Thursday, August 18, 2011

I watched Judd Apatow direct a movie and here is what it taught me

Words: 1,324
Time: 10am - 5pm (lots of breaks)
Mood: Pretty good
Impression: It was pretty good

Yesterday I did some background work on a Judd Apatow's new movie 'This is Forty'. Judd Apatow wrote and directed Knocked Up, Forty Year Old Virgin, and either wrote or directed Pineapple Express, Funny People and a ton of other stuff. It was an eye opening experience watching him work.

Apatow has a unique way of working. What he does is point 3 cameras at the actors and then he has the actors say the lines in the script. And after that's done, he comes up with lines on the fly and yells it out for his actors to say. The lines that he came up with just got funnier and funnier. I write comedy, of course, and I was intimidated by how he was able to come up with line after line on the fly.

The more experienced comedic actors (Paul Rudd and Robert Smigel) re-interpreted the lines given and then improvised on top of them (especially Robert Smigel). I'm really glad I saw it. I learned a lot.

In the one movie I directed there was comedy but it was situational humor. The humor in my movie was actor proof. They just had to do what was in the script and I edited the situation together to make it funny. But what Apatow was doing was on a whole other level. I tip my hat to you sir. I'm impressed.

So between filming I would go back to holding and write a little for 'Everybody vs The Ferret: 3'. Today when I reviewed it, I was actually surprised that I had written so much. It was extremely difficult to block out all of the talking and music to write. But I'm happy with what I did. After re-reading the outline, I realized that the outline is pretty great and makes me laugh. I don't have to add any more humor to it. But if I am worth my salt, I will add funny lines within the situational humor to really make it pop.

But watching Apatow work I kind of wish that I wrote with someone else. Sure Apatow came up with funny lines, but what really made the comedy sing was what the comedic actors added to it. That is a partnership. I imagine that the movie is funnier because of the collaboration. Oh well.

On another topic, today was D-day on that thing that I wasn't looking forward to doing. It seems that I've gotten permission to kick that can further down the road. Is it a good thing? Odds are no. But seriously, who wants to live forever?

One of the great lines in 'This if Forty' involves Paul Rudd fantasizing about the glory of the imaginary "The Second Wife". Judd says "a second wife wouldn't always nag me to eat healthier". Smigel says "Yeah, but maybe if you were on your second wife, you might want to eat healthier. Can you imagine actually wanting to live longer?"

So funny! And they came up with that after Apatow yelled something out to them. All of that was improvised! That is how it rolled out of their mouth. Damn!

Well, I say, maybe if I had my fantasy second wife I might actually want to live longer. But since I don't. I'll focus more on the time that's in front of me. So, there's the can, there's the road and here's my kicking. Bye bye can!

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