Writing For TV and Radio

1 BUILD A SITCOM – BUILD A COMEDY DRAMA – EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

2 THE JOY OF SKETCH (WRITING) – LIVE ONLINE

3 PICK UP YOUR FIRST BBC WRITING CREDITS – EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

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1 BUILD A SITCOM

– From Zero to First Draft in 8 Weeks (April 2024) –

Build A Sitcom or Comedy Drama

I really enjoyed Dave’s course and found it very productive.  Every week Dave reads and gives individual feedback on what you’ve done.  It’s like having a writing partner with tons of experience, making you face things that you might otherwise gloss over, offering constructive suggestions, and occasionally administering a small pat on the back.  It’s the guide, philosopher and friend of sitcom courses.  – William Van Dyck (Winner 2021 Pozzitive Sitcom Script Competition, 2023 Sitcommission)

A brilliant introduction to comedy scriptwriting for novelists who want to make the switch – Jessica Adams (Author Single White Email, Tom Dick and Debbie Harry; Editor Girls’ Night In)

This course has been a wonderful inroad into a field I’d always wanted to enter but was never sure how to go about it. Thank you so much for all of it –James Allen

The notes are great, and it has given me a lot to think about. The blogs are easy to understand, even though some of the ideas are quite complex. I would definitely recommend it. – Jacqueline Davies

We’re going to write the first draft of a sitcom or comedy drama in EIGHT WEEKS.

Every week you email me the work you’ve done. Every week I email back with thoughts and notes about how best to continue.

You might not finish it… But you’ll have experienced writing to a deadline, and if you want to be a professional writer that’s a vital skill to learn.

You might finish it and never wish to show it to anyone… Okay, but you’ve proved to yourself that you can write a sitcom episode in a reasonable time-frame. Your next one will be easier and should be better.

You might think it’s quite good, but not good enough… That’s okay, you’ll have time to improve it ahead of the Writersroom deadline.

You might think it’s brilliant… You’ll still need to rewrite it. Nobody’s first draft is ever that good.

WEEK ZERO I’ll send you details of how we’re going to operate every week.

  • WEEKS 1-8  We start with the idea. Then the characters. Then the stories. Then the outline. You build your episode from nothing into a first draft script. At the end of week 8 we’ll discuss ideas for what you should do next with your script.
  • NEW COURSE IN APRIL 2024 WEEK ONE BEGINS Friday 19 April 2024
  • NEW ADDITION THIS COURSE – WEEKLY OFFICE HOURS TO DISCUSS YOUR SCRIPT AND OUTLINE
  • LAST FEW PLACES LEFT
  • Course price is £360 inclusive. Email funnyup02@gmail.com
    • More praise for Build A Sitcom
  • I’m stunned at the depth of your notes and the speed at which you return them. Your feedback is always fair and when I read your notes each week, I find myself nodding in agreement. I’d recommend the course to anyone wanting to write a sitcom from scratch, whether or not they have writing experience. Basically, signing up to this course was the best decision I made all lockdown! – Eleanor Hayward
  • I’ve loved the course so far. I’m finding the specific notes on homework extremely helpful, and that they’re in addition to the general notes and general instructions is really good. You’re a supportive teacher and in my experience at least half of this writing game is confidence and you encourage us to push on.  – Fiona Faith Ross
  • Being taken step by step, to tight time frames, has given a brilliant insight into the process and how difficult it is. If anyone was thinking of trying their hand at Sitcom writing, they would do well to try your course. – Lee Dixon
  • Working through lockdown was the most stressful time of my career. Having this sitcom to do in down time gave me an escape, I didn’t burden my family with work and the deadlines kept my mind occupied so thank you, if this course achieved nothing else it got me through covid – Steven Mucklow
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2 The Joy of Sketch (Writing)

“Dave knows his onions. He can probably write jokes about onions. And they’ll have you crying with laughter (don’t worry he didn’t write that one).” Lee Mack

If you want to become a great comedy writer the best way to learn is to write sketches – loads of them. Coming in 2023 – this brilliant new course from Dave that tells you everything you need to know about sketch writing.

I really enjoyed your class and meeting fellow writers. Everybody was very creative and generous. Great stuff.

“Thank you for all your input and creating a safe space to be creative in where people felt safe to fall down and bounce back up again.” Amanda Talbot

Classes are all run online.

