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Writing A Successful Television Series

Tutors: Emmanuel Oberg

Date: Monday, May 24th, 2021

Duration: 1 month preparation, mostly series watching (May 18-June 18) including 14-day access to the “Introduction to the Story-Type Method” mini-course (June 4-June 17), 14-day access to the TV Series self-led course itself (June 18-July 3)

Venue: Online Blended

Cost: €150

Course Profile:

Screen Skills Ireland and Screen Skillnet are delighted to offer Irish storytellers a specially adapted version of Emmanuel Oberg’s online workshop Writing a Successful TV Series.

This module is an extension of his Advanced Development Workshop, which has been delivered successfully on many occasions in the UK as well as in Germany, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, France, Croatia, Latvia and The Czech Republic.

Based on Oberg’s innovative Story-Type Method®, this workshop explores the crucial distinction between conventional series formats and the actual story structure lying underneath.

The aim of the workshop is to equip storytellers – writers, directors, producers, showrunners – with a detailed understanding of the principles at play in the development of a series for television or online streaming.

The workshop puts a strong emphasis on each project reaching the widest possible audience, both at home and abroad, without compromising the storytellers’ creative freedom. It is for anyone developing ambitious, original projects at any budget level looking to find the most appropriate design for each individual series.

Using examples and exclusive case studies from successful, recent series such as Stranger Things, Big Little Lies, Killing Eve, Sex Education, Fleabag, Mr. Robot, Happy Valley and many others, the workshop lifts the veil on the flexible yet powerful tools and techniques needed to master this fast-changing medium.

Writing a Successful TV Series also explores how to create an irresistible bible, a compelling pilot, unforgettable characters and addictive storylines that audiences around the world will want to watch week after week once they’re hooked on the first episode.

*Important: participants are expected to have either:

  • Attended Emmanuel’s Advanced Development Workshop;
  • Or have read his book, Screenwriting Unchained (www.screenwritingunchained.com), as this module builds on the theory introduced in the book and the main workshop.
  • For those who haven’t done either and are willing to compromise, a free 60-page sampler will be available to download and an “Introduction to the Story-Type Method” mini-course (3 hours of content) covering the same ground will be made available between the 4th of June and the 17th of June.

The workshop unfolds in two parts running in parallel: a self-led online course with eight modules (about ten hours of content in total) interspersed with live interactive sessions with Emmanuel featuring Q&As and hands-on group work.

For more details on the workshop, please see: TV Series Workshop – SCREENPLAY Unlimited

Workshop Schedule:

As a blended learning offering that includes both live and self-led sessions, we hope that the course will be accessible to those with other commitments. However, please note that there is a significant amount of preparation in the month leading to the workshop and that the week of the workshop (June 18th-June 24th) requires a decent amount of availability.

Monday May 24th – Onboarding session – 14:00 – 16:00 – Introduction to the Course with Emmanuel Oberg

Preparation (mostly series watching) until the 18th of June, including 14-day access between the 3rd of June and the 17th of June to the “Introduction to the Story-Type Method” mini-course (3 hours of content).

*Please note the following three modules will only become available on the 18th of June.

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 1: DEVELOPING A TV SERIES WITH THE STORY-TYPE METHOD®

In this first module, after discussing current trends, we’ll look at series types and how series are conventionally developed:

  • Different Types of Series: Serial, procedural, limited etc.
  • Conventional Series Design: It’s All About a Logistical Format. Clips: Brent Forrester on Comedy Writing, Transparent (J. Soloway)

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 2: DEVELOPING A TV SERIES WITH THE STORY-TYPE METHOD®

This second module focuses on how series are really designed:

  • Underlying Series Design: Let’s Talk About Dramatic Structure! Especially the importance of the fractal aspect of story structure in series design, the use of Maslow in series and how managing information is often what makes or breaks a series. Clips: Stranger Things (The Duffer Brothers), Friends (Crane & Kaufmann)

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 3: DEVELOPING A TV SERIES WITH THE STORY-TYPE METHOD®

Project Development: In this third module, we explore the pitching and development of a series:

  • Creating an Irresistible Bible
  • Writing a Compelling Pilot / First Episode Clips: Killing Eve (P. Waller Bridge)

Monday June 21st– LIVE WORKSHOP 1: LIVE Zoom Q&A session on modules 1-3 (14:00 – 16:00)

Followed by Group Work “What’s Your Type?”

*Please note the following two modules will only become available after Live workshop 1.

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 4:  DEVELOPING A PLOT-LED SERIES

Most procedurals fall into this category, but many serials too. In this module we see how we can handle the most classical story-type without being formulaic. Case Study: To be revealed during Group Work “What’s Your Type?”

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 5: DEVELOPING A CHARACTER-LED SERIES

Although less common than plot-led and theme-led series, character-led series are alive and well. A series based on the transformation of a main character can be just as gripping as one based on a tense plot. Case Study: To be revealed during Group Work “What’s Your Type?”

Wednesday June 23rd – LIVE WORKSHOP 2: LIVE Zoom Q&A session on modules 4-5 (14:00 – 16:00) Followed by Hands-On “Mapping the Change”

*Please note the following two modules will only become available after Live workshop 2.

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 6: DEVELOPING A THEME-LED SERIES

In this module, we take an in-depth look at a theme-led (multi-stranded) series, which tend to dominate the modern series world. Many contemporary serials are theme-led or have a strong theme-led element. Case Study: To be revealed during Group Work “What’s Your Type?”

ONLINE SELF-LED MODULE 7: DEVELOPING A SERIES AS A HYBRID OR AN EXCEPTION

Some of the most successful series are hybrids or exceptions. In this module we explain how a few series successfully break the “rules”. Case Studies: To be revealed during Hands-On “What’s Your Type?”

Thursday June 24th – LIVE WORKSHOP 3: LIVE Zoom Q&A session on modules 6-7 (14:00 – 16:00) followed by Module 8 and a final Hands-On: THE REWRITE STUFF: 12 WAYS TO A STRONGER SERIES

**The full course (including the eight modules) will remain available for a week after Workshop 3, until July 3rd.

Participant Profile:

The aim of the workshop is to equip storytellers – writers, directors, producers, showrunners – with a detailed understanding of the principles at play in the development of a series for television or online streaming.

This workshop is not project-led, so there will be no time to discuss individual projects. However, there will be hands-on group work focusing on project development.

This course is limited to 20 participants.

Screen Skills Ireland and Screen Skillnet courses are open to all regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Application Procedure:

Please apply online through the Screen Skills Ireland website by 10am on Monday May 10th 2021.

Queries about the website should be sent to elizabeth.fraser@screenskillsireland.ie.

Other queries to barbara.deignan@screenskillnet.ie or grainne.bennett@screenskillsireland.ie.

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