Master Classes are in-depth, interactive learning experiences focused on craft and career building and led by renowned industry experts. Topics include fiction and documentary filmmaking, TV writing and production, and navigating and succeeding in the entertainment industry.

What makes a television series “limited”? What makes a story worth telling? How can your project stand out in a competitive market? And how do you determine how many episodes are right for your story?

In this live and interactive three hour Master Class with award-winning writer and producer, Ron Nyswaner (Fellow Travelers, Murder on Middle Beach, Philadelphia, My Policeman, The Painted Veil), you will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the limited series, using the critically-acclaimed Showtime series, Fellow Travelers, and the HBO true-crime drama, Murder on Middle Beach (Directed by Madison Hamburg, Executive Produced by Neda Armian and Ron Nyswaner), as case studies.

Ron is the recent recipient of the WGA East Walter Bernstein Award that “honors writers who have demonstrated with creativity, grace, and bravery, a willingness to confront social injustice in the face of adversity” and will discuss these themes in his work. You will also learn about the structure of the limited series, why adaptations work particularly well in this format, how to create compelling character arcs, and what to consider when pitching your show.

Whether you are a working writer looking to gain insights from an expert in this field, have an idea for a limited series, or simply curious about the craft, this class will give you key insights into this arena of the television business from a veteran writer and producer.

Topics include:

  • Determining the right length and format for your idea
  • Writing characters who will attract talent
  • Adapting existing IP
  • Understanding both episode and series structure
  • Weaving in theme
  • Finding your ending
  • Rewriting with purpose
  • Making brave and bold choices
  • Pitching your show
  • The role of the showrunner
  • The differences between working in scripted and documentary
  • Balancing creative decision making

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Ron Nyswaner is the creator/executive producer of the acclaimed limited series, FELLOW TRAVELERS. Other television credits: RAY DONOVAN, HOMELAND; the HBO true crime series, MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH and the MSNBC documentary feature, LOAN WOLVES. Feature screenplays: PHILADELPHIA, MY POLICEMAN, SOLDIER'S GIRL, THE PAINTED VEIL, FREEHELD, MRS. SOFFEL, AND SMITHEREENS. He produced and directed the documentary feature. SHE'S THE BEST THING IN IT that premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival; is the author of BLUE DAYS BLACK NIGHTS: A MEMOIR OF DESIRE. Awards include nominations for Academy, Emmy, BAFTA, Writers Guild, Golden Globe, and Spirit Awards, winning the National Board of Review’s Best Adapted Screenplay Award, a Peabody Award, two GLAAD Awards, and the Writers Guild of America, East’s Walter Bernstein Award that honors writers “who have demonstrated with creativity, grace, and bravery, a willingness to confront social injustice in the face of adversity.” more...
Moderator | Digital Course & Event Producer
Erica Elson is a Producer, Writer and Educator based in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Her short film, WING NIGHT, premiered at Method Fest in Los Angeles. She is the co-author of the book THE AWKWARD HUMAN SURVIVAL GUIDE and co-hosted a podcast by the same name on the 5by5 network for five years. Elson's articles have been published by HuffPost, Lifehacker, and Reader's Digest. Prior to working in education, she worked in television development and writers’ rooms such as VH1’s HINDSIGHT, where she had the chance to write for the spinoff web series PLANET SEBASTIAN. more...

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