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How Not To Write a Sitcom

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An entire sitcom episode should not cover more than one or two days, advises Marc Blake. Sitcom plots, he argues, ‘are about the minutiae of life’ and can therefore be dealt with across short time spans. So if, in your sitcom script, you fast-forward three months you are falling into one of Marc’s ‘mistakes to avoid.’.

Another mistake to avoid is writing lengthy passages of dialogue. Marc’s advice is that no sitcom character should be given more than five lines of uninterrupted dialogue at any one time. Long speeches, as he puts it, are for politicians.

His book is packed with pieces of advice of this kind. And every point he makes is illustrated with script examples and there are case studies to demonstrate how the whole thing comes together.

But this is a lot more than a collection of hints and tips. It develops a coherent exposition of the sitcom writing art, helping you understand the nature and demands of the business.

 

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