Writing Television Sitcoms

ISBN-10: 0399535373
ISBN-13: 9780399535376
Edition: 2010 (Revised)
Authors: Evan S. Smith
List price: $18.00 Buy it from $13.66
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Description: A completely revised and updated edition of the go-to insider’s guide for aspiring TV sitcom writers. This new edition of Writing Television Sitcomsfeatures the essential information every would-be teleplay writer needs to know to break into the  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/1/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.726
Language: English

A completely revised and updated edition of the go-to insider’s guide for aspiring TV sitcom writers. This new edition of Writing Television Sitcomsfeatures the essential information every would-be teleplay writer needs to know to break into the business, including: • Updated examples from contemporary shows such as 30 Rock, The Office, Two and a Half Men, Entourage, South Park, and Family Guy • Shifts in how modern stories are structured • How to recognize changes in taste and censorship • The effects of the growing market of cable programs • The reality of reality television • How the Internet has created series development Opportunities • A refined strategy for approaching agents and managers • How pitches and e-queries work—or don’t • The importance of screenwriting competitions

Introduction
Writing Premise-Driven Comedy
The Game Plan
Career Paths
Getting Started
First, Some Theory
The Mechanics of Laughter
Characteristics of Comedy
The importance of Tension
Putting Theory into Practice
Seamless Humor
Consistency
Comedy Output
The Traditional Approach to Sitcom Writing
Level One: Premise-Driven Comedy
A Different Approach: Comedy in the Story Premise
Predicaments
Character Mix
Style of Comedy
Casting
Level Two: Comedy in Sequences and Scenes
Compound Story Predicaments
Stir Up the Character Mix
Mix and Match
Three Things to Remember
Level Three: Comedy in Dialogue and Actions
Building Jokes
Setups
Punchlines
Funny Actions
Miscellaneous Comedy Tips
About All of These Labels
Finding Your Comedic Voice
Writing a Professional Script
Doing Your Homework
Which Series to Pick
Researching the Series
Studying the Premise
Developing an Episode Premise
Advice from Our Producers
Dreaming Up Stories
Picking Your Best Ideas
Turning Ideas into Springboards
High-Concept Stories
Developing the Story
Creating a Beat Sheet
Story Structure: Linear vs. Thread
Story Threads vs. Subplots vs. Ensemble Stories
Stories Without Endings
Serialized Stories (Story Arcs)
Dramatic Structure vs. Broadcast Format
Story Tips
Comedy's Impact on Story
How the Production Process Affects Your Script
Nail the Story, the Rest is Easy
Creating Funny Characters
Remember the Mix
Character Arcs
Character Types
Visiting Characters
Writing An Outline
Writing to Sell, Not Educate
Building an Outline
How it Should Look on Paper
Stylistic Tips
Rewriting an Outline
Advice from Our Producers
Writing the First Draft
Just Do It
Writing Scenes
Harvesting Comedy Built into the Premise and Scene Levels
Professional Script Format
Writing Scene Descriptions
Writing Dialogue
Miscellaneous Tips
Planting Exposition
Advice from Our Producers
When That First Draft is Finished
Rewriting the Script
When Rewriting by Yourself
Advice from Our Producers
Once the Script is Finished
A Battle Plan for Launching Your Career
Step One: Developing a Strategy
The Job Market
How the Writer Fits In
A Writer's Workweek
Writing is a Business
Ageism
Putting Food on the Table
Must You Live in Los Angeles?
Step Two: Landing an Agent and/Or Manager
Developing a Hit List
Before Picking Up the Phone
Prepare a Phone Spiel
Making the Call
Submitting Your Material
Testing the Waters if You Don't Live in LA.
Following Up on Submissions
If you Fail to Land Representation
You Get an Offer!
Signing the Contract
Once You've Signed with Someone
Step Three: Getting Your Work Out There
Scouting the Market
Hiring Windows
Working with Your Rep
Which Scripts to Send
Being Picky about Jobs
Cold-Calling Producers
Other Strategies for Reaching Producers
Keep Writing
Writing in Teams
Rejection
Dealing with Writer's Block
Protecting Your Work
Who Keeps the Copyright?
The Writers Guild of America
Step Four: Pitching for Assignments
The Call Comes In!
Preparing for the Pitch
The Pitch
Advice from Our Producers
What Might Happen
The Contract
The Money
Step Five: Landing a Staff Job
Becoming a Staff Writer
Office Politics
Roundtable Writing
Advice from Our Producers
Staff Job Contracts and Compensation
Step Six: Climbing the Ladder
The Care and Feeding of Reps
Taking a Development Deal
Creating A New Series
Creating a Series Format
Writing a Pilot Script
Selling a Pilot
Going in to Pitch
Producing a Homegrown Pilot
The Money
Time to Wrap Up!
Script Format Guidelines
Additional Resources
Endnotes
Index

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