Sitcoms – Situation Comedy

A Sitcom is a genre of comedy which have characters that live together in the same environment or house.

Usually sitcoms have characters who don’t have a lot of depth or change throughout the shows. The setting normally remains the same and the problems that occur in an episode would get resolved at the end, leaving a message.

Using humorous dialog and methods such as slapstick, where a character would physically get hurt or get caught into a moment which goes to far and cause disaster, normally occurs due to the characters lack of common sense. e.g. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton where famous for slapstick.

Irony: Situation comedy usually uses irony

Some popular sitcoms are ones such as I love Lucy 1940s which was very popular in USA but most are famous in the UK, such as Only Fools And Horses, Blackaddar, Fawlty Towers, Dads Army.



Types Of Narrative Structure

There are many methods on how to tell a story, from research I have come across methods of story telling.

  1. In medias res: This technique is used to excite the audience and hook them right from the beginning, it often throws us into the problem / conflict instead of building it up. An example in the movie. The Proposition. The first scene opens up with Charlie (Guy Piece) house, where he and he’s friend and brother are under attack by the police, then after the gun battle stops, Captain Stanley (Ray Winston) bargains Charlie to find his big brother and turn him in to be hanged to death for his dreadful crimes in return of saving his little brother from being hanged. Hooking us in with the action scene on the beginning then showing us where the story will go with Charlie’s troubled situation.
  2. Circular Narrative: This technique is when we start the story, revealing the end first, then  go back in time to show us how it reaches to that point. An example is the movie Scorpio  where the beginning shows us Al Pacino being carried away on hospital stretchers, leaving us to wonder what happened, then the rest of the story goes back from beginning and shows us how it reached to that climax.
  3. Paradigm structure: One of the most basic technique is the Paradigm structure. When planning to write your story, you need to break it down, knowing what are the main plot points. Act 1, the set up of your story and introduction the characters and their goals, etc, then the protagonist will encounter a barrier. Act 2. Protagonist is challenged with their problem or antagonist and needs to solve the problem. Act 3. As we reach the Climax The protagonist puts an end to his problem, which leaves us with the conclusion. Is it a happy ending and the character achieve their goal or do they not achieve their goal and instead they learn something valuable from what they lossed, do we have an ending, or do we leave it without a clear point for interpretation.
  4. Linear narrative: Linear narrative is the basic most used in storytelling, it’s when the story proceeds in correct order, from beginning, to middle then the end.
  5. Non-linear narrative is when the story is not told in a straight line. The story may use flashbacks to tell the story in a different timeline.

Visual Storytelling Through The Lens

Analyzing camera shots, not only the way they are framed but the purpose as to why cinematographers use these shots.

The image above is a still of Javier Bardem, taken from the movie. No Country For Old Men.

You don’t have to see this film just to know that he is the villain, we see this by the use of lighting and the low angle, making him look powerful and reckless.

There are many other shots that translate expression, including high angles for making the character look vulnerable, close-up for character expression, mid close up, I feel gives us as audience closure with the character.

When shooting a scene and translating meaning behind your shots, it is good to know what the scene is about and your characters, the more you feel connected to the story and characters, the more expressive you can be behind the camera.