Jul 15 - Sep 12
TV Writing: Crafting Your Pilot
Registration is now closed for this session.
Thania St. John

Course applications are now closed APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS: Thursday, June 17 at 2pm PT. 

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

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 discuss successful pilots, watch how they move from script to screen, and discuss core concepts. You will then move into a small group breakout session with a course advisor where you will workshop your writing and those of your peers, and work to complete your original pilot. 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.

Participants will be placed in small group workshops of about nine. 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. If you have any questions about the course, please email collab_courses@sundance.org.

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, July 15 - September 12
  • SCHEDULE: Thursday, 9am - 11:30am PT
    • No Class: Thursday, August 12 - Sundance Institute Week
    • Extended last class session: Thursday, September 2: 9am - 12:00pm PT 
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Sep 7 - Sep 12

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 accessibility@sundance.org to arrange for services. 

Starting her television career on the iconic 21 JUMP STREET, Thania went on to create two network TV series of her own (VR5 and CRISIS CENTER) and to write and produce over twenty popular and award winning dramas such as LIFE GOES ON, LOIS AND CLARK, ROSWELL, HUFF, EUREKA, DROP DEAD DIVA, GRIMM, CHICAGO FIRE, COVERT AFFAIRS and PROJECT BLUE BOOK. She has written over two dozen pilots for all four broadcast networks as well as Showtime, Lifetime, SyFy and USA and has also written several feature films now in development. more...
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Nick Bouier, born in Detroit, MI, graduated from Morehouse and AFI where he received his B.A. in Marketing and M.F.A. in Directing. He was selected for Film Independent’s signature diversity program, Project Involve, in 2014, where he directed the short film COUNTER, which went on to screen in festivals worldwide; including the Sedona, Pan African, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, and Cleveland International film festivals. 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...
Liza St. John is a screenwriter born and raised in Los Angeles. She has written both original and adapted screenplays and currently has a pilot in development with Wonderthink, a production company from media veterans Tony Goldwyn and Richard LaGravenese. Liza has also worked in animation writing for Nickelodeon’s WELCOME TO THE WAYNE. more...

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