Writing an Original TV Drama Serial
Our brand new highly selective course will see talented writers develop an outline and write a pilot episode for an original TV drama serial, with masterclasses from top TV professionals and the Curtis Brown TV agents.
Mar 09 2020 - Jul 13 2020
In-person course in central London
We offer places to the most talented applicants
Course Fee £2,800
Work on your idea with TV drama professionals
We’re proud to unveil our exciting new 18-week course in writing an original TV drama serial, working closely with Curtis Brown’s Theatre, Film and Television agents. Fifteen talented writers will each develop an idea for a six-part serial, write a 60-minute pilot episode and evolve a plan for a further five episodes – supported by the expert teaching of celebrated TV-dramatist Colin Teevan (former Professor of Screenwriting and Playwriting at Birkbeck), plus an in-depth one-to-one tutorial from an experienced script editor, a series of five masterclasses from leading TV-industry professionals, a pitching session with Curtis Brown agents – and the opportunity to share materials with the agent team and meet them for networking drinks at the end of the course.
The course will help students to develop their work to the best of its potential and will also be highly practical – giving a real-world education about what the industry is looking for and how to pitch their work effectively. Across the eighteen weeks, students will work on a range of important materials as well as writing their pilot script and workshopping extracts from it. They’ll be getting advice from top professionals on how to develop their idea, and on how to write pitches, outlines, treatments, character biographies, scenes and sequences, series overviews, and more.
The group will meet on one evening per week, with all classes taking place at Curtis Brown’s central London offices.
While we don’t guarantee that students will find representation with Curtis Brown, our agents will be on the look-out for exciting new talent and will call in the full scripts of writers whose work they particularly connect with.
In the eight years since we’ve started Curtis Brown Creative, over 75 of our novel-writing students have gone on to get major publishing deals for their novels, including Jane Harper (The Dry), Kate Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat), Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar is now a major feature film starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren) and Jessie Burton, whose debut The Miniaturist sold more than a million copies and became a BBC mini-serial. Read more about the published authors who’ve studied with us here. Our new course in Writing an Original TV Drama Serial has been in gestation for some time now, and we are thrilled to be launching it for Spring 2020 with the support of Curtis Brown’s Theatre, Film and Television department.
Colin Teevan, Screenwriter
Colin Teevan is a celebrated playwright, translator and writer for screen. He is writer and executive producer of Rebellion (RTE, Netflix) and lead writer, showrunner and executive producer on seasons 2 and 3 of Das Boot (Bavaria Fiction/Sky TV). His other work for television includes Charlie (RTE), Silk (BBC), Vera and Single Handed (ITV). Colin’s theatre pieces have been produced by the National, the Young Vic, the Soho Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland. Until recently he was Professor of Screenwriting and Playwriting at Birkbeck, University of London where he had lectured for twelve years.
Clare Alan, Script Editor
Clare Alan is a script editor and producer who has worked on a range of TV and film projects in the UK and Ireland. Her script editing credits include Solomon & Gaenor by Paul Morrison and controversial C4 factual drama The Investigator by Barbara Machin for September films, Dangerfield and Silent Witness for the BBC, and four series of The Vice for ITV. Clare moved to Touchpaper TV as head of development in 2001 and began producing on shows by Julian Fellowes, Barry Simner, Edna O’Brien and Colin Teevan. In 2017 she set up Pamela Productions where she worked on ReefTV’s biopic of Mahler for BBC Music & Arts, Draco by Clive Bradley and A New Dawn by Bronagh Taggart for BBC Northern Ireland. She has also worked as executive producer on C4’s new writing and directing scheme Coming Up.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
Five masterclass evenings
Top TV professionals share their expertise
Leading figures from all key stages of the production process will guide students through the process of drama development, with focus on students' work.
Ten workshop evenings
Led by Colin Teevan
On ten evenings, Colin Teevan will lead group workshops giving dedicated feedback on 2,000-word extracts of your pilot script. Each student gets two workshops focused on their own work across the course.
Ten teaching sessions
Led by Colin Teevan
In the second hour of his ten classes, Colin will teach on topics important for developing and writing a TV drama serial – and which support the masterclasses.
A one-to-one with your tutor
Choose what to bring to your tutorial with Colin
You'll get a 25-minute one-to-one tutorial with Colin Teevan, who will read up to 2,000 words from your work ahead of time. You decide whether to show him script material, outline, pitch etc.
Agents' pitching session
Pitch your serial to the Curtis Brown agents
TV agents from Curtis Brown will read and listen to your pitches and give verbal feedback to help you sharpen them. They'll also talk about the agent's role and answer questions.
Longer tutorial from script editor
Get expert feedback from Clare Alan
Near the end of the course, you'll get a 45-minute tutorial with professional script editor Clare Alan, who will read your 50-word pitch, the first 30 pages of your pilot script and a 300-word outline of the rest of the serial and give a valuable industry-oriented perspective.
Show your work to the agents
A chance to share material with the Curtis Brown agents
At course end you'll have the chance to informally share with the agent team the first fifteen pages of your pilot script (max 2,200 words) plus 50-word pitch and 300-word outline for the series. Agents may request to see more.
Join a networking drinks evening at course end
As the course wraps up, you'll be invited to a drinks evening with the Curtis Brown agents and professionals from Cuba Pictures production company – to talk about your work and make useful contacts.
