Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Three: Story Themes
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Chaos as the basis for humour

The home seems a safe and secure place, yet more accidents happen there than anywhere else. The various forms of energy like water, electricity, gas, and fire can wreck havoc in unlikely ways.

Typical cartoon humour will exploit the conceptual parallel between a person and an object, so that the person acts like the object. An example is putting ones hand in a toaster and having it pop out burnt like a piece of toast. A good approach to this form of humour is to consider all pieces of equipment as forms of 'simple machines'; these include the wheel, wedge, axle, spring, lever, hinge, and block & tackle. A door is a hinge that swings open at the wrong time. A bottle is a roller that gets stepped on. Anything that is springy can be used for bouncing on, as a catapult, or reacting in an exaggerated way. Clothes and fingers get caught in rollers.

Doors can also act as guillotines (particularly sliding doors). Revolving doors can get out of control, as can lifts. Trying to see everyday items in terms of their mechanical or electrical principles offers ways of introducing them into stories in unusual ways. In general one can regard machines as being hostile to humans and animals, and will deliberately disobey us if they can.

You can usually discover a person's sense of humour by finding out what cartoon strips they read, and what TV programmes they like.


List a book, cartoon strip, and TV programme you like, and explain the basis of the humour.


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