Whether you’re writing a comedy screenplay, working on a sitcom script, or producing or directing a comedy film or television series, Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Screenplay Intensive is a must for any serious professional. Find out why the top writers, producers and directors from companies such as ABC, Disney, BBC, Dreamworks, Aardman Animation, NBC, Touchstone Television and others regularly attend his famed class.

Raindance is proud to present Steve Kaplan in London.

Comedy Sceenplay Course Overview

The Comedy Screenplay Intensive is a two-day course that explores the hidden tools and principles of comedy.

Screenwriters need to understand what comedy is, how it works, why it works, what’s happening when it’s not working. This weekend masterclass explains what you can do to create smiles and chuckles in your scenes and movies. Tutor Steve Kaplan is recognised as one of Hollywood’s comedy experts. He has developed a proven system and offers and practical methods and techniques.

On Day 1, you will explore with Kaplan the Hidden Tools of Comedy – useable, practical tools that you can apply immediately to your work.

Day 2 focuses on character, structure, comic premise and specific ways of applying the tools to text.

The workshop includes interactive exercises, solo and group writing activities, as well as a liberal use of clips from current and classic comedies to illustrate key points and principles. By the end of this weekend you will thoroughly understand how comedy works and have a solid toolkit enabling you to write comedy screenplays professionally.


Comedy Screenplay Course Outline:

I. Premise

The Art and Science of Comedy Screenplay

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard
  • Comedy Perception Test – Are you seeing 20/20?
  • Funny vs. Comic – The difference
  • The Comedy Equation

II. Set-up

The Hidden Tools of Comedy

  • Winning
  • Non-Hero
  • Metaphorical Relationships
  • Positive (and Negative) Actions
  • Active Emotion
  • Straight Line/Wavy Line
  • Four Elements of Jokes
  • The Tools Applied
  • Learn how to use these essential tools in your work

III. Development


  • Entire History of Comedy…in 15 minutes.
  • Comedy Archetypes
  • Comic Premise—The Lie That Tells the Truth
  • Developing the Comic Premise
  • The Comedy Paradigm

IV. Payoff


  • The Comic Hero’s Journey
  • Art of Romantic Comedy
  • Sitcoms & Pilots
  • Final Q&A

Here’s What They’re Saying About Steve Kaplan

I loved it. It was informative as much as entertaining. Mr. Steve, you are fuuuunnnyy.”
Michael M., Toronto

Everything you need to be a comedy writer except the searing self-doubt, crippling anxiety, and suffocating social awkwardness.”
Chad Gervich, Writer/Producer (Dog With a Blog; Author: Small Screen, Big Picture)

“I rarely think about why something I’m working on is funny. I’m usually just fixated on the fact that it’s not funny enough. So it was interesting to look at it from such a thoughtful perspective. I started reading the book expecting to be merely amused, but what I found was a rigorous deconstruction of what makes comedy. Steve takes this ephemeral topic and reduces it to tangible terms that are both practical and illuminating. Oh, and it’s funny. Which is useful when you’re talking about comedy.”
David Crane, Creator & Executive Producer (Friends, Episodes)

“Steve Kaplan was a very important influence on me as a young performer and writer. Many of his techniques for analyzing a comedy scene I still use to this day. Although, I make sure I never give him credit.”
Steve Skrovan, Writer/Producer (Everybody Loves Raymond)

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