Sitcom Writer

Sitcom Writer


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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59 Questions


Last Answer on December 19, 2012

Best Rated

What's one current sitcom that you think is really pushing the envelope in ignoring typical formulas and breaking new ground?

Asked by francine over 12 years ago

This is a hard one. Maybe I've been doing this too long, but everything feels done. Some do it better than others (30 Rock comes to mind), but no one is breaking any new ground.

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... over 11 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 have always adored shows from the 1950's such as "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners." As they were both performed "live," why was there canned laughter as well? Hard to believe, these shows originated 60 years ago and are still in syndication. What do you think was the true secret of their incredible success?

Asked by LuckyLady over 12 years ago

The laugh track question I can't answer. As to the second question: 1. They are well written. A well written show is timeless 2. They have amazing actors creating unforgettable characters. 3. They are simple premises and simple ideas so no matter what the year it is gettable and relatable and you can watch one episode and know everything you need to know about the show - which makes it all the more sad how today the development process is all about "Big ideas!" "big worlds!" (I'm not bitter...I swear.....okay....maybe a little)

What types of shows have you written for?

Asked by Netta_D over 12 years ago

I’ve written everything from crappy multi-cameras that didn't make it through the first season, to Emmy award-winning single-cameras that I am proud to have on my resume.

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

Asked by mom w/pen over 11 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.

You mentioned "the journey" that many of your colleagues made to become writers. What percentage of folks venturing out to LA to become writers actually succeed in making a decent living at it?Of those who drop out, what do they usually end up doing?

Asked by ronmexico over 11 years ago

Honestly I have no idea. I can't imagine that number is very high. It might creep up toward the 30-40% mark if by "decent living" you mean any money whatsoever. There are so many more outlets now a days. Cable, internet, podcasts etc. But most of those outlets are not going to buy you a house in the hills. Actually some of those outlets aren't going to pay you enough for a studio in the valley. As for what they do when they drop out... I've seen people try to make a go at it as a standup. I've had friends take corporate jobs. I would say the biggest majority go on to get their teaching degrees. I guess it's the same as graduating from college...just a few years later.

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 over 12 years ago

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