Want to learn how to break into television? Sure you do. Everybody in L.A. does. Well, I’ve got some good news for you. William Rabkin and I will be teaching our thrill-packed four-week online course "Writing Dramatic Television" again, starting on May 2 (and again on June 6), for Writers University. What do you get for your hard-earned bucks? Here’s an excerpt from the course description:
You will learn—and practice— the actual process involved in
successfully writing a spec episodic script. You will learn how to analyze a TV show and develop
“franchise”-friendly story ideas. You will develop and write a story
under the direction of the instructors, who will be acting as
showrunners… and then, after incorporating their notes, you will be
sent off to write your outline. Finally, you will develop and refine
your outline with the instructors, leaving you at the end of the course
ready to write your episodic spec script…the first step in getting a
job on a TV series.
There’s an "early bird" discount of 20% for people who enroll ten days before the course. For more information, click here.
7 thoughts on “Writers University”
I should sign up for this…
Rule #1 is: Don’t work with Stephen Cannell.
I worked with Steve and value the experience (though the shows I have the misfortune to work on were excreble… anyone remember COBRA? Yuck).
Many of the most successful showrunners in TV today have Cannell shows on their resumes (SOPRANOS creator David Chase, CSI exec Carol Mendelsohn, 24 creator Joel Surnow, JAG creator Donald Belisario, etc.) In many ways, Cannell Studios in its heyday was a graduate school education in series writing and production… and his influence is still felt all over primetime today. If not for WISEGUY, would we have SOPRANOS or 24? He change the way we look at TV mobsters and introduced dramatic arcs in episodic crime drama. And let’s face it, ROCKFORD forever changed how we look at TV PIs. Steve Cannell was a “genre” writer/producer. He didn’t do “tiffany shows” (and, to be fair, turned out a lot of schlock,too) and never got the kind of honors bestowed on David Kelley, John Wells, or Steve Bochco. But I think he’s one of the true giants of our field. He’s had an enormous impact on TV and deserves to be recognized not only for his success, but his enduring influence.
I was actually just kidding, Lee… Guyot’s last gig was working with him, so I was making a crack. Cannell’s novels aren’t any great shakes, but he’s done some decent TV over the years.
I’d argue his shows have been more than decent…WISEGUY, ROCKFORD FILES, STINGRAY, GREATEST AMERICAN HERO, TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE, those were great shows. UNSUB was way, way ahead of its time (foreshadowing shows like CSI and PROFILER). A-TEAM, COMMISH, HUNTER, RIPTIDE, HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK, 21 JUMP STREET, BARETTA and SILK STALKINGS may not have been classics, but they were big hits. On the other hand, there’s good reason no one really remembers stuff like BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP, STONE, LAST PRECINCT, THE ROUSTERS, COBRA, HAWKEYE, JJ STARBUCK, SCENE OF THE CRIME, 100 LIVES OF BLACK JACK SAVAGE, THE DUKE, SONNY SPOON, TRAPS, MISSING PERSONS, STREET JUSTICE and BOOKER.
TV needs a good action-oriented show like The A-Team. It’s all cop shows nowadays… little of the action-adventure fun of a show like that.
Heck, one of the first five shows I was going to let myself buy on DVD (and I was going to stick to those shows only) was GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. So I buy many more shows then that now, but I’m thrilled to be working my way through the second season of that show right now.
Somehow, due to my lack of TV watching growing up (I read instead), I’ve missed out on the A-Team. I should probably rent those DVD’s just so I’m up on cultural references for my peers.
Or is that giving into peer pressure.