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The Harbour
The Harbour
Price: £5.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entire and captivating world, 13 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Harbour (Kindle Edition)
The Harbour is a beautifully textured story, lyrically told; an irresistibly intelligent love affair, an elite fraught with political intrigue, and a people riven by violence. I was completely captivated and happily sunk into the heady world of the novel. This is a book to get lost in and find your way out of having seen something new.

How Not to Write a Sitcom: 100 Mistakes to Avoid If You Ever Want to Get Produced (Writing Handbooks)
How Not to Write a Sitcom: 100 Mistakes to Avoid If You Ever Want to Get Produced (Writing Handbooks)
by Marc Blake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disorganised and Disappointing, 25 Aug. 2011
Disappointingly unclear and ill-conceived: Mark Blake makes the same (confused) 5 points over and over again throughout his book, regularly contradicting himself in the same sentence. He generally constructs his argument by saying "Do X. We know X works because they did it in The Office/Peep Show/Only Fools and Horses/Friends. Don't do Y. We know Y doesn't work because no one's done it before." This is useful in terms of spotting examples of sitcom convention, but he never satisfyingly delves into the reasons behind the conventions, leaving the reader slightly mystified as to exactly what wisdom he's passing on besides "watch loads of sitcoms and do what they did, only different".

Blake assumes his reader is an arrogant, lazy 20 year old man. I'm an arrogant, lazy 20 year old man, but I found this book sexist and thoughtless. My favourite nugget of advice was "Don't forget: women are people too. So you have to give them proper characters, and not just make them plot devices." Also, "With women, it's not always just about chocolate. Though usually it is." Thanks, Mark for that searing insight. If I were reading this book as a woman, the clear message would be: leave the sitcom to the boys, you get on with being a Real Person. Here's some Dairy Milk to get you started.

If you're hoping for a clear and deeply reasoned deconstruction of sitcom mechanics, then don't bother with this book. I was hoping for a Britcom version of Snyder's Save The Cat or McKee's Story, but this book reads more like a pompous unfunny set of lecture notes (which I suspect is exactly what it is) than an astute and insightful guide to understanding and creating sitcom.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2012 10:02 AM BST

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