Yesterday I had quite an unusual experience. I was invited to take part in a punch-up session for a pilot. Why so unusual? Well, since I’m generally not a comedy writer, it was definitely a new experience!
I joined an interesting group — writers, a co-EP, and an EP/creator — and proceeded to participate in a table read. Our acting was awesome, naturally. After that, we went page by page. I don’t know whether this is normal or not, but here’s what we covered:
- Where to add more tension/conflict
- Where to add more funny
- Where to trim down
The pilot was in first draft, so I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t have heard “trim down” comments in other punch-up sessions. Or maybe we would? I was gratified that one of my first joke suggestions got a “Good joke” comment from another writer. I also brought up suggestions on how to get a little more tension in there (still a drama writer, can’t lie), which seemed to be well-received. We would pretty much skip over sections that served to move the story forward, which I found interesting. Overall, it was a lot of fun and a great experience.
If you happen to have been in a punch-up session, was it normal to talk about tension and story beats? I’m wondering how different this session was from the typical.