How to Write & Pitch a Series – Weekend Masterclass


29 & 30 June 2019, 10am-4pm
Venue: Check the Gate, Stettiner StraĂźe 30, 13357, Berlin
Course Language: English
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🔥 Early-bird Discount will end midnight 14 June: €175.50 Non-Members // €149 Raindance Members 🔥

Ever dreamed of seeing your idea or story become a series?

Today we’re spoiled with a seemingly endless flow of original series on television and streaming platforms. The storytelling has never been richer. The budgets never higher. And the opportunities for new writers to break into the industry never greater!


About the Course

Raindance’s world-renowned training courses are industry-focused to equip you with the practical knowledge you need to succeed as a working screenwriter.

Under the expert guidance of screenwriter Hal Cantor (who has developed several television series with major networks including Sony Pictures Television, Showtime, and Twentieth Century Fox), participants on this interactive weekend workshop will learn how shows are pitched and sold in 2019, how to create the kind of script that execs and networks will want, and how to develop the key skills needed to successfully deliver your pitch. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn everything you need to know about the creative and commercial sides of writing and selling a series.

  • Course dates: One weekend, 29 & 30 June 2019
  • Times: 10am-4pm
  • Venue: Check the Gate, Stettiner StraĂźe 30, 13357, Berlin
  • Course Language: English
  • Early-bird Discount will end midnight 14 June: €175.50 Non-Members // €149 Raindance Members
  • Regular Prices: €195 Non-Members // €165.75 Raindance Members (Membership is just €50/year)

What will I get?

This course is for screenwriters, new and aspiring writers, and anybody inside or outside of the industry who’s ever had the dream of writing and selling a TV series or being hired as a TV writer. As well as learning how to write and develop a pilot that producers will want, you’ll get an insider’s view of how the Hollywood industry works, and learn secrets for breaking into the biz. You’ll have the opportunity to pitch your own show concept and get the critical feedback necessary to help you take it to the next level and dazzle producers.

Hal’s teaching style is very much a conversation; a combination of participative lecture-style teaching and interactive exercises. The workshop will also expose you to other students in a collaborative, supportive environment. So if you have a concept for a series (or are just curious about the brave new world of television and streaming), come and join the conversation with TV writer, Hal Cantor. Here’s how the two-day masterclass will play out:

Day One: The Current Landscape of TV & Streaming

We’ll teach you all about the biz and how to approach it as a new writer, we’ll cover:

  • The current global television and streaming landscape. Today there’s enormous upheaval in the industry. In April more 7,000 writers fired their agents when agencies refused to sign a code of conduct. Netflix and streaming platforms are changing the landscape of TV. New forms of content and services that deliver it are appearing all the time. But with all this chaos comes opportunity—especially for new writers!
  • TV vs. Film Storytelling. What are the structural differences? What is the greatest challenge in creating a TV series?
  • TV Series Types/Formats. We’ll look at franchises, the difference between serialised and closed-ended storytelling, and the various types of series including drama, comedy, and a new form: the half-hour drama.
  • Pitch Season: How is television bought and sold? What are the roles of the production company, studio, network, showrunner and writing staff on a series?
  • Character. Character. Character. The three most important words in television. A deep look into creating compelling characters and the notion of the character arc.
  • Handout & Assignment: BREAKING BAD pilot script handout. Student pitches.

Day Two: Pilots & Pitching

The foundation of a series lies in the development and creation of a successful pilot. Not so long ago, to get into television, producers and studios would want to read “spec” pilots of existing series; a sample episode. In 2019 it’s all about original pilots. But being able to pitch your show to the people that matter is just as important as your idea. On day two we’ll cover:

  • Deconstructing the Pilot. What exactly is a TV pilot and what must it accomplish? What is “the world of the pilot” and why is it so important? We’ll look at the types of pilot storytelling, as well as pilot structure (teasers/A-stories/B-stories and more).
  • The Pilot Open. Screenings of the opening scenes of pilots. Screening, discussion and breakdown of the BREAKING BAD pilot.
  • Pitching Tips & Tricks. You have an idea? Great. How do you pitch it? Pitching is an integral, often overlooked, trait of successful writers. This class will give you the opportunity to develop the key skills needed to successfully deliver your pitch.
  • Hal’s Hollywood Pitch: A Real World Example. Hal will pitch an idea for an original show that he has pitched to producers and studio executives.
  • Students Pitch. It’s your chance to pitch your TV show concepts and receive crucial, constructive feedback that will help to improve your pitch and make producers and networks want to work with you.
  • Q&A. Ask any questions you have about the business—anything and everything TV and streaming!


What are the students saying?

“I highly recommend Hal Cantor’s TV Writing workshop. Not only did the participants learn the complexities of the ever-changing TV/streaming landscape, but Hal provided opportunities to craft compelling characters, as well as pitch projects to a room filled with newbies and veterans, alike. His feedback was constructive, thoughtful, and steeped in helpful strategies designed to elevate each person’s writing, regardless of skill level. Add in Hal’s trademark humour, and the result was a weekend filled with intensive learning, laughter, and fun. Thanks, Hal!”

Mary A., student, International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA), Portland

“You were always a breath of fresh air in our feedback sessions and I really appreciate the wit, wisdom, and straightforward approach you brought to each conversation.”

Will S., student, London Film School

“I know I said it in person already, but I wanted to say thanks again for the TV writing workshop this past weekend. I raved about it to my writing partner and my sister, particularly the fact that you are so authentic, supportive and kind in your approach. You’re lively, funny and passionate with strong, well-formed opinions, but with zero pretension or arrogance. And that was so refreshing and uplifting to me. Plus, I got so much insight I haven’t been able to find in all my research on the industry.”

 Rochelle M., student, Northwest Film Centre, Portland

“Hal Cantor wowed the audience at our ISA Third Thursdays event with his stories about Hollywood’s Wild, Wild West — TV. Drawing from a decade of experience, Hal inspired us to turn these tumultuous times in television production into possibility. His motivation and inspiration kept a sold-out writing audience on the edge of their seats.”

David P., Third Thursdays co-host at International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA). Portland

About the tutor

Hal Cantor writes for television, film, and theatre. He is currently developing a half-hour comedy with SONY PICTURES TELEVISION. He wrote on FUSION channel’s acclaimed special, THE NAKED TRUTH: DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, which broke The Panama Papers story. Prior to that, his drama pilot, MOUTHPIECE, was bought by FOX TELEVISION STUDIOS. He wrote THE LAKE EFFECT, a one-hour drama pilot for SHOWTIME, developed with Emmy-winning director Scott Winant. Hal also sold the drama pilot TWILIGHT to SONY PICTURES TELEVISION. In features, he developed a comedy with John Davis Productions, based at TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX.

Hal has had multiple plays produced. CUBICLES, which he directed, was presented by ALLIANCE REPERTORY THEATER in Los Angeles, where it garnered seven Valley Theater League nominations including Best Play, Best Writing, and Best Director. He’s currently adapting his play, THE BONUS ROUND, into a musical with a UK composer.

Hal has also taught screenwriting and television writing at  London Film School, The Northwest Film Center (Portland), Met Film School: Berlin & London, Central Film School, and Raindance: Berlin. He represented Met Film School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in collaboration with PINEWOOD STUDIOS. He divides his time between Berlin, South Florida and Los Angeles. Read more about Hal: www.halcantor.com


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