Dive Right In: The Art of Starting Your Sitcom Script in the Middle

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Dive Right In: The Art of Starting Your Sitcom Script in the Middle

Hello, budding sitcom writers! James Carey, a seasoned BBC sitcom scriptwriter with over 20 years of experience, has some golden nuggets of wisdom to share. If you’re looking to craft a sitcom script that keeps your audience in splits, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into the key learning points from James’s insights:


Key Learning Points:

  1. Start in the Middle, Not the Beginning: James emphasizes that starting your script with the lead character’s first day at work is a common mistake. It often results in a passive protagonist overshadowed by funnier supporting characters. Instead, plunge right into the heart of the action. This approach makes your lead as engaging and humorous as the rest.
  2. Characters Should Hit the Ground Running: When we meet supporting characters like Alice, Jake, Megan, Val, and Clem, they’re already embroiled in their own hilarious plots and rivalries. This immediate immersion makes them instantly funny. Your protagonist deserves the same treatment!
  3. Examples to Consider: James cites his own work, “Bluestone 4-2,” where the show kicks off with an established bomb disposal team in action. New characters are introduced, but the focal point remains on the main character, Captain Nick Medhurst. This structure ensures the protagonist remains active and central.
  4. Avoid Passive Protagonists: Whether your sitcom is set in an office, a war zone, or next to a haunted churchyard, the principle remains the same. Your lead character shouldn’t be passive for too long. For instance, instead of showing Laura moving into a haunted house, start with her already living in it, grappling with the ghosts.
  5. Apply the “Middle” Principle to Scenes: Not only should your overall plot start in the middle, but individual scenes can benefit from this approach too. It keeps the momentum going and the laughs coming.
  6. Stay Connected: James offers a treasure trove of resources for aspiring sitcom writers. Registering for his mailing list gives you access to extra videos and content. And don’t forget to subscribe to his channel for more invaluable insights.

Incorporate these tips from James Carey into your next “stand up comedy class” or scriptwriting session. Remember, if you want to make your sitcom scripts funnier, it’s all about starting in the middle. Happy writing, and thanks for tuning in!


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