How to Write a Professional TV Pitch Document/Treatment - with Downloads

Hosted by Anna Henry, TV Executive

$49

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Anna Henry, TV Executive

Webinar 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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

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.

PLUS! Anna will include these handouts for you to download:

  • Stranger Things Pitch Document
  • New Girl Pitch Document
  • New Girl Short Pitch Document Example
  • Lookbook Example

This was my first Stage32 webinar, and it exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. The slide deck was helpful, and her overall presentation hit all the key topics. Anna and Stage3 2 delivered the goods. - John R.

What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring webinar. It's clear that Anna Henry put an enormous amount of work into this presentation. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. I feel educated and inspired to go back to my own work and do better than what I thought was my best. What could possibly be better than that! Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity. - Crispin L.

See more testimonials below!


 

What You'll Learn

  • What is a pitch document: pitches, treatments, bibles.
  • Verbal pitch vs. written pitch vs. short pitch for submission.
  • Basic structure of a pitch document
  • Loglines - how to craft them and how to say them
  • Themes and concepts:
    • What is the show about?
    • What are you saying with the show?
    • Why you, why now?
  • Teaser - Grabbing your audience
  • The World - What is your setting and why do you want to do a show about it?
  • Characters:
    • How many do I pitch?
    • Quirks, traits, backstory, dynamics - how to avoid stereotypes when you're pitching in one sentence
    • How to avoid the "laundry list"
    • Likeable vs. relatable
  • Pitching your pilot - I only have a few minutes / two pages, shouldn't I just pitch the pilot?
  • Pitching your series:
    • Story engine
    • Season arcs / character arcs
    • Typical episode and how many to pitch
  • Tone:
    • Pacing
    • Humor
    • Look and feel
  • To comp or not to comp - that is the question
  • How to prep for a verbal pitch
  • What to take into a room and what to leave behind
  • Q&A with Anna!

 

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.

Testimonials

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 was my first Stage32 webinar, and it exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. The slide deck was helpful, and her overall presentation hit all the key topics. Anna and Stage32 delivered the goods. - John R.

What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring webinar. It's clear that Anna Henry put an enormous amount of work into this presentation. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. I feel educated and inspired to go back to my own work and do better than what I thought was my best. What could possibly be better than that! Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity. - Crispin L.

Anna provided a lot of quality information on the art of the tv pitch and having the pitch document samples is a nice benefit, along with the recording, to go back over and study. - Linda R.

So informative on the structure of a pitch. What's needed and how to go about dealing with the things that will come up during a verbal pitch or simply in the relationship between those giving a pitch and those receiving one. Well organized Anna, thank you! - Julia L.

Anna has a considerable amount of experience in the subject matter. She was well prepared and organized in her presentation. I took away the information that I was hoping to receive. - Bud M.

First off, I want to say thank you to Anna and the entire stage 32 crew. Not only was this extremely insightful about pitching your stories and ideals, but also about how specific your writing(the actually scripts) need to be. It definitely sent me back to rethink, improve, and be more specific with my projects that I plan to pitch. - Zack S.

Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks! - Cheryl Lynn S. 

Anna Henry was very to the point and her suggestions were full of experience and knowledge. Stage 32 is terrific for offering these webinars. I have learned so much and do feel fortunate to take advantage of the information. - Dana S.

Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you! - Michael L.

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.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • The information is excellent. The audio is not good. Please up your game Stage 32. This is filmmaking after all..
  • Five stars
  • Some very good tidbits that I immediately incorporated into my pitch materials.
  • Anna is amazing. She is a real pro, knowing the art of pitching in and out. Anna helped me with my short and long pitch versions of my crime procedural show and this pitch landed me a lot of interest on Stage32 and even from a major network executive and production company. I also recommend Anna for developmental notes on your script - in 3 rounds my first ever TV pilot went from a rough outline to the final draft landing on the desk of Head of Scripted Development of major network. If your show merits, you will find in Anna the best champion of your project you can only dream of. Highly recommend!

