Writing a Successful
Developing ambitious, original TV series projects at any budget level for a global audience? Looking to find the most efficient design for each individual series? This online course was made for you!
Transform the Way You Pitch and Develop Projects
for Television and Online Streaming in 20 Hours
Design an original series and increase your chances of reaching a wide audience, at home and abroad, without limiting your creative freedom!
Based on Oberg’s innovative Story-Type Method®, this workshop explores the crucial distinction between conventional TV Series formats (3-act, 4-act, 5-act, 7-act...) and the actual story structure lying underneath.
It aims to equip storytellers (writers, directors, creative producers, creators, showrunners, development execs, story editors) with a detailed understanding of the principles at play in the pitching and development of a high-end TV Series in order to help them design, troubleshoot and deliver outstanding stories!
Using examples and exclusive case studies from successful, recent TV series such as Stranger Things, Killing Eve, Sex Education, Occupied, Big Little Lies, Fleabag, Happy Valley, Transparent, Mr. Robot and many others, this workshop lifts the veil on the flexible yet powerful tools and techniques needed to master this popular storytelling form.
'Writing a Successful TV Series' will show you 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...
This hybrid workshop (part self-led, part live) is usually commissioned by independent producers, studios, national/regional film funds or training organisations. It is delivered online as standard to closed groups of five to forty-eight participants, though a larger audience is technically possible. Travel permitting, the last live Q&A session can be delivered in person if optional project work is included through one-to-one meetings or our hands-on extension.
What's Included in The Workshop?
- 90-day access to the 'Writing a Successful TV Series' self-led online course (10 hours of content in 8 training modules). You'll go through the content over one to three weeks and are free to revisit it the week(s) following the workshop.
- Interactive quizzes at the end of each training module that help you check how much you've remembered and clarify your understanding. They also provide instant feedback depending on your answers, for example suggesting which topic you might want to revisit.
- NEW: Interactive Chat Assistant, available 24/7 in the course, that provides instant information, guidance, examples and references about the course content as you explore or revisit it. This chat assistant is similar to the one available on the lower right corner of most pages on the website (including this one), except that instead of helping with the content of the website, it helps specifically with the content of each course.
- Hands-On videos focusing on project development, raising questions and suggesting practical tips so that you can apply the content of each module to your show as you go along. The last hands-on, 'The Rewrite Stuff: 12 Ways to a Stronger Series', looks at twelve key areas for your upcoming rewrite.
- Writers' Room Game: As you go through the content and take the quizzes, you earn points depending on your answers. You can check your progress as you make your way from writer's PA to showrunner in a virtual writers' room and see if you earn a spot on the group leaderboard... The reward points you earn as you play the game can be used to claim up to 25% off a future course ($100 max).
- Suggested workshop schedule: Week 1 is for series watching, Week 2 is for Modules 1-3 (Series Design and Project Development), Week 3 is for Modules 4-8 (Case Studies and Conclusion) with optional one-to-one meetings at the end of the week, Week 4 is to revisit the content of the self-led online course. Note: It is highly recommended that you do as much of the preparation as possible before starting the workshop (see notice below). The workshop can take place over a shorter time if needed (down to 3-5 days excluding prep).
- LIVE: One onboarding session at the beginning of Week 1 and three Q&A sessions including hands-on / group work as participants progress through the self-led online course.
- Permanent access to extensive course materials including: all the slides shown during the course; Oberg's exclusive in-depth analysis of " " (detailed scene breakdowns, storylines and strands maps for the eight episodes of the first season); free samplers (first 70-80 pages of Oberg's books plus a Story-Type Method Glossary); recommended reading and links to libraries of produced bibles, pilots and episodes.
- Participants who finish the workshop will receive a certificate of completion and 25% off a 'Script Chat' if they would like feedback on a project within 30 days of the end of the workshop. Optional one-to-one meetings can also be organised as part of the workshop, either on their own or as part of a rewrite workshop.
Here's an Overview of Each Module
In this first module, after discussing current trends, we’ll look at series types and how TV series are conventionally developed. It’s important to understand this logistical approach because although it’s only moderately useful when designing TV series, it still shapes most discussions around series development.
So this module might not be the sexiest in the course, but the idea is to lay out the fundamentals before we can go on to more exciting stuff...
Now we’re getting into more exciting territory, because this second module focuses on the underlying series design. It’s all about achieving a strong emotional identification for the audience rather than obsessing over an arbitrary number of pages or minutes for each act.
