Are you the type of person who watches a sitcom on television and thinks, “I could write funnier stuff than this?” Well, since most sitcoms are pretty lame and void of intellect, you probably could. The even better news, is that there is a lot of money to be made as a sitcom writer. An average sitcom writer makes about $15,000 per half hour episode. Imagine how much you would make if the show was actually a hit. So, how does one become a sitcom writer? Well, in this article I will go over the basic steps to becoming a sitcom writer.
Read Other Scripts: Before you start writing your own script, read the scripts to other popular sitcoms. You can find scripts to shows like Seinfeld, South Park, and The Simpsons easily online. Develop a good understanding of how a script is written. Notice that most sitcoms have an A-plot and a B-plot. Also, observe how many acts and scenes are within the script. There’s a pretty standard formula to sitcom writing, and it should be easy to pick up after you read a couple scripts.
Write a Spec Script: A spec script is a sample script. It’s how you show off you’re talents. You see, you’re going to need to prove yourself as a writer, and the best way to do that is by writing an original script for a sitcom that already exists. Why would you write a script for a sitcom that already exists? Because people are already familiar with the sitcom, so there’s no need to explain who the characters are, or the basic premise of the show. Make sure that you pick a sitcom that has been on the air for about 3 to 5 seasons. Any less than 3 seasons, and show might not be popular enough. Any more than 5 seasons, and the show is outdated.
Write Another Spec Script: You never know when someone may want to see more of your work. It would be a shame if you didn’t have anything else to show them. It’s always in your best interest to have at least two really good specs under your belt. Oh, and make sure you pick a different show when you write your second script; this will show that you have diversity. By the way, if you really have your heart set on writing for a particular sitcom, don’t write a spec for that show. The producers of that show will never be able to read your work due to legal circumstances. Therefore, you won’t get hired to write for that sitcom.
Find a Literary Agent: This is the hard part. You’re going to have to get on the internet, get out your phone book, and start doing some aggressive hunting. You may want to consider moving to Hollywood if you’re really serious about being a sitcom writer. If you don’t find an agent, you probably won’t ever get any work. Unfortunately, almost anything that has to do with television happens in LA. You’re going to have to call agencies and tell them that you will be sending a script. Then you’re going to have to call back. Then you’re going to have to call back again… and again… and again.