History Main / HarpoDoesSomethingFunny

1st Jun '18 8:11:26 AM Siempie
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In ''Film/IronMan'', a good deal of the script was written like this; not just Tony's lines, but everybody's. The script was just a brief summary of what they needed to say, with the details improvised. This is why the dialogue feels more natural (and also how Creator/RobertDowneyJr was able to retool his character into a DeadpanSnarker). Creator/JeffBridges described the experience as a $200 million college film.

to:

* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse
**
In ''Film/IronMan'', a good deal of the script was written like this; not just Tony's lines, but everybody's. The script was just a brief summary of what they needed to say, with the details improvised. This is why the dialogue feels more natural (and also how Creator/RobertDowneyJr was able to retool his character into a DeadpanSnarker). Creator/JeffBridges described the experience as a $200 million college film.film.
** During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Creator/TaikaWaititi encouraged Creator/JeffGoldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster, resulting in one of the [[PerfectlyCromulentWord Goldblumiest]] characters in recent history.
** According to WordOfGod, Creator/TomHolland improvised [[spoiler: Peter Parker's death]] in ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar''. The helpless confusion that Tony Stark shows in that scene is all because Creator/RobertDowneyJr had no idea what Holland was going to do or how to react.



* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Creator/TaikaWaititi encouraged Creator/JeffGoldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster, resulting in one of the [[PerfectlyCromulentWord Goldblumiest]] characters in recent history.
31st May '18 7:12:11 AM the.Mtn.Man
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Creator/RLeeErmey was originally hired as an advisor to Kubrick for ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', as the film featured a DrillSergeantNasty and Ermey was one in RealLife. But Ermey was so creative in his vitriolic profanity -- which he could keep up for fifteen minutes while being pelted with stuff -- that Kubrick cast him as Sgt. Hartman and let him improvise his dialogue. The only thing Kubrick told him to do was keep the phrase "reach-around" (partly because he had never heard it before and was very impressed).

to:

** Creator/RLeeErmey was originally hired as an advisor to Kubrick for ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', as the film featured a DrillSergeantNasty and Ermey was one in RealLife. But Ermey was so creative in his vitriolic profanity -- which he could keep up for fifteen minutes while being pelted with stuff tennis balls without flinching or repeating a single insult -- that Kubrick cast him as Sgt. Hartman and let him improvise his dialogue. The only thing Kubrick told him to do was keep the phrase "reach-around" (partly because he had never heard it before and was very impressed).
24th Apr '18 10:16:39 PM Stormchaser23
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* According to the creators, scripts for ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' often included the line "[[Creator/ChrisPratt Chris]] does something funny."
22nd Mar '18 6:32:11 PM GoldenSeals
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Named for an allegedly frequent note in Creator/MarxBrothers scripts, this trope refers to space deliberately left in otherwise scripted media to allow for the wacky whims of an actor best known for their {{improv}}isations. The crew knows that a particular actor will be funnier if left to their own devices than anything the scriptwriter could possibly come up with. As such, this is possibly the highest compliment that can ever be paid to a comedian, when the writers know that no matter what he or she does, it will have everyone who sees/hears it in stitches.

Done on a large scale to allow a mostly improv performance, the practice is technically known as retroscripting.

Of course, as with anything else it's [[TropesAreTools possible to do it badly]]: an overly-long or plot-irrelevant comedy skit can seem jarring if it doesn't match the pace or tone of the rest of the script, to the extreme of being a BigLippedAlligatorMoment. Editing can alleviate this, which as a bonus gives you plenty of hilarious {{Deleted Scene}}s to add to the DVD BonusMaterial.

Compare TheCastShowOff, ThrowItIn, AudienceParticipation, OfficialFanSubmittedContent.

Can lead to {{Corpsing}} if fellow cast members are expected to keep a straight face.

to:

Named for an The script doesn't show the actor's lines, but instead tells the actor to just {{improv}}ise.

The trope is named after the Creator/MarxBrothers, whose scripts
allegedly frequent would frequently leave a note in Creator/MarxBrothers scripts, to this trope refers effect for Harpo to space deliberately left in otherwise scripted media improvise something. The more formal term "retroscripting" is used to describe a script made up almost entirely of directions like these to allow for the wacky whims of an actor best known for their {{improv}}isations. a mostly improv performance.

The crew knows reason to do this is that a particular actor will be some actors are just naturally funnier if left to their own devices than anything the a scriptwriter could possibly can come up with. As such, this is possibly the highest compliment that can ever be paid to a comedian, when the writers know comedian. The only problem is that no matter what he or she does, it will have everyone who sees/hears it in stitches.

Done on a large scale to allow a mostly improv performance,
even if the practice comedian is technically known as retroscripting.

Of course, as with anything else it's
hilarious, if such notes are [[TropesAreTools possible to do it badly]]: an overly-long or plot-irrelevant comedy skit not used well enough]], the resulting scene can seem be [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment jarring if it doesn't match or out of place]]. Sometimes the pace or tone actor produces huge amounts of improvised material, which can be edited down to the best-fitting parts (with the rest of the script, to the extreme of being a BigLippedAlligatorMoment. Editing can alleviate this, which as a bonus gives you plenty of becoming hilarious {{Deleted Scene}}s to add to the DVD BonusMaterial.

BonusMaterial).

Compare TheCastShowOff, ThrowItIn, AudienceParticipation, OfficialFanSubmittedContent.

Can lead
and OfficialFanSubmittedContent. See also {{Corpsing}}, which is always a risk when the other actors need to {{Corpsing}} if fellow cast members are expected be able to keep a straight face.



