British Comedy Guide

Okay here's mine...

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earman2009

  • Saturday 4th November 2006, 1:03am
  • Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • 1,244 posts

I've delayed for long enough. I keep thinking to myself, "it's not ready. I can improve it first". But the idea of posting it here is to find out how to improve it. So here it is...

THE 24HR

SCENE 1.INT. DAY
THE TEAROOM

(MATT SITS AT THE TABLE IN THE TEAROOM. THERE’S A TABLE, 4 CHAIRS, SINK AND CUPBOARDS. A POSTER READS, “TEAROOM RULES: 1. No more than 5 people allowed in at any one time. 2. No Scissors 3. No breaking the rules 4. No rape 5. No business like show business, like no business I know.” HE’S JOINED BY VICKY, A GIRL WHO CAN BRIGHTEN UP A ROOM JUST BY ENTERING IT, ONLY TO DARKEN IT BY ACCIDENTALLY LEANING AGAINST THE LIGHT SWITCH. THEY ARE WATCHING THE TV ATTACHED TO THE WALL.)

VICKY:

(Reacting to the TV) Is it just me or is it a bad idea to kill off all main characters within the first five minutes of first episode?

MATT:

Yes, because writing the rest of the series without the main characters would be very difficult. Also, another important factor is he complete and utter lack of…
(Noticing that Vicky seems distracted) Hey, hello?

VICKY:

Sorry, How long has that been there?
(VICKY POINTS ACROSS THE ROOM. THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON THE GIANT INFLATABLE DUCK BY THE SINK.)

MATT:

Oh yeah, that. That’s Dave’s. He won it at a carnival.

VICKY:

And left it by the sink?

MATT:

He had to put it somewhere.

(JAMES ENTERS. HE LOOKS SMART WITH HIS TRIM CUT HAIR AND CLEAN SHAVEN FACE.)

JAMES:

That’s it. I’m quitting.

VICKY:

You’re quitting?

JAMES:

(Sarcastic) Way to repeat what I just said, Vicky, well done.

MATT:

What’s upset you, James?

JAMES:

You know what day it is today? The five-year anniversary of when I started this temporary job. I need to get out of here to develop my career and achieve my goals. I’m pushing thirty and I’m still a sales assistant.

MATT:

You’re twenty three.

JAMES:

Okay, in seven years, I’ll be pushing thirty.

MATT:

In seven years, you will be thirty.

JAMES:

Okay six, (To Matt) Hey, there’s a nit. You forgot to pick that one.

VICKY:

Don’t quit, James. It won’t be the same without ya.

JAMES:

I can’t stay here. I have a degree in Computing and I‘m not putting it to use here. I’m not accomplishing anything. You guys have got to have objectives in life, too. (To Matt) Matt, you and your knowledge of numbers and things. You must be better suited as an accountant or something. (To Vicky) And Vicky, you and your, err, lack of, no, err, inability to understand, err, (To Matt) So, Matt, how about it?

MATT:

Actually, I’m perfectly happy here. I have no intentions of leaving right now.

JAMES:

Well, that’s up to you. I, on the other hand, I’m leaving.

VICKY:

So, you’re quitting, today?

JAMES:

Ah, not exactly. I can’t quit until I get a new job.

VICKY:

Why?

JAMES:

Well, one, I don’t know how long it will be until I get a new job. I don’t want to put the burden on Matt to pay his half of the rent as well as my half while I’m going without income. And, two, my dad was a sales assistant when he was pushing thirty, (cutting of Matt) shh. He decided to quit to get a better job. He didn’t wait. He just left straight away. The next day, he got run over by a bus. I’m not saying the two are related, but that scares the hell out of me.

MATT:

Well, I’m right behind you.

JAMES:

I appreciate that. And everything else you’ve done for me in past. You’ve been like a brother to me.

MATT:

I am your brother.

JAMES:

No, you’re my half brother. You’ve been like a whole brother to me.

VICKY:

Won’t you miss it here?

JAMES:

Why would it miss it here? Nothing exciting ever happens.

VICKY:

Remember the Lama incident?

JAMES:

That was three years ago. Nothing has happened since.

VICKY:

What if something exciting was to happen? Would you stay then?

JAMES:

Well, no. I have to leave. I tell you what, for every time something exciting happens in this shop, I’ll put off looking for a new job for a week.

VICKY:

Okay. Anyway, I’ve got to go help Zoë in the books and magazines section. Speaking of books, I read a book yesterday called “Ants”, although it wasn’t about ants, it was about music. The cover must have been replaced or something. Maybe it’s a hidden message that ants are about to take over the music industry. My god.

MATT:

Vicky, you’re doing it again.

VICKY:

I’ll see ya later.

(VICKY EXITS)

JAMES:

Any of those biscuits left?

MATT:

The white ones?

JAMES:

Yeah.

MATT:

We had to get rid of them.

JAMES:

Why?

MATT:

They weren't white when we first got them.

SCENE 2. INT. DAY
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES SECTION

(VICKY IS HELPING ZOË MOVE BOOKS AND MAGAZINES AROUND.)

