Marygrace O’Shea

BA, Haverford College. MFA, Columbia University Graduate School of Film. Film and television writer with credits that include NBC Universal/Wolf Films: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent; HBO: In Treatment, Season 2; Fox Television: Golden Parachutes/Thieves Like Us (creator, writer, and executive producer for the original TV series pilot) and Carnegie Heights (creator, writer, and executive producer for the program in development). Member, Writers Guild of America East. Recent awards: 2013 winner, Writer’s Guild of America East Screenplay Reading Series; winner, New York Women In Film Screenplay Readings; winner, American Accolades Screenwriting Competition. Honors: Hudson Valley Short Film Festival, Manhattan Short Film Festival, Austin Film Festival.  SLC, 2013–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Writing for Television: From Spec Script to Original TV Pilot

Open , Seminar—Year

The fundamental skill of successful television writers is the ability to craft entertaining and compelling stories for characters, worlds, and situations that have been created by others. Though dozens of writers may work on a show over the course of its run, the “voice” of the show is unified and singular. The best way to learn to write for television—and a mandatory component of your portfolio for agents, managers, show runners, and producers—is to draft a sample episode of a pre-existing show, known as a “spec script.” Developing, pitching, writing, and rewriting stories hundreds of times—extremely quickly, in collaboration, and on tight deadlines—is what TV writers on staff do every day, fitting each episode seamlessly into the series as a whole in tone, concept, and execution. This workshop will introduce students to these fundamental skills by taking them, step-by-step, through writing their own spec (sample) script for an ongoing dramatic television series. The fall will take students through the spec-script process, from premise lines through the outline/beat sheet to writing a complete draft of a full, one-hour teleplay for a currently airing show. No original pilots will be pursued in the fall. In conference, students will work, in depth, through additional drafts of their script pages. In this class, there will be heavy TV viewing in the first third of the semester, as students “learn” the shows that are to be spec-ed in this class. In the spring, the class builds on fundamentals learned in the fall, now with the focus on creating an original TV pilot. Students will hone concepts, develop characters, and generate beat sheets and pages to create and write an original one-hour or half-hour show (no three-camera sitcoms). Focusing on engineering story machines, we power characters and situations with enough conflict to generate episodes over many years. In conference, students may wish to craft another spec script, begin to develop characters and a series "bible" for their original show, or work on previously developed material. Prospective students are expected to have an extensive working knowledge across many genres of TV shows that have aired domestically during the past several decades.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Introduction to Television Writing: The Spec Script

Open , Seminar—Fall

The fundamental skill of television writers is the ability to craft entertaining and compelling stories for characters, worlds, and situations created by others. Though dozens of writers may work on a show over the course of its run, the “voice” of the show is unified and singular. A mandatory element of any aspiring TV writer’s portfolio is writing a “spec script” for an existing TV show. Developing, pitching, writing, and rewriting stories hundreds of times extremely quickly, in collaboration, and on tight deadlines is what TV writers on staff do every day, fitting each episode seamlessly into the series as a whole in tone, concept, and execution. This workshop will introduce students to these skills by taking them, step-by-step, through writing their own spec (sample) script for an ongoing television dramatic series. The course will take students from premise lines, through the outline/beat sheet, to writing a complete draft of a full one-hour teleplay for a currently airing show (no original pilots). In conference, students may wish to develop another spec script, begin to develop characters and a series “bible” for an original show, or work on previously developed material. Prospective students should be familiar with a significant number of contemporary, on-air television shows and will have to screen entire runs of four selected, currently high-rated shows to be advised during the course interview.

Faculty

TV Writing: The Original TV Pilot

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

This class builds upon TV writing fundamentals learned in the fall class or from another course in spec scriptwriting. Students will generate beat sheets and pages to create and write original one-hour and half-hour shows (no sitcoms). Focusing on engineering story machines, we power characters and situations with enough conflict to generate episodes over many years. In conference, students may wish to develop another spec script, begin to develop characters and a series “bible” for another original show, or work on previously developed material. Students are expected to have an extensive working knowledge across many genres of TV shows that have aired domestically during the past 25-30 years.

Faculty