* The Anime/GhostStories gag dub was more-or-less this. Creator/ADVFilms was told to do whatever they wanted with the dub, so they threw out nearly all of the script and largely improvised each scene. As they only had one recording booth, the voice actors were called in one at a time to record their scenes, and whoever got into the booth first got to set the tone and pace of the scene. The others then had to follow in their footsteps, taking as much creative liberty as they could.
* A large amount of the gags and humorous lines unique to the anime version of ''LightNovel/{{Konosuba}}'' were left up to the voice actors to adlib, after Creator/StudioDEEN realized how funny the VA cast (Creator/JunFukushima in particular) got during recording sessions. The "Yes, I'm Kazuma" gag in particular was born from this.

to:

* The Anime/GhostStories gag dub was more-or-less this. ''Anime/GhostStories'' got a GagDub from Creator/ADVFilms was told to do whatever they wanted with the dub, so very much like this; they threw out nearly all of the original script and largely improvised each scene. As they only had one recording booth, the voice actors were called in one at a time to record their scenes, and whoever got into the booth first got to set the tone and pace of the scene. The others then had to follow in their footsteps, taking as much creative liberty as they could.
* A large amount of the gags and humorous lines unique to the The anime version of ''LightNovel/{{Konosuba}}'' were left up to owes many of its jokes (including the voice actors popular "Yes, I'm Kazuma" gag) to adlib, after notes like this, when Creator/StudioDEEN realized how funny the VA cast voice actors were (Creator/JunFukushima in particular) got during recording sessions. The "Yes, I'm Kazuma" gag in particular was born from this.particular).



* This was usually what happened when creative teams were working with the [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]] Method, which was born from Creator/StanLee being overworked with deadlines due to having writing duties on multiple titles. Artists are given descriptions of what the writers want the story to be, then given free rein to go nuts with the exact details of what happens. An infamous example was the Galactus Trilogy, which was born from Creator/JackKirby supposedly being given the instruction of "The ComicBook/FantasticFour meet God."

to:

* This was usually what happened when creative teams were working with the [[Creator/MarvelComics "[[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]] Method, Method", which was born from Creator/StanLee being overworked with deadlines due to having writing duties on multiple titles. Artists are given descriptions of what the writers want the story to be, then given free rein to go nuts with the exact details of what happens. An infamous example was the Galactus Trilogy, ''ComicBook/{{Galactus}} Trilogy'', which was born from Creator/JackKirby supposedly being given the instruction of "The ComicBook/FantasticFour meet God."



* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'': Wacarb explained in the "Behind the Scenes" video that every episode has some degree of planning, whether he writes a script out or just keeps a plan in his head. The one exception is Rainbow Dash's dialogue. For her lines, he just turns the mic on and says the first thing to pops into his head. He explains it's a sort of method acting: he doesn't know what Rainbow Dash will say, because [[TheDitz Rainbow Dash has no idea what she's saying, either]].

to:

* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'': Wacarb explained in the "Behind the Scenes" video that every episode has some degree of planning, whether he writes a script out or just keeps a plan in his head. The one exception is Rainbow Dash's dialogue. For her lines, he just turns the mic on and says the first thing to pops into his head. He explains it's a sort of method acting: MethodActing; he doesn't know what Rainbow Dash will say, because [[TheDitz Rainbow Dash has no idea what she's saying, either]].



* [[http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/South-Park.html An early script]] for ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'' had Kenny's dialogue be written as [[TheUnintelligible nothing other than mumbled words]], mostly "rmph", "rm", and "mph", occasionally with other characters RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear. At one point, Kenny gets startled by flames shooting up from the grounds of hell, causing him to exclaim, "MMLY MMT!" which is clearly supposed to be "HOLY SHIT!" This is the closest Kenny gets to intelligible dialogue in this script (it doesn't have the part where Kenny takes off his hood and says "Goodbye, you guys" at this point).

to:

* [[http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/South-Park.html An early script]] for ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'' had Kenny's dialogue be written as [[TheUnintelligible nothing other than mumbled words]], mostly "rmph", "rm", and "mph", occasionally with other characters RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear. At one point, Kenny The closest we get to anything intelligible is when he gets startled by the flames shooting up from the grounds of hell, causing him to exclaim, Hell and he shouts, "MMLY MMT!" MMMT!", which is clearly supposed to be "HOLY SHIT!" This is the closest Kenny gets to intelligible dialogue in this script (it doesn't have the part where Kenny takes off his hood and says "Goodbye, you guys" at this point).SHIT!"



* [[Creator/MarxBrothers Harpo Marx]], of course, with Groucho Marx coming in a close second. (The actual notes in the scripts are more likely to say, "Business.")
* Creator/LaurelAndHardy were masters of improvisation to the point that their scripts would contain a few pages of notes outlining the general story with the expectation that most of the gags would be improvised on the set. For instance, a script might say, "Stan puts on his shoes," only for the comedy duo to turn it into a hilarious three-minute routine. Because of this, their films were largely shot in-sequence in order to maintain continuity since they often had no idea exactly what was going to transpire from one scene to the next. This ensured that if Ollie got an unscripted bucket of water on the head in one scene that he would show up sopping wet in the following scene.

to:

* [[Creator/MarxBrothers The Creator/MarxBrothers did this frequently in their scripts -- although not exactly as the trope name describes it (actual notes were more likely to just say "Business"). Harpo Marx]], of course, got this most commonly, with Groucho Marx coming in a close second. (The actual notes in the scripts are more likely to say, "Business.")
second.
* Creator/LaurelAndHardy were masters of improvisation improvisation, to the point that their scripts would contain a few pages of notes outlining the general story with the expectation that most of the gags would be improvised on the set. For instance, a script might say, "Stan puts on his shoes," only for the comedy duo to turn it into a hilarious three-minute routine. Because of this, their films were largely shot in-sequence in order to maintain continuity continuity, since they often had no idea exactly what was going to transpire from one scene to the next. This ensured that if Ollie got an unscripted bucket of water on the head in one scene that scene, he would show up sopping wet in the following scene.



