Track 3: 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 a classroom environment that imitates the practices of a writers’ room. Under the guidance of a TV industry professional, students learn how to identify and capture the tone, characters, dialogue, and themes that make their story unique.
Participants will select one of two specializations:
- Introduction to TV Writing, OR
- Intermediate TV Writing for One-Hour Drama/Dramedy
Students at the introductory level write a series document, pilot outline, and the first act of the pilot script. Intermediate Drama/Dramedy level students outline and write the first draft of an original pilot and develop the series outline as a pitch document. 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.
In small workshops, students at all levels meet twice a week to discuss ideas, break stories, and give feedback and notes on each other’s work. All tracks offer nine 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.
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.
This program carries 9 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 document, pilot outline, and the first act of an original pilot.
FTV 104 Film and Television Symposium(1 unit)
FTV 131 Introduction to TV Writing (8 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 outline and write the first draft of an original pilot and develop the series outline as a pitch document. 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.
FTV 104 Film and TelevisionSymposium (1 unit)
FTV 133B Intermediate TV Writing – Drama/Dramedy (8 units)
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 & the Industry
During the weekly Summer Institute Mixer, students network with students from other UCLA Film and Television Summer Institute tracks. Students also tour a major Hollywood Studio. The Film and Television Summer Institute finishes with a closing night ceremony and a networking mixer for students and alumni of our program.
As part of the FTV 131/133B curriculum, guest lecturers with established careers in television lead professional development workshops for students from all TV Writing levels. These workshops explore topics such as How to Pitch and Demystifying the Script Coverage Process.
Demystifying the Script Coverage Process:
Script coverage is ubiquitous in the industry. A writer’s screenplays and teleplays will undergo coverage whether submitted to management companies, agencies, production companies, or studios. A main job duty of interns and assistants will be writing script coverage. Understanding and writing excellent coverage not only provides an important career skill, it allows a writer to put themselves in the shoes of the reader to aid in their writing. This workshop will introduce the basics of script analysis and the different formats of coverage reports, discuss industry uses of coverage, and familiarize students with the roles that most utilize this skill (Script Reader, Story Editor, Development Exec).
How to Pitch:
In this workshop, students will get the inside scoop of how projects are pitched and sold in Hollywood taught by a seasoned industry professional. With an eye toward the final pitch panels at the end of the session, students will learn what goes into a pitch, the elements that make it compelling, how to apply it to their own material in a way that will keep their listeners on the edge of their seats.
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 Professional Development 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.
Requirements for Introductory Track
The Introductory track is open to aspiring writers (18+) with little to no previous experience in writing for television. As part of their application, students must submit a short personal statement and three log lines (1-2 sentences each) for three original story ideas.
Requirements for Intermediate Track
The intermediate track is open to aspiring writers (18+) that have already completed a college level introductory screenwriting course. In addition to the short personal statement and log lines, intermediate applicants are also required to submit a 2-3 page original scene, as well as draft a 2-5 page scene based on a writing prompt that demonstrate creativity and a strong original voice. Both intermediate level writing samples must be submitted in screenplay format.
Register Online. In order to secure your spot, a nonrefundable deposit is due upon completion of your application for the program. Deposits 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 accommodations, please select from the following housing options and rates and submit an 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 for Summer Sessions is available for qualified UC students. UCLA students can find more details about the UCLA financial aid application process by visiting the Financial Aid section of summer.ucla.edu. UC and visiting (non-UC) students should inquire about financial aid at their home institution.
UCLA Summer Institutes
1332 Murphy Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1418
Tel: (310) 825-4101
Fax: (310) 825-1528