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Sock doctor

  • Tuesday 18th September 2018, 7:48pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Hi. I posted on another thread a few days ago that I often write Sketch show scripts and I have written a couple of pilots for sitcoms which do exactly that.. they just sit on my com-puter. I have never shown anything I write to anyone before for fear its just the rubbish wafflings of a middle aged man. However I appreciate that the best way to improve is to share my work and get constructive feedback which I can use to get better at writing.
Here is an opening scene from a sitcom idea I have been working on and I'm after some honest feedback in relation to dialog, jokes, character interaction etc etc.

Instead of it sitting on my hard drive.. here it is (I cant post it in its formatted form so forgive the lay out.)

EXT. BACK GARDEN. NIGHT
In a littered back garden a white sheet blows steadily in the wind. Suspended between two small trees. ANDY is framing the scene with his camera. SCOTT is out of view.

SCOTT (OOV)
Are we going to get this done then or not, I'm freezing my tits off here.
ANDY
Yeah hang on a minute. I keep pressing the wrong button and it just ends up showing my face. Anyway It's not that cold, you should be warmer than most.
SCOTT
Oh nice, anyway women love a larger man now, it's called the dad bod. Fat is now more sexier than muscle. And weighs less, ironically.
ANDY
Yeah but you need to have kids first pal.
SCOTT
I probably have!
Any idiot can make a baby, but only a real man can carry off the Dad Bod. It's the new Beard.
ANDY
How did that work out for you?
SCOTT
Come on. Its freezing, look, your piss is still steaming. It looks eerie. Like the worms are about to come up singing thriller any minute.
ANDY
Yeah well I can't go inside for a wee can I. I'll wake the kids.
Just look at that moon.
The best sort of night for moth spotting this is.
Right get the camera rolling I'm ready.
Does the bed sheet look alright? It's not Daz white but it'll do wont it.
SCOTT
Well you can't make out any stains so I guess it will do wont it. Come on then rimjaw let's get this over with.
ANDY
(TO CAMERA) Hi Youtubers, you have joined me tonight for 'Moth Watch'. This will be the first in an exciting week long show looking at the fascinating world of UK moths.
As you can see I have set up a basic moth trap behind me and on a night like tonight with a full moon high in the sky we will surely be kept busy with moth action. The science behind a trap like this is simple. Moths come out at night and are instinctively drawn to the light of the moon. This sheet replicates the moons surface.
What we have engineered here is a device which convinces the moths they have made it to the moon, and whilst they rest after the long journey we can get a good look at the patterns and variety we have on offer in your own back yard.,
Look we have a teal lace wing here and just below this one we have another common member of this genus the lesser brown spot.

(Something large hits the sheet pulling it to the ground and dragging it across the damp grass.)

SCOTT
Jesus Christ what was that!
ANDY
I don't know, it's still in my sheet, get it out. If it's a fox or something our lass will kill me.
SCOTT
A Fox? You idiot, it flew into it. Whatever it is. It's still flapping. Go get it out.
ANDY
Alright, but if it bites me I haven't had a tetanus.
(Peering into the sheet)
F**k me it's a big bird, it's like a vulture or something with really big eyes.
SCOTT
Let's have look, get it out.
ANDY
It's an owl, It must have been drawn to my sheet by its echo location. It must have pinpointed my moths.
SCOTT
I'm sure that's dolphins, is it alive? It's not moving anymore.
ANDY
(Snatching camera)
Oh shit I've killed an owl in my own back garden. It's illegal to kill owls isn't it. And you have the evidence on here.
SCOTT
Ey, Ey Calm your passions. Its not ILL Eagle.. It's a dead owl, get it?
ANDY
Oh f**king funny. Get rid of it.
SCOTT
I'm having nothing to do with it, you killed it. Stuff it.
ANDY
Stuff it, Oh yeah. I'll make some nice Yorkshire puds too whilst im at it. Shall I save you a leg?
SCOTT
I mean taxidermy you idiot.
Give us it here ill dump it somewhere on the way home.
ANDY
Thanks mate. I'm off in. this has been an epic waste of time tonight, we need to think of some new ideas.

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beaky

  • Wednesday 19th September 2018, 9:20pm [Edited]
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,735 posts

I like the bit you've put up, it's a funny idea about the moth watching, not sure about the owl being killed, wouldn't it be better if it ate all their moths then flew away? there's a bit too much banter for my taste, but that's just me. You seem to have modelled it slightly on The Detectorists, am I right? Better change the name from Andy in that case. I'd like to see more - we normally suggest ten pages, there's only about two - and see how you develop the plot.

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Will Cam

  • Thursday 20th September 2018, 5:53am
  • England
  • 8,018 posts

Two pages isn't really enough to see if your characters have distinct voices. I agree with Beaky re too much dialogue. The difference of course is that Beaky has written a successful TV sitcom, whereas I don't know what the hell l'm talking about.

Put some more up (ooh Matron...)

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 20th September 2018, 10:03am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,779 posts

Yep - I would lose the banter at the front end - once you're into the moth bit it picks up.
Maybe start with it as if it were a video, then let it go wrong...
I'm always wary of people making bad puns/jokes ( ill-eagles, stuffed etc) and then trying to take the curse of it by acknowledging it's a bad joke. Do a good joke instead!
Needs more action to split up the dialogue (not much, just enough to give us sense of geography) and any physical descriptors of the characters that's going to help us. I can't picture them at the moment - and even if I could, it might not be as YOU picture them. Which'll cause problems later on.
Not sure from the snippet whether they're genuine lepidopterists, or just people trying to get some sort of YouTube thing going (eg last line - "we need to think of some new ideas").
I want them to be genuine.
'Detectorists' parallels are inevitable, but that's no bad thing if you can get yours to work.
"Same but different" is the mantra of the hard pressed commissioner.
More please.
And it's not shit - which is good.
But it's not there yet. Probably.

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 20th October 2018, 3:38pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 4,103 posts

I'll tell you what's wrong with it, and it's a huge fault: there's hardly a single line of dialogue that anybody would actually say in that real-life situation. Almost every line is a line that, very clearly, has been forced into somebody's mouth by an aspiring comedy writer.

The idea of putting out a big sheet to attract moths but accidentally catching an owl is very funny. It's the sort of thing an audience will remember for years after they forgotten every single line of dialogue in the script.

I'm not sure why an owl flapping wildly in a sheet should suddenly drop stone dead, but that's exactly what happens in the script - and it only takes about two seconds for it to happen. To have the owl die would be a huge mistake, plotwise. People love owls and, even more importantly from a scriptwriter's point of view, the death of the owl removes all panic (and thus a great deal of the humour) from the situation. Let the owl live and eventually fly away to safety.

Have confidence in your own ability and don't feel you have to write a joke into every line of dialogue. In a situation comedy, a huge amount of the comedy is inherent in the situations in which the characters find themselves. An angry owl in a bed sheet is comedy gold and, in an ideal script, everything else should be equally precious.