TV Writing II-Pilot — Syllabus

Series Concept: TV today. Finding the seed idea for a series. Consistency of a series. What a series needs in terms of the major elements—type, premise, episodes (self-contained/serialized, storylines, signatures), characters, setting, tone, secret theme. Originality.

Pilot Episode Conception: Pilot explained. Kinds of pilot episodes. How a pilot embodies all the elements of a series—type, premise, episodes, characters, setting, tone, secret theme.

Pilot Episode Outline: Review of acts and act outs. Effective prose and step outlines for pilots. Outlining tips.

Stories: Finding the show's central source of conflict. Generating numerous stories from that conflict. Embodying the conflict in the pilot storylines.

The Regulars: Creating the series regulars—personality, dimension, background. Delivering strong first impressions of regulars in the pilot.

Good Pages: Description. Dialogue. Scenes. Effective pilot openings.

Enticers: Techniques for using mystery, suspense, and surprise in your pilot, and beyond.

Setting/Tone: Setting—sets, environment, geographic location, socio-economic status. Setting reflected in pilot. Tone—calibrating the light/dark and real/surreal of a series. Other methods of finding tone.

Signature/Secret Theme: Exploring “signatures" and finding the right one for a show. Finding and incorporating secret theme.

Selling Your Series (and Self): Writing samples. Getting in the door. Networks/studios/production companies. How to pitch a series. Deals. The road to production. The yearly cycle. Web series.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.