Explore the dynamics of creating an original television series with an accomplished TV showrunner-writer-producer as your guide.
Jun 26, 2023 - Jun 30, 2023
Workshop Fee: $1295
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 10
What’s the difference between a movie and the first episode of a television series – the pilot? How do you create a unique world, with characters an audience will want to follow? We’ll analyze and discuss the mechanics of existing pilots (both series and limited series) to consider how concept and character are launched. Learn how to get an audience invested in your characters, how to layer A, B & C story threads and how to keep the stakes rising. By the end of the week, you will have created a pitch that conveys the show’s world, characters, and fundamental arcs. This is the foundation for writing a pilot and creating a series for television.
Participants will bring a series idea to the first class. Tips to help you shape this will be sent out ahead of the workshop.
We’ll cover: What goes into a pilot that will suggest that there are many more stories to tell over multiple seasons? Who’s the lead? Why is he/she complicated enough to support a whole world? Who are your other important characters? How do they interact with the main character? How does the action in the pilot support the premise and promise of the pilot – and series? All of this will happen within the simulation of a collaborative and supportive “Writers’ Room” where you can test and shape your premise, pitch, story and characters. You will also learn about the practical realities of the marketplace and the career path of a television writer.
In addition to sessions together as a group, and opportunities for one-on-one consultation with the instructor, you will also have time to write and revise your work.
By week’s end you will have an understanding of what makes a series that an audience (and a buyer) is likely to fall in love with. You will have written a pitch document (five to seven pages) that conveys the show’s world, people, and fundamental arcs. Most importantly, you’ll emerge with a take on a television series that is personal, distinctive, and uniquely yours.
Instructor: Michael Sardo
An Emmy-nominated writer and executive producer, Michael Sardo has been a showrunner for both comedy and drama series. He has worked on hundreds of episodes of television, including The Tracey Ullman Show, Grace Under Fire, Wings, Picket Fences, Caroline in the City, American Embassy and Rizzoli & Isles. He was the creator, showrunner and executive producer of the series Fairly Legal and Normal.
Michael has developed and written series pilots for HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, TNT, ABC, NBC, Lifetime and USA networks, HBO Independent Productions, eOne, Witt/Thomas, NBC Productions, Universal Cable Productions, Slingshot Global Media, Circle of Confusion TV, Storyworld Entertainment and MGM Television. Current series projects in development include: Freeman for Legendary Global Television (London) and Talipot Studio (Mexico); Kooks and Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel for Radical Media (NYC/LA); and Harpoon for Sipur (Israel).