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Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)

Michigan State University via Coursera

3 Reviews 815 students interested
Found in Film & Theatre
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Start Date
  • Duration 5 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

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Overview

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What you’ll achieve:

In this project-centered course*, you will design a series bible and write a complete pilot episode for your own unique television or web series, be it drama or comedy or something in between. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script in just a few weeks. Completing this project will increase your confidence in your ideas and abilities, and you’ll feel prepared to pitch your first script and get started on your next.

This is a course designed to tap into your creativity and is based in "Active Learning". Most of the actual learning takes place within your own activities - that is, writing! You will learn by doing.

"Thank you so much for your direct way of teaching this course. It was encouraging for us all to creatively flow and find our own voice in writing and developing our scripts. This aspect was very important to me." Ingrid

The course curriculum is simple: you’ll write, revise your work, and share feedback with your peers.

I am a proponent of Experiential Learning (active learning). My lectures are short (sometimes just two minutes long) and to the point, designed in a step-by-step process essential to your success as a script writer. I will guide you but I won’t "show" you how to write. I firmly believe that the only way to become a writer is to write, write, write.

“David's lecture style for this course is inspired. The videos are succinct and engaging. When I watch the lectures I feel David’s sincere desire for me to create something truly amazing. He is teaching us how to write a script, and he is providing wisdom and tools that will help us do so in a compelling way - by writing; not by watching him talk at us.” - A R Adamson

What you’ll need to get started:

To begin with, any basic word processor will do. During week two, you can choose to download some free scriptwriting software such as Celtx or Trelby or you may choose to purchase Final Draft, or you can continue to use your word processor and do your own script formatting.

Learner Review: "I am in love with this course. Having never written a script before, or any substantive fiction since college (15 years ago) I had a small idea in my head that has now exploded into something I really believe in. David's guidance is spot on, he's his own compelling story teller, he gives you enough, and then you have to figure it out, make it happen, WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! "

*About Project-Centered Courses: This is a ‘project-centered course’, which means it is designed specifically to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project, with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start on using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share.

Time: 1-2 hours of study, 30+ hours of active project work

Syllabus

Develop your TV series concept
-In Module 1 you will: 1. create a brief outline of your pilot episode, 2. revise your outline following peer review, 3. create a bible for the series: that is, you will develop your original idea for a series into a document that defines the concept, the major characters and brief descriptions of the episodes for season one.

Write Act One of your pilot episode
-In Module 2 you will complete the 1st act of your episode (or the 1st installment of your Web Series) You will: 1. create a brief outline of your pilot episode. 2. revise your episode outline following peer review, 3. create a detailed outline of your first act, 4. revise your Act One outline following peer review, 5. write your first act in screenplay format, 6. revise your Act One script after peer review.

Write Act Two
-In this module you will complete the second act of your episode (or the 2nd installment of your Web Series).

You will: 1. write a detailed outline of the second act, 2. revise your outline following peer review, 3. write the second act in screenplay format, 4. revise your second act following peer review.

Act Three
-In module 4 you will complete the 3rd act of your episode (or the third installment of your Web Series). You will: 1. write a detailed outline of Act Three, 2. revise your outline following peer review, 3. Write Act Three in screenplay format, 4. Revise your act following peer review


Polish your script, create a Cold Open and finish the Season One Bible
-In Module 5 you will 1. polish the completed script of your episode (or your three Webisodes), 2. create a Cold Open, 3. revise the Series Bible based on your finished script, 4 submit the Final Script and Series Bible for final review.

Taught by

David Wheeler

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Reviews for Coursera's Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)
2.3 Based on 3 reviews

  • 5 star 0%
  • 4 star 33%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 33%
  • 1 star 33%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

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  • 1
Jim J
1.0 3 years ago
by Jim is taking this course right now and found the course difficulty to be very hard.
it' purports to be an opportunity to learn TV /WEB Pilot writing

with the absurd premise that no reading can help you prepare

then your grade is determined by other students who get to say if you are motivated or not , would it make a good series or not ,based on what experience on their part to determine that about you ,some one they have no knowledge of

I'm grateful I had the chance to take it ,I hope that in the future a class along there lines will be offered
1 person found
this review helpful
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Melissa M
2.0 4 months ago
Melissa completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Your only feedback is through other students. You are required to "grade" other students but only one other student consistently provided feedback to my assignments. Everybody else was either lazy or had no idea what they were doing. The value of this class comes with writing a Pilot episode in the thirty-page format using the three-act structure. The videos don't exactly give you very much guidance and are a bit ridiculous. There was an active mentor assigned to this course who provided guidance via the discussion forums, who seemed to be quite adept at explaining the concepts required, but the entire experience was unsatisfying.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Rui O
4.0 3 years ago
by Rui completed this course.
1 person found
this review helpful
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