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19 September 2014
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Advice

Creating a Winning Sitcom

Danny Peak

Daniel Peak


After winning New Talent's Sitcom Writer award in 2002 Daniel Peak joined the 'Two Pints of Lager' scriptwriting team with Susan Nickson. Most recently he co-created BBC Three's hit comedy 'I'm With Stupid'.

 

Find out more about Daniel and his success since winning the scheme.

Here Daniel talks about the process of making a sitcom and how to get a foot in the door.

 

Q1. What's the best way to get started?

Put some words down on paper no matter how bad they are.The first draft of one of my scripts I wouldn't even show to a dog! Writers who perform their own stuff or who work with a sketch group have a bit of an advantage. Get your work out there in front of as many people as possible. The best way to improve is to see your work performed...

 

Q2. How do you know what's funny - do you have to shock people?

I always know that everything I've written is funny - it's just whether other people agree! You don't find out til you've shown it to somebody else... Just write whatever you think is funny - if that's something sick and depraved then go for it!

 

Q3. What's the process of getting a sitcom made and what sort of things get commissioned?

For a new writer I think the way to get a show made is to write a half hour script and get it in front of as many producers as possible. The first step is making your name known. Once you know a few people you've got somewhere to take your next idea. An awful lot is down to luck...

 

Q4. What do you think is the best type of training for a sitcom writer?

Watch loads of TV and work out what you like and what you don't like, and what bits you can copy! I think the Phil Silvers / Sgt Bilko shows are so clever, and of course the Simpsons have done every joke possible in the world!

 

Q5. Are there any websites or handbooks that you find useful?

I look at the BBC New Talent website quite a lot, and the BBC Writersroom too. It has details of competitions you can enter which is great...

 

Q6. What do you wish you'd known when you started out - any tips for aspiring writers?

I wish I'd been less precious about showing people my work and getting it performed. I'd also say: Watch loads of TV and sitcoms - old and new, enter lots of competitions and don't be afraid to steal from people!

 



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