Television Writing Summer Institute



This track offers two specializations, Introduction to TV Writing and Intermediate TV Writing for One-Hour Drama/Dramedy.

Students at the introductory level write a series outline and the first act of the pilot script. Intermediate drama/dramedy level students write a series outline and the first draft of an original pilot series. In small workshops, students at all levels meet twice a week to discuss ideas, break stories, and give feedback and notes on each other’s work. All tracks offer eight units of UCLA credit. Please note that students of all specializations are expected to spend a minimum of 25 hours-per-week writing outside of class meetings.

Two Specializations:

Introduction to TV Writing: The Introduction to TV Writing specialization is designed for students with little to no previous experience in writing for television. Students are introduced to the pilot format, covering style and content as well as the principles behind network needs and how pilots are chosen across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Students write a series outline and the first act of an original pilot.


FILM TV: 101A Summer Institute Symposium (1 unit)

FILM TV 131: Introduction to TV Writing (6 units)

FILM TV 102A: Summer Institute Professional Development Symposium (1 unit)

Intermediate TV Writing – One-Hour Drama/Half-Hour Dramedy: This course is designed for students with some writing experience who are interested in writing for the one-hour drama format (Pose, Chernobyl, The Good Doctor, Succession, Fargo, WATCHMEN), half-hour drama format (Homecoming), half-hour dramedy formats (Glow, Fleabag, Atlanta), covering style and content as well as the principles behind network needs and how pilots are chosen across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Students write a series outline and the first draft of an original pilot. Students in the Drama/Dramedy track should not expect this to be a polished first draft, but will leave with the feedback and tools to further revise this into a fully-realized pilot for their portfolios and careers. Open to works in progress and rewrites.


101A “Summer Institute Symposium” (1 unit)

133B “Intermediate TV Writing – Drama/Dramedy” (6)

FILM TV 102A: Summer Institute Professional Development Symposium (1 unit)


In the exclusive Summer Institute Symposium, students from all the TV Writing levels meet and listen to some of Hollywood’s most accomplished professionals. High-wattage guests have included Eric Heisserer (writer, “Arrival”); Steven Canals (creator and EP of “Pose” on FX); Jeff King (Executive Producer of “The Umbrella Academy" on Netflix”); Agents from CAA, ICM, Paradigm, and UTA; Simon Kinberg (Writer/Producer, “Deadpool,” "X-Men: Apocalypse," "The Martian"); Zak Penn (Writer, “Ready Player One”); and many others.

Hollywood and the Industry

During the weekly Summer Institute Mixer, students network with alumni and students from other UCLA Film and Television Summer Institute tracks via Zoom.

Professional Development Symposium

Guest lecturers with established careers in television lead professional development workshops for students from all TV Writing levels. These workshops explore topics such as How to Pitch, The Writer’s Toolkit, and Demystifying the Script Coverage Process. 

Demystifying the Script Coverage Process:
Script coverage is ubiquitous in the industry. A writer’s screenplays and teleplays will undergo coverage whether submitted to management companies, agencies, production companies, or studios. A main job duty of interns and assistants will be writing script coverage. Understanding and writing excellent coverage not only provides an important career skill, it allows a writer to put themselves in the shoes of the reader to aid in their writing. This workshop will introduce the basics of script analysis and the different formats of coverage reports, discuss industry uses of coverage, and familiarize students with the roles that most utilize this skill (Script Reader, Story Editor, Development Exec).

How to Pitch:
In this workshop, students will get the inside scoop of how projects are pitched and sold in Hollywood taught by a seasoned industry professional. With an eye toward the final pitch panels at the end of the session, students will learn what goes into a pitch, the elements that make it compelling, how to apply it to their own material in a way that will keep their listeners on the edge of their seats.

The Writer’s Toolkit:
Designing compelling stories is an important part of being a writer, but equally important is learning how to write those stories well. By reading script excerpts, participating in group discussions, and engaging in writing exercises, students will explore the ways scenes are crafted to highlight a story, how to showcase their unique voice in their writing, and how the seemingly small decisions on the page can make a big impact for their stories.

Pitch Panels

As a culmination of the TV Writing program, students have the opportunity to pitch their own TV show idea to a panel of accomplished industry professionals. The panel allows students to practice their pitching skills, building off of what they learned in the How to Pitch Professional Development Workshop. At the end of the pitch, the panelists give feedback to each student, drawing on their extensive insight and experience in pitching and development.



