Screenwriting : First Time Writer by J.K. Graham

J.K. Graham

First Time Writer

Hello, all! I'm writing a pilot for the very first time. This is my first dive into the creative world and I open to any and all feedback! I'm writing a script for a 30-min sitcom and wanted to know how to go about it. I've already started my series bible and have written out my character breakdowns. I just don't know how to start the actual script.

Stephen Floyd

Keep things simple. Use as few sets and characters as possible. Not only so the audience doesn’t get overwhelmed, but so the pilot is cheap to produce.

Craig D Griffiths

There are thousands of articles all over the web. Youtube is also a great resource.

Now here is the warning. There are some formulas that will help you for a few months. But as soon as you feel that they are less than perfect, work at forgetting them. DO NOT think that they are writing. They will do their best to keep you in the cult.

Peter Roberts

You appear to have most of the background information sorted so all you need do to start is identify opening scene and then simply write. Once you have got something down it is reasonably easy to edit and refine: very hard to do when it is still buzzing round in your head.

William Martell

Do what the couple dozen scripts you have read did.

Michael L. Burris


Where's the persuasion.

Find the "Marry Me" packaged "pitch". I swear if ABC ran David Caspe in the right time slot versus NBC the damn show would be syndicated by now. I modeled that one a few times. Its weird how ABC, CBS, NBC etc. have their own package tones but everybody tries to.. well.. never mind I'm not going to tell you who's tone everyone wants to duplicate..

Debbie Croysdale

You could choose the frame work of the pilot as Premise or Non Premise. EG Start with the point at which the rest of the story begins and everything else follows. OR Just throw us into the characters world, (chaos) and then we work out how it got to be like that. Both sitcoms and series drama can open in anyway.

EG The start of Breaking Bad Pilot was at point of "Chaos" and the rest of the story explained how Walt came to be a nutter, dressed strangely, during a car chase. Or other series shows the actual start of the trail of events. EG Homeland, Greys Anatomy.

I understand you are writing a sitcom but the same applies in all genres, a pilot can start anywhere in the story.

The thing is, which way gives maximum shock, curiosity and pithiness. What can you put that makes reader want to know more?

Debbie Croysdale

@JK WATCH successful sitcom series already out there, from as many streaming platforms as possible. I do NOT mean to copy but to spot different strategies of execution and why these shows worked where many others failed. Also they are now being seen on social media such as "Facebook Watch." Some even start on podcast but make their way to TV streaming and "Homecoming" made this leap. The last few years the new "Less is More" culture of thirty minute dramas has helped to create Binge Viewing on epoch scale. One slogan I heard recently was "Commuter Viewing" people watching a show on the way to work or school. Some series also intersperse short episodes at 26 minutes with longer ones, for example Netflix "Maniac".

I begin writing a pilot script when the story feels organic and I am fired up with the thoughts and feelings of lead characters because stopping to think "Is this format right?" leads to procrastination.

When Pitching your Sitcom Series have a slug or log line that hits the spot. Grey's Anatomy was pitched as "Sex in the Surgery."

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In