British Comedy Guide

The Sitcom Mission 2017 Page 5

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Declan

  • Saturday 17th June 2017, 6:19am
  • England
  • 752 posts

This is my last post on this topic because, unlike other people, I've got better things to do.

We love what Those Three Girls have done because they got off the forum, got off their butts, got inspired, got creative, got organised, got collaborative and made something happen. They worked hard based on the principles that we work on - surround yourselves with brilliant people and inspire them. They are the polar opposite of someone that sits on the forum complaining about how life isn't fair.

Writing for performance is a collaborative experience.

There are other ways of getting your work made than entering competitions. Especially if you spend all of your time complaining about the rules, complaining about the judges, complaining about other entrants, complaining about the organisers.

All of this time, you could be writing.

You could be organising.

You could be collaborating.

If you don't like the state of the industry, then do what we've done and try to change it. Or do what Those Three Girls have done and work with other creatives to come up with something they can be proud of. Find other options or create your own.

If you want to criticise us, that's your lookout. But other people work hard on their projects and I have infinitely more time for them than people who want to sit behind a keyboard and amass forum posts.

All of this time, you could be writing.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Saturday 17th June 2017, 9:29pm [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5112 posts

Well I was surprised to see this post. Maybe I put the wrong smiley on my last middle of night ditty. It was meant to be a funny sign off on the subject but hey ho, another stinking failure from Alf. I know one can be protective of their hard work but when you put up a website and sign up to forums encouraging feedback, then being prickly about the odd non gushing post is a bit...hmm.

My original query was nothing more than an over technical post from a technically minded bod based on the way I see the industry has now been exploited by middlemen writing tutors-cum partners, and their requirements potentially encouraging writers to be even less scrupulous than normal. Imo all this new middleman/woman (got to include Rocliffe) stuff is contributing to delivering poorer and poorer sitcoms to the schedule, some total rubbish, some okay but more comdram than sitcom; one or two unrecognizable as a sitcom and the vast majority of them all absolutely butchered by over production, inauthentic meddled-with dialogue and the horrible curse of team writing.

Such producers have now branched out into the no man's land created by broadcasters (mainly the Beeb) shutting their doors to anyone they don't already know. And they've brought their uninvisible hand to the table as well as some frankly questionable business ethics but my beef is with their script writing ethos, one which is alien to me certainly. Treating all writers as novices wanting to be tutored and guided and changed is very patronising and not what most authors who've drafted several full episodes of an original sitcom want, imo. You completely overstate the role of collaborating too, in essence a risky venture that can strip you of authorial control and in practice radically change your original sitcom, look at the TV Count Arthur Strong for evidence.

A quickie on my doings with Rocliffe. Three years back I entered with a sitcom about a snob and a millionaire slob living on the top floor of a mansion towers in London. The gist of the feedback was that the class based sitcom is long dead and not relevant to modern Britain. Cue late June 2017 and Corbyn mobilising the biggest class war since the 1920s. WTF do these people know! Write your own thing and pray for a miracle that someone in the industry knows what they're doing. I'm sure this comp must be the best of a bad collective in a rotten near dead industry but I'm off, ta ta.
Sleepy

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Paul Wimsett

  • Sunday 18th June 2017, 8:39am
  • Folkestone, England
  • 2451 posts

It's the same with Newsjack on here, people are just moaning about losing. No discussion about creative ideas, no discussing their success.

It's interesting seeing the morass though.

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Chris Hallam

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 3:29pm
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 91 posts

Honestly: moan, moan, moan!
Too much negativity in recent posts. I'm going to make it worse now by moaning about this in the hope that two negatives will make a positive...
"This is my last post on this topic because, unlike other people, I've got better things to do...There are other ways of getting your work made than entering competitions. Especially if you spend all of your time complaining about the rules, complaining about the judges, complaining about other entrants, complaining about the organisers.
All of this time, you could be writing."
One person was mildly critical of you and now we are all damned for being sore losers who spend all our days whinging on forums instead of writing anything creative.
This ignores the fact:
1. Only one person was criticising you really. And quite mildly. Don't be so sensitive! It's not illegal. A childish overreaction.
2. Most people clearly do manage to combine writing creatively with posting on here.
"It's the same with Newsjack on here, people are just moaning about losing. No discussion about creative ideas, no discussing their success."
No! Not from what I've seen.
People do discuss their successes as well as their failures. There is certainly merit in discussing both.

