So what are you up against?
Getting into TV is hard. TV is a multi-million dollar, high-risk industry. There isn’t a producer out there waiting for you with a big bag of money. The reality is that however talented you are, however exciting your material, unless you’ve been taught how to write within the insanely difficult storytelling restrictions imposed by the TV business model you’re a risk that producers may not be prepared to take. Why? Because sadly, if you can’t hit that deadline with what’s needed, you could jeopardise the whole project and lose the company millions.
Television’s ‘Just in time’ business model.
TV’s ‘just in time’-style business model not only requires upfront the bible, pilot and usually first season’s storylines ready to take to investors, but also, if investment is found, complete plans of episodes (scenes, sets, characters) set in stone weeks even months ahead of drafts being written - so that actors can be hired, sets built, costumes made, locations chosen all ready to go on a specific date, while the writers are actually writing drafts.
Okay, you’re panicking - every writer panics the first time they hear this and it gets worse. But forewarned is forearmed. Stay with me.
The structural skills you’ll need are not those you've learnt about the Hollywood conventional one hero, single chronological journey. TV structure is utterly different. It has to be. It’s about multiple protagonists, multiple interwoven stories, ongoing carefully split-up serial content and specific screen time. TV writing requires an entirely different mindset.
You need to learn how to:
- create and multiple vividly powerful storylines at speed to order and to specific length
- know how to split each story into beats and interweave keeping coherence and rising suspense to multiple cliffhangers
work within a maze of restrictions including limited sets, locations, actor availability and many more.
Finally, you need to be so utterly in control that within eight days of the plotting meeting, you could write and submit a plan for an episode with a specific number of scenes and
- multiple interwoven storylines all inserted
- all sets and characters and scene content clearly specified
- several stories all ending in cliffhangers
- a running time accurately estimated at fifty-two minutes thirty seconds
And do it all without writing a scene or a line of dialogue.
upskilled, knowing the language;
knowing the methodology, inspiring the trust;
and most of all, presenting material that’s not only talented and vividly original but ticks the logistical and budgetary boxes;
looking like that rare and wonderful creature to producers:
a writer who’s new, rough around the edges, but is, quite genuinely, a catch.
give you speed skills at inventing and interweaving quality storylines;
give you practice at writing good material within the industry’s crazy production restraints;
keep you calm, focused and productive faced with emergencies and deadlines;
get you valued and trusted;
significantly boost your chances of breaking in.
To create vividly original story material quickly, with flexibility, under pressure and to order.
To create, split and interweave multiple storylines using beats as done by pros.
To write within the often extreme limits on sets, locations, actor availability etc. as per the TV business model.
To use the characterisation, style, dialogue choices, mood and aims of the show’s model (as created by the show’s original writer).
To compress or extend storylines without losing story values and quality.
To learn extensive analytical and practical TV skills to take away and use on your own TV series.
To use cards to build episodes brick by brick.
To devise and construct a professional TV Scene Breakdown (a scene by scene description of the episode created before you write it).
Three foundation TV courses in one (speed creativity, multiplot structures under pressure, eight weeks of TV Plotting Practice)
Essential practical professional writing skills rarely taught outside of the Writers’ Room
Graduated practical, self-guided exercises based on real-world TV pressured-writing challenges to practise and consolidate skills
Eight packed hours of online Q and A group feedback from Linda Aronson, so you get to hear not only the answers to your own questions, but answers to others' questions, maximizing your problem-solving kit
Video recordings of this Q&A sessions, plus video recordings of the Q&A sessions of your fellow students in the parallel cohort
‘Beat theory or ‘close plotting’ for creating, splitting up and interweaving multiple storylines
Creating multiple protagonist storylines
Strategies to meet crippling deadlines
Speed strategies of finding the story (the what and the how)
Story templates Simple to Advanced
Message, Scenario, Action Line, Relationship Line
Storytelling restrictions of budget, sets, locations, actor availability
How to calculate ahead of time how much story material from each plotline you need to fit into each episode’s predetermined screen time
The principles of beat sheets and scene breakdowns
Compressing and expanding storylines via beats
From Beats to Cards to Interweaving
Recalibration: from cards to artistry
Theory and practical application TV Scene Breakdowns and Beat Sheets
Ten self-help Strategies for TV Writers (for ongoing use in the future)
A basic but solid sketch plan for a short TV work that you could possibly take further
You’ll get BOTH practice and theory within the course - and even spend eight weeks of practical plotting on an invented fake serial, creating and interweaving multiple storylines using beat theory like the pros - all with online group feedback from Linda Aronson.
