ENTRY SEVEN: DIGGING FOR COMEDY GOLD

So I can’t really believe I am typing it but this Sunday (20th November), our FIRST EVER COMEDY goes live on our channel at 12 Noon (Uk Time). The perfect time to coincide with eating your Sunday Dinner. Who am I kidding?! No one in their right mind watches anything when a Sunday dinner is involved, and if I’m being honest I would highly recommend watching ‘OH SHIT!’ after you’ve eaten. That is all I will say.

oh-shit-poster

A short while after we’d shot SANDMAN and were gearing up for another of our yet to be released projects, I decided it was finally time for me to try my hand at a full blown comedy. For a long time I have become extremely comfortable in the world of horror so really wanted to try something different. Honestly the idea of doing a comedy has and still terrifies me. Just how a scare can fall flat in a horror movie, if the punch line doesn’t land and people don’t like what they see your comedy can become an extreme exercise in awkwardness. To be honest this could still be the case but I am hopeful that at least like-minded people enjoy it and it gives them something to giggle about.

My own personal tastes in comedy lie more with films that come out of the US. I am a huge fan of Paul Feig and always find ‘women’ to be a whole lot funnier than men. BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT and SPY are all films I regularly love to watch and in part I know this will be down to Melissa McCarthey but they just make me laugh so much. I love my comedy loud and brash with a sprinkling of vulgar. I don’t really enjoy the British approach to comedy, I think Hugh Grants Bumbling Brit or the insanity of Monty Python is somewhat wasted on me. I prefer my comedy crude, plus loud noises and physical comedy just kills me. However much I love Paul Feig and all he does, I am not him. I knew from the outset and with this being my first foray into comedy I needed to start with something a lot simpler and contained than the aforementioned films. This leads us onto ‘OH SHIT!’.

Having a production meeting about a completely unrelated project, an idea was shared in the group. Fundamentally this is what became the foundations of our short. As soon as I heard it I knew I wanted to make it, even if I sucked at directing comedy I knew the idea was strong and was bound to make people laugh. I don’t take credit for the idea at all, although it is something similar to stories I have heard before, the punchline was well and truly created by a wonderful lady named Marie. Knowing I wanted to get the short shot and cut together fast I fleshed out the idea and wrote the script. I’ve got to say here I created some of my favourite characters I have ever had the pleasure of writing. The character of BRIAN in the short was so much fun to write for. If anything I think that is what I loved most about making this film. With the horrors I usually make there is very little dialogue and admittedly at times a lack of characterisation, this really let me write a fair amount of dialogue and create a real ensemble piece. I have to say I would not be anywhere near as happy with the film as I am if I didn’t have such a great pool of talent in front of the cameras.

The biggest challenge for this short was finding a location, and one that was happy with us doing things we needed to do inside it. After about a month we found everything we needed and the film was cast. Everything was prepped and I was absolutely shitting it (pardon the pun). For some of the actors involved it was my first time working with them so it was a such a relief to see how well everyone gelled together, and hearing all the lines be read out in rehearsal for the first time was so funny. I was actually quite proud to be honest. I always ramble on about how much fun I have on set when making a horror film but honestly I think this comedy might have trumped it (another pun, I do spoil you). You can see what I mean in the BLOOPER REEL below.

When editing I think this is where I noticed the real difference between this short and most of the other work I’ve done in the past. More often than not I am editing a horror, so with that comes the room to really play with elements like colour in the grade. Myself and Jonno (DOP) joked on set that this short is probably the lightest film we’ve shot and the only one which doesn’t involved someone dying. It sure is a rarity for an entire cast to survive one of my shorts. SPOILER ALERT! Anyway, back to it, I found sound to be incredibly important. This short didn’t have a score because I don’t feel like it needed one. We didn’t want anything over the top, I think the dialogue and the actions in the scene is where the comedy comes from not a WAH WAH WAHHHH soundtrack in the background. Sound effects and clean audio were key though in this as we needed to really emphasise moments characters were having and the discomfort they were in. I’m sure you’ll get the gist when you watch it!

I think that I mostly approach the films I make from the visual standpoint, I always have. I am always looking to put my own stamp on things and create a world within the narrative that is distinctly unique. With ‘OH SHIT!’ I just wanted everything and everyone to seem as normal as possible. It needed to be relatable, like this could literally happen to anyone. I think the more relatable a comedy is the funnier it becomes. This short such a different process on so many levels but one I sure hope to repeat again and again. I can genuinely say I mean that.

Reflecting on the shoot and the film as a whole I really learnt a lot making ‘OH SHIT!’. I don’t think it’s my strongest film to date by any means but it didn’t need to be. For myself and some of the actors involved this was our first stab at comedy so it was a great space to experiment and try something new. Although incredibly nervous as to what the response will be I am really proud of what we achieved and think going into another comedy project, or looking to write another comedy script in the future, I will have a bit more awareness as to what is involved. I want to say a huge thank you to all of the cast and crew involved as I really couldn’t have done this one without you, it was one of the best shoots I have been on, I’m laughing now just thinking about it! Thanks guys!

Thanks as always and until next time…

– LIAM

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