Script Writing: Write a Pilot Episode for a TV or Web Series (Project-Centered Course)


About this Course

What you’ll achieve:

In this project-centered course*, you will design a series bible and write a complete pilot episode for your unique television or web series, be it drama, comedy, or something in between. You’ll learn to break down the creative process into components and discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script in just a few weeks. Completing this project will increase your confidence in your ideas and abilities, and you’ll feel prepared to pitch your first script and get started on your next.

This course is designed to tap into your creativity and is based on “Active Learning.” Most of the actual learning occurs within your own activities – writing! You will learn by doing.

“Thank you so much for your direct way of teaching this course. It encouraged us to creatively flow and find our voice in writing and developing our scripts. This aspect was very important to me.” Ingrid

The course curriculum is simple: you’ll write, revise your work, and share feedback with your peers.

I am a proponent of Experiential Learning (active learning). My lectures are short (sometimes just two minutes long) and to the point, designed in a step-by-step process essential to your success as a scriptwriter. I will guide you, but I won’t “show” you how to write. I firmly believe that the only way to become a writer is to write, write, write.

“David’s lecture style for this course is inspired. The videos are succinct and engaging. When I watch the lectures, I feel David’s sincere desire for me to create something truly amazing. He is teaching us how to write a script and providing wisdom and tools that will help us do so compellingly – by writing, not by watching him talk at us.” – A R Adamson.

What you’ll need to get started:

To begin with, any basic word processor will do. During week two, you can choose to download some free scriptwriting software such as Celtx or Trelby, or you may choose to purchase Final Draft, or you can continue to use your word processor and do your script formatting.

Learner Review: “I am in love with this course. Having never written a script before or any substantive fiction since college (15 years ago), I had a small idea that has now exploded into something I believe in. David’s guidance is spot on; he’s his compelling storyteller, he gives you enough, and then you have to figure it out, make it happen, and WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! “

If you have any concerns regarding protecting your original work, Coursera’s privacy policy protects the learner’s IP, and you are, indeed the sole owner of your work.

*About Project-Centered Courses: This is a ‘project-centered course’, designed specifically to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share.

Time: 1-2 hours of study, 30+ hours of active project work

Flexible deadlines
Reset deadlines following your schedule.
Shareable Certificate
Earn a Certificate upon completion
100% online
Start instantly and learn at your schedule.
Approx. 22 hours to complete
Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish, Persian
Could your company benefit from training employees on in-demand skills?



Jun 14, 2016

David Wheeler is awesome, and I love this course! I am so glad that Coursera and Michigan State University have partnered to offer this course to those of us who have a thirst for learning! Thank you!


Jan 11, 2017

Amazing course. Without useless talking, we are immediately thrown into action, and start working immediately. This course helped me gain priceless empiric experience, and finally, start writing.

David Wheeler

David Wheeler

Creative Research Faculty, The Hub for Innovation Michigan State University

David is the Director of Media Sandbox at Michigan State University. After graduating with Honors from The London Film School in the UK, he was brought to Los Angeles by CBS, where he worked in Broadcast Journalism, Film, Television, and TV Commercials as a writer, director, and cinematographer. He directed his first video game, the 11th Hour, in 1995 and has since made many video games and interactive movies, including the groundbreaking Tender Loving Care with the great British actor John Hurt. David was the Content Director for game publisher Vivendi/Universal and Senior Creative Director at Electronic Arts. He has founded/co-founded Terra Nova Productions in Hollywood, Aftermath Media in Ashland, Oregon, and Digital Circus in Vancouver, Canada. In 2012 he formed his 4th media company, Here And Now Transmedia, in Los Angeles. David came to Michigan State University to head up Media Sandbox in November 2013.


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