i spent the last week researching community. i watched the entire season over and over, and read 4 of the scripts. i wrote down any ideas i had for possible storylines while i watched the episodes, and i narrowed it down to 3 possible A stories, and 3 B stories. then i spent some time jotting down any ideas or jokes i had for each of those, and settled on the storylines i felt had the most potential. this step of researching a show takes a long time but you have to do it. you have to intimately know the show, the characters, what storylines have already been done, etc.
the structure of my script is going to be pretty simple: A story, B story, and a runner. the cold open will set up the story, and there will be a quick tag at the end. now i’m going to figure out each beat of the story on index cards. i don’t actually use physical index cards, i like things to be in digital form, but the process is the same. each “card” represents a scene, and you write down what happens in that scene. you color code the cards to differentiate between the different storylines, and you lay them out so that each act is a column. the cards, or scenes, at the bottom of each column are very important, because those are the act breaks. the breaks are where the commercials happen, so those scenes have to be strong enough so the viewer doesn’t change the channel. this is basically the process i learned in the tv comedy writing class i took earlier this year at io west. it was taught by ed lee and i highly recommend it.