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The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 14 of 21

Creating the Pilot


The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 14 of 21

Creating the Pilot


Lesson Info

Creating the Pilot

So creating your pilot a premise pilot which is what's usually used in a serialized television series is a pilot that launches this situation in the character of the siri's the event that doesn't that sets it all into motion breaking bad that's definitely an event that sets things into motion the teacher decides to become a meth amphetamine chemist um that's cereal I show and it had a premise pilot um the other type of pilot is called a prototype in this in a prototype pilot the situation of the siri's is already in place and the prototype pilot could be any episode it could be episode seven it could be episode twelve that's not entirely true we'll get to that in a minute but but it is as if it were just another episode now obviously that works very well for close ended type of siri's this is a case the next episode is a case so it makes sense that your first episode is a case like any other but you could use a situation that's already in place in launching a serialized drama as well a...

nd you can use a premise pilot where the situation is created in the pilot in a siri's that's close into the episodes for example castle the pilot the pilot puts the crime novelist together with the female police detective and has them begin toe work together that's a premise pilot in a show that's definitely close ended every episode it is a case um and I want to say something about again about the lead character and the other characters I mean castle's a good example of you know even though it's always a case that's closed it'd episodes you have aa league herto the ways ridden and the ways play is very very much of the world is about it very much reflects him he is quite an engaging character he sort of has this charming elevated sense of himself you wind up liking about um so his character does do a lot to drive what happens in the siri's um even though he's reacting to cases that come up every week so those are the two type of pilots and I did say that the prototype pilot is not exactly something that could be any episode this is the reason this is the pilot challenge the pilot challenges setting up the whole siri's while maintaining the value of that one episode as if it's an episode nobody wants to watch a pilot that's just I'm just setting everything up here it is is the sky I'm setting him up this is what he's like this is it's all set up they wantto episode they wanted to be an episode ahh premise pilot obviously that's goingto take care of itself you have the event that launches the whole siri's walter white decides to become a meth chemist um that's a very interesting episode still you have to set everything up, and you still can't make it feel like you're just doing a lot of setting up, uh, prototype pilot well, it actually it has to set up the whole siri's, too, and it's more obvious that it also has the function as its own episode with its intrinsic value. So you have to find a way to know that everything you're doing is setting the characters up the situation up for the whole siri's, but you're not failing to write one really good episode of what you're right. I think that's the hardest part about a pilot and it's it's really hard, so I don't do it that off. Um uh, yes, because you're trying to cram so much and knew it well, you know, like, you want some resolution, but some stuff has to drag on and right, you want to make sure that yeah, I mean, we we cram me into it is you're trying to cram into everything that's going to be need needed to set up the whole siri's to go forward, and yet it can't be just crammed into an episode that has to have its own value is an episode, right? Um, because in every episode, you're not setting everything up, but you really are in the pilot, but you can't feel like you're it can't seem overloaded, it can't seem like it's functionary and setting things up like that. It's so it's, it's it's a challenge that way before you ever the way television generally works, I mean feature screenplays you khun write a feature on spec sell it! You could be hired to write it things like that the way it works with televisions, you pitch it. I mean, some people have famously written a pilot on spec and and it's turned out to be a tv show, but generally you pitch and when you pitch, you don't pitch a pilot episode if you're pitching a feature screenplay, pitch the feature screenplay when you pitch a television siri's you pitch the siri's you pitch, you'll talk about things that happen in the pilot, but you'll talk about the whole siri's, the the mechanics of the siri's, what generate stories what's the engine of the syrian sort siri's how does how does how do things keep going and keep our interests as they go through it? You will talk about the character arc, but as I said, it's, a much slower burning arc and it's not a radical change at the end of the first season, everything, but there has to be some marks toe.

Class Description

Screenwriting classes often either lean too heavily on theory or simply study the technical approach to writing without a greater context for its use, as if the act of screenwriting exists in a vacuum – it does not. In The Screenwriters Toolkit with Jim Uhls, you’ll learn both the nuts and bolts of the craft, as well as its relationship to getting your work read and ultimately produced.

Jim’s sceenwriting credits include the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film "Jumper" the NBC television film "Semper Fi" and the SyFy miniseries "Spin" In this class, he’ll share lessons from his extensive experience writing for Hollywood and the small screen. He’ll teach you how to develop better scripts, get traction for your projects, and navigate the complex professional landscape of script development.

You’ll learn about screenwriting form and content, including:

  • Vocabulary and formats
  • Dialogue vs silence
  • Adapting existing works for the screen
  • Genre-writing

Jim will also share essential insights on developing a career in screenwriting. 

You’ll learn:

  • The differences between writing for television and features
  • Who to work with: agents vs managers vs lawyers
  • How to obtain and manage projects of various sizes and contexts

The Screenwriters Toolkit is a comprehensive examination of screenwriting form, content, craft, and traffic. You’ll learn how to adapt your content to the size, genre, and desired professional result of the script while also learning about the best on-ramps for aspiring writers.


Karla KL Brady

I would definitely recommend this class for first-time screenwriters and writers in general. I'm a novelist that would like to turn a couple of my stories into screen plays. I was mostly interested in the "dos and don'ts" which he supplied in a generous number. He gave a lot of great examples. I enjoyed the format with the students and he pretty much walks you through the entire process, including and especially the three-act structure which can be applicable to novel writing, too. He gave a lot of great examples. I would have liked a more extensive discussion on loglines and writing the action, but this certainly is enough to get you started. For the price, you can't beat it.


I came to this site by accident and then found some well known internet marketers here, who had already been sending me helpful emails and offers for some time, which I have used. What I like about the video contents is, that it is good old-fashioned skills and crafts development, rather than just formulaic, churn it out in big numbers advice. Whether screen writing, script writing, creative writing, news writing, etc. there is a structure and guideline for contents, order, grammar, etc., but the appeal is towards the development of one's creative side. I am normally involved in non-fiction writing, so this is a nice, creative side-kick, which no doubt will help my other work. As prolific author Isaac Asimow said, "If you want to learn to write, then you must write".


I would certainly recommend it to others, as there are some really great tips throughout the courses, across various aspects of film script writing.. That said, I would like to recommend however: - to have one version that is focused solely on film writing; eliminating the parts about teleplays and series, as those one or two did not relate to the rest of the course. - in its place, I would have loved to observe the coaching and critique on the writers film ideas, loglines, titles and such. I was very interested in knowing the do's and don'ts, what works and doesn't work, and what the proper approach is. Although he made mention of some of them in his overall content, relating them back to the writer's specific work would have been very beneficial.