This week's Answer:
Don't They Call It A "Standcom"?
I've had some experience in the sitcom world:
pitched some ideas to producers, written some specs, even
had a few ideas paid "homage" to. (The
only thing the show didn't pay was money.) It can be a
school of hard knocks (and sometimes that's literally
knocking hard on agents' doors ) when it comes to trying
to write for sitcoms. The key is to have the talent
on the page and get that page and several more like them
(often there are about 60 or so for each script) to the
right people who will recognize that talent and want more
of the same for their specific show. If you're truly
set on being a sitcom writer, then my suggestion is to
continue to watch and study sitcoms, keep reading and
writing scripts, and get them out to the literary agents
(the ones you right, that is) who handle sitcom
writers. If a literary agent thinks he can sell you,
he'll send your specs out, especially in the fall when
shows are staffing up (which is much better than staffing
down). It's the persistent writers who get those
staff jobs -- the ones with the talent, of course (well,
let's say the ones who have enough talent to get by with).
Sitcom writing -- or "keeping
the jokes coming" -- can be a lot harder than it
seems. A sitcom structure needs to be heeded and the
"funny" must be a very prominent and perfectly
executed. There's always a dramatic through-line
even though it may be covered in comedy, so to speak
Basically, you have to pour your talent and humor and
creativity into a specific format that will fill that half
hour in just the right way. Once you get the hang of
the Sitcom Way of Doing Things, you'll be home free.
If you truly love sitcoms and feel
you can contribute to them, by all means, do so.
Write so. Send do. Contact agents so. Get on a
staff so. Make a living, writing sitcoms so.