** ''Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies'' by Randy Skretvedt relates the following told by actor Henry Brandon: "I said, 'Aren't we going to rehearse?' And Stannie [Stan Laurel] turned to me and said, 'Do you want to ''spoil'' it?' The only things they rehearsed were physical stunts. They never rehearsed dialogue. They would sort of say what they were going to do, but they wouldn't get up and do it physically until the camera was rolling; they wanted to capture the magic for the first time."
* Creator/RobinWilliams comedies also offer this leeway, such as in ''Film/GoodMorningVietnam'' and ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. The latter produced over ten hours of Genie dialogue and disqualified it from a "Best Original Screenplay" Oscar.
** There were parts of the ''Aladdin'' script that said "ROBIN SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS:". There are rumors that hidden somewhere in Disney Studios are hours and hours (much more than the length of the finished movie) of Williams riffing as Genie. Some of it ended up on a recent Blu-ray.
** Similarly, after the first few episodes, most scripts for ''Series/MorkAndMindy'' would end up studded with "Robin goes off here". And when Creator/JonathanWinters joined the cast it was often adjusted to "Robin and Jonathan go off here".
** It was pretty much an impossibility for Williams NOT to do something funny. Just ask anyone who filmed a scene where he had to walk through a door. Getting the shot could take hours simply because he couldn't resist the urge to walk through with his clothes on backwards or say something to make the whole cast burst into laughter. In the last years of his life, they actually took precaution in writing stage directions if they knew he'd be cast.
** In ''Film/MrsDoubtfire'', the entire opening sequence consists of Robin showing off his rather impressive singing chops.
** It didn't even stop when he was interviewed for ''Inside The Actor's Studio'', where he ad libbed and joked so much that one audience member actually had to be escorted out by [=EMT=]s because ''he had a hernia'' from laughing so hard!
* Nathan Lane, very much so. In fact, when he starred with Robin Williams in ''Film/TheBirdcage'', they were so thoroughly into bouncing off each other that it started interfering with shooting. Director Creator/MikeNichols eventually had to force Williams and Lane to promise that they would do one take exactly as scripted before being allowed, in subsequent takes, to say whatever they wanted.

to:

** ''Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies'' by Randy Skretvedt relates the following told by actor Henry Brandon: "I Brandon:
-->"I
said, 'Aren't we going to rehearse?' And Stannie [Stan Laurel] turned to me and said, 'Do you want to ''spoil'' it?' The only things they rehearsed were physical stunts. They never rehearsed dialogue. They would sort of say what they were going to do, but they wouldn't get up and do it physically until the camera was rolling; they wanted to capture the magic for the first time."
* Creator/RobinWilliams comedies also offer frequently offered him this leeway, such as in ''Film/GoodMorningVietnam'' and ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. The latter produced It was a nightmare for some works, because Williams was so funny that actors would laugh at ''anything'' he did, which [[{{Corpsing}} they weren't always supposed to]]. Writers of his later films would be very careful writing his stage directions to prevent that sort of thing from happening because this trope gave him the opportunity.
** Parts of ''Aladdin'''s script would just say "Robin says something like this:" to allow Williams to improvise. This led to
over ten hours of Genie dialogue and Williams riffing as Genie, much of which couldn't make it into the finished film (and which also disqualified it from a the "Best Original Screenplay" Oscar.
** There were parts of the ''Aladdin'' script that said "ROBIN SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS:". There are rumors that hidden somewhere in Disney Studios are hours and hours (much more than the length of the finished movie) of Williams riffing as Genie.
Oscar). Some of it ended up on a recent Blu-ray.
** Similarly, In ''Series/MorkAndMindy'', most scripts after the first few episodes, most scripts for ''Series/MorkAndMindy'' episodes would end up studded with "Robin goes off here". And when When Creator/JonathanWinters joined the cast cast, it was often adjusted to "Robin and Jonathan go off here".
** It was pretty much an impossibility for Williams NOT to do something funny. Just ask anyone who filmed a scene where he had to walk through a door. Getting the shot could take hours simply because he couldn't resist the urge to walk through with his clothes on backwards or say something to make the whole cast burst into laughter. In the last years of his life, they actually took precaution in writing stage directions if they knew he'd be cast.
** In ''Film/MrsDoubtfire'', the entire opening sequence consists of Robin showing off his rather impressive singing chops.
** It didn't even stop
Even when he was interviewed being interviewed, they had to account for ''Inside The Actor's Studio'', where he ad libbed and joked Williams' ad-libbing. One interview on ''Series/InsideTheActorsStudio'' was so much funny that one he gave an audience member actually had to be escorted out by [=EMT=]s because ''he had a hernia'' ''hernia'' from laughing so hard!
laughter.
* Nathan Lane, very much so. In fact, when he starred with Robin Williams in Creator/NathanLane would get this often. The worst was ''Film/TheBirdcage'', where he starred with Robin Williams and director Creator/MikeNichols realized he had to find a way to rein them in, as they were so thoroughly into bouncing off each other funny that it started they were interfering with shooting. Director Creator/MikeNichols He eventually had to force Williams and Lane got them to promise that they would to do one take exactly as scripted before being allowed, scripted, then doing whatever they wanted in subsequent takes, to say whatever they wanted.takes.



