Author Topic: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?  (Read 5880 times)

Offline aqf157

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Hello, me and my friend have written a pilot episode for a sitcom. We'd love for anybody to give it the once over and share their suggestions or critique. It's only 34kb, inbox me your email and I'll send it to you! Here is the opening scene...

The opening credits slowly run over a black screen. The
rumble of a train. Muttering voices.

NATHAN
(Soft Mancunian voice.)
Justin Lee Collins. One point.

HUGO
(Posh. Timid)
Surely you canít just say every man
or woman with long, blonde hair
looks like Justin Lee Collins.

NATHAN
One point.

A short pause.

HUGO
Marco Polo. Three points!

NATHAN
Minus one point for being
pretentious.

HUGO
Heís the spitting image!

CUT TO:

INT. TRAIN - EVENING

The characters are finally revealed. They occupy two seats
in a busy train.

NATHAN is in his late-twenties, but with a
world-weary face. He compliments his shaggy brown hair with
a sprinkling of stubble. He is slim but appears unfit. His
is wearing a standard issue suit with disdain and slumps in
his seat.

HUGO is younger and sits proudly with immaculate posture.
Tall and skinny, with razor-sharp cheek bones and impeccably
combed hair, he appears innocent, naive and fresh-faced.

NATHAN
How many times, itís celebrity
lookalikes. Itís not obscure public
school heroes. . . . .alikes.

HUGO
Marco Polo is one of the
greatest...

NATHAN
Couldnít care less. I couldnít.Just
stick to celebrities who are at
least alive.

HUGO
Are you in a mood because of Emma?

NATHAN
What?

HUGO
(Hesitant)
Because .... you know.....she broke
up with you?

NATHAN
She never broke up with me HUGO.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

EMMA and NATHAN are in conversation.

EMMA
Iím breaking up with you.

CUT TO:

INT. TRAIN - EVENING
HUGO looks like heís touched a nerve.

NATHAN
Anyway Iím not in a mood.

HUGO
Yeah, sorry I never meant to...

A long pause filled only by commuter noise.

HUGO
Stacey Solomon.

We see a woman entering the carriage with an Afghan hound.

NATHAN
(Deadpan)
Better. One point.

CUT TO:

Offline Laura H

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 12:48:36 PM »
Hi,

We're glad you've joined us here at MWC, but please take a moment to go introduce yourself on the welcome boards. 

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?board=1.0

Thanks & welcome,

Laura H
Moderator
ďThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.Ē ― Maya Angelou

ďDon't be like the rest of them, darling.Ē ― Eudora Welty

Offline Snack

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 11:26:31 PM »
Hey, I'm interested in giving it a read!

Offline Snack

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 04:00:51 PM »
Okay, I'm new to this. Forgive me if my review is utter poop.

I think this is brilliant. I admit the pacing is slower than what I'm used to and I initially thought the dialogue was strange, but I also wasn't reading it with the right context. Once I realized it's a UK comedy (I'm American), the rhythms settled in and I started enjoying it. I love the three main characters. Maybe it was your intention, maybe it wasn't but I thought making Hugo and Malcom stark opposites of each other (with Nathan as the straight man) is genius. The opportunities for really engaging conversations are endless as they each play different aspects of the male persona: Hugo (posh, wanna-be upper-class, elitist?), Nathan (middle-man, snarky), and Malcom (shameless degenerate). Their dialogue could benefit from more playful conflict, but it was still very funny.

Critiques

Malcom
We first see him on page 3. I think this scene should be replaced by the one where he's buying DVDs. As much as I liked the visual and the silly joke at the end of page 4 about his mum, I feel the DVD scene works better as an intro as his character is much more displayed. A lot of what you need to know about Malcom is summed up in this very short scene.

