How to Write and Format a Made for TV Screenplay

Hosted by Courtney Miller Jr.

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Courtney Miller Jr.

Webinar hosted by: Courtney Miller Jr.

Director, Producer, Writer (A Stone Cold Christmas, Saints & Sinners) at Relevant Pictures

Courtney is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show "Saints & Sinners" on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Writing a film for television has a ‘unique set of skills’ which are different from writing a traditional screenplay. If you never learn how to write for the BOOM!, act break structure, number of locations, and characters, you’ll get stuck in re-writing hell or worse yet, never have your script read. Understanding script structure, outlining, and deliverables for television films prior to writing will give you a leg up on the competition. Additionally, each network has its own set of rules and you want to ask the right questions prior to typing ‘Fade In’.

With more television networks producing their own content and films, the need for content is higher than ever. However, TV films have their own structure and layout, especially when dealing with networks that have commercial breaks. Additionally, working with producers and executives is a different animal than working with producers and executives in the independent world.

Courtney Miller Jr. is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show Saints & Sinners on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. He knows the television writing and directing landscape inside and out and he's ready to share his knowledge with you.

Courtney will dive in by explaining all the differences between writing a TV and a traditional film screenplay. He will discuss how to format acts, how to be sensitive to the shooting schedule, what you can expect regarding deadlines and delivery dates and how to navigate dealing with the network. From there, Courtney will take you to the greenlit phase where you'll need to know what deliverables you are responsible for, how much time you'll be given to deliver your rewrite, and how to handle network notes (there will be plenty). Courtney will then jump into the writing process including how to write for the BOOM!, how many acts you need to have in your script (and if that varies) and the importance of writing a compelling and attention grabbing Act 1. Going even deeper, Courtney will discuss beat sheets, how many beats you need to add, and what your overall beat sheet should look like. And finally, Courtney will explain how to write an outline that keeps the execs happy and off your back so you can go do what you do best...write!

 

"Another winner for Stage 32. I have many scripts I thought would be a better fit for television and now I know how to get it done!"

- Fiona C.

 

"I'm ready to write for the BOOM! Thanks, Courtney!"

- Miguel P.

 

"It's always been a dream of mine to have something on the Hallmark channel. Now I have the framework and I'm ready to start writing."

Melissa H.

 

"Couldn't have been any better. Great detail!"

- Ida W.

What You'll Learn

Differences Between a TV Film and a Traditional Film

  • Understanding the different acts
  • How involved is the television network
  • The shooting schedule
  • Delivery dates
  • Types of TV projects

What Happens After the Greenlight

  • What deliverables are you responsible for?
  • How much time do you have to write your script?
  • Those dreaded notes
  • The re-write process

TV Film Script Structure

  • Writing for the BOOM!
  • How many acts?
  • The importance of Act 1

Creating a Beat Sheet

  • What is a beat?
  • How many beats to add?
  • What does a beat sheet look like?

Creating the Outline

  • The difference between an outline and beat sheet
  • Example of an outline for made for television films

Q&A with Courtney

About Your Instructor

Courtney is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show "Saints & Sinners" on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard.

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Reviews Average Rating: 4 out of 5

  • This webinar covers how to write a TV series for a channel with commercial breaks. Most have, but it would have been nice to get some insights into the differences between writing for a channel that doesn't have these breaks, like paid streaming services. Apart from that, it was an informative and well-spent time.

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