Punch up

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.

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Filed under Comedy, TV, Writing

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