Edgar Wright – How to Do Visual Comedy

Edgar Wright – How to Do Visual Comedy


One, two, three four Hi my name is Tony and this is
Every Frame a Painting. So today I’m going to talk about
a director whose work I love. but before that let me be upfront.
I think comedy movies today especially American ones
have totally lost their way. I don’t hate the jokes
or the actors or the dialogue or the stories though
there’s plenty of issues there. My real qualm is that the filmmaking the use of picture and sound
to deliver jokes, is just…–What?
–This is booooring.–Delete. Look, everyone’s taste is different. What you find funny is what you funny.
So I’m not saying these movies suck or you suck if you like them.
What I am saying is that these movies aren’t movies.
They’re lightly edited improv. Everyone stands still and
talks at each other in close-up. Almost none of these jokes come visually
They’re overwhelming sound. And not even the full range of sound,
just dialogue. And this is really sad because that’s just a fraction
of what’s possible in cinema. Apart from animation
and some commercials, visual comedy is actually
moving backwards. And that’s why if you love this kind of stuff,
I cannot recommend Edgar Wright enough.–You’re a doctor, deal with it.
–Yeah, motherfucker. He’s one of the only people
working in the genre
using the full range of what is possible And because of that, he can find
humor in places that others don’t look. Here’s an example.
Say you need to move your character from one city to another to get the
story going. How do you shoot it? And can you get a joke out of it?
…Well, no. Not if you send out a 2nd unit to do it,
every shot pans from left to right you include obvious landmarks and signs,
you mix in generic helicopter footage and you put upbeat music under it
so the audience doesn’t get bored. This is just lazy filmmaking and boring.
We’ve seen it a million times. What would happen if you were truly
inventive with this type of scene? There we go! And this isn’t
just a series of quick cuts. There’s a lot of good
visual storytelling here. These two taxi shots tell you exactly
where we came from and where we’re going These two shots emphasize
the move away from civilization. Our main character always faces
forward or to the right so screen direction is respected.
Turning the music down and the sound FX up is funny
because each cut is jarring. And there’s even some nice performances
from Simon Pegg and Ryan Gosling. Okay that was 1 example without context.
You’re right. Totally unfair. Well what if you had a movie where
a horrible apocalyptic event happens, and you want to foreshadow it earlier,
maybe by having the characters not notice something important on TV.
How would you show it? Would you just throw it in the edit
for 2 seconds and 2 frames and no shot shows the relationship
between the characters and the TV?–he’s having a housewarming party,
he just finished building his house. Or would you do this?–Although no one official is prepared
to comment, religious groups arecalling it judgment day. There’s–panic on the streets of London–as an increasing number of reports of
–serious attacks on–people who are literally being
–eaten alive Okay still unfair. What if you had movie
where one character has stopped drinking but the others are disappointed in him
and you want to get a joke out of it. How would you do it? Would they just stand around
and talk about his drinking?–No I appreciate it but I told my wife
I wouldn’t drink tonight–Besides I got a big day tomorrow.
You guys have a great time.–Big day? Doing what?
Or would you do this?
–What?!–I don’t believe this. This is what separates a mediocre
director from a great one. The ability to take the most simple mundane scenes
and find new ways to do them. Great directors understand that you
can get a laugh just through staging. Here’s an example from David Bordwell:
things popping up into frame are funny.–Slow ahead, I can go slow ahead.
Come on down and chum some of this shit! And it’s not just things entering frame.
Consider the opposite.–I said tell Ms. Laura “Goodbye”–Bye, Ms. Laura You can get a laugh from a zoom. –You wanna pop the trunk and roll
the windows down, please? You can get a laugh from a crane up.
–Shirley, I’m so sorry.–I’m going home, Britta.
–I know, Shirley, I know.–No I’m going home, can you help me up?
–Oh You can get a laugh from a pan. As Martin Scorsese put it cinema is a matter of what’s in
the frame and what’s not in the frame. So think about the frame. And this isn’t
a matter of smart or stupid comedy. Really if it works, it works. So here are 8 things Edgar Wright
does with picture and sound that I want to see other
comedy filmmakers try out. #1 Things entering the frame
in funny ways #2 People leaving the frame
in funny ways #3 There and back again #4 Matching scene transitions #5 The perfectly-timed sound effect #6 Action synchronized to the music #7 Super-dramatic lighting cues #8 Fence gags And you know what, let’s thrown in
#9 Imaginary gunfights So if you’re a filmmaker, work on this.
The frame is a playground. So play. And the next time you go to
a theater and pay $15 to see a comedy don’t be satisfied with shit
that is less inventive than Vine.

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  1. So, I'm not a movies guy and I have no idea why I watched the whole video. BUT I picked from all the names "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
    I can safely say It's the best movie I have seen from like 26 movies I have watched!!.

  2. as much as i do agree with this video, it is a little unfair to compare movies to shaun of the dead and the masterpiece that is hot fuzz

  3. Simon Pegg even pimps up the Mission Impossible and Star Trek movies.

    He always hits perfectly the edge between comedy and serious playing.

  4. That shot of Timothy Dalton with the exact same grin as the picture of him on the wall behind is art. And you're right, the paging sound on the PA is perfectly timed.

