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Comedy Directing

The real skill of a comedy director is working out what kind of funny suits each project. There are so many different flavours of comedy, and it moves so fast, that deciding on your tone – then being able to execute it – is crucial.

This workshop presented by the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and taught by award-winning comedy director Jonathan Brough, will be a deep dive into the how of making a scene funny, but also the why – not just how you get the laughs, but where you put them.

The sessions will have a particular emphasis on ‘serious comedy’ – shows like Fleabag, Search Party and Please Like Me – the evolving genre that’s rapidly becoming an audience and broadcaster favourite. We’ll analyse scenes and look at the laughs from all sides, so you can develop your own comedy storytelling taste and style.

About Jonathan Brough

Jonathan is a New Zealand-born director of film & television, based in Melbourne, Australia. Equally acclaimed for his work in comedy and drama, his television credits include The End, a black comedy about assisted dying featuring Frances O’Connor & Harriet Walter that will screen on Sky Atlantic (UK) and Foxtel (Aus) early in 2020, Rosehaven Series 1,2 & 3, Ronny Chieng: International Student, The Family Law, The Unauthorised History of New Zealand & Eating Media Lunch and Outrageous Fortune. With a great affinity for working with comedians, he has won two Australian Directors’ Guild Awards for Best Director, Comedy – in 2016 for his work on Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane and again in 2018 for Rosehaven.

He has also made several acclaimed short films including The Model (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival), Permanent Wave (London & Sydney Film Festivals), No Ordinary Sun (‘Best Short Film’ New Zealand International Film Festival 2005 / Official Selection Edinburgh / Hof / Slamdance) and Snowmen (in competition, Interfilm Berlin/ Pacific Meridian Film Festival).

 

 

Workshop Details

When:
Saturday 13 June, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Sunday 14 June, 9:30am – 12:30pm

Saturday’s session will have a more structured approach, followed by a more fluid and activity-based session on Sunday. Some homework will be sent out to participants to prepare before the workshop.

Where: Online workshop hosted on Zoom

Size: Up to 16

Price: Workshop offered at a discounted rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DEGNZ member – Free
Non-member – $50

To Apply

DEGNZ invites practitioners with a keen interest in directing comedy or comedy drama to apply. You need to have some prior experience directing and/or creating comedy. This doesn’t have to be extensive, and can include short pieces made for online or work that hasn’t been broadcast.

The workshop would benefit emerging directors (with short film/commercial/web series credits) through to more experienced directors looking for fresh insights and inspiration.

DEGNZ will select up to 16 participants. Applicants will be notified.

Applications Close: Tuesday 2 June, 1PM

STEP 1: Complete the registration form below.

STEP 2: Send in one PDF to tema@degnz.co.nz:

  • your CV or bio with filmography, including any links to your comedy work, and
  • a brief, maximum 1-page letter that summarises:
    • why you would like to participate, and
    • your experience directing/creating comedy and any relevant project(s) you might be working on.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Registration Form

 

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This initiative is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC