Category > Writing craft

Sketch comedy writing: Sketches need characters

So far, so obvious.  A sketch without characters would be,um, a very long  joke or a short stand up set. And even then the persona of the performer gives you at least one character to play with. So sketches need characters. So what? Well, they need funny characters. Again, obvious. We’re trying to write comedy […]

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The Show What You Wrote – the things what I learned

Well, 15,000 sketches read less than 1% of those used. And The Show What You Wrote is done (apart from the editing and broadcast…  🙂 ). No credit for me this time. But I have learned a lot from the process of writing for a non-topical show. And from Jon Hunter‘s excellent general feedback which […]

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Writing sketches: things to consider while drafting

Sorry about the lack of posting action – not been getting much sleep! Or free time not used for writing sketched. However I have been thinking hard about writing sketches and trying to make them as good as I possibly can. I always have certain ideas/ways of working that I keep in my head but […]

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Writing for Newsjack: The hunt for the killer premise

Pity the poor Newsjack sketch reader. By the end of Monday they will know every possible horse meat joke in the history of the universe. That’s not to say you shouldn’t send yours as well, but for the  sake of the poor reader do make it original. So don’t you do what I naturally do – […]

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Writing for Newsjack: The Kettle Rule

As promised, here is the first of the tips even I have managed to pick up writing for Newsjack. The Kettle Rules is nothing to do with making tea or coffee (even if that does take up half your writing time). This rule is named after the excellent James Kettle – an experienced comedy writer […]

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Andrew Ellard on naming characters

Andrew Ellard (script editor on Red Dwarf, IT Crowd, and Miranda amongst other things) has a great Storify story on naming characters. His basic point is that you should make the character name evoke (or, perhaps, completely contrast with) the character. E.g. Mr Gradgrind tells you exactly what Dicken’s character is like.  On the other […]

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The importance of the Shitty First Draft

(Please excuse the Anglo-Saxon synonym for manure used throughout. It is entirely artistically justified. Well, mostly. And it’s shorter to type.) I asked Father Christmas to bring me the boxset of The IT Crowd this year, partly so I could watch them without watching 20 emotionally needy Microsoft ads on 4OD.  (If Windows 8 was […]

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Newsjack: The format I use for sketches and oneliners

People (including Frank a week or so ago) have asked me what format I use to send sketches and one liners into the BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack (and other radio opportunities). I’ve attached some example scripts showing how I do it. There is nothing original about this. I have taken all of this from BBC […]

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More on writing for Newsjack

In case you haven’t seen enough articles on writing for Newsjack here’s a good description of the emotional rolloercoaster of it all from Marc Paterson. There’s also James Cary’s now classic explanation of why you should give it a go. I already mentioned Tom Neenan’s blog post and of course I keep writing about NewsJack (when I […]

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Learning to take notes, and asking for a slap in the face.

Writing is hard. Well, not hard in the being shot at for a living, or working 15 hours a day smelting iron sense. I mean, its not hard compared to a real job, but that doesn’t stop it being hard. Writing is hard to do well.  Most people can set down some words in a […]

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