with Dale Launer
Screenwriting is a very different craft from novel writing. Fiction writers wanting to transition to screenwriters tend to forget that the primary impact of film is visual. Literature seeks to evoke visual image in the mind of the reader, but film does so directly. Dialog and description play supporting roles in film; visual image is the star.
Perhaps Dale’s unflagging awareness of the comedic impact of image is the key to what makes his films so funny. He admits that it is very difficult to define what works in comedy, and even harder to teach it. But he promises to try.
The route from ideas in the comedy writer’s head to finished scenes in a film is often circuitous. Dale’s stories about his road trip through Mississippi and Alabama he undertook as research for My Cousin Vinny are hilarious. He can tell about his real life introductions to grits, small town judges who wanted to avoid being described as unsophisticated, and getting stuck in the southern mud. And he will describe his battles with studio heads, directors and actors to portray what originally made him laugh in these experiences.
There will also very likely be one or two unannounced special guests dropping in to co-teach with Dale. But his leadership of the class is more than reason enough to enroll.
Dale Launer, the writer of some of the funniest movies ever made, is coming to the next KWC to teach a master class on screenwriting. Dale wrote and produced My Cousin Vinny. If you haven’t seen it, we envy you. If you’ve only seen it a couple of times, see it again. It’s no surprise that Marissa Tomei won the oscar for this role.
Dale also wrote Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, another comedic gem, starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, directed by Frank Oz, and Ruthless People, with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler.