Home Community Seeds Challenge 5: Details & The Definitions of Comedy

Seeds Challenge 5: Details & The Definitions of Comedy

by Celtx

The fifth Celtx Seeds challenge is now live. So far, our seeds program has awarded nearly $60,000 in grants to promising creative talent from the Celtx community. In our two previous challenges, we were looking for student films and micro-shorts; this time, in the continuing spirit of storytelling and summertime levity, we want to see some comedy. Here’s the breakdown:

You Are

  • A Celtx user
  • Over 17 years of age (for the purposes of signing a legal contract).

Your Entry

  • Style: Narrative Short
    Your piece must tell a narrative story in the conventional sense. This means a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • Genre: Comedy
    Try to make sure that your piece is at least intentionally  funny.
  • Maximum Runtime: 5 Minutes
    Start to finish, including credits. No exceptions!

The Prize

  • A grand prize of $1000 USD will be awarded to an entry selected from among the top voted entries, followed by a $500 USD runner-up prize. These winners will be chosen by our panel of expert judges. Remember to promote your entry! The more votes it receives, the better the chances that it will be considered for the grand prize.

To enter the competition, log into Celtx and visit the Seeds page. If you’re not an existing Celtx user, no worries: registration is free and fast.

The Definitions of Comedy

What makes something funny? Comedy is perhaps the most versatile and unforgiving of all genres because ‘funny’ isn’t a universal constant. A multitude of contextual, experiential, societal, and cultural factors can impact what inspires laughter from one person to the next. There are, however, a handful of concepts that tend to be present in just about every piece of comedy. Here are a couple:

Absurdity

Absurdity deals in the illogical, ridiculous, preposterous, or in the immortal words of Monty Python, just plain silly. Presenting a warped version of reality can be funny. Just don’t take it too far, you don’t want it to get disturbing… or lethal: legend has it that the ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus died from laughter after watching a donkey get drunk on wine.

Incongruity

Comedy is all about playing against expectation. If you are able to make people think that they know which direction your piece is going then turn it around on them, you’ll more than likely be able to make them laugh – it’s reflexive!

Irony

A lot of modern comedy tends to be deeply ironic. The word translates as ‘feigned ignorance’, and describes the expressing your meaning, intention, or attitude through language or behaviour that signifies the opposite (typically sarcasm). Irony tends to be a little dry, and benefits from a strong deadpan delivery. Traditional dramatic irony, where your audience is aware of the consequences or implications of a character’s situation or actions while the character is not is also rife with comedic potential.

Pratfalls

Literally translating as “to fall on one’s butt,” scientists and philosophers have debated for millennia why exactly it is so funny to see somebody get distracted and fall off a bike. Some say that this kind of laughter is a primordial expression of empathy (which is why we don’t laugh when a person really gets hurt), others say its funny just because it is. Nonetheless, pratfalls are the soul of slapstick, which has dominated most of the broad, popular comedic genre all the way from Punch & Judy shows to The Three Stooges. When in doubt, you can always start tossing those banana peels around.

 

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