Is your New Year’s resolution to finally sit down and write that award winning TV sitcom? And if you do why not send to us? We’ll read and report back for free.
Some new grintage followers have been asking about more articles on writing comedy. Remember the Search button on the home page offers a wide selection of tips and features on writing comedy for web, radio and TV. Before you read this feature on PLOT a good idea to access the two recently published articles on developing your sitcom script and your characters?
Hope this series of tips on writing sitcom & comedy are useful. Now that you have your character, cast and possibly the ‘trap’ for your sitcom what about the ‘storylines’?
As we all know ‘plot’ should never replace ‘character’ – but we still have to place our script and story in a time and a place. And the more dramatic the page turning scene the better. And of course packed with comedy moments and potential. That’s why writing comedy is the hardest to get right – you need both drama and laughs!
We certainly do not want to influence your great idea – but like all the material we have posted focused on writing comedy the below just might steer or help you. If you are sorted already than go write.
The plot and situations of many sitcom episodes arise out of a character’s lying to or otherwise deceiving the other characters.
The most common comedic situations based on deception include:
- Attempts to hide egregious mistakes or acts of weakness.
- Attempts to “correct” a mistake before others find out about it.
- Attempts to return stolen property before discovery of the theft.
- Attempts to replace destroyed property before discovery of destruction.
- Attempts to fix situations that end up making them worse.
- Attempts to protect friends and family members from bad news.
- Attempts to maintain an advantage based on deception.
- Attempts to dupe someone so as to achieve an advantage.
The majority of sitcom episodes revolve around some form of the lying/deception premises listed above.
Lesser-used sitcom plot formulas include:
- One or more characters going into a foreign environment only to return to “where they belong.” Frequently, sitcom writers will use this plot formula to transplant the entire cast to some exotic location.
- A character choosing to make some fundamental change in their body, habits, job, or other component of their environment, only to return to “what feels normal.”
- Characters entering competitions or contests.
- Characters being elevated to positions of responsibility they can’t handle.
- Newcomers or strangers making one-time appearances that change the personal dynamics between the recurring characters.
- A special holiday episode e.g. Xmas, Halloween or St Patrick’s Day
- A character thinking another character is going to die and does anything to please him/her, while the other character takes advantage.
- Male and female characters exchanging their archetypal “men” and “women” roles to demonstrate the other gender “has it easier”, only to find out they were more comfortable with their own.
- A character gets hit on the head and changes personalities or loses memories until getting hit on the head again, reversing the effect and restoring their original self.
THE VERY SPECIAL EPISODE
This episode of a comedy series goes outside of their standard comedy format and involves a controversial issue or either a birth, a death or an otherwise traumatic experience for one of the major characters.
Most comedy half hour sitcom formats stick with the above tried and trusted techniques that the TV audience will watch & accept as the norm – it is a ‘SITCOM’.
Best of luck and remember we are here to help!