Creating Original Series Ideas and Writing Spec Pilots

Creating Original Series Ideas and Writing Spec Pilots

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After having the good fortune of launching a professional screenwriting career with the HBO miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS and FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, writer-producer Erik Bork was introduced to the world of creating series ideas, pitching them, and writing pilot scripts by his television agents at CAA.

Since then, he has developed countless one-hour and half-hour concepts and presented them to his agents, producers, studio and network executives – in some cases selling or optioning the idea and being commissioned to write a pilot script (in other cases, not!).

In the process, he learned, the hard way, what works and doesn’t work in a series idea, and how television writing and series creation works – something he thought he understood from years of watching TV, and from writing screenplays. But episodic TV is a very different medium even from miniseries, with its own rules and culture – both creatively, and in terms of the business.

In the process of making a living in television series development (which many writers do, even if their pilots don’t get produced or on the air), Erik has codified the key principles that dominate this world, but which have not been publicly articulated for writers in books or elsewhere. Since until very recently, the idea of creating an original series idea and writing a pilot “on spec” from outside the industry was virtually unheard of. But that has been changing . . .

In this live webinar, Erik will share all the key things he’s learned about what makes an idea “work,” and what a good concept, pitch, and pilot script looks like. Now a professor in National University’s MFA in Professional Screenwriting program – where he has created and teaches courses in TV series creation (as well as a private consultant who blogs about writing at, Erik continues to pitch series ideas and write pilots – his latest being a half-hour comedy that was optioned and developed by ABC Studios in 2011.


  • “What’s the franchise?” – and other annoying questions executives ask
  • Why doctors, lawyers and cops always seem to dominate prime time
  • “Wanting something they can never have”: the key to good TV characters
  • The emotional thrill ride that is the annual series development cycle
  • How most aspiring writers think of television storytelling the wrong way
  • The (superficial) differences between broadcast, basic, and pay cable
  • How “procedural” and “personal” are the only two kinds of TV stories 
  • How “3-act structure” works on TV, despite shows not having 3 acts!
  • Juggling A, B, and C stories, and the characters who “get” them
  • What a “premise pilot” is, and why you really shouldn’t write one


  • Writers who are considering writing television scripts (of any kind)
  • Writers who think they have a great idea for a series (or wish they did)
  • Writers who are tired of the negatives of feature screenplay writing
  • Writers who think television is possibly the best place for them
  • Writers interested in getting on a TV writing staff
  • Writers who live in L.A. or outside of L.A.
  • Writers who have a television script they think is ready
  • Writers looking for inspiration and guidance from someone just like them

The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.