There has been a recent trend in viewer dropoff for comedy films. They just don’t seem to have the appeal that their more dramatic counterparts are. While writers, producers and directors have been struggling to come up with comedies that have a greater appeal, Judd Apatow seems to have no problem with his creations. He as some interesting insights on the issue and what he has to say is worth listening to.
Here is his take on why comedy films are having such a tough time.
Why we should consider Apatow’s wisdom
He hasn’t had a lot of problems with his comedy movies. When we look at “[easyazon_link identifier=”B000YI7CMM” locale=”US” tag=”tvovermind00a-20″]Knocked Up[/easyazon_link]” and “[easyazon_link identifier=”B002NWUBDY” locale=”US” tag=”tvovermind00a-20″]The 40 Year Old Virgin[/easyazon_link]” it’s obvious that he knows what he’s doing. In the same regard, he sees the same trend that the rest of us do, although he seems to know how to avoid an epic fail himself. Comedy is taking a dive in Hollywood. He shares his rationale for why the latest attempts have turned out to be bombs.
Apatow’s thoughts on the problem
Studios have changed throughout the years. There used to be a lot of collaboration that took time and effort. The scripts would take shape throughout the process of production of the films. This isn’t happening now. The studios are not taking the time or making the effort to develop the films that they’re generating as they go. There is less going into them and this is why the quality suffers. He stated that “the major studios are no longer smart enough and funny enough.” If you want a guaranteed blockbuster you’re going to put as much into it as you expect to get out of it. We’re not seeing the collaboration on the scripts like it used to be so they are not being developed to their full potential.
Apatow’s rationale makes it sound more like a manufacturing process that leans more towards a rubber stamping process than a creative endeavor. His comment make perfect sense. Since filmmaking is an art form, it stands to reason that the development should be an ongoing process. If this means making changes during the production that will improve certain aspects of the film, then so be it. It may cost a little more, but it could mean the difference between profiting at the box office or barely making budget or worse.
Studios have their eyes more on a pre-purchase package deal that is designed to be laid out, followed and marketed. It may be a cleaner approach with regard to cost, time and effort, but look at the results. It’s not the best approach to take if you want to make a positive impact with viewers. This is no different than other artistic endeavors. It takes time, thought, revision, input from stakeholders and more revisions. If something could be improved upon, it should be, before it’s put out before the audience with no hope of ever pulling it back for repairs.
Film vs television
Apatow shared an insight on where the best comedy is going these days. The serious writers and producers are taking the show on the road so to speak, and moving their efforts from film to television. The TV sitcoms are where the real action is. There is plenty of room for character development and some very interesting yet funny storylines with a series. It’s not a flash in the pan and then it’s over, it evolves over time and draws the viewers in. Film has one shot to make an impression, and sadly, it hasn’t been delivering very well on this front, at least not for the comedy genre.