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STUCK!! HELP ME (1 Viewer)

P

papa lazarou

Hello fellow writers,

I have a good idea for a sitcom. Which i am trying to rope my friend into doing with me, but i cannot seem to put it on paper. It sounds funny in my head but on paper it looks largley unfunny.

anybody else suffer with this problem? If so how do i overcome it?

regards
 

Erik Buchanan

Senior Member
If you don't put it on paper, you will never know if it is funny or not.

Create character descriptions and use them them as the basic for a short scene. Write the short scene, then have a reading. If it's funny, continue. If it isn't, rewrite and try to figure out why.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
When you say "I'm trying to write a sitcom" what you mean is "I'm trying to write a pilot". Toughest episode to write.

I'd say examine some scripts for pilots and see how they work. I don't know if you've done TV scripts before, but if not the format can be inivisibly torpedoing you...and it can be your best friend.

Start by deciding what you're going to do...one hour, two hour, etc.

Then lay it out by acts: 5 acts, 7 acts, tag, trailer, etc. Remember to plan for a diminishing number of pages as the play progresses, because that't the way they're programmed.

Now start thinking in terms of having the action come to a cliffhanger at each commercial break...you're actually doing a half-dozen little episodes that tie into one. This might sound even more difficult, but it has a way of clearing your head sometimes.

The other thing to do is dream up an opening act that presents your characters, gets the laughs, and ends with people waiting to see what happens next.

Good luck
 
There is also some great computer programs, they don't write the script, for you, they just give you the format...I have "Final Draft 7" Check it out....

Ray
 

Wallmaker

Senior Member
If I were you, I spend a lot of time developing the characters and their relationships. That's going to be what keeps your viewers tuned in next time... if the characters jump off the page and if we're left wondering if next time so and so will get a break, etc.

One of my favorite sitcoms is an American one calls Scrubs about residents training at a hospital. The main character, JD, is smart, but needs constant love and approval from others, mainly those he respects. His mentor, Dr. Cox is a misanthrope who hates residents and patients alike, but he maybe the best doctor around. Therefore, JD wants Dr. Cox's love and approval. Hilarity ensues... episode after episode with variations on this relationship and situations that bring it to the screen. Now that's just one relationship in the sitcom. There are many. But you get the picture.

Once you figure out the "family" of your cast (those people we're going to see and expect to see week after week) then I'd say your first episode is going to be much easier. Often I find pilots can explain the set up to the story to show how the "family" ends up thrown together or you can start it off like any other episode. I guess it depends on how complicated the back story is or what you think will pull your audience in more.

Anyway, hope this helps and good luck. I also highly recommend finding a few sitcom TV scripts online to look at format and see how TV writers do what they do. A pretty thorough free script site is Drew's Script o Rama...including lots of TV scripts. Drew's Script-O-Rama: free movie scripts and screenplays, baby!

Good luck and cheers,

Kay
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
All good points.

Yeah, what he calls "family" and I call "constellation" is all-important for the basic setup. It can just be a collection of different personalities to play with (Friends) or contain conflicts and balances that play out strongly over many seasons (Sopranos, News Radio, The Office)

I forgot to mention...the best source of feedback on TV is Larry Brody's TV Writer. Com
 
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