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Writers' Room (Session 1, TV Writing with Abigail Carney)

Time limit: 56 days

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Full course description

This 2-week online course is part of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp, Session 1, June 13-26, 2021. There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into Session 1 of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio Online Camp you are not eligible to enroll.

All writing is, to some extent, collaborative. Fiction writers and poets rewrite after receiving feedback from workshop readers and editors. Playwrights and screenwriters revise after table reads, rehearsals, and hearing thoughts from directors and producers. Even in the solitary work of writing a first draft, a writer is, in a way, collaborating with all the writers she loves, those writers whose work informs her own. And once complete, a story becomes a collaboration between its writer and the reader who interprets the story's themes, visualizes its setting, hears its characters speak. 

Collaboration is even more inherent to the form of television writing, where stories emerge not from the solitary artist, but from a room of writers working together.

In this course, we will form a writers’ room and collectively envision a dramatic television series. Together, we will imagine the world, characters, and themes of our series. We will craft the structure and beats of our pilot episode. Each student will then be assigned one portion of this episode to write. We will fit those pages together and collectively revise them, so that, by the end of two weeks, we will have completed an entire pilot episode!

We will cover the fundamentals of television writing: everything from properly formatting a script to how to envision the first season of a series. And we will also explore the elements of television writing that are relevant across all forms of writing: Plot. Structure. Character. Action. Imagery. Tension. Dialogue.

Students will also have the opportunity to start thinking about a television series they might write once the course is over. Working through the process of our collaborative pilot episode will prepare students to do the work of writing a pilot on their own, as well as to be in a writers’ room again someday, writing and laughing with other writers. 

Abigail Carney is a writer from rural Ohio, a place that shows up in her stories. She received her MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and received the Deena Davison Friedman Prize for her in-progress novel. She is also a screenwriter, playwright, and former spoken word poet. Her plays include SUNDAY MORNING (The Road Theatre & the Yale Playwright’s Festival), THE GLOAMING (The Young Playwrights Festival), and DUST CAN’T KILL ME (the New York Musical Festival, NYC Fringe, & Le Poisson Rouge). Her drama TV series SWAGGER is in development with Mark Johnson's Gran Via Productions. She lives in Los Angeles.



The fee for this course is $575. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.


Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center."


Cancellation Policy: A $100 cancellation fee will be applied to refunds for cancellations received by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Thereafter, no refunds will be available. 



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