"I doubt the credibility of every motion picture and television sitcom I've seen. They all seemed so scripted to me." -- James Alex Gerard
"I doubt the credibility of every live theatrical performance I've seen. They all seemed so staged to me." -- James Alex Gerard
Years ago, when I was a corporate-America slob, I tried to write comedy on the side. Although I did a few things, it never added up to what I wanted to do. Or thought I was capable of doing.
It took years of basically personal, life experiences to allow me to see further. For whatever it's worth, I'll share what I discovered about myself with others. Maybe there's others like me out there, and I feel our world needs that. More than ever.
I realized I'd spent a long time trying too hard. Often, we've been conditioned in our lives and jobs to "put too much into it." It came as an epiphany for me, one day, that I was just "trying too hard." I know that's hard to explain, but it's easy for me to understand.
I learned to spot the extraordinary in the ordinary. Again, it just came to me suddenly. Our world and everyday lives are full of things to which we can apply an insightful, comedic spin. When I think of creating comedy, I don't think about too much. I know that sounds ridiculous. And ludicrous. But that tactic works well for me.
Instead of thinking, envision. Try to not analyze, but imagine instead. If you're like me, you've witnessed a lifetime of the entertainment world. Use that. Think not of what you've seen, but of what you haven't seen.
What would you like to see, as yourself? Dismiss any notions that "it's all been done before," as it pertains to your concepts and ideas. We should never be in a position to feel there's some "end point" to our creating. I know such is impossible, and such who subscribe to that notion are demeaning the power of the human ability to create. And evolve.
I was inspired by the "creative impendence" shown by the late Mr. Benny Hill of Great Britain. I feel strongly he saw what others didn't, simply because he knew not to search for it. He made something from nothing because "nothingness" is often overlooked. And it's in that realm that I feel my best comedic creations are found.
And a true passion for the English language is a plus in comedy writing. Mr. Hill used that often, and very well. With a study of the English language comes a grasp of how our vocabulary is full of contradictions and double-meanings. Recognize that so many identical words and sayings have completely different connotations. And run with those, acknowledging their own self-parodies.
Please know I don't mimic or copy others. Not only is that against my beliefs as a person, but such negates my own unique perspectives and experience. I have my ideas. Mine are original because they're a result of myself. They're part of me, and me alone. I can't be or won't be anyone else but me.
And the heart of the matter is that I don't need to "borrow, steal or lift" from others because I do for myself. I don't need to, as disreputable writers and "entertainment people" often do. There's nothing funny about that. It's a disgrace to with the great art of comedy, a medium that exists to lift the human spirit. And makes a more difficult existence for those capable of making positive changes.
Rely on your own uniqueness. It's the best thing you have going for you. We've all lived to varied degrees. We've all been around people. We've seen things. Draw off that. I suggest stop thinking too much about and just open your mind. It will come to you then, instead of you having to "search for it."
Remember that there's not or ever was anyone in any type of comedy path -- writer or performer -- that's any bigger than any of us. They are -- and were -- flawed, flesh-and-blood people. Level the playing field. Acknowledge that. Be confident of that, and back it up with your own uniqueness. No one is "bigger" than yourself, after all, and steadfastly maintain that view regardless.
It's odd to describe what I do as work, but it is. You have to "go up against" big people out there. At least, I'm willing to say "I'm good enough and brave enough" to do that. Of course, the odds are against me, but I will not be infinitely complacent. I'll have no regrets that I "should have done this, or I should have done that."
If you accept your own potential, don't waste it. If you know who you are, don't allow others to try and tell you who you are -- and what you should be. Because if you give in to that, you'll become what others want you to be -- and deny to ourselves who you really are.
Remember, look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Spot the abnormal in the normal. Feel the above-average in the average. Be who you are, and let reflect in your role.
-- James Alex Gerard
"I heard on the farm news recently that veterinarians are inspecting beef herds. It confirms my belief that cattlemen should get their heads examined." -- James Alex Gerard