EXCLUSIVE: With the new The Tonight Show launch coming in February, NBC is looking to ramp up Jimmy Fallon‘s writing staff. It is also looking for a lot of free work from potential scribes in guidelines that went out about a month ago. Though not an uncommon practice, such requests are prohibited under WGA rules. In this case, the extensive call for submission packets has triggered a complaint to WGA West filed last week, I’ve learned. The writers are concerned that the more evergreen material could end up on the show even if the writer who submitted it ends up not being hired. The guild is contacting NBCUniversal about the matter. Here’s Fallon‘s submission request:
Below are guidelines for Late Night with Fallon sketch submissions:
Applicants should come up with 3 ideas for low-production desk pieces. We’re not looking for scripts for each of them, just a good title, a few sentences that describe the bit and a few examples of what the jokes would be.
STEP 2: ADDITIONAL SKETCH IDEAS
We’re looking for 3 ideas for in-studio character pieces, audience plants, games, or ideas for pre-taped shorts or television parodies. Again, this entails a few sentences that describe the bit and a few examples of what the jokes would be.
STEP 3: ONE FULL SCRIPT
Choose your favorite sketch idea from the steps above and write one full script for it.
STEP 4: MONOLOGUE JOKES
We’d like to see 10 monologue jokes to get a sense of joke writing style.
STEP 5: MINI FRANCHISES
Applicants should then expand 1 or 2 monologue jokes into mini franchises. A mini franchise is a shortened version of a bit that has an opening graphic, a few jokes, and a closing graphic.
See links below for recent examples of mini joke franchises:
–Kim vs. Kim link
–Twitter Back & Forth link
STEP 6: THANK YOU NOTES
Each submission should include 10 Thank You Notes jokes.
STEP 7: ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
Please include 10 jokes for “On The Bright Side,” one of our signature “joke bucket” bits.
For reference, examples are below:
The band Chumbawamba broke up.
On the bright side, they just released an album of all their greatest hit.
Chipotle has given Major League Baseball outfielder Bryce Harper free burritos for life.
On the bright side, he already leads the league in runs.
Carly Rae Jepsen is partnering with Coca-Cola to let her fans write her next song for her.
On the bright side, the song is titled “Call Me Lazy.”
Once complete, all submission packets can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org