British Comedy Guide

New sitcom - Doomed

Avatar

Kealy

  • Friday 14th October 2016, 6:46pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Hello again everyone, second post. This is my other sitcom I've been working on. Here's the first ten pages. As before feed back would be much appreciated.

SCENE 1. EXT. CASH MACHINE. DAY. [08.50]

JOSH (EARLY 30'S) IS STANDING IN A SMALL QUEUE WAITING TO USE A CASH MACHINE. A WOMAN SUZAN (EARLY 30'S) COMES TOWARDS HIM LOOKING ANGRY. JOSH SPOTS HER AND STARTS TO LOOK WORRIED. SHE ARRIVES AT THE CASH MACHINE.

SUZAN:
Drawing some money out for me?

JOSH:
Drawing money out, no not me. I'm just basking in the warmth and beauty of
others more fortunate. (PUTS HIS ARMS UP AND CHEERS) Another fifty
quid. Looks like everyone's a winner today.

SUZAN:
(LOOKING BEWILDERED) God you really are sad. I sent you an eviction
notice two days ago.

JOSH:
Yean I know, I was coming to see you about that.

SUZAN:
Really?

JOSH:
Yean, to tell you I wont have the money for another week and you free to
hurt me as badly as you like.

SUZAN:
It's beyond that.

JOSH:
You can do what you like to me, How about a couple of firecrackers down my
pants. (PULLS JEANS AWAY FROM STOMACH. LOOKS INSIDE.) Trust me
theirs lots of room in there.

A MAN OPPOSITE JOSH PUTS HIS HEAD ACROSS AND LOOKS INSIDE. HE NODS IN AGREEMENT AND SMILES. HE NUDGES THE MAN NEXT TO HIM AND POINTS AND TELLS HIM. THEY NOD TO ONE ANOTHER IN AGREEMENT.

ANOTHER MAN WALKS BY AND POURS A HOT CUP OF COFFEE IN HIS PANTS, STEAM GOES EVERYWHERE. JOSH SCREAMS OUT IN PAIN.

THEN ANOTHER MAN WALKS BY AND THROWS IN SOME CHANGE.

JOSH:
Thank you. Thank you very much.

MAN:
You need to work on your voice and get your self some tunes.

JOSH:
I will do the Royal Opera House a waits. (HE SCREAMS OUT AGAIN)
practice makes perfect.

SUZAN:
That change is mine.

SUZAN PUTS HER HANDS IN HIS JEANS AND PULLS OUT SOME CHANGE.

SUZAN:
Where's the rest of it?

JOSH:
(LEANS FORWARD) I think it's gone into my pants. (SMILES, LOOKING
OPTIMISTIC)

SUZAN:
(SHE LOOKS AT HIM) You can keep it.

JOSH:
Wonderful I'll start up a trust fund right away. (PULLS JEANS AWAY)
Anymore donations. Betty and Martha will be eternally grateful.

SUZAN:
Do you know what happened to last person who didn't pay me?

JOSH:
You dislocated one of my fingers.

SUZAN:
Not you, the person who rented the flat before you.

JOSH:
No.

SUZAN:
She went splat against the front dumper of my car.

JOSH STARTS TO LOOK WORRIED.

SUZAN:
I swear it was an accident. (STARTS TO LAUGH) That's what I told the
police anyway.

JOSH:
(THINKING) She made a full recovery right?

SUZAN:
(LOOKING CONFUSED) Recovery. The only recovery was that of her teeth
so they could identify her from dental records.

JOSH:
But theirs no way I can pay you.

SUZAN:
Well you best start packing your stuff then, hadn't you? Don't worry I've
already got someone interested in the flat, my parents actually.

JOSH:
Really, can I stay with them for a bit?

SUZAN:
No you bloody cant!

JOSH:
Go on just for a little while, they wont even no I'm there.

JOSH PULLS A SULKY FACE.

SUZAN:
You going to pay me aren't you? And it's going to be real money, not some
money you've got from a board game like last time.

SHE GRABS HIS HAND AND STARTS TO CRUSH IT.

JOSH:
(LOOKING AROUND EMBARRASSED) No, still doesn't hurt. You'll have to
squeeze harder than that. (LOOKS AT THE MAN NEXT TO HIM) Your turn
next. Ok It hurts, it hurts.

SHE LETS GO OF HIS HAND, STOMPS HE FEET. THEN BITES HER OWN HAND AND MARCHES OFF.

