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Final Draft Presents the TV Writers' Summit

At a Glance

  • 4 master television instructors Chad Gervich, Ellen Sandler, Troy DeVolld and Jen Grisanti
  • Half-day classes followed by a half-hour Q&A session
  • Ideal for TV Writers, TV Producers, Development Executives, Screenwriters, and More!

A well developed and written script is the single most important ingredient in producing a television show. Story, narrative structure, character development, dialogue, scale, scope and shelf-life are essential elements in TV, whether you’re writing a drama, comedy or producing a reality show.

The most successful writers in the world today write for television. Mad Men. Dexter. True Blood. Modern Family. American Horror Story. 30 Rock. NCIS. Boardwalk Empire. Beyond Scared Straight. The Simpsons. Storage Wars. Game of Thrones. The list goes on and on. Whether you’re writing a scripted series for a network (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox), premium cable (HBO, Showtime) or online (Hulu, Funny-or-Die, etc.), or developing a reality series for A&E, Bravo, History or TLC, television is where today’s top writers and producers are finding their greatest success both creatively and financially.

But how do you develop and write a show that gets on TV?

The TV Writers’ Summit brings together the four top speakers in the world on the art and craft of television writing – Chad Gervich, Ellen Sandler, Troy DeVolld and Jen Grisanti. Over two intense days, these four master teachers will provide you an unmatched depth and understanding of writing, story and producing all genres of TV (whether you’re writing a Comedy, Drama or working on a Reality idea) that is ideal for TV writers, producers and creative executives. 

Troy, Jen, Chad and Ellen will each teach half-day classes followed by a half-hour Q&A session in which you'll be able to follow-up with any questions you may have. The speakers having taken the time and care to share their outlines with each other to make sure they provide you the best, most engaging material possible without overlap.

The VP of Current Programs at CBS, Alix Jaffe, said, "Jen Grisanti has great insight into working with writers. She has a special ability to nurture their vision, while being true to story structure, character and dialogue.Her notes are always clear, insightful and productive."

Legendary NBC President Warren Littlefield said, "Who says learning can't be fun? Sitting in a classroom and listening to Chad Gervich teach gave me goose bumps - why didn't I have teachers like this? After his class I couldn't sleep that night - my mind was racing with possibilities. Must hear teaching!" 

Entertainment Today magazine called Emmy-nominated writer Ellen Sandler the “Dalai Lama of television writing” for “credentials that include her work on more than 25 prime-time shows, plus the pilots she’s created for network and cable television.” 

Andrew Hoagland, Story Producer for the hit shows The Bachelor and Basketball Wives, said, "I doubt anyone knows more about the making of Reality television than Troy DeVolld."

The TV Writers' Summit is ideal for :

TV Writers • TV Producers • Development Executives • Screenwriters • Creative Executives • Actors • Producers • And More!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear the four top speakers on TV writing in a single two-day weekend, as well as to network with other television writers. Whether you’re a first time TV writer, in the middle of a spec script, a working writer on a current show, developing a reality idea or just want to learn more about writing for television, you won’t want to miss the TV Writers’ Summit in London the weekend of January 26-27,2013 and Los Angeles the weekend of February 9-10, 2013!

COURSE OUTLINES:

Chad Gervich

Selling a Show and Playing Ball in the TV Big Leagues

You've seen every episode of Modern Family. You've pored over each episode of NCIS. You've studied Survivor, Top Chef, and Deadliest Catch. And one thing's for sure: YOU have a better TV idea than any of them.

The only problem is: in order to bring that idea to life, you need to pitch it… sell it… and navigate TV's development process.

The TV Writers' Summit seminar details each step of selling a TV show in today's broadcast and cable landscape. We'll discuss the elements of every successful TV show… how to develop and organize them into a pitch… and when, where, and how to get them to the most appropriate buyers.

