I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I write every day. I’m even writing this now. At the age of eight I wrote a poem about an alien coming to Earth which won a competition and was printed in a newspaper. On the last day of secondary school there was a Revue Show for which I wrote most of the sketches and songs. (Unfortunately I was ill on the day and couldn’t attend but apparently it went very well; so much so that everyone else took credit for the writing). Over the past ten years I have had more than 30 sitcom scripts produced on TV and have written for, amongst others, Graham Norton and Jack Whitehall (I like to help keep both younger and older audiences entertained).

Now you might be thinking “well done for showing off but do you have a point?”  Well apart from getting that whole end-of-school-revue thing off my chest for the first time yes I do have a point. The point is, many times over the years, I’ve thought about giving up.

You know that game at a funfair where you are given three broken darts and have to try and hit three tattered playing cards? Well that’s how they now seem to choose which sitcoms to put on TV. The problem is, on one knows what they want. Even though they think they do.

I once had a meeting where a very senior producer. This was the conversation:

Int: Producer’s Office –  Day

Producer:         I’m a  big fan of your writing.

Me:                    Thank you

Producer:         So we wanted to tell you what we’re looking for at the moment

Me:                    Okay

Producer:        “We’re looking for the next Gavin and Stacey”.

Me:                   Well, I have something that’s based in London and Wales and…

Producer:        No we don’t want anything based in London and Wales.

Me:                    Okay, well I have a sitcom about a relationship that….

Producer:        No we don’t want anything about a relationship.

Me:                   So which part of Gavin and Stacey do you want?

Producer:       The success.

True story

I’ve also had a script meeting where the Comedy Commissioner said:

Commissioner:  I don’t really like comedy, can you write an opera?

This is why I thought about giving up.

Years ago there was a sitcom with a well-known television celebrity. I was called into the studio at 11 o’clock in the morning to ask if I could script-edit it. Why so early? Because they were filming it that evening! The programme had been commissioned, the cast had been added and the studio had been booked. It was only whilst it was being rehearsed on the morning of the first day of filming that someone had suddenly said:

Someone:   Hang on, it’s not very funny is it?!

This is why I thought about giving up.

But I know I won’t give up. I can’t. Writing is not only my desire but it’s my passion.

I not only enjoy writing my own scripts, but I enjoy script editing others. I also love teaching people how to write scripts even though, as I explain to them, there is more chance of them winning the Euromillions and having their prize handed to them by a talking unicorn than having their sitcom produced on TV. But these writers also have a passion.

And you can’t, and shouldn’t, give up on that….

Bennett Arron

Further details on Bennett Arron’s next Sitcom and Comedy Writing Workshop