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Idea for sketch show

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Ginger Jesus

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 12:37am [Edited]
  • England
  • 511 posts

I've had a little idea for a sketch show and started to write some sketches for it. It was originally called "6 Degrees", however I've found out there's an American show coming out by the same name. Anyway, thats by the by. It plays on the idea of Six degrees of seperation, in that "anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than 5 intermediaries" - straight out of Wikipedia. The idea is that at least one character from the previous sketch appears in the next sketch. It doesn't have to follow as a story, but a chain through out each episode is created. You can trace a link from the first sketch to the last. Has this type of thing been done before? Here's an example of one of them (a 2 part sketch). It's written in the radio format, but not sure if thats the way I want to go.

F/X: SOUNDS OF A “GIRLS NIGHT IN” MUSIC PLAYING AND LOTS OF GIGGLING ETC
BECCA: And his cock was this big.
F/X: ALL THE GIRLS LAUGH HYSTERICALLY
BECCA: So anyway Em, how are things with you and your stalker at the moment?
EMMA: Absolutely useless. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him for 2 or 3 weeks
CATH: Your Joking.
EMMA: No.
BECCA: Well that wasn’t very long was it?
EMMA: It couldn’t have been more than 3 days.
BECCA: My word.
EMMA: I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
CATH: Things couldn’t be better with me and Mike at the moment.
BECCA: How longs that been Cath?
CATH: Coming up to 4 years now, and still seems just as fresh. For example, I was in the cinema the other night and he frightened the life out of me, he was sat 4 rows back. I didn’t have a clue he was there. Very un-nerving.
BECCA: Oorr, that’s lovely.
EMMA: What about you Becca?
BECCA: Yeah everything’s going great. Alan must have been following me for nearly 5 hours when I was shopping last Saturday. I could feel the skin crawling on the back of my neck you know?
CATH: He so old fashioned isn’t he?
BECCA: He is, I really like that, it’s like I feel like he’s there sometimes, even when he isn’t.
CATH: So Sweet.
EMMA: What do you think I’m doing wrong? Why can’t I keep a stalker?
CATH: Well, when Mike started stalking me, he was sooo timid. I really had to take him by the scruff the neck, literally. I had to go up to him the street, grab hold of him, and say , “Look, I don’t feel threatened. Your not frightening me at all” In the end I just gave him my address and told him to hang around outside my house for a bit, otherwise he may as well just forget it.
BECCA: You’ve got to be tough sometimes, you really do have to. Alan was the same, he used to hang around outside my work, and I knew it was me he was after. Anyway he went on like that for a month or so, and in the end I just said to him, “You better start phoning me and start breathing heavily down it, otherwise I’ll go and find a stalker who will.” I’m 28 years old, I’m not getting any younger. Anyway that night, I had fifteen silent phone calls. It was brilliant.
EMMA: I’m going to wear shorter skirts I think.
CATH: I don’t know, you already look pretty slutty. Next bite you get, just lay it on the line. You want him hanging around outside your house, you want anonymous flowers at work, and he better start lurking down dimly lit streets behind you, other wise you’ll go else where.
EMMA: Your right! I’m going to do it (SOUND OF EM GETTING UP TO LEAVE) Thanks girls, you’ve really helped me. Thanks bye.
BOTH: Bye!
F/X: SOUND OF EM LEAVING
CATH: She hasn’t a hope in hell.
END

Stalker Sketch Part 2

F/X: SOUNDS OF A BUSY BAR
BECCA: Cath, Cath! Hello, fancy meeting you here. On your own?
CATH: No, Mikes over there hiding behind a pillar.
BECCA: Oh, I see him. Do you mind if my stalker has a drink with him?
CATH: Not at all.
BECCA: Alan, ALAN! Go over there, over there behind the pillar. Get half a coke or something. Honestly.
CATH: So you keeping alright? Seen much of Em?
BECCA: No, haven’t you heard? You haven’t heard have you?
CATH: What?
BECCA: She’s dead.
CATH: What?!
BECCA: Found face down in the canal, murdered.
CATH: Your kidding.
BECCA: Turns out she managed to get herself a stalker.
CATH: Really?
BECCA: Gods honest. It was him who did it, it was very rushed, only a couple of weeks. Met her in a park, next thing she knows, dead in a canal.
CATH: The lucky bitch! two weeks? And you thought romance was dead. (SHOUTING) Are you two listening behind that pillar? Eh? Two weeks and she’s face down in the canal. Why don’t you do anything nice like that for me Mike? Eh? Is it too much to ask for a bit of romance?
BECCA: Well.
CATH: I always said she’d get a good man.
END

All criticism welcome. Except the really harsh ones, which I'll pretend not to read.

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jobfromthebible

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 1:00am
  • Israel
  • 27 posts

I really like these sketches, very funny and very sick. Well done.

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Badge

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 2:08am
  • London, England
  • 9,490 posts

Great premise, lots of potential in that - also helps avoid lame endings to sketches. You could also loop back to the beginning at the end.

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ajp29

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 3:21am
  • England
  • 5,486 posts

This concept has been done before in shows like 'Mr Show with Bob and David' which is an HBO (American) show however the links are sometimes more tenuous than simply having the character from the previous sketch in the next sketch. e.g. the 'Fake Duke of Dutch' who is judging a embryo beauty contest in one sketch is chucked out of the Burgundy Loaf in the next sketch (which is about a high class restaurant where you shit in a box). In other transitions you simply hear the end of a previous sketch on the radio.
I think that searching for an original concept is very hard and a sort of comedy holy grail. I had several ideas such as having the same punchline for every sketch but its hard to break the usual format, yet if you don't you'll just repeat other people's material so its sort of catch 22.

