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A spine surgeon checked me over and got a maverick-cop hunch. KristinaWeiHui Follow. The lab names of my pills were Celecoxib and Pregabalin. He changed the subject. Then my upper spine locked up.

That was a ruffle, so it went. The next scene begins with that character doing that thing. Dave Gorman calls the same thing the B. Gilligan Cut — a common American term for the bicycle cut. Foggy Says He Knows The Way — a joke construction, something like the mirror image of the bicycle cut. The best known story from that week has been related by Armando Iannucci in interviews from time to time.

A large board was covered with cards detailing Summer Wine plots; Foggy does this, Compo does that.

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Character confidently says they can do something; character tries but fails to do that thing, with funny repercussions. The Deja Vu Closer - — referring to the subject of a joke earlier in the set within the final joke. A stand up tool, more than a scriptwriting one. Writing for Veep , chutney often takes the form of perfectly serviceable political speeches, while the real funny material is going on amongst other characters in the foreground.

Scud — a joke that ends up getting the wrong target. Named after the outdated and inaccurate Soviet missile used by Iraq during the Gulf war. Lampshading — addressing a flaw, recurring trope or plot hole by having a character point it out. Wonka gives a short evasive answer, then the story moves briskly on.

Veepese — pronounced Veep-ease. A term used a lot amongst the British writers of Veep. It meant the overall house dialogue style spoken by a lot of the main characters; very fast, peppered with insults and witty metaphors, and a fair amount of swearing. Selina, Dan, Amy, Ben and Jonah all talked in Veepese, as did some second and third tier characters like Furlong, and we found that jokes could often be transferred from one of these characters to another and still ring true.

Obviously this word is VERY specific to that one show…. The solution is normally simple: North by Northwest Gag — Prop introduced at beginning of scene, which stays in shot.

Andy Riley - Return Of The Bunny Suicides

Later used to pay off a joke after audience have accepted, then forgotten, its presence. The Restaurant on the Corner — American — a bit in a script where no matter what joke you put there, its still never quite works.

It shut quickly, as did every other restaurant which opened on the same spot. Writers working nearby decided the corner must be cursed.

If you have a Bono in a script, it will be a gradual realisation, because it always feels like something SHOULD work there, and you might try a dozen or more things before the truth dawns.

You can only deal with a Bono by taking apart and rebuilding a larger section around it — probably the whole scene, maybe even a bit more. Bucket — strong, simple idea to contain all the nonsense you want to put in. Oxbow Lake — the rewriting process produces these.

You have to remove it on the next draft. Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong use this term. Me and Kevin Cecil call these Hangovers. A joke impression has its uses. When you are thundering down a first draft, and are more concerned about the overall structure than individual jokes, you can slot in a few joke impressions at spots in the script where a good joke is hard, in the full knowledge you can come back later and fix them. The subtext: On The Nose — very widely used, this one.

A line which is on the nose is just too clumsily obvious, too direct, and lacks subtext. Gerbeau — a joke that literally nobody but you is going to get, but it does no damage, so it stays in. Gerbeau, the guy who ran the millennium dome.

The term Gerbeau is itself a nice example of a Gerbeau. Two Percenter — similar to the Gerbeau. Only two percent of your audience will get it. Plotential — and the idea or situation which has the potential to be developed into a full-blown plot. Come the day of the record, the studio audience sat silently through all the Nakamura material.

Nunya — a work at an embarrassingly unready stage. Cut and Shut — a term borrowed from the motor trade welding two halves of two cars together. This refers to a conceit which is essentially two normally incompatible ideas, bolted together. An example: Frankenstein Draft — a script that suffers over time from bolting on too many slavishly implemented notes. Frankenstein verb — Joining already-written scenes together in a highly inelegant way. Frankensteining is common when making animated movies, in which the scripting is often done alongside storyboarding.

Who knows? Because most people read pitches and story outlines much too fast, effective pitcheroos are never spotted. Some of them everybody knows; lift becomes elevator, pavement becomes sidewalk. You might not want to interrupt your writing flow by diving into google at that moment, so best write the British word, pin it as a gooberfruit — a word needing US translation — and carry on.

You can come back to it later. Derived from the tendency of fresh groceries to go under different names in America; eggplant for aubergine, zucchini for courgette, etc. Bull — coined by Sid Caesar. This can be done elegantly; like in Monsters Inc , where the first 15 minutes of the movie lays out a mass of exposition about how the monster world works, but all with scenes which also advance the story and have jokes in.