A WOMAN WALKS UP TO HIM CARRYING A DUSTBIN BAG. SHE LOOKS JOSH IN THE FACE HE SMILES. SHE PULLS HIS JEANS AWAY FROM HIS STOMACH AND EMPTIES THE BAG IN HIS JEANS. THEN WALKS OFF. JOSH STANDS THEIR LOOKING BEWILDERED.

CUT TO:

SCENE 2. INT. SHOP - DAY 1 [09.15]

TOM (EARLY 30'S) IS STANDING BEHIND THE COUNTER, WITH HIS LAPTOP OPEN, SIGNING GUITARS. ANDY (LATE TEENS) IS WATCHING LOOKING ANGRY.

TOM LOOKS UP AT ANDY. ANDY LOOKS BACK AT HIM. TOM PUSHES THE GUITAR AWAY FROM HIM. HE STEPS FURTHER AWAY TO ONE SIDE.

TOM:
Just think we'll have you forging signatures with in a month.

ANDY GIVES HIM AN ANGRY STARE.

TOM:
Cheer up. You look like your chewing a wasp.

ANDY OPENS UP HIS MOUTH. INSIDE THERE'S A DEAD WASP. TOM LOOKS WORRIED.

TOM:
Always best to start the day with some breakfast. Keep you going for the rest
of the day.

ANDY STARTS TO CHEW AND THEN SWALLOWS. TOM LOOKS HORRIFIED.

TOM:
Emm down the hatch it goes. I think that's enough learning for today. You
may leave.

ANDY LEAVES UPSTAIRS. JOSH POP HIS HEAD AROUND THE DOOR. HE LOOKS AROUND THE SHOP. TOM STARTS TO WAVE HIS HAND IN FRONT OF HIS FACE DUE TO THE SMELL.

TOM:
(LOOKING ANNOYED) What time do you call this?

HE WALKS IN HOLDING HIS JEANS WITH JUST HIS PANTS AND T SHIRT ON.

JOSH:
I had a bit of a domestic problem at home.

TOM:
You're landlady bending your fingers back isn't a domestic problem that
concerns me.

JOSH FROWNS.

TOM:
I told you about not paying your rent.

JOSH:
I would, but you don't pay me do you?

TOM:
God its money, money, money with you, I want a new I phone, I want a new
TV, I want to buy some food because the doctor's say I'm dying.

JOSH
I just what to pay my rent, when I couldn't pay last month she gave me a
Chinese burn and it wasn't on my arm either.

TOM:
Chinese finger burns, effective and deadly.

JOSH:
She sent me an eviction notice two days ago.

TOM:
She's been threatening you for the last two years and do you still have a roof
over your head?

JOSH:
I think she's serious this time.

TOM:
Just do what you always do and glue yourself to the floorboards naked.

JOSH:
I wasn't naked they cut me out of my clothes. I'm never gluing
myself to any floor again that's what I told to the fire brigade anyway.

TOM:
What about staples?

JOSH:
That would hurt wouldn't it?

TOM:
No pain, no gain. Theirs a staple gun over there. You'll have to refill it, if you
use it mind. Anyway I thought by law you have to give notice?

JOSH:
She has, two years. She prefers to get physical with me anyway.

TOM:
I think secretly she likes you.

JOSH:
People who like you don't put blowtorches to your face, then threaten to burn
it off. I'm never going to get a good night's sleep again.

TOM:
Well, I wouldn't worry too much. You've survived this long.

TOM PICKS UP THE STAPLE GUN AND CREEPS UP BEHIND HIM. HE LIFTS UP JOSH'S SHIRT AND SHOTS A STAPLE IN HIS BACK.

TOM:
See, they don't hurt that bad.

JOSH SCREAMS OUT IN PAIN

CUT TO:

SCENE 3.INT. SHOP - DAY 1 [09.45]

TOM IS BEHIND THE COUNTER, LOOKING AT A MAGAZINE. JOSH IS COUNTING ON HIS FINGERS.

THE SHOP DOOR OPENS AND THE BELL RINGS. YOU HEAR PEOPLE CHEERING LIKE A SPORTING EVENT. IT STARTS TO GO DARK. A SPOT LIGHT STARTS TO MOVE AROUND THE SHOP.

A MAN WALKS INTO THE SHOP. HE LOOKS ANGRY AND IS HOLDING A GUITAR CASE. THE SPOT LIGHT STOPS ON HIM. FIREWORKS GO OFF IN A LINE TOWARDS HIM. HE SHRIEKS LOOKING PETRIFIED.

TOM:
(TURNS TO JOSH) Here's a man who's clearly shopped here before.

MAN:
What the bloody hell do you think your doing ripping of my brother?

