Writing an Original TV Drama Serial
From pitch to pilot – work on your original TV drama with top industry professionals.
With weekly teaching and group workshopping on Thursday evenings in the Curtis Brown offices on Regent Street, this course will help you hone your craft and make real progress with your TV script. It’s ideal for those looking for a practical in-person alternative to a postgraduate screenwriting course.
Across 18-weeks, 15 talented writers will each develop an idea for a drama serial, write a 60-minute pilot episode and evolve a plan for further episodes – supported by the expert teaching of experienced screenwriter, producer and director Jamie Nuttgens.
Plus a series of six masterclasses from leading TV industry professionals, including Curtis Brown’s Theatre, Film and Television agents, and an in-depth one-to-one tutorial from an experienced producer. This course will run from 11 April to 1 August 2024.
I am hugely grateful to this course for all I learnt and for introducing me to my now agent. The masterclasses from TV professionals and the tutor led sessions were incredibly informative. As well as helping me learn how best to write TV drama, I was also able to gain a greater understanding of the industry as a whole. A brilliant course for anyone wanting to start TV writing and also for authors like me who want to make the move across.
Former Writing an Original TV Drama Serial student
Jamie Nuttgens is an award-winning writer, producer and director in TV and Film with over 25 years’ experience working with writers across different genres and platforms. After a career in Rep and Devised Theatre and as a Writer-Producer in Commercial Radio, he joined BBC Drama Serials to Script Edit Jimmy McGovern’s The Lakes. After a stint at Casualty he moved to ITV to produce The Bill and a spin-off series, Burnside. For Channel 4 he developed and co-produced Red Riding, a series of TV films based on David Peace’s Northern Noir novels. He has produced the award-winning work of UK Indian writer-director, Smita Bhide, including Cup & Lip, The Blue Tower (Best UK Feature Raindance Film Festival) and Another Planet (Golden Award IFF Goa). His own writing has included Casualty, The Bill and Crossroads. He is currently Head of Drama at Ten66 Television (Black Lesbian Handbook / Love In The Flesh). At the Met Film School, Ealing Studios, he headed the MA in Screenwriting since 2013, is currently Lecturer in Screenwriting at Oxford University and has been a visiting lecturer at NFTS, La Femis Paris, Northern Film School, Westminster, Polish Film School Lodz, and Blanquerna Barcelona.
What does this course give you?
- Live teaching sessions in London: Jamie Nuttgens will teach on topics important for developing and writing a TV drama serial – and which support the masterclasses. Topics include character development, structure, plot, endings and more.
- A community of writers: Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your TV drama in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and tutors. Many of our former students have found their trusted readers with us – and form strong working friendships with classmates which go on long after the course is over.
- Group workshops: On 10 evenings, Jamie Nuttgens will lead group workshops live in London or on Zoom 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.
- One-to-one tutorials: You'll get a 25-minute one-to-one tutorial with Jamie, as well as a 45-minute tutorial with an experienced producer.
- Five industry masterclasses: Top TV professionals share their expertise during five special Zoom/in-person sessions. Key leading figures from all key stages of the production process will guide students through the process of drama development, with focus on students' work.
- Agent Q&A: TV agents from Curtis Brown will talk about the agent's role and answer questions on the industry and how to get your work noticed.
- Pitching panel: Students will verbally pitch their TV project to two industry experts and get individual feedback on how to improve their pitch to make it as strong as possible.
- Share your work with agents: At the end of the course all students will be invited to informally share the first fifteen pages of your pilot script (max 2,200 words) plus 50-word pitch and 300-word outline for the series with the Curtis Brown agent team. Agents may request to see more.
- Cuba Pictures mentoring for one student: At the end of the course, one student will be selected by the team at Cuba Pictures to receive three one-to-one mentoring sessions. They will read a full pilot script as part of the mentoring. This additional mentoring will be offered based on the strength of writing and the idea.
All teaching and workshop sessions will take place on Monday or Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm (unless otherwise stated below). Classes will be held in the Writers' Room of the new Curtis Brown offices (Cunard House, 15 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR).
In extenuating circumstances, classes may be moved from London to Zoom, with prior notification to all concerned.
Please note that precise dates of sessions and details of course speakers are subject to change.
Week 1 – IntroductionThurs 11 Apr
Week 2 – Concept? Premise? What’s the Story?Thurs 18 Apr
Week 3 – The Character JourneyThurs 25 Apr
Week 4 – Masterclass 1: Showrunner/WriterThurs 2 May
Week 5 – Structuring the SerialThurs 9 May
Week 6 – Masterclass 2: ProducerMon 13 May
Structuring the PilotThurs 16 May
Week 7 – Masterclass 3: Script EditorThurs 23 May
Week 8 – Beginnings and Endings – Troubleshooting your workThurs 30 May
Week 9 – Masterclass 4: CommissionerThurs 6 Jun
Week 10 – Writing is Re-Writing & Tech TipsThurs 13 June
Week 11 – Scene Writing: DialogueThurs 20 Jun
Week 12 – Masterclass 5: DirectorThurs 27 Jun
Week 13 – The First 10 PagesThurs 4 Jul
Week 14 – Pitch Practice 1Thurs 11 Jul
Week 15 – Pitch Practice 2Thurs 18 Jul
Week 16 – Conclusions, agents and pitchingMon 22 Jul
Week 17 – ConclusionsThurs 1 Aug
Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your script in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level.
The course fee of £2,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, let us know and we can arrange an instalment plan.
Please apply with the opening of your pilot script (up to fifteen pages – maximum 2,200 words) in industry standard format, 300 words synopsising your entire pilot episode and 300 words synopsising the rest of your serial. All of these materials need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE PDF file.
The CBC team will select applicants based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 10 March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 14 March.
Please upload your application via the form on this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email email@example.com for assistance.
The Breakthrough Scholarship for Screenwriters of Colour will enable a talented writer of colour with limited financial means to join this Writing an Original TV Drama Serial course. Find out more and apply by clicking the button below. Deadline Sunday 17 March.
Our London-based TV screenwriting course, featuring masterclasses from top TV professionals and Curtis Brown agents. Scholarship available.