Watch/Learn: Derrick Comedy, Julie Delpy, Funny or Die, Bobcat Goldthwait and Others Lead Sundance Comedy Shortslab: LA

Watch/Learn: Derrick Comedy, Julie Delpy, Funny or Die, Bobcat Goldthwait and Others Lead Sundance Comedy Shortslab: LA

Aug 03, 2011

One of our favorite programs (of many) that the Sundance Institute hosts around the country each year is its ShortsLab, which brings together a mix of Hollywood talent (from actors to filmmakers and everyone in between) to help guide aspiring filmmakers and film lovers when it comes to the art of creating short films.

Earlier this summer Sundance expanded its ShortsLab to cities like New York and Chicago, and they intend to finish the series up this weekend in Los Angeles with a Comedy ShortsLab, featuring the likes of Julie Delpy (2 Days in Paris), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Mike White (Year of the Dog, School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks), Derrick Comedy, the Zellner Bros., Derek Waters, Bobcat Goldthwait (World's Greatest Dad), Lake Bell (Children's Hospital, Worst Enemy), Danny Pudi (Community), Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids), and the creative, production and marketing team from Funny or Die (plus more). If there's one workshop-type thing you hit up each year -- and you're a fan of comedy -- then this definitely has to be it. The lineup rocks, and the hands-on advice will be invaluable.

Speaking of advice, we reached out to our friends over at Derrick Comedy, creators of the film Mystery Team and a whole ton of hilarious short films (they'll be hosting one of the three "Make 'em Laugh" workshops on Saturday) and asked them what the most important ingredient is when it comes to making a successful comedic short.

From DC Pierson: "I guess we'd say that the most important ingredient in making a comedy short is originality.  Because it's so easy to distribute short films now (once you upload it anyone can watch your film and share it as soon as they're done) there may be a temptation to let the advertising/publicity/"viral" (gross made-up word) potential of your short film drive the ship, whether that means you're advertising or live-tweeting its making as you're making it or you're steering the content to be more topical in hopes people will watch it because of its relationship to some current trend or goofy celebrity.  That stuff is all well and good, but can sometimes come at the expense of thinking up an original, funny idea that expresses what's uniquely funny about you and/or collaborators, and producing a film that expresses that idea to the best of your current abilities. It's enticing to tweet pictures from set.  It's enticing to make a parody of something everybody on the Internet is talking about.  But hopefully it's more enticing to make something original and funny that'll still feel that way a year or more from now."

The good folks from Derrick Comedy sent us over one of their favorite shorts they say they're "proud of," but also "addresses some of the above buzzwords."

Watch: GINK, by Derrick Comedy

Now you're dying to get into this day-long workshop of intense awesomeness, am I right? Check out the schedule for the day below, mixed in with some of the comedy shorts from the ShortsLab featured talent. The cost of the workshop (which will take place at Cinefamily @The Silent Movie Theater) is $200, and you can find out more about tickets and all that stuff right here.


Comedy ShortsLab: LA Schedule

Creating Comedy (10:00 a.m.)

From creating a comedic premise to finding what works for an audience, tune into this discussion around the discovery and development of the comedic voice. Moderator: Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang Bang Podcast, Producer of Between Two Ferns). Panelists include: Julie Delpy (2 Days in Paris), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), and Mike White (Year of the Dog, School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks).

NOTE: The Funny or Die embeds aren't working at this time -- click on the links below the videos to watch.

Watch: Lincoln Navigator, directed by Ruben Fleischer



Make ‘em Laugh: Signature Styles Connecting to Ideal Audience - Derrick Comedy (1:15 p.m.)

Presentations from filmmakers who have created a loyal fan base with their distinctive short films. These established artists share the path they forged to finding their voice and their audience.

Funny or Die: Creating Hit Online Comedy (1:55 p.m.)

Join the creative, production, and marketing team from Funny or Die as they walk us through the creation process for the funniest web videos online today. Topics cover all facets of the company, including writing, directing, producing, distributing, and marketing, with case studies on specific videos that illustrate how it all comes together.

Since its inception four years ago, Funny Or Die has emerged as an award-winning, top destination for comedy on the web. With hundreds of exclusive celebrity videos and a steady stream of huge viral hits, Funny or Die has become the "place to be seen" for comedic celebrities, and the obvious destination for a daily comedy fix. The site averages more than 12 million unique users per month and more than 40 million video views per month.

Performance Enhancement (2:55 p.m.)

A conversation about the sometimes turbulent but always vital relationship between actors and directors. From rehearsals and blocking, to improv and timing, we look at what works best and what doesn't work at all. Moderator: Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids, The Good Girl). Panelists include: Bobcat Goldthwait (World's Greatest Dad), Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital, How to Make It in America), and Danny Pudi (Community).

Watch: Ghetto Prom Emporium with Danny Pudi



From Short Script to Short Film (4:10 p.m.)

A roundtable conversation with the team that has created several opening montage films for the Academy Awards, including Troy Miller (Flight of the Conchords, Parks and Recreation) and his veteran short-form collaborators as they share insights into creating comedy through timing, structure, and creative production technique. From the first paragraph to the final edit, Miller and his team discuss their relationship to the beats and rhythms best suited to create laughs and how best to capture them.

Make ‘em Laugh: Signature Styles Connecting to Ideal Audience - Derek Waters (5:10 p.m.)

Presentations from filmmakers who have created a loyal fan base with their distinctive short films. These established artists share the path they forged to finding their voice and their audience.

Watch: Drunk History Vol. 5 w/ Will Ferrell, Don Cheadle & Zooey Deschanel, written by Derek Waters



 

 

Make ‘em Laugh: Signature Styles Connecting to Ideal Audience - Zellner Bros. (5:50 p.m.)

Presentations from filmmakers who have created a loyal fan base with their distinctive short films. These established artists share the path they forged to finding their voice and their audience.

Watch: This Old World, directed by The Zellner Bros.

This Old World - OLA PODRIDA from Zellner Bros. on Vimeo.

 

Cocktail and Networking Reception (6:30 p.m.)

The Comedy ShortsLab closes with an informal gathering and a chance for attendees to network with panelists, festival programmers, and each other.

 

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