TOM POINTS TO HIM SELF-MIMING THE WORD ME. JOSH PUTS HIS HANDS UP.

TOM:
Josh put your hands down. He hasn't got a gun. You haven't got a gun have
you?

THE MAN SHOWS HIS FISTS.

TOM:
He's just carrying two fists and what mighty big fine weapons they look
as well.

MAN:
This guitar isn't even worth fifty pounds.

JOSH:
It is, because that was the guitar with the sticker saying fifty pounds or
nudey photos. Does your brother own any photos of lovely ladies in
the nude?

TOM:
By the way the criteria is they must be nude and they must be lovely. We'll
leave the ladies bit to your discretion.

MAN:
What?

JOSH:
Ok, Clearly not. What if I offered you my copy of Sports and Babes Magazine.
It's got pictures of hot babes all the way through. There's even a two-page
spread on sport.

TOM:
Don't worry complaints have been sent to the editor.

JOSH:
And the editor has sent us complaints.

POINTS TO WALL COVERED WITH LETTERS.

TOM:
I don't care what he says, two pages of sport is way too much.

JOSH:
(OPENS UP THE MAGAZINE) Lets look at this months issue. Big hairy
bearded eastern Europeans at the annual tidily winks world championship
Need we say more.

JOSH HOLDS THE MAGAZINE OPEN TO SHOW HIM.

MAN:
I'm warning you.

TOM:
(TURNS TO JOSH WITH HIS FINGERS IN HIS MOUTH.) I've been warned

JOSH LOOKS HORRIFIED.

MAN:
I think the time has come to smash your face in.

TOM:
I wouldn't bother mate. Josh has seen Enter the Dragon ten times.

JOSH LOOKS A TOM GONE OUT.

MAN:
So.

TOM:
Josh, I think its time you sorted this man out.

JOSH LOOKS SCARED TO DEATH.

TOM:
Well go on then. Time to show him the ways of the exploding fist.

JOSH STARTS TO WAVE HIS HANDS ABOUT THE PLACE, MAKING STRANGE NOISES. HE STRIKES TOWARDS THE MANS NECK, BUT STOPS ONLY INCHES AWAY. THE MAN LOOKS BEWILDERED. JOSH WALKS OVER TO TOM.

TOM:
What happens now?

JOSH:
Well any moment now, he'll explode into a thousand pieces.

TOM:
He wont you know. Any moment now he's likely to kick your ass.

THE MAN WALKS OVER TO JOSH, PULLS UP HIS SHIRT AND TWISTS HIS NIPPLES. JOSH TURNS TO TOM, LOOKING AT HIM GONE OUT.

TOM:
It's your time. Now take him good.

THE MAN THEN TAKES A RUN UP AND HEAD BUTTS HIM IN THE CHEST. HE THEN STARTS TO LAUGH. JOSH GIVES OUT A HUGE SCREAM

HE STARTS TO PUNCH HIM IN THE STOMACH. THE MAN FALLS INTO THE WALL. JOSH CONTINUES PUNCHING HIM.

TOM LEANS OVER THE COUNTER PUTTING HIS HAND OUT AS IF HE WANTS TO BE TAGGED.

TOM:
Go for the knock out. You've got him on the ropes.

JOSH PUNCHES THE MAN IN THE FACE. THE MAN STARTS TO STUMBLE AROUND. HE PICKS UP THE SPORTS AND BABES MAGAZINE OFF THE COUNTER AND FALLS TO THE FLOOR. HE OPENS THE MAGAZINE UP AT THE SPORTS PAGE. LOOKS AT IT, THEN FALLS UNCONSCIOUS.

TOM:
It looks like you've killed him. (PUTS HAND OUT) Well done.

JOSH SNATCHES THE SPORTS MAGAZINE OFF HIM. THE MANS WALLET FALLS OUT OF HIS POCKET. TOM PICKS IT UP AND HANDS IT TO JOSH SMILING. JOSH TAKES IT LOOKING WORRIED. HE OPENS THE WALLET AND TAKES OUT SOME MONEY AND TWO PHOTOS. THEN HE PUTS THE WALLET BACK IN THE MAN'S POCKET.

JOSH:
(BIG SMILE) He did have nudy photos after all they could fetch a fine price
on E Bay.

TOM:
Nude photos and fifty pounds towards the rent Josh.

JOSH LOOKS EXITED. JOSH POINTS AT THE MAN.

JOSH:
What we going to do with him? We can't just leave him there.

TOM:
We could say he's taking an afternoon nap.

JOSH:
What with blood coming out of his mouth?

