The 30-minute TV Pilot Beat Sheet: From ABC to HBO to Amazon to Netflix

The 30-minute TV Pilot Beat Sheet: From ABC to HBO to Amazon to Netflix

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Your purchase includes a FREE TV STORY MAP WORKSHEET!

Just Added: Purchase also includes a free Story Map of the pilot episode of UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, written by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock!


The 30-minute sitcom is not just for laughs anymore. The days of SEINFELD are over, and the “live studio” multi-cam sitcom format is becoming increasingly rare. The most dynamic and quickly-evolving format in television is the 30-minute single-camera comedy (a sitcom shot like a film), proven by a new wave of compelling shows that have attracted huge audiences to their unique mix of comedy and drama.

Comedies and “dramedies” in the 30-minute form employ several different overarching formats and genres (e.g., faux-documentary, workplace comedy, reality spoof, satire, “indie” film style) and come with different requirements than one-hour dramas. Aspiring single-camera sitcom writers must now reach higher to create a better, more cinematic, more heartfelt series than in the past, and yet, their original pilot script must also adhere to an industry-standard structure.

Whether you’re writing a family comedy like MODERN FAMILY, a workplace comedy like PARKS AND RECREATION or an edgy dramedy like HBO’S GIRLS or Amazon’s TRANSPARENT, you must utilize the industry’s template that binds the storytelling of all of these shows together.

Daniel Calvisi, a former major studio story analyst and the author of best-seller “Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay” and the new e-book, “STORY MAPS: TV Drama,” brings you the results of his deep analysis of the story structure behind the best half-hour series currently available in our multi-platform universe of ad-supported networks, pay cable and streaming content websites. In adapting his Story Map method to television, he has unlocked the major signpost beats and crucial characteristics that must be present in each act of your pilot. He will first introduce you to the key formats, genres and terminology of modern TV shows, and then he will take you step-by-step and page by page through the beat sheet, using specific examples from the best shows on TV.

Facing the blank page is tough for any writer, amateur or professional, but with a detailed roadmap it is infinitely easier. Armed with this beat sheet, you will be able to “pour” your unique story into this popular framework, creating an ironclad structural foundation to support your unique voice on the page.

Today, the ONLY requirement for a new writer to break into the television industry is a great pilot script. To create a fresh pilot, one must first look at how the pros do it, by dissecting hit shows currently on air. This webinar will reveal the shared dramatic devices and structural secrets of these incredible shows, and give you the path you need to create your own series.


  • The key formats and crucial characteristics of the modern 30-minute TV series.
  • How to use the comprehensive, easy-to-follow 30-minute TV pilot beat sheet.
  • How to apply the Story Maps method to the TV sitcom screenplay.
  • How to structure your sitcom pilot like the pros.
  • Analyze, beat by beat, several hit shows from multiple networks, including HBO, ABC, Netflix and Amazon.
  • The hidden structure of shows like NEW GIRL, MODERN FAMILY, VEEP and TRANSPARENT, to name a few.


  • Writers who are writing a 30-minute TV pilot
  • Writers looking to determine if their concept is fit for a television series
  • Writers who want a more clear structural roadmap than is available elsewhere
  • Writers looking to save time and many drafts by crafting a pilot with the proper structure and format
  • Feature film screenwriters looking for a simple, step-by-step roadmap for writing their first TV pilot
  • Writers who have script ideas but need help implementing them
  • Writers with a completed pilot who want to locate issues in the structure
The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the OnDemand webinar. All sales are final.