Defining Comedy

Veteran comedia Steve Kaplan takes us into the world of comedy to help us understand not only the art of funny, but also the art of being ourselves.

Defining Comedy

Developed by Jason Tomaric, FilmSkills
ABOUT THIS LESSON
When you think about comedy, what comes to mind?  Slapstick, jokes, laughing?  Well, comedy is much deeper and is a reflection on who we are as humans. In this FilmTalk, accomplished comedian Steve Kaplan provides shocking insight into comedy and how it relates to the human condition.
 
  • 29:36 video
  • Q&A with Jason Tomaric
  • Illustrated companion guide
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
  • What is comedy
  • How to define "funny"
  • How to approach comedy as an actor, director, or writer
  • How comedy reflects truth and human nature
  • The difference between comedy and drama
ABOUT THE LESSON AUTHOR
Jason Tomaric

Jason Tomaric

Director, Cinematographer Los Angeles, California
Jason J. Tomaric is an Emmy, Telly, and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer of four internationally-distributed feature films, dozens of national television commercials, music videos, and the largest film training content library in the world, published author of 8 books - used in many top universities, and creator of AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform. 
 
Jason has worked in Los Angeles and around the world in over 20 countries. His clients include Disney, NBC/Universal, National Geographic, McDonald’s, Toyota, Scion, Microsoft, and Paul Mitchell, with narrative work screened at Sundance, Slamdance, and South by Southwest film festivals as well as on Netflix and on all broadcast networks.
 
Jason has taught and/or guest lectured at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA, Columbia College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, San Francisco State, University of Notre Dame, and numerous film festivals.
 
Jason has written eight industry-defining books, all sold in bookstores, and used in film schools around the world. The American Society of Cinematographers hails Jason's books - "There are no wasted words in Tomaric's tome, which concisely summarizes each facet of the director's craft.  It's difficult to think of a step in the process that Tomaric fails to address." 
 
Jason’s DVD training series on Hollywood film production have trained filmmakers in over 40 countries, with distributors in Europe, Hong Kong, New York and Australia.
 
In 2010, Jason launched FilmSkills, which combines the world’s largest film training video library with his proprietary learning management system.  Adopted by 47 universities within the first year, FilmSkills is now the leading industry-standard training solution for motion picture and television production.
 
In 2015, Jason launched AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform that bridges the gap between academia and industry.
THIS LESSON HAS BEEN UPDATED BY
Kingsley Benham

Kingsley Benham

West Hollywood, California FilmSkills
UPDATED ON 1/14/2016
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS LESSON
Steve Kaplan

Steve Kaplan

Creator of HBO Workspace and the Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre
For years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry’s most sought-after expert on comedy. In addition to having taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities, Steve Kaplan created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre. He regularly serves as a consultant and script doctor to such companies as Dreamworks, Disney, HBO, Paramount, Touchstone and others.
 
In New York, Steve was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, where he developed writers such as Peter Tolan (Analyze This, Finding Amanda), writer and producer David Crane (Friends, Joey, The Class), writer/producer Tracy Poust (Ugly Betty, Will & Grace), Michael Patrick King (The Comeback, Sex and The City, Will & Grace),David Ives (Venus in Fur), Will Scheffer (Big Love), Howard Korder (LAKEVIEW TERRACE starring Samuel Jackson and Ashton Kutcher), Lisa Loomer, Tom Donaghy, Sandra Tsing Loh (CHICKEN LITTLE), Kenneth Lonergan and Mark O’Donnell (HAIRSPRAY starring John Travolta) and introduced such performers as Lewis Black, Mercedes Ruehl, Oliver Platt, Helen Slater, Fisher Stevens, Veanne Cox, Sam McMurray, Vickie Lewis and Illeana Douglas.
 
In Los Angeles, he created the HBO New Writers Project, discovering HBO Pictures screenwriter Will Scheffer and performer/writer Sandra Tsing Loh; and the HBO Workspace, a developmental workshop in Hollywood that introduced and presented performers such as Jack Black and Tenacious D, Kathy Griffin, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (Mr. Show), Josh Malina and Paul F. Tompkins. At the Workspace, he was Executive Producer for the award-winning HBO Original Programming documentary DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Steve has directed in regional theaters and Off-Broadway (including Sandra Tsing Loh’s ALIENS IN AMERICA at Second Stage) and has developed, produced and directed other one-woman shows with actress Lauren Tom and comediennes Nora Dunn and Kathy Buckley.
 
Steve has been teaching his Comedy Intensive workshops to thousands of students for more than 10 years. He is currently presenting his two-day Comedy Intensive workshops around the world, with workshops scheduled in Los Angeles, New York, London and Singapore.