Writing a Network Pitch and Pilot that Sells

Hosted by Anna Henry, TV Executive

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

Anna Henry, TV Executive

Webinar hosted by: Anna Henry, TV Executive

(Worked with CBS, ABC, Amazon, Starz, Sony, 20th Television)

Anna began her 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 over to 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 is currently 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 Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. 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

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.

What You'll Learn

  • Broadcast network audiences – who watches and why
  • Developing with a programming perspective – network identities and needs, competitive development
  • The broadcast network development cycle – from pitch to Upfronts
  • Genres of network shows
  • Network content restrictions
  • Structure of a network pitch – why you why now, logline, world building, characters we want to invite into our living room, a story engine that can sustain 100 episodes, season arcs, themes, tone & style
  • Packaging and IP – attracting showrunners, producers, and talent, and the value of an underlying property
  • Writing your spec pilot –
    • Comedy, drama and dramedy
    • Length and act breaks
    • Setting up characters and multiple plotlines
    • Likable vs. relatable characters
    • Ensemble vs. star
    • From teaser to final act – how to avoid a failure to launch
    • Showing and telling
    • Exposition and narration
    • Rules of the universe
    • Research!
    • Budget considerations
    • Setting and tax incentives
    • Diversity

About Your Instructor

Anna began her 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 over to 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 is currently 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 Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. 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.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

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

Other education that may be of interest to you:

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.  

How to Write a Professional TV Pitch Document/ Treatment

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. In this webinar 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. Handouts include: Stranger Things Pitch Document New Girl Pitch Document New Girl Short Pitch Document Example Lookbook Example

How to Handle Notes on Your Script: Types of Notes and What They Mean

“I have some notes” is perhaps the most dreaded phrase writers hear. “Here it comes… they want to change everything; they want to destroy my masterpiece!” And yet, you the writer, asked for these notes. “They read and they didn’t pass! They want to work with me!” Or, “they read – and yeah, they’re right, I need to rethink this, it will be better if I change it.” 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 some contribution to make. And 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, perhaps pay 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. But what should you do with those notes? How to take the sting and how to accept them as a gift? How to think about executing them when you agree, and what to do when you don’t? And most importantly, what do all those terms mean? Some of them sound like some sort of spy code: expo dump, let it breathe, contrived, mining, building, leaning, rules of the universe, on the nose and come in later – say what? In this webinar we will pull back the curtain on the notes process, discuss how to take notes, how to begin to address them, and what notegivers really mean by all those terms.

How to Get a Screenwriting Manager – Examples & Resources

There is a lot of information at your fingertips on how to approach a screenwriting manager, but how do you know if your approach works? What if you have the chance to pull back the curtain back and hear directly from a literary manager what makes them interested?  Stage 32 has brought in literary manager Conrad Sun from Meridian Artists for an advanced look into a manager’s mindset when considering a new writer. Conrad manages writers working in film and TV including BLINDSPOT, BOJACK HORSEMAN, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MOTIVE, SLASHER. In this jam-packed 90-minute webinar Conrad will give an overview of the screenwriter/manager relationship. But, more importantly, he will be sharing real-life examples of writing samples, queries, competitions and pitchfests that have caught his eye. You will even see his client’s writing sample – the TV pilot script for BLINDSPOT – which is now a show on NBC. Plus, you will get a list of resources to help on your journey. This is a go-to guide to refer to when you need to do a double check on your approach when engaging representation.

The Secret to Cracking Your Script's Second Act

Learn directly from Jason Mirch, a 10+ year film and TV producer and former Head of Feature and Television Development and Production at Image Nation Abu Dhabi (The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion and Flight)! When writing a screenplay, the area most writers struggle with is the dreaded Second Act. The Second Act is the heart of the narrative and where most screenplays crash and burn, leaving the screenwriters wondering where it all went wrong. When constructing your screenplay, it is essential to craft a tight Second Act that will power the narrative through to the climactic Third Act. What many writers don’t realize, is that the Second Act should actually be divided into 2 parts. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will get an in depth look into how to successfully navigate the structure of the Second Act. You will learn techniques for crafting dialogue that moves the narrative forward, while exposing their characters’ flaws. You will learn how to carefully order their scenes in such a way that it creates a series of authentic and escalating obstacles for their characters to overcome. The webinar will identify and explain key plot points that typically exist in a well-written Second Act, and explain how you can use these as guidelines for their own projects. Jason will be citing specific examples from films in several different genres as well as providing you tools to apply to your own writing.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In