The Writing Program
Sketch Writing Program
Sketch Writing Level 1 (8 weeks)
Sketch 1 introduces students to the fundamentals of the iO West sketch writing philosophy. Character development, sketch structure and writer point of view will be workshopped with weekly assignments, sketch viewing and in-class writing exercises.
Sketch Writing Level 2: Creating a Show (8 weeks)
Learn how to create a full sketch comedy show as part of a writing team.
The class will work together to write and edit everything needed in a great sketch show:
opening sketches, blackouts, group scenes, 2 person scenes, skill scenes and callbacks.
The show will have a 4 week run at iO West with a cast of actors. During this time, writers can use the feedback of a live audience to analyze and improve what they’ve written and the show as a whole. Other elements of a sketch will be studied, including casting, direction, and running order decisions.
At the end of 8 weeks, the writing team will have created a solid 45 minute sketch comedy show.
Writers will not be performing the show.
Prerequisite: level 1 sketch writing class (iO, UCB, Nerdist, Pack, Second City) and/or teacher approval.
Sketch Writing Level 3 (7 weeks)
Students will use sketches from level 1 and 2 and create new sketches to form an original sketch show! Students will be taken through an iO West rehearsal process while stopping to elaborate on the different elements that make up a successful stage sketch show. Writing, tech rehearsal, running order improvisation and acting will all be addressed. This class culminates in a main stage show.
Improv to Sketch (4 Week Elective)
Are you an improviser curious to try sketch comedy? Improv to Sketch will teach you how to take ideas generated from improvised scenes and turn them into sketches! IO West training center director George McAuliffe will take you through a process used with his main stage team Duke. The first two weeks, students will be led through a variety of iO West improv exercises to generate ideas and concepts for sketches. Students will have writing assignments each week and in the final 2 classes will read scripts, rewrite, re-improvise and block the scenes for a performance on the iO West Main Stage!
Television Writing Program
Intro to Television Comedy Writing (7 weeks)
This class is recommended for anyone just getting started in television writing. Students will be instructed in the basics of how to write both a spec script and a pilot script, forming a strong foundation for writing half-hour television comedies. The instructor brings years of professional experience to the table in guiding students to attain a better understanding of story, character, process, structure, and pitching — all elements critical to success in the field of television writing. The goal of this class is to get students to write a spec script outline that will provide a foundation for either finishing a spec script or beginning a pilot script in the Intermediate Pilot and Spec class. Class Taught by Ed Lee.
Intermediate Pilot and Spec (7 weeks)
This second in the series, INTERMEDIATE PILOT & SPEC writing is recommended for graduates of the first class OR students who have a general knowledge and structure of script writing (meaning you’ve written at least one or two specs) and you’re looking to hone your abilities to develop the skills that will help you deliver a script head and tails above the rest. Taught by a seasoned sitcom veteran who has written hundreds of hours of television as well as sold over a half dozen original pilots to such networks as HBO, FOX, and DISNEY, this seven-week course focuses entirely on helping students their skill set to a network level.
With a strong emphasis in story and character, this course is designed to push writers from neophyte to professional. Whether you’re looking to start a brand new spec or punch up the one you’ve been working on forever but never managed to finish, this class will provide a “writer’s room” atmosphere to create a strong collaboration and support for your original work. Whether you’re looking to create your own original pilot or craft a spec to help you get into one of the studios various writers’ workshops or fellowships, this intermediate series is a must to learn what it takes to take a script from good to GREAT. Students are encouraged to repeat this course as SEVERAL have gone on to land precious spots in studio and network workshops as well as staff positions on hit sitcoms.