So we’re going to talk about the fractal aspect of story structure in a series, how we can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to widen our potential audience, and how managing information is often what makes or breaks a series. It’s time to update your story structure software to the 21st century... Enjoy the upgrade!
Now that we’ve put aside the logistical approach to story structure and have started to look into the underlying design, let’s put this into practice as we explore the pitching and development of a series.
In this third module, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of designing a bible and writing a compelling pilot or first episode, using "Killing Eve" as a first case study.
In this fourth module, we'll see how we can handle the most classical story-type without being formulaic.
After a quick intro, we’re going to spend time on an in-depth case study of "Stranger Things", because understanding plot-led series design will be relevant for all series, irrespective of their story-type.
This case study includes detailed scene breakdowns and strands maps by Emmanuel Oberg for all the episodes of Season One of "Stranger Things".
In this fifth module, we’re going to see how we can structure a series or a season over the evolution of a main protagonist and in which way this design is different from the other story-types.
After a quick recap, we’ll dive deep into another case study to see how this works in "Sex Education".
In this sixth module, we take an in-depth look at theme-led series. While procedurals are primarily plot-led, many contemporary serials are theme-led or have a strong theme-led element. Theme-led series are multi-stranded narratives with more than one protagonist, usually one for each strand or storyline.
After a quick recap, we’ll dive into our theme-led case study, "Big Little Lies", and we’ll see how the different strands or storylines are designed, mapped and weaved together.
The previous case studies were clearly plot-led, character-led or theme-led, but many successful series, especially serials, are hybrids or exceptions in some way. The main challenge is to find out if the story works or not, and if it doesn’t, why and how it could work better.
The key to successful exceptions often lies in managing information. In this seventh module, after a short intro we'll take a look at a few examples to illustrate this.
Now let’s wrap it up in this final module with “The Rewrite Stuff: 12 Ways to a Stronger Series”, a flexible template designed to inspire you — and guide you — in the rewrite of your series.
After this tactical send-off, you should be ready to put into practice all the tools and principles we've explored in the course.
Important Note Regarding Preparation
The 'Welcome to the Course!' section is freely accessible to allow participants to look at the 'Preparation and Resources' topic and get a sense of how much preparation is involved. That way, should they want to, participants can prepare ahead of the workshop in order to maximise their access window to the course. You'll find more information about preparation (and everything else!) in the FAQs below, after the testimonials.
Writing a Successful TV Series Workshop
Fees on July 1st, 2023
Excl. 20% UK VAT when applicable
INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY
for 5-9 participants
- Includes preparation and online delivery (using our course platform and Zoom)
- Partial in-person delivery, travel & accommodation costs on top (please see the FAQs below)
- A/V equipment / Meeting room not included
- Maximum 9 participants
Would you like to bring your script development skills to the next level and put your TV Series projects in the fast lane?
This package will train creative producers, development execs, story editors and writer/directors working for the same independent production company, making sure that everyone in the team is on the same page and equipped with the best tools when discussing TV Series. A separate slate assessment service can be arranged (fee to be defined depending on the number of projects in development).
One or more extra day(s) for project work can also be booked alongside the workshop to allow meetings on individual projects immediately after the last day (see next column).
OPTIONAL ONE-TO-ONE DAY
£2,995 (4 projects)
For project work meetings
- Includes preparation and online delivery (using Zoom)
- In-person delivery, travel & accommodation costs on top (please see the FAQs below)
- Each meeting is an extended script chat (up to 90 min.)
- £795 for each additional project
- Actual fee varies, written notes optional
While the TV Series Workshop is very practical and allows the participants to focus on a specific project if they want to, there is no time during the workshop to discuss individual projects.
A number of extra days can therefore be booked along with the workshop to make time for specific projects, read in advance (max. 130 pages), to be discussed with the creative team (producer, writer, director, story editor) immediately after the last day. All the participants to the meeting have to have followed the workshop.
We'll focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each project, as well as the way forward.
For more extensive project work following this workshop, you might want to consider this new hands-on extension: The Rewrite Stuff - 12 Ways to a Stronger Series.
REGIONAL/NATIONAL FUND OR STUDIO
for 10-20 participants
- Includes preparation and online delivery (using our course platform and Zoom)
- Partial in-person delivery, travel and accommodation costs on top (please see the FAQs below)
- A/V equipment / Meeting room not included
- £249 for each additional participant
This version of the workshop is aimed at regional / national funds or organisations who would like to train a larger number of participants (up to 48, though more is technically possible). It's also the option a studio would go for to train their development team and writers developing projects with them.
