British Comedy Guide

Excerpt from pilot

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Mark Nicholas

  • Wednesday 29th August 2012, 7:58pm
  • Northampton, England
  • 31 posts

Hi,

This is my first post but I have been browsing the forum for some time now, so hi all! :)

I thought I would post a section of a pilot I have written, Jim is in his 50's and trying to find work after not leaving the house for 40 years. This is his first interview and subsequant meeting with agency.

INT SANDWICH PACKING WAREHOUSE
Jim walks into the office inside the warehouse, he is wearing a very old brown suit that barely looks
clean, and he is being interviewed by a typical office manager, wearing a pink shirt, slick hair who
thinks they are a team player.

TONY:
Well here we are Jim, welcome to el paradiso! (Laughs a little)

JIM:
Oh sorry I think I have the wrong place

Jim stands up to leave

TONY:
No Jim, sorry it was a joke

JIM
Oh. Hahahaha. (An inappropriately loud laugh)

TONY:
Great, well let’s get started

JIM:
Shall I just go down and start then?

TONY:
No I mean the interview

JIM:
Oh

Tony picks up Jim’s CV

TONY;
Ok Jim, well I see that you have some experience in a similar sort of role. Can you explain your role
at Standlflex?

JIM:
Ah yes, It was similar to here, in a way. I would put the scotch into the egg

TONY:
Wow, quite a role there. Sausage roll?

JIM:
No thank you

TONY:
Never mind. Now why did you leave there?

JIM:
I hated my boss

TONY:
Oh. Well I don’t think you would have that problem here, your boss would be a pretty cool guy
(laughs a little)

JIM:
Really? When can I meet him?

TONY:
No, I mean me, never mind.

INT: Job Agency Office
The scene then cuts to the recruitment office without missing a beat where Jim is talking to Lorraine.

LORRAINE:
So tell me what happened after that

JIM:
Well then he asked me about strengths and weaknesses like you said and I did exactly what you said.
I don’t really understand what went wrong to be honest

LORRAINE:
Well Jim, if I read you a bit of the email I received from Tony it might shed some light “Dear Lorraine,
I interviewed Jim this morning, I have to tell you we will not be considering his for the position as
half way through the interview he pulled down his trousers from which he was leaking brown liquid”
To be honest I am not going to read the rest as it is making me ill thinking about it.

JIM:
I knew something like this would happen, it always does

LORRAINE:
You always have this problem??

JIM:
I told you this morning I was incompetent

LORRAINE:
That’s not the same thing! You’re incontinent!!

JIM:
Same thing

LORRAINE:
No! It is certainly not the same thing.

JIM:
Well what now?

LORRAINE:
I think if you could go and come back tomorrow and we will discuss some opportunities then

JIM:
Ok, and to say sorry I will weave you a basket

LORRAINE:
JUST LEAVE!

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Garry Lee

  • Wednesday 29th August 2012, 10:14pm
  • East Kilbride, Scotland
  • 278 posts
Quote: Mark Nicholas @ August 29 2012, 7:58 PM BST


INT SANDWICH PACKING WAREHOUSE
Jim walks into the office inside the warehouse, he is wearing a very old brown suit that barely looks
clean, and he is being interviewed by a typical office manager, wearing a pink shirt, slick hair who
thinks they are a team player.


I think you should avoid describing what a person thinks when setting up a scene (in this case, the manager), as what they think should come across in their dialogue (like how about an interior shot of the manager dismissing a group of colleagues circled around him by high five-ing them all in quick succession before going to sit in his chair and start the interview? or something similarly dickish that shows off his character?).

This whole 'old man out of touch with the world' setup you've got going on isn't really my kind of thing, but congrats on putting pen to paper regardless and giving it a shot. It seems a little one-note in terms of jokes, but then I haven't read the rest of your script. At the moment for me it's all dialogue and no character. I'd post a longer sample so we could get a bit of a better feel for where it goes.

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garyd

  • Wednesday 29th August 2012, 10:35pm
  • England
  • 782 posts

If I may:

Do you know why Jim hasn't left the house in 40 years?
He seems like he would be under some kind of care programme so instead of an agency you could have his social worker/carer etc but who would be aware of his 'problems'.
And I presume he has been home since the interview!

Maybe Jim's character might need some explaining/defining before he gets involved in too many one-on-one's.

But as Garry says, well done for posting it.

Have a think and let's see some more.

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Mark Nicholas

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 8:40am
  • Northampton, England
  • 31 posts

Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I have thrown in a random excerpt here without any real explanation so it probably doesn't make much sense... apologies.

I will try and get a larger segment and post it as he is one of the three main characters in this pilot so there's lots going on. One thing I am having trouble with is explaining the past of a character without just blatantly having them say it in a conversation... hmmm.. I'll work on it though, thanks guys :)

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dellas

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 8:57am
  • Manchester, England
  • 4,598 posts

:) Brief description, then let dialogue flow; just sounds right, don't want the psychology.

