The Multi-Camera Sitcom

I’ve written a spec Modern Family and an original drama pilot. But I was itching to create an original spec comedy pilot. So after brainstorming, I came up with an idea I was excited about, which includes a character to be portrayed by a stand-up comedian. Specifically Ralphie May, or perhaps a comedy actor of his type. The show I dreamed up lends itself to a multi-camera style. So in addition to my story research and outlining, I found that I had a bit of extra planning to do in order to figure out the formatting for a multi-camera script and show. One of my favorite multi-cam sitcoms is The Big Bang Theory, so I’ve had a good excuse to read online scripts and watch lots of episodes. In addition, I’ve jumped back into watching a variety of multi-cam sitcoms, old and new, and falling in love with the live-audience style all over again.

There is definitely something exciting about the performances of actors who are getting the feedback of a live audience. The punchline/ pause for laughs style of comedy in a multi-camera format is actually fun and familiar. It seems like styles cycle on television, and everything old is new again. Perhaps there is a resurgence of love emerging for the multi-cam format? Over the last few months, Up All Night, originally a single-camera sitcom, has been retooling to come back in April with a multi-camera format. It will certainly be interesting to see the difference and watch the show’s success.

The networks have several possible new multi-cam pilots on their radar for the 2013-2014 season, including a new project from Chuck Lorre, called Mom, about a newly-sober mom trying to make it in Napa Valley. And another that sounds promising, a Lorne Michaels project featuring stand-up comedian John Mulaney.

Anyway, returning to the issue of writing. Here’s a nice article about writing for multi-cam sitcoms that I found to be helpful.

So back to work I go! Although I must admit; this has been so much fun, it’s hard to call it work.


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