How To Film A Comedy Special 2024

Hey, I’m Zack! I’m a standup comedian and filmmaker. Today, I’m going to share everything I’ve learned from filming my TV show, The Big Laugh, and my comedy special, Zen Comedy. Both are available on Amazon Prime. This blog post will guide you through the essential steps of how to film a comedy special, from pre-production to post-production. Stick around for some crucial tips that can help you avoid major pitfalls when releasing your hour-long special.

how to film a comedy special. The cover art of the tv show The Big Laugh now available on Tubi streaming service. Best stand up comedy. New tubi show.


Before You Filming A Comedy Special

Finding the Right Venue

The venue sets the tone for your special. Consider the following:

  • Capacity: Can you fill the seats? A packed house creates a better atmosphere.
  • Vibe: The setting should match the energy of your performance. For The Big Laugh, we used Improv Mania in Chandler, Arizona, which seats just over 100 people. The intimate setting looked great on camera and contributed to a fantastic audience experience.

Ensure the venue is okay with filming. We initially faced issues with a venue that didn’t want to be on film. Communicate clearly with your chosen venue to avoid last-minute changes.

Background and Set Design

The background should enhance, not distract. Think about:

  • Visual Appeal: Is the background pleasing to the eye?
  • Customization: Can you change or add to the existing set?
  • Consistency: The background is part of your branding and will be one of the first things viewers notice in trailers and promotional materials.

Lighting and Sound

Good lighting is crucial. Visit the venue, see a show, and test the lighting setup. Ensure you have:

  • Stage Lighting: Make sure it’s adequate or bring additional lights if necessary.
  • Sound Quality: Decide how you’ll capture audio. Mic the audience separately from the performer to mix later.

Graphics and Branding

Consistency in your branding is key. From the flyer to the cover art, everything should match. Consider hiring a professional designer to create:

  • Flyers and Thumbnails: These should be cohesive with your special’s theme.
  • Cover Art: Essential for streaming services like Amazon or Tubi, which require multiple graphic sizes.

Camera Setup

Decide whether to rent or buy cameras. If renting, ensure you’re familiar with the equipment. Production companies can be a good investment, providing equipment and crew. Whether you’re filming for YouTube or distribution, make sure your technical specs meet the platform requirements.

Building Your Audience

If releasing on YouTube, build up your channel first. Upload other content to attract subscribers and increase your view count before dropping your special.

Film A Comedy Special : Day Of Production

Arrive Early

Get to the venue well ahead of time. This allows you to:

  • Set Up Lighting and Sound: Adjust as necessary and do sound checks.
  • Address Issues: Solve any unexpected problems without the pressure of an impending performance.

Microphone Quality

Test your microphones to avoid issues like rattling or interference. Use backup mics to be safe.

Camera Placement

Use a minimum of three cameras, but ideally four or five:

  • Angles: Plan your shots – close-ups, medium shots, and wide shots.
  • Contingency: Extra cameras can cover if an audience member stands up or blocks a shot.

Technical Specifications

While 4K filming is great, many streaming services still prefer 1080p. Film in 4K for flexibility in post-production but plan to release in 1080p.

Film A Comedy Special : Editing and Post-Production

Editing Strategy

Think about your editing style:

  • Punchlines: Use close-ups for jokes and wide shots to capture audience reactions.
  • Continuity: Ensure smooth transitions and avoid jarring cuts.

Sound Mixing

Balance the comedian’s mic with the audience’s laughter. Good sound quality can significantly enhance the viewing experience.

Final Checks

Before releasing, double-check:

  • Technical Specs: Ensure compliance with your chosen platform’s requirements.
  • Graphics and Branding: All elements should be consistent and professional.

Release Strategy

If you’re going through a streaming service, follow their guidelines meticulously. For YouTube, schedule your release and promote heavily across all your social media channels.

How To Film A Comedy Special : Closing Thoughts

When you film a comedy special is a complex but rewarding process. From choosing the right venue to managing the technical details, each step is crucial. By preparing thoroughly, you can ensure a smooth production and a high-quality final product that showcases your comedy at its best. Happy filming!


Comedian Zack Lyman

What Else Have I Written?

The Big Laugh TV Show Season 1 (My TV Show On Amazon & Tubi)

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