Crucially, the course is designed for you to work at your own pace, in your own time, with six months' access to the course materials, so you can catch up if life intervenes and you get left behind.
"I’m a better writer because of Linda's influence."
What I gained is experience with contemporary multi story serial / series writing, done under pressure and within budgetary and set constraints. And done to order. I uncovered habits in my own writing that needed attention. Linda’s ‘story muscle’ technique for brainstorming new ideas has now become part of my toolkit. Linda’s relentless demonstration and exercises in how to build the stories, how to meld them into a whole, and to end up with something that’s more than the sum of its parts was a revelation. And when Linda is talking, she’s a joy to listen to. Anecdotes and examples spill out. Her analytical approach is an education, and her enthusiasm is inescapable. I’m already a better writer because of her influence, but just as importantly, I can see how to keep improving.
"I feel like I've learned so much in such a short space of time."
Having a solid workflow in terms of character design, beats and story strands has really helped me structure the way we work together in a measured and strategic manner, whilst also allowing us to see/track tangible progress without feeling the need to leap straight into writing a first draft.
A big thank you to Linda for setting up and running the course.
"After 20 years working in TV and cinema I now have NEW tools thanks to Linda."
Up to 16 hours of Q&A videos - from your own group and from the Q&A sessions of your fellow students in the Americas cohort ($299 Value)
Unique TV Skills Theory + Exercise ($699 Value)
Unique Beats and Interweaving Practical Program ($499 Value)
SAVE YOUR SEAT NOW FOR JUST
It all starts on August 30th, 2021, and runs for 14 weeks, but places are limited and Linda always books out fast.
By clicking the button below you are confirming that you are joining the Europe cohort of this course. See FAQ's (below) for live Q&A session times for the Europe cohort.
No refund is available for withdrawal 24 hours before or less before course commencement or after the course has commenced, so please be sure that you can participate before you enroll.
You want to become a professional television writer and are ready to put in the hard yards to get your skills.
You’re already a TV writer but you want to fine up speed creativity skills and get better at multiple storyline creation and plotting.
You’re a producer, director or script editor who wants to move into becoming a writer.
You’re working on your own series but are struggling with plotting and structure (that said, you’ll learn the skills TO APPLY to your series and what practical and logistical restrictions you’ll have to work around. You won’t be helped to develop and finish THE SPECIFIC SERIES YOU’RE WRITING).
You’re a novelist and want to learn good story structure.
You want to write non-linear, flashback, or multiple protagonist films.
You want to learn from a teacher whose TV classes routinely get sold out in hours.
You’re going to go into debt to take this course.
You don’t have the time to commit to learning the theory and practicing using the exercises.
You are writing a TV series and want a course that will quickly help you get it market-ready (in reality if you are already writing a TV series without knowing the restrictions you are likely to need a great number of revisions). The course teaches you the skills for you to apply to your own work.
You’re assuming that a good idea is sufficient and ‘if you write it they will come'.
You assume that getting production funding is routine and easy.
You want to bring along a new idea for a TV series and get instructions for developing it as the course proceeds.
You want one-to-one feedback from Linda on your exercises during the course (instead you get eight packed hours of group Q and A feedback from Linda which she feels gives you a much broader and deeper learning than focusing on the micro issues of any given exercise - Linda has made a conscious choice to prioritise your training in the specific TV skills you can't already know but must urgently learn to best hold your own in a professional situation).
How much time is this going to take out of my week / add to my schedule? I’m afraid of signing up for this and then not having the time or energy required to get the results.