Session A Schedules

Session C Schedules

Faculty and Instructors


Jill Goldsmith: FTV 133B Intermediate TV Writing for One-Hour Drama/Dramedy

Goldsmith is a writer and producer for television, with credits on many Emmy-winning series, including NYPD BlueThe PracticeAlly McBealLaw & OrderBoston Legal, and also Rizzoli & Isles. Currently in development with a project at Universal, she was previously the Showrunner and Executive Producer for a one-hour drama in development at BET. Jill was also a Finalist for the Humanitas Prize for an episode of Boston Legal, and has sold pilots to ABC, NBC, and Universal. She has been a featured speaker at many conferences and writing programs and has appeared on C-Span Close Up, CBS News, and CNN. Jill received an MFA in Screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where she has also been a professor. She is a contributing author to the book, Lawyers In Your Living Room! Law On Television, published in 2009, in which she wrote the chapter entitled, Writing For Television: From Courtroom to Writers’ Room.

Lisa Vangellow: FTV 101A Guest Speaker Symposium

Vangellow is a Los Angeles based producer and executive with a penchant for character driven feature films, documentaries, and television. She holds an MFA in Producing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and a B.S. in Marketing from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Lisa has participated as a filmmaker in the Tribeca Film Institute's Documentary Story Lab and workshopped her documentary on the eccentric, multi-hyphenate, James Franco. As an independent producer, Lisa has various scripted and doc-series projects on her slate that she is excited to bring to audiences worldwide. Lisa strives to deliver content that is entertaining, educational, and inspires audiences to be more empathetic to the human experience. Currently, Vangellow is VP of Production and Development for Arsenal Film.



After successful completion of the program, participants of the Film and Television Summer Institute will be awarded units of college credit in the form of a letter grade.

As a participant, you are expected to complete all assigned coursework, take all examinations, attend class regularly, and submit all required work by the end of the program. No part of the coursework may be continued beyond the close of the program unless prearranged by the student and the faculty.

The program instructor is required to assign a final grade for each student enrolled in a course (letter grade only). Grades A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus or minus suffix. In addition, the following grades are used to report the quality of student work at UCLA:

F Fail
I Incomplete
DR Deferred Report
P Passed (achievement at grade C level or better; used only for undergraduate study)
NP Not Passed (used only for undergraduate study)
S Satisfactory (achievement at grade B level or better; used only for graduate study)
U Unsatisfactory (used only for graduate study)


Calculating Grade Point Average

Grade points per unit are assigned by the Registrar as follows:

A+ 4.0 B+ 3.3 C+ 2.3 D+ 1.3 F 0.0
A 4.0 B 3.0 C 2.0 D 1.0 NP 0.0
A- 3.7 B- 2.7 C- 1.7 D- 0.7 U 0.0

The grade-point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted. For example, if you earn a B- in a 4-unit course and an A in a 5 unit course, your GPA would be 30.8 (2.7 x 4 units + 4 x 5 units) divided by 9 (total number of units taken). i.e., 3.42.

Note: DR, I, and NR are disregarded in determining the grade-point average. NR indicates that no grade was received from the instructor.

Transferring Credit

UCLA is on the quarter system. While some schools are also on the quarter system, most colleges and universities are on the semester system. As a general guide to transferring quarter units to a semester system school, one semester unit or credit is worth 1.5 quarter units (e.g., 4 quarter units = 2.5 semester units).

UCLA courses are generally accepted for transfer credit, but all decisions on transferability rest with the home institution. Students should get advance approval of their UCLA Summer Sessions course selections from the home institution prior to registration.

Grading Basis

Some Summer Institute courses offer P/NP grading as an option. If eligible, you may contact the UCLA Summer Sessions Office ( and request to change the grading option from letter grade to pass/no pass (or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, if you have a bachelor’s degree) prior to the program start.

Courses taken on a P/NP or S/U basis might not count toward graduation requirements. Please be sure to consult your school if you are considering this grading option.

For more information on grades, see the UCLA General Catalog.


Grades earned during the summer are recorded on an official University of California transcript. Students can view grades on MyUCLA after the instructor reviews all completed course work and assigns a grade.

The transcript is a permanent record that reflects all undergraduate and graduate work completed at UCLA. The transcript lists courses, units, grades, cumulative grade-point average, transfer credits, total units, and work in progress in chronological order. Note: Official transcripts are NOT automatically sent to you or your home institution.

Students are assessed a one-time document fee which covers fees for first-class mailing of official transcripts, diploma, and much more. Those requiring expedited or special delivery can submit a Transcript Request Form in person at the Registrar's Office. Additional charges may be assessed. Transcript Request Forms can be also picked up at 1113 Murphy Hall between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Current or incoming UC students will have all UCLA summer activity appear automatically on the home UC campus transcript, and the grades earned at UCLA are included in the home UC campus grade-point average.








Program Dates

JUNE 21 - JULY 30, 2021

Important Dates

FEBRUARY 15: Registration Opens

APRIL 1: Financial Aid Application for Current UCLA Students Becomes Available

MAY 1: Payment due in full

JUNE 15: Refund Deadline - Refund Deadline for Summer Institutes

JUNE 21 - JULY 30: Television Writing Summer Institute (Session A)

UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.