F*ck the cat, save the raccoon!
August 9, 2013 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Dan Harmon poops out his story-breaking process, and it's beautiful.
posted by ericbop (15 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I love hearing people talk about the process of comedy, even though it always sounds way more painful than funny.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:57 AM on August 9, 2013

Ahh, that delightful combination of technique, integrity, and raunchiness. Dan Harmon, you are a unreliable madman, but I am so glad that we have you back.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:58 AM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Metafilter: These people will one day drown in their own blood while you point and laugh with God.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:01 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

That was fantastic. I have no idea how it would work for my own process, but dammit I will try.
posted by Mchelly at 9:03 AM on August 9, 2013

Very cool. The part that isn't talked about, probably because it wasn't germane to the question, is the funny. At least if we're talking about comedy. Creating a story along those lines is really just Harmon creating a universe into which the jokes fit. You absolutely need both to make a sitcom that is A) funny and B) has characters and/or a narrative that people will invest in.

I remember a reddit AMA with one of the Community writers where he described his best moment on the show: He came up with Troy's "Kettle Corn!! That's a fun time snack!!" line. It happened because he was standing behind Harmon while he was banging out the script on a computer. He was reading over Harmon's shoulder, and Harmon had typed as a direction "[character] brings in Kettle Corn. Troy says something funny." The line popped into the writers had and he said it out loud, and Harmon went back and replaced the direction with that line without even stopping to talk about it. Anyway, that story tells me that Harmon is probably better at the story part than the comedy part.
posted by dry white toast at 9:15 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Man, I really really hope he succeeds with S5 of Community and it leads to the fabled 6th-season-and-movie. I was troubled to hear about the failure of 2/3 of his post-Community work (the scrapped deal with Fox and the not-picked-up CBS pilot), and I'm concerned that he may not be able to exist outside the rarefied air of Greendale.
posted by evil otto at 9:29 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tomorrow night I will be watching Dan Harmon run Dungeons and Dragons for Patton Oswalt (and friends) at Cinefamily in Los Angeles, and then everyone's getting drunk and watching Excalibur. It's really weird living in an age where God has decided to say "FUCK IT, GIVE THE NERDS WHATEVER THEY WANT", but it's also kind of fantastic.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:46 AM on August 9, 2013 [14 favorites]

I really hope Harmon can bring Community back around. Given that DonGlover is leaving I can only hope that they will be able to recover.
posted by ooga_booga at 9:57 AM on August 9, 2013

evil otto, I think Harmon's inability to deliver 2 broadcast-worthy new pilots while headlining a nationwide series of drunken chautauquas (the podcast tour) was to be expected (and Rick and Morty appears to be progressing as expected). I think a part of why he was fired after S3 was the grown-up logistical aspects of show-running, and suspect that Chris McKenna is co-runner this year to try to keep those aspects on track.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 10:19 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Parasite Unseen, I too will be there. This is truly the best of all possible worlds (except I might have to go to the Oswalt-less 4 PM matinee).
posted by jjwiseman at 10:20 AM on August 9, 2013

I enjoy it when Harmon talks about his 8-point-circle story structure, but I'm pretty sure it's a technique that will only work for Dan Harmon. I think it is more descriptive of something unique going on inside his head during the creative process than it is of any final structure. Still, eloquent weirdos are great fun to listen to.

Oh, and I hate racoons. Filthy, glowing-eyed, midnight chicken murderers, they are.
posted by Max Udargo at 12:48 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

That bit straight out of Brainstorming 101 shows that Harmon is a true master of recycling bullshit. (That's a compliment.)

Shove as many commercials down their throats as you can, Dan.
posted by Ardiril at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2013

I did not really get that at all (like, how that would lead to a story) but it sure was entertaining to read, and I'm fine with Dan Harmon remaining an inscrutable genius.
posted by lunasol at 2:03 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any idea where the earlier post he refers to on structure is? Searching his tumblr for that word brings up nada.
posted by dobbs at 6:32 PM on August 9, 2013

Dan Harmon's guide to Plot Structure in 8 Steps.

(I Googled the phrase "having changed" -- I also found a business case study version, which... um yeah.)
posted by Nossidge at 6:48 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older ...in theeeeese United States   |   “Distinctly younger, distinctly blacker, and... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments