If you're working on straight-ahead comedy, Lisa highly recommends WRITING TELEVISION SITCOMS by Evan S. Smith. It has the usual stuff on careers, but what's gold is the explanation of how to write jokes and comic scenes, even unto what sort of mix of characters you need. Check it out.
Labels: books, comedy, reading
Thanks for that. I have a little question....
I always stayed away from comedy (in the year I've known I want to write for screen). I (for some, ignorant reason) decided it was a lesser form of writing. I had a whole "not very long, *only* comedy" sort of attitude. It's because I'm not a huge fan of comedy in itself and prefer action-driven TV. Fear not, this insane opinion has since been rectified.
But my question is - do you think it's safer to spec a comedy show than a straight drama? I notice that straight dramas seem to depend more on the on-going story of the season, making it hard to spec. But comedy seems to be more episodic and therefore easier to spec. Is this right? Does this mean that it is a smarter move to spec a comedy show? Do you stand a better chance of getting hired? (assuming we put aside the obvious things like the writers noticing your jokes may not be 'on the money')???
Any insight would be awesome.
Happy writing and blogging
If you don't like comedy, why would you try to write it? Not to mention, how could you be any good at it if you don't even like it?
I think people have a genre that feels natural to them. I recently started a "drama" spec that I thought would be dark and bleak like The Ice Storm. Ten pages in, I realized I was writing a comedy of manners. I can't help it. I have a comic sensibility. And I couldn't write an action movie if you put a gun to my head.
Lisa - I kind of said that wrong. What I meant was that I don't like MUCH comedy. I don't often go to the cinema to see a comedy. I only like certain kinds and the majority of what's out there doesn't ammuse me. I see the looming problem - if I don't like POPULAR comedy, I won't write popular comedy. I'll write my own comedy that fewer people enjoy.
Either way, we'll see how it goes. I'll learn whether I can write comedy. If it works, great. If not, then I've learnt one of my weaknesses. It doesn't need to get to the 'making' stage obviously. Once things are written (10 minute webisodes) I'll know whether it could work based on people's reaction.
I do get what you mean about the genre thing though. I love action and (I believe from what people have said) I can write it. Comedy is something unexplored so I don't see why I shouldn't have a crack at it.
Aha. Not liking "popular" comedy is a different matter. I agree. The world doesn't need any more fart jokes.
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