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    #31
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    That's what I've been missing, a secretary! Then I will finally be able to write my amazing screenplay.


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    #32
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    Interesting. I guess if it works it works. Was this after they had a plot structure to deliver those lines within? Otherwise I dont get how it would work.


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    #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    At some point, they didn't write any dialog themselves but had their secretary jot down their oneliners.

    Let's say it's something to do with Norm ("Cheers"). What are the thoughts that are popping into your head. Start talking. The secretary will take notes. Then, if you're funny enough, she'll have have a dozen of solid punchlines in an hour. Keep on talking. Take a break. Come back to the office and talk some more. Within a day, you might have enough material for a 50 page script. And none of that will be stilted because it was a live exchange.
    Definitely a valid approach for a sitcom, as they are mostly people talking in rooms anyway. The same room. Week after week. And maybe a feature comedy. I never wrote a funnier script than the one I wrote with my two college buddies, one of whom became a professional comic. We'd just shoot the s*%t, make each other laugh, and then I'd go type.
    "Money doesn't make films...You just do it and take the initiative." - Werner Herzog


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    #34
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    I get that but even sitcoms still have plots. Someone loses or gets a job. Someone meets a woman or breaks up. I would think you'd have to know the plot and scene structure, the basic beats, before you start improvving like that.


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    #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
    I get that but even sitcoms still have plots. Someone loses or gets a job. Someone meets a woman or breaks up. I would think you'd have to know the plot and scene structure, the basic beats, before you start improvving like that.
    Isn't that stuff worked out though before the writer starts? On a typical sitcom, in the writers room they hash out plots and beats, maybe come up with some gags, and then send the assigned writer off to execute.
    "Money doesn't make films...You just do it and take the initiative." - Werner Herzog


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    #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
    I get that but even sitcoms still have plots. Someone loses or gets a job. Someone meets a woman or breaks up. I would think you'd have to know the plot and scene structure, the basic beats, before you start improvving like that.
    I am pretty sure it was after they had the basic story line ... but story lines get adjusted too, if there's a good suggestion.

    There are two basic (with zillion iterations, obviously) forms of your typical sitcom screenwriting.

    One is a gang-bang (a euphemism), where most of the show is written at a writers table. So, you would have a room of 4-15 writers sitting on couches and drinking coffee and goofing off. That was the norm for the Simpsons (since it was created by James L. Brooks, who also co-created "Taxi", which was the first show to hire Les and Glen Charles, the gang-bang is basically a non-writing writing scheme writ large).

    The basic goal is to create both the basic story structure and the sufficient amount of gags for a staff writer to take home for a polish*.

    *Staff writers normally begin as the writing-room members and then graduate to the higher levels based upon accomplishments. A typical sitcom hierarchy goes like this - staff writer -> story editor -> executive story editor -> co-producer -> producer -> supervising producer -> co-executive producer -> executive producer -> executive producer/showrunner. Money goes up accordingly.

    The other, opposite system, is to give each writer at the story editor level or above a rough outline (sometimes that writer comes up with the story line himself) and allow them to work on the entire script in solitude over a ~ 3-week time span, after which they have to submit their draft. The high ranked writers (usually SP's and up) would then do a read and gang-bang further suggestions. After another week, the final version of the script is submitted. After that, the top ranked writers on that show would rewrite the submitted script as much as they deem necessary.

    Most sitcoms try for, at least, three punchlines per minute, or 60-70 per show. The Simpsons often got over a hundred, as they combined both verbal and visual gags. It's worth adding that the Simpsons gags were generally quite amusing under Jean & Reiss.


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