• Writing for Sitcoms

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  • Writing Oportunity...

    SITCOM WRITING COMPETITION ENTRY FORM

    ShortList SitCom Search want to put your idea on the television.

    Please read their instructions on how to enter plus their terms and conditions below.

    Good luck!

    ShortList have teamed up with Comedy Central UK, home of the funniest comedies on TV, and Big Talk (the powerhouse behind shows including Spaced, Friday Night Dinner, Threesome and Rev) to offer a cash prize and development deal to one triumphant reader-penned script. Interested? Read on – and check out the sample script and details of how to enter over the page.

    THE PRIZE

    The winning writer, or team of writers, in ShortList’s Sitcom Search will receive a truly monumental prize. As well as publishing an excerpt of your script in ShortList, they are offering a £5,000 development deal with Big Talk and Comedy Central UK. This means that, together with the experts, you’ll work on your sitcom idea with a view to preparing it for production, and ultimately, broadcast.

    To be clear, that doesn’t mean your gag-filled clump of A4 will languish at the back of a filing cabinet somewhere. Comedy Central UK has made it known: if it’s funny enough, it wants it on its channel. What’s more, each reader who makes it to the final four will receive a mentoring session with established comedy writers, and there’ll be an opportunity to blog about these sessions and talk about your script at Shortlist.com.

    HOW TO ENTER

    To be part of ShortList’s Sitcom Search, simply go to:

    http://www.shortlist.com/comedy/sitcom-writing-competition

    and submit your entry. This should include a brief one-page description selling your sitcom idea, your contact details, plus a correctly formatted original, unbroadcasted script of 3-10 pages (A4, sensible font, 12pt) that’s solely the work of you or your writing team. Entries from reasonably experienced screenwriters are welcomed, but we will not accept scripts from agents – they must come direct from the writer. You must be a UK resident over 18 years of age, as of 24 September 2012. The competition is open to both men and women.

    THE JUDGES

    The scripts will be judged by an expert panel including Kenton Allen, chief executive of Big Talk, Jill Offman, MD at Comedy Central UK, Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper and Martin Robinson, editor of ShortList.

    THE DEADLINE

    All entries must be uploaded to shortlist.com/sitcom by 11.59pm on 24 September. No entries by post or email. Any scripts arriving after this date, or not featuring the proper criteria, will not be accepted.

    HOW IT WORKS

    The competition will run over the next 12 weeks and consist of various stages as they sift through the entries before crowning our favourite script. The dates to look out for are below:

    • After the initial script-reading process, the judges will reduce the list of scripts down to 40. These will be revealed in early October, so you can see if you’ve made it.

    • The final 40 scripts will then be cut down to four. The writers behind these will be revealed in late October.

    • For two weeks after that, the finalists will spend time workshopping their sitcom idea with an established comedy writer.

    • After much deliberation, and perhaps the opening of a shiny gold envelope, they will announce the winner on a soon-to-be-revealed date in November.

    WRITING TIPS

    Use the sample sitcom script from Friday Night Dinner below as a structural guideline. Think laugh-out-loud and mainstream. Sitcoms that demand the budget to build a regular set resembling the surface of Mars will be a tougher sell. Physical humour and set pieces are a plus. Words to consider include ‘real’, ‘warm’, ‘bawdy’, ‘lively’ and ‘big’.

    Throughout the script-whittling process we’ll publish interviews with successful comedy writers, host an online masterclass at shortlist.com and pick through some of the greatest sitcoms of all time to help provide inspiration. So get cracking.

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  • Do you need expert advice?

    Fiona Nerberg has worked in Rights Negotiation for the BBC for several years, specialising in negotiating writers' deals and book option agreements.

    She then became a Production Manager, gaining 57 TV and Film credits, before moving in to Book Publishing where she headed the contracts department of a large publishing house.

    In 2008, Fiona joined the BBC's Academy as their Rights Training expert, and trained thousands of staff all over the UK.

    Fiona set up her Rights Training and Consultancy business,

    Ten Ten Training in 2011, and is part of the SMART Talent Agency team.

     

    Fiona is a specialist in Rights Negotiation and she can be contacted outside of the Academy's Seminars and Writing Programmes for any problems that you may be having over rights issues.

    SMART Academy members will get a 50% discount.

    Email: fiona@tententraining.com / info@tententraining.com

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  • Hone your skills to write a great thriller!

    This one-day special workshop will analyse and dissect the quintessential thriller.

    By the end of the day you will know what it takes to write to thrill an audience.

    Now only October date available! Limited places - so book early.

    Free for all SMART writers who have booked a workshop / writing programme!

    Or a special 'Welcome to SMART' Rate: £50

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