Share via Email You may be tempted to crack straight on with a sitcom, but start small. Containing an idea in a two-minute sketch will teach you about structure, establishing characters and how to write pithy, economical dialogue. It is easy to put on a sketch show at your college, pub or on the internet.
Share via Email This article is over 18 years old Have you ever sat through a turgid half hour of humourless television and thought to yourself, I could write a better sitcom with my eyes closed, one hand behind my back and a colony of vicious drone ants living in my underwear?
Well, of course you have. And if you've ever had a go at writing your own comedic masterpiece, you'll have found that it's a whole lot harder than it looks.
Characterisation, pacing, timing and - above all - being hilarious is tough. The internet is not an obvious place to look for help in writing a sitcom. Being funny is, after all, a creative process, not something that can be searched for or bought on an auction site.
Or so I thought, until I took a long hard look at my own half-written pilot episode. It had decent characterisation and reasonable plot development but - at the end of it all - not a single funny line.
In desperation, I headed to the web and discovered a wealth of resources. The Write Stuff is the official website of the BBC's comedy script unit, which receives between 1, and 1, scripts each year.
It is essential reading: At the other end of the scale is www. They are actively looking for new concepts and scripts for online animated short films - the only criterion, they say, is that "it has to make us laugh". Unfortunately, most production companies aren't very good at supplying online submission details for would-be sitcom writers.
This is where insider contacts and friends of friends come into their own but, of course, you're just starting out, so you don't have any industry chums. Fear not, there are ways around this: Recent topics include Steve Coogan's new production company and tips on how to behave when meeting the new ITV head of comedy, Sioned William.
A great place for advice, discussion and insider information. Another excellent site with a community feel is Situations Vacantwhich "works with new writers and performers to devise, develop and test on stage sitcoms and comedy concepts for television and radio".
It also organises London-based sitcom trials next show in Septemberhas an archive of original scripts and supplies a comprehensive top 10 of sitcom dos and don'ts. If it's advice you're after, don't miss out on Sitcom Writing http: It features interviews with professional comedians, tips on how to structure your sitcom and sample sketches from Smack The Pony.
Another invaluable resource is Writing for Performance www. This is the most comprehensive sitcom site I've seen, offering an excellent guide to sitcom basics, transcripts of interviews with television producers, and contact details for 20 comedy production companies.
If you're not sure that your script is ready to be sent to a producer, the Screenwriters' Workshop at www. It has links to writing groups and offers a professional, paid-for, script evaluation service.
If you think you'd benefit from taking an online course, take a look at TV Comedy College. A free sample module is available on request. Finally, when you're working on your script and the words just won't flow, pay a visit to Tom's Comedy Quotes at http: This has inspirational quotes by the bucketful from those greats of the sitcom world, Cheers and Seinfeld.
Another good place for kick-starting your creative juice pump is the TV Comedy Databasewhich has cast, production and episode details for more than British sitcoms. Browsing through these programmes can be both depressing and invigorating.
The chances of you coming up with something even half as wonderful as Fawlty Towers on your first attempt are extremely slim.
But at least you'll be able to manage something funnier than Heartburn Hotel and Up Rising two of the direst sitcoms it has ever been my misfortune to endure simply by persuading a city gent to fall into a manhole when distracted by an attractive young lady.Mar 27, · Classical narrative sitcoms are made up of two acts, but they are acts ii and iii.
What? All this means is that the de facto first act of a sitcom is the premise of the show itself. And I don't mean just the backstory; I mean the cast design, the character relationships, and the arena of the show. This is the real root of the comedy. The Write Stuff is the official website of the BBC's comedy script unit, which receives between 1, and 1, scripts each year.
It is essential reading: the writers' guidelines tell you everything you need to know about submitting your script, including formatting pages, tips on concepts and, importantly, what the Beeb is really looking for in a sitcom. Proposals can be pieces of writing, events, publications or productions on any subject and in any form, including (but not limited to) prose fiction or non-fiction, short stories, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, graphic fiction, biography or travel-writing.
The students read some reviews of popular sitcoms. Then they then watch a sitcom or a clip of a sitcom, discuss their impressions and share their ideas and then write their own reviews using the readings as a . Former ‘Great British Bake Off’ hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are reportedly set to star in their own sitcom.
The pair were offered their own show as part of a deal to stay at the BBC, after Channel 4 poached ‘Bake Off’ last year. The comedy duo are writing the scripts and are also. The new sitcom from the writer of the BBC's Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps begins filming next month. Written by Susan Nickson, Grownups revolves around a group of people in their late 20s living in Manchester.