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Film and Television Summer Institute – TV Writing

Develop original TV pilots and learn how to navigate the contemporary entertainment marketplace

Mirror the practice of professional writers to develop original series concepts

As of 6/15/2024, the TV Writing Summer Institute: Session A is closed to new applications.

The UCLA Film and Television Summer Institute – TV Writing introduces students to writing for television in Hollywood. This track mirrors the practice of professional writers in the world of episodic television and digital media by teaching students how to develop original series concepts and how to navigate the contemporary marketplace in a classroom environment that imitates the practices of a writers’ room. Under the guidance of a professional TV writer, students learn how to identify and capture the tone, characters, dialogue, and themes that make their story unique.

Participants will select one of the following two specializations:

  • Introduction to TV Writing; OR
  • Intermediate TV Writing for One-Hour Drama/Dramedy

Students at the introductory level write a series document, pilot outline, and the first act of the pilot script. Intermediate Drama/Dramedy level students outline and write the first draft of an original pilot, and develop the series outline as a pitch document. 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.

At the conclusion of the program, Introduction and Intermediate Drama/Dramedy TV Writing students pitch their TV show ideas to television professionals in the industry for feedback and notes.

Fees and Payment Info

The program fee includes the unit fees for the UCLA coursework offered as part of the program and thus varies by UC student status. In addition to the program fee, students are assessed other campus and administrative fees during the summer. This is a summary of fees that commonly apply to the selected student type.

Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California. Visit the fees, payment, and financial aid section for important disclaimer, as well as more details on fees, payment instructions, and information on delinquency, refunds, and financial aid.

Program Fee
Ackerman Student Union Fee
Ackerman / Kerckhoff Seismic Fee
Wooden Center Fee
Undergraduate Student Association Fee
Document Fee (incoming UCLA students only)
Total Estimated Fees:
* Fees only apply for certain student types

Meet your instructors

Instructors for the UCLA Film and Television Summer Institutes are UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media faculty.

Kate Torgovnick

Instructor – FTV 131 Introduction to TV Writing

Kate Torgovnick May is a television writer who’s drawn to unexplored female worlds — an all-female city council, the staff lounge of a fertility clinic, the sugar baby conference circuit. A former journalist who worked at JANE Magazine, The New York Times and TED Talks, she transitioned to television when her nonfiction book, CHEER!: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders, was transformed into the series HELLCATS on The CW, for which she served as consulting producer. She has since written on CBS’s powerhouse series, NCIS, with her episodes “Musical Chairs” and “Schooled” among the highest-rated in years. She is currently developing her own series, while leading the creative for TED TV.

Jill Goldsmith

Instructor – Intermediate TV Writing – One-Hour Drama/Half-Hour Dramedy

Jill Goldsmith is a writer and producer for television, with credits on many Emmy-winning series, including NYPD Blue, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Law & Order, Boston Legal, and also Rizzoli & Isles. Currently in development with a project, 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 is currently a professor in the MFA in Screenwriting Program. 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. Prior to writing for television, Jill spent seven years as a Public Defender in the Juvenile and Felony Trial Divisions of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago, Illinois, and also served an internship with U.S. Senator Paul Simon on the Senate Judiciary Committee.