Writing Lab: Write Your TV Pilot and Learn How to Pitch it in 10 Weeks

Taught by Anna Henry, TV Executive

$999
Lab Schedule (10 sessions):
Saturday, Jan 12TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Jan 19TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Jan 26TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Feb 2ND 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Feb 9TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Feb 16TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Feb 23RD 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Mar 2ND 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Mar 9TH 10AM - 12PM PST
Saturday, Mar 16TH 10AM - 12PM PDT
Starts in:

Take this class

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$999.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Class hosted by: Anna Henry, TV Executive

(Worked with CBS, ABC, Amazon, Starz, Sony, 20th Television)

Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features, including the cult hit “Invader Zim.” She crossed overto prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming, and freelanced as a creative consultant for a number of production companies. She was most recently Director of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast and major cable television network, and have set up projects at ITV America, Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. As a script consultant, she enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project. Anna is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Full Bio »

Summary

This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea.

With the TV market exploding right now, 30-minute and 60-minute TV drama and dramedy pilots are in demand. Many, if not all, managers and agents are looking for writers that can write in this space, and with more and more production companies heading into TV, knowing how to write a strong TV pilot will give you a competitive advantage and help you find success as a TV writer!

Stage 32 is thrilled to have our Writing Lab: Write Your TV Pilot and Lean How to Pitch it in 10 Weeks taught by Anna Henry who is a veteran TV development executive that's worked with ABC, CBS, Nickelodeon, SONY, 20th Century FOX Television, Amazon, Starz, EOne, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, ITV America and more. This hands-on intensive lab will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, structuring and outlining your pilot, writing the pilot, polishing and pitching it!

The main objective of this 10-week lab will be to have a solid completed script that is market-ready to start pitching. You will meet online with Anna for 2 hours a week in a class setting, plus have phone or Skype consultations during some of the weeks when you don't have an online class. This will be accompanied by weekly homework assignments to guide you on your way to creating a marketable, unique pilot that will grab the industry's attention.

  • Payment plans are available - please contact edu@stage32.com for more information.
  • This Lab is Limited to 10 People.

 

What You'll Learn

PRE-CLASS PREP – Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1 – 3 ideas that might make a good drama pilot. Be prepared to articulate your personal connection to the material and what makes you want to write about the world.

WEEK 1 – Introduction, Genres, Networks, World and Tone

This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor’s background and experience, your goals for this lab and launch into a discussion of types of drama pilots and what networks are looking for.

We will discuss doing research about the world and characters you will be writing about. We will talk about coming up with a story engine for your show, what makes for compelling characters, and how setting, tone and point-of-view affect your story.

The assignments for this week will be:

  • Narrow down your list of ideas to the one you will be writing about
  • Do the research required to begin writing
  • Watch at least three comparable pilots and/or read the pilot scripts for those shows
  • Write a half-page description of the concept of the pilot you intend to write

WEEK 2 – Creating Characters

We will discuss creating strong characters for your pilot. What makes a character compelling, the difference between likeable vs. relatable characters, and effective antagonists. We will talk about how to introduce characters in the opening of your pilot, how to give backstory exposition, as well as how to convey character through unique voices. We will address the differences between ensembles and star vehicles. We will take time to go over how to build complex relationships and use them to propel a series.

The assignments for this week will be:

  • Write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters
  • Write 2 scenes for Act I of your pilot in which your characters are introduced through dialogue and exposition

WEEK 3 – Pilot Outline

This week we will discuss the function of a beat outline. We will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots and discuss some differences between pilots for episodic vs. serialized pilots. We will talk about pacing, building stakes, creating mystery / suspense / anticipation, and act breaks. We will go over page counts and number of characters. We will also address budget and production considerations.

The assignment for this week will be to write a beat outline for your pilot.

WEEK 4 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class)

This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your character descriptions as needed.

WEEK 5 – Acts I and II

This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in Acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including world-building, setting up the “rules of the universe,” establishing character, setting tone, and creating an effective launch point for your pilot. We will address the challenges of exposition and some ways to bring the audience into the world of your pilot. We will also talk about the function of a teaser. We will return to a discussion about nuanced dialogue and the value of subtext.

The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot.

WEEK 6 – Acts 3, 4 and 5

Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 – 4 or 5 of a drama pilot, including building subplots, increasing layers and complexity, and making sure every character has a place in the puzzle and begins an arc. We will discuss writing dense scenes that move the story forward as well as reveal character. We will address how to create a series launch point at the end of your pilot that clearly establishes the series engine. We will also talk about how to embed larger themes into your story.

The assignment this week will be to complete the first draft of the entire pilot.

WEEK 7–Consultation for Revision (One on One Consultations - No Online Class)

This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 48 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes.

WEEK 8 – How to Deal with notes

We'll go over notes you received, and go over questions on how to handle notes - this is a very important part about being a TV writer.

WEEK 9 – One-on-one Feedback and Polish(One on One Consultations - No Online Class)

This week will consist of one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 48 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given.

Week 10 – Pitching your Pilot

We will discuss the format for writing effective pitch documents and loglines. The assignment for this week will be to write a logline for your show and put together everything from the

About Your Instructor

Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features, including the cult hit “Invader Zim.” She crossed overto prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming, and freelanced as a creative consultant for a number of production companies.