Or it can be done bluntly; like in Looper , where the complex rules of the world are explicitly laid out in voice-over. Crossword clue — a joke based on a brilliant verbal trick or pun… At which nobody laughs. We could have written in any boring-sounding subject there, so a vast number of potential choices, but offshore wind farms sounded right.

Thanks for bearing with me! Deadline for submissions has now passed. The deadline for submissions is now the end of 15th May, And I may be able to give the writer one or two useful introductions to producers.

Some of my credits are on this site and on my wikipedia entry. Hopefully all that experience will be worth something to somebody starting off. It can only be one person or a partnership. Breaking into this field is hard — probably harder than it used to be.

I just want an idea of who you are. The main event is part two…. A word about plays, because I got quite a lot of those on the last cycle.

Please put your name and email on the script sample itself use the headers or footers, or just stick it at the top of page one so I have everything I need right there if I want to get back to you. This sort of thing is much more common than most people think. Some of these people meant the best for me. Some were twats. Normally I just get on with whatever I was doing, maybe pausing once or twice to face into the wind and sigh and think about the years running away like wild horses over the hills.

Forty felt different. Forty felt good. Polly, my wife, treated me and the kids to a glamping weekend. I swigged beer and relaxed to the howl of vuvuzelas on medium wave radio, this being the month of the World Cup in South Africa. I took a moment to look both ways, forty being a handy mid-life vantage point. I liked the view.

I had a family I loved very much, some good friends, and two parents in fine health. I kept myself I thought in good shape. I ran, I swam, I did weights. I drew a lot in ; three whole humour books, all on top of a full time writing career. Me and Kevin Cecil had been writing together for eighteen years. I was the typer. By late July there was a weird pain running from my right elbow down to middle and ring fingers. And now August was here, and that meant summer holidays.

On the plane home I knew something serious was up. I was playing Marvel Top Trumps with my son Bill. It hurt to shuffle and deal the cards. I soldiered on for a month to get the books finished, then threw the pen in the drawer.

Plainly I had a repetitive strain injury, and now I had some healing to do. Then there was the script writing. He was fine about it. Money was fine. The cartoon books had earned a fair bit, and my spending habits had never caught up. Whenever I bought sandwiches at the supermarket, I would still heft them all and buy whichever was heaviest for the money. So I had a war chest. Time to smash the lock off. I lived in London, which has thousands of overpaid specialists.

I would use any and all of them to make my arm better. And four months would be enough. I found a hand specialist called Victoria. Great at listening, she was. Great at sympathy. For a whole string of Tuesdays, she would coo over my arm then impale it with pins.

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I took a dual track approach, and found another osteopath called Rhys who was boisterous where Victoria was gentle. Not exactly medically precise, but I knew what he meant. My whole right shoulder projected a little further forward than my left. I drew like I was lifting weights. That felt great for half a lifetime. There was one thing Victoria and Rhys had in common, and that was how each half hour session ended. Of course Victoria thought her acupuncture sessions were the answer.

Of course Rhys thought his osteopathy would do the trick. She was an acupuncturist. He was an osteopath.

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To the hammer, everything looks like a nail. At Christmas everything went wrong. My whole left arm decided it had RSI as well. The ache in my right arm scrambled up into my torso, linked with its new friend on the left, then upped its wattage.

I wore a matador jacket of pain. Two very sharp pain points appeared: It felt like someone had sunk two meat skewers in me.

Then my upper spine locked up. It hurts all the time, every waking minute. All movement aggravated it; even turning a key or the pages of a book. I spent every weekend in early lying flat.

It was too painful to do anything. I rigged up a Heath Robinson contraption from coat hangers which held my iPhone above my face. Now I could at least watch TV. The pain was, at this point, destroying my sanity. I was still writing with Kevin, but I had to spend half the day lying on the floor and it was all I could do to not burst into tears. My entire body was having a blazing argument with itself. What was happening to me? At no stage did Rhys consider that maybe, somewhere along the way, he might have been getting something wrong.

I stumbled home weeping, not for the first time. It was Polly who fished me out from my bucket of despair. She found the website of a high-end physiotherapist called Louise, who gave me a decent set of exercises and kneaded my sore body on a weekly basis. Soon my upper spine was no longer locking up — a big improvement. Fuck that noise. I noticed something.

