Writing comedy for TV: a taster
Time: 14:00 - 16:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
The course is a brief introduction to the fundamentals of writing comedy for TV. If you think you could write the next Fleabag, The Good Place, or Alan Partridge, flex your funny bone in this short course designed for beginners and those with some creative writing experience.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
The short course covers sketch writing for TV; sitcom TV; the basics of comedy plotting. As the course progresses, participants will be expected to come up with their own concepts and to work them through, in groups or individually, with guidance from the tutor.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Pinpoint the elements of comic situations
- Devise good comic characters
- Plot stories with multiple strands
- Demonstrate an understanding of how comic dialogue is written.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is suitable for anyone with an interest in writing comedy, whether experienced or not. However it is a practical course and students should note that they will be expected to produce work in class.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
There are three basic elements to the course: example, analysis and exercise. Participants will see or hear clips or episodes of successful comedy, with relevance to a specific topic. There will then be a mixture of explanation and analysis of how it works. Finally, participants will be asked, either in groups or singly, to produce their own work.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in our introductory screenwriting course, Ways into screenwriting, or you may feel ready to progress onto Developing your screenwriting. We also offer a course in Writing funny fiction if you'd like to try comedy in a different form. Check out our prospectus online for details of upcoming courses.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Alan Nixon is one of Britain’s top independent media professionals. His recent productions include directing the award-winning R4 sitcom Reluctant Persuaders. He has been Creative Consultant to broadcasters and renowned independents, including Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit), Grant Naylor (Red Dwarf), and Absolutely Productions (Armstrong & Miller / Trigger Happy TV). He was one of the founding controllers of Channel Five, has worked with Alexei Sayle, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne and Simon Day, and teaches courses at the BFI, the National Television and Film School, and the London School of Film, Media and Performance.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.