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steve by any other name

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 12:40pm
  • Northampton, England
  • 832 posts

I like the concept of the show a lot, I'm not a big fan of sketch shows and I think it's because of the lack of continuity, which this may address. I didn't really find the sketches you posted funny though, sorry GJ. Maybe I didn't get the joke.

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Ginger Jesus

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 12:45pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 511 posts

Cheers guys. I had a feeling someone somewhere must have done something similar. It could be my lead balloon to their curb. ;)

Not heard of that show though. I suppose though you could look forever for something truely original, and hopefully my sense of humour will help it stand apart. I don't know whether to watch that show now incase I subconciously start writing about embryos in beauty contests...

Steve by any other - Don't worry about it. I know that that type of humour isn't going to be everyones cup of tea. I suppose it is a little twisted. You can please some of the people some of the time...etc etc. I don't intend it all to be as dark as those all the way through (although I do have another with a high maintenance hostage). But if I can get the premise to appeal to someone who doesn't like sketch shows that's a step in the right direction.

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Blenkinsop

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 12:47pm
  • England
  • 2,014 posts

Hi GJ

I liked the sketches and thought they were a nice twist on the girl/boyfriend idea.

I thought the bit in the second sketch where the stalkers are banished behind the pillar like kiddies being left in a ball-pool very amusing.

Both pieces, to me, had a feel of the style that 'Big Train' pioneered several years ago.

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Ginger Jesus

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 2:31pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 511 posts

Badge - I was thinking of trying to vary it in ways like that. i.e. Looping the sketches round so they come back to the first sketch again. Or perhaps having the same character throughout each sketch all the way through. like a "day in the life"

Blenkinsop - I understand what your saying regarding Big Train. It's similar in thats I've tried to take a normal situation, then put something thats not normal in there, but keep peoples reactions the same(ish). But I'd like to think I'm not ripping them off. What d'ya reckon?

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Blenkinsop

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 4:05pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 2,014 posts
Quote: Ginger Jesus @ November 14, 2006, 9:31 AM


But I'd like to think I'm not ripping them off. What d'ya reckon?

No I don't think there's any rip off here at all. It's just a stylistic thing and something that I would refer to as no more than possibly 'influenced by', inasmuch as writers we all have our influences.

I thought they were very good and made me laugh

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SlagA

  • Tuesday 14th November 2006, 8:35pm
  • Blackwood, Wales
  • 5,335 posts

GJ
I liked the sketches, nice twist on a normal situation although sketch one seemed to dither a tiniest at the beginning. Sketch two was great.

The problem I see is not that you have a theme to link seperate sketches but that you will have to combat a public perception that they are scenes from a sitcom that is unusually fragmented. Maybe I got this impression because you presented 2 sketches from the same strand?

When you think about it League of Gentleman came across originally as a sketch show of loose characters into which they eventually back-engineered a deeper plot and linkage. As far as me poor ol' memory serves me.

Your biggest battle will be with TV companies because they like to see teams writing for sketch shows, they fear one-man shows for being too hit-and-miss. (Isn't all sketch comedy tho?) Or so I've been told.

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Ginger Jesus

  • Wednesday 15th November 2006, 12:44pm
  • England
  • 511 posts

My original idea Slag, was to have a very short sitcom style story, thats interspersed with sketches throughout, that aren't necessarily related to the main story. But then the League of Gentleman came to mind, and, not that I 've really watched much of it, Green Wing works in that kind of way doesn't it? Not sure I could compete with them. Yet.

The 2 sketches above, I don't plan for them to follow each other. The intention is for it to weave off through some other sketches, and back. I think the best thing for me to do is to get an "episode" drafted up and see how it looks, see whether it gels or just looks hobbled together.

With regards working as a team, I'm aware that production companies prefer that, theres less of a risk. I've heard in the past if they like a new writer they'll team him up with more experianced people. Or is that bollocks? Am I better trying to get a team together myself?

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jobfromthebible

  • Wednesday 15th November 2006, 3:24pm
  • Israel
  • 27 posts

Ginger, if, in your show, you use a core of actors who double and even treble up roles (as in LOG), then it will be fairly obvious that it isn't a disjointed sitcom but a series of linked sketches.
As for working alone, as long as you can knock out a couple of episodes to showcase then that would be proof enough to any f**ker.

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SlagA

  • Wednesday 15th November 2006, 4:27pm
  • Blackwood, Wales
  • 5,335 posts

Job, in my mind the best proof would be a large proportion of sketch series written by one writer. I can think of many that were team-based. Little fish will never swim against the flow where established names have previously faltered. Several completed episodes are no consolation when a second series is looming.

GJ - incredible, we're also working on a sketch-based show with sitcom threads. We've sussed an original angle and the sketches like LOG are loosely inter-twinned with a gradualy unfolding story progression tied into the main 3 characters. It's in first draft, and we're sitting on it for a few weeks before we start editting. We have a second unrelated series in similar vein being planned. Both series are linked by one location. To gives a sense of continuity where none, in reality, exists.