How to Break an Episode of Prime Time Animation

Hosted by Sivert Glarum


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Sivert Glarum

Webinar hosted by: Sivert Glarum

Showrunner, Producer (HBO Max, FOXTV, NBC, CBS, Nick at Nite & more)

Sivert Glarum is a veteran sitcom writer and story breaking whiz with 25 years of experience, who has written on both live action and animation series, including KING OF THE HILL, BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD, JUST SHOOT ME, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and more. He has also served as showrunner for Marc Maron’s comedy MARON on IFC, animated series GLENN MARTIN DDS on Nick at Nite, and YouTube Red’s RHETT AND LINK’S BUDDY SYSTEM. When Sivert isn’t writing or running shows, he helps young writers develop their craft and trains new showrunners on breaking story and character. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Adult animated TV is hotter than ever right now as shows like BOJACK HORSEMAN, SOLAR OPPOSITES, RICK & MORTY and BIG MOUTH are taking the genre to a new level. It's absolutely true that TV animation is an exciting world to dive into right now. Yet animated TV is written a bit differently than other types of series. In order to write successfully in this space, it’s important for you to understand the differences and challenges there are to writing animation and how the best animated series break story for an episode. This way, you’ll be able to fit seamlessly into any writers' room and begin an exciting career in prime time animation!

Sivert Glarum is a veteran sitcom writer and story breaking whiz with 25 years of experience, who has written on both live action and animation series, including KING OF THE HILL, BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD, JUST SHOOT ME, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and more. He has also served as showrunner for Marc Maron’s comedy MARON on IFC, animated series GLENN MARTIN DDS on Nick at Nite, and YouTube Red’s RHETT AND LINK’S BUDDY SYSTEM. When Sivert isn’t writing or running shows, he helps young writers develop their craft and trains new showrunners on breaking story and character.

Sivert will teach you everything you need to know about breaking an episode of prime time animation, including how long an episode should be, breaking story, structuring your episode, and the difference between plot and story. He’ll take you through a case study of GLENN MARTIN DDS to show you how to find your A-Story beat by beat, then apply the same beats to your B and C story. He’ll also breakdown the three different types of sitcoms and how the breaking process for each works. Sivert will give you all his tips for properly executing an episode of primetime animation, highlighting the differences between animation and live-action, and prepare you to write and run an animation series.


"I’ve spent several years writing on animated comedies. Ive seen many scripts turn out great. Ive witnessed many others suffer unspeakably grueling fates at network table reads. After a while, I realized the key was to make sure the script had a solid structure. Understanding the basic rules can make all the difference. I’m glad to share what I know and break down what really makes an episode of prime time animation work."

-Sivert Glarum

What You'll Learn

  • The 3 Types of Half Hour Comedy and How the Breaking Process Works For Each
    • Multi-Cam
    • Single-Cam
    • Animation
  • How Long or How Many Pages Should an Animated Episode Be?
  • The Dirty Secret Behind Breaking Story
  • Structuring Your Episode
    • Act structure – 3 acts or 4?
    • Incorporating act breaks into your script (or not)
    • How many pages should each act be?
    • Cold opens and tags
  • The Difference Between Plot and Story
  • Finding Your A-Story, Beat By Beat (with a case study of an episode of GLENN MARTIN DDS)
    • Act One
      • Establishing your situation
      • Showing it AND telling it
      • What is the “one-liner” of your episode?
    • The importance of the first act break
    • Act Two
      • Resetting the story
      • Character reactions
      • Playing in the sandbox
      • Raising stakes
      • What is “the swivel”?
      • Major Jeopardy
    • Act Three
      • Dire consequences
      • Writing a great climax
      • How to resolve your situation
    • Pipe Distribution (or laying in exposition)
  • Applying the Same Beats to Your B and C Stories
    • The main differences between your A-Story and B and C Stories
      • And how this differs between live action and animation
    • Act One
    • Act Two
    • Act Three
  • Final Thoughts
  • Q&A with Sivert

About Your Instructor

Sivert Glarum is a veteran sitcom writer and story breaking whiz with 25 years of experience, who has written on both live action and animation series, including KING OF THE HILL, BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD, JUST SHOOT ME, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and more. He has also served as showrunner for Marc Maron’s comedy MARON on IFC, animated series GLENN MARTIN DDS on Nick at Nite, and YouTube Red’s RHETT AND LINK’S BUDDY SYSTEM. When Sivert isn’t writing or running shows, he helps young writers develop their craft and trains new showrunners on breaking story and character.


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