Thursday 16 June 2022

How to Write A Sitcom Script That Doesn’t Suck

The road is long. And the way is hard. But we’ve established that you don’t need qualifications or specialist expensive equipment – but because of that, everyone’s a writer and it’s competitive.

But a good script is hard to find and will get you noticed. Honestly.

So how do you write one? One that doesn't suck?

I figured it out by watching sitcoms.

That's because they're just weren’t any courses back in the late 1990s. If there were, I would have done one. But I had no way of finding out about them. I was raised on a farm, had no contacts in the industry, the internet was all dial-up, and there was no Google, so you couldn't find anything anyway.

So I figured it out.

I watched Porridge, Fawlty Towers, Yes Prime Minister, Ever Decreasing Circles, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, MASH, Cheers, Caroline in the City (seriously) and The Phil Silvers Show (aka Sergeant Bilko).

If you want to do the same, I’d recommend watching three shows:

Frasier is a masterclass in comedy writing, and it’s just crystal clear the whole time what the characters are trying to do – and it’s not too complicated. They make it look simple. Which is hard. Watch it for free on TV.

The Goldbergs is another show that’s shows the emotional journeys of the characters really clearly and loads of scripts I read get this wrong. Or don't have emotional journeys at all.

For pace, characters and jokes, you could learn a lot from Brooklyn 99.

Watch those episodes with a pad of paper, making notes, breaking down the scenes and figuring out what's going on - and you'll learn. Eventually.

Warning: Avoid Modern Family

Don’t watch the first three series of Modern Family.

Those episodes are just TOO good. They’re incredible. They're perfect.

The number of characters and the speed of the plotting and how it all comes together is just so amazing that trying to learn how to write a sitcom from Modern Family is like trying to learn how to drive by watching Formula 1.

Not the best place to start.  

Watching those early season of Modern Family almost made me want to give up. But that’s a story for another time.

How Save Months Of Time

So you could do what I did and figure it out how to write a sitcom that doesn't suck by watching sitcoms for hours, days, weeks and months.

Or you could save your saves months, and probably years, by doing my 12 Lesson video course, Writing Your Sitcom.

In the course, I tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. And I don’t bombard you with stuff you don’t need to know. Why not find out more over here?

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