* Creator/StanleyKubrick almost ''never'' allowed this; one exception he made was for Creator/PeterSellers in ''Film/DrStrangelove''. Largely because you never tried to pin down Peter Sellers.
** Jack Nicholson throwing a tennis ball around in Film/TheShining. The script said "Jack is not working."
** He also made an exception for Creator/RLeeErmey in ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', since there's no point scripting lines for a DrillSergeantNasty character when you have [[TruthInTelevision the real deal]] on hand who is perfectly capable of improvising for fifteen straight minutes while being pelted with tennis balls and rotten oranges and without moving, changing expression, ''or repeating himself once''. [[labelnote:*]][[ClusterFBomb (Mostly.)]][[/labelnote]]
*** It also doubles as an EXTREME case of ThrowItIn. Ermey was originally hired just as a consultant, who sat down with Kubrick for a session of "what it would be like to be yelled at by a Vietnam-era drill instructor" since Ermey was, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin that]]. He was so creative in his vitriolic profanity that after an extremely long session of note-taking and back-and-forth that left both men hoarse, Kubrick knew right away that nobody could do those lines justice and upgraded Ermey from "pitch consultant" to virtual co-star.
** Ermey even managed to ''surprise'' Kubrick during the filming of one of his scenes where one of the improvised lines he said included the phrase "reach-around". Kubrick stopped filming briefly and honestly asked what the phrase meant, and Ermey [[MeanCharacterNiceActor politely told him]]. Kubrick then asked him to keep the phrase in each take of the scene.
* A fair amount of the Creator/BobHope[=/=]Music/BingCrosby ''Film/RoadTo'' pictures consisted of this, despite the fact that a script theoretically existed. Dorothy Lamour later described her contribution to the films as "like I was watching a game of tennis".
* For his role as Johnny in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' Stephen Stucker was given the straight lines of the characters around him and was allowed to write his own responses - this was talked about in the DVDCommentary.
* By the time Film/TheThreeStooges' "schtick" was well-established, script writers found it easier to just write in generic stage instructions such as "Moe punishes Curly" and let the boys work it out on their own. (A lot easier than writing out "Moe punches Curly in the stomach, bops him in the forehead, twists his ears," etc.) Curly's reactions and half-hearted or backfiring attempts at revenge were also often ad-libbed.
** This sometimes varied by director. Jules White tended to stick more to the script (although he did allow the Stooges considerable leeway), whereas Edward Bernds was more flexible and encouraging of ad-libbing. Bernds applied this to great effect in his shorts with Shemp, who was an excellent ad-libber. As a result, many of the best Shemp shorts (''Brideless Groom'', ''Who Done It?'') were directed by Bernds.

to:

* Creator/StanleyKubrick almost ''never'' allowed this; one exception this, but he made was did make a few rare exceptions for the exceptional improvisers:
**
Creator/PeterSellers was allowed to improvise in ''Film/DrStrangelove''. Largely ''Film/DrStrangelove'', largely because you never tried to pin down Peter Sellers.
** Jack Nicholson throwing a tennis ball around Creator/JackNicholson in Film/TheShining. The script said ''Film/TheShining'' was given only the note, "Jack is not working."
working," from which he derived the scene where he throws a tennis ball around.
** He also made an exception for Creator/RLeeErmey in was originally hired as an advisor to Kubrick for ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', since there's no point scripting lines for as the film featured a DrillSergeantNasty character when you have [[TruthInTelevision the real deal]] on hand who is perfectly capable of improvising for fifteen straight minutes while being pelted with tennis balls and rotten oranges and without moving, changing expression, ''or repeating himself once''. [[labelnote:*]][[ClusterFBomb (Mostly.)]][[/labelnote]]
*** It also doubles as an EXTREME case of ThrowItIn.
Ermey was originally hired just as a consultant, who sat down with Kubrick for a session of "what it would be like to be yelled at by a Vietnam-era drill instructor" since one in RealLife. But Ermey was, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin that]]. He was so creative in his vitriolic profanity -- which he could keep up for fifteen minutes while being pelted with stuff -- that after an extremely long session of note-taking and back-and-forth that left both men hoarse, Kubrick knew right away that nobody could do those lines justice cast him as Sgt. Hartman and upgraded Ermey from "pitch consultant" to virtual co-star.
** Ermey even managed to ''surprise''
let him improvise his dialogue. The only thing Kubrick during the filming of one of his scenes where one of the improvised lines he said included the phrase "reach-around". Kubrick stopped filming briefly and honestly asked what the phrase meant, and Ermey [[MeanCharacterNiceActor politely told him]]. Kubrick then asked him to do was keep the phrase in each take of the scene.
"reach-around" (partly because he had never heard it before and was very impressed).
* A fair amount of the Creator/BobHope[=/=]Music/BingCrosby ''Film/RoadTo'' pictures consisted of this, despite the fact that a script theoretically existed. Dorothy Lamour later described her contribution to the films as "like I was watching a game of tennis".
tennis."
* For his role as Johnny in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', Stephen Stucker was given the straight lines of the characters around him and was allowed to write his own responses - this was talked about responses, as discussed in the DVDCommentary.
* By the time Film/TheThreeStooges' "schtick" was well-established, script writers found it easier to just write in generic stage instructions such as "Moe punishes Curly" and let the boys work it out on their own. (A lot If nothing else, it was easier than writing out "Moe punches Curly trying to describe their chaos in the stomach, bops him in the forehead, twists his ears," etc.) Curly's reactions and half-hearted or backfiring attempts at revenge were also often ad-libbed.
** This sometimes
words. Directors varied by director. in their approached; Jules White tended to stick more to the script (although he did allow (but still allowed the Stooges considerable leeway), whereas while Edward Bernds was more flexible encouraged ad-libbing and encouraging got the best performances out of ad-libbing. Bernds applied this to great effect in his shorts with Shemp, who was an excellent ad-libber. As a result, many of the best Shemp shorts (''Brideless Groom'', ''Who Done It?'') were directed by Bernds.



