Certificate Programme in TV – Web Writing Course | (6 Months)

Flim Making
Programme Overview

The TV/Web writing course is a 24 weeks/6-months course. The course is divided into two semesters. Each Semester will have 11 weeks. This course will be held 5 days a week and each day will have two to three-hour sessions. Some days might also include 8-hours sessions

The week will be divided into 2-3 days of lectures and concept training and two days of writing under supervision/assistance. This course will also include basic foundation training on all aspects of the Television medium. Students will be exposed to camera, editing, direction and sound in the first week of Semester 1.

Semester 1

The first semester-10-weeks course will have the students exposed to all the basic tools of writing for TV. They will also be exposed in these twenty weeks to all the genres of TV writing. Soap Operas, Thrillers, Comedies, Sitcoms, Supernatural/Paranormal series and writing for the web.
The first semester will have the students writing a 13-part one-hour series on Human Relationship Drama. The students at the end of the first semester ideally should have a Bible ready. This Bible includes a Concept Note, Character Sketches, Broad Story, Episodic Story of 4 episodes, Screenplay of the first Episode and the Pilot episode, which would be a shooting script with dialogues.
In addition to the above, the students will read ‘The Art of Dramatic Writing’ By Lajos Egri and make a presentation on their understanding of the book. They will also be given a two-day lecture on Robert Mckee’s seminal book, ‘Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting’

Apart from this, students will read ‘The Mahabharata’ by Kamala Subramaniam and will have a class discussion on the characters, story arc, plot and subplots of the myth in Semester Two.
Students also get a masterclass/lecture from educator Scriptwriter Anjum Rajabali on, ‘Mythology & Psychology’ & ‘Mahabharata’. This will take place either in Semester One or Two depending on the schedule of the visiting faculty.
There will also be a one-day, in-depth session, on the importance of ‘The Navarasa’ in Indian dramaturgy.

Compulsory Assignments:-
During the two Semesters, students will choose a TV/Web show of their choice and have a screening in class. Screenings dates are tentatively scheduled for every Friday of the week. Post the screening, the student will explain why he/she chose the show keeping in mind the characters, plot and structure. This is a student initiative where the teacher/mentor is an observer. In this exercise, over a period of 22 weeks, all students will showcase one show of their choice and have a discussion on the same. Ideally, half the number of students will screen their shows in Semester One and the remaining students will screen their shows in Semester Two.

Apart from this, the faculty themselves will screen a TV/Web show once a week and it is critically analysed in class.

Guest Faculty: –
Renowned TV & Web Writers will come regularly during the semesters and conduct masterclasses with the students during the two Semesters. In this one-day session the writers share their writing practice, their inspirations, their writing techniques and show examples from their shows and explain principles to the students.

At the end of the First Semester, students would be evaluated on their performance with regards to the Bible they have created and on the one-on-one mentoring sessions and their participation in class discussions.

Mentoring: –
Students will be divided into groups of 3-4 and each group will be mentored by an Industry professional/faculty. The mentoring will be on a one-on-one basis.

The Syllabus
Semester 1 – 11 Weeks

The first week of the course is dedicated to Orientation, in which students are exposed to direction, cinematography, sound & editing.

Module 1 (4 weeks)

Ideation/Creation of a Concept: – What is a good idea? How does one come up with an idea? Students are made to go through various exercises and field trips to understand how an idea is created and developed.

Concept/story idea: – What makes a good concept/idea for television? What are the elements necessary for an idea/concept to become a winning story? What is a concept/idea? How is it different from a full-fledged story? High-end concepts. Examples of recent television successes of good concepts/ideas.

Concept to a story (The process): – How is a concept/idea developed into a full-fledged story? What elements are required in creating a good story? Define the story in two lines. Create characters for your story, create obstacles, dramatic points in the story. The plot: – Its importance, twists in plots. E.g. of plots twists from current and old successful soaps. Why Television stories end? If they do, then how to end a story?

Different kinds of story: – The daily soap story, the series story, the comedy, the thriller story, TV mini-series stories and stories for TV films. How are they different?
Story Elements: – Characters: – How to create interesting characters? What makes characters tick? Different kinds of characters, the protagonist, hero/heroine, the antagonist, subsidiary characters, relief characters. Character stories/biographies, Polarisation of characters in a story, changing equation among characters.

Module – 2 (5 weeks)
Teleplay: – elements of teleplay: – How to weave the story into an interesting teleplay? What is a teleplay? How is it different from the story? What elements constitute interesting teleplay? E.g. of recent episodes from hit serials and examining the reason for their success. What is a subplot? How is it important to the story and teleplay? How to weave subplots into the main story and teleplay.

Graphing of a story for teleplay: – Creation of milestones/Plot points in the story. Running parallel tracks of subplots along with the main story. Interweaving of subplots with milestones of main story and plot points.
The difference in teleplay of various kinds of stories: – How to write the teleplay for comedy, daily soap, weekly soap, mini-series, one-hour episode, TV film.

Teleplay of an episode: – what constitutes episodic teleplay? Creating of parallel tracks and its importance in weaving teleplay of episodes.

Cliff-hanger end/The hook: – How to create cliff-hanger ends to episodes? Its importance?

The importance of scene: – What is a scene? How to create scenes for teleplay? Breaking of individual tracks into scenes, how do scenes lead to story forward? The opening scene, the end scene, the filler scene, the Dana dalna scene and its importance! The recurring theme scene, its importance. Character exposition scene, what is a character exposition? Its importance! Plot exposition scene, its importance. Examples of all the above concepts.

Module – 3 (1 week)
The dialogue: – What is a dialogue? Importance of dialogues. What elements constitute good dialogues? Dialogues in character exposition. Dialogues for different genres like comedy, soap, thriller and Tv film.

End of First Semester There will be a one-week holiday.

Semester Two Course Structure:

Week 1 – 3
The first week will be dedicated to Workshops on Genre specific writing, with workshops on Comedy, Thriller/Mystery, Mythology & Web Series.

A Stimulated Writer’s Room Workshop will follow this for two weeks. In this workshop, students will be divided into four Writer’s room and will be taken through the ropes of working in a Writer’s Room. Simultaneously all students will be working on a concept for a Web Series.

At the end of the Workshop the teaching staff will choose the best four concepts amongst students’ submissions for the Writer’s Room. The four students whose concepts have got chosen will be the head writers and the rest of the class will be divided into the four groups to form the four Writer’s room.

Week 4 – 10
Students will work in the Writer’s room and come out with a Bible at the end of the 24th week. This Web Series bible will have a two-page concept note, a detailed 5-6-page story document. one episodic story which each student of the Writer’s room will write. One teleplay with dialogue which each student will write as part of the Writer’s room. Each submission will have two drafts and each draft will have a mentor giving the group and individual students feedback.

Compulsory Assignments: –
I. In this semester, students are divided into groups of 3-4 and they have to read/discuss a play of their choice to the class. The students select a play from suggested plays from the works of Badal Sircar, Mohan Rakesh, Harishankar Parsai, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, Moliere etc.
II. In this semester too, students’ screenings and analysis will continue from Semester One.

Guest Faculty: –
In this semester, there will be Masterclass from Industry Faculty.