Whether you’re writing a humor column, novel, non-fiction book, putting together a stand-up routine, scribbling a sitcom script or screenplay, crafting silly songs, drafting a storyboard, or writing a query letter, this conference can help. Register for ThinkingFunny21 and you’ll see and hear:
- Proven techniques for punching up articles, books, and scripts.
- Effective methods for writing humorous travel stories and columns.
- The steps to creating a comic world & cast that generates sustainable stories.
- How stand-up comics work up a set.
- Tricks to try in your next Tik Tok video.
- How to deal with criticism.
- How animators generate ideas, create storyboards to communicate, and work in teams.
- What songwriters do to craft funny and memorable lyrics.
- What agents want in a query letter.
- How to pitch effectively.
- Career advice from experienced professionals.
- Time to ask questions and get personalized advice.
- All this… and more!
Sessions range from how-to craft sessions to discussions on the business of writing, marketing, and technology.
Saturday, April 3, 2021 (all times are Pacific Time, Los Angeles)
9 am – Welcome and Introductions
9:30-10:25 am – Session 1 – John Vorhaus – A Crash Course in Comic Tools
Join John Vorhaus, author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You’re Not, for a quick hit of everything that makes things funny: truth and pain; cruelty; exaggeration; taboo. Come away with actionable advice and craft tips that you can apply to everything you write, say, or paint with a funny brush.
10:30-11:25 am – Session 2 – Dave Fox – Turning Memoirs of Travel Disasters Into Salable Stories
Dave Fox is an international traveler who has led groups into and out of exotic settings. He’s also the author of Globejotting and Getting Lost. He’ll be showing us how to tell funny tales, and then sell them as blog posts, columns, and articles.
11:30 am-12:25 pm – Session 3 – Talking Comedy with Coach Judy Carter and a Panel of Stand-up Comics
Stand-up Comedy is often the cutting-edge of our culture and a great way of testing ideas. But performing before a live audience brings its own challenges. Join a panel of performers, including Judy Carter, Leighann Lord and Brian Wetzel, as they talk about how they approach stand-up. This session will look at the craft of comedy as well as the practical realities of making a career in stand-up.
12:30-1 pm – Lunch
1-1:55 pm – Session 4 – John Vorhaus – Creating Comic Characters
What’s a comic filter? How can you use it to make characters relentlessly funny? What else do you need to know in order to create an ensemble of oddballs and generate a steady stream of story ideas? Join John Vorhaus as he attempts to answer those questions in less than an hour, with time left over for Q&A.
2-2:55 pm – Session 5 – Music With Mirth – A Panel of Songwriters Talk About How They Compose Comedic Lyrics and Tunes
Join us for a session on how songwriters go about writing and performing silly songs. Artists include Sara Hoxie, Leah Sprecher, and Steve Van Zant of the Banana Slug String Band.
3-4:25 pm – Session 6 – Seeing Is Laughing – Visual Artists Share Their Craft of Comic Storytelling
Visual artists have unique opportunities and challenges when it comes to creating comedy on the page. Join this session with John Ramirez, Disney TV storyboard artist. John has worked for decades in the industry in positions ranging from animating and storyboard artist to theme park, parade, and show designer. He’s also worked as a visual development artist and art director.
4:30-5:25 pm – Session 7 – Agents and Editors Panel – Getting Your Comedy Into Print
Most people love to laugh, and you’re writing a funny book. Perfect! But if you’re serious about finding a publisher, you must understand the needs and expectations of agents and editors. This session will cover the basics of surveying the marketplace, effective pitching, and working with an editor. You’ll increase your chances of success if you understand the needs and expectations of these professionals and what behaviors constitute “best practices” in the industry. Agents Gordon Warnock, Savannah Brooks, and Andy Ross will speak and answer questions.
5:30 pm – Session 8 – Closing – Creating Comedy That Cares In Difficult Times
Panel discussion about kind-hearted comedy in an age of unrest.
6 pm – After Party!
The party will start here and also be available in a “companion” Zoom room. Here’ your chance to connect with potential writing partners or to find beta-readers.
This event was organized by Robb Lightfoot, a humorist and educator who has spent more than 40 years refining his craft and helping teach it to other.
Participants of this event are welcome, after the event, to join a private Facebook Group, ThinkingFunny – Comedy Writing Community. Just send a request to email@example.com.