7 on 7 Masterclass with David Mitchell

Handing over this one to Hannah Rodger, our New Writing Co-ordinator, who's got a report on the recent 7 on 7 opportunity and masterclass.

Take it away Hannah:

"If you were one of the many writers that sent us in a sketch for the 7 on 7 opportunity then we'd like to say thank you. Not only did you all put a lot of effort and hard work into it but some of the sketch titles made us chuckle as we were madly logging the entries and passing them onto our readers.

Only 15 writers were selected for the 7 on 7 masterclass with Gareth Edwards and David Mitchell so we thought we'd let you know what hints and tips the team at radio comedy passed on to the writers. The masterclass began with Gareth talking about what he looks for in a radio comedy script. His key points were;

  • Something that breaks out of reality (especially 2 people sitting in a room talking) after all radio can take you anywhere.
  • A sketch that keeps defeating your expectations and/or has a reversal of truth is going to keep him interested too. Sometimes you don't always have a lot of time in a sketch to set up anything elaborate but there's always room to deliver the unexpected.
  • He also advised that it's not a good idea to write what you think people find funny but what you find funny.

Gareth played a few examples from That Mitchell and Webb Sound to illustrate that in radio the writer is completely in control of revealing the information and the trick is to keep surprising the audience with each reveal.
David Mitchell then joined the group and talked about his inspirations and tips. The key pieces of advice he gave for writing radio comedy were;

  • Establish what you are writing about, whether it is a concept based sketch or character based sketch then exaggerate it.
  • If the audience agree with what they hear or are surprised by it that's when you will get a genuine laugh.

The group then went through the papers and pulled out stories that could inspire a topical sketch. The writers were asked to do the following;

  • Look for an angle into the story
  • Determine what they think is the essential truth
  • Think about the sounds the sketch could create too

We don't yet know when submissions will be open again for 7 on 7 but we hope these tips will help your sketch writing in the meantime."

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