Short com sitcom writing competition

*Entries are currently closed for 2020 Sitcom writing competition. We will be back for 2021

Short Com is delighted to announce its first ever script competition. Having screened some of the funniest short comedy films for several years by emerging comedy film-making talent to audiences and industry alike, we are now looking to unearth comedic writing talent to help kick-start their writing career.

What Are We Looking For?

It’s one thing to be able to write funny ideas but can you also write a story within 22-30 pages and have characters that stand-out in a world that we’d want to come back and see in the next episode? Whether your idea uses a single-camera setup or is the more adventurous multi-camera format, we’re looking for solid sitcom ideas, great writing, and plenty of humour that shows wide audience appeal.

What is a sitcom? Sitcom is short for the term situation-comedy where a fixed set of returning characters carry on over from episode to episode which is often set in the same location. They’re sometimes considered an economical format to create a series in a minimalist setting, but even some of the big budgeted shows continue to return to their home setting, like the converted living room in Silicon Valley as an incubator hub to the squalor flat that Eddie and Rickie wreaked havoc in Bottom.

Our expert panel of readers will judge over scripts by breaking down a script’s strengths in areas such as characters; plot, dialogue, concept, writing and how funny it is. The reading team are experienced script readers who have read for reputable production companies and script competitions. And have a G.S.O.H. ;)

Rules

Scripts must be written in industry screenplay format. If you don’t know what that is… https://screenwriting.io/what-is-standard-screenplay-format/

Scripts are between 23-30 pages. No more, no less!

Include a one pitch page that outlines your concept of the sitcom, series outline and potential ideal cast in mind.

No discriminatory language.

Material is your own original writing. (Writing teams are permitted) Breach of copyright is not permitted unless prior permission is sought and granted.

Authors of submissions will contain their copyright of their own material.

Entrants cannot have a sitcom previously commissioned by a major network, broadcaster or streaming service in the UK or US.

Entrants cannot approach readers or the judging panel enquiring the judging status of their script. Entrants can be immediately disqualified if found to have broken this rule.

Judging Panel

Our judging panel are made up of expert and experienced comedy producers and writers.

We’re proud to announce our panel of judges for the first Short Com Sitcom Competition are:

Lucy Lumsden – Is the owner of Yellow Door productions and was the first controller of BBC Comedy commissioner for the BBC and Sky.

Jon Aird – Is a BAFTA award winning producer and ex-head of comedy for Comic Relief.

Mia Ylönen – Is a produced screenwriter and producer for the Finnish production company Helsinki Filmi

Toby Smith – Is assistant to Christine Langan at Baby Cow productions.

 

*The judging panel could be subject to change.

Tips

We’re not saying you have to obey the rules of screenwriting and the craft but it’s good to know what they are.

The BBC Writers Room has a good archive of scripts of some of their sitcoms from over the years that you can find here if you’re looking for examples of different sitcom scripts.

Structure can be a tricky thing to wrap one’s head around. This article by Luca Giordano has some handy tips to get you thinking about the importance of getting structure right in sitcoms.

How To Enter?

We will ensure that all scripts are read in their entirety. To prove this we will provide a minimum of one page feedback on standard entries. We also offer the option of extended feedback of scripts at £60. This is recommendable to those who are fairly early in their screenwriting career.

Fees

*Update. We understand that these are very tricky times for people. If the entry fees are a significant barrier we now have the option to enter for £10. But this will mean that we cannot provide feedback.

Early Bird Deadline – April 10th- £35

Regular Deadline – June 21st – £40

Late Deadline July 7th £45

To submit. Please send a PDF copy of your script to scriptcomp@shortcom.co.uk along with a one page pitch of your sitcom idea. Once we have verified whether the script qualifies we will then send payment details.

Prizes

The winning writer will receive further one to one feedback and script development notes and the script will be put forward to relevant directors, producers and commissioners.

Final Draft will be offering discounts on their products and other goodies.

The British Comedy Guide are also kindly donating a year’s membership to their BCG Pro platform for comedy creatives.

Do not hesitate to ask us any questions.

FAQ

Can we send more than one script?

Yes you can. We recommend that it’s only worth getting feedback on one script thus it would be £10 to enter another script.

Why does it have to be in industry format?

Screenwriting is a craft. You can be a good writer but being a good screenwriter is a totally different ball game. And that is what we and the industry are looking for. If early in your screenwriting career, we recommend using screenwriting software than work office software. It will help you a great deal! We obviously recommend Final Draft but there are alternatives out there.

Why do we have to pay?

First of all, we want our readers to be paid fairly for their time and expertise. Reading a script is not as simple as it sounds. Readers are analysing every aspect of the story, writer’s ability and it’s potential place in the market. They are the first judge on whether they recommend a script or writer be considered to have something eventually developed and made. That will cost upwards of a few hundred thousand pounds to millions. That’s a hard job. Writing analysis and feedback takes time, skill and relevant experience.

Best of luck,

 

Short Com