TOM:
Point taken. I'll get his arms, you get his legs and we'll put him outside. I'm
sure someone will take pity and call for an ambulance. Then you can go
discus Andy's progress with him.

JOSH:
It's your turn.

TOM:
No its not. Earlier he looked as happy as a polo bear, who'd been sent to
bed early with a hot water bottle stuffed under his arm

JOSH LOOKS AT THE MONEY AND THEN AT THE PHOTOS AND SMILES.

CUT TO:

Avatar

gappy

  • Saturday 15th October 2016, 10:33am [Edited]
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,019 posts

I like that more than the other one, I find it more easy to visualise. The characters and situations are easy to grasp, but intriguing enough to hold our interest, and there's a good balance of verbal gags and odd visual stuff. It feels quite American in tone, but that's not a criticism, just an observation. I just have two comments you might find useful (or you might not, feel free to ignore me:) )

1) The opening scene has a lot of what I call wheel-spinning. The conversation between the guy and his landlady takes a while to get anywhere, it keeps skipping back to the same position. There are some good lines in there, so I can why you've done it, but it just comes off as wise-cracking after a while. Of course, the beauty of sit com is that nobody ever learns anything, so it's alright to save up some of this stuff for an identical conversation in future episodes: my rule is that it's fine to essentially repeat scenes in sit com scripts, but it's a crime to elongate them.

2) Watch your spelling, there are some clunkers in there. Some these are just annoying to pernicketty people like me - which quite possibly includes industry types, wo why take the risk? - like no/know and there/their, but also some actually take you out of the moment to work out what is meant, like cluing/gluing.

Good luck with writing the rest.

Avatar

Kealy

  • Sunday 16th October 2016, 3:22pm
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Thanks for the comments gappy. I think your right about the first scene it needs to be cut down .Some of those lines don't need to be there. I'm a terrible speller. Takes me bloody ages to check through my work. I think I'll get it proofread before I send it out.

Avatar

Simon The Mighty

  • Monday 14th November 2016, 2:22pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 77 posts

I've read a few comedy scripts about people struggling to pay the rent. I guess that says a lot, lol. I think the whole murder thing was a bit dark, I'm not sure if that would work on TV, but I might be wrong. If you dealt with it in a funny way, I guess it would be ok (like in Bottom), but I think it's a bit of a dodgy area. Maybe. Lots of humorous things were said, but nothing I found really hilarious. Also the situations could have been more interesting. For example, the Peep Show scenes where a character was forced to piss himself in a church/eat a dog, or whatever, lol, were really memorable. What you write about is a bit more mundane, but it was still entertaining. I'd probably give it 5 or 6 out 10.

Avatar

Kealy

  • Monday 14th November 2016, 9:06pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

First no one dies in the episode, he's unconscious.(Even says it).as you would find out later in the episode after the first ten pages. So no worry s there .I'm not a huge fan of peep show so that's not a good example. You say you've read a lot of sitcoms about not paying the rent , every plot has virtually been done in sitcom, its about putting a new twist on things.

Still thanks for your comments.

Avatar

Simon The Mighty

  • Monday 14th November 2016, 9:21pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 77 posts

Yeah, but they think he might have died. The thing about not paying the rent, was just a joke. I'm just saying that comedy writers often seem to be out of work, and are writing about real experiences.

Avatar

Kealy

  • Monday 14th November 2016, 10:33pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Simon you say their was nothing that you thought was hilarious in the sitcom. What did you think of the visual humour in it. As I always thought that these to me tend to be the best bits. In sitcom its usually a site gag and the end of a scene and the visual humour through out that tends to get the biggest laughs.

Thanks.

Avatar

Simon The Mighty

  • Tuesday 15th November 2016, 10:09am
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 77 posts

I thought the chewing a dead wasp was an interesting idea. I'm all for whacky humour. Maybe you could build on that. Maybe your character could carry dead wasps in his pocket, just so he can say/do funny responses to things like 'you look like you're chewing on a dead wasp'. He would be quite the character, lol. The violent scenes were ok, but they kind of remind me of Bottom. If you want to keep them, I suggest finding a way of making the scenes more your own.

Avatar

Kealy

  • Tuesday 15th November 2016, 5:25pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Thanks for your comments Simon. Hope I haven't come across to arrogant in my previous posts. Because in truth some of your points have been helpful The Bottom comparisons worry me. Because theirs defiantly some truth to them. wondering if anyone else who reads this also thinks that parts are like Bottom. I'd also like to know others opinions on the visual humour through out the first ten pages.

Cheers everyone..

