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What Are You Laughing At?: How to Write Funny Screenplays, Stories, and More [Paperback]

Brad Schreiber , Christopher Vogler
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
Price: 10.41 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Dec 2003
In 'What are you laughing at?' Brad Schreiber has written an accessible and entertaining introduction to the world of comedy writing. From the nature of humor and the principles of comedic structure through the various forms of comedy writing he gets to the very heart of what makes modern readers and film-goers laugh - and why.

This is an essential guide for any writer wanting to master the art of comedy writing, with vital information on everything from the process of screenwriting, generating ideas, the author's voice, story, character and comedic dialogue to the importance of subtext, satire, parody, vulgarity and bad taste.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941188833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941188838
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15.2 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,011,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Brad Schreiber has written not only books but journalism, film, television, radio and theatre. He has also served as a producer, actor, director, literary consultant and instructor. Born in New York City, Schreiber grew up in Rockland County, NY, Santa Monica, CA and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, where he attended San Francisco State University and studied with, among others, Leonard Wolf and Kay Boyle. He has received awards and fellowships from the National Press Foundation, Los Angeles Press Club, National Audio Theatre Festivals, Edward Albee Foundation and California Writers Club, among others.

Product Description

About the Author

By Brad Schreiber

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars will get you writing 29 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
every chapter has 'do this now' exercises which will get you writing; which is surely the whole point. No writing, no improvement.

There have been so few reviews of this book that for a more balanced view you might want to try checking out the American amazon site where you'll find plenty.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't teach you anything 4 Sep 2006
Don't waste your money. It doesn't teach you anything about writing comedy.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of money if you know anything about writing 16 Jan 2010
By Natalie Mootz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, I got ripped off by this book. Only pages 1-14 had anything to do with "how to write comedy." The rest of the book (pp. 15-262) is basic how-to stuff about writing in general: what are the different genres, character, dialog, etc. If you are any kind of writer at all, or have read other books or taken classes on writing, then 95 percent of this book will be repetition for you. And even the humor writing parts are very basic: I found out the same information by doing Google searches. Wish I could get my money back.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have primer for comedy writers and performers 23 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
For anyone who has ever dreamed of being funnier, especially in the writing field, WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT? by Brad Schreiber is a wonderful resource and the definitive how-to book on learning to write with humor. Whether fiction or non-fiction, for stage, TV or film, there is a lot of material in this book for the aspiring writer to sink their teeth into, including enlightening excerpts in prose and screenwriting from the top authors and scribes, writing exercises to bring out the funny person hiding deep within, and plenty of advise on what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do to make the reader laugh...preferably out loud. By the time you finish this book, you will no longer believe that being funny is a matter of nature vs. nurture. Not a born comedian? Sit back, relax, and learn from the masters.
The author is himself a journalist, screenwriter and consultant, and with that kind of background, he really knows his stuff. Schreiber teaches humor writing for major Los Angeles writer's programs, and much of what he has developed in those classes is offered here in this book. From the first chapter, where he introduces comedic structure and the nature of humor, to differing forms of humor such as jokes and insults and short stories and aphorisms, to finding ways to inject humor into non-fiction formats, this book covers every aspect of comedic writing for those who are serious enough to want to be funny and improve their craft.
Other chapters cover humor in dialogue, writing quirky and memorable characters, grasping the importance of the rhythm and sound of good humor writing, using other forms of writing such as poetry, songs, letters and more to convey humor, and making the best of themes and settings to bring out humor in certain situations. We learn the power of juxtaposition, embarrassment, shock and surprise and other elements that bring out humor in characters. We get a first-hand glimpse at some of the ways the great humor writers play upon themes of commonality, and individuality, to turn simple dialog between two people into hilarious insight into the human condition.
This is really not just a screenwriting book, although the emphasis does seem to be on visual forms of writing such as scripts and stage plays. There is so much wisdom, and wit, and good common sense advise that this book finally convinced me that having a great sense of what is funny is not something you must be born with. It is something you can learn.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who, me?! 22 Aug 2005
By Pamela Jaye Smith - Published on Amazon.com
So someone once asked me, "Pamela, do you write comedy?". "Not on purpose", I replied.

But now, with the help of a really funny guy who wrote a really helpful book, I can make a good go at it.

Like Brad Schreiber himself, this book is intelligent, witty, accessible, inspiring, and fun.

It offers overviews of various forms of humor, theories of humor, examples of humor, excerpts from humorists, practical advice on writing funny, and even provocative exercises that guarantee at least a giggle, most often a guffaw.

As a story consultant myself, I recommend Brad's book to my writing clients.

As a reader, I recommend Brad's book to anyone -- writer, speaker, performer -- who wants to lighten their life and the presentation of their message with humor.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over 70 excerpts from top screenwriters 10 Feb 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Produce winning comedic screenplays using fiction and nonfiction alike with Brad Schreiber's What Are You Laughing At?: How To Write Funny Screenplays, Stories, & More. Included are over 70 excerpts from top screenwriters and pairing them with writing exercises and details on the differences between writing comedy for TV versus stage. There are eleven modes of comedic dialogue, 13 common problems screenwriters encounter and valuable insights into the rhythm and sound of words in What Are You Laughing At? Brad is himself a L.A. screenwriter, so his tips come from an insider's hand.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from this book 21 Oct 2010
By SKR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"What are you laughing at"...I am sure that Brad Schreiber is laughing at me for buying his book. It is not the quality of the book that disappointed me. It is the fact that 90% of the book has nothing to do with comedy. It deals with general fiction, non-fiction, character, dialog, etc. There are plenty of good books to cover those topics. You wonder why there is no inside look for this book. The reason is if you just see the table of contents then you know what I am talking about. I bought this book looking at the good reviews. What's up with that. Did any of you read the book? They sold me a "cat" telling me its a "cute dog"!. If you don't trust me you are welcome to buy this book and come back to write how you got ripped off!
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