Saturday, May 21, 2022

Weekend Post

I thought it would be fun to show you what an outline of CHEERS looked like.  This is just a couple of pages but you'll get the idea.  It's from the Rat Girl episode my partner, David Isaacs and I wrote.  Every show has its own format.  I found this to be the best.  It's on half the sheet of paper so there's room on the other half to scribbling notes.  

As you'll see there's suggested dialogue and jokes.  Not every joke in the outline has to be used.  In fact, many are not.  But like I said, you'll get a sense of just what goes into an outline for a half-hour sitcom.  Scripts are fluid but you need a starting point.   Enjoy.




Superintendent Chalmers said...

Will you be doing a post on Roger Angell? I'm not a baseball fan, but when I read the news about him, I figured you definitely know who he was and most likely knew him personally.

kent said...

Ah, the unmistakable look of pre-computer paperwork. I remember it well.

Lemuel said...

Ken, have you noticed these on your lawn?

Mibbitmaker said...

The part where Lilith wants to name a potential new baby Walter... If she were insisting on doing that, Frasier could say then, if it ended up being a girl, he would name her Diane. Kidding, of course, but just barely.

Yeah, even in my amateur version, those 2 were bound for divorce.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Thank you so much for this. I have always heard about the importance of an outline, but never really got it until seeing this. That is for script writing. I used to write outlines for school papers, etc., but they were of the more traditional variety. I'm going to try this the next time I attempt to write something. I think it could really speed up the process.

Something like today’s post is one of the main reasons I read your blog. I enjoy the "how to" lessons.


Guffman said...

Ken, FYI: I just discovered that some of the impossible-to-find episodes of "The Associates" are now on YouTube. It's a joy to revisit this one-season masterpiece from the folks who brought us "Taxi." One of my very favorites is "Eliot's Revenge", written by David Lloyd. Here's the link:
The scene where Wilfred Hyde-White and John Houseman go toe-to-toe in the conference room is priceless.

VincentP said...

Ken, did you do any similar outlining on the rare occasions you wrote features?

bryon said...

"By now the bar is a still-life painting." That is a great sentence.

Of course, we learned in a Frasier episode that he and Niles are named after their mother's beloved lab rats. I wonder if this is a thing in experimental science.

JessyS said...

Friday Question: I saw this You Tube video where they broke the 4th wall in Green Acres.

Did you and David break the 4th wall in any of your series?

Jahn Ghalt said...

@Superintendent Chalmers

I hadn't heard of Roger Angell's demise this weekend - thanks for the notice.


You clearly relish the "high wire act" of writing (and directing?) a one-act, two-player cafe-play all in about eight-hours.

The Question - do you write any kind of an outline in this situation

Rory Wohl said...

Oh, sure, Ken, we know this is how it really works

Ray said...

I got to spend last Saturday afternoon in the National Comedy Center, a curated museum in downtown Jamestown, New York. Set there because it's the birthplace of Lucille Ball (omnipresent around the city but relatively minor in presence in the museum itself), it documents the comic medium in almost all of its forms from vaudeville to the present. Many of the displays are interactive, including tables of original shooting scripts from a number of 60s and 70s shows which you can scroll through a few pages of, iPad style, while the final filmed/taped episode displays on another iScreen next to it. I looked to see if any were yours. The MTM was "Divorce isn't Everything" by Brooks/Burns/Silverman (Mary also appears in a Reiner-written Dick Van Dyke script next to it); and MASH's was an Alda-penned Charles-era episode "Death Takes A Holiday."

It's worth a deep dive, if you're ever in that corner of this misbegotten state.