Our crack team of comedy-readers have been getting their teeth into your scripts all week and we’re slowly but surely accumulating a pile of YES scripts, an even bigger pile of MAYBE scripts – and an even bigger pile of NO scripts. There have been all manner of ideas and worlds, from heaven to the gates of hell, from a youth hostel to public toilets, from mind-altered mice to a cheese-making messiah.
There have been a lot of common recurrences, and in truth commonly made mistakes. One thing the readers have noticed is the tendency towards what we call ‘sitcom-land’ scripts - where the world/characters could only really exist in a sitcom and don’t quite have that whiff of authenticity they need to ring true. Lots of flatshares, lots of made redundant/can’t get a job situations, lots of actors/comedians/writers trying to make it as actors/comedians/writers, lots of pubs and cafes, a fair few 30-40-something women looking for love.
They’ve also noticed a lot of exposition, setting-up and introducing of characters/world – and not enough episode story (take a look back at episode one of sitcoms you know and love – how did they start?)
And although we’ve had lots of audience/studio shows as stipulated, there’s been a sizeable amount with numerous locations and numerous exterior sequences that aren’t primarily filmable in front of a live studio audience – and we’ve even had a fair few that are absolutely, definitely single-camera rather studio shows. Of course, if we think they’re really funny, then we’ll still want to keep an eye on those writers – but it means the scripts will struggle to progress to the shortlist because the judges are expecting to see studio sitcoms.
There’s been lots of debate and discussion across the table about what constitutes a great studio show. And the most important thing – there are scripts in there that the readers think are really good, really funny, with real potential. Fingers crossed, by Tuesday 10 April we’ll have a better idea which scripts will have earned the writers an invite to the workshop/masterclass day. Watch this space …