Louise, who was plainly better than Rhys and Victoria, wore ordinary casual clothes. Both Rhys and Victoria wore white short-sleeved tunics.

That jacket is a piece of theatrical costume, for your benefit. Wondering if the way I walked had some knock-on effect up my body, I started seeing a podiatrist.

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She was the first of three foot experts who changed my gait and made me expensive custom orthotics. This did nothing for my upper body, but within two years ruined my previously fine feet. So this lot were by far the worst of the professionals I dealt with. I took lessons in Alexander technique, which was like trying to learn advanced driving skills while your car is still wrapped around a tree.

Not harmful, but you kind of need to get the car back on the road first. A nerve surgeon gave me steroid injections; no effect. A spine surgeon checked me over and got a maverick-cop hunch.

By this time I was desperate for answers, even if they were bad answers. Louise worked me over every seven days. I saw a new osteopath when I needed unbolting like a shithouse Frankenstein. Another nerve surgeon; no use. An elbow specialist; nothing. The spinal surgeon gave me a steroid jab behind my right shoulder blade, just where that skewer of pain was.

At the end of the pain was getting worse again. I had tried to tough out RSI. I became depressed and angry. And now that part was severed, and replaced by unending ache. Dealing with chronic pain takes energy.

Most of us can do it for a day, or a week, or a month or however long, so long as we can see there is an end to it. It was a specialist pain unit.

All your muscles are surrounded by this stuff called fascia which holds them together. As your muscles contract and expand, the fascia contracts and expands with them.

Sometimes your fascia fails to expand again properly. This makes a little lump in your muscle called a myofascial trigger point. Everybody gets these. They can press on your nerves and cause referred pain — that is, pain caused in one place in your body but felt in another. The blog post recommended a book, which Polly ordered straight away: As soon as it came I spent a merry hour finding and rubbing these spots all over my body.

I was absolutely riddled. Head to toe. Then I had to leave the house for work. As I waited for the bus, I felt unsteady on my feet, a strange taste in my mouth.

This was an exhilarating moment. In the scores of pummellings I had received from physiotherapists and osteopaths, this had never happened. I was on to something — trigger points, which had been mentioned to me exactly once and even then dismissively, might be the key to the whole thing. They gave me new daily exercises with huge rubber bands. Tom sent me to someone who was good on the emotional effects of pain.

I picked up new ways to think about it and deal with it. All my therapeutic talking revealed no hidden career deathwish, no secret urge to stop drawing. My great urge to draw cartoons concealed only a bit more urge to draw cartoons. Tom put me on the good stuff for a few months. People who decide brand names for drugs are very good at what they do. The lab names of my pills were Celecoxib and Pregabalin. So, my morning tablets conjured visions of celebration, breakfast, music and song.

They might help my muscles relax a bit, which would give the new physio regime a chance. Botox injections, which can help knock persistent trigger points. Tom did a few spots in my chest, which suddenly looked younger on the right hand side. The fifth one was down to me, not Tom: Mostly with massage tools bought online — the Knobbler and the Thera Cane, which look like a slightly scary sex toy and very scary sexy toy respectively.

I found, then removed, the trigger point that was making the pain-skewer behind my shoulder. It was in my neck all along. For all the money I was splurging on botox, therapy, drugs and physio, the greatest engines of progress were one book and two bits of funny-shaped plastic. I had a revelation about the entire system of musculo-skeletal pain treatment.

Some time spells found in nature mean something to the human body: But the week is bollocks. There is no physiological reason to string the days into bunches of seven. Same goes for the hour and the minute. So why did osteopaths and physiotherapists keep offering me half an hour, once a week?

Because it was what my body needed? A majority of people can, if they really need to, pull together the time and money for a short spell of weekly osteopath or physio sessions. My very last spinal lock-up happened around this time. She could have told me about myofascial trigger points, about how I could massage them myself. What a great patient I was. But you could tell people in the same position as me that they could massage themselves too.

Will you do that? He changed the subject. The pain clinic and my new physios were the good guys as far as I was concerned, yet even they closed ranks on this. Through , and I slowly scaled the walls of the canyon. Progress, slips, more progress. Well, I thought, some cartoonists have it worse than me. I learned that Siri is a godsend. That little microphone symbol next to the spacebar: Speak clearly. I learned that muscle memory in my right hand made it curl inwards, a relic of my old drawing style.

