New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Online Screenwriting

Writing the Original TV Pilot & Series (16 Week)

NYFA guest speaker screenwriter Heather Hach Students get experience behind the camera at NYFA's screenwriting school NYFA guest speaker screenwriter Kurt Wimmer


Do you have a great idea for a television show?

In today's competitive television market, beginner writers must have several tools to help them break into the industry. One of these tools is an original TV pilot script.

With a growing number of television networks airing original series, the demand for new innovative programming is high. You may have that fresh idea that a network might be looking for.

An original pilot script can also help you to get work on an existing TV show. Showrunners and head writers are willing to read a prospective writer's pilot script as well as their TV spec, to get a sense of the writer's original "voice."

This course is designed to teach you how to create an original television pilot script. This course will also help you create a "show bible" for your original TV series. You will not only learn how to write for TV, you will understand what it takes to create a show that has "legs"—a series that has the potential to be on air for several seasons.

Topics to be covered will be: Elements of dramatic writing and comedy writing, TV script show format, writing the multi-act show, writing for commercial breaks, developing characters and character arcs, creating multiple storylines, episodic vs stand alone writing, writing the pilot episode, creating the "show bible," including episode springboards, and season arcs.

This 16 week online class will include taped lectures and weekly one-hour chat sessions conducted by the instructor. Students will be expected to upload writing assignments each week and participate in the scheduled chat sessions. Chat sessions will offer a workshop environment for students, as students will be expected to give feedback on each other's work. The class instructor will provide each student with individual feedback on his or her work as well.

By the end of the 16 weeks, each student should be able to write several drafts of their work and complete this course with a polished draft of an original television pilot and a completed show bible for their TV series.

Award Winning Instructors

Claude Kerven is the director of over 25 film and video segments for Saturday Night Live; “Starstruck,” Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Children’s Special, “High School Narc,” nominated for DGA Award, “Birthday Boy,” Nominated for Cable ACE Award, and “Candy Store,” winner Academy Award for Best Dramatic Student Film. Co-writer of “Mortal Thoughts,” starring Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel, “The Shadow War,” for Universal Studios, and “Darkman and the Circus of Fear,” Prod. Sam Raimi. Has directed such actors as Eddie Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Short, Stevie Wonder, Christopher Guest, Lily Tomlin, Jim Belushi, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jerry Lewis, Peter Stormare and Elizabeth Moss.

Mary Sawyer received her MFA in Film from Columbia University and her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the recipient of several writing awards and fellowships: CU/Nickelodeon Comedy Selectee, Robert MacNamara Foundation Writing Resident; Kathryn Parlan Hearst Screenwriting Fellowship, American Gem Short Screenplay Semi-Finalist. She worked as a Playwriting Artist in Residence in the Rhode Island Public Schools.

An independent filmmaker, screenwriter, playwright and actor, she currently teaches English, screenwriting, television writing and acting in New York City and surrounding areas. She has written screenplays for hire, consulted on domestic and international writing projects, written, directed and produced creative, corporate and educational films. Clients include Cinemotion, Columbia University, Olympus America, Anvil Chinook, Doug Keeves and Consuelo Gonzales. Her work has been produced in various venues including New York's Musical Theater Works and Tiny Mythic Theater Company’s American Livingroom Festival, and Trinity Repertory’s Experimental Black Box space.

For more information, please email or to register call 818-333-3558

Dates & Tuition


Tuition: $1,870 (USD)

Location & Available Dates

For Online:
Feb 3, 2020
May 26, 2020
Sep 14, 2020
Jan 18, 2021
May 10, 2021
Aug 30, 2021

Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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