  5. Directors like Adam McKay seem to beat you over the head with something they want you to see as funny. The joke usually revolves around "This person said poop!" and "Weed is illegal and yet these people are smoking it!"
    Edgar Wright is a great director because he makes mundane scenes like travelling to a different location interesting. And pouring beer is boring, you say? Zooms and dramatic cuts galore!

  6. The best "showing long distance travel" scene(s) I've seen involves the movie "Snatch" via the "I'm coming to London" sequence. Guy slams phone down, jumps on a plane, throws back a shot of liquor, plane lands, pass port stamped, taxi, "Aviii", "Shut up and sit down you big bald fuck!" It was absolutely perfect…and done multiple times in the movie for maximum effect.

  7. "You can get a laugh out of pan" chopper secene happens and it's just soooo awful. If that is visiul comedy then i hate it with all my cells.

  8. I like Edgar Wright but Honestly I can't stand Michael cera which ruined Scott pilgrim for me, and I can't stand ansel elgort which sadly killed baby driver for me.

  9. I absolutely love Edgar Wright. However, on this video you are basically saying that you want everyone to start filming comedies like Edgar Wright does.

  10. 'The next time you go to a theatre and you pay fifteen bucks to see a comedy, don't be satisfied with shit that is less inventive than Vine.'
    PREACH

  11. I never gave a moment's thought to Edgar Wright, despite being quite the cinephile. Thank you for making the case for his work. Very interesting. Pretty convincing, even if I don't find myself laughing as much at his jokes as many of my friends.

    But there are still comic masters who don't rely on the camera in these ways to create effective cinematic comedy. John Waters comes to mind…

  12. I had not really paid attention to who was the director for these movies. Most of them are my top favourite movies. Specially Scott Pilgrim. And from this video I went looking for Edgar Wright and just realized he also directed Baby Driver which I consider to be a masterpiece. I checked out the interview that @Misterious Mr OCD mentioned and also realized that many artists who do not formally study their craft in a college or institution are some of the most creative; my guess is they are not so biased by a curriculum but by their own interpretations and experience. To me it's more pure and less manufactured creativity. I'll definitely have Edgar Wright right alongside with Mel Brooks.

  13. My sense of humour has really deteriorated.. I didn’t even give the slightest of smiles at any of these.

    I find myself laughing at things only such as Eric Andre, BrodieTV etc.

  14. My one problem with this is that for examples of actors leaving the frame, you did not include Scott jumping out the window when Knives showed up. I'm disappointed. But legitimately, amazing video that points out exactly what makes this director so special in our hearts

  15. My friends and i have an assignment , which is making a short movie of any genre , this knowledge you've provided can be usefull , and for that i say thank you Very much

  16. The basic bitch of cinematic takes it to claim that new trends in a medium are “moving backwards”
    Instead we could frame the contemporary comedy film as referential to the mumble core film, the show about nothing, and new media interactions (I.e; social media and the internet)

    Instead Edgar Wright is just yknow really into buster keaton and other classic comedy filmmakers — just like this YouTuber.

  17. I didn't know how to express what made me enjoy Scott Pilgrim compared to other movies before now and now I'm upset that it's this simple but it rarely ever happens to close to the same quality

  18. I think new movies should be called relatable comedies as like you said the jokes don't come from the cinemotograhpy or crazy gags, they come from being able to relate to the characters and imagine yourself in their place.

  19. i never liked american comedy to be honest, very vulgar stuff, they cannot stop their comedy based on romance and graphic sex representations most of the time.
    But even if they had the above it would be right made with the right amount of it without exageration.
    I didnt know who directed many of these movies, and were ones who i enjoyed at their time for once in american comedy.

  20. Honestly, I would even argue that SpongeBob (the earlier seasons) did this extremely well in addition to its witty dialogue.

  21. I agree so much with this. Recently I’m getting into videography. This looks like a lot of work to craft these angles, but so worth it. It’s no wonder why these comedy’s nowadays are so cheaply made. While watching this, i began to think of a way i could have made the shot even funnier. I remember making a film when i was younger on the game Movies (by EA), and it made my brothers LAUGHHH. I also recall having very vivid dreams of crazy enormous title waves crashing into my house on a dark night. In my dream, my vision panned and zoomed into the details of the wave, it was very dramatic. Maybe there’s cinematic gold inside of me that i can let out ! Maybe it’s comedy, maybe it’s dramatic destructive waves. Either way, I think i can take this up as a great hobby that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

  22. Great video, I don't think I actively paid attention to all these parts you pointed out, but they were some of my favourite sections in the movies (like pulling the blinds on the zeds or winding the camera). Thanks.

  23. I will recommend to watch "night at the museum tire scene" and "ant man train scene", You can find them here on Youtube.

  24. You bloody idiot! Have you any idea how much this car cost? Why don't you piss off back to Romford where you belong. You little prick! Eh? Eh?

  25. Funny thing in hot fuzz during one of the scenes where angel shoots the 5 little people in the rifle range it resembles the 2 bad actors, 1 mansion owner, 1 the messenger, and the gardener

  26. This video made me understand what kind of comedy I actually like. It's been like 3 years, things I watch are totally changed now (thanks to this vid and Jackie Chan vid). best wishes to you every frame a painting

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