top of page
Search

Write Your TV Comedy Script: Course Info & How to Structure Your Script

Updated: 2 days ago

In this blog I talk about my Write Your TV Comedy Script course and set out advice on structuring your thirty-minutes TV comedy script. And in the video I talk about how the course works.


Plus here is an hour long webinar I gave where I talk about structuring your 30 mins TV comedy scripts using Alma's Not Normal, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Catastrophe as examples.


Note: I am running two TV comedy script writing courses starting in early 2024. This WRITE YOUR TV COMEDY SCRIPT course is focused on getting the actual script written, with a close focus on getting the structure and rhythm of it right. The other SITCOM & COMEDY DRAMA - ESSENTIAL WRITING TOOLS course is more exploratory. Learning and trying out techniques, writing scenes, developing characters, finding your world.

Any queries please contact - chris@chrishead.com


WRITE YOUR TV COMEDY SCRIPT Next sessions:

5 sessions on Thursdays 25th April - 23rd May 2024 7pm-9pm UK time

8pm-10pm European time

11am-1pm Pacific time (PDT)

2pm-4pm Eastern time (EDT)



Across 5 weeks, be taken through the process of writing an artfully structured and plotted comedy script. Across the sessions you'll get your script written and you will learn structural and plotting skills that will serve you for all your future scripts.


Each week features example clips from sitcoms and comedy drama shows, writing tips and insights as well as discussion and analysis of your work. A video of the live class will be shared in case of absence or to refer back to. And you will share your work on a Trello board where there will be discussion and feedback.


Script structure The course follows the classic script structure of: TURNING POINT/ MIDPOINT/ CRUNCH POINT. In Act 1 of your script you want to hit a 'turning point' for your protagonist (often at the end of Act 1 but it can fall earlier). In the middle of the script is the 'midpoint' and at the end of your Act 2 you reach a 'crunch point'. Then you're into Act 3 which consolidates the key relationships and tees up the series.


And these beats of the story create a series of steps that the course follows, enabling you to get your script written in 6 weeks (you have a week following the final session to get the draft done). And if you don't manage it, you will know exactly what you need to write to complete it.


HOW THESE STORY BEATS WORK


3 act structure

While stories might be told in four acts, five acts or seven, three acts is a natural shape and is commonly found in 30 minute TV comedy. (Ignore anyone who tells you these shows are two acts - probably this is based on the idea of shows with a single commercial break).


You might have a cold open at the top: a scene or scenes that go before the opening titles. This cold open, or teaser, could usefully be be plot related, but it can also be an unrelated skit with your main character(s). Act 1 introduces the dilemma or problem for your protagonist, Act 2 develops and complicates the situation, and Act 3 brings things to a conclusion. And you may end on a 'tag' - an extra comic moment after the main story is wrapped up. Now, it's not mandatory to have acts actually marked on scripts with headings saying "Act 1"/ "Act 2"/ "Act 3". But even when they aren't explicitly marked, you will benefit from writing to this underlying rhythm.


The three big beats of your script

ACT 1 will be setting everything up for that episode. At a key moment - often at the end of Act 1, but it could be sooner within that first act - you reach a TURNING POINT for your protagonist. So something changes for your main character, it's the moment that sets the story in motion.


Act 2 picks up the story, then around half-way through the script, you hit the MIDPOINT. It's not just the middle of the script, it has a specific job to do. It can be the moment of no return, or at least when things suddenly get more challenging and options close down for your protagonist. It can also be a revelation where the audience find out something significant.


At the END ACT 2 you hit a CRUNCH POINT for your protagonist. Then you're into the shorter act 3 that rounds things off.


On the Zoom course we look at shows as varied as Ghosts, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Black Books, Friends, Alma's Not Normal, Fawlty Towers, Hacks...


"This is the best comedy writing course I've done. Chris’ course was organised, incredibly thorough and well designed. Every week we were writing pages for our sitcoms, reading other course attendees' homework and reading professional scripts. I particularly liked that every week he would choose a few scripts to go through in class, this meant that if your script was chosen, you received a lot of feedback from not only him but others on the course. It was a great incentive to hand in homework on time, write using the tools you learnt that week so that you could hear your scripts read out loud. Hearing others’ work and giving them feedback was also very fun. This felt like an intensive course, I managed to complete my first draft of my sitcom in 5 weeks which I didn’t think was possible. The course was very intentional and focused, so it felt like you learnt a lot in a short burst of time. Chris’ feedback was also very positive, encouraging and specific. During the last session, Chris went through some information about the industry itself, which was very helpful as that information can be difficult to find alone. I absolutely loved this course and I got a lot of value out of it. I highly recommend doing this course!"

Alya Soliman


Next ZOOM course sessions: 5 sessions on Thursdays 25th April - 23rd May 2024 7pm-9pm UK time

8pm-10pm European time

11am-1pm Pacific time (PDT)

2pm-4pm Eastern time (EDT) BOOK A PLACE


Image of a class in progress by Kate Bell (student in top right of picture!). Thanks Kate!


And I can also work with you on your script one-to-one.


326 views0 comments
bottom of page