Loading Events

« All Classes

Advanced Screenwriting: TV Pilots [Virtual]

Starts April 22

Online. 8 sessions: Mondays, April 22-June 17 (no class May 27), 6:30-9:00 pm CT

The blueprint to any TV show or limited series, pilots are a challenging and unique form of screenwriting. Not only does the writer have to establish a complex cast of characters and multiseason story arcs, but they must also do so while simultaneously telling a compelling, single story.

Focusing on strengthening skills in the art and craft of writing pilots, this workshop-based course gives students the opportunity to write and refine a pilot screenplay for an original series of their creation. From avoiding common pitfalls to breaking into the industry, students will learn real-world tools to help bring their screenwriting to the next level of sophistication as they balance long-form storytelling within a single, self-contained episode. At the end of the course, each student will have completed an original drama or comedy pilot television script. Previous screenwriting experience recommended.

The primary focus of this course is strengthening each participant’s original voice and skills as a television screenwriter while also learning:

  • Serialized screenwriting vs. feature screenwriting
  • Season and multiseason arcs
  • Writing ensemble characters
  • Show bibles
  • The role of showrunners
  • Professional standards for formatting TV screenplays
  • Genre expectations
  • World building
  • Understanding and subverting audience expectations
  • Writing three-dimensional characters and conflicts
  • Edits, drafts, and notes
  • Adaptations and intellectual property
  • Writer’s rooms and professional standards
  • Competitions, representation, and breaking into the industry

By the end of the course, students will complete a fully realized pilot script for their original TV show or limited series.

NOTE: Participation in this online course requires that you use the free Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service. For optimal performance it is recommended that you install Zoom on your computer rather than running it from a web browser. We’ll e-mail you a course reminder and Zoom link a few days prior to the first session. Click here for a Zoom tutorial.

Tuition: $335 regular | $270 member | $215 low-income

Jake Yuzna is a Minneapolis-based writer, director, and curator. Their films have been presented at the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, London Film Festival, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, and the British Film Institute, among others. In addition, their work has been broadcast nationally as well as on cable in the US, across Europe on Arté Television, and streamed internationally on Netflix. Yuzna is the first American feature director to win the Teddy Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and has received additional awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, Frameline Foundation, McKnight Foundation, IFP MN, FilmNorth, as well as a Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Film Institute. Yuzna founded the cinema program at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC where they curated the first American retrospectives on Italian Zombie Films, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Dario Argento, Sion Sono, and the medium of VHS. In addition, Yuzna has curated retrospectives on Andrei Tarkovsky, Godfrey Reggio, Crispin Glover, VHS, HR Giger, Roy Andersson, and Science Fiction cinema of the 1990s. Their scholarship has been collected by the libraries at Yale University and NYU.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those needing to cancel a registration at least 7 days prior to the first class session, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to the first class session, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
  • By registering for this FilmNorth class you are agreeing to our Community Values Statement.




April 22 @ 6:30 pm
June 17 @ 9:00 pm
Event Categories:


Jake Yuzna
Registration Deadline
April 17
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
8 sessions: Mondays, April 22-June 17 (no class May 27), 6:30-9:00 pm CT