FALL 2015 #19321
Prof: Lance Gentile email@example.com
CLASS DATES: AUGUST 26 – DEC 2, 2015
TIME: WED 1:00PM - 3:50PM Location: SCB 304
THE POINT: To write a one hour DRAMA PILOT… and get an idea what it’s like to do it for a living.
THE CLASS: A writing staff whose job is to produce the same number of quality episodic television pilots as there are class members. Collaborative script development and analysis are ESSENTIAL TV writer/producer skills.
** Verbal and written notes on your fellow writers scripts is as important as the writing itself -- participation in table discussions, active contribution to others work PLUS ability/willingness to listen to and apply notes to your material. Writing talent is a minor factor in grades.
THE TASK: You’ll choose (or invent) a TV genre, figure out how it’s written, pitch an idea for the series to class, then write a pilot story arena, outline and TWO SCRIPT DRAFTS: a writers draft and a first draft.
You’ll be responsible for getting E-MAIL of your written material to each member of class by MIDNIGHT SUNDAY NIGHT, three days in advance of workshop session. WRITERS DRAFTS OF COMPLETE SCRIPT will be due in class ONE WEEK before they're workshopped.
There will be a schedule of whose work is to be discussed in class each week. You’ll be expected to provide written notes on a HARD COPY of your fellow writer's material in class and to participate in table discussion of material.
A FIRST DRAFT of your PILOT (a revision of your writers draft) is mandatory in order to pass. This is your “final exam.” No exceptions.
Script and revision: 20% Written script analyses: 20%
Class participation (verbal analysis of fellow writer’s pitches/beat sheets/outlines/scripts): 10%
Writing Division Attendance Policy:Students are expected be on time and prepared for each class. Two unexcused absences will result in your grade being lowered by one full point (ex: AB). A third unexcused absence will result in your grade being lowered another full point (ex: BC). Two late arrivals equates to one full absence. Four, request to withdraw from course. SCHEDULE:
AUGUST 26 - Overview of YOUR course/Teacher’s background/Student introductions
Discussion: Character bios/e-mail and class “bible”/the primetime drama landscape/Choosing a genre for your series/combining genres/serialized vs. episodic event structure.
How do pilots get sold? In-from-the-cold vs. insider. What’s a series pitch – verbal and written?/character bio?/beat sheet? Sample series pitch to be emailed.
View and analyze DRAMA PILOT #1 (running beat sheet)
Assignment: 1) Watch TV!/Choose two shows that are in(or close to) the genre(s) you have in mind for your show, watch the PILOTS of both, write beat sheets/character bios and email to me by morning of next class 2) Prepare series concepts (1-3 max) to bring to class.
SEPT 2 – View/analyze DRAMA PILOT #2. Series choices/genres discussed and nailed down.
Discussion: How does the pilot define the trajectory of the series?/What are the necessary elements?/How does a pilot differ from episode 100?/Developing series pitch.
Assignment: 1) Read/view two more PILOTS of your genre(s), email beat sheets to me by Jan 26. 2) Work on pitches.
****LONG TERM ASSIGNMENT (all due OCT 7): watch pilot of existing show in all other writers genres and do beat sheet and character bios ****
SEPT 9 - View/analyze DRAMA PILOT #3. PRELIMINARY PITCHES Discussion: story source: theme (serialized character) vs. event (procedural) Email Sample pitch. Assignment: Read/view/analyze more episodes. Work on series pitches.
SEPT 16 - View/analyze DRAMA PILOT #4. SERIES PITCHES I
Discussion: Pitch to pilot story arena. Email sample story arena sample. Assignment: Read/view/analyze episodes. Series pitches/pilot story arenas.
SEPT 23 – Workshop SERIES PITCHES II.
Assignment: Read/view/analyze episodes. Story arenas.
Assignment: Writers drafts/first drafts. **WRITERS DRAFTS (III) DUE
NOV 25 – NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING
Assignment: First drafts
DEC 2 - Workshop WRITERS DRAFTS III.
Assignment: First drafts.
DEC 9 – Finals Week. No class. ALL FIRST DRAFTS (I.E.: Revised writers drafts) DUE BY EMAIL FRIDAY DEC 16-ish, 2015. RECOMMENDED READING: (non-required)
Theory: The Art of Dramatic Writing (Egri), The Tools of Screenwriting (Howard/Mabley), How to Write a Movie in 21 Days (V. King), Writing the TV Drama Series (Douglas)
The writing experience: On Writing (S. King), The Writing Life (Dillard), Bird by Bird (Lamott)
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