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How to create comedy gold

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She co-wrote hit TV show Parks And Recreation and now her first film script The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, is set to be the biggest comedy of the year. Katie Dippold gives us her tips for penning a killer Hollywood script.

Develop your own writing rituals

“I can’t have silence, so I always have Law And Order playing in the background; I find it very calming, which is weird as it’s so violent.”

Analyse your favourite TV and films

“I love Cheers and Frasier but The Golden Girls is my favourite. I always watched them for enjoyment, but then when I got a job as a writer on Parks And Recreation, I studied them to see how they worked in the ad breaks and the number of scenes.”

I wanted to see a film where the female character isn’t the hot girl on the back of the scooter, she’s the one being funny and cool

Use your own life for material

“I have a friend who reminds me of [Melissa McCarthy’s character] Mullen in The Heat, as she’s very frank. If I said, ‘This outfit doesn’t look good on me,’ a lot of women would be like, ‘It looks great.’ Whereas she’d say, ‘No it doesn’t, you better change.’ It was very jarring at first.”

Join an improv group

“I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing if it wasn’t for the Upright Citizens Brigade [New York theatre founded by Amy Poehler] as they let me write so many shows. Improv is a great way to learn how to keep your writing sharp and focus on the funny thing in the scene.”

Find a point of difference

“I loved buddy-cop movies but I wanted to see a film where the female character isn’t the hot girl on the back of the scooter, she’s the one being funny and cool. So I wrote one.”

The Heat is in cinemas nationwide from 31 July

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