Writing comedy for TV: an introduction

Course Dates: 12/08/20 - 13/08/20
Time: 18:00 - 20:30
Location: Online

Do you want to find out more about writing comedy? Explore every aspect of humorous scriptwriting for television, beginning with sketches, and looking at sitcoms from initial idea through to finished script.

This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.


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 one-day course designed for beginners and those with some creative writing experience.

This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The 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 regular work.

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.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet if you feel you need one.

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.

Tutor Biographies
Alan Nixon

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.

Book your place

Course Code: HW217

Wed-Thu, eve, 12 Aug - 13 Aug '20

Duration: 2 sessions

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £59.00
Concession: £24.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.