Sitcom Writer

Sitcom Writer

SitcomWriter

Los Angeles, CA

Female, 33

For over ten years, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of being staffed on several half-hour network sitcoms, rising in the ranks from Staff Writer to Co-Executive producer. My writing partner and I are now developing our own material.

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Last Answer on December 19, 2012

Best Rated

Other than the ability to write well, what are the other important attributes you look for when hiring writers?

Asked by mom w/pen almost 6 years ago

Not including things like draft writing and story breaking I would look for decent human beings. You're going to be with these people for a long time so they have to be nice. I'd want people who are funny to talk to. People I would want to be friends with outside of work. I'd also want people with humility. People who don't think they know everything and are very supportive of others' ideas. I'd want people that don't think too highly of our position on the show. In TV writers are treated like we're the top of the totem pole and a lot of writers feel that they are. I would want to work with people that realize how important everyone on set is. And appreciate how hard they work. I would want people that could pull long hours. I get it if you have to leave early one day for a school play or something like that, but 99% of the time I expect you there into the wee hours of the morning if that's what it takes to get the job done.

Assuming the pilot gets picked up, do most sitcoms start with a definitive timeline (e.g. this story will take 3 seasons to tell), or is it more wait-and-see approach?

Asked by Write As Rain... about 6 years ago

Whoops. Sorry for the delay. When a pilot gets picked up nine times out of ten it is only given 13 episodes. If it does really well it gets the "back nine" for a full season. If it does badly it's canceled even before those episodes are shot. So new shows rarely think past those first 13. Also each show and show runner is different. I've been on shows where each episode is a crapshoot. And I've been on others where the first thing we do is figure out what major thing will happen to each character and decided a time line to introduce that major thing and when we will pay it off. I have never been on a show that's thought past the season it was working on more than a wistful "Maybe in season six X and Y will start dating..."

I think the quality of the Colbert Report over the past 3 or 4 years has been through the roof (superior even to the Daily Show). Do "insiders" respect the writing on his show (and his abilities personally)?

Asked by SC almost 7 years ago

Stephen Colbert is a genius. Plain and simple. I think most people in my industry with agree.

Have you ever heard of someone not "in the business" randomly writing a sitcom pilot or script that has gotten picked up?

Asked by HobbyScriptWriter almost 7 years ago

I can't think of any comedy scripts where this happened. I think CSI is an example of it on the drama side. But, and I cannot over emphasize this... It is EXTREMELY hard to do.

What show have you worked on where you were virtually positive it would succeed, but it wound up getting cancelled or never aired?

Asked by TVTime almost 7 years ago

I assume everything is going to fail until it doesn't. Call it a defense mechanism.

Charlie Sheen chaos aside, what on EARTH is so special about "Two-and-a-Half Men" that's made it as successful as it's been? Seems just as by-the-numbers as the next sitcom, what is it that's created such a huge audience?

Asked by JP almost 7 years ago

Sometimes I like to be the bigger person and think why do I get to decide what sitcom is funny/original/worth the ratings? I mean if millions -MILLIONS- of people love Two and a Half Men they can't all be wrong. Then I watch Two and a Half Men - and I'm as stumped as you are. My best guess is that it's easy. You get home from a hard day at the office and sometimes it's nice to not have to think. The characters are basic. You know what they're going to do. The plot lines are easy to follow. You know what's going to happen. And it's chock full of extremely dirty jokes that we're not allowed to do on other shows so it send those "They went there" shivers down your spine. Also there are fart jokes.

When did you know you wanted to become a TV writer? Which shows inspired you most?

Asked by Wes over 6 years ago

In high school, I was talking to a friend who mentioned she wanted to be a doctor more than anything in the world. I assumed she meant anything in the world except a TV writer. Nope. She actually wanted to be a doctor. Up until that moment, I just assumed everyone would write TV if they could, just like everyone would rather be rich or thin. But since this was the real world and I was middle-class and chunky, I would settle for veterinarian. As soon as I realized this passion of mine was unique (ish), I never looked back (though I'm still chunky). There were a lot of shows I loved growing up: The Simpsons, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Strangers with Candy, Mr. Show ... but I think what really helped my sense of humor was watching stand-up comedians with my dad when I was really young. I'd use his stomach as a pillow and I knew something was funny when my head would shake from his laughter.