Writing Television Sitcoms

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Perigee Books, 1999 - Performing Arts - 281 pages
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With twenty years in the business -- as a writer, programming executive, and university instructor -- Evan S. Smith knows what it takes to get from spec script to sitcom success.

With an expanding television industry hungry for programming, aspiring sitcom writers have more opportunities than ever before to see their best lines appear on prime time. In this comprehensive, lively guide, you'll explore the craft and the business of sitcom writing including:
-- tips from writer-producers who have worked on such series as Frasier, The Cosby Show, Ellen, Roseanne, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Home Improvement, and Late Night with David Letterman
-- the first published description of premise-driven comedy -- a writing method, developed by Evan S. Smith, that focuses on building a story's humor from the ground up
-- numerous examples drawn from classic and contemporary sitcoms
-- a complete story outline from the hit series Home Improvement
-- an examination of how comedy affects character development and story structure
-- explicit advice on how the business works, how to get an agent, and how to establish a career
-- script layout guidelines for all three sitcom formats -- live-action video-tape, live-action film, and animation

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About the author (1999)

Evan S. Smith is an associate professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and is a regular speaker at the American Film Institute. He has written sitcoms for studios including Paramount, MTM, and Twentieth Century-Fox, and has worked as a vice president of Program Development responsible for developing TV movies, series, and specials. He has degrees from Brown University and Syracuse University and is a member of the Writers Guild of America. When not teaching, he writes, studies the craft of writing, and serves as a private script consultant.

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