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TV Weekend Chicago: From Concept to Studio Deal!

by International Screenwriters’ Association

$224 – $374

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TV Weekend Chicago: From Concept to Studio Deal!

Fri, May 5, 2017, 3:00 PM – Sun, May 7, 2017, 6:00 PM CDT

$224 – $374

Event Information


TV Weekend- CHICAGO: From Concept to Studio Deal!

EARLY Registration ends: APRIL 10th – $299 for 3 day pass
REGULAR Registration: April 11th – May 1st – $350 for 3 day pass

After our successful event in Los Angeles, we’re bringing the team to the midwest for another great TV weekend.

There’s never been a better time to write for TV. Some are saying we’ve moved past the Golden Age of Television right into the Platinum Age. That’s how big it’s gotten, but how do you break in? How do you get your start? What tools do you need to prepare yourself to compete?

Join us for this ISA Masters Series Seminar where you’ll learn the tools to develop a TV Pilot from concept to pitch, so you can land that studio deal or get staffed on a show. Every writer’s dream is to create longevity in this industry. Let the ISA and our esteemed guests help you!

Each paid registrant receives THE CRAFT COURSE (value $69) and a subscription to MovieMaker Magazine for FREE!

To kick off the ISA’s TV Weekend Chicago, we are presenting a lecture breaking down NBC’s TIMELESS and Netflix’s STRANGER THINGS by the ISA’s Director of Community Outreach and co-head of the ISA Development Program, Max Timm. Having launched The Craft Course in Screenwriting, and with over a decade of experience in working one-on-one with writers of all genres and formats, Max will share his insights, lessons, and breakdown of the most essential element of any TV series, the recurring moment.

Saturday we continue with top TV consultant, Jen Grisanti, who will teach you how to write a TV pilot that sells