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Taking Sitcoms Seriously

April 15th, 2016

Scots-Magazine-September-2013-blogYou don’t see that many competitions for humorous work, but I’ve got a good one for you this week. The Sitcom Mission holds a competition each year for 15-minute sitcoms and the best four are then showcased at The New Diorama Theatre in London in front of the British TV and radio comedy industry. The central aim is to get the winners commissioned for TV, radio or online.

The fee for basic entry is £10 but there are various other options where you can pay more but receive a critique/advice on your work. The closing date is 15th May.

They do give some sensible advice about submission on their website. Here’s a potted version:

It must run to 15 minutes – no longer, no shorter.

No one-offs. There must be potential for six episodes.

Don’t have too many characters. The audience wants interesting people that they can get to know  – your sitcom shouldn’t be just slapstick or a series of jokes.

To be successful you should watch and analyse what’s in the media at the moment.

And, a seemingly obvious point, it must be funny. (But, when you think of some of the sitcoms on TV and radio, you realise that this isn’t always the case!)

If you’re considering entering, there’s some great advice in our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course, where you’ll find tips on how to craft a sitcom and other types of writing for TV.

Incidentally, if you love everything about comedy – not just writing it – the British Comedy Guide website might be just up your street, with information on current and forthcoming comedy on TV, film, radio and online.

Moving on, I suspect that I sometimes neglect readers north of the border; so this week I’m going to make amends.

The Scots Magazine welcomes features on all aspects of Scottish life (500-1,500 words). They have a very attractive website and subjects covered include leisure, culture, places and people. Even if you don’t want to write for them, if you live in Scotland (or are considering visiting) then I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.

Plus there are two literary events coming up from 6th to 8th May. The first is the Boswell Book Festival in Ayrshire – the world’s only festival of biography and memoir. Speakers include leading biographers and people with extraordinary life stories. Sounds fascinating!

The second is the Ullapool Book Festival.  There’s a packed line-up of speakers with prices at £8 per session or a weekend ticket that allows free access to any event for £95. But numbers are limited so to get the pick of who you want to see, you need to start thinking about it now.

I can’t imagine anywhere better to be than Ullapool for a spring weekend; so it’s definitely one worth considering.

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