The creator of the 'Iceberg Desdemona'...and Father Ted...provides the best advice ever for aspiring sitcom writers....
If you a) know me, b) know this blog, or c) know anything, then you know Graham Linehan is up there with Flann O'Brien, and if you don't know who he is, then just go feck yourself and watch Lost and go: 'gee that guy's read a buk i tink i'll read dat buk...'
Anyway, Linehan's livejournal blog Why That's Delightful: Graham Linehan's Hompendium of Dorithies is a beautiful way to while away the hours until apocalypse, but you gotta read the marble comments, an anonymous poster has put up this great radio link for a Linehan mention of a UFO misunderstanding and this one about Invaders of the Lost Gold . Another poster "Iain" writes: I'm a writer myself and I've just been commissioned to write a sitcom for BBC2 that will be on in the early part of next year. He asked for advice and Linehan was nice enough to give this great gem:
The best opinion you can get is from Future You. Present You writes the script, you see, and has a lot of ego and pride tied up with it, and it makes it hard to see how good the script actually is. So the best thing Present You can do is to put the script in a drawer for--ooh, let's say....a month and a half (at least) for Future You to read.
Future You will realise quite quickly that the entire first half doesn't work and should be jettisoned immediately to save the quite good second half (or vice versa). Future You will read some sections and actually not have a clue what Present You was on about.
If you don't have the time to get Future You involved, then give it to about six friends. If more than three of them thinks it needs work, then it needs work. If everybody says "Yeah, great! Brilliant stuff!" then you've either written a perfect first draft (unlikely, to say the least), or it really, really stinks and they can't be bothered getting into all the reasons why.
I just hope Linehan's nipped another Roman's Empire in the bud.