That's the acronym for Attitude - Topic - Premise - Act Out - Mix.
Here's how easy it is to write a joke using the ATPAM template:
It’s sad ..
how being a radio copywriter ..
ruins your chances of ever getting a novel published.
“We must reject your manuscript. Unfortunately the market for 80 word novels is seriously limited.”
Oh yeah? What about book-lovers with short attention spans?
And here's the set up for an ad, again using ATPAM.
It’s outrageous ..
how Ken Munro at Munro Jewellers ..
knows what engagement ring you should surprise your girlfriend with.
Ken: “Oooh Brian, no, she hates that engagement ring. She wants this one."
Brian: "How do you know that, Ken?"
Ken: "Because she spends every lunch hour in here looking at it.
Brian: "I bet Ken Munro the Jeweller even knows she likes roses.
Ken: (Calling from distance) "No, she likes gerberas, Brian."
So, pick a brief, start with an attitude and follow the template to let the script evolve.