Writing & Pitching Television: The American Way

New for 2019!

Writing & Pitching Television: The American Way

Sat, 6 Apr 2019 to Sun, 7 Apr 2019
Duration: 2 days
Times: 10am-4pm
Capacity: Max.12 participants
Fee: £250 10% Early Bird discount available until Jan 31st 2019.
Netflix. Amazon Prime. SKY. BBC. C4. HBO. Soon to be: Apple. Content is everywhere. The past decade has witnessed an extraordinary upsurge in quality television, playing on all manner of screens. And everyone, it seems, is tuning in. The Renaissance (and the Revolution) is being televised. We’re hooked on narrative serialised programmes. And we can’t get enough.
This weekend course explores the writing and development of series television. Where do ideas come from? What are the components of a great series? What is a television pilot? Why are they so challenging to write? Why are characters critical to successful series? How is series television pitched and sold? How has Netflix changed the landscape of TV?
What better way to learn about writing television than pitching it! On Sunday, students will present their own ideas for series in a practical pitch session.  So if you’re curious about the brave new world of television and have an idea that you’d like to pitch and develop, why not take a break from Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and Sky (if you possibly can) and come join the conversation with American writer, Hal Cantor.
Hal’s teaching style is very much a conversation; a combination of participative lecture and interactive exercises. The goal is to get students up on their feet and talking about ideas and concepts so that you walk away with a significantly greater understanding of the way television is written and pitched.
  • TV LAND: A look at the current landscape of TV and Streaming
  • Why is narrative television so compelling?
  • What exactly is a TV pilot? What must a pilot accomplish?
  • What is the world of the pilot and why is it so important?
  • What are the types of pilot storytelling?
  • Character. Character. Character. The three most important words in television.
  • Preparing for Sunday: what is a pitch? What are the key elements? Tips and tricks.
  • Assignment: prepare pitches for Sunday. Read the pilot script for BREAKING BAD.

Note: Pitches should run no more than 15 minutes and include:

  1. An introduction to the Series concept/world
  2. Detail at least three characters (no more than five) including the protagonist
  3. Brief pilot story
  4. A few episode ideas (these can be rough notes)


  • Breaking down Breaking Bad: a critical discussion.
  • The Inside Story: Participants act as studio heads as Hal pitches a project. It's a real-world exposure role-play followed by questions and critiques.
  • Participant pitches: critiques and feedback.
  • Q&A: The Business. Students ask anything and everything about American TV.
  • Pilot screening: SIX FEET UNDER
  • Discussion and wrap-up: What did we learn?
  • One-on-Ones with Hal (time permitting)

Tutor profile: Hal Cantor, Screenwriter

Hal Cantor's workshops at LFS

Further information:

Social links

Hal Cantor writes for television, film, theatre and fiction. He is currently developing a half-hour comedy with SONY PICTURES TELEVISION. He wrote on FUSION channel's acclaimed special, THE NAKED TRUTH: DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, which broke The Panama Papers story. Prior to that, his drama pilot MOUTHPIECE was bought by FOX TELEVISION STUDIOS. He wrote THE LAKE EFFECT, a one-hour drama pilot for SHOWTIME, developed with Emmy-winning director Scott Winant. Hal also sold the drama pilot TWILIGHT to SONY PICTURES TELEVISION. In features, he developed a comedy with John Davis Productions, based at TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. 

Hal has had multiple plays produced. CUBICLES, which he directed, was presented by ALLIANCE REPERTORY THEATER in Los Angeles, where it garnered seven Valley Theater League nominations including Best Play, Best Writing and Best Director. He's currently adapting his play, THE BONUS ROUND, into a musical with a UK composer.
On the teaching front, Hal has developed and presented courses at London Film School, Met Film School: Berlin & London, Central Film School, and Raindance: Berlin.  He represented Met Film School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in collaboration with PINEWOOD STUDIOS.