The Big Bang Theory Spec Script Toolkit: Homework
I had someone ask me if I was going to do a Spec Script Toolkit for The Big Bang Theory and I told them I’d “do my best.” I know it’s probably a crime considering I want to write sitcoms, but I don’t actually watch The Big Bang Theory. Wait…I don’t watch any CBS sitcoms–Not for any particular reason, it’s just that I haven’t been drawn to any of them. I grew up on the traditional mulit-cam sitcoms, but for some reason I’ve grown to prefer the single-cam shows a la The Office, 30 Rock, and my personal favorite….Arrested Development. I don’t believe that one is better than the other, it’s just a stylistic preference, I guess. I don’t have the ratings in front of me, but I’m pretty sure the top sitcoms tend to be multi-cams, so it would even be in my best interest to force myself to watch them…but I don’t. Anyway, the purpose of this verbose introduction is to preemptively apologize for this being the only The Big Bang Theory Spec Script Toolkit post. My Modern Family and Community posts should each end up with about four different parts discussing characters, structure, story, etc; but this shall be the lone post for The Big Bang Theory. Sorry. However, I will make an effort to actually watch this show, so I can at least say I’ve seen the darn thing.
Per my usual Spec Script Toolkits, I’m gonna quote Alex over at A TV Calling. In his article, “Comedy Spec Script 2010 – What is hot and what is not” posted on A TV Calling, Alex lists The Big Bang Theory as a “Mainstream” show to spec. This basically means that the show is getting spec’d a lot, but not as much as a 30 Rock or The Office, so it should have some longevity left in the spec world.
I won’t bore you with my lecture on the importance of actually doing some homework on the show your spec’ing…but if you really need a reminder, feel free to check out my Community Spec Script Toolkit: Part 1 – Homework. I think I waste two full paragraphs on why doing your “homework” is important. It’s pretty much common sense, but not everyone is blessed with it…
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: You need to watch every episode at least three times. Any less and you’re a not enough of a nerd to write a spec. You can watch more if you like, but at some point (probably around the sixty-sixth time) you’ve already absorbed as much as you can and you need to stop procrastinating (not be confused with procrasturbating) and write your friggin’ spec!
Other than watching (or Tivo-ing) The Big Bang Theory every on CBS and/or purchasing episodes through itunes, I’m only aware of two possible sources for watching free episodes online. Again, I’m not familiar with the show, so I’m assuming that during the season full episodes are available at these sites…there are none available right now:
- Hulu – Not every episode is available forever, but it’s good if you want to re-watch one within a week or two of when it aired.
- CBS.com – Why wouldn’t there be full episodes here?
Now that you’re geeked out from wathcing so many episodes that you actually feel like a nerd, it’s time to get your hands on some scripts.
If you’ve been to my Resources page or read some of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I’m going to tell you to check out Lee Thomson’s blog, which has links to the following Big Bang Theory scripts:
- Episode 1 – Pilot
- Episode 04 (S2) – The Griffin Equivalency
- Episode 5 (S2) – The Euclid Alternative
- Episode 10 (S2) – The Vartabedian Conundrum
- Episode 22 (S2) – The Monopolar Expedition
- Episode 6 (S3) – The Cornhusker Vortex
- Episode 9 (S3) – The Vengeance Formulation
Aside from watching episodes and reading scripts, there are a lot of good sources of supplemental info online. In no particular order, here are some Big Bang Theory links that may be of some use in your quest to finish a spec.
- Wikipedia’s Big Bang Theory Page – And if you’re interested in the “real” Big Bang Theory, they have a page on that, too!
- A.V. Club – A good source of episode reviews and summaries.
- The OFFICIAL Big Bang Theory Page – There’s got to be something useful here…
- Chuck Lorre Interview – Chuck is one of the show’s creators.
- Bill Prady Interview – Bill is the other show creator.
If you’re a sitcom nerd like me, you’re probably curious to see some examples of Big Bang Theory spec scripts written by fellow aspiring writers. You’re in luck! I found two online posted online:
Good luck with your specs and please feel free to add any additional links to the comments section!
February 2011 Update:
And if you haven’t already taken it…I set up a very brief survey to get some feedback on what you guys and gals are writing. Seriously, it won’t take you long to complete it. I did it in less than a minute. (That’s not a guarantee…I can’t control how fast you type.) At the end of the month, I’ll post the results of the survey for everyone to see.