How to write continuing and serial TV drama

Writing for tvMany of our best screenwriters learned their craft in serial drama and soaps and still remain in that genre today. It is a world which is highly competitive and difficult to get into - but once you're in, it can be highly rewarding. Here TV screenwriter Neil Arksey shares some of his top tips in order to make it as a serial drama writer:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of how soaps and serial dramas operate
  • Make sure you know exactly what is required of screenwriters who are contracted to write for continuing and serial dramas
  • Create your own original idea for such a show
  • Develop your story with a team, or a writers' room
  • Concentrate on the character, setting, as well as the story; and make sure the storylines are maintainable
  • Pitching is key, make sure you're pitch-perfect
  • As a writer, script editing, revising and redrafting is essential, ensure you have a pair of fresh eyes looking at it. Write script reports
  • Emphasis should be on story liners and script editors (i.e. the specialist in-house positions for writers on continuing and serial dramas which few people outside understand or know about)

...which is better?

Serial versus Series, Continuing versus Returning...which is better? To find out, come along to The London Film School where Neil Arksey is doing ten evening session workshops from 8th October - 17th December.

The course will examine the development of a continuing serial drama in depth and trace each step of how productions are managed in-house, from initial idea to full concept, storylines, block outlines, futures and scripts.

Participants will leave the course much better equipped to understand and work in the script and story offices of a continuing/serial drama. In addition to group projects, each writer will fully develop their own serial drama package, complete with pilot episode, all ready to pitch. For more information and to apply, click here.