A little while ago I quoted TV comedy writer Ellen Sandler's list of what not to do in a TV writing room.
Ellen has also written a book, The TV Writer's Workbook.
Her approach is methodical. She suggests, for example, that when you're writing a spec script, you break down three produced episodes carefully. Count the number of 1/4 page scenes, the number of 1 3/8 scenes, etc. If your own script is way off the produced numbers, your script won't have the same rhythm as the show.
The book has many useful exercises -- it's a workbook after all. For example, to come up with springboards, mine one of the seven deadly sins for things you've done, or seen people do. Take one of those moments and brainstorm a "cluster" of associations and images. Then you can transfer one of these associations or images onto one of the main characters of the show, and see how it can grow into a story for him or her.
Ellen is an extremely accomplished sitcom writer/producer -- she's written for Everybody Loves Raymond
, among others. So particularly if you're aiming for a career in TV comedy, check this book out!
UPDATE: Dan Abrams reports that Ellen will be promoting the book at the Dramatist's Bookshop in New York on Wednesday at 6 pm. It's on 40th St. between 7th and 8th.
Labels: Crafty TV Writing, your career
I walked by the dramatists bookshop last night, and she's going to be appearing to promote her book on 18 April, which is Wednesday, at 6:00. I wish I could go (I may go but be a little late).
Dramatist's bookstore is on 40th st between 8th ave and 7th.
Oh yeah, Dramatists Bookshop is in New York City...
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