Sketch is one of the mainstays of British comedy. It is also the entry point to the comedy industry for most writers - particularly via the likes of the BBC's open access topical comedy show Newsjack. Whatever you're aiming to write, knowing how to craft a good sketch is essential. Across over more than 20 modules, this exclusive in-depth BCG Pro Tutorial will take you through all you need to know.
Each BCG Pro Tutorial comprises a number of modules, each of which offers one or more topics (pages) in turn. Begin your journey by picking from the below.
We start off by looking at what a comedy sketch actually is, and what platforms exist for sketches.
A breakdown of the history of sketch writing. It's useful to understand how sketches have evolved.
Time to look at the shape that most sketches take - there're four key parts.
We explain what tone is, how to find it, and why it is one of the most important elements of sketch writing.
Some practical advice on the difference between writing sketches for radio, TV, online and the stage.
A look at big punchlines versus subtlety, with plenty of examples to study.
We discuss how to find news stories that are a suitable target for a topical sketch.
This module explains how things differ when writing on impressions shows.
By this point we're ready to write sketches, so we look at industry-standard script formatting.
How to find what is and isn't funny about your intended target. Plus, a look at issues of taste and decency.
A very specific sketch writing technique. We explain what it is, and how to use it.
Thinking about this term, which comes from improv, is a great way of creating the meat of your sketch.
A module focusing on finding angles for jokes, and structuring them. Plus the importance of brevity.
We look at the all-important final joke, and why this will often be the difference between your sketch feeling satisfying or uninspired.
Almost all sketches should be made shorter. Here's a lesson on not being precious.
Time to put your newly-learned skills to the test with a task.
A look at where you can send your sketches, including a closer look at how to get content on Newsjack.
The pros and cons of self-producing sketches, with some practical pointers.
General career advice on how to succeed as a jobbing sketch writer.
So, just what you can expect to earn from writing sketches? Time for some actual numbers.
The final section of this tutorial features some frequently asked questions about comedy and sketch writing.
A summary of the last 20 modules, and a final task.