Probably seven hours a week for 14 weeks. Obviously the more practice you put in, the better.
It is important to have the time to devote, but if you're trying to get into TV, you’ll already be trying to fit your writing in around your day job so speed skills could help you!
Remember you get six months access to the course materials from the date of course commencement, so if you're pressed for time or have other commitments, you could actually catch up after the course ends. It would also be possible to enroll in the course and complete it at your own leisure within 6 months without even attending the live Q&A sessions by simply watching the recordings of your fellow students (not the best option but the course has been designed so that it's possible). In the eight-week Plotting Practice section there are two-hour Q and A sessions with Linda and your group weekly.
What times are the live Q&A sessions for this cohort (Europe cohort)?
The Europe cohort live Q&A sessions start on September 5, 2021 and run weekly.
The sessions start between 6pm and 7:30pm AEST. Click here to find out what time that is in your time zone.
Is there a specific start date or can I enroll at any time?
The course is currently open for enrollment and enrollments close on August 29, 2021 or until booked (places are limited).
I’m not sure I’m at the right level yet to do this.
Passion, talent, and the will to work hard are the only prerequisites!
But I'm not interested in getting employed as a writer on an existing TV series. I want to develop my own series for TV, on my own, not with other writers.
So you will really need to learn the skills and the restrictions the course will teach you! You can’t know the restrictions without being told. Actually, without being negative, in my experience, most writers entrusted to write series on their own are already very experienced in TV writing because there are so many do’s and don’ts in TV writing, and nothing is like experience. Possibly that’s changing.
Be aware that if and when you get commissioned to write a series, depending on the number of episodes, it might well be that a team of writers is involved (so the scripts are produced almost simultaneously). You’ll need to brief these people. Whichever way you look at it you need the skills.
I'M PLANNING A COURSE ON DEVISING A TV SERIES
I am planning a course specifically on creating a series. This course would be a prerequisite for that.
I’m a new writer already writing a TV series and struggling. Will this course help me complete it?
Well yes and no. Possibly no because there’s a good chance that while what you’re writing might be high quality it won’t, in its present state, be doable within the extensive restrictions of the medium and of the producers’ piggy bank. It might need extensive re-writing, which makes it unattractive to producers. Yes, in the sense that learning the skills and the parameters will much better equip you to rewrite the script. Also, down the track, the skills will show how to choose and create something that will work in the medium and show producers that you know your skills and are someone to be taken seriously and watched. Of course, even for very experienced writers, getting any script produced is a lottery. Hence the expression ‘development hell’. This is just the world all writers live in.
Do I need this? I’m already an experienced playwright or novelist or film writer.
So was I - and I nearly died when I saw the limitations and the deadlines! I’ve never met a writer who hasn’t. It’s crazy-restricted. Nuts.
I’ve got a trial in a Writers’ Room. Do I need this course?
Hey, congratulations! Yes, you need it. You may not get a second chance Go in as prepared as possible and wow ‘em.
But I have a great idea! I’ll just write it and wait for a producer to pick it up. The Producer can get someone else to fix it.
Unfortunately, as I’ve said, there aren’t producers out there with big bags of money just waiting to bestow it on new writers. The world is full of good TV ideas. While your material may be talented, as I’ve explained, it will probably have significant technical problems that you won’t have known about - with some episodes too long or too short, too much or too little serial content in various episodes, stories not interwoven properly, or forgotten about. Those ‘someone elses’ who fix are very expensive. And maybe your script needs too much adjusting to be financially viable. Why wouldn’t the producer buy an equally good and ready-to-go project from an experienced and reliable writer whose name will impress directors? TV is a business. Best to fine up your skills and write your own produceable material.
I’ve already got a producer interested.
Great! But if you’re working for free, be aware a) that the producer has made no commitment to you, you are working for months unpaid and b) even if you finish, the producer may decide against it. This course will reduce the risk, save you time and increase your professional chances in the industry. You need to get into the position of being paid to write and for that, you need to know your tools of the trade.
I can’t afford this right now.
That’s fine, but at some point you’ll need to learn your skills.