Described as the ‘Best Experimental Comedian’ and ‘Best Up-and-Coming Comedian’ by Chicago Magazine and LA Weekly, Ian Abramson is one of the top contemporary comics. Abramson, who worked in Chicago from 2012 to 2015, immersing himself in the rigorous improv scene there before moving back to Los Angeles, has solidified his position as one of the best in the business.
Having studied theatre at Cal State Channel Islands, Abramson has a natural flair for the performing arts. He has contributed to The Onion and is a regular at some of the best comedy festivals in the world. Abramson created high-concept shows such as UCB Sunset’s Seven Minutes in Purgatory and Nerdmelt Showroom’s Funeral for a Prop Comic. His recent TV credits include appearances on History Channel’s Join or Die and on ABC’s The Middle.
Abramson took time out of his schedule to compile a list of ’10 Screenwriting Commandments’ for aspiring writers and comedians. Equal parts funny and wise, Abramson’s tips are helpful for anyone who has dreams of making it as a professional screenwriter.
The art of screenwriting is one that has dictated cinema, the creatives behind some of the greatest pictures of all time have silently gone about their business. The job, one of supreme importance, leaves writers responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative and, ultimately setting the basis for the overall movie. “As screenwriters, we rip open our chests and bleed onto our work. Infusing it with our very souls,” Geoffrey D. Calhoun once poignantly commented on the artform.
Calhoun’s comments were further echoed by writer Adrienne Posey who poignantly added: “Screenwriting is like poker; in the end, you have to go all in.” There are no shortcuts to being the best, you need to commit.
For the budding screenwriters out there, Ian Abramson has set out a more lighthearted approach to skillset with his ’10 Screenwriting Commandments’. See the full list, below.
Comedian Ian Abramson’s 10 hilarious screenwriting tips
- If you’re going to use Voice Over: DO IT.
- Provide details of the protagonist’s teeth to clue the reader into who the main character is.
- It’s called EXT because it’s easy for characters to exit. Take advantage of that.
- Good Dialogue is Great dialogue.
- People don’t use each other’s name in real life. Let your characters name themselves.
- Your midpoint should be between 25 and 75 percent of the way through your script.
- Write with all five senses. Put a ballpoint pen in your nose.
- Consider an inciting incident. Many writers find it gives their story GUMPTION.
- You should average a thousand vowels every ten pages, but make sure to have a page with no vowels before page 25.
- Never stop writing. Or reading. Or watching movies. But get enough sleep too. And take a break for God’s sake, get your head out of your head. Just remember, never give up and you’ll always win.