Introduction to Television Writing: Writing the Spec Script

Open—Fall

The fundamental skill of television writers is the ability to craft entertaining and compelling stories for characters, worlds, and situations created by others. Though dozens of writers may work on a show over the course of its run, the “voice” of the show is unified and singular. The way to best learn to write for television—and a mandatory component of your portfolio for agents, managers, show runners, and producers—is to draft a sample episode of a pre-existing show, known as a spec script. Developing, pitching, writing, and rewriting stories hundreds of times, extremely quickly, in collaboration, and on tight deadlines is what TV writers on staff do every day, fitting each episode seamlessly into the series as a whole in tone, concept, and execution. This workshop will introduce students to these skills by taking them, step-by-step, through writing their own spec (sample) script for an ongoing dramatic television series. The course will take students from premise lines, through the outline/beat sheet, to writing a complete draft of a full one-hour teleplay for a currently airing show. No original pilots. In conference, students may wish to develop another spec script, begin to develop characters and a series "bible" for an original show, or work on previously developed material.