Track 5: TV Writing


The TV Writing Summer Institute introduces students to writing for television in Hollywood. This track mirrors the practice of professional writers in the world of episodic television and digital media by teaching students how to develop original series concepts and how to navigate the contemporary marketplace. In the process, students learn how to identify and capture the tone, characters, dialogue, and themes that make their story unique. 

This track offers two specializations:

  • Introduction to TV Writing,
  • Intermediate TV Writing for One-Hour Drama/Dramedy

Students at the introductory level write a series outline and the first act of the pilot script. Intermediate drama/dramedy level students write a series outline and the first draft of an original pilot series. Students at all levels meet twice a week to workshop ideas, break stories, and give feedback and notes on each other’s work. All tracks offer seven units of UCLA credit. Please note that students of all specializations are expected to spend a minimum of 25 hours-per-week writing outside of class meetings.

In the exclusive Summer Institute Symposium, students from all TV Writing levels meet and listen to some of Hollywood’s most accomplished professionals. High-wattage guests have included Eric Heisserer (writer, Arrival); Steven Canals (creator and EP of Pose on FX); Jeff King (Executive Producer of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix); Agents from CAA, ICM, Paradigm, and UTA; Simon Kinberg (Writer/Producer, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Martian); Zak Penn (Writer, Ready Player One); and many others.

Hollywood and Networking
During the weekly Summer Institute Mixer, students network with alumni and students from other UCLA Film and Television Summer Institute tracks. Students also tour a major Hollywood Studio. At the conclusion of the program, Introduction and Intermediate Drama/Dramedy TV Writing students pitch their TV show ideas to television professionals in the industry for feedback and notes. The summer institute finishes with a closing ceremony and a networking mixer for students and alumni of our program. Friends and family are welcome!

Guest Lecture Workshops
Guest lecturers with established careers in television lead professional development workshops for students from all TV Writing levels. These full day workshops explore topics such as How to Pitch, Writer as Entrepreneur, and How to Write Script Coverage.

Pitch Panels
As a culmination of the TV Writing program, students have the opportunity to pitch their own TV show idea to a panel of accomplished industry professionals. The panel allows students to practice their pitching skills, building off of what they learned in the How to Pitch Weekend Workshop. At the end of the pitch, the panelists give feedback to each student, drawing on their extensive insight and experience in pitching and development.

This program carries 7 quarter units of UC credit. Students in this track are enrolled in the following classes:

A) Introduction to TV Writing

The Introduction to TV Writing specialization is designed for students with little to no previous experience in writing for television. Students are introduced to the pilot format, covering style and content as well as the principles behind network needs and how pilots are chosen across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Students write a series outline and the first act of an original pilot. 

101A Summer Institute Symposium (1 unit)
131 Introduction to TV Writing (6 units)

B) Intermediate TV Writing – One-Hour Drama/Half-Hour Dramedy

This course is designed for students with some writing experience who are interested in writing for the one-hour drama format (Pose, Chernobyl, The Good Doctor, Succession, Fargo, Watchmen), half-hour drama format (Homecoming), and half-hour dramedy formats (Glow, Fleabag, Atlanta), covering style and content as well as the principles behind network needs and how pilots are chosen across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Students write a series outline and the first draft of an original pilot. Students in the Drama/Dramedy track should not expect this to be a polished first draft, but will leave with the feedback and tools to further revise this into a fully-realized pilot for their portfolios and careers. Open to works in progress and rewrites.

101A Summer Institute Symposium (1 unit) 
133B Intermediate TV Writing – Drama/Dramedy (6)

Introductory applicants are required to submit a short personal statement and three log lines for three original story ideas.

The intermediate track is open to aspiring writers (18+), including international students that have completed a college level introductory screenwriting course. In addition to the short personal statement and log lines, intermediate applicants are also required to answer a writing prompt, and submit a 2-3 page original scene that demonstrates creativity and a strong original voice.

View the program layout for Session A (June 22 - July 31, 2020):

View the program layout for Session C (August 3 – September 11, 2020):

Register Online. In order to secure your spot, a $150 nonrefundable deposit is due upon completion of your application for the program. You may pay by credit or debit card using our secure online credit card form. Your $150 deposit is nonrefundable and will be applied towards your balance once enrolled in the program.

Grades and Transcripts
Program participants will earn units of credit on a letter-grading basis and will be recorded on an official University of California transcript. Please note that official transcripts are not automatically sent to students. To request a transcript, please contact the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Housing is available in the UCLA Residence Halls. To apply for summer accomadations, please select from the following housing options and rates and submit the application directly to UCLA Housing. It is highly recommended that you apply for housing early, as applications are approved on a first-come-first-served basis.

Financial Aid
Financial aid for Summer Sessions is available to qualified UCLA students. All other students should inquire about financial aid at their home institution. For details about the UCLA financial aid application process, please visit the Financial Aid section of

Contact Us
UCLA Summer Institutes
1332 Murphy Hall
Box 951418
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1418
Tel: (310) 825-4101
Fax: (310) 825-1528