A specialist made me an ulnar gutter splint — a little brace to wear on my hand. And by late , I knew that my career as a visual artist was over. My progress had plateaued for eighteen months. I still had that skewer through my right forearm. Yet here I was at stage five: Maybe Rhys had given me the best advice after all. If I ever showed it to anyone, and if it got published, someone else could draw the pictures. I was an ex-cartoonist. And that was okay. Just after Christmas I looked at my right hand and turned it in the air.

The skewer was gone. The arm felt, if not painless, then a lot better. So did my left hand. But a cloud had lifted. I no longer spent the days in a state of simmering frustration. Did that enable me to finally get past the worst of the pain? But I entered ready to attempt drawing again.

I went to the art shop and bought literally every single item that makes a black line, then experimented. My old method — shoulder thrust forward, Hand curled round, every muscle engaged — would wreck me all over again. Eventually I hit on a style which kept the muscular lines of my old technique, with a slightly more scratchy finish. For this I used an ultrafine Sharpie.

When I needed a line to be thicker, I no longer pressed harder on the nib — I just scribbled over the line a few times, with a light grip. The ulnar gutter splint kept my hand flat and my shoulder back.

My publishers and my agent Gordon Wise had been waiting for a new book since Now I could work something up. I remembered a Ted Hughes poem called Wodwo. What if I took that situation, made it about a puppy and a kitten, and put some jokes in? I could combine toilet humour and philosophy in one book.

That became Puppy Versus Kitten. My body still hurts. I do it standing, not sitting. I avoid typing wherever I can and I never use a computer mouse because those are the devil.

Pain is part of life; you have to let it in some time or other. But I can draw! I can make stories with pictures and put them in front of people! That was a hell of a thing to lose. And a hell of a thing to get back again.

RSI is a bit like depression was some years ago — not talked about enough. If you do any action repeatedly, and nearly everybody does, then it can happen to you. Right now our society is sitting on an RSI time bomb. We punish a particular set of muscles almost every minute of the day.

This stuff is cumulative. If it catches you, your life is going to get a whole lot harder, trust me. Your RSI might not be just like mine. But keep searching, keep experimenting, and you should find your own path back. The newest entries are at the top — the most recent update is 18th April This is a problem to watch out for when making animated movies. The production process involves breaking the script down into sections, each a few minutes long, referred to as sequences.

Each sequence is then given to a different storyboard artist. Story artists will rework the scenes, and because each of them has their own style, adjacent sequences might evolve in different directions. Set ups or payoffs might get lost as more changes accrue on each round of storyboards. The team must work to maintain a coherent feel for the film, or it might get sequencitis — becoming disjointed from one sequence to the next. Simon likes the idea of there being a separate Wording department, probably paid less than the writers.

The lightning rod will be fretted over and eventually dropped, which is fine… because its true purpose was to deflect attention from another, only slightly less offensive joke which you really want to make it through. Yet for all that, the comedy high point may well be when the tiny Stonehenge is lowered from the ceiling.

Factory Nudgers — what the great sadly late writer Laurie Rowley called memorable comedy moments. We all quickly embarked on some weird and completely unbroadcastable flights of fancy about the IRA — who were still active at the time.

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There were some ITV execs in the room; they looked increasingly terrified, imagining that this was the sort of stuff we might write for the show. Group Fours which never seem to go away: Character confidently says they can do something; character tries but fails to do that thing. Fridge — the piece of paper, noticeboard, book or computer file where you put the jokes you cut for whatever reason, but which may work in another time and place. Frankensteining is very common when writing animated movies, in which the scripting is often done alongside storyboarding.

My own first steps were in , and the broadcasting landscape has utterly changed since then. All the same, there are some things Kevin Cecil my writing partner and myself did then which would still work now.

Our way into comedy was writing shorter things — jokes, sketches and songs, rather than long-form pieces like sitcoms or feature length films. It could be that you want to go straight on to sitcom or film, and miss out the short stage.

Now, this might work. People have done it. David Renwick, Andrew Marshall, Richard Curtis, and John Sullivan all wrote many sketches before they went on to write classic sitcoms.

When we started in , there was a weekly topical news based comedy on Radio 4 called Week Ending. If you asked anybody in comedy where to begin writing, they pointed you there.

Back then the open door was quite literal; you could walk in off the street, ask for a pass, get one, go to the non-commissioned writers meeting, and pitch directly to the producer. Newsjack on Radio 4 Extra. Also there is Newsrevue , a weekly on-stage topical comedy show in London which takes sketch submissions.