MASTERCLASSES FROM TV PROFESSIONALS
This course will feature a series of five special masterclasses delivered by TV professionals – organised and ordered to reflect the process of real-world television drama development. Students will be asked to prepare a specific piece of work relating to their own project for each of these sessions. The masterclass will start out with the guest TV professional giving the inside track on their role to demystify it for the students, and answering their questions – and will then move on to discussion of the students’ work. Each guest professional will discuss in detail the work of three students – and will do so in such a way as to be educational for the whole group. Each student will have their work specifically considered in one of these masterclasses (see the schedule below for details of the focus of each masterclass and the work to be completed).
Working with other writers
We pride ourselves on the tightly-knit writing communities that are established on our courses. As well as getting feedback on your work-in-progress during the course, we’ll be asking you to read the work of your fourteen fellow students week by week, and provide constructive comments (both in writing and verbally at the group workshop sessions). We find the process of offering feedback to others helps you to reach important conclusions about your own work and sharpen your material. On ten evenings across the course (as detailed in the schedule), three students will have 10–12 pages of their pilot script (up to 2,000 words on each occasion) workshopped by the rest of the group and the tutor. It’ll be your turn to get the group’s dedicated workshop attention twice during the course.
Our selective applications process means that you will be developing and writing your original TV drama serial in a peer group of fifteen students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found their tribe with us – and continue to meet up with class-mates who have become trusted readers long after the course is over.
The course fee of £2,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, we’re happy to discuss payment in instalments. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.
Please upload your application via the form at the end of this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Masterclass Tutors and Agents
Read about the industry professionals who’ll be teaching the student group in our five special masterclass sessions – and the agents who’ll be giving feedback on your pitches (full details of contributors will be added here as soon as they are available).
All sessions take place at Curtis Brown’s offices in central London. The masterclasses and the workshops and teaching sessions with Colin Teevan all run from 7pm–9pm (with tutorials immediately prior to class – 6pm–7pm).
The masterclasses and the agent pitch session are all hosted by a member of the Curtis Brown Creative team.
The final session on 13 July starts at 5.45pm, with agent-drinks immediately afterwards, from 6.30pm.
Monday 9 March
Introductory session with Colin Teevan and CBC’s Managing Director Anna Davis. Colin and Anna will welcome the group to the course, explain how everything works and share what students should do to get the most out of the 18 weeks.
Developing a character
Monday 16 March
Teaching from Colin Teevan on how to develop your central characters – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
A character's arc
Monday 23 March
Teaching from Colin Teevan on how to construct a character’s story arc – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Masterclass 1: Showrunner/Writer
Monday 30 March
Our guest showrunner/lead writer (tba) will give the inside track on their role, and lead a masterclass on developing characters – with focus on three students’ character biographies (400–600 words).
Plotting an episode
Monday 6 April
Teaching from Colin Teevan on how to plot an episode – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Masterclass 2: Producer/Development executive
Monday 20 April
Our guest producer/development executive (tba) will give the inside track on their role, and lead a masterclass which focuses on the central idea – the pitch (50 words) and outline for the serial as a whole (300 words) – with focus on three students’ work.
Plotting a serial
Monday 27 April
Teaching from Colin Teevan – the first of two sessions on how to plot your serial – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Masterclass 3: Script Editor
Monday 4 May
Script editor Clare Alan will give the inside track on her role, and lead a masterclass which centres on how to write the treatment for your pilot – with focus on three students’ treatments – five pages (maximum 1,500 words).
Plotting a serial (continued)
Monday 11 May
Teaching from Colin Teevan – the second of two sessions on how to plot your serial – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Monday 18 May
Teaching from Colin Teevan on how to write scenes – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Masterclass 4: Commissioner/Executive Producer
Tuesday 26 May
Our guest commissioner/executive producer (tba) will give the inside track on their role, and lead a masterclass on the serial overview – with focus on three students’ work (2–4 pages overview, maximum 1,500 words plus images).
Monday 1 June
Teaching from Colin Teevan on dramatic time – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Point of view
Monday 8 June
Teaching from Colin Teevan on point of view – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Masterclass 5: Director
Monday 15 June
Our guest director (tba) will give the inside track on their role, and lead a masterclass on scenes – with focus on three students’ scenes or sequences (5–10 minutes of material).
Writing through action
Monday 22 June
Teaching from Colin Teevan on writing through action – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
Monday 29 June
Colin Teevan’s final full teaching session will help students to prepare for their pitching session with the agents and get answers to questions that are troubling them – plus a workshop focusing on extracts from three students’ pilot scripts.
The Pitch - with TV agents from Curtis Brown
Monday 6 July
Agents from Curtis Brown’s Theatre, Film and Television department will talk about the role of the agent and give advice on how to pitch. They’ll then run a pitch workshop – listening to the pitches of all fifteen students and giving their verbal feedback.
Final session and drinks with the agent team
Monday 13 July
Colin Teevan and Anna Davis (CBC’s MD) will lead a concluding session, looking at next steps for the students (starting 5.45pm), followed by …
Networking drinks with the agent team from Curtis Brown’s Theatre, Film and Television department plus representatives from Cuba Pictures production company and other course contributors.