Sitcom Structure: How to Write for Network TV
At a Glance
Short attention spans and frequent commercials have changed when “act breaks” occur in network sitcoms. Gone are the days of the one break, two act episode. Premium cable series also present unique challenges. Understanding the deep structure of all formats is essential to writing a great spec or pilot.
By analyzing both a popular current network sitcom and a successful premium cable show, you’ll delve into what producers need and how to get your spec to the highest level possible. You will examine specific episodes, their overall structure and the structure of their sequences and scenes. Screenwriter, Paul Chitlik, will refer to scripts of current and past shows, which you will read or view online before the beginning of the webinar so that all participants will have the same reference points. He will also show how the scripts breakdown using PowerPoint and other presentation methods.
Paul has written for network, premium cable, and syndicated sitcoms (including one in Spanish!), and will bring his practical experience to the webinar.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- The deep structure of all story construction
- How each format fits into that construction
- How scenes are structured
- How A, B, and C stories give depth to episodes and characters
- How to adapt a story from one format to another
- How to set up and pay off
- How to choose the format that best showcases your talent
WHO SHOULD LISTEN?
- Novice writers who need to know how to analyze a show they want to write for
- Emerging writers who may have begun a spec but are having trouble with the format
- Veteran writers who need to switch from a traditional format to a more current format
- Writers planning on writing a sitcom pilot or spec script
- Development executives who want a deeper understanding of the form
- Directors who want to enter sitcom directing
- Writers making the transition from features or one-hour storytelling
- Anyone who wants to expand their appreciation of sitcom writing.
- Date available: 10/29/2013
- Publication date: 10/29/2013
- Return policy: This item is not eligible for return.
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Meet the Author: Paul Chitlik
Screenwriter/producer/director Paul Chitlik has worked on hundreds of hours of television, been nominated for WGA and GLAAD Awards, and won a Genesis award. He’s written for Showtime’s Brothers, network shows Who’s the Boss?, Amen, Perfect Strangers, and Los Beltrán (Telemundo) as well as syndicated shows such as Small Wonder. He's written movies for broadcast and pay cable and consults for government film commissions around the world. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University.