Writing a situation comedy scripts

However, there are quite a few mistakes and odd stylistic choices that we see writers make again and again when it comes to these elements.

Writing a situation comedy scripts

Share via Email Creating a successful sitcom is almost impossibly difficult. Not only do you have to find a compelling enough situation, but you need to create characters who will continue to entertain and divert an audience in possibly a hundred episodes time. Then you have to convince a broadcaster to make it, usually based on one script.

If you can think of a unique situation then that might give you a head start, but the heart of any sitcom is the characters. So while the Home Guard was a brilliant setting, it was Captain Mainwaring's misplaced self-importance that made the show a classic.

Plus the intricate relationships between all the old men reluctantly forced together. You need conflict between characters, but also some reason why they are forced to spend time together.

Are they tied together by blood like Steptoe and Son, by marriage like Basil and Sybil Fawlty, by their job like Tim and Gareth from the Office or are they literally incarcerated like Fletcher and Godber in Porridge?

You need to work on your characters and get to know them before you start. Write down what they do, their philosophies, their back history.

Plenty of extra detail will be added once you start the script, but the more prepared you are, the better. You need to establish their basic character almost instantly in the first episode, but then you have time to release nuggets of new information. The deeper and more engaging the characters are, the less you have to rely on gimmicky, outlandish plots, like Fonzie waterskiing over that shark.

There are outlandish sitcoms that work brilliantly like Father Ted, Reggie Perrin and Arrested Development, but these still have a solid foundation of brilliant, recognisable, yet original characters. If you want to create something great and memorable then don't rely on the formulaic gags and stereotypes which give the genre a bad name "there's no way in a million years you will ever get me to go to the opera!

I read a TV critic who described a game that they played while watching My Family where they paused the action after a feedline and tried to guess the punchline.

They correctly predicted it or improved it, nearly every time. This is one of the most watched sitcoms in the country, showing that some people want familiarity from comedy.

But would you be happy if someone was able to play that game with something you had written? It's possible to be popular and comedically excellent. Look at the Simpsons. And note that the most successful episodes are the ones that focus on the minutiae of family life. But with honesty and charm.

Often you will find taking out the scene that you think is funniest will actually improve the episode as a whole.

They will work out exactly how the episode will end and then work backwards to make their hilarious denouement come to pass. But why not try writing an episode chronologically, without any idea of where you are going? Then any twists and turns can surprise you as much as anyone else and things will not be as contrived.

It may not work, but it's an interesting exercise and a good way to avoid being predictable. However much time you spend crafting the script on paper, it will be astounding how many cuts and changes leap out at you once you hear it.

Also, as always, you will get useful feedback as to which bits are actually funny. Work out what motivates them, what makes them who they are, and make them human and three-dimensional, however small a part they have to play.Cracking the Sitcom Code After signing up to write a script for Croatian television, I learned that virtually all TV comedies, from Seinfeld to South Park, follow a simple formula.

Noah Charney. There are just two vital elements to writing successful situation comedy: you need good and amusing characters, and you need, as the title of the genre suggests, a good and amusing situation.

blog. 35 Common Writing Style Mistakes In Spec Scripts (And How To Fix Them).

writing a situation comedy scripts

Glossary A Page A revised page that extends beyond the original page, going onto a second page. (i.e.

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Page 1, 1A, 2, 3, 3A) Abbreviations shortcuts used in scripts such V.O., O.C. Ken Levine's daily column about writing, producing and watching TV sitcoms, TV dramas, film, pop culture and life.

Linehan and Mathews first met while working at Hot Press. In the late s, Mathews, Paul Woodfull and Kieran Woodfull formed The Joshua Trio, a U2 tribute band. The trio began writing comedy sketches to accompany their act. Mathews created the Father Ted .

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