Writing comedic scripts is not as lighthearted and breezy as their films may depict. Rather, this screenwriting genre requires perfect wit and exceptional timing. Throughout your writing process, it’s important to highlight certain personality traits and establish characters in specific situations to enhance the comedic nature of their adventure. Perhaps one of the most useful comedy screenwriting essentials is the art of writing parodies. Unlike what most screenwriters think, parodies don’t have to encompass the entire story. Rather, you may utilize parodies to draw parallel lines between a popular topic and your unique story. The uses of parodies in comedy screenwriting is as limited as your imagination.
Parodies offer a means of storytelling by drawing connections with well-known topics, people, situations or emotions. When used carefully, it adds a whole new level of funny to the script.
What to Parody?
While the promise this comedy screenwriting technique offers is substantial, many writers find implementing this element difficult. Although the reasons for this difficulty varies from writer-to-writer, I’ve found most run into the wall because their parody is trying too hard to mimic its source.
One of the most effective rules to remember when compiling a story using the parody writing technique is to maintain individuality in regards to how your story is told while selecting essential elements from the original source to parody.
If you’re feeling the desire to create a parody there are specific elements within the original entity that tickle your fancy. These elements are what caught your attention and planted this creative seed. Instead of playing directly to the entire story or situation that you wish to parody, select specific moments and transform them while keeping their original intent.
Of course, there are always exceptions to every screenwriting rule or technique. There are times when writing a direct parody is essential. If this is the case, strive to maintain your originality. Never approach a parody screenplay with the intention of simply copying the format you wish to parody. Instead, make your own format while maintaining the entire foundation of whatever parody you engage in.
Obviously, if you’re choosing to parody a social or cultural element you have far more wiggle room than if you were to parody a popular sitcom or film. The more boundaries the original source has (making a parody from a film, tv or book is the most constricting) the less options you have in regards to creating a wholly unique scenario. Making a parody of a social, political or cultural element offers the most creative room as these elements are based upon real life and real humans interacting outside of script confines.