In just 5 weeks, learn the unique structure and tropes of TV writing, while getting useful insider tips on how to make your TV project stand out and industry executives take notice.
Week 1: Television Writing 101
- Discussing the key aspects of the primary TV writing formats and the variations on these formats that make up today’s television landscape.
- Comparing and contrasting the key aspects of one-hour procedurals, character dramas, single camera comedies, sitcoms and half hour dramedies.
- Spec’ing existing television shows and writing original material.
- Discussing what it means to be a Television Writer – staff writing; story editing; working in a story room; and show running.
- Identifying important techniques on developing original and dynamic screenplays.
Week 2: The One-Hour Drama and The Half-Hour Comedy
- Discussing key elements of TV writing:
- Location and Setting
- The Tone and Style
- Structure and Format
- Target audience
- Breaking down and analyzing a one-hour drama pilot and a half-hour comedy pilot
Week 3: Analyzing Recent Pilots, Developing Your Story, Loglines, Characters, Dialogue Writing
- Breaking down and analyzing a one-hour drama pilot and a half-hour comedy pilot
- Developing your story.
- Writing meaningful and entertaining dialogue.
- Creating perfect loglines.
- Crafting character breakdowns for casting.
Week 4: Pitching Materials and Verbal Pitch for TV
- Creating Pitch Decks, Series Bibles, and Ripomatics.
- Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of Pitch documents and Series Bibles.
- Preparing the verbal pitch.
- Working with production companies.
- Pitching to broadcasters.
- Strategies for getting your work seen.
Week 5: TV Pilot Pitching Workshop
Discussing TV writer fellowships (NBC’s Writers on the Verge, Fox’s Writers Intensive, Humanitas New Voices Program, ABC Writers Fellowship) — and pilot writing competitions — (Tracking Board’s Launch Pad, AMC/Austin pilot competition, Sundance Episodic Story Lab, etc.)
Present your short verbal pitch of your pilot or workshop a scene or a few pages — whatever you would like to present that you feel best shows your work — for feedback.
Guest Speakers (Week 5): Jason Piette and Julia Verdin.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE?
Screenwriters, writers or those wanting to write for television, or create a television comedy or drama, and writers who would like to know about the business of writing for television.
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
I really enjoyed Raindance LA’s TV Writer’s Foundation Certificate Course! I like that the instructors share their “war stories,” but that there is also a great deal of content. I work full-time in New Jersey and am not in a position to fly to California for the class. So, I am very thankful that it is possible to view it live from here!
Elizabeth Colombo, TV Writer
CYNTHIA RIDDLE has written film/TV projects for CBS, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Lifetime, Showtime, MGM, Starz, Netflix, Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and MarVista. She has two feature films heading into production in 2017 — Curtains (a WGA Feature Writer Access Project honoree) to be produced by the Academy Award nominated producer of Dallas Buyers Club and filmed in Paris, and true crime drama The Romeo and Juliet Killers.
Cynthia and frequent writing partner Peter Hunziker’s pilot script, Blood Brothers, was a Top 20 Finalist in the 2016 AMC/Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition (out of 9,100 entries), as well as a Finalist in the Sundance Episodic Story Lab, and winner of the WGA’s Drama Queens pilot competition.
Cynthia and Peter penned the award-winning, highly-rated CBS/Hallmark Hall of Fame film Crossroads based on the true story of a man who forgave the teen driver who killed his wife and daughter while drag racing. They also wrote the popular film, Puppy Love, for Hallmark Channel, and celebrity biopic, The Brittany Murphy Story, which aired on Lifetime.
Cynthia has produced award-winning short films that won/were finalists in the Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmakers Award and Project Greenlight. She has an MFA in Screenwriting/Film Production from UCLA, and was a former development executive at MGM, launching her writing career with a writing/producing deal at the studio. Cynthia serves on many Writers Guild committees including a long-term stint as Vice Chair of the Committee of Women Writers. She is on the Board of the LA Femme International Film Festival, and also teaches screenwriting at UCLA.
DAVID A. WEINSTEIN
David Weinstein is a true journey-man TV writer. Born in Brooklyn, NY – David came out to write for film and ended up in television based on advice from an agent who read his work and thought his sensibilities lent themselves more to continuing drama than to screenplays at the time. Starting with an episode of SILK STALKINGS, David has written for almost every TV genre there is. His first staff-writing gig was on a show called SLEEPWALKERS for NBC, and then he stayed in drama writing for such shows as SOLDIER OF FORTUNE , KYLE XY and THE CLOSER. After deciding that he wanted to try other avenues in the business, he took a job writing for JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE that lead to gigs on Chelsea Handler, The Stevie Ryan show and Death Valley for MTV. At that point David headed east and took the WWE up on an offer to write wrestling in CT. for a year, until realizing that drama was his true love and returning to LA for runs on LUCKY 7, UNREAL and CHICAGO MED. David lives in North Hollywood with his two cats, Misty and Munchie. He’s currently working on a one hour pilot as well as teaming up with a well-known animated comedy writer for a half-hour pilot – meaning that David is still straddling the fence on genres. He’s also managed to sell six different pilots in the last few years and is ready to share some of his know-how.
Jason Piette is a producer and film financier with over 50 movies and TV series to his name, including the $25M The Merchant Of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons; Head In The Clouds ($20M) starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, (both for Sony Pictures Classics); the $33M Napoleon TV series for A & E in the United States; Perfect Creatures ($11M) for Twentieth Century Fox; independent American features such as Mark Pellington’s I Melt With You for Magnolia Pictures and cult classic, part crowdfunded Iron Sky for Entertainment One. Before co-founding Disrupting Influence Jason also worked on the $300 million Movision Film Fund. Jason is a graduate of Cambridge University.
Julia Verdin is a British producer and founder of Rough Diamond Productions, established in 1994. She has established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading producers. She is best known for producing the Sony Classics release The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford, and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, the Newmarket release Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes, and starring Tom Jane, Deborah Unger, Dexter Fletcher and David O’Hara, and the Breaking Glass release 2 Jacks, based on Leo Tolstoy short story “Two Hussars,” directed by Bernard Rose, and starring Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Jacqueline Bisset and Billy Zane.
Verdin has recently executive produced Lionsgate release Born of War, directed by Vicky Jewson, and starring James Frain and Sophia Black D’Elia. This year she has just directed her first film Lost Girls staring Bar Paly, Marisol Nichols and Jamie Harris, and produced The Unwilling directed by Academy Award nominated director Jonathan Heap, and starring Dina Meyer, Jake Thomas and Lance Henriksen.
Verdin is a top film consultant having provided consulting services on development and production. She also wrote the critically acclaimed book, Success in Film, a detailed guide to funding, making and finishing independent films.
Verdin served on the board of BAFTA LA for 12 years.
ONLINE | VOD ATTENDANCE
Do you want attend the first class in person and online on other weeks? Or, do you want to attend online on some weeks and watch other weeks on VOD? You have the freedom to attend this course in person, online, or by watching it on VOD without making any prior selection.
LIVE ONLINE: Every attendee gets an email invitation for the online classroom 30 minutes before class start times. All you need to do is to click the link provided in that email and watch the class on your computer’s web browser without needing to download any special software. If you are attending on your smart phone or tablet, please download ClickMeeting app.
VOD: Video on Demand is a great option if you want to repeat what you learned in the class or you didn’t have time to attend the class in person or online. Each attendee gets a Vimeo link 24-48 hours after each week’s class.