17 Feb 2017

What Kind Of Writer Are You?

dave's picture

I’ve been spending a lot of time working with writers recently, which is probably not surprising given what I do for a living. It did make me aware of the huge amount of time I spend as a writer working on my own.
 
 
American comedy writers spend a lot of time working with each other in ‘the room’, where I am assured the best comedy always shines through. I’ve worked in a few different rooms over the years, but have usually been too wrapped up in the work to stop and think about some quite important questions…
 

11 Nov 2016

OFF UP D’BUS, LOSA!

dave's picture

Last time I suggested that comedy writers aren’t necessarily putting in enough work when it comes to creating new characters. All too often you see characters in sitcom responding to situations in random fashion.
 
Novelists and screenwriters spend an inordinate amount of time building character profiles. I don’t believe you and I need to think a great deal about backstory or what our comic inventions eat for breakfast, but there are several traits that comedy characters possess.
 

21 Sep 2016

More Joy Of Sketch

dave's picture

Welcome back, Newsjack. I’ve written before about sketch writing and I’m not going to stop saying it: if you want to make a living as a comedy writer this is the best place and the best way to start.
 
If you can master the skills of sketch writing you can, very quickly, build up credits on radio and possibly TV shows and become known as a comedy writer that producers will want to employ.
 

19 Nov 2015

Once More From The Top

dave's picture

James Cary and I did a podcast the other day about the first ten pages of your script, and last week I got a chance to see actors performing the opening scenes of several new sitcoms.
 
We’ve talked a lot about how important the first ten pages are to any sitcom script, and after watching that show I’d like to add a few more points…
 
LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS

16 Jul 2015

That Was The BBC That Was

dave's picture

I had an article all set to go, related to our new podcast about sitcom writing - then yesterday I found out that Bluestone 42, written by Richard Hurst and my co-podcastee James Cary, had been axed by BBC3. This was not a big surprise, not least because BBC3 itself had been axed a few days earlier.
 

29 Jun 2015

Why Write?

dave's picture

"Jealousy and envy - the only two reasons I write," a friend posted on Facebook recently.
 
It's not often you read something on Facebook that forces you to stop and think, a change from the more familar posts of friends' breakfasts and acquaintances' amusing cat pictures. Quite apart from having to remind myself why those words described two different emotions, reading such a brutally honest definition of being a writer made me consider my own reasons and, because this is a blog about wanting to be a writer, yours.
 

11 May 2015

"Getting Into Scrapes"

dave's picture

As I was working on an idea for a new sitcom character the other day, I heard myself asking this question of him - why is he always getting into scrapes?
 
It's a phrase that will be familiar to anyone over 40, it was the kind of thing that used to be written about characters like William from the Richmal Crompton 'Just William' books, it belongs to a bygone era of cheeky chappies with grazed knees and short trousers covered in mud, it predates the teenager, glue sniffing, video games, Zoella or whatever it is that kids are running with today.
 

24 Mar 2015

How Do I Get An Agent/Sell A Script/Not Get Ripped Off...

dave's picture

A while back the comedy writer Sam Bain wrote an article for ‘The Guardian’ about how to be a comedy writer. He co-writes Peep Show and Fresh Meat among others, so he knows.
 
It’s a great article which I’m sure you’ll be able to search out, but I thought it would be good to answer the comments. There are loads of general questions here, so I’ve tried to answer them as honestly and fairly as I can. Let me know if you have any more.
 

17 Mar 2015

Pro Writer

dave's picture

This week I've been teaching people how to write comedy. By which I mean I've been reminding myself of the basics of how to write comedy, by repeating the stuff that I think I know, and having it questioned by people who are starting out.
 

26 Jan 2015

How To Write And Sell A Comedy Screenplay

dave's picture

I'm quite excited about the imminent opening of Shaun The Sheep - The Movie. Probably far more excited than a 56-year-old man should be about a sheep-farming animation aimed principally at children aged between 4 and 8 years old. But if you've never watched the Aardman show I recommend you start - it's as funny as anything you'll see on grown-up TV.