Writing Your TV Pilot

Have an idea for a great show? Here's your introduction to the world of writing for television. Unit 1: The TV Marketplace and Your Idea helps you understand the marketplace and how to construct your bible (which guides the creative development of your show) to sell within that marketplace. Unit 2: Writing the Pilot Script focuses on writing your pilot and emphasizes TV screenplay structure and formatting.

At a glance

What: Writing Your TV Pilot

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: Unit 1: 3.0 CEUs, $195 | Unit 2: 5.0 CEUs, $195 | Both units: 8.0 CEUs, $375 (save $15)

Instructor: Laurie Scheer

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For additional information, contact Laurie Scheer: 608-265-3972

This course is for individuals interested in writing for television-based projects, writers who have an idea for a TV show and are not sure how to position it to sell to the TV marketplace, writers who want to create a TV show bible and universe, and writers who have completed a TV show bible and wish to write the series' pilot episode.

What we cover in this course

Unit 1: The TV Marketplace and Your Idea

This section gives you an overall look at the television arena – including broadcast and cable networks – and how to take your idea and construct the creation story, or what is known as the bible for your series.

Lesson 1

  1. The business — broadcast and cable development
  2. Comedy, drama, or dramedy?
  3. Anatomy of comedy and drama series
  4. Formulate your comedy, drama, or dramedy series idea

Lesson 2

  1. Constructing a bible — logline and synopsis
  2. Characters and future episodes
  3. The big picture for the small screen
  4. Complete your TV series bible

Unit 2: Writing the Pilot Script

Writing for television is a different discipline than writing feature film length scripts. Seasonal arcs, character development (and arcs), episodic movement, compelling dialogue, and overall TV formatting is addressed in this session.

Lesson 1

  1. Review your bible materials
  2. Pilot script planning — plot, dialogue and scenes
  3. TV script formatting
  4. Begin writing your TV pilot

Lesson 2

  1. Teaser, first act
  2. 1-7 acts
  3. Summary — have you written a pilot that best represents your TV series?
  4. Complete your TV pilot

Throughout both sections, the instructor provides up-to-date information about the current television marketplace including tips on pitching, marketing your script, and navigating the changing landscape of the television arena.

How this course works

You can start our workshops anytime, and there are no required hours to log on. It's all done through one-on-one correspondence with the instructor using email. You can read and print course materials at the course website, which you can access at your leisure with a password that we will give you. We have writers from around the world participating in our workshops, and we have success stories. A lot of great writing gets accomplished via email. Because of the one-on-one nature of our workshops, you'll find them an excellent "coaching" or mentoring situation that will keep you going. And if you want to just work on your own — hey, that's fine too. Of course you can do the suggested exercises on your own without the feedback if you'd rather do that. We're also here throughout the year if you have questions.
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