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WhiteRabbit

Comedy: When it stops being funny.

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Two huge bay windows emblazoned with the gold lettering of Beans sparkle within gloss black frames from underneath the ruched canopy and out onto the high street.
French polished coffee tables and chairs grace the street either side of this retail misfitís entrance and a heavy leaded Tiffany lamp glows yellow above the porch, offering Fresh Ices.
Inside Beans, huddled under vast potted parlour palms bent like sunshades over their heads and rocking back their rattan chairs in the ruts of the broken slate floor tiles sit the eccentric and avant-garde sipping hot dark coffee.
Some read, some watch, some write and all listen to the strains of the mellow jazz guitar whisping across them from the bakelite speakers above.
Stressed Mothers point their children towards the ĎWall of Fameí to identify faces who gaze out from their smoked stained frames of random style and size while across the shop, a businesswoman sits in the window alone, nervously cradling a cup and peering intently out through the imperfect glass onto the street ahead.
Frosted white lamps hang from the ceiling reflecting a strange melancholy glow from the avocado, steam stained walls and ceilings of the shop and the cherub and faunís faces stare down as they have for a hundred years over the proceedings of the day.
Below the huge brass ceiling fan which whirrs incessantly above the coffee bar as the steam rises stand Beverley, Emmy and Leo.

Beverley sees all. (Or so she thinks).
Emmy knows all. (Or so she thinks).
Leo serves all. (Or so he thinks).

************************************************** *************************************


Is part of the synopsis for my first sitcom.
Inspired by a friend who asked if Iíd critique his attempt, I did and found the experience to be of as much constructive benefit to me as it was to him.
My concept popped up quickly beginning with a set inspired from a location Iíd visited recently. Everything begins with an idea.
After followed the characters, who helpfully arrived ready formed in my mind. Once the characters were described and down on paper, I magnified a particular quirk they each had. A point of weakness for each character, but unlike Ďreal lifeí highlighted ten fold.
Once the characters were formed and I was sure of whom they were in my mind, the dialogue went onto paper really easily.

Initially proposed as a six part, half hour series, the first episode ĎHugs-Not-Drugsí took 24 hours in total to create including a 6 page Series Synopsis, Character and Episode List.
Of that time, perhaps 10 hours was the time taken to get the script down on paper.
4hrs was taken up with the initial 6 page Series Concept and the remaining 10hrs spent painstakingly editing the script into an acceptable format to be submitted to the BBC, after all I wouldnít want my work being dismissed out of hand on account of a font, or the fact that I hadnít left a decent enough margin for Directorís notes to be made.
The fiddling and messing about with format was definitely the most brow furrowing, head aching, frustrating part of the process. That said, now the first episode is wrapped, Iíll be sure of the physical format for every episode which follows, and that time wonít be spent again.
There are programmes available for formatting scripts available, but frankly I found these more confusing than just using standard Word.
I expect Iíll be taught how use these effectively once I get to Uni.

Iíd imagined Beans as a dark, very dry comedy but once the characters were on paper, they didnít lend themselves to misery and cynicism too easily.
I could change my characters completely, but couldnít give them unnatural lines so I stuck with my gut and my characters for this series.

This week has been a huge leaning curve with some interesting revelations.

My friend told me he took months to consider, discuss, evaluate and create ideas whereas I have a flash of inspiration and have to get things down on paper right then, for fear of the concept turning stale and good ideas being disregarded.
Having hardly eaten or slept all week, writing is like being in another world.
Quite an isolated world too, depending on how you write, I need to be alone without distraction in order to concentrate. Iíve not felt so enthused about anything like that for a long long time and must strike while the mental iron is hot. This probably shows my inexperience as a writer, maybe my methods will develop.

Revelation 1: Writing is going to be an isolated, solitary experience (for me).
Revelation 2: Everyone has different ways of creating.
Revelation 3: If I write until my eyes go blurry, itís 5am and I canít feel my hands, itís not going to be funny.
Revelation 4: If Iím tired, Iíll cut corners.
Revelation 5: It doesnít matter how funny it is once Iíve written, read, edited, re-read, re-edited, formatted, re-formatted and re-read again, itís not funny. Get a second opinion or give it a few days.
Revelation 6: Donít be bloody impatient and send it off, being sure itís right and then realise that I could actually have fit in a whole other hilarious scene and wish Iíd changed other bits too.
Revelation 7: Getting a foot in anywhere is probably 30% talent and 60% dropping on a concept which is what Ďtheyí are looking for.
Revelation 8: Iíve managed to find a career where the hard work only begins once the work is complete. Well done WR.
Revelation 9: Actually, Iím not that funny.

So then, now I wait for acknowledgement and forget all about it.
If nothing else itís one less piece of work I have to do on the course!

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Updated 29-03-09 at 04:38 by WhiteRabbit

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Comments

  1. Editor's Avatar
    Crumbs-how interesting! I've heard it said more than once that if you have your characters clearly established that the dialogue often writes itself. Another interesting creative point (for me) is that some writers have definate & detailed direction for where their people are going, & others kind of let their people find their own way.

    Not that I know anything about productions (or anything else really), but I'd be interested to see the submission.
  2. WhiteRabbit's Avatar
    Sure Editor, if you want to pm me an email addy i'll forward it/them to you :-)
    I'm doing Comedy-Writing and Performance at Uni (not a real degree then...)

    You write too? Are you a novellist?

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