TV Writing II-Pilot — Syllabus

New York City/Zoom classes

The syllabi for both TV Pilot 2a and TV Pilot 2b will vary by instructor and from term to term, but will often cover in more depth some of the same topics listed in the TV Pilot 2a syllabus.

Online classes

The syllabus for TV Pilot 2b will vary by instructor and from term to term.

The syllabus for TV Pilot 2a is:

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.