She was most recently Director of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast and major cable television network, and have set up projects at ITV America, Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. As a script consultant, she enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project. Anna is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Schedule

WEEK 1 – Introduction, Genres, Networks, World and Tone - 1/12/19

WEEK 2 – Creating Characters - 1/19/19

WEEK 3 – Pilot Outline - 1/26/19

WEEK 4 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) - 2/2/19

WEEK 5 – Acts I and II - 2/9/19

WEEK 6 – Acts 3, 4 and 5 - 2/16/19

WEEK 7–Consultation for Revision (One on One Consultations - No Online Class) - 2/23/19

WEEK 8 – How to Deal with notes - 3/2/19

WEEK 9 – One-on-one Feedback and Polish (One on One Consultations - No Online Class) - 3/9/18

Week 10 – Pitching your Pilot - 3/16/19

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Write a Professional TV Pitch Document/ Treatment

This was by far the best webinar on pitch documents that I have experienced. I've seen others where they give certain advice that she warned not to do! - Tiffany C. This is the age of peak TV and you have an incredible, original idea for a show! You have it all planned out: the setting, the characters, what the show will be about... maybe you've even written the pilot script. Now it's time to pitch! Perhaps you have a meeting with a manager or a producer, or someone is already interested in your idea and has asked you to send some "pages." Or you've signed up for a Stage 32 pitch session with the perfect exec who's looking for a show just like yours. In this webinar you will learn how to write a professional pitch document that can serve as the outline for your in-person pitch to a manager, producer or studio executive, or be sent after your meeting - using the template and requirements the big agencies and studios use. You will also learn how to translate that into a shorter version for Stage 32 pitch sessions, contests, or just to be able to briefly pitch your idea as you're networking. Handouts include: Stranger Things Pitch Document New Girl Pitch Document New Girl Short Pitch Document Example Lookbook Example

Writing a Network Pitch and Pilot that Sells

Network TV is dead, right? All good shows are on cable and streaming! Not so fast! Network TV is alive and well, as demonstrated by the critical success and healthy ratings of new shows such as This is Us, Designated Survivor and Speechless, as well as powerhouse veterans such as Big Bang Theory, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, and NCIS. Broadcast networks are increasingly having to compete for top talent and ideas in a crowded marketplace. While landing a series order from ABC or FOX is no easy feat, the networks’ deep coffers mean they can buy and develop a high volume of shows, season after season. Producers of course enjoy the prestige of developing ideas for HBO or Amazon, but they are equally eager to find the next network hit, which can yield huge financial dividends with multiple season orders. What’s more, agents and managers judge prospective clients based on their original pilot scripts, and the right network pilot can demonstrate to a potential representative that you are ready to staff and ready to sell. As a manager, I always recommend writers have at least two or three finished scripts ready to go, and a mix of cable and network samples increases the number of producers and executives who may be interested in your work. In this webinar, you will learn about the brands and programming models of broadcast networks, how to know what ideas they will find appealing, what you need to include in your network pitch, and the do’s and don’ts of writing your network spec pilot.

Constructing Your Screenwriting Career: A Breakdown Of Breaking In

Most screenwriters who have been at it for any length of time know the mechanics of writing a screenplay. But not everyone knows the specific steps one must take to go from screenwriter hitting the keys in off hours to become a working screenwriter working within the industry structure. Utilizing knowledge gathered over years in the industry working both in development and directly with emerging and professional writing clients, as well as insights from countless industry sources, during this 3-week session we will set correct expectations for the construction of a screenwriting career, and identify the various paths and opportunities available to writers eager to break into film or television.

So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1

Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position! In Part 1, attendees will learn what life is like when TV writers are between jobs or trying to get that first job. Join Charlie as he discusses ways to manage your own writing schedule, find out how to decide which projects to focus on, and get some tips to stay relevant and visible to the big players and decision makers when you’re not employed. He’ll even lay out some strategy to position yourself for the highly coveted freelance script, whether you’re an assistant or a working writer between gigs. In Part 2, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!  

The Keys to Writing True Stories, Biopics, and Adaptations

Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a screenwriter and former manager with a decade of experience on both sides of the film industry! Since its inception, Hollywood has made films about or inspired by real people and events. In recent years, the "biopic" has become one of the most prestigious and in-demand genres, and six of the nine 2014 Best Picture nominees are based in reality. Compelling true stories are constantly sought after and frequently top The Black List. From CAPOTE to MILK to THE SOCIAL NETWORK to LINCOLN to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET to 12 YEARS A SLAVE, we'll discuss what makes fact-based films viable today, and more importantly how to separate yours from the rest of the pack. This involves shaping the facts of your story into a fictional narrative that supports your unique point of view. We'll also explore the specific steps involved, such as research, story structure, legal issues, and the best way to position your project in a competitive market. While parts of certain films will be mentioned in detail, only a familiarity with the genre is necessary - we won't be studying examples from beginning to end. This overview will serve as an in-depth primer not just for biopic writers, but for all writers to discover stories that can excite and move today's audiences.

8/15/18 Guest Judge Corey Trent Ackerman

The Cartel Manager Corey Ackerman joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In