You'll learn…

  • Networks, cable networks and studios' secret schedule for buying projects… and why timing is essential
  • Creative ingredients every producer or exec looks for… and how to insert them into your pitch
  • The most important element of any TV show or pitch… and how to convince execs you have it
  • Which props, tools, and aids help your pitch… and which will undermine it
  • When to attach actors, directors, or producers… and how to reach them effectively
  • The unique traits of compelling TV characters… and how to design them
  • Where and how to get an agent or manager… and when to find the right representative for you
  • The structure of TV’s network/studio/pod system… how it's changing… and how to navigate it
  • How to find, meet, and network with TV's power-players… and who you don't need to meet
  • How the business is changing… and why these changes can help you—or hurt you

Ellen Sandler

What's New? Creating a TV Pilot

Cracking the code and demystifying the myths about pilots

A spec pilot is the current must-have sample script. While the thought of creating an original TV show may strike terror in your heart, the good news is... you don’t have to face it alone! Whether your idea for a pilot is an hour, half hour, or even a three-minute webisode, Emmy-nominated expert Ellen Sandler can help you navigate the rocky waters of development.

In this hands-on workshop, Ellen offers professional guidance, and shows you how to:

  • The 1 Key You Must Have to Create a Pilot - Focusing your Premise
  • The 2 Essential Elements that Make a Series - Illuminating the Difference between a Feature and Series Pilot
  • The 3 Pillars of Any Pilot - The Foundation Of Every Successful Show
    • Defining Your Central Character
    • Building Your Show's "Family"
    • Creating the World of Your Show
  • The 4 Support Beams of a Series Pilot
    • Defining Your Arena
    • Committing to Your Genre
    • Establishing Your Series Tone
    • Effecting a Style
  • Why 5 - 10 Stories Get You the Big 1 - Your Pilot
    • Developing Your Story Lines
    • Putting Your Characters into Action
    • What Makes a Great Pilot Story
  • The X Factor that Sets You Apart
    • Your Passion
    • How to Find It
    • How to Use It

Now what? Tips on how You Can Use Your Pilot To Advance Your Career

Don’t have a concept worked out for your pilot? Not to worry – the class has been designed to help you develop your glimmer of an idea into a full-fledged script. Just see what student Jenifer Yeuroukis had to say about her experience with Ellen:

"Well, for someone who went into class not expecting to have to have a pilot idea already in hand, thanks to your class, I was able to take my sketch of an idea and realize that I had two shows rolled into one. It's a rare gift to be able to teach your craft and not just lecture about it."

Jen Grisanti

Writing the TV Spec and Pilot Script

  • LOG LINES
    • Log Line For Your Life
    • Log Line For Your Script
  • STORY STRUCTURE FOR TV SPEC AND PILOT SCRIPTS
    • Powerful Dilemma
    • Clear Goal Stemming from the Dilemma
    • Act outs need to connect back to the goal
  • FICTIONALZING YOUR TRUTH
  • WHAT SPECS TO WRITE – Go into selecting which script to write.
  • WRITING YOUR TV SPEC SCRIPT 
    • Writing the opening
    • Breaking down the show so that you understand how to mimic it
    • Identifying an external goal that stems from the opening dilemma
    • Writing each act
    • How to escalate the stakes
    • The Resolution
  • WRITING YOUR TV PILOT SCRIPT 
    • Writing the opening
    • Identifying an external goal that stems from the opening dilemma
    • Writing the scene
    • Writing each act
    • Writing toward the external goal in the A story
    • Writing with a them
    • Writing the resolution and setting up the series
  • ADDING THEME, SYMBOLISM AND MESSAGES TO YOUR SCRIPT – I consider this the icing on the cake. It will take your script to the next level.
  • FIVE KEYS TO WRITING A STRONG SCRIPT
    • Do we empathize with your central character?
    • Do we understand what’s at stake?
    • Do you start your story with a powerful dilemma?
    • Is your goal clear? Do your pivotal points connect back to it?
    • Do we hear your voice in your story? (Theme, symbolism, message)

Troy DeVolld

Writing and Producing Reality TV

INTRODUCTION

  • Why aren’t we talking about pitching shows until the end?

