Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sitcom Dance


Works under consideration: 0
Current Dominant Thought: Close to coffee time
Ideas: 1.279

This post carries on the writing a sitcom and how to generate ideas

COUNTDOWN TILL every1sacritic competition –12 Days, seven minutes

Ever1sacritic – THE BRIEF
15 min script
To be performed Live
Minimal set
Minimal actors

In the last post I mumbled and grumbled on about how to get ideas. Here’s the list I wrote this morning, well less a list, more a squalid collection of thoughts present and borrowing from the past (I’m in a hurry!)

1. Pyrate (pirate) impressions
2. A real baddie
3. Caught in a surprise tableau (I’ll explain later)
4. Characters: everyman
5. Time Travelling Hotel
6. The Agency
7. Alf Garnett – Passion!
8. Two Active questions
9. Historical companion
10. Pretending to be an animal (cat impressions)
11. Snow White and the 7 Samuarai (it’s been done!)
12. Mad, Bad, Glad
13. Child, Animal, Machine
14. Marketing Agency
15. Call Centre
16. 3 Guys working for peanuts
17. Starting a band
18. Bitch – German
19. Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman (potential to be used at a later date)
20. “We’re going to headline the Pyramid Stage (Glastonbury)
21. Head Sets and Air Guitar
22. Dramatic irony – having to pretend to be on a call

Can you see what it is yet?

Yep it’s a Straight Lad Type Sitcom. I’m going for Brrrrrrrrrrooooooaaaaad comedy.

Are all rubbish. If you start with the premise of a ‘VERY-FUNNY-SITUATION’ the fight is lost. Nor is it the COMEDY. It’s the characters.

Do you know what ‘Being Humour’ is? It’s when you and your audience ‘KNOW’ the character and how they are going to react. Draw them instantly (Bloody difficult) we’ll save character stuff for the next post.

There’s some silly stuff: cat impressions and pyrates – but I like this stuff.
I have the setting and what they do and what they aspire to do. Three guys, different nationalities working in a call centre for peanuts want to form a band. We have some idea of props and possible visible and ironic gags.

First is the passion. No one does passion in Sitcom. Not many comics do it now. Bill Hicks had it. Frankie Boyle may have it but not since ‘Till Death Does Us Part’ have we seen any anger. Perhaps I’ll bring in something contemporaty…Iraq, the ‘WAR! On terror dumdeedum.

Mad Bad Glad. These are the three big emotions. You can base characters on them.

Child Animal Machine. This is short hand and widely used by Sit Com writers. Think of the Sit Coms with three characters. Father Ted : Jack (Animal) Dougal (Child). Ted (Machine). Animal and child are easy and can be seen in many combinations. Machine means they have one motivation – the machine. With Ted it’s Fame and money and all the good things in life that fame brings.

A real baddie. I want the actors to enjoy playing their roles. A real good baddie, one that frightens – really frightens will make the jokes more intense. I’ve chosen a German for my baddie and used one word ‘bitch.’ She’s going to be good and a very tough oppenent for the boys. And they are going to want her in the band because she’s sexy and can play guitar better than them and has a voice of warmed gravel and treacle.

Surprise Tableau
If you’re going to steal ideas steal from the best. In an episode of Black Books called ‘Grapes of Wrath’ there is a tableau “The Mad Professor creating a ‘Potion’ with his trusty deformed grunting sidekick.” It takes my breath away – comedy genius. I’m going to reuse the idea. Don’t know how yet.

Tune in Next Time for…
Building characters
Planning out what happens using a beat sheet and index cards.

Random Band Mix
The National & Likin Park Tour Washington State
‘In The End A Fake Empire’


At 11:30 pm, Blogger Les Becker said...

I worked 8 months in a call centre and "Mad Bad Glad" covers it exactly. Mad that I was stuck there... Considered myself completely Mad to stay there... Bad food, Bad pay, Bad air, Bad customers, Bad coworkers, Bad bosses, Bad dreams, and GLAD when the shift ended.

Repeat daily for too freaking long.

But as a sitcom? You have a winner, my friend.

At 6:51 pm, Blogger JimKin said...

Write about what you know...

I worked in a call centre, met some good guys...can't help remembering a fellow who's laconic line was "I'm sorry sir but you appear to have mixed me up with some one that gives a f**k."

Now let's run away very fast and hunt down that Sherry bottle...


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