So far so predictable. You may well have heard other people say go and write for Newsjack and Newsrevue. One of the best things you can do is meet other people like yourself.

Online certainly, but in the flesh is better still. Comedy loves company. Writing partnerships are much more common than they are in drama. All the comedy that gets made is filtered through producers, directors, performers, script editors. They all have input, and rightly so. The sooner you get used to your staff being constructively critiqued the better. Some history to illustrate the point. One of the greatest comedy training grounds ever created was the WW2-era concert party. People who cut their teeth that way went on to dominate comedy for decades afterwards.

These were gang shows with a mixture of — as the IAHHM theme tune tells us — songs, and sketches, and jokes old and new. The revue format. And with the end of national service and the demise of variety theatre in the s, that format all but vanished. But not in Oxford and Cambridge universities. Other universities had revues, but only Oxford and Cambridge had strong self-perpetuating revue cultures.

I went to Oxford University. I spent a couple of years devising sketches with my friends, having blazing rows about single punchlines, taking amateurish shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, handing out flyers on Princes Street trying to drag in an audience, and then performing to ten people. Not because I wanted a comedy career at that point, but because it was a fun thing to do. So after graduating, when Kevin and me turned up at Week Ending meetings, we had already got some practice in.

You learn a lot from that jolt. Go to improv clubs and open mic nights. The internet makes it fairly easy to make contact with like-minded souls.

Check out thecomedycrowd. Its regular email newsletters alert you to all kinds of opportunities for new writers.

Also there is London Comedy Writers. When I began, live performance was the only way to get some flying hours in. Some people have done very well through the YouTube route as an end in itself, such as Chris Kendall crabstickz. There are more schemes and bursaries for new writers than ever before. I also run a tiny informal mentoring scheme of my own — scroll down to find out more about that. Another thing you can do is send a script directly to the credited producer of a comedy show that you like.

If they really like what you do, they might just get in touch. Or you could send it to a production company which turns out shows you enjoy. Getting an agent will help a great deal; any producer or commissioner is MUCH more likely to read a script if it comes via an agent. Picturing a sitcom from just script is harder. This is such an open-ended question that the possible answers feel infinite. The first one is: You need to turn out some scripts. The beauty of writing is that you can just begin any time you like.

Never mind the laptop. You can become a writer with an investment of one quid. At my local pound shop, that buys you a two hundred page lined pad. Pens are free from any betting shop. Go in and grab a fistful. Now write. One quid. The barrier to entry is low, but the barrier to success is high.

More than before, I think. Scriptwriting is a much more visible profession than it was when I began. Back then there were exactly zero courses in comedy writing, no BBC initiatives to find new talent, no YouTube to give people their first sniff.

Barring a miracle, your first attempt at a brand-new sitcom is going to be knocked back, however passionate you are about it, however much hard-won life experience you ploughed into it. Which brings me to the second thing you need to do , which is: Be dogged.

Have more ideas. Then more. Then a few more. Keep carving out the time. It got her foot in the door; soon they had her writing a full episode. The early stages of a comedy writing career are as much a test of bloody-minded persistence as they are of creative talent.

So are the middle stages. And the later stages. The result is countless weird home-grown variations of font, line spacing and margins. Many of them are just hard to read. Most importantly of all, they make it hard for the reader to get a true sense of the pacing, plot density, scene length and gag rate.

All of which are things that the reader will absolutely want to know. Give yourself the best chance, and lay it out right. Final Draft, the industry standard software, makes it all very easy. But you should look to get it as soon as you can. Radio formatting is different again: This may all seem didactic.

Then have a few more ideas in the same way. Then repeat the process. They either miss out commas or strew them around by the fistful. When they are performed, a single word in the wrong place can mess up any line, like a bum note can ruin a melody.

Then there are the inevitable pitch documents and story outlines which precede the scripting stage. Every scriptwriter must be a prose writer too. Maybe I could organise a table read with actors and a commissioning executive from a channel. A lot hangs on that read.

Too many stumbled lines, and all the fluency of the script will drain away, and the comedy with it. The good news is that getting this stuff right never been easier; apps like Grammarly will flag up a lot of your problems.

That autobiographical masterpiece of a sitcom will take years to get on telly, if it does get on at all. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. See our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. See our Privacy Policy and User Agreement for details. Published on Aug 24, Just want to make your day! SlideShare Explore Search You. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow.

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