Well, I’m back from the London Comedy Writers Festival, which was my first excursion as a writer. And I loved every second of it!

Here are my festival highlights:

The Twenty Best Pieces of Advice from the London Comedy Writers Festival

1) Find a collection of people with social problems and write comedy: THE GANG (Griff Rhys Jones)

2) Character notes should come through in the script, not an outline. If it isn’t in the script, it isn’t there. (David Tyler)

3) When broadcasters ask for a particular thing, it may be the perfect time to send in something completely different. (Paul Minett)

4) You must print a hard copy. You must have a readthrough. (Paul Minett)

5) When taking advice: Does it make it better or does it make it different?

6) Don’t write down jokes while walking. Don’t keep a notebook by your bed. If you can’t remember it, it wasn’t funny. (Brian Leveson)

7) Put as much detail as possible in a physical gag – assume the reader is an idiot (Brian Leveson)

8) In one month, you can know all 100 gatekeepers of film in the UK and gain an introduction. (Tom Williams)

9) Work on the assumption you will never make any money until you do. (Tom Williams)

10) Having something you wrote get made will inform your writing more than anything else, even if it’s only very low budget. (Vadim Jean)

11) All comedy, at its heart, has a serious idea. You must have something to say. (Jon Plowman)

12) The main characters’ relationships must all be different with each other – e.g. Will’s relationship with Grace is different to Grace’s relationship with Will and different again to her relationship with Karen. (Jon Plowman)

13) Every sitcom needs a “home”, where the characters are at their best. Only Fools in Miami didn’t work. (Jon Plowman)

14) Be curious – the characters will tell you if you ask. (Jon Plowman)

15) “In for a penny, in for a f**kpig” – the audience will adjust to the tone of your show. (Jon Plowman)

16) Characters in a sitcom never change – they never learn: e.g. Chandler and Monica get married but they’re still the same people. (Paul Bassett Davies)

17) The key to sitcom is flawed characters making proactive choices that lead to complications. (Michelle Farr)

18) There should be a gap in the character’s perception of himself and out perception of him. (Michelle Farr)

19) Pitching: You need to tell people why it’s funny. Don’t assume everyone has a sense of humour. (Pitch Clinic)

20) Amateurs train until they get it right. Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong. (Charlie Harris)


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