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Writing the Television Series

Open—Spring

This course will explore developing and writing an original television series. We will drill down into the process, investigating the art, craft, and practice of how to create and pitch a TV show. We will discuss what producers and TV executives seek in today’s ever-changing and mercurial marketplace, how to “break in,” cable versus network, the mechanics of going “on staff” for a show and what the writer is expected to contribute, structuring a script, writing dramatic scenes based on conflict, creating strong characters, and crafting meaningful dialogue.  And you will write and write and write. Students will pitch ideas and pursue a detailed series “treatment” in the first part of the course, with the aim of outlining a pilot episode and delivering a series “teaser” and first act by the end of the course. In conference, the writer may write a “spec-script” for an existing show as a writing sample for festival competition and industry notice. S/he could consider taking her/his original project to the next level, completing the pilot, structuring further episodes for her/his original series, and the like. Some previous study in screenwriting is preferable, but a passion for telling stories in the powerful and influential television form is requisite.