Making a comedy short
Are you thinking about entering a short film into the 30 Second LOLs category at NYFF?
Here are some handy tips on how to make films that will make people Laugh Out Loud!
The National Youth Film Festival (NYFF) is an annual celebration of film and cinema, enabling young people aged 5 to 19 across the UK to enjoy a wide variety of films and learn about film making and the film industry. NYFF will feature its very own awards and one of the categories, 30 Second LOLs, will focus on comedy.
Comedy is a popular film genre but it is very hard to get right. This is partly due to all of the different elements involved including timing, delivery and the source of comedy. It’s even harder when you only have 30 seconds to make your audience laugh. We have kindly put together the resource to help you to develop a comedy idea and turn it into a funny short.
There are many different genres of comedy (including spoof, mockumentary and physical) based on the source of comedy, the method of delivery and the context in which it is delivered. Here are some First Light examples that use some of these genres:
Slapstick- Involves exaggerated, boisterous actions (e.g. a pie in the face, falling over) and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense
Film example- Justin the Party Animal
Spoof- The recreating of a book, film or play for humour, it can be used to make fun of or ridicule a certain production
Film example- School of Lego
Sketch- A small episode of comedy practised and recorded
Film example- Asking Out Tim
Preparing For Your Comedy
- Develop the idea- what is the situation? Where is it set? Who are the main characters?
- Write a Script- be specific about what makes the situation funny
- Keep it short- how can you make people laugh in three or four shots?
- Add sound effects/music- this can add even more humour to your film if used correctly
- Test it with an audience- get feedback on your rough cut to identify whether your film is funny enough or if you have to add/cut scenes to make it funnier
Tips From The Experts
A number of First Light friends have given us their best advice and an insight into their approaches to creating great comedies.
“If it’s not funny, cut it” Nick Frost
“Don’t steal somebody else’s ideas. You’ll have much more fun creating your own” Matt Lucas
“Tell the story before the jokes” James Corden
“Comedy is trial and error. Even the funniest people sometimes are not funny so don’t be afraid to fail” David Walliams
“If all else fails, do some funny faces and funny voices” Matt Lucas
Good luck and remember:
Keep it short- 30 seconds and under (including credits)
Keep it legal- don’t use any copyright music or images (see First Light website for more information on this)
Keep it real- write about what you know and your own observations of life
Keep it funny- you only have 30 seconds to make people laugh so if it doesn’t work, cut it
We look forward to seeing your films. Once you’ve finished, enter your comedy short here.