Avatar

maffew

  • Tuesday 15th November 2016, 6:26pm
  • England
  • 72 posts

the violence confuses me - coffee down the pants, staples in the back, I don't think it's necessary and it smacks of cheap laughs to me, but it depends what you're going for.. I thought your other script was a kids show, as the writer you'll have a very clear idea of what this is in your head, we're all coming in blind.. as such i'd say random acts of violence come across as a bit jarring, but if there had been a little outline of the tone you were going for at the beginning I might not think that.. That said, a script should just work on its own..

Avatar

Kealy

  • Tuesday 15th November 2016, 7:42pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Thanks for commenting Maffew. Your points fascinates me. You say the violence in the sitcom is away of getting cheap laughs. But think of how many times Blackadder punches Baldrick in Blackadder or how many times Richie or Eddie in bottom or the young ones for the matter hit one another. Even things like Step Toe and Son. Harold trying to kill his farther. Think of the violence in things like South Park . Charlie Chaplin the must famous comedian of all time made a whole career out of kicking people up the ass. By the way I appreciate your comments and I'm not saying my writing is up there or even close to who I've just mentioned. But now I'm confused and I don't mean sexually. Maybe you don't like these sitcoms I don't know.

Same goes for my comedy being childish Father Ted is incredibly immature just take Dugal. Some Mothers Do Ave'em Frank Spencer .Mr Bean one of the must loved comedy characters around the world. That's why I find these characters endearing because they have a child like Quality.

I thought comedy was superposed to bring out the inner child.

Of course I can change these things and take then out. I feel the sitcom would still work and it wouldn't mess with the plot.

Again thanks for commenting Maffew these comments are defiantly helping if a little hard to take.

Avatar

maffew

  • Tuesday 15th November 2016, 11:55pm
  • England
  • 72 posts

yeah, while I appreciate all those comedies, stuff like Bottom never really grabbed me.. most of those comedies you mentioned, while great, are all about 30+ years old...I've always preferred subversive darker comedy, or stuff based in some form of reality rather than out and out slap stick.. I love black books, and faulty towers, they have slapstick violence in them, but I know them so well, so it's hard to be objective... to me, in your thing, a conversation about rent very quickly turned into into a random act of needless violence from a stranger..it didn't make any sense.. and hey, it doesn't need to make sense, and I might be totally wrong, but for me it stood out

Avatar

Kealy

  • Wednesday 16th November 2016, 5:52pm
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

I know many of my examples are fairly old ones, but doesn't everything go round in circles .For instance take a fairly modern sitcom like The Office. Which has had a huge influence on comedy over the last Fifteen years. Ricky Gervais claims that one of the biggest influences on that show was the film Spinal Tap witch came out in 1984.The stuff he was doing was nothing new just a different take on it. When the Office was in pre production the head of comedy at the BBC thought that people wouldn't get it. So they wanted a voice over through out the show. Ricky said basically put a voice over on the show and I walk. he was right it would of ruined it.

I get your points on sudden random violence if their isn't a good reason for it. I plan and have changed some of these things.

what I'm trying to do is take something that's been done before and put my own twist on it.

Avatar

enigmatic

  • Saturday 19th November 2016, 11:56am
  • England
  • 241 posts

I also thought "Bottom" fairly early on with the combination of infantile characters and slapstick violence. And I've barely watched Bottom[1]. As you say, not necessarily a bad thing and there's a whole generation that's grown up without watching Bottom anyway. I do think for this kind of comedy, you're better off finding a couple of actors that love the concept, have suitably ridiculous mannerisms and can nail the slapstick to work with at an early stage rather than sending off spec scripts and hoping the reader can fill in the gaps.

[1]pun not intended until halfway through that sentence...

Avatar

Kealy

  • Saturday 19th November 2016, 5:53pm
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Thanks for the comments enigmatic

I watched an episode of Bottom on you tube last night. One of the things that I didn't think held up that well was the slapstick.Its complete overkill. Some of the lines still made me laugh if some were a little sexist.

That's why if worries me a little. Because I don't think the slapstick is a good representation of the rest of the episode, I've wrote. I like visual humour so I want to keep that in. So maybe it needs to be tuned down a bit, replaced with other visual humour or removed.

Its difficult sometimes with visual humour. Because what the reader sees in his head may not quite be the same as the writer see's. Yet to put in every little detail I would end up with huge chunks of action all the way down the page and it would be of putting to read.

The point about the actors who are going to play the roles is an interesting one and something to keep in mind

I'm going to put a revised version (Changes from comments) of the first ten pages up in a bit. So if you would like to comment again it would be welcomed

Cheers.