630-730pm BST Monday 7, 14, 21 and 28 October

Interested? It’s £150 inclusive. This is an even smaller course and sells out very quickly so places are strictly limited. If you want to take part email funnyup02@gmail.com

Early Bird sign up before 31 May 2024 £108 email funnyup02@gmail.com

“Awesome – really helped me up my game.” Mike Wooles

“I’ve enjoyed working with you as always and learned a hell of a lot.” Charlie Milner

“Enjoyed your class completely. For the four weeks it ran, I had a fabulous time thinking up sketches. If you do some other course or class, I would love to participate.” Rachel Pine

3 Dave, Dan and Ellie’s Comedy Writing Credits Course

October 2024

The course was excellent!!! – putting aside the credits on Breaking The News which was an unexpected bonus, I really learnt about crafting jokes and the routine of producing them  Joanne Cunningham

There are many ways to start making a living at comedy writing, but nothing gets you noticed faster than being able to write topical jokes.

Top writers including Simon Blackwell (Veep, Back, Private Life of David Copperfield), Mark Burton (Madagascar, Wallace & Gromit) and Georgia Pritchett (Succession, The Thick Of It) all began their careers this way.

NEWSFLASHyou don’t have to be interested in topical comedy to write for these shows. The news is the gateway to jokes. Here’s the opening line from the last episode of 2023:

“The UK’s only giant pandas have set off for China after leaving Edinburgh Zoo. Their return home has been complex and delayed, mainly because the Passport Office won’t take black and white photos.”

Gaza? Stop The Boats? The SNP? Putin? Trump? Nowhere to be seen.

Over the last couple of years a number of great opportunities have opened for new writers. Breaking The News, BBC Scotland’s topical show that runs for 30 weeks a year is now open for material from writers with no previous credits.

And fabulous, multi-award winning The Skewer will be on Radio 4 for at least 15 weeks a year. Here’s what producer, creator and all-round topical comedy genius Jon Holmes has to say: “Nothing has made me prouder than being able to bring new writers into comedy.”

THIS COURSE IS DESIGNED TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR FIRST BROADCAST WRITING CREDITS.

Send them to us ahead of the deadline and we’ll give you feedback about how to make them a better fit for the shows.

And we’ll be there, week in week out, to make sure you keep coming back with more. 

“Work ethic is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I was a massive procrastinator. Doing the course with you both taught me that the only way to get on is to just f**king do it and put the work in. Which sounds silly but by doing that, I got the most fun out of it too!”  Duncan Ladkin

Be warned – it’s a lot of work! But the credits are worth it. For Breaking The News, you’ll want to have time available between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning. And The Skewer will eat into chunks of your weekend. We’re looking at a period of around six weeks from the middle of February to the end of March.

Dan Sweryt has become a regular contributor to both shows. When he first heard The Skewer he couldn’t imagine he could write for it, but, he says “You can! Also it’s multiple award-winning and who doesn’t  want to write for a multiple award-winning show?”

Dave Cohen wrote his first sketch on Week Ending in October 1983 and has spent four decades at the topical comedy coalface. He’s written for Have I Got News For You, Spitting Image, News Quiz, Dead Ringers and co-created and wrote more than 50 episodes of 15 Minute Musical.

Eleanor Hayward took Dave and Dan’s course in 2021. After scoring a string of credits herself, she’s helping us bring new writers forward.

“It was absolutely brilliant in every way. I ended up with writing credits on two shows which was a huge confidence boost and gave my writing career a valuable breakthrough. Worth the money many times over. Plus they were super supportive and encouraging, and gave really useful expert feedback. Your gag writing will improve whatever level you’re at. Fantastic and highly recommended.” Alice Bright (credited on both shows)

You don’t have to be a news nerd, but it helps. The most important skills are learning how to get into THE ROUTINE and THE HABIT of writing topical. And how to REWRITE your jokes.

Interested? It’s £150 inclusive. This is a small course so places are strictly limited. If you want to take part email funnyup02@gmail.com

Early Bird sign up before 31 May 2024 £108 email funnyup02@gmail.com

We recommend you only try for ONE SHOW AT A TIME: Breaking The News OR The Skewer. Trying to write for both is possible but spreads your writing time too thin. To sign up contact us funnyup02@gmail.com

“The course and feedback on gags has been brilliant” Uttom Chowdhury (credited on both shows)