The Crash Course is my short FREE online sketch comedy writing course aimed at improving diversity in writers’ rooms.
WHY I’M RUNNING THE CRASH COURSE
I’ve found that writers’ rooms are just better when there are people from all different backgrounds present. You get a broader range of ideas and perspectives- and that ultimately makes for a richer show.
I’ve been teaching sketch comedy writing courses for years. When the first Covid lockdown happened, I moved my courses online and was struck by how smoothly they still ran. I also saw an increase in people from outside London signing up. I’ve had students attending from all over the UK, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, Canada and Greece, as well as people who wouldn’t be able to attend the in-person classes owing to accessibility issues. And these people were great at writing sketches. Running the classes was genuinely the highlight of my lockdown week.
Now my workshops are no longer tied to London- and there are no room booking fees- I can finally do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time; run a free course for those who have less easy access to the industry.
WHO IS IT FOR?
I am looking for people who are passionate about comedy and would like to write comedy as a career- but have faced significant barriers to entry into the industry. I’m also looking for people who would not be able to attend my regular workshops, due to either location or finances.
If you have struggled to gain access to the industry because of your income, class, background, heritage, race, gender identity, sexuality, disability or neurodiversity this course might be for you.
(If you don’t feel these descriptors apply to you or you can afford to pay, you can sign up for my full length courses here.)
I can only take around 8 people per Crash Course because of the collaborative nature of the workshops- but I hope to run the FREE Crash Course a couple of times a year – whenever I can, essentially- so do apply again if you miss out the first time.
WHAT IS THE COURSE STRUCTURE?
The Crash Course consists of four 90 min workshops, usually on Saturday mornings. We cover sketch structure, game, escalation, punchlines, writing for TV and radio, writing to a brief, formatting and topical sketch writing- amongst other things!
WHAT WILL YOU NEED?
If you are accepted onto the course, you just need a device with internet capabilities and to be available and punctual for the four lessons. Treat it as you would a professional writers’ room: turn up, be on time and reply to emails.
Applications for Crash Course June 2022 are now closed. Future dates will be listed here when announced.
HOW DO I APPLY?
**Applications for June 2022 are now closed**
My regular, full length courses run throughout the year. We aim to keep these courses as affordable as possible: £205 for a six week course which is £34 per 2.5 hour class. There are also some scholarships available.
AFTER YOU APPLY
You will receive an email telling you whether you have been successful. As someone who constantly bemoans the fact you often receive total radio silence in this industry, I am passionate about giving everyone who applies a response!
It is just me sifting through all the applications so give me a couple of weeks grace to make my decisions and sort out the responses.
Everyone who applies will receive my Crash Course Cheat Sheet for sketch comedy writing, regardless of whether they have been offered a place on the course.
I enable closed captions on Zoom for students who might find that helpful. Before the first class all students receive an email asking if they have any accessibility requirements and if there are any accommodations I can make to improve their experience of the course.
I use the email address you provide in the Google Form to tell you whether your application has been successful.
Unsuccessful candidates are contacted by me via TinyLetter. In the email there is a Dropbox link so you can download my Crash Course Cheat Sheet for sketch comedy writing if you so wish. After the emails have been sent out, all email addresses are immediately deleted. You will receive no further correspondence.
Successful candidates are contacted directly. Everyone remains BCCed until they have given their permission for their email to be shared with the other students for collaborative work. Students are free to remain BCCed throughout the course if they so wish. After the course is complete, students will receive no further correspondence.
“Gemma is an amazing teacher! She is warm, encouraging, and professional all at once. Some professionals hoard their knowledge, but Gemma goes out of her way to give you every tool for success. She thoroughly knows her stuff and has a genuine passion for helping writers get to the next level. I cannot recommend her classes highly enough. When you aren’t listening in rapt attention, you’ll be laughing ‘till your sides hurt. Do yourself a favor and sign up for her classes. You’ll be glad you did!” – Stephanie, Crash Course student
“The course was incredible and has made all my writing tighter. The best writing course I have ever participated in- and I’ve done a few. ” – Karan, Crash Course student
Gemma’s most recent work includes the Emmy nominated Tracey Ullman’s Show (BBC), Tracey Breaks the News (BBC) Riot Girls (Channel 4) Newsjack (BBC Radio 4 Extra) The Now Show (BBC Radio 4), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4), Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish (Dave), Class Dismissed (CBBC) and Bravest Warriors (Cartoon Hangover). She has script edited Newsjack for the past few seasons and her “What were you wearing?” sketch for Tracey Ullman was featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Mirror, Metro and more, with over 35 million views on Facebook and was BBC Comedy’s highest rated video of 2017.
“A cut above all other Fringe sketch comics.” -Broadway Baby
“Gemma is brilliaaaaaant!” -Paul Whitehouse