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            Although you have enjoyed watching many sitcoms, writing a sitcom is
             not an easy task. It may be beneficial to take a critical read of several
              successful sitcom scripts. You can find the transcripts for television
              sitcoms on the internet. You may find your own transcript or read
             various transcripts from Friends. You may be interested in reading
the pilot of Friends. As you read the transcript, pay attention to the details of
script in both content and format.

Your finalized script must be typed and it must follow the proper script format as
outlined below.

Episode Length:

Your episode length is fifteen minutes.

Scene Detection:

One episode of a sitcom will contain several scenes. In general, sitcom scenes
are shown one after the other with two back-to-back scenes generally taking
place in different locations. Each scene is preceded by a long shot of its location.
In a sitcom, a scene is generally contained to one location (e.g. the barber shop)
with a limited number of characters that are essentially static (limited in their

To detect a scene within a sitcom episode, look for:
    A change in location and/or major characters
    An establishing shot
    A brief burst of background music accompanying an establishing shot

Considerations of Plot:

   1. Does the script reflect the qualities of your main characters?
   2. Are the main characters the focus of your script?
   3. Does the plot have an interesting conflict to create a scene that will be
      humorous and enjoyable?
   4. Does the scene have a strong beginning, a definite plot purpose, and a
      humorous ending?
   5. Are a variety of techniques used to create humor?
   6. Television sitcoms are videotaped in front of a live audience. This limits
      where scenes can take place.
Plot Map:

A plot map may be beneficial in organizing the types of conflicts and resolutions
that your characters encounter.

To organize scenes, you may want to use an episode planner. (organizational

Script Format:

A specific format exists for writing a television sitcom script. Refer to the
transcript of Friends.

Use the following checklist:

   1.  Is the dialogue double-spaced?
   2.  Are stage directions in capital letters?
   3.  Are the scenes numbered?
   4.  Are the scene numbers displayed at the top of each page along with the
       page numbers?
   5. Does every scene begin on a new page?
   6. Is “personal direction” for the actor (such as “she stands”) within the
       dialogue rather than outside it? Is “personal direction” enclosed in
   7. Have scene transitions “Cut To:”, “Fade To:”, etc. been included?
   8. Are “sluglines” (“scene headings”, “headings”, “scene captions”), which
       indicate the scene location, time of day, and whether the scene is indoors
       or outdoors, in capital letters.
   9. Is there a list of characters needed in each scene directly below the
       slugline in upper and lower case text and enclosed in parenthesis?
   10. Are scene and action descriptions in capital letters.

Helpful Sites:

You can download a free copy of SitcomStyle software that will format your
sitcom script for you.

Capturing and Holding Viewer Attention

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