* Much of the movie ''Film/{{Caddyshack}}'' was ad-libbed. Most famously was Creator/BillMurray's "Cinderella story" scene, which was only in the script as: "Carl hits flowers with a grass whip." Director Creator/HaroldRamis told him to just pretend he was a kid, acting out his sports fantasy.
** Even more impressively, Murray's scenes had no script written for them at all. He was on set for a total of six days and whenever he got started up, they just let the camera roll on him and see where it went.
* ''Film/DrinkingBuddies'' didn't have a script. Instead, the actors were told what needed to happen in the scene and just let them choose the words entirely.
* The scene in the Czech film ''Císařův pekař'' where the alchemist explains to the emperor his procedure for making "gold out of plums" (i.e. plum brandy) has been ad-libbed; the actor's script only read "speaks in a foreign language".
* Apparently a good deal of the dialog in ''Film/IronMan'' was like this; not just Tony Stark's. It's reported that most of the script was a brief summary of what the actors needed to say, and from there they were allowed to pretty much improvise the finer details, which is why the dialogue feels a lot more naturalistic. This is how everyone discovered Creator/RobertDowneyJr is a witty bastard, hence Iron Man's [[CharacterizationMarchesOn new characterization]] as a DeadpanSnarker.
** Creator/JeffBridges described the experience as a $200 million college film. He found it surreal. It worked.
* Creator/RobertAltman's film version of ''Film/{{MASH}}'': The actors read the script once or twice, at the start of filming, and improvised almost all the dialogue; as with ''Film/IronMan'', this leads to a very naturalistic, documentary feel to the film. Amusingly, the film won an Oscar for Best Screenplay.
** Altman himself said on the director's commentary that the tone of the screenplay contributed heavily to the tone of the movie, and praised the screenplay for the quality it brought to the movie.
* In one scene of ''Film/{{UHF}}'', Michael Richards' character Stanley, before his big morale speech on TV, was given a few general lines of nonsense in the script while he amuses the kids, and Michael ended up ad-libbing most of it in the shoot.
** A few scenes later, he appears again on TV with a completely ad-libbed scene, which begins with him eating a watermelon and soon dissolves into a silly bit of him playing with the "toy man" from his box of Corn Flakes. While not all of this is shown (as it is intercut with a scene of Weird Al's character and his friend), the deleted scenes portion of the DVD shows the whole thing, and Music/WeirdAlYankovic (the star and co-writer of the movie) comments that "The great thing about Michael is you can turn on the camera and tell him to just go nuts for two minutes. Well here he is, doing just that."
* The famous "YouTalkinToMe" scene in ''Film/TaxiDriver'' was written in the script as "Travis talks in the mirror" and the rest was improvised by Creator/RobertDeNiro. Creator/MartinScorsese was stooped just below the camera silently encouraging De Niro to keep going. What De Niro was saying is a common exercise used by actors to practice different interpretations of a similar phrase.
** The rest of the movie has this as well. The parts of Tom (Betsy's co-worker), Sport, Betsy and The Wizard were supposedly fairly underwritten in the script. The casting of Creator/AlbertBrooks and Creator/HarveyKeitel led to lots of improvisation and expansion, with Keitel's role in particular expanding from a mere five lines to a larger scene of dialog that made him one of the most memorable aspects of the movie.

to:

* Much of the movie ''Film/{{Caddyshack}}'' was ad-libbed. Most ad-libbed, most famously was Creator/BillMurray's "Cinderella story" scene, which was only in the script as: "Carl hits flowers with a grass whip." Director Creator/HaroldRamis told him to just pretend he was a kid, acting out his sports fantasy.
** Even more impressively,
fantasy. In fact, none of Murray's scenes had no script written for them at all. He was on set for a total of six days and whenever he got started up, were scripted; they just let the camera roll on him and see where it went.
him.
* ''Film/DrinkingBuddies'' didn't have a script. Instead, the actors were told what needed to happen in the scene and just let them allowed to choose the words entirely.
their own words.
* The scene in the Czech film ''Císařův pekař'' Pekař'' where the alchemist explains to the emperor his procedure for making "gold out of plums" (i.(''i.e. '' plum brandy) has been was ad-libbed; the actor's script only read "speaks in a foreign language".
* Apparently a good deal of the dialog in ''Film/IronMan'' was like this; not just Tony Stark's. It's reported that most of the script was a brief summary of what the actors needed to say, and from there they were allowed to pretty much improvise the finer details, which is why the dialogue feels a lot more naturalistic. This is how everyone discovered Creator/RobertDowneyJr is a witty bastard, hence Iron Man's [[CharacterizationMarchesOn new characterization]] as a DeadpanSnarker.
** Creator/JeffBridges described the experience as a $200 million college film. He found it surreal. It worked.
* Creator/RobertAltman's film version of ''Film/{{MASH}}'': The actors read the script once or twice, at the start of filming, and improvised almost all the dialogue; as with ''Film/IronMan'', this leads to a very naturalistic, documentary feel to the film. Amusingly, the film won an Oscar for Best Screenplay.
** Altman himself said on the director's commentary that the tone of the screenplay contributed heavily to the tone of the movie, and praised the screenplay for the quality it brought to the movie.
* In one scene of ''Film/{{UHF}}'', Michael Richards' character Stanley, before his big morale speech on TV, was given a few general lines of nonsense in the script while he amuses the kids, and Michael ended up ad-libbing most of it in the shoot.
** A few scenes later, he appears again on TV with a completely ad-libbed scene, which begins with him eating a watermelon and soon dissolves into a silly bit of him playing with the "toy man" from his box of Corn Flakes. While not all of this is shown (as it is intercut with a scene of Weird Al's character and his friend), the deleted scenes portion of the DVD shows the whole thing, and Music/WeirdAlYankovic (the star and co-writer of the movie) comments that "The great thing about Michael is you can turn on the camera and tell him to just go nuts for two minutes. Well here he is, doing just that.
language."
* In ''Film/IronMan'', a good deal of the script was written like this; not just Tony's lines, but everybody's. The famous "YouTalkinToMe" scene script was just a brief summary of what they needed to say, with the details improvised. This is why the dialogue feels more natural (and also how Creator/RobertDowneyJr was able to retool his character into a DeadpanSnarker). Creator/JeffBridges described the experience as a $200 million college film.
* In Creator/RobertAltman's film version of ''Film/{{MASH}}'', the actors read the script once or twice, at the start of filming, and improvised almost all the dialogue, which led to a very naturalistic, documentary feel to the film. Amusingly, the film won an Oscar for Best Screenplay; Altman said
in the director's commentary that the tone of the screenplay contributed heavily to the tone of the movie, and praised the screenplay for the quality it brought to the movie, even though the actual lines weren't used in it.
* In ''Film/{{UHF}}'', several of Creator/MichaelRichards' scenes are ad-libbed, especially when his character Stanley appears on TV and says and does ridiculous things. The film's star and co-writer Music/WeirdAlYankovic encouraged this by just outlining his scenes and had this to say in the DVD commentary:
-->'''Weird Al:''' The great thing about Michael is that you can turn on the camera and tell him to just go nuts for two minutes. Well, here he is, doing just that.
* Much of
''Film/TaxiDriver'' was written in the script this way, as "Travis talks in the mirror" and the rest was improvised by Creator/RobertDeNiro. director Creator/MartinScorsese was stooped just below the camera silently encouraging De Niro wanted to keep going. What De Niro was saying is a common exercise used by give some of his actors room to practice different interpretations of a similar phrase.
** The rest of the movie has this as well. The parts of Tom (Betsy's co-worker), Sport, Betsy and The Wizard were supposedly fairly underwritten in the script. The casting of
improvise. Creator/AlbertBrooks and Creator/HarveyKeitel led to lots of improvisation and expansion, with Keitel's role in particular expanding from a mere greatly expanded their roles this way (Keitel only had five lines to a larger in the original script before he got working), and Creator/RobertDeNiro's famous "YouTalkinToMe" scene of dialog that made him one of was rendered in the most memorable aspects of script as, "Travis talks in the movie.mirror."



** Screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens describe how, for every fight scene, they would simply write something to the effect of "They fight like men", then hand the script over to Creator/PeterJackson to fully block out the scene. The prologue in Mordor at the start of the first film is an example of this. The inversion is with the romance scenes between Aragorn and Arwen; Pete would be very vague and let Fran and Phillipa flesh it out themselves.
** In the same movie, there was a part of the script in the Mines of Moria that read something along the lines of "The Fellowship run down some stairs". Then Peter saw a piece of concept art of said stairs with NoOSHACompliance by John Howe and started envisioning an entire action sequence around it. The final result is a five minute extravaganza involving falling rocks, falling chunks of stairs, Orcs firing arrows at them and Legolas being a badass with his bow. A line was also invented here[[labelnote:*]]"Nobody tosses a dwarf![[/labelnote]] that is then referenced in the second film.[[labelnote:*]]"...toss me." "...what?"[[/labelnote]]
* Creator/JackieChan hardly ever scripts his fight scenes, preferring to turn up to the location and see what he can use.
** Of course this has led to so many of his injuries. Improv action scenes mean no safety measures beyond "Try not to kill him" can be taken. In one scene he landed in front of a running saw blade that was real. A few more inches and [[GroinAttack he would have been castrated]].

to:

** Screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens describe how, for every fight scene, they would simply write something to the effect of of, "They fight like men", men," then hand the script over to Creator/PeterJackson to fully block out the scene. The prologue in Mordor at the start of the first film is an example of this. The inversion is with the romance scenes between Aragorn and Arwen; Pete would be very vague and let Fran and Phillipa flesh it out themselves.
** In the same movie, there was a part Part of the script for ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' in the Mines of Moria that read something along the lines of of, "The Fellowship run down some stairs". stairs." Then Peter Jackson saw a piece of concept art of said stairs with NoOSHACompliance by John Howe and started envisioning an entire action sequence around it. The final result is a five minute five-minute extravaganza involving with falling rocks, falling chunks of stairs, Orcs firing arrows at them and arrows, Legolas being a badass with his bow. A bow, and a line was also invented here[[labelnote:*]]"Nobody created from whole cloth ("Nobody tosses a dwarf![[/labelnote]] that is then referenced in the second film.[[labelnote:*]]"...toss me." "...what?"[[/labelnote]]
dwarf!").
* Creator/JackieChan hardly ever scripts his fight scenes, preferring to turn up to the location and see what he can use.
** Of course this has led to so many of
use. This makes his injuries. Improv action fight scenes mean no famous for their interesting and engaging style -- and also for being incredibly dangerous for Chan, who did his own stunts, because when you improvise a fight scene, you can't take many more safety measures beyond than "Try not to kill him" can be taken. In one scene he landed in front of a running saw blade that was real. A few more inches and [[GroinAttack he would have been castrated]].him."



* In the book ''Gracie: A Love Story'', Creator/GeorgeBurns notes that scripts for movies where he and Gracie Allen played bit parts frequently featured scenes that simply said "Burns And Allen do four minutes here".
* When Creator/JohnCarpenter was filming ''[[Film/JohnCarpentersVampires Vampires]]'', he asked Creator/JamesWoods to do a take of each scene as it was scripted, and allowed him to improvise after that. According to the DVD commentary, a lot of the improvised material (like his speech to Padre about [[OurVampiresAreDifferent the strengths and weaknesses of vampires]]) made it into the final cut.
* Later when Woods was cast as Hades in Disney/{{Hercules}} the writers basically threw the script into the air and said "Screw it."
* The entire scene in ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' where Lord Helmet was playing with the dolls was made up entirely on the spot by Creator/RickMoranis.

to:

* In the book ''Gracie: A Love Story'', Creator/GeorgeBurns notes that scripts for movies where he and Gracie Allen played bit parts frequently featured scenes that simply said said, "Burns And and Allen do four minutes here".
here."
* Creator/JamesWoods was often allowed to improvise this way:
**
When Creator/JohnCarpenter was filming ''[[Film/JohnCarpentersVampires Vampires]]'', he asked Creator/JamesWoods Woods to do a take of each scene as it was scripted, and allowed him to improvise after that. According to the DVD commentary, a lot of the improvised material (like his speech to Padre about [[OurVampiresAreDifferent the strengths and weaknesses of vampires]]) made it into the final cut.
* Later when ** When Woods was cast as Hades in Disney/{{Hercules}} ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', the writers basically threw the script into the air and said said, "Screw it."
* The entire scene in ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' where Lord Helmet was playing with the dolls was made up entirely on the spot by Creator/RickMoranis.
" They wrote most of his dialogue this way.