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Joyce

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 11:43am
  • Merton/Kent, England
  • 480 posts
Quote: Mark Nicholas @ August 30 2012, 8:40 AM BST

Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I have thrown in a random excerpt here without any real explanation so it probably doesn't make much sense... apologies.

I will try and get a larger segment and post it as he is one of the three main characters in this pilot so there's lots going on. One thing I am having trouble with is explaining the past of a character without just blatantly having them say it in a conversation... hmmm.. I'll work on it though, thanks guys :)


It's actually nice to gradually find out about a character's past as a script goes on. Constantly uncovering new information is what keeps a story afloat. We all like to wonder why people are behaving in certain ways. We hope we're going to find out and, when we do, it's satisfying. Write a large portion of monotonous 'question/answer' dialogue and you're heading for a massive borefest for the reader/watcher.

There are so many ways to reveal a past. You can let characters reveal things naturally, as they're speaking about something else...or you can give them a moment to themselves, where they pull out a picture of someone/something that's a clear indication of a snatch of their past. On TV, you can show more than tell. Give your audience a reason to keep their eyes on the screen. Don't forget cameras can zoom in and out on vital objects. Also third party characters can tell what they know about a particular person, relieving the pressure of always having one character spill all the beans. Sometimes you can do this behind their backs, so to speak. This is nice to do as it stops that character spouting his/her own life story at every turn.

I hope this makes sense. I'm sure it does on some other planet, somewhere.

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Marc P

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 11:52am [Edited]
  • England
  • 17,698 posts
Quote: Joyce @ August 30 2012, 11:43 AM BST

Give your audience a reason to keep their eyes on the screen. Don't forget cameras can zoom in and out on vital objects.


But don't write such shots into your script of course! :)

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Joyce

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:05pm [Edited]
  • Merton/Kent, England
  • 480 posts
Quote: Marc P @ August 30 2012, 11:52 AM BST
Quote: Joyce @ August 30 2012, 11:43 AM BST

Give your audience a reason to keep their eyes on the screen. Don't forget cameras can zoom in and out on vital objects.


But don't write such shots into your script of course! :)


Yes, of course. However, the possibility is there to be explored later. I'm just saying...have a think about what TV can do for your script and try to believe it will work. If you can see it...it could happen. Waffling again.

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Marc P

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:17pm
  • England
  • 17,698 posts

Yes stop waffling and giving conflicting messages! ;)

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Joyce

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:20pm [Edited]
  • Merton/Kent, England
  • 480 posts
Quote: Marc P @ August 30 2012, 12:17 PM BST

Yes stop waffling and giving conflicting messages! ;)


What conflicting messages? Do you mean disagreeing with you, or contradicting myself? Or do you mean I'm giving certain vibes and then giving different ones?

This forum stuff is hard, you know.

To be fair to me, I'm still getting over the fact you don't actually look like your avatar.

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earman2009

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:28pm
  • Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • 1,244 posts

Will the audience know that Jim hasnt left the house in 40 years? And what has happened to make him leave the house now? Who are the other main characters you mention? Are they related to Jim's story or are they on their own?

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Marc P

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:36pm
  • England
  • 17,698 posts
Quote: Joyce @ August 30 2012, 12:20 PM BST

What conflicting messages? Do you mean disagreeing with you, or contradicting myself? Or do you mean I'm giving certain vibes and then giving different ones?

This forum stuff is hard, you know.

To be fair to me, I'm still getting over the fact you don't actually look like your avatar.


I am saying you should never write camera directions in your scripts! I look exactly like that avatar only slightly bigger in real life. :D

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Joyce

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 12:47pm
  • Merton/Kent, England
  • 480 posts
Quote: Marc P @ August 30 2012, 12:36 PM BST

I am saying you should never write camera directions in your scripts! I look exactly like that avatar only slightly bigger in real life. :D


Okay...actually, my silhouette is incredibly similar to that of my avatar. I'm not blue, mind. Not a smurf.

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Garry Lee

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 1:21pm
  • East Kilbride, Scotland
  • 278 posts
Quote: Marc P @ August 30 2012, 12:36 PM BST

I am saying you should never write camera directions in your scripts!


...unless the camera direction is vital to making the joke/story work, right?

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garyd

  • Thursday 30th August 2012, 1:38pm
  • England
  • 782 posts
Quote: Garry Lee @ August 30 2012, 1:21 PM BST

...unless the camera direction is vital to making the joke/story work, right?


I agree with Garry. Are we wrong?

It's good that a character's story is gradually revealled however I find it difficult to empathise if there is no explanation as to why he shits himself or is a dick head.