Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sitcom Trials script voting thoughts (still time to vote)

The voting continues to select the scripts for this month's Sitcom Trials in Manchesters. Anyone and everyone is invited to read, review and vote on the scripts in contention. Read the scripts here in the SitsVac files, then post your reviews and a Yes, Maybe or No vote for every script you read, in either the SitsVac forum or the British Comedy Guide forum. The deadline for votes in midnight Saturday Oct 8th. Here are some thoughts on the process.


It is a lovely irony that I introduced the online peer-review system of voting so that I wouldn't ever have to read a big pile of sitcom scripts, then stopped doing the Sitcom Trials largely because of the amount of time it was taking up, and here I am greatly enjoying reading and reviewing the scripts that are coming in to the latest Manchester Trials, and am getting the biggest thrill from, of all thing, counting up the scores.

Having just added up another set of scores and amended the running total, I am delighting in the way every vote can make such a dramatic difference, with every Yes vote suddenly boosting a script by 2 points, and every No dragging it back by one. At the top of the table we now have a script with 15 points, and bringing up the rear another script with minus 6. And that will, of course, all change.


The diversity of opinions really does make one worry about the usual situation where your work will be rejected by just one script reader or editor. In practice, I think, the BBC get three people to read a script before making a final decision, though often it can be just one person's opinion that lets the script get that far.

I fully appreciate the difference between an experienced, trained or professional script reader, who knows how to read and judge a script properly, and someone who may be speed-reading, just picking out gags they like, or making their decisions on a dozen other spurious bases. But a large part of any reader's judgement, whether in the Sitcom Trials' amateur realm or in the professional world of TV and radio, is going to be subjective. After all, even once a sitcom hits the screen it can divide viewers. I've had recent conversations with people who in turn love or loathe Miranda, Gary Tank Commander, My Family and Fresh Meat (yes, it is possible for someone to not like Fresh Meat) and it's quite possible all comedy is Marmite. Certainly this round of Sitcom Trials voting suggests the 18 scripts in contention very much fall into the Marmite category, every one of them having received at least one damning No Vote, a Maybe and a Yes vote from someone.

So carry on enjoying your power, Sitcom Trials readers. Every opinion matters and I like to think we're all learning something along the way.

Read the scripts here.

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