British Comedy Guide

Covering Letters and development page

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Kealy

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 4:24pm
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Hello everyone,

Just wondering what you put in your cover letter that you send with a script. I know it is superposed to be fairly short but what kind of stuff do I include. Should I also include a how I see the sitcom developing page. This seems to make sense for a comedy drama where the characters and storyline develop through out the series. But what about a situation comedy sitcom. As after each episode your back to square one.Errr

Thanks.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 4:49pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,382 posts

You can only sell a sitcom as a pilot, so speaking of sitcom development seems a waste of time to me.

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Lazzard

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 5:20pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,667 posts

Personally, I'd have it in there.
Two pages at the front of the document stating basic premise, key characters and how you see it developing won't do any harm.
If they like it they're going to ask for it anyway, so you might as well stay one jump ahead.
And if you find an indy producer, they'd want all that in there to take to a commissioner., so why not?

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Paul Wimsett

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 11:31am [Edited]
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,382 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 23rd January 2017, 5:20 PM

If they like it they're going to ask for it anyway, so you might as well stay one jump ahead.

They may not ask if it leads you to think it will become a series? There's something to be said for crossing bridges when you come to them? Just see pilots as pilots?

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Lazzard

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 12:11pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,667 posts

Not sure I agree.
Commissioners aren't looking for pilots - they're looking for series.
And the only time they won't ask "Where do you see this going?" is if they don't see it going anywhere - apart from the bin.
As a writer, surely you have to be thinking about where a pilot would go, should it be commissioned, at the earliest planning stage, before even putting pen to paper?
And if you know how you see it developing, why not tell them?
I can certainly see no disadvantage.

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beaky

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 2:02pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,718 posts

So long as you keep it short and snappy.

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Kealy

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 2:16pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Hi Lazzard,Paul and beaky

I remember that the BBC used to ask for a development sheet years ago. Other places it tend not to say. But like Lazzard says I'm sure it cant hurt. Here's the problem though. If it was a drama you think you would put how you see the story and characters developing through the series. In a sitcom its a different plot each episode and characters tend to have little development if not any at all. So for a sitcom should it be things like how I see their different personality's creating enough conflict to last for six episodes. Maybe a brief plot outline for further episodes. Other characters that don't appear in my scripted. I'm not to sure. Maybe one of you has a more of an idea.

Thanks.

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Lazzard

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 10:43pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,667 posts

Personally I would start with a 3 or 4 line summary of the premise - " a comedy about a snob running a downbeat seaside hotel etc etc".
Then a quick (2 lines?) character summary of the main three players , and how their character traits impact on the comedy eg " Manuel, the Spanish waiter who understand very little English etc etc".
And finally brief plot lines for the first series - no more than two/ three lines on each. - "Basil learns that a hotel inspector is visiting and spends his time trying to impress the wrong man..."
Shouldn't take up much more than a page - a page and a half with comfortable spacing and decent layout.
It just shows you thought about it.

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Kealy

  • Wednesday 25th January 2017, 9:26pm [Edited]
  • Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
  • 86 posts

Thanks for the advice Lazzard. Very helpful.