Writing Classes

Waterman Pen ad 1919TV writing classes I’m teaching for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program:

SUMMER 2020:

One-Hour TV Pilot Script Writing in a Month: Parts I and II (X422.3N and X422.4N.)

These are intensive month-long remote-instruction workshops — we ‘meet’ online via Zoom for three hours on five consecutive Saturdays and Sundays.

In Part I: Come up with an idea for a one-hour dramatic TV series, develop the premise, franchise, and format, ‘break’ the first episode (pilot) story, outline the pilot, and write the first 10 pages of a rough ‘zero draft’ pilot teleplay! Summer Quarter course is over. Sorry we missed you!

In Part II: Continue writing pages and complete a zero draft teleplay of your pilot and also develop a series ‘pitch document’ (aka “series bible” or “series format”) as well as a three-minute verbal pitch for your series! Enrollment: CLOSED. We’re off and running!

EDITED TO ADD: A prospective student inquired what, if any, “prior experience” is needed. These pilot writing courses are part of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, which specifies these prerequisites for enrollment:

Prerequisites for PART I: “SCRIPT X 421.3 Beginning Writing for the One-Hour Spec I and SCRIPT X 421.4 Beginning Writing for the One-Hour Spec II, or equivalent, or department approval.”

Prerequisites for PART II: “SCRIPT X 422.3N One-Hour TV Pilot Script Writing in a Month: Part I; or SCRIPT X 422.3 Writing the One-Hour Pilot I; or equivalent; or department approval.”

Note that “department approval” doesn’t mean my approval; it means UCLA Extension’s approval. I highly recommend contacting a Writers’ Program representative (hours: Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm Pacific time) by calling 310-825-9415 or emailing writers@uclaextension.edu. They’re very  friendly and helpful folks who can give you much better guidance than I can.

But here are my thoughts: These pilot courses are intensive workshops that assume that each student already has some basic familiarity with television writing. In the prerequisite “Beginning Writing for the One-Hour Spec” courses, students are introduced to the TV writing process — pitching, group brainstorming, “breaking the story,” beat sheets, outlines, teleplay formatting, and so forth — and each student comes up with a story and writes a teleplay for an existing TV series.

The pilot courses, then, presume that students have had at least a little “prior experience” in screenwriting so that they don’t need to spend a lot of class time on the “basics” but can instead quickly jump right in and create original series ideas and develop them into pilots.

I’d say that if you’re just starting out and have never written anything in screenplay format and aren’t even all that familiar with what a script looks like, then these probably aren’t the courses for you… and I’d recommend the “Beginning Writing for the Spec” course as a better way of getting your feet wet.

But beyond that, if you think you are ready for a fun, fast-moving, positive, collaborative, creative intensive in TV Pilot writing, please do contact a Writers’ Program rep and see if Pilot-in-a-Month is Right for You!

All classes provide notes, feedback, and help on students’ works-in-progress in a constructive and supportive workshop setting that mimics the freewheeling creative collaboration of a professional TV writers’ room, whiteboards and all.

Questions? Email me: