Comedy vs Humor. Is There A Difference?


The terms comedy and humor are often used interchangeably in screenwriting. Is there a difference between the two? Actually, there is. And screenwriters should know them. COMEDY Comedy is the premeditated act designed to cause an audience to laugh. Comedy relies on jokes, visual gags, and physical acts to amuse and entertain an audience. It…

How Do Single-Cam TV Shows Differ From Multi-Cam Ones?


Television shows are often referred to as being single-cam or multi-cam.  This directly relates to the style of filming. Back in the day when TV production was more straightforward, mutli-cam referred to 30-minute sitcoms and single-cam to hour-long dramas. This general rule of thumb isn’t always the case any longer. It most closely correlates with…

Creating The Perfect Non-Traditional Network TV Show


Scripted TV is heading into edgy mainstream territory. Indie commercial. Conservative radical. As with every industry of the day, DISRUPTION is the current industry paradigm. With a mature TV marketplace, audiences are growing tired of rehashed stories, characters and situations. They are less inclined to accept the status quo, but not quite ready to embrace the…

Types Of Reality TV Shows


Reality is a staple of current TV programming. It is often called “Alternative Programming” in that is must be differentiated from entirely scripted TV show formats. The distinction is becoming blurred as many of these shows aren’t truly “real” and contain an element of “semi-scripting” as determined by the story producer. There are many genres of Unscripted TV…

Current TV Show Formats


Ahh. The good old days. Three TV networks, two TV formats; 30 minute comedy and 60 minute drama, 26 episodes per season. Ahh. the good new days; 5 terrestrial TV networks, 500+ cable channels, 5 online VOD providers; seasons ranging from 8 to 26 episodes and 5 TV show formats. Throughout this chaos emerges a…

How Online TV Has Changed Storytelling


The way we view TV has changed. As viewers, we’ve evolved from watching a weekly TV at a set time, to watching programs on demand. Apart from when we watch our favorite shows, we are now faced with the choice of whether we have access to one or a few episodes at a time, or whether…

10 Key Rules For Writing For TV


According to the crew at Raindance: 1) CHARACTER CAST SIZE Consider how many characters you will feature. Typically 4 or 5 with a stronger ‘lead’ character seems to work. Pick a handful of shows and check for yourself. 2) CHARACTERS IN CONFLICT Create characters that will constantly create their own conflict, even if just locked…

12 Point Guide To Creating A TV Series


Carole Kirschner  gives a step by step guide to creating a TV series. 1) CONCEPT This is the overall idea of the series. e.g. Lost is about a group of people stranded on an unknown island following a plane crash. After this, explain how you came up with the idea. What was the inspiration behind it?…

What To Consider Before Writing Your TV Spec


Ross Brown discusses some golden rules before writing a spec script of an existing TV show. You generally get one shot at impressing a producer, so don’t blow it. 1) KNOW YOUR SHOW INSIDE AND OUT Watch every episode of your series and take notes. How many acts is your show? Two? Three? Six (5…

Introduce Your TV Pilot With A Dilemma


TV script consultant, Jen Grisanti discusses how to approach writing a TV pilot. A hot trend in story structure is having the series dilemma link to the pilot dilemma. When done correctly, you set up both a closed-ended arc and an ongoing serialized arc for your story. A dilemma is defined as being forced to…

Tropes Of Crime Dramas


Trope is derived from the Greek word tropos meaning the way of doing something; a leaning, a persuasion. In this context it relates to common dramatic devices used to mould crime stories. Jennifer Dornbush shares some of them: Blow something up. This is always visually exciting and creates immediate danger for the main characters, The…