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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. 

The Television Writers’ Room: everyone will tell you that the hardest part is getting your foot in the door. But not many talk about the challenges you’ll face as a staff writer trying to prove your worth, a story editor trying to work your way up from show to show, or a supervising producer having to resolve a conflict on set at 2AM. With great power comes great responsibility - and hopefully, joy. Niceole Levy, TV writer, producer and author of The Writers’ Room Survival Guide, will demystify these challenges and help you make the most of your career in our live, interactive three-hour Master Class. Join us for a deep dive into how to be successful in this role - and how to continue building your tv career for years to come.

Topics covered include:

  • 00:00 - 04:23: Welcome and introduction from Sundance Collab
  • 4:23 - 5:40: Introduction and overview from Niceole
  • 5:40 -9:35: Why life experience and being your authentic self matters
  • 9:35 - 21:23: Interviewing for a show with an Executive or a Showrunner
  • 21:23 - 26:27: What your portfolio should include
  • 26:20 - 32:37: The value of spec scripts
  • 32:37 - 34:00: Embracing Act Breaks
  • 34:00 - 42:11: Who does what in a Writers’ Room, and what do the titles mean?
  • 42:11 - 45:40: Mini rooms and what they leave out.
  • 45:40 - 47:17: Broadcast vs Streaming
  • 47:23 - 50:25: How to get people to notice you as an assistant (if that job is for you)
  • 50:25 - 52:15: How to get people to value you as a staff writer
  • 52:15 - 55:03: Room Politics and how to be an ally
  • 54:57 - 1:00:20: What to do when there’s a monster in the room
  • 1:00:20 - 1:13:11: Q&A Break 1
  • 1:13:50 - 1:17:03: Short Boarding vs Long Boarding
  • 1:17:03 - 1:20:35: Types of boards
  • 1:20:35 - 1:25:24: Your episode on the board
  • 1:25:24 - 1:31:24: Room types and styles
  • 1:31:31 - 1:35:00: Story Areas and Synopsis Documents
  • 1:34:45 - 1:38:40: The benefits of Outlines
  • 1:38:40 - 1:44:21: Drafts and why deadlines are so important
  • 1:44:21 - 1:46:38: Finding the silver lining in a notes session
  • 1:46:36 - 1:53:00: Production challenges
  • 1:53:00 - 2:05:11: Q&A Break 2
  • 2:05:20 - 2:20:19: The importance of having a mentor and giving back
  • 2:20:19 - 2:23:30: Landing the next job:
  • 2:23:32 - 2:44:12: Q&A
  • 2:44:12 - 2:46:06: Final Announcements

Download Recommended Resources here.

Download Document Samples here.

After growing up near China Lake Naval Weapons Center in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Niceole escaped to the bright lights of Los Angeles. While studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she realized her true love was writing stories, not playing them out. She worked as a police dispatcher to pay her way through USC undergrad and then completed the Master of Professional Writing program, also at USC. An alum of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, NBC's Writers on the Verge, and the WGAW Showrunner Training Program, Niceole has written on IRONSIDE, ALLEGIANCE, THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA, SHADES OF BLUE, CLOAK AND DAGGER, FATE, THE WINX SAGA, S.W.A.T and THE RECRUIT which premieres on Netflix December 16. She also co-wrote a feature, THE BANKER, with former ALLEGIANCE showrunner and director George Nolfi, available on AppleTV+, and is now writing SPARK, a film inspired by the life of Claudette Colvin. Niceole was most recently a co-executive producer on an untitled Netflix series and has several TV and feature projects in development. Her first book, THE WRITERS' ROOM SURVIVAL GUIDE, will be released in October of this year. more...

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