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Getting Notes On Your Script and What They Actually Mean: The Note Behind the Note

As a writer, receiving notes on your material may be a difficult part of the process but, ultimately, it's part of your job. And understanding how to deal with and apply those notes to your writing may be your most important job of all. Make no mistake, all writers are precious about their work, and taking notes is never easy, but the sooner you open yourself to receiving and understanding your notes, and the note behind the note, the more likely your work will become tighter and you'll signal that you're a writer that people want to hire and/or pay for your work. Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have a contribution to make. The work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. The bottom line is you need to understand what these notes mean and how to execute them when you agree and what to do when you don't. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America and more. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as a Producer. Anna has been on the giving and receiving end of script notes of literally hundreds of scripts throughout her career. She has developed a strong understanding on the "lingo" of script notes and what the note behind the note means when it comes to your script. Now, you will learn how to dissect the feedback you get on your script from an executive's perspective.  Anna will take you through the entire process of receiving notes. She will take away the anxiety of the entire process and teach you how to accept notes with professionalism and grace. She will explain to you who you should be getting notes from and how listening to the wrong voices can set you back. She will teach you what notes you should think about and when you should take a note as gospel. She will explain what notes are worth challenging and which you should absolutely adapt. She will help guide you through what it means when you get notes that go over structure, plot, stakes, character and exposition. She will take you through logic and clarity, cuts, action lines, dialogue and scene notes. And, she'll even go over what you should do if you get vague notes, nit picky notes and when you get suggestions and alternatives.   Anna will remove all the fear and apprehension one feels when asking for and receiving notes, giving you a comprehensive guide to reference every time you get notes on your work. You will learn how apply them to tighten your work and put yourself in a position to sell your material and/or get hired! 

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.

TV Series Pitch Document Writing Lab (One on One Mentoring)

The writing lab is full. If you have any questions, contact edu@stage32.com By popular demand, we're bringing in TV executive Anna Henry (who has 100% satisfaction with her webinars!) to teach a one-on-one TV pitch document writing lab! Need help with writing your TV series pitch document? Look no further! Anna's here to help.  "I thought it was a great course and really helped me understand the format. Anna is knowledgeable and quickly cuts through to what can help your story better. Her notes on my script were insightful and really demonstrated her thorough experience." - Lee L. "Anna’s class was by far the most thorough, well put together, and organized screenwriting class I’ve ever taken. I have an MFA in filmmaking and, after graduating, I still felt as if I didn’t fully understand the structure of pilot writing. Anna’s class laid it out step by step and she went through every piece in detail. She was also extremely available to her students. During our one-on-one sessions, I expected to have a quick 15 minute call with her but she ended up speaking extensively with me about my story from outline through script stages. She really, truly cares for her students and is there to answer any questions, which, given her abundant experience in the industry, is a priceless piece of her labs. Thank you, Anna!" - Jacqueline D. "Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks!" - Cheryl Lynn S. This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does everyone network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it for years and years, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch document (aka bible, aka treatment) comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, this document carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? How do you organize your ideas? What should be in a pitch? How detailed should you get? Should you start with a summary of the pilot? Should you have ideas for future episodes? What should you say about your characters? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. I have spent my career developing television projects with writers and selling those show ideas as a development executive, manager and producer. What I have found is that most screenwriters have taken classes that helped them learn about story structure, writing scenes, dialogue, etc. but writing a pitch is entirely different. Most writers need help with switching gears and selling their story in addition to telling it - which is the purpose of this lab.   Payment plans are available - contact edu@stage32.com for more details

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

***Sorry, the lab is filled!***  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! You must have a solid understanding of screenwriting to participate. We will not be going over the basics.  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.  