The content of the workshop can be fine-tuned to a specific audience (for example producers, story editors and development execs, or writers and directors).
While the tools are the same, the approach can be different depending on the participants' role in development. This being said, the workshop works equally well with a mixed audience as long as participants have roughly the same level of experience.
What People Say
Meticulously designed to make every bit of information comprehensible and enjoyable!
I am blown away by the attention to detail and care that was shown by Emmanuel in constructing this course. I have never been on a writing course that is so meticulously designed to make every bit of information comprehensible and enjoyable. It took one week with Emmanuel for me to understand story design, character and structure at an in-depth level I didn’t think was possible to attain in such a short time. I can’t wait to get stuck into my TV pilot knowing I have all the tools and material I need to make a compelling show.
A superb and refreshing online course!
‘Writing a Successful TV Series’ is a superb online course. The story-type method is a refreshing approach, driven by dramatic conflict rooted in causality and understandable character action, reaction and evolution. It is a welcome alternative to the plethora of other structural analyses out there that often appear to strive for adherence to time-based units of progression without prioritising the internal dramatic engine. I absolutely agree with the idea of the fractal aspect of storytelling at season, series, episode, sequence and scene level – nature is built on fractals so it makes complete sense that drama that resonates with us is too. I would thoroughly recommend the course for any aspiring and indeed many experienced writers.
Helping me to understand and appreciate the stories I want to tell.
Emmanuel’s passion for storytelling throughout the course was infectious from the get go. Having such an engaging tutor was a huge help to me in bringing my own stories to life.
Sign up for his course today; you won’t regret it.
I did this course online and loved it from start to finish. I think it gives writers a very clear understanding of some really useful tools which can be used to design a story/storylines or to diagnose why a story might not be working and how to fix it. I loved having the ability to pause and rewind and take notes at my own pace. I also found the quizzes at the end of each module and the feedback on right/wrong answers super useful. I think I will come back again and again to all I’ve learned here.
A deep dive into story structure
“Emmanuel’s course is like a deep dive into story structure. You think you’ve got it mastered and then you realise how much more there is to learn. I feel so much more equipped as a screenwriter and script reader after this course.”
Creating a common toolbox for writers working together
TV Series is a wonderful aid for writers and producers working together. Since completing the ADW in 2018, and the TV Series course in 2020, I’ve come back again and again to Emmanuel’s methods when troubleshooting my own work or steering others in development. Recently, along a group of writers I’m working with, I completed the latest online TV Series course. It has created a common language with which to discuss story issues and character development that has been invaluable in shortcutting how we communicate. The course is thorough and well presented, with clips and case studies that make it easier to put these gems of writing wisdom into practice. Emmanuel’s methods put the audience at the heart, helping the writer to amplify their message and maximise the chances of getting their story out into the world.
An insightful, clarifying and fun workshop!
Emmanuel Oberg’s workshop offers an insightful and comprehensive way to approach tv series narrative and structure. His method is simple but very clarifying, a useful tool when dealing with episodes, pilots, bibles, strands, seasons, cliffhangers, franchise and all sorts of often confusing concepts even for the experienced film producer. It is also fun and I really enjoyed taking it. I can say that I feel much better equipped now to face the development of my series project.
An enlightening experience
I did the Advanced Development Workshop and I really enjoyed the experience. It brought to the forefront the importance of a solid structure in order to enhance the impact of storylines without necessarily compromising creative expression. Emmanuel uses practical examples to breakdown the theory into practice which I found very useful. I would definitely recommend this course if you want to dig deep into the heart and soul of your story and give it legs.
Highly Instructive Webinar
I found Emmanuel’s course immensely beneficial. He combines an encyclopaedic grasp of his subject with a natural flair for communication and shares his knowledge with great generosity and passion. I was able to apply the information and insights immediately to my scripts. I could not recommend his courses more highly. [TV Series Online Workshop for Creative Europe Galway, May 2020]
This is the way to go!
If you want to dig deep and even deeper: this is the way to go. It is explained well, every step of the way, so you can apply what is thought.
I had the pleasure to attend two of Emmanuel’s workshops. His knowledge about the different screenwriting approaches is impressive and enables him to recombine and rethink them to a new approach. I highly appreciate his work no matter if you already know a lot about screenplays or not.
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