I've been writing about Phil Silvers lately, and I have long been aware that I've been holding back on telling easily my best Phil Silvers story ever.
Perhaps my best story ever.
Depending on how much rambling I do, it will take at least two segments to tell it.
It takes three steps to create a "Story " for a sitcom episode.
First, there is such a thing as a "Springboard ", or a "Notion ".
It usually takes the form of "What if?"
Once, on "The Odd Couple ", it took the form of "What if Oscar has
to fill for the Theatre Critic at his newspaper? "
That's a springboard.
It's one I came up with.
If you extend it to "What if Oscar has to fill in for the Theatre Critic at his newspaper, and he feels underqualified, so he sends Felix to the theater in his place, without telling him why, because he's embarrassed, and picks Felix's brain about it when he comes home, so Oscar can write his review?"
This is still a springboard, but it begins to approach an "Idea".
If you add to all of this that Felix finds out about the ruse and confronts Oscar about it, this is a full-fledged idea.
But it's not yet a story.
A story demands a beginning, a middle, and an end.
What I described above is a beginning, and some of the middle.
It's enough to get you the midway point of an episode.
It needed the rest of the middle, and an ending.
Then, you've got a story.
We had what we had for over a year, without being able to figure out the rest of the middle and the ending.
So half an outline sat on the shelf, into the next season, without anyone coming up with the solution.
Finally, by exploring the history of TV sitcoms, I found the way to complete the entire story.
Next time, among other things, I'll tell you how I got there.
My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen and Beyond if your interested.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."