* Averted in ''Film/{{PCU}}''. Jeremy Piven ad libbed in his audition and assumed he would do the same for the film, but was immediately shut down by the director.
* In ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'', the first scene where the vampires reveal themselves and a massive battle ensues was simply marked in the script as "All Hell breaks loose". Also, Creator/SalmaHayek's dance as Satanico Pandemonium had no choreographer. Creator/RobertRodriguez just brought her in and let the music move her as it would.
* The same goes for Creator/JessicaAlba in ''Film/SinCity''. Alba requested a choreographer, but Rodriguez told her to just make it up as she went. Strangely enough, a different song was later dubbed over the scene.
* While Creator/KevinSmith is notoriously against improvisation, he sometimes jokes about writing 'Jay and Silent Bob say something remotely witty' in his earlier scripts. He loosened up with ''Film/ZackAndMiriMakeAPorno'', as much of the cast were experienced improv actors.
* Smith stated with some asperity that Creator/BenAffleck and Creator/MattDamon did a lot of ad-libbing on the set of ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' because they were flush with their skills at dialogue, having just won the Best Screenplay Oscar for ''Film/GoodWillHunting.''
* In ''Film/{{Hitch}}'', Kevin James made up all of his silly dance moves ("Q-tip! Q-tip! Throw it away! Throw it away!") himself.

to:

* Averted in ''Film/{{PCU}}''. ''Film/{{PCU}}'': Jeremy Piven ad libbed ad-libbed in his audition and assumed he would do the same for the film, but was immediately shut down by the director.
* In ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'', the first scene where the vampires reveal themselves and a massive battle ensues was simply marked in the script as as, "All Hell breaks loose". loose." Also, Creator/SalmaHayek's dance as Satanico Pandemonium had no choreographer. choreographer; Creator/RobertRodriguez just brought her in and let the music move her as it would.
* The same goes for In ''Film/SinCity'', Creator/JessicaAlba in ''Film/SinCity''. Alba requested a choreographer, but Robert Rodriguez did the same thing he did in ''From Dusk Till Dawn'' and told her to just make it up as she went. Strangely enough, a different song was later dubbed over the scene.
* While Creator/KevinSmith is notoriously against improvisation, he sometimes jokes about writing 'Jay "Jay and Silent Bob say something remotely witty' witty" in his earlier scripts.scripts. He particularly expressed his annoyance with Creator/BenAffleck and Creator/MattDamon doing a lot of ad-libbing on the set of ''Film/{{Dogma}}'', after having just won the Best Screenplay Oscar for ''Film/GoodWillHunting''. He loosened up with ''Film/ZackAndMiriMakeAPorno'', as much of the cast were experienced improv actors.
* Smith stated with some asperity that Creator/BenAffleck and Creator/MattDamon did a lot of ad-libbing on the set of ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' because they were flush with their skills at dialogue, having just won the Best Screenplay Oscar for ''Film/GoodWillHunting.''
* In ''Film/{{Hitch}}'', Kevin James made up Creator/KevinJames was asked to improvise all of his silly dance moves moves, and did accordingly ("Q-tip! Q-tip! Throw it away! Throw it away!") himself.away!").



* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' features an entire conversation between Mal and Inara over video communication that was left unscripted. Creator/JossWhedon couldn't come up with lines he was satisfied with, so he just put in the gist of the conversation and wrote 'Something Mal/Inara would say' for the two actors to improvise.
** Mal's "Faster would be better!" during the chase scene was also from Joss telling Fillion to "Say something Mal would say."

to:

* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' features an entire conversation between Mal and Inara over video communication that was left unscripted. Creator/JossWhedon couldn't come up with lines he was satisfied with, so he just put in the gist of the conversation and wrote 'Something "Something Mal/Inara would say' say" for the two actors to improvise.
**
improvise. He also did this for Mal's famous "Faster would be better!" during the chase scene scene, which is noteworthy for Creator/NathanFillion improvising a line that was also from Joss telling Fillion to "Say something Mal so like what Whedon would say."write that fans were convinced it had to have been scripted.



* According to Gail Patrick when she appeared on the ''Kraft Music Hall'', much of the production of ''My Man Godfrey'' was done this way.
* An extreme example: Creator/RebelWilson's character in ''Film/PitchPerfect'' wasn't even in the script. She showed up, auditioned, and the crew said that there was no role that she could fit but they really, really wanted her in the movie. So just about every single line and action she does is made up by her.
* Believe it or not, almost all of the voice casts for alien characters in ''Film/UltramanOrbTheMovieLendMeThePowerOfBonds'' did this.
* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Taika Waititi encouraged Jeff Goldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster. As a result, this is one of the [[PerfectlyCromulentWord Goldblumiest]] characters in recent history.

to:

* According to Gail Patrick when she appeared on the ''Kraft Music Hall'', much of the production of ''My Man Godfrey'' was done this way.
* An extreme example:
Creator/RebelWilson's character in ''Film/PitchPerfect'' wasn't even in the script. She showed up, auditioned, and the crew said that there was no role that she could fit but they really, really wanted her in the movie. So just about every single line and action she does is made up by her.
* Believe it or not, almost Almost all of the voice casts actors for alien characters in ''Film/UltramanOrbTheMovieLendMeThePowerOfBonds'' did this.
improvised their lines.
* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Taika Waititi Creator/TaikaWaititi encouraged Jeff Goldblum Creator/JeffGoldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster. As a result, this is Grandmaster, resulting in one of the [[PerfectlyCromulentWord Goldblumiest]] characters in recent history.
14th Mar '18 7:52:30 AM nighttrainfm
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Taika Waititi encouraged Jeff Goldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster. As a result, this is one of the Goldblumiest characters in recent history.

