Writing a Successful
If you're developing ambitious, original projects at any budget level for a global audience, this online course was made for you!
Transform the Way you Pitch and Develop Projects
for Television and Online Streaming in 90 Days
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 self-led online course explores the crucial distinction between conventional TV Series formats (3-act, 4-act, 5-act, 7-act...) and the 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 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 course 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 CPD certified, self-led online course is open to individual participants, worldwide. There is no live interactive element included as standard, but there is some interactivity through quizzes and gamification, as well as optional one-to-one feedback on projects.
Group licenses and cohort enrolment are available for groups or teams of five or more, along with optional live interactive elements (Q&A sessions, group work or one-to-one meetings), but these can't be purchased directly from the website. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information.
What's Included in The Course?
- 90-day access to the 'Writing a Successful TV Series' course (10 hours of self-led content in 8 training modules).
- Interactive quizzes at the end of each 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.
- 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 'All-Time Best' leaderboard... New: The points you earn during the course can be used to claim up to 25% off a future purchase ($100 max).
- Suggested course 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), Weeks 4-12 are to revisit the content of the course and implement. In the end, it's up to you: The entire course is available right away, so you can binge it all in a week or take the whole 90 days to go through the content and implement at your own pace.
- Permanent access to extensive course materials including: all the slides shown during the course; Oberg's exclusive in-depth analysis of 'Stranger Things' (detailed scene breakdowns, storylines and strands maps for the eight episodes of the first season); free samplers (first 60-70 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 course will receive a certificate of completion and 25% off a 'Script Chat' if they would like one-to-one feedback on a project within 30 days of the end of their access to the course. They also get a 50% off discount code to be used on their next purchase, in addition to the up to 25% discount they can claim using points earned during this course.
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
'Writing a successful TV Series' is an add-on to the main Advanced Development online course / workshop, so you're expected to be familiar with the method already. If you haven't followed Oberg's Advanced Development Workshop or read Screenwriting Unchained recently, we highly recommend that you read the book or take the main Advanced Development online course before purchasing this add-on.
If you're ready to compromise or just need a refresher, reading the free sampler of Screenwriting Unchained (first 60 pages of the book) is the minimum pre-requisite. It's available as a free download in the Members' Area.
The 'Welcome to the Course!' section is freely accessible to allow you to look at the 'Preparation and Resources' topic and get a sense of how much preparation is involved. That way, should you want to, you can prepare ahead of your purchase in order to maximise your access window to the course.
Writing a Successful TV Series Online Course
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From $847 (USD) before any discount and excluding 20% UK VAT where applicable
NEW: In addition to any discount, use STM points earned in a previous course to claim up to $100 OFF at checkout
What People Say
The course had more jaw-dropping moments than Game of Thrones.
To sum it up in one word, INSPIRING! The content was on point and helped make it easy for me to categorize and break down a story that I was struggling to tell. When I get stuck at a certain point, be it treatment or bible, I search high and low for a spark or key to unlock the issue so that I can move on. I now feel like the janitor walking about with a master key, no longer intimidated by the daunting task of holistically bringing everything together in a single document. That’s a powerful tool to have in anyone’s arsenal.
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.
Thought provoking and practical
I found the ‘Writing a Successful TV Series’ hugely informative, thought provoking and practical in terms of giving you an additional ‘toolset’ for the development of stories. The case studies are excellent, and feature a forensic level of analysis of dramatic structure in hit TV serials. Highly recommended!
It was a great self-learning experience that was really flexible to get done because of the videos provided which allowed for watching in your own pace and time schedule. I enjoyed the course taught by Emmanuel Oberg a lot and feel that I can use the tools provided very well for current and future projects in series but definitely also feature films. Highly recommended as a course to learn about strategic approaches to creating and checking the stories you work on – also as a producer!
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.
A brilliant and comprehensive one stop shop
I was a novice writer coming into this course with a head busting full of ideas. This course helped to focus my ideas and give them direction, steering me away from wasting my time. It’s a brilliant and comprehensive one stop shop that cuts through all the excess and illuminates the path to writing your best script. Emmanuel is very easy to listen to and makes the journey of learning that good bit more enjoyable. Cúrsa den scoth! Nár laga Dia a lámh.
An engaging masterclass in storytelling
With a background in documentary and podcast making for the BBC, I have always wanted to take some of the skills I have acquired over the years and learn how they might translate into visual storytelling. But I didn’t know where to begin. Then I did Emmanuel’s course and that soon changed. This course provides focus around the practical matters of how to go about developing your ideas for the screen; the different trends when it comes to writing a TV series, the importance of a strong bible, how to identify the type of story you have and what that means for how you go about telling your story. No stone is left unturned. The use of samples such as Stranger Things and Big Little Lies to further detail the points he was making was fantastic. I love the tone Emmanuel has by not coming across preachy but that he really wants your stories to be the best they can be. Emmanuel was engaging throughout and his passion for storytelling has definitely encouraged me to put pen to paper.
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.
A great tool box to find your own approach
Emmanuel’s approach to dramaturgical structure is the right mix between craftsmanship and the knowledge that each project is individual. He gives you a great tool box to find your own approach.
Of all the many international workshops I have done, I have rarely experienced one that offered such a steep learning curve. Thanks, Emmanuel.
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.