STORY IS STORY, AND STORY IS WRITTEN. SORT OF.

  • The Home Improvement Show Example
  • So Why Don’t I See Writers Credited on Reality Shows?
  • What Does a Story Producer Do, Exactly?
  • Timeline? What Timeline?
  • Authenticity
  • Continuity and Story Basics

BRIEF HISTORY OF REALITY TELEVISION

  • Origins and Pioneers, Contemporary Reality, Criticisms of the Genre

THE SEVEN KINDS OF REALITY SHOWS

  • Documentary / Docu-Series
  • Reality-Competition / Elimination.
  • Makeover / Renovation.
  • Dating
  • Hidden Camera / Surveillance / Amateur Content
  • Supernatural
  • Travel / Aspirational

THE REALITY EFFECT

  • How Reality Has Changed Traditionally Scripted Shows

THE REALITY OF REALITY: HOW TO PRODUCE A REALITY SHOW FROM A to Z 

  • Entry-Level Positions
  • The Story Department
  • The Politics of Reality
  • “That Stuff Has Writers?” – Building a Reputation on an Invisible Job
  • Ethics
  • Advancing Your Career
  • Some Final Thoughts on Networking

CREATING YOUR OWN SHOW

  • The Workable Concept
  • Sizzle Reels
  • The Pitch
  • The Payoff

Where:

Birkbeck College
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7H

Westin Hotel
5400 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

When:

London: January 26-27, 2013 8:30am to 6:30pm 

Los Angeles: February 9-10, 2013 8:30am to 6:30pm

Product Details

  • Date available: 12/19/2012
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Return policy: 30 days

Return Policy

Your satisfaction is our top priority. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please return the item(s) for an exchange or refund within 30 days from the purchase date, unless otherwise noted on the product page.

Ship the item(s) to The Writers Store via a traceable and insured method. You will be responsible for return shipping fees.

Please include a completed Return Form with your shipment. Refunds take up to one week to process once we have received the item(s).

Software returns must be deactivated and uninstalled from your computer before a refund may be issued. Please contact the software manufacturer if you need assistance uninstalling or deactivating your software.

The following items are not returnable: Hollywood Creative Directories, DVDs (opened), and Gift Certificates.

Meet the Author: Chad Gervich

Chad Gervich has worked as a TV writer, producer, and executive. He’s written, developed, and produced shows for the Littlefield Company, Fox Television Studios, Paramount Television, NBC, Warner Bros., ABC, Fox Reality Channel, E! Entertainment Television, and 20th Century Fox.

Meet the Author: Ellen Sandler

Ellen Sandler was nominated for an Emmy as a Co-Executive Producer of Everybody Loves Raymond. She has created over 20 pilots for ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Family, Oxygen and the Disney Channel and has consulted internationally on pilots for the ABC Australia; the CBC Canada; Media Marketing, Dubai; and MediaCorp, Singapore. A writer/producer on more than a dozen prime time TV shows, she is the author of The TV Writer’s Workbook (Bantam/Dell).

Ellen is also a playwright and director. Her most recent theatrical project was her adaptation of N.Y. Times food writer Mimi Sheraton’s book, The Bialy Eaters, which st...

Meet the Author: Jen Grisanti

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and her new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.

Grisanti started her career in 1992 as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years, and she quickly climbed the ranks and eventually ra...

Meet the Author: Troy DeVolld

Troy DeVolld survived careers as an executive assistant and comic book artist before finding his way into Reality Television, where he currently works as a Supervising Producer. Since relocating to Los Angeles from Tampa, Florida, in late 2000, Troy has worked on many top Reality shows including The Osbournes, The Surreal Life, Dancing with the Stars, Flipping Out, and Basketball Wives. He shared a Daytime Emmy® nomination in 2009 as a Producer on Style Network’s Split Ends.

Troy has had the pleasure of lecturing on the topic of Reality Television production...