Sitcom Writing 1: Writing the 'Spec' Script
The sitcom is no joke. It is a specialized, highly competitive form of screenwriting that has its own sets of rules, expectations and required skills. And, for those wishing to break into TV writing, the front door is the “spec” script. A spec script is a sample episode for a current popular TV series and it is an indispensable tool for selling you talents in the television marketplace. This course investigates the half-hour episodic TV comedy form and gives students the fundamental tools necessary to conceive and execute a sitcom teleplay. Over the course of the semester, students research a popular half-hour comedy, learn its secrets and develop techniques for developing premises, story generation, outlining, structuring, scene writing, and editing - all in collaboration with other student writers. Students write in the voice, tone and style of an established show completing a beat sheet, episode diagram, and draft of a complete spec script for a current half-hour comedy show and progress as far as they can towards polishing it. Finally, an overview of the business of the sitcom, the current comedy series marketplace, and breaking in as a writer.