The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program

The Jeff Sagansky Harvardwood TV Writers Program uses peer review, guest speakers and workshops to foster a motivating and supportive environment for each participant’s writing. This program is currently available in Los Angeles only.

Participants of the TV Writers Program may be considered for the annual Harvardwood Most Staffable TV Writers List (see below).

In recent years, participants in the Harvardwood Writers Program and Competition have seen unprecedented success with pilot sales to ABC, the CW, Showtime, Sony, Spike, Syfy, and TV Land, in addition to blind script deals at ABC Studios and Warner Bros. Harvardwood writers have been staffed on Agent Carter (ABC), American Dad (Fox), Billions (Showtime), Community (NBC), Covert Affairs (USA), Family Guy (FOX), The Flash (CW), Girlfriends’ Guide (Bravo), Goliath (Amazon), The Good Wife (CBS), Gotham (Fox), Great News (NBC), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), How To Get Away With Murder (ABC), Jane the Virgin (CW), Justified (FX), The Newsroom (HBO), Perception (TNT), Power (Starz), Sleepy Hollow (Fox), State of Affairs (NBC), and The Tomorrow People (CW). Among our feature film writers, successes include the theatrical releases of Jamesy Boy and Unfriended, as well as OddLot Entertainment’s optioning of Septillion to One; previous HWC feature category winner Capture is in post production with Circle of Confusion producing. Participants have also secured representation at Apostle, Benderspink, Brant Rose Agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, CAA, Circle of Confusion, Echo Lake, Gersh, ICM, Madhouse Entertainment, Management 360, Original Artists, UTA, WME, and others.

Most Staffable TV Writers List

Within the Harvardwood Writers Competition, the top scripts from the Jeff Sagansky TV Writers Program may be selected for the annual Harvardwood's Most Staffable TV Writers list (2016 Deadline article) and sent to managers, agents, networks, studios and production companies. Each of the selected writers may also be paired with an Industry mentor. The Most Staffable List is part of the annual Harvardwood Writers Competition, but only writers of original pilots from the immediately preceding fall and spring HWP — TV Modules will be eligible to be considered. However, spec scripts will not be eligible for submission, and writers who complete only a spec script during the Program will not be eligible for the Most Staffable List. If you would like more information about the Most Staffable List, please review the rules.

If you have any questions, please contact the Program Director. IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Full Members are eligible for the Most Staffable List, the Harvardwood Writers Competition, and any Harvardwood-organized showcase.

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Special thanks to Harvardwood Advisory Board member Jeff Sagansky AB '74, MBA '76,
whose generous support makes this program possible.


SPRING 2021 RULES & REQUIREMENTS

Deadline: February 21st, 2021

COMMITMENT

There is a high expectation of preparation and writing done outside of the meetings (approx. 15-20 hours per week). Each module will have approximately eight participants, and will meet for approximately eleven sessions over a fourteen-week period beginning in early 2021. The program has a strict attendance policy, so please make sure that you can fully commit before applying. Participants are required to give constructive feedback to fellow writers in each session, so there is an expectation that you will have read applicable work prior to the meeting. The modules are successful because of this peer review, and you should expect a "writers room" format for your group.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will be meeting primarily via Zoom, but participants should be based primarily in Los Angeles for future events, networking, and community-building. Pending interest, we will also accommodate remote (non-LA-based) writers.

MODULE DESCRIPTIONS

1. DRAMA MODULES – ORIGINAL PILOTS

Requirement: Full member of Harvardwood, have written a spec TV episode or TV pilot.

Program fee: $100

Workshop your idea and receive peer review each step of the way: pitch, synopsis, outline, and first draft. This module is structured to help you get feedback when you need it, and produce work that has been vetted and strengthened by your peers. This module may include workshops with professional actors reading your material.

Exact Dates: Meetings will take place nearly every week from February 2021 - Summer. 

Module Leader: TBD

2. COMEDY MODULES – ORIGINAL PILOTS

Requirement: Full member of Harvardwood, have written a spec TV episode or TV pilot.

Program fee: $100

Workshop your idea and receive peer review each step of the way: pitch, synopsis, outline, and first draft. This module is specifically structured for writers of comedy pilots or comedy spec scripts, and will be run like an actual comedy show writers’ room. This module may include workshops with professional actors reading your material.

Exact Dates: Meetings will take place nearly every week from February 2021 - Summer. 

Module Leader: TBD

3. TV PILOT REWRITE MODULE

Requirement: Full member of Harvardwood, have a complete TV pilot to rewrite.

Program fee: $100

This module is structured in three steps: 1) an in-depth peer-review of your script, with special emphasis on the premise and the first act; 2) a live reading of your first act with professional actors followed by a discussion with two professional writers / executives; 3) a second full review of your script, with a focus on the page-by-page execution. This module is for those who are looking for a detailed analysis and polish.

Exact Dates: Meetings will take place nearly every week from February 2021 - Summer. 

Module Leader: TBD

4. SPEC TV EPISODE (Drama & Comedy) - FELLOWSHIP PREP COURSE [TENTATIVE SPRING SEMESTER ONLY]

Requirement: Full member of Harvardwood, have written an original TV pilot.

Program fee: $125

This module is will be highly structured and designed to prepare participants for the competitive studio writers' fellowships in the late spring (ABC Disney, Warner Bros., etc.). ABC and WB have submission deadlines of June 1, so participants will work toward that deadline. There is little margin for falling behind, so each participant is expected to commit to their work and attend the module sessions to give feedback on the work of their cohorts. Attendance is mandatory, and only two absences will be allowed. This module will feature guest speakers from the fellowships, and will have a structured syllabus including lectures and collaboration. The goal of this module is to have every writer submit a high-quality spec script to the fellowships. As with the fellowships themselves, this is not for brand new writers, but for writers looking to take themselves to the next level. Because at least one of the fellowships requires original material as part of the application process, only writers with a completed original pilot will be considered.

Exact Dates: TBD 

Module Leaders: TBD

PANEL DISCUSSIONS & WORKSHOPS

All module participants will be invited to attend panel discussions and stand-alone workshops during the program. The topics and speakers for the Fall 2020 panel discussions and workshops will be announced shortly. Past Program discussions and workshops have included:

Pitching Round Robin - A Workshop with Industry Professionals

All module participants pitch their TV series or spec ideas to guest panelists for expert feedback early in the Program. This workshop is intended to give the writers a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their pilot or spec episode ideas.

Agents and Managers Panel

Moderated discussion with top literary agents and managers. In the past, agencies and management companies including UTA, WME, Paradigm, Benderspink, Echo Lake, and more have been represented.

Staff Writers Panel

Moderated discussion with those new to the trenches of television writers rooms. In the past, we have welcomed writers from Community, The FlashJane the VirginParks & Rec, Silicon Valley, and more.

View a partial list of HWP guest speakers.

APPLICATION

APPLY HERE FOR SPRING 2021

Before filling out the application, all applicants should be prepared to answer brief questions about the pilot they intend to work on, including logline, main character, world, etc. All applicants must submit the first five pages of a pilot or feature writing sample.

If you can't access the link below, make sure you are (1) logged in and (2) a dues-current Full Member of Harvardwood.

 

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