created in the setup that pays off with the punch, resolving ambiguity.
  • Throughout the history of comedy, straight men have always received higher pay than their funny men. There’s a reason for this. Good setups are way harder to create. We will present many examples and encourage participation at each stage so that learning will be experiential.

Creating Performance Comedy Scripts – This section of the presentation will not deal with three-act structure and the basics of screenwriting.

  • Rather, we will focus on tips and techniques that are specific to writing comedy for performance – whether screenplays, TV comedy, or plays.
  • After attendees have learned to create jokes, we will point out how often jokes can get in the way of a good story and are often disposable. As you dimensionalize a character, you create the opportunity for jokes to be created to reveal them.
Jokes should only be included when they help the development of character or story. When they don’t, we will show you where to flush them.

There will also be a live question-and-answer session during the last 15 to 20 minutes of the webinar where all attendees can chat questions to Peter and Jeffrey live. These questions will be chosen at random. You may also submit questions in advance to attention Comedy Questions. These submissions will be considered for the Q&A as well.

If you miss the scheduled time, you will receive an email the morning after the event has closed with a link to watch the video at your convenience.

Comedy scripts are always popular in the marketplace and if you can write a funny screenplay, you have an edge in the industry. Register now to sharpen your comedy writing skills!


 About Peter Desberg  & Jeffrey Davis:

One out of every 150 people in America bought a copy of a joke book that Peter Desberg has written. Unfortunately, Scholastic sold the most popular one for $1 each, so he still has to work. Counting his five joke books, he has had 20 books published. In addition to this lucrative writing career, he is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the area of stage fright. He has worked with many top stand-up comedians, who are regularly confronted with massive cases of flop sweat. He also has been moonlighting as a full professor at California State University Dominguez Hills for over 30 years.

He has done extensive research on the psychology of humor and is a frequent consultant to business presenters on how to use humor persuasively. No stranger to media, for 10 years he hosted his own cable TV show on technology. In the areas of humor and stage fright, he has done many radio and television interviews and is frequently quoted in national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, The Los Angeles Times, Psychology Today, and Cosmopolitan. He has to be a humor expert because he has a daughter who is about to turn 21.

Jeffrey Davis's earliest memories are of sitting around the writers' table at Nate & Al's Delicatessen, where his father and his comedy writer cronies gathered over corn beef and Doctor Brown's Cream Soda, told war stories, and tried to fix third acts. He began his own career writing jokes for Thicke of the Night. Among his situation comedy credits are Love Boat, House Calls with Lynn Redgrave, Give Me a Break, Diff'rent Strokes, and Night Court. He has also written for such shows as America's Funniest People, America's Funniest Home Videos, and Small Wonder, and has had film projects developed by Bette Midler's All Girl Productions, among others.

He has written documentaries for A&E, Discovery, and the National Geographic Channel, and written a variety of corporate and informational videos. His plays have been produced in New York and Los Angeles. His most recently published play is Speed Dating 101. He is the Screenwriting Department Chair and associate professor of film and TV writing at Loyola Marymount University. His one night of stand-up at the Comedy Store convinced him that he should stay permanently seated at his desk.

About the Show Me the Funny!:

 Enjoy a unique glimpse into the intelligent and quirky inner workings of the comedic mind! Show Me the Funny! presents 28 top comedy screenwriters from the revered figures of television's “Golden Age” to today's favorite movie jokesters. Authors Desberg and Davis put an innovative spin on the traditional interview: each writer was given the same loosely structured comedic premise and asked to develop it in any way he or she wanted-no rules, no boundaries, no limits! The result is a hilarious and illuminating look at the comic process.

INCLUDES: Leonard Stern (co-creator of Get Smart), Sherwood Schwartz (Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch), Peter Casey (co-creator of The Jeffersons, Cheers, Wings, Frasier), Phil Rosenthal (co-creator of Everybody Loves Raymond), Ed Decter (co-writer of There's Something About Mary) and many more!


About Online Webinars:

This webinar will take place on WebEx. WebEx is a simple, online, user-friendly interface that allows you to participate in this event by listening to the speaker and moderator through your computer speaker or headphones, submitting questions during the Q&A period at the end of the event, and watching the video of the event at any time after the webinar is complete.

When you register you will receive an email with your own personal login information and more detailed instructions. Don't worry, the process is easy!

If you would like more information on how the WebEx login process works, click here for a simple tutorial:

Remember, the event is audio and video-based. Be sure to check your system requirements to confirm that your computer will display the video and play the audio you need to fully enjoy the event.

To test that your computer has the proper requirements to attend the event, use the System Check Tool to verify that you meet the minimum system requirements.

To try a test meeting, click here:

Refund Policy: If technical difficulties are experienced or speakers are unable to attend or must be rescheduled, refunds will be issued only in the form of admission to a future event of your choice.



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Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM (PST)

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Comedy Writing Techniques with Peter Desberg & Jeffrey Davis
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