Mar 6 - Apr 25
TV Writing: Core Elements
Registration is now closed for this session.
April Shih

Course applications are now closed. APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS EXTENDED TO: Monday, February 15 at 2pm PT.

Acceptances start after the deadline, and occur on a rolling basis.

Create an outline for your TV pilot idea in eight weeks with accomplished TV writers as your guides. In this live introductory level online course, you will take this important first step for your original pilot script and learn a set of tools to help you ask the important questions of every scene and character that will get you past "stuck" when writing future episodes.

In lecture sessions, you will analyze clips from half-hour and full-hour sitcoms and dramas, complete interactive exercises, and discuss concepts with others in your course. Weekly homework is reviewed by your course advisor and designed to move your pilot idea through to a completed outline. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session with your advisor focused on your project.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Find your most effective creative writing process.
  • Develop and hone your characters.
  • Learn how character drives plot.
  • Be able to identify three-act structure and have it be the backbone of your pilot.
  • Identify A/B/C stories and break story in your own pilot.
  • Create the tableau and tone for your pilot.
  • Write your beat sheet.
  • Develop your beat sheet into an outline.
  • Understand how to receive notes and approach a rewrite.
  • Identify a longer story arc for your series.

This course is ideal for:

  • Television writers with a great idea for a series or pilot who could use help with structure, world building, character development, and deadlines.
  • Writers who have a first draft of a pilot or series outline, but want the guidance of an experienced mentor to go back and dive deeper into their work.

Course enrollment is capped at 50 participants per session, with a student to advisor ratio of no more than 12 to one. To apply, you must be able to articulate the logline for your pilot script.


The course will be held live in our virtual classroom. All sessions are recorded for registered participants who are unable to attend live.

Sundance Co//ab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at to arrange for services. 

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, March 6 - April 25
  • SCHEDULE: Saturday, 10am - 12pm PT
    • Extended first class session: Saturday, March 6, 10am - 1pm PT
    • Extended last class session: Saturday, April 17, 10am - 1pm PT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Apr 19 - Apr 25
April Shih is a Los Angeles-based television writer/producer and filmmaker. Growing up in a sleepy beach suburb, April entertained herself by catfishing people in AOL chatrooms. This penchant for making shit up eventually turned into a passion for storytelling, and after high school, April attended film school at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. April has produced several films and plays including the Ovation Award-winning revival of Kiss of the Spiderwoman: The Musical. April spent two years playing poker in Las Vegas before pursuing a degree in playwriting at Cal State Northridge. more...
Angela Counts is a screenwriter, playwright, filmmaker, and performance artist. She is the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting award for the dramatic comedy, HEDY UNDERSTANDS ANXIETY, and is an affiliated faculty member with Emerson College, Boston, in the Visual and Media Arts Department (courses: Television Writing, Writing the Short Subject, Writing the Feature & Feature Writing Workshop). She is a published author with Dramatic Publishing Company: HEDY UNDERSTANDS ANXIETY AND SCENES AND MONOLOGUES FOR MATURE ACTORS (anthology). more...
Born and raised in Nigeria to Indian parents, Vidhya takes great pride in being a third culture kid and having a great deal of variety (and anxiety) when it comes to her cultural identity. From the age of 12 onwards she lived alone in an apartment in India with no adult supervision - this allowed her obsession with television to grow unchecked. She studied Computer Engineering in college while also running an Italian restaurant, then she made the natural transition into moving halfway across the world to LA to become a TV Writer. more...

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