Learn how to launch a world and characters that will captivate an audience

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Explore the dynamics of creating an original dramatic television series with an accomplished TV writer to show you the way.

The workshop will focus on how to create a world and a set of characters that an audience will commit to.  We will analyze and discuss the dynamics of existing pilots (both episodic and serialized) 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 written a treatment that conveys the show’s world, characters, and fundamental arcs. This can serve as the basis for a pitch and provide a foundation for writing your pilot.

Participants will bring a series idea to the first class. Criteria to help you shape this will be sent out ahead of the workshop.  These ideas will be workshopped in a supportive environment and there will be opportunities for one-on-one consultation with the instructor. In addition to sessions together as a group you will also have time to write and revise work.

By week’s end you will leave with a more solid understanding of what makes a series that an audience (and a buyer) is likely to commit to.  Throughout the week, you will also learn about the practical realities of the marketplace and the career path of a television writer.

Image Credit:  Aidan Bliss

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Instructor: Lara Shapiro

Lara Shapiro is a writer and director in film and TV. Her work as a writer includes the FX drama THE AMERICANS and the Epix spy drama BERLIN STATION. She is currently writing IMPULSE, a new series for UCP, Hypnotic and YouTube Premium. Her work as a director includes an episode of the USA drama ROYAL PAINS, the feature film LABOR PAINS (which she also co-wrote), and numerous commercial campaigns including Verizon, Prudential and L’Oréal. Her narrative short films were shown at the Sundance and New York Film Festivals, she was a fellow at the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, and she received a Sloan Foundation Filmmakers Award to write the drama TALKING BOOK. She received her MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University.