19.02.18 | Writing Comedy (5 Monday Evenings)

Course Content:

This 5-part, intensive, evening workshop will delve deeply into the nature of comedy, its components, styles, and how to create its effect in stories for the screen, both short and feature length.

Weeks One and Two:

  • The Comedic Effect – why we laugh and what happens to us physically when we do and the subjectivity of humor
  • Comedy in cinema – a historical overview
  • Types of humor: Verbal, Physical, Visual
  • Comedic Devises: callbacks, running gags, prop gags, etc.
  • Genres of comedy: similarities and differences of: screwball, rom com, satire, slap stick, spoof, buddy comedy, etc.

Week Three:

  • Structure: the architecture of a story
  • Proper Screenplay Language and Form
  • Creating comedic characters, themes, and premises
  • Tone: Light vs. Dark – the importance of irony
  • Dramatic genres turned comic – IE horror comedy, action comedy

Week Four:

  • Creating comedic core ideas and situations
  • Creating comedic characters/writing character-driven comedies
  • Physical Humor – creating comedic action
  • Writing funny dialogue
  • Using improvisation as a writing tool
  • Pitch your comedy idea and discuss – part one

Week Five:

  •  From Screenplay to Screen – Analysis of an Award Winning feature length screenplay (provided to participants and pre-read before class) and an in-class discussion during a live screening of the completed film
  • Pitch your comedy idea and discuss – part two

Participant Profile:

This course is perfect for writers/comedians/performers involved in sketch comedy, improv, and stand-up comedy as well as short story writers, novelists, and screenwriters.

Tutor Info:

John Dawson is a screenwriter and story/script editor who has written feature and short scripts in both animation and live action for clients in Ireland, Britain, Canada, and S. Korea. He has studied, written, and acted with numerous troupes including N. America’s famous ‘Second City Theatre’, the inspiration and casting pool for hit TV shows ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ He’s lectured on screenwriting and taught acting and improvisation for over 21 years in three countries. Last year, he conducted sold-out Storytelling/Screenwriting and Writing Comedy courses for Animation Skillnet, Screen Training Ireland, as well as for employees of Dublin’s Brown Bag Films and Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon.


“John’s knowledge of comedy and how to create it is immense. The training I have done with him in improvisation and sketch comedy writing constantly informs my own work to this day and will do so long into the future. I highly recommend this workshop for all who want to tickle an audience’s funny bone. His passion is infectious and you will always leave the class with a smile on your face and fire in your soul.” — Richard Keane, Episodic Director at Brown Bag Films, Dublin

“I got loads of practical information such as why we laugh, comedy genres and forms of humor, and the importance of keeping an element of surprise in my writing. I learnt a lot seeing the various types of humor so skillfully applied and combined when we analyzed a film script and viewed the final film. And of course, thanks to John for so skillfully delivering the information with both humor and memorable anecdotes.”  — Vincent Breheny, actor/writer, Dublin

Date & Times:

5 Monday evenings from 6.30pm-9pm – 19th February, 26th February, 5th March, 12th March and 19th March.


Conference Room 3, Guinness Enterprise Centre, Taylors Lane, Dublin 8 (Directions and Map: http://gec.ie/get-in-touch/).


Members: 100 Euro, Non Members: 125 Euro

Payment can be made by credit card online (a link will be sent to you) or by cheque/postal order payable to Animation Skillnet.

Application Procedure:

Please apply by sending an email to: animationskillnet@gmail.com

Deadline for Applications:

Wednesday, 14th February.

Course Information


Course Instructor

GarethLee GarethLee Author
This course does not have any sections.