Category Archives: Comedy

Rob Grant’s Comedy Writing Tips

I was meant to do this before the London Comedy Writers’ Festival but a horrible bug struck me down for some weeks, causing me to miss the actual festival itself!

Anyway, here are my notes from Red Dwarf c0-creator (and therefore Legend) Rob Grant… Continue reading

Barnaby Thompson Q&A

I’ve been asked by quite a few people to give them the highlights of the insightful London Comedy Writer’s Q&A with the Head of Ealing Studios Barnaby Thompson and Head of Development Sophie Meyer. Of course nothing beats being there but I did make notes and here is a summary of the chat they had with Festival Director Chris Jones.

What type of film are Ealing Studios look for? High-concept and culturally specific films. So films like Full Monty and Four Weddings and a Funeral are prime examples of this.

Continue reading

The Best Comedy Writing Books

I was recently asked on twitter (I actually have a human follower?) what comedy writing books I would recommend and thought 140 characters is probably not going to do my answer justice. So you get a wordy blog post instead. Continue reading

Back in the groove

Ok, I’ve not posted for a ridiculous amount of time. I’m sorry my all of my fan(s). Having a seven-week old boy does that to you. Anyway, some writing news…

NEVER WRITE OFF THE GERMANS is the comedy panel show that pokes a stick at the last few days of World Cup action, separating the truth from the lies, the Bridges from the Terrys and the Capellos from the Crap-ellos. Hosted by Christian O’Connell, the show features the resident English front-two of Andy Parsons and Jon Richardson taking on two guest comedians over a series of rounds that test their World Cup wisdom.

… Is on Radio 2 and I’ve been taken on as a paid researcher (or spotter as they call it) so hopefully lots witty contributions will come out of that. Hopefully. It’s right up my street as I’m footy mad and now have the best excuse ever to watch all the games!

Also, topical sketch show Newsjack returns on BBC7  in June so I’ll be trying to get some more credits on that fun show.

Finally, starting to back into my producer-attached feature treatment. I’ve done a new Beat Sheet for it that hopefully allows enough breathing space for my issues/stories to be told. I’ve also got the DVDs and scripts I want to go through, from films that are in some way related to my feature. I’ll have to sneak these into my Bank Holiday weekend as I know the little one will require some much deserved attention from his Dad. Yeah, that is me.

Next week I’m in a meeting with a few ‘influential’ people so there might be an announcement coming very soon. Watch this space! I know this space has been blank for a while, but watch it next week!

Merry Politically Correct Holidays and A Happy New Decade

Sorry about abandoning this blog recently. It won’t happen until the next time. I have been very busy – woohoo! But mainly with house redecorating – yawn.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I went to a workshop at the BBC for the new series of BBC Radio 7’s Newsjack. The purpose was to get writers in that they liked from the first series and go through a typical day in the life of a commissioned writer. I found it painful. But only because I had pulled my back the night before, playing football, and the neurofen hadn’t kicked in yet.

Otherwise it was a great way of seeing how others work and learning what they are looking for in the new series. You can see what they want by visiting the Writersroom, but basic tips are to not repeat the same joke over and over and over and over in a sketch and to keep the sketches under three minutes. Also reading them out loud is a good way to hear what works. Good to meet the fellow writers and producers too.

I’ve also been writing more of my sitcom pilot and plotting a comedy film that a producer has interest in after reading the treatment. This Christmas will be a writing marathon for me. Too much happening at the start of 2010 to waste it. I’m going to waste it aren’t I? Well, ideally I will edit a draft of a comedy pilot I wrote last year and send it to some agents from the SWF in Cheltenham, plus have some more characters fleshed out for my comedy film. On top of that I hope to have a first draft of the sitcom pilot that attracted a fair bit of interest from agents and producers at the SWF.

So until 2010 have a good holidays and a brilliant new decade!

Talking and Not Talking

I’M ON THE TRAIN! I feel I should start with that as everyone else around me has made a point about it to anyone they call. I have also been invited to a BBC workshop next month in honour of getting a sketch (my longest ever) on NewsJack.

I haven’t heard from the BBC about whether my one-liners will be on Laura Solon’s Talking Not Talking show which starts tonight. The last I heard was in July when they say I had some stuff recorded for it.

So the BBC are Talking and Not Talking to me!

May Contains Nuts on ITV!

This week a dream came true when I was watching Benidorm (that wasn’t my dream) and during the adverts I finally got to hear ITV promote May Contain Nuts, the show I created and co-wrote. It was jubilation in my living room, only slightly soured by the fact that this wasn’t actually the same May Contain Nuts that I created and co-wrote.

It was a comedy-drama that had nothing to do with me, but I’m probably just being pandantic. The celebrations continue. I’m now writing my new sketch show called The News at Ten. I can almost hear it now…

Don’t take that tone…

OK, I seem to be finding as many new tricks to hinder my writing as to improving it. This is a first: I’ve planned out all my characters and got a good plot for the first episode of a sitcom idea I really like. I’ve even got a theme to it.

What’s stopping me go any further is I’m struggling to get the tone right. If that’s even the right word. Hell, I can’t even get the problem names right!

I’ve got two other pilots at various ages of development and I had no problem finding the style of comedy (is that the word?) that I wanted. The theme came after at least one draft. One of them is quick-paced, reality based, ensemble humour, another is medium-paced, reality-mixed with farce. Yeah, I’ve gone cross-eyed too.

I haven’t planned this enough have I? Bollocks, ignore this post…

Slog Line

The latest news on the sketch show ‘Contains Nuts’ is that another production company who liked the YouTube sketches ( are also interested in the show and we’ve submitted a pilot script to them.

These are still early stages, mind you, and we aren’t expecting any more news from them for a couple of weeks. Overall, the feedback has been great, especially from writers and actors alike (one of whom I won’t embarrass by naming but is a top TV comedy actor).

Anyway, I’ve been moving on with other projects. Everyone wants sitcoms at the moment so I won’t cream my pants over a bit of interest I’ve received in a few pilots I’m working on.

The BBC have also, kindly, alerted me to a new sketch show called Newsjack that they want writers for. Its going to be open submission anyway but I need something to cream my pants about.

There is no doubt about it, you do get better the more you write and I am finding that out to my benefit at the moment. Although the thing about doors is that they close as well as open. How do you stay in the room? Its there a studio flat layout somewhere?

There is a pilot on the plane

So today, I’ve hit that wall where I can no longer blog what I wish to as I know people read this who know people who would be mentioned. My secret identity is about as secret as Clark Kent’s thanks to the sketches which are online and doing very well – feedbackwise.

What can I say? A production company want to make a pilot episode to pitch to the networks. But there are conditions. That’s all I can say.

We’ll probably be changing the name ‘Contains Nuts’ as I don’t like the idea that because I blog/post under that title people might think this show is all about me. It certainly isn’t and can’t be all about me, I’ve just always liked the name hence… you get the idea.