Feb 11 - Apr 4
TV Writing: Crafting Your Pilot
Registration is now closed for this session.
Alana Sanko

Course applications are now closed. Applications close 2pm PT, Jan. 14, 2021.

Learn how to give shape and form to the outline of your pilot with experienced TV writers as your guides. In this intensive live, online course, you move from your outline to a full draft of your pilot through a review of the foundations of storytelling craft, and lessons on dialogue, conflict, and sharpening your characters.

In class sessions, you will analyze clips from half-hour and full-hour comedies and dramas, complete interactive exercises, and discuss concepts. Weekly story goals designed to move your pilot outline through to a polished draft of your script are reviewed by your course advisor. 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:

  • Review the foundations of serialized storytelling, including different structures and A/B/C storylines.
  • Sharpen your main and secondary characters.
  • Identify your character arcs and season stories.
  • Set up character conflicts that will keep your viewers watching.
  • Effectively use dialogue to bring your characters to life and move the plot forward.
  • Manage your pace and story engine for your pilot.
  • Learn how to process notes from your peers, collaborators and studio execs.
  • Learn how to rewrite, re-break, and adjust your script.

This course is ideal for:

  • Television writers ready to write the first draft of their pilot in a fast-paced environment.
  • Writers who already have the first draft of a pilot, but want the guidance of an experienced mentor to go back and dive deeper into their work. 

Course enrollment is approximately 36 participants per session, with a participant to advisor ratio of nine to one. To apply, you must have a completed beat sheet or outline for your pilot. We recommend that you complete Sundance Co//ab’s TV Writing: Core Elements prior to taking this course.


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

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, February 11 - April 4
  • SCHEDULE: Thursday, 10am - 12:30pm PT
    • Extended last class session: Thursday, March 25, 10am - 1pm PT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Mar 29 - Apr 4
Alana Sanko is an award-winning television writer and producer who has written and developed for comedy, drama and animated series, as well as TV movies and network and cable pilots. She started her career as an entertainment publicist and went on to work in television production, during which time she was accepted into the Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop, which landed her a staff position on the critically acclaimed hit CBS television series, MURPHY BROWN. more...
Eliza was the 2016 Sundance Asian-American Feature Film Fellow, and attended the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive that same year with her Athena Film Festival award-winning screenplay, A BEAUTIFUL LIE, about crime novelist Patricia Highsmith. In 2017, she was selected to participate at the first ever Amazon Studios lab. more...
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Aadip Desai is an Indian American television writer, comedian, and Air Force brat. He was most recently a Staff Writer on ABC’s THE GOLDBERGS, which is a show mostly about yelling. He also runs the daunting 15,000-member LA TV Writers Facebook Group. Aadip took an early departure from the MFA screenwriting program at AFI after being accepted into the ABC/Disney TV Writing Program. more...
Jeremy Nielsen has come a long way since getting stabbed in the face at his first real job in a detention center in Salt Lake City, UT. Subsequently, he has mined life to tell stories that have resulted in produced feature films; DARKROOM (dist. by Vanguard Cinema) as well as television pilot scripts; TICKER (Winner, New York Television Festival, Finalist Austin Film Festival) and DEVIL’S DUE (Sundance Episodic Television Writers Lab). He lives in Wyoming, where he is a professor at where he is a professor at Central Wyoming College. more...

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