Netflix + Stage 32 Present: Television Pilot Story Structure

Hosted by Anna Henry

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Anna Henry

Webinar hosted by: Anna Henry

Producer & Development Executive (Clients Worked with Netflix, AMC, Amazon, Sony, HBO and more)

Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, as well as multiple production companies and in literary management. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, VINYL, SEVEN SECONDS, VIDA, CHICAGO FIRE, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at Netflix, AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, EOne, Corus, and others. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

SEE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW:

 

Netflix and Stage 32 have partnered on an exclusive global education series in an effort to democratize the worldwide entertainment industry. Together, over the course of 5 webcasts Stage 32's world class educators will bring their knowledge of what it takes to write, develop and produce today's television for the Stage 32 and Netflix creator community. 

To kick things off, we are going to talking about television pilot story 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, as well as multiple production companies and in literary management. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, VINYL, SEVEN SECONDS, VIDA, CHICAGO FIRE, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at Netflix, AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, EOne, Corus, and others.

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 story maps/outlines broken down for each of these pilots:

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

 

Note: You will receive the Zoom link to login by the morning of the webinar. 

 

If you are not yet a member of the Stage 32 community, we encourage you to join the community today at www.stage32.com, it is FREE! You will instantly connect with over 800,000 creatives and professionals in the entertainment industry from all over the world who use Stage 32 to network, find work, learn and develop their projects. YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO.

 

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
    • How to move your characters and secondary characters
    • 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

 

SEE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW

 

 

Want to see the other webcasts in this exclusive Stage 32 + Netflix Creating Television Content for a Global Marketplace series?

Click here: TV Pitch Documents with Chris Mack

Click here: TV Pitch Documents with Chris Mack - Closed Caption

Click here: TV Story Structure with Anna Henry

Click here: Writing Scripts to Budget with Jeanette B. Milio

Click here: Writing Hit Sci-Fi Scripts for Streaming Television with Mickey Fisher

Click here: Writing Hit Comedy Scripts for Streaming Television with Vijal Pital

Click here: Writing Hit Drama for Streaming Television with Leila Cohan

 

About Your Instructor

Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, as well as multiple production companies and in literary management. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, VINYL, SEVEN SECONDS, VIDA, CHICAGO FIRE, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at Netflix, AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, EOne, Corus, and others.

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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Best video I have watched!
  • Really helpful information and great examples.
  • Lots of great information, all the handouts are in the on-demand version.
  • Excellent webinar - clearly lays out methods with great examples and is a great communicator.
  • Fabulous! I got so many tips on how to edit my script. It is phenomenal! Thank you, Anna and Stage 32.
  • Very detailed information and nice insights on the business, thank you for the subscription to the writers' room. I am eager to learn more and do some networking here.
  • super excited
  • Loved it. Concrete, substantial, great scope. damn great comms and examples. Anna was incredible
  • very insightful and detailed!
  • Excellent, Informative Webinar. Thank You!
  • Great overview. I am using it to help with novel writing. Have already sparked some great ideas for my work in progress. Thanks!
  • I went to school to learn more about T.V. pilots to work on a Netflix show eventually in my career. I'm learning a heck of a lot more through this webinar than I did at my year in the school program. This is fantastic!
  • I am finding this incredibly useful, clear and great value. Thank you!
  • I haven't received the webinar access instructions.
  • This is awesome! Many thanks for this webinar. I´m from Argentina and this is such a powerful tool for scriptwriters.
  • Every webinar registration should include a link to a calendar file with an alarm for ten minutes before.
  • I haven't received the zoom link and other instructions to the webinar.
  • When Netflix and Stage 32 work together, it's always unmissable. Making it free shows the difference Stage 32 is known for.
  • I haven't received the webinar access instructions.

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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. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will analyze pilots more deeply so you can see the tools successful writers use to set their show on the right path from the start. She’ll discuss the ingredients of a pilot in general, including the basic structure, identifying the type or genre of your show, meta-themes, and crafting characters to serve as the audience's entry point. 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She will then discuss how to create exposition and communicate your world effectively, crafting a mystery and building the rules of your universe, as well as how to avoid overused crutches. Anna will then offer her take on implementing and incorporating tone and themes into the script and how to sneak them in subtly through details and character moments. She will finally lay out how to best use your first act to bring the audience into your story and world, where exactly your story should start, and how to launch your 'A' story and introduce your 'B' and 'C' stories.   Examples will be used from one-hour and half-hour shows on network, cable and streaming platforms, PLUS! you will receive pilots for each after the class: THIS IS US - NBC ONE DAY AT A TIME - Netflix / Pop MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL - Amazon ATLANTA - FX KILLING EVE - AMC THE EXPANSE - Syfy / Amazon     Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar:   "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C.   "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H.   "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.    

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