Oct 22 - Dec 19
TV Writing: Crafting Your Pilot
Registration is open until September 30, 2021
Alana Sanko

Course applications are now being accepted. APPLICATION DEADLINE: HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO: Thursday, September 30 at 2 p.m. 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 Collab’s TV Writing: Core Elements prior to taking this course.

“Having the course instructor on hand, live and answering questions as well as having the advisors do the same was invaluable!” - George P., West New York, USA


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, October 22 - December 19
  • SCHEDULE: Friday, 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. PT
    • No Class - Friday, November 26
    • Extended last class session: Friday, December 10: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. PT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Dec 13 - Dec 19
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, September 30 at 2 p.m. PT

Sundance Collab 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. 


Click the yellow “Apply Now” button to start your course application. Sundance Collab also offers a limited number of need-based scholarships. If you wish to apply for a course scholarship, you will be invited to access the scholarship application after completing the course application. 

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...
Caleb Aldrich is a TV writer who was born in Hawaii, but lived a true nomad life growing up in Louisiana, California, Texas, and Colorado. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University where he wrote the award winning short story SPINNING PLATES, inspired by his own coming out process. more...

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