This change would affect the continuity though. He would have to be on his way home and meet the Chinese man along the way. His comment about Iron Lady/Iron Man could be contrued as ambiguously sexual. And it would interrupt the logic of their transition to the warehouse. The idea of him bringing DVDs from home to a "sarge" would be ridiculous, but it could set-up a joke. Maybe he thinks it'll help him get laid, like he's preparing for a scenario in which a girl will inevitably ask him to come to her place, but he's afraid he won't seal the deal without his "secret move". Maybe it's happened to him too many times before for this to be a ridiculous idea (I read him as an older character for some reason). This would also mess up the pool gag, but it wasn't that strong to begin with. Sorry! I feel like I'm breaking the whole thing apart!

Regardless, I feel his intro could've been better. His shamelessness is what makes him interesting to me, so I suppose that's why.

Story
We open with Nathan and Hugo (clearly main characters) on their way home. Plot points are laid out to set-up Emma's scene, but she didn't seem important to the story until later when Nathan is texting her. I think it should be said quite clearly from the beginning that this is an issue Nathan wants to resolve. It gives the audience something to identify with. Then we're introduced to Malcom, another leading character, but it didn't feel like he was important either. His intro wasn't as strong as Joe's and Joe seemed like a character designed for brief cameos and throw-away gags. I really liked Joe. He reminds me of Dale from "King of The Hill" and one of my own "crazy old man" characters, but he overshadowed Malcom. Then we get a glimpse into their differing lifestyles and the three main characters begin conversing. Fun time!

At around page 7, I remember feeling uncertain of the direction of the story. Addressing the reasons I listed in the previous paragraph could remedy this. The story didn't gain traction for me until Hugo put on the white suit. Putting on something so drastic despite his timid personality was immediately interesting. The timing felt a bit off though. If I were writing it, I would've have taken HUGO'S ROOM and put it after Nathan texting Emma, looking at his 'stache and Malcom with the homemade punching-bag. Then Nathan and Malcom would be having the conversation about Movember, only to be interrupted by Hugo's loud outfit.

Emma and Vanessa's scene couldn't have come at a better time. Hugo started moving the story along and then BAM, new characters with fantastic chemistry. I was really hoping to see more of them. Emma and Vanessa being at the club later was a huge and welcomed surprise considering that it wasn't hinted at all in this scene. I'm not sure if it would make the story better to hint at the possibility of their arcs crossing, but it's something I prefer to see. It would replace the surprise with tension, but it would also give the story a more pronounced direction. And it would give you an excuse to write another scene for them.  ;D

I don't even have to say anything about Wooly Jazz. He was awesome. His character added so much to the story without stealing any of the spotlight. The 6 pages between his intro and Emma's reveal was so enjoyable, I was surprised by how quickly I reached the end. And yeah, his ending was perfect. Also Josh was a nice touch and Vanessa's interaction with him was great. Nathan missing Josh with his punch was epic!

Conclusion
The only other scripts I've read are from my favorite TV shows so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed this draft. I'm not sure what else to say. I hope my review is at least somewhat useful.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:34:00 PM by Snack »

Offline aqf157

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 06:03:34 PM »
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and provide your feedback. Your comments have been very helpful to us. We are particularly pleased the humour translates across the Atlantic! We'll be happy to critique and of your stuff in future :)

Offline nigelw

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    • Nigel Williams
Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 07:22:09 AM »
Hi,
I had a chuckle reading through the first post of the script and would also like to give it a read. I think you've clearly studied the genre - the two contrasting characters from different backgrounds is far from being new or original but is always a good vehicle to base some laughs - and originality can sometimes be too hot for producers to touch. Television is full of generic "safe-bets". I liked the pace and the cuts and enjoyed what I've read so far.

