Working With Visual Humor:
Q&A with our Editor Taylor Stoma
Walk me through the general editing process when you’re working with visual humor. Is there anything different you’re considering than with a typical edit?
I think they are about the same. With both, it’s timing. Timing is so much more important with something that is meant to be humorous. Whatever kind of content you have, the talent and the subject need to be baseline funny on some level. If that’s there, then the timing is everything.
For the backyard grilling spot, I added in some flames at the bottom to make it look like the fire was getting out of hand. I think that added to the support of the payout of him being goofily stoked about the job. Little things like that push it over the edge.
How can you tell what works and what doesn’t as you work in post production?
Humor is hard. Everyone has their own preferences and sensibilities. And, then there’s the challenge of translating your vision for the talent and having them recreate the prompts that you give them. The talent really has to have the “funny bone.”
If you have a script that is humorous at its core, then that is impossible to ignore. You know when a situation is objectively funny. Working within that, you’re not going to fail in capturing however the talent interprets the prompt. But, that’s not always the case.
That’s why in the post process, it’s really important to hit the timing well and choose the best take.
You know something’s funny when it’s funny. When something is forced, it’s very obvious. And, you can’t really do anything about that in post.
With these more serious and emotional pieces, there’s tricks you can add in post to make something a little more engaging.
But, humor has to speak for itself.
Humor needs to be clear. We’ve had to cut footage where it wasn’t obvious what was happening on camera. We don’t want the viewer to be confused. You shouldn’t have to explain something that’s truly humorous.
Why is visual humor effective?
Humor is probably the most powerful marketing tool. It tugs at every string you have, you know? It’s emotional by nature in that humor is a personal experience. Something won’t be funny unless you can relate to it in some way. And, that’s what makes it imprint in your mind.
But, really, it’s a simple strategy. Everyone likes to have fun. Everyone likes to laugh.