TV Series Pitch Document Writing Lab (One on One Mentoring)

Lab Full!  If you are still interested in joining, contact edu@stage32.com By popular demand, we're bringing in TV executive Anna Henry (who has 100% satisfaction with her webinars!) to teach a one-on-one TV pitch document writing lab! Need help with writing your TV series pitch document? Look no further! Anna's here to help. "I thought it was a great course and really helped me understand the format. Anna is knowledgeable and quickly cuts through to what can help your story better. Her notes on my script were insightful and really demonstrated her thorough experience." - Lee L. "Anna’s class was by far the most thorough, well put together, and organized screenwriting class I’ve ever taken. I have an MFA in filmmaking and, after graduating, I still felt as if I didn’t fully understand the structure of pilot writing. Anna’s class laid it out step by step and she went through every piece in detail. She was also extremely available to her students. During our one-on-one sessions, I expected to have a quick 15 minute call with her but she ended up speaking extensively with me about my story from outline through script stages. She really, truly cares for her students and is there to answer any questions, which, given her abundant experience in the industry, is a priceless piece of her labs. Thank you, Anna!" - Jacqueline D. "Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks!" - Cheryl Lynn S. This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does everyone network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it for years and years, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch document (aka bible, aka treatment) comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, this document carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? How do you organize your ideas? What should be in a pitch? How detailed should you get? Should you start with a summary of the pilot? Should you have ideas for future episodes? What should you say about your characters? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. I have spent my career developing television projects with writers and selling those show ideas as a development executive, manager and producer. What I have found is that most screenwriters have taken classes that helped them learn about story structure, writing scenes, dialogue, etc. but writing a pitch is entirely different. Most writers need help with switching gears and selling their story in addition to telling it - which is the purpose of this lab.   Payment plans are available - contact edu@stage32.com for more details

Stage 32 Screenwriting Lab: Write a Drama TV Pilot in 8 Weeks - From Concept to Completed Script

***Lab spots filled - Join our TV writing lab next week with TV literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** You’ve heard the phrase “the content gold rush” get bandied about much these days, but as it relates to TV, it’s never been more true. Drama television is at it's peak with such iconic shows like OZARK, KILLING EVE, BETTER CALL SAUL, THIS IS US, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, MR. ROBOT, STRANGER THINGS, BLACK MIRROR, BIG LITTLE LIES and so much more. With the influx of networks and streaming platforms either moving into or expanding their original content libraries, the demand for dramatic TV ideas and pilots has never been greater. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. But not only is the quantity increasing, so is the quality, as companies are funneling an unprecedented amount of money, resources, marketing and talent into their shows. And the impact of COVID-19 is even having an impact that could benefit writers all over the world as many shows are planning to implement virtual writer’s rooms. In short, there has never been a better time to write for TV. Now it’s just a matter of breaking in. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but if you want to write dramatic television you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sensibility. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. The intention of this lab is to help you create that piece of material that stands out, gets you the right meetings, and, ultimately, gets you representation, meetings with decision-makers, and/or a coveted seat in a writer’s room. Over the course of a 15+ year career, Anna Henry has read thousands of television scripts and worked with hundreds of writers. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as an independent producer. Anna was Head of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Century Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America to name just some. Anna’s client credits include Netflix's SEVEN SECONDS; Starz' VIDA; BET’s IN CONTEMPT; HBO's THE DEUCE, BIG LOVE, and VINYL; Showtime's THE CHI; NBC's THIS IS US; The CW's JANE THE VIRGIN; DirecTV's KINGDOM, AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD; PBS' MERCY STREET; and more. Anna has taught numerous webinars, classes and writing labs for Stage 32. She remains one of our most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, she will be working directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions with the goal of helping you write a fantastic, market-ready pilot. To do so, Anna will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing your pilot. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Anna will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a completed drama television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Skype meetings with Anna. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at edu@stage32.com for more information This lab is limited to 10 people ***Lab spots filled - Join our next TV writing lab with literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot.     "My passion is helping writers make their work better. I’m not a screenwriter, so I don’t try to insert my voice into your work. With 20 years of experience as a development executive and literary manager, I consider myself to be your advocate and guide. I know the marketplace and know what will make your project successful. But my goal is to tell YOUR story in your voice. I don’t give vague “reviewer” notes, and I am brutally honest. If you want a cheerleader, I recommend you get notes from your friends. If you want to put in the work to elevate your writing, you’ve come to the right place." - Anna Henry   Praise from Anna's previous Stage 32 writing labs:   "Anna exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. Anna and Stage 32 delivered the goods." - John R.   "What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring class. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity." - Crispin L.   "Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgeable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you!" - Michael L.

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