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Declan

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 3:52pm
  • England
  • 752 posts

"One person was mildly critical of you and now we are all damned for being sore losers who spend all our days whinging on forums instead of writing anything creative"

Sorry, could you point to my post where I damned everyone? 'Other people' in this context doesn't mean 'all other people' it means 'some other people'.

I have no problem taking criticism, I encourage it because we want to improve.

I don't have time for people who just want to whinge.

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Chris Hallam

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 4:20pm [Edited]
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 91 posts

Seems a bit odd to desert the forum because of one person's criticism, if so.
The tone of your message came across very much as "well, I've wasted enough time with you losers. I'm off to do some serious writing while you guys waste your time whinging away on here..."
Perhaps you didn't mean it like that. In which case, you should have phrased it better.

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Declan

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 4:27pm
  • England
  • 752 posts

"This is my last post on this topic" referred to the single topic in question, ie the state of supposed female bias within the sitcom industry.

I'm probably not going to leave the forum that I set up.

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Chris Hallam

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 4:36pm
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 91 posts

Whoops! I apologise then. My mistake.
I blame the heat!

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Declan

  • Tuesday 20th June 2017, 4:41pm
  • England
  • 752 posts
Quote: Chris Hallam @ 20th June 2017, 4:36 PM

Whoops! I apologise then. My mistake.
I blame the heat!

Apology accepted. Be off to the Double Locks with you and quaff some zider.

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Chris Hallam

  • Wednesday 21st June 2017, 7:15am
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 91 posts

Great idea! Thanks for being so sporting about my own overreaction.

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Declan

  • Wednesday 21st June 2017, 7:34am
  • England
  • 752 posts

You're welcome, mine's a pint.

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ell

  • Tuesday 27th June 2017, 1:15pm [Edited]
  • Lodnon, United Kingdom
  • 9 posts

"Three years back I entered with a sitcom about a snob and a millionaire slob living on the top floor of a mansion towers in London."

Damn. That sounds like a good sitcom as well.

In reference to them picking girls and women all the time, maybe they're the better scripts? It's not difficult to imagine and it's sort of offensive to assume that they're doing this based on an agenda. If it was white guys every time, you wouldn't think anything of it. It would just be seen as normal. It was 'normal' when the only people writing were white men but now as confidence increases more people feel valued and capable and so put their work forward. It may just be better and more interesting (new?) to judges.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Wednesday 5th July 2017, 10:19am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5112 posts

You could be right Eel yes, it could be that unknown women sitcom writers have suddenly all bloomed at the same time into the next Galtons and Simpsons, and that most of the TV commissioned women sitcom writers just haven't been getting it quite right. In that case we should be in for a great sitcom revival and I really look forward to it.

It could also be that Rocliffe is run mainly by women mainly for women as evidenced by their website pictures alone, (or used to be, haven't gone there lately) comments in feedback about token female characters in my script with a 1/4 gender split in favour of women (but with the lead character male) or their regular competition winners lists.

Or like I said it could all be politically driven by the broadcasters' assertion that they want more female based and written comedies. The agents in the middle then giving them this. Totally understandable from a commercial standing.

Or it could be a mixture of the three with more women indeed writing in more confidence about women focused situations, regardless of the call for more women roles and shows and writers. Yes I don't doubt this is happening also. But I also don't doubt that some agents are now looking at their increasing flow of scripts with more interest and intent than the stale old mountain of white male scripts.

But why it bothers me so much is because it is ripping up many of the old gender based conventions in comedy writing such as dirty old man chases unobtainable young bird or obnoxious MD has affairs with pretty secretaries because broadcasters want to project a more modern and PC aligned world which quite honestly, a lot of real life men or indeed women haven't caught up with yet. So in effect, broadcasters under political pressure are trying to force through an image of society which doesn't yet exist, and are now trying to influence society instead of society informing TV content, as we've been used to, if that doesn't sound too poncy.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Friday 14th July 2017, 8:20pm
  • Folkestone, England
  • 2451 posts

It's called getting old. I miss the millennium bug and grunge.

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Merri

  • Monday 7th August 2017, 4:06pm
  • England
  • 10 posts

Hi Declan. You said you would have a date for the finals in June. Do you have one yet? I would like to attend. I am not based in London and would have to plan my freelance work around the visit, so would be grateful to know as soon as possible.
thanks

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