to:

* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Taika Waititi encouraged Jeff Goldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster. As a result, this is one of the Goldblumiest [[PerfectlyCromulentWord Goldblumiest]] characters in recent history.
11th Mar '18 3:13:34 AM jormis29
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* When Creator/JohnCarpenter was filming ''[[Film/JohnCarpentersVampires Vampires]]'', he asked James Woods to do a take of each scene as it was scripted, and allowed him to improvise after that. According to the DVD commentary, a lot of the improvised material (like his speech to Padre about [[OurVampiresAreDifferent the strengths and weaknesses of vampires]]) made it into the final cut.

to:

* When Creator/JohnCarpenter was filming ''[[Film/JohnCarpentersVampires Vampires]]'', he asked James Woods Creator/JamesWoods to do a take of each scene as it was scripted, and allowed him to improvise after that. According to the DVD commentary, a lot of the improvised material (like his speech to Padre about [[OurVampiresAreDifferent the strengths and weaknesses of vampires]]) made it into the final cut.
8th Mar '18 11:59:10 AM Cieloazul
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Japanese professional wrestling, due to the sport-like way it presents itself, is specially liberal in this field. Unless they are deep in a storyline or a very special gimmick, wrestlers are often left to do the promo entirely by themselves as long as they don't break kayfabe. This occasionally backfires when real heat has come up in the words, but the business often just sees it as a new chance to get the press's attention or even create entire angles.

to:

** * Japanese professional wrestling, due to the sport-like way it presents itself, is specially liberal in this the promo field. Unless they are deep in a storyline or a very special gimmick, wrestlers are often left to do the promo entirely by themselves as long as they don't break kayfabe. This occasionally backfires when real heat has come comes up in the words, talk, but the business promoters often just sees see it as a new chance chances to get the press's attention or even [[RealLifeWritesThePlot create entire angles.angles from real life.]]



** Again, the Japanese take it to the extreme. In the old shoot-style (a classic style of puroresu which works its matches with martial arts moves in order to resemble real fights), wrestlers used to come to the ring only knowing who, when and how would win, and maybe having learned a few spots to structure the match. The rest was composed basically of sparring full force, playing along in takedowns and submissions exchanges and trying to make it look good. To show you how much of a SeriousBusiness it was, accidental knockouts weren't really rare, and they were seen as just okay; the wrestlers were instructed to protect themselves at all times, and if they didn't, the price was simply a match ended before it was planned.
** An inverted example happened with Wrestling/KiyoshiTamura and Yoshihisa Yamamoto in their match at RINGS's 1996 Mega Battle Tournament. As both wrestlers were in midst of a push at the time, the bookers could not decide who should win the bout, and they eventually took the shocking decision of sending them to the ring to work the existent match structure and then go shoot (fight for real) when they ran out of script. Naturally, both Yamamoto and Tamura wanted to win, and they struck each other for real even during the worked segment in order to have the other worn when the real stuff came. At the end, Tamura won the match with a legitimate flying armbar who almost broke Yamamoto's arm.

to:

** Again, the Japanese take it to the extreme. In the old shoot-style (a classic style of puroresu which that works its matches with martial arts moves in order to resemble real fights), wrestlers used to come to the ring only knowing who, when and how would win, and maybe having learned a few couple spots to structure the match. The rest was composed basically of sparring full force, playing along in takedowns and submissions exchanges exchanges, and generally trying to make it look good. To show you how much of a SeriousBusiness it was, accidental knockouts weren't really rare, rare and they were seen as just okay; okay to happen; the wrestlers were instructed to protect themselves at all times, and if they didn't, the price was simply a match ended before it was planned.
** An inverted example happened with Wrestling/KiyoshiTamura and Yoshihisa Yamamoto in their match at RINGS's 1996 Mega Battle Tournament. As both wrestlers were in midst of a push at the time, the bookers could not decide who should win the bout, and so they eventually took the shocking decision of sending to send them to the ring to work the existent planned match structure and then go shoot (fight for real) when they ran out of script. get to the ending. Naturally, as both Yamamoto and Tamura wanted to win, and they struck each other for real even during the worked segment in order to have the other worn when the real stuff came. At the end, Tamura won the match with a legitimate flying armbar who that almost broke Yamamoto's arm.
2nd Mar '18 1:04:38 PM PhilsLover
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Many promos are done this way, with the wrestler given a basic outline of what to emphasize in his/her promo and then filling in the rest. Wrestlers who are particularly adept at this are given even more freedom and are usually more popular with the fans, often getting pushes based on their skills at cutting promos. Wrestling/{{WWE}} and rival Wrestling/{{TNA}} have been moving away from this in recent years, scripting promos word for word and insisting wrestlers stick to that, since the formatting for the television shows has gotten so tight. Results have been mixed, as improvising a promo and "making" a scripted one are very different sets of skills.

to:

* Many promos are done this way, with the wrestler given a basic outline of what to emphasize in his/her promo and then filling in the rest. Wrestlers who are particularly adept at this are given even more freedom and are usually more popular with the fans, often getting pushes based on their skills at cutting promos. Wrestling/{{WWE}} and rival Wrestling/{{TNA}} have has been moving away from this in recent years, scripting promos word for word and insisting wrestlers stick to that, since the formatting for the television shows has gotten so tight. Results have been mixed, as improvising a promo and "making" a scripted one are very different sets of skills.
30th Jan '18 12:47:37 PM CosmicFerret
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* During the filming of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Taika Waititi encouraged Jeff Goldblum to improvise and have fun with the latter's role as the Grandmaster. As a result, this is one of the Goldblumiest characters in recent history.
26th Jan '18 7:38:15 AM Zerostylinx
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* Believe it or not, almost all of the voice casts for alien characters in ''Film/UltramanOrbTheMovieLendMeThePowerOfBonds'' did this.
This list shows the last 10 events of 369. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.HarpoDoesSomethingFunny