ZOË:

It’s not a simple as just “pack my things and go”. I wish I could leave him, but I can’t.

VICKY:

Why not?

ZOË:

He’s violent. If I leave, he’ll come after me. I could get the cops involved, but what if he escapes them and catches me. The reason I want to leave is also the reason I can’t.

VICKY:

How long has he been like this?

ZOË:

Not too long. He wasn’t like that when we first met, which should be obvious as if he was like that, I wouldn’t have dated him.
(Then) Maybe, he’ll turn back to the way he was. I’d gladly stay with him if he did. I’d love for things to go back the way they were so we could be together. He’s a ginger and I love ginger’s me.

SCENE 3. INT. DAY
THE TILL

(JAMES AND MRS. KINDLE ARE BY ONE OF THE TILLS. A SMALL SIGN HANGS ABOVE THE TILL. IT READS, “TRAINING”.)

MRS. KINDLE

Then you press the cash button. (Presses the button) This opens the till so you can put the money in. The screen will then display the amount of change to be given. A receipt will then be produced. (Wangling a receipt) You should always give the customer a receipt, even if they don’t seem to want one. They can’t get any refunds otherwise and there have been many people regretting not taking it when they had the chance. Got it?

JAMES:

Yeah.

MRS KINDLE:

I can’t believe you haven’t learnt till yet. It’s been five years. Anyway, you want to try?

JAMES:

Sure.

MRS. KINDLE:

Pretend, I want to buy this (A pack of gum). What would you do?

(JAMES GRABS THE GUM AND RUNS IT PAST THE SCANNER.)

MRS KINDLE:

Then?

JAMES:

I’d ask you for the amount it says on the screen.

MRS KINDLE:

Here you go. (Hands James some coins)

JAMES:

Then I press the cash button, right?

MRS KINDLE:

Correct.

(JAMES PRESSES THE CASH BUTTON. THE REGISTER OPENS AND HITS HIM IN THE GROIN CAUSING HIM TO FALL TO THE GROUND. HE GRABS THE REGISTER TO TRY AND CLIMB BACK UP, BUT PULLS IT DOWN, TIPPING THE MONEY TO THE GROUND.)

MRS KINDLE:

Be careful, the drawer opens sharpish.
(Then) Now is as a time as any to take a lift from the till, I suppose.

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deadballoon

  • Saturday 4th November 2006, 7:03am
  • England
  • 5 posts

hello,

i liked the stuff about biscuits, brothers and Llamas.

You might have difficulty selling the setup of a 24 hr shop with a guy who's been there years but is still treated like a trainee and has to deal with a violent till because it sounds an awful lot like Open All Hours.

I think jokes about rape and domestic abuse are hard to pull off unless the sitcom has a very dark tone, but this one also seems to be alternately surreal (ducks) and slapsticky.

Long speeches from characters which only serve to explain their background, circumstances and motivation can come across a bit clunky.

hope this helps. somehow.

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Scott T

  • Sunday 5th November 2006, 10:53am
  • All over the shop, United Kingdom
  • 241 posts

I thought the sudden, surreal tangents were great and well-timed. It seems like you just threw one in as it could have started going down a predictable or bland route. i liked that a lot.

I'm not sure what the shop looks like. If it's an old-fashioned one, i agree that you want to avoid making it too much like 'Open All Hours'. The till could have a different quirk each week. Sometimes electrocuting, sometimes opening and closing the automatic doors when they press 'cash', sometimes printing an 'IOU' because business is bad.

I'm not a producer, but I think that rape and domestic violence can be discussed. They happen in the real world, they could happen in sitcomland too.

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deadballoon

  • Sunday 5th November 2006, 3:01pm
  • England
  • 5 posts
Quote: Scott Taylor @ November 5, 2006, 5:53 AM

I thought the sudden, surreal tangents were great and well-timed. It seems like you just threw one in as it could have started going down a predictable or bland route. i liked that a lot.

ah, the duck scene makes more sense when described like that. If it's a kind of sitcom in-joke, another you could have is that when James enters he could describe just witnessing a scene of major carnage outside (that the audience don't get to see) in which a group of people have died. The idea would be that these people were supposed to be the main characters of this sitcom, so Matt and Vicky find themselves suddenly promoted from supporting roles. Matt could say something like "Shame, those guys were really funny ...", followed by a long pause during which no-one can think of anyting amusing to say.

James could also say it's another reason why he wants to leave (because the job seems so dangerous). To get some of the exposition into joke-form, he could say something like "I've trained as computer scientist, but I haven't programmed so much as a calculator. The only time any one wants any Java is during coffee break"

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earman2009

  • Saturday 11th November 2006, 12:19am
  • Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • 1,244 posts

Thanks for the feedback. I like the idea about having characters that would have been better than Vicky and Matt if it weren’t for the incident witnessed by James. With your permission, of course, I'd like to use that one. The cash register idea is good too. Wave

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earman2009

  • Saturday 11th November 2006, 7:05pm
  • Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • 1,244 posts

You'll be credited at the awards ceremony!