TV Writer’s Foundation Certificate LA


Availability: In-person, Online, VOD
Duration: 5 Monday evenings
February 3rd – March 2nd, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Rough Diamond Productions
1424 North Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Course Fee: $269.00 
Member Fee (15% OFF): $228.65

Want a discount? Become a Member, or log in if you are a member.


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:
    • Premise
    • Characters
    • 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, Julia Verdin




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.



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

Cynthia Riddle wrote and Executive Produced true crime film “Poisoned Love: The Stacy Castor Story” airing Sat. Feb. 1, 2020 at 8pm on Lifetime starring Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”). Cynthia has a feature screenplay set up with the producer of Dallas Buyers Club, currently out to cast and director. She wrote the award-winning film “Crossroads” for CBS/Hallmark Hall of Fame, “The Brittany Murphy Story” biopic for Lifetime, and the highly-rated Hallmark Channel film “Puppy Love.” She has also written and produced projects for Netflix, MGM, Disney, Starz, Nickelodeon, and PBS. Cynthia won Screencraft’s Jamaica Residency for pilot script “Blood Brothers,” WGA’s Feature & TV Writer Access Project for feature script “Curtains,” and pilot script “Invisible,” WGA’s Autumn Stories French Residency for “Curtains,” WGA CWW’s Drama Queens, Top 20 Finalist out of 9,100 scripts in AMC/Austin Film Festival, Finalist in Sundance Episodic Lab and Humanitas’ ‘New Voices’ for pilot script “Blood Brothers.” Cynthia has produced 5 award winning short films for “Project Greenlight,” Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmakers Award, and Nintendo/Universal Studios. Cynthia has an MFA in Screenwriting and Film Production from UCLA, and teaches Feature Screenwriting and Short Film writing at UCLA Extension.



Jason Piette

Currently developing a series for Netflix, 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

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. 



Do you want to 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 smartphone 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.