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How to perfect your sitcom script

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Kenton Allen, CEO of Big Talk – the team behind Spaced and Black Books – talks us through honing your Sitcom Search scripts...

In case you’ve not been paying attention over the past few weeks, our ShortList Sitcom Search competition is offering one talented aspiring comedy writer (or team) a £5,000 development deal with Comedy Central UK and Big Talk productions.

The deadline for entries is next Monday (24 September), so we’ve enlisted Kenton Allen – one of our judges, and chief executive of Big Talk productions (the company responsible for the likes of Rev and Friday Night Dinner, above) – to offer his final tips on perfecting your script.

1. “Grab your reader instantly. When I first read Stefan Golaszewski’s Him & Her, it leapt straight off the page. The opening description was something like, ‘Boy and girl, lying in bed in their pants’ and the first line was, ‘You are very good at blow jobs.’ Straight away, you think, ‘I'll read a bit more of this.’”

2. “Don’t write the first episode – write the fourth. By the fourth episode, you’re not spending all your time explaining who these people are and how they know each other, which can be boring. However, if you do decide to write an episode that establishes the premise, watch the first episode of Spaced. It’s one of the best pilot episodes in the entire comedy canon.”

3. “Define your characters. If you can swap lines between them and not notice, you’ve got a problem.”

4. “Have specific actors in mind for the characters. It will help you hone the dialogue and realise how it might be delivered if you imagine your male lead is, say, a 'Robert Webb' type and his best mate is a nerdy 'Simon Bird' type.”

5. “It’s a cliché, but writing is re-writing. The script you send in should have been printed out, given to friends for feedback, read aloud and revised to make sure it’s the very best that it possibly can be.”

For more details head here

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