Offline aqf157

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 07:26:10 AM »
Cool, just inbox me your email and I'll send it over...  :)

Offline nigelw

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    • Nigel Williams
Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2013, 07:25:48 AM »
Read the full script last night and found it excellent. I think I know Malcolm...he drinks in my local.
This script is well structured, a sign of clear vision of the plot, and is formatted well also. One or two tiny typos that could be sorted before sending it to a production company. Page 10 Hugo speaking - needs to be read again - typo (I believe). P13 Nathan - also a typo. These are little things that didn't spoil the script in any way but would need to be corrected before sending off. This must get picked up by an agent or company. It really is funny and I found myself relating to the realistic characters.
Well written and well done!
Thanks for letting me read it.
Nigel

Offline aqf157

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2013, 07:46:25 AM »
Really appreciate the feedback thank you, glad you found it funny! Also excellent typo spots, we are going to send it to BBC writers room v soon so it needs to me flawless... !! Many thanks

Offline midnight candle

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2013, 07:59:47 AM »
Quote
The opening credits slowly run over a black screen. The
rumble of a train. Muttering voices.
scene header - where are we?
followed by action - where are they? what are they doing? etc...

Quote
NATHAN
(Soft Mancunian voice.)
Justin Lee Collins. One point.

HUGO
(Posh. Timid)
Surely you canít just say every man
or woman with long, blonde hair
looks like Justin Lee Collins.

character descriptions - who are they? why should i care about about them?

NATHAN
One point.

A short pause.

HUGO
Marco Polo. Three points!

NATHAN
Minus one point for being
pretentious.

HUGO
Heís the spitting image!

Quote
CUT TO:
unnecessary

INT. TRAIN - EVENING

The characters are finally revealed. They occupy two seats
in a busy train.

Quote
NATHAN is in his late-twenties, but with a
world-weary face. He compliments his shaggy brown hair with
a sprinkling of stubble. He is slim but appears unfit. His
is wearing a standard issue suit with disdain and slumps in
his seat.

HUGO is younger and sits proudly with immaculate posture.
Tall and skinny, with razor-sharp cheek bones and impeccably
combed hair, he appears innocent, naive and fresh-faced.

in the wrong place. these characters have already been introduced. the descriptions could be leaner too.
stubble suggests world-weary. hair colour unnecessary. hugo's description too is overdone. angular cheekbones, well-groomed and clean-shaven


Offline Jackson_Leigh

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 04:11:54 PM »
Yes, the beginning of the script has so much potential and could make for a great story, but the random cut away to the flashback with Emma just seems to much out of place. With just the characters talking about the situation is enough for the audience to understand what is going on. I did have a good laugh or two while reading the script and would love to read the rest of it.
Wait... What is a signature?

Offline 2par

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 09:50:41 PM »
I am not as familiar with the structure of TV scripts as I am with film scripts, but this looks very interesting. The cutaway to Emma saying she's breaking up with him is funny just as is. Leave it in. No need to even say more. The director will take over that part.
I'd only describe them as necessary. What you imagine them to look like will depend on the casting. Ten people will see ten different actors for the same roles.

Offline Chord

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 02:59:05 AM »
It definitely has potential. I had no problem with the Emma cutaway at all - absolutely necessary for the comic effect. On here be aware (and I mean this with no disrespect) this forum has a global audience and senses of humour will vary enormously. For the UK market I'm pretty sure they'll get this.

I've got to disagree with 2Par about the character descriptions. It's pretty common to put the description in, it gives the director a picture to work to. In any case, unlike a novel, a script is a living thing. If the director sees the character in a different way or the production company have someone in mind for the part, your description will fly straight out of the window. So will half the dialogue. And the action will change, and the locations... and the title. Oh and the font.

There's a saying 'they like the taste of the tea better if they've pissed in the pot themselves' Quite disgusting really but it does sort of make the point.  In fact I've heard some less than scrupulous writers deliberately put in an 'easy target' for the director to change in the hope they leave the good stuff alone!

With a fat friend there is no such thing as a see-saw, only catapults.

Offline 2par

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Re: "Chasing Rainbows" pilot episode for a sitcom - please review anyone?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 03:54:12 AM »
Thanks Chord. That is a difference.