This week, I taught a workshop at NYWIFT, “Writing the Half Hour Television Pilot.”
There were over 25 attendees, at all levels of success, and all writers. There were also a couple of filmmakers interested in learning a foolproof method of structuring dramatic writing. (The method works on TV shows, movies, web series, etc.)
The reason I love to teach is that this method, with a little practice, eliminates the oppressive concern most people feel about structure. The structure of storytelling is part of our DNA, and without realizing it, we do it every day. The act of getting up and getting to work requires structure, working out regularly works when you structure your time, and writing consistently requires structure.
Applying something we’re good at to the medium of writing will help you organize your stories correctly and efficiently.
A great way to understand structure is to watch TV shows that are similar to the one you’re writing and deconstruct them. You can then use each scene as a jumping off point and insert your own story, doing rough substitutions. This will excite your imagination, and the ideas will flow.
Here’s the exercise.
Set your timer for an hour.
Step 1. Watch a TV show
Step 2. Create an outline for the show. This will show you the underlying structure.
Step 3. Substitute your story, using that structure.
Step 4. Review
Step 5. Revise
Now you’re ready to write the Treatment.
I took this photo coming back from the workshop. To me it’s a metaphor for the way we lead our lives. What do you think? Comments are very welcome.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz