Three Original Pilot samples. These are three original pilots of 4 Writers (one is a writing partnership) who were hired for Season 5 and 6 of Community. Take a look at these and pay attention to how the characters are introduced, the amount (or lack of) exposition and get a feel for how dialogue is used to propel the story,
There is a structure to follow here which will be shared soon, but in the meantime, get a feel for the pace of the scripts.
And here is the Shooting script for MOTHERLAND from the BBC website which may be of extra interest if you are set on submitting to the BBC Writers' Room.
CHARACTERS. Now that you have a good idea of what your show is about. It's time to flesh out and map your characters.
In a sitcom: the characters generate the stories. The characters create stakes. The characters obstruct and enable each other. Get clear on who they are and what they want. Characters in sitcoms (or comedies in general) rarely change and you can use this to your advantage. Make stark, broad decisions up top, you can get dynamic and detailed later on.
Accept that every single choice you make probably won't be final, and allow yourself to make big decisions that reflect your taste and brain this moment. Delight yourself first. Borrow aspects of people you know, make a Frankenstein's monster of several people. Maybe a character is inspired by an actor you imagine originating the role. There are no rules for where inspiration comes from, but my rule for you is to trust yourself and trust what you find interesting.
Characters in sitcoms tend to very broad because it makes it easy for the writer to generate stories the audience can follow, BUT they don't have to *just be broad. The most memorable characters have clear and recognisable (even "stock") motivations, but they're layered fleshed out with specific that originate in the writer's truth. That said, if we start with the layers (or the ornaments as Chris said) we're missing the core. Start with the simple thing.
For simple archetypes, refer to Jung's "12 Common Archetypes." If you do the work to associate each of your characters with an archetype, you'll provide yourself with clarity that will help write your show.
Simon Nelson, who is a BBC Comedy Writing room executive has also said that most characters can be identified as one of the following:
The Loveable Loser,
The Space cadet,
The Logical One,
The Dumb One
The Horny One.
Honestly... I think this is a tad simplistic and dated, but you get where he's coming from...and he's not wholly wrong.
Now it's time to write up your characters!
Click the Character Form below!
This is due tomorrow at 9pm!