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  • Hi my name is Tony and this is Every Frame a Painting.

  • So today I’m going to talk about a director whose work I love.

  • but before that let me be upfront. I think comedy movies today

  • especially American ones have totally lost their way.

  • I don't hate the jokes or the actors or the dialogue

  • or the stories though there's plenty of issues there.

  • My real qualm is that the filmmaking

  • the use of picture and sound to deliver jokes, is just...

  • --What? --This is booooring.

  • --Delete.

  • Look, everyone’s taste is different.

  • What you find funny is what you funny. So I’m not saying these movies suck

  • or you suck if you like them. What I am saying is that

  • these movies aren’t movies. Theyre lightly edited improv.

  • Everyone stands still and talks at each other in close-up.

  • Almost none of these jokes come visually Theyre overwhelming sound.

  • And not even the full range of sound, just dialogue. And this is really sad

  • because that’s just a fraction of what’s possible in cinema.

  • Apart from animation and some commercials,

  • visual comedy is actually moving backwards. And that's why

  • if you love this kind of stuff, I cannot recommend Edgar Wright enough.

  • --You're a doctor, deal with it. --Yeah, motherfucker.

  • He's one of the only people working in the genre using the full range of what is possible

  • And because of that, he can find humor in places that others don’t look.

  • Here’s an example. Say you need to move your character

  • from one city to another to get the story going. How do you shoot it?

  • And can you get a joke out of it? ...Well, no.

  • Not if you send out a 2nd unit to do it, every shot pans from left to right

  • you include obvious landmarks and signs, you mix in generic helicopter footage

  • and you put upbeat music under it so the audience doesn’t get bored.

  • This is just lazy filmmaking and boring. Weve seen it a million times.

  • What would happen if you were truly inventive with this type of scene?

  • There we go! And this isn’t just a series of quick cuts.

  • There’s a lot of good visual storytelling here.

  • These two taxi shots tell you exactly where we came from and where were going

  • These two shots emphasize the move away from civilization.

  • Our main character always faces forward or to the right

  • so screen direction is respected. Turning the music down

  • and the sound FX up is funny because each cut is jarring.

  • And there’s even some nice performances from Simon Pegg and Ryan Gosling.

  • Okay that was 1 example without context. Youre right. Totally unfair.

  • Well what if you had a movie where a horrible apocalyptic event happens,

  • and you want to foreshadow it earlier, maybe by having the characters

  • not notice something important on TV. How would you show it?

  • Would you just throw it in the edit for 2 seconds and 2 frames

  • and no shot shows the relationship between the characters and the TV?

  • --he's having a housewarming party, he just finished building his house.

  • Or would you do this?

  • --Although no one official is prepared to comment, religious groups are

  • calling it judgment day. There's

  • --panic on the streets of London

  • --as an increasing number of reports of --serious attacks on

  • --people who are literally being --eaten alive

  • Okay still unfair. What if you had movie where one character has stopped drinking

  • but the others are disappointed in him and you want to get a joke out of it.

  • How would you do it?

  • Would they just stand around and talk about his drinking?

  • --No I appreciate it but I told my wife I wouldn't drink tonight

  • --Besides I got a big day tomorrow. You guys have a great time.

  • --Big day? Doing what? Or would you do this? --What?!

  • --I don't believe this.

  • This is what separates a mediocre director from a great one. The ability

  • to take the most simple mundane scenes and find new ways to do them.

  • Great directors understand that you can get a laugh just through staging.

  • Here’s an example from David Bordwell: things popping up into frame are funny.

  • --Slow ahead, I can go slow ahead. Come on down and chum some of this shit!

  • And it’s not just things entering frame. Consider the opposite.

  • --I said tell Ms. Laura "Goodbye"

  • --Bye, Ms. Laura

  • You can get a laugh from a zoom.

  • --You wanna pop the trunk and roll the windows down, please?

  • You can get a laugh from a crane up. --Shirley, I'm so sorry.

  • --I'm going home, Britta. --I know, Shirley, I know.

  • --No I'm going home, can you help me up? --Oh

  • You can get a laugh from a pan.

  • As Martin Scorsese put it

  • cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s not in the frame.

  • So think about the frame. And this isn’t a matter of smart or stupid comedy.

  • Really if it works, it works.

  • So here are 8 things Edgar Wright does with picture and sound that

  • I want to see other comedy filmmakers try out.

  • #1 Things entering the frame in funny ways

  • #2 People leaving the frame in funny ways

  • #3 There and back again

  • #4 Matching scene transitions

  • #5 The perfectly-timed sound effect

  • #6 Action synchronized to the music

  • #7 Super-dramatic lighting cues

  • #8 Fence gags

  • And you know what, let's thrown in #9 Imaginary gunfights

  • So if youre a filmmaker, work on this. The frame is a playground. So play.

  • And the next time you go to a theater and pay $15 to see a comedy

  • don’t be satisfied with shit that is less inventive than Vine.

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Edgar Wright - How to Do Visual Comedy

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    楊皓 posted on 2015/09/19
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