We just started the back half of Brent Forrester’s TV Comedy Course. This step in the process is outlining. We have brainstormed, pitched, carded, and now we need to give our script some structure before we write the first draft. Brent reminds us right away that it is important to think of scriptwriting as a process. And, the process gets more fun as you go along.
Endings are critical. They help you write towards a goal. Sitcoms work when there is a fun, family dynamic. The endings help the audience realize that the journey was worth it. So, spend some time thinking about endings before you dive right in. There are common ending types for TV: the heart scene (ahem Full House), the heart scene obscured (low stakes, natural, and unspoken), the device ending (the A and B story resolve together), the voice-over ending (all of Modern Family episodes, common-denominator lessons), the “failed but won” scene (Ted Lasso used it for a season-ending), and a surprise ending (Fleabag did this very effectively for the pilot and the season).
Outlining is transcribing the cards (and their order) to an outline script. The top of the card becomes the slugline.
Brent also tells us to watch the pilot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine for some inspiration. As you watch TV, get in the habit of dissecting the scenes and figuring it out.