Extended Webinar: How to Master Story Structure for Your Drama Television Pilot

Hosted by Anna Henry, TV Executive

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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 Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. One of Stage 32’s most popular instructors of all time, Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Over the course of an extended two-and-a-half hour webinar, learn drama pilot story structure from one of Stage 32's most popular and requested instructors

Includes case studies, story maps and free script downloads of the pilot episodes of:

SUCCESSION

LUPIN*

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL

THE EXPANSE

 

It almost sounds cliché at this point, but we’re living in the Golden Age of Television, an era where TV dramas as diverse, ambitious, and creative as BETTER CALL SAUL, BRIDGERTON, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, I WILL DESTROY YOU, and MRS. AMERICA are not only put on air, but find an audience and gain serious popularity. This is in turn an era where networks and streamers are actually looking for new voices and new stories. More than ever before, there is a path for your own television drama to be discovered. Yet no matter how great your concept is, how strong your characters are, how diverse, clever or unique your world is, your drama series will not be effective and will not be successful unless you can nail your script’s structure.

Nailing your TV drama’s story structure—specifically your pilot—is no easy task. In the span of just 40-60 pages, you have to introduce your world, your characters, your central plot and conflict, and your inciting incident, all while keeping your pacing consistent, finding some resolution for that episode, and allowing your audience to want to watch more. This is a complicated, and delicate game and ultimately comes down to how you structure and map out your script before you start writing. No matter what genre you’re writing in, understanding how to structure your pilot is vital. Gaining a clear grasp on how successful drama pilots are arranged and the rules they all follow is a necessary step if you want to have a show that will get picked up and ultimately connect with an audience.

Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. One of Stage 32’s most popular instructors of all time, Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot.

Anna will go in-depth on how to properly structure your drama TV series pilot and will use real past pilot scripts as examples as she breaks down, act by act, the elements necessary to turn your series pilot into stand-out script. Anna will go over the main types of one-hour pilots and will outline the elements for pilot development, including story engine, world, characters, themes and tone. She’ll discuss how to select and map your own template show as well as incorporating multiple plotlines. Anna will then delve into the function and elements of your pilot’s teaser and Acts 1 through 5, as well as your pilot launch, pilot climax, and series launch. She will finally lay out the most common structure problems that you should avoid.

Don’t even think about starting to write your own drama pilot until you gain the tools Anna will provide.

 

Examples will be used from notable past one-hour drama pilots on network, cable, and streaming platforms. PLUS! you will receive pilot scripts and Anna's own story maps for each after the webinar:

  • LUPIN* (Netflix)
  • THE EXPANSE (Syfy)
  • THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL (Amazon)
  • SUCCESSION (HBO)

*Pilot script not available for LUPIN

 

Praise for Anna's Previous Stage 32 Webinar:

 

This was my first Stage 32 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.

 

"Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation."

-James F.

 

"It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much."

-Kristin G.

What You'll Learn

  • Types of One-Hour Pilots
    • Episodic vs. serialized
    • Ongoing / limited series / mini-series / anthology
    • Genres
  • Elements for Pilot Development
    • Story engine and stakes
    • World
    • Characters
    • Themes
    • Tone
  • Selecting and Mapping a Template Show
  • Big Picture: One-Hour Act Structure and General Page Counts
  • Incorporating Multiple Plotlines – A, B, and C Stories
  • The Teaser -Writing Effective Opening Pages
    • Function
    • Elements of a good teaser
  • Act One Function and Elements
    • Status quo
    • Character introductions
    • Exposition and rules of the universe
    • Integrating themes
  • The Pilot Launch, AKA Inciting Incident
  • How to Write Effective Act Outs
  • Act Two function and elements
    • Escalation
    • Midpoint turn
  • Act Three Function and Elements
    • Introducing complications
  • Act Four Function and Elements
  • Two Types of Pilot Climaxes
  • Act Five Function and Elements
    • Finding your resolution
  • The Biggest Plot Construction Issues to Focus On
    • Pacing
    • Focus on conflict
    • Subplots
    • Scene Order
    • “And so” vs. “and then”
    • Dense writing
    • Mystery / suspense / anticipation
    • Timeline and devices – types of flashbacks
  • Series Launch - How to Open your Pilot to Your Series
  • Q&A with Anna

About Your Instructor

Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. One of Stage 32’s most popular instructors of all time, Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot.

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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

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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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