British Comedy Guide

The Sitcom Trials 2013

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Mr Ashdown

  • Monday 17th December 2012, 5:04pm
  • England
  • 124 posts

Hello! Well, after a bumper 2012 for the Sitcom Trials, it's time to usher in a new year with a new competition for the next show.

THE BRIEF for submission to The Bristol Sitcom Trials.

The Sitcom Trials wants situation comedy scripts that a small group of actors can perform in a live environment with minimal stage in front of an audience, who will hopefully laugh. Ideally these sitcoms will be so marvelous that the TV & radio industry representatives in the audience will snap them up immediately.

THE FORMAT:

Your script must have a first 'half' of less than 8 minutes
This first half should end in a cliffhanger, or something that leaves
the audience wanting more.

It must then have a final scene of 2 or 3 minutes long. This will be
performed only if your sitcom is the winner on the night

Scripts should come in at around 12 pages.

Your script must have NO MORE THAN 5 CHARACTERS. (We're flexible on this, but it's good to keep it focused on just a few characters)

The sitcoms we are to test out in our regular pub theatre shows with an eye to them being developed for TV must be PERFORMABLE LIVE (ie no filmed or location inserts)
&
ON ONE MINIMAL SET.

Think in terms of a radio script.

UPLOAD SCRIPTS TO THE FILES:

Upload your entries to the appropriate folder in the files section of the egroup. You will need to join the free egroup to do so:
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/files/

And you can find a handy VOTE and REVIEW thing on the Sitcom Trials website:

http://sitcomtrials.blogspot.co.uk/

Deadline for entries - midnight January 26th, 2013
Deadline for voting - midnight Friday 1at February, 2013

VOTING:

All members of the SitsVac egroup/British Comedy Guide Sitcom Trials thread, you included, will be invited to read, review, and vote on all scripts in contention. Vote YES, MAYBE or NO as to each one's potential and add a short one paragraph review. Your votes will not be counted unless you include a review.

Send reviews to the Sits Vac TV group message board (http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/), or to the Sitcom Trials thread at the British Comedy Guide Forum (https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/23202/)

Writers are welcome to vote on their own scripts.

Votes are then totalled thus; Yes = 2 points, Maybe = 1 point, No = minus -1 point. This way we draw up a shortlist for a script reading, from which we select the items to go into the stage show.

PERFORMANCE:

The top ten entries (as voted by you) will be read by the team, from which we'll select AT LEAST TWO SCRIPTS to be performed on Friday February 22, 2013, at the Wardrobe Theatre, St Michael's Hill, Bristol. The other scripts will come from writing sessions by the Bristol team of writers and performers.

This will be a rehearsed-reading/script-in-hand/radio-style affair, though we're not averse to using the odd prop or two. These sitcoms will be in competition with each other, the winner to be decided an audience vote.

There is no set theme this time round (such as the Halloween/Eurovision/Sci-Fi Trials) - you're free to come up with absolutely anything you want.

Any questions?

Happy scribbling

Vince Stadon

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Kev F

  • Monday 17th December 2012, 9:40pm
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts

Image

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Kev F

  • Friday 4th January 2013, 8:44am
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts

The Sitcom Trials proudly presents a comedy classic in the making...

Checkpoint Dave
by Vince Stadon

Image

The scintillating play about British Intelligence that ever so nearly brought down the Government, but didn't.

A cold November in 1966: in a Berlin checkpoint ignored by history, a dysfunctional trio of British Intelligence Officers have one night to secure a prestigious enemy defection, prevent the imminent closure of their operation, and safeguard their impressively stocked stationery cupboard.

A tale of espionage, counter-espionage, romance and neatly sharpened pencils, Checkpoint Dave, a one act play first performed at the Manchester Comedy Festival, is based on the winning entry for The Sitcom Trials.

Based on shocking top secret information supplied by Moscow, everything in this play is based on fact, except the bit about the pencils.

Wednesday 16th January 8pm
Thursday 17th January 8pm
Friday 18th January 8pm

The Wardrobe Theatre
(above the White Bear pub),
133 St Michael's Hill,
High Kingsdown,
Bristol,
BS2 8BS

Tickets: £4
email: tickets@thewardrobetheatre.com

**** "Is funny play!" - Kremlin News

**** "Gets far too close to the truth, but made me laugh." - Bob le Carre (not related to John le Carre, author of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold/Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

**** "Very silly spy-caper, full of laughs" - Manchester Chronicle

**** "Irresponsible,
treacherous and puerile nonsense, the wife loved it, of course - but I've always suspected she's a damn Communist!" - anonymous Daily Mail reader.

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Tim Azure

  • Friday 4th January 2013, 6:51pm [Edited]
  • Kent, England
  • 2,037 posts

Doesn't every Sitcom Trial script end on a cliffhanger?

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Kev F

  • Friday 4th January 2013, 9:02pm
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts
Quote: Tim Azure @ January 4 2013, 6:51 PM GMT

Doesn't every Sitcom Trial script end on a cliffhanger?

Technically no. The established Sitcom Trials format revolves around the script ending in a cliffhanger moment, then the audience seeing the ending of the winning script only.

However there are Sitcom Trials shows that involve complete sitcoms without the cliffhanger, for example the recent Bristol shows where the improv team perform a sitcom based on a Pitch Fest suggestion; the planned full episode of a previous winner which was supposed to be included in the last London show but had to be postponed; and the Spring 2009 Sitcom Trials London season, produced by Declan & Simon, which abandoned the cliffhanger part of the format and simply announced a winner at the end of the show.

The first year of The Sitcom Trials, before the cliffhanger had come into play, involved sitcoms of varying lengths and, on a couple of occasions, the audience filling out questionnaires about the sitcoms they'd seen. I'm amazed that didn't catch on.

Kev F

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blahblah

  • Friday 4th January 2013, 9:35pm
  • sunderland, England
  • 1,130 posts

Can I enter a reworked version of my last entry, but aimed at children? Or does it have to be aimed at adults?

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Kev F

  • Saturday 5th January 2013, 10:58am
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts
Quote: blahblah @ January 4 2013, 9:35 PM GMT

Can I enter a reworked version of my last entry, but aimed at children? Or does it have to be aimed at adults?

Why should it be aimed at adults? Given the puerile nonsense that's flooded through the Trials over the years I wonder if anything we do is suitable for adults.

On stage you will be endeavouring to make a room full of adults laugh, but don't let that limit what you write.

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Kelvin Dyson

  • Saturday 5th January 2013, 11:05am
  • England
  • 9 posts
Quote: Kev F @ January 5 2013, 10:58 AM GMT

Why should it be aimed at adults? Given the puerile nonsense that's flooded through the Trials over the years I wonder if anything we do is suitable for adults.

On stage you will be endeavouring to make a room full of adults laugh, but don't let that limit what you write.

Is writing puerile nonsense a condition of the competition ? Eh?

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Tim Azure

  • Saturday 5th January 2013, 11:39am
  • Kent, England
  • 2,037 posts
Quote: blahblah @ January 4 2013, 9:35 PM GMT

Can I enter a reworked version of my last entry, but aimed at children? Or does it have to be aimed at adults?

Why this insistence of constantly reworking subs? Either you are a writer and so can come up with new work, or you're not. It's advisable to be the best you can be.

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blahblah

  • Saturday 5th January 2013, 8:19pm [Edited]
  • sunderland, England
  • 1,130 posts
Quote: Tim Azure @ January 5 2013, 11:39 AM GMT

Why this insistence of constantly reworking subs? Either you are a writer and so can come up with new work, or you're not. It's advisable to be the best you can be.

The reason I was considering it was to incorprate the advice from last time and produce the best version of that script - not so much for this contest but for the script itself. So I thought it would be a good exercise to rework the script with same premise, characters etc but not the same situation, which is surely a good way to be the best you can be in the future? I didn't plan on just changing a couple a lines and uploading.

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Tim Azure

  • Sunday 6th January 2013, 3:53pm [Edited]
  • Kent, England
  • 2,037 posts
Quote: blahblah @ January 5 2013, 8:19 PM GMT

The reason I was considering it was to incorprate the advice from last time and produce the best version of that script - not so much for this contest but for the script itself. So I thought it would be a good exercise to rework the script with same premise, characters etc but not the same situation, which is surely a good way to be the best you can be in the future? I didn't plan on just changing a couple a lines and uploading.

But maybe the script is now out of date? Just a thought.

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enigmatic

  • Sunday 6th January 2013, 8:21pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 235 posts

If the characters and/or basic concept are obsolete after a year it ain't a sitcom...

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Kev F

  • Monday 7th January 2013, 10:45am
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts

A reminder to everyone, your entries are invited for the Bristol Sitcom Trials in Feb. Deadline is Jan 19th and there is now a folder into which you can upload you entries:
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/files/

Happy scribbling (read the brief first)

Kev F

Quote: enigmatic @ January 6 2013, 8:21 PM GMT

If the characters and/or basic concept are obsolete after a year it ain't a sitcom...

As someone who watched two episodes of The Goodies from 1970 last night (they're free if you have Virgin Media On Demand) I concur. Some things might be a bit dated (the episode where Tim dresses as a woman and they talk a lot about Womens Lib was verrrry dated, and I can't wait till we get to the racist bits), but good characters, original ideas, and funny stories still work 43 years later.

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swerytd

  • Monday 7th January 2013, 12:00pm [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,512 posts

So, you've taken a whole week off the deadline without warning (see first post on this page). Now that's pressure!

Dan

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Kev F

  • Monday 7th January 2013, 1:00pm
  • Bristol, England
  • 689 posts
Quote: swerytd @ January 7 2013, 12:00 PM GMT

So, you've taken a whole week off the deadline without warning (see first post on this page). Now that's pressure!

Dan

Oops - ERROR ALERT. Sorry everyone. The deadline is Jan 26th not Jan 19th, my mistake. (At one point it was the 19th, which I made the mistake of writing in my diary in pen instead of pencil).

The deadline is Jan 26th everybody. As you were.

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