Have you written a pilot sitcom script?
There’s a very good chance that your first ten pages contains at least three of the following:
- Tracking shots / specified camera angles
- A montage
- Detailed explanations of what we're looking at.
- Specific tracks of music we're hearing.
- Lots of dialogue for non-regular characters.
- Lots of action in a location that we never see again.
How did you do? Marks out of ten?
A high score is bad.
I say this because having read literally hundreds of scripts in the last year, the majority of scripts contain an opening scene that runs for at least seven pages - normally nine - and includes every main character.
Everyone’s standing around waiting for the story to start.
Don’t do this.
Start your story.
Give your main character a quest by the end of Page 3. Even better, by the end of page 2.
Give another character a quest by the end of page 5. Even better, by the of page 4.
Even better, have your main character decide to go on a quest, rather than have one thrust upon them.
There’s a saying that in a comedy you should chase your character up a tree and then throw sticks at them.
This is wrong.
Or at least sub-optimal. Your character is being passive.
Give you character a clear reason to want to climb a tree. And then have them invite people to throw sticks at them. That way, your character is being active – and their own worst enemy.
And then give another character a good reason to cut the tree down.
Now it's getting funny.
Want more? Want to get into the nitty gritty?
Come to my pay-what-you-like webinar at 6pm (UK Time) on Tuesday 28th June where you’ll get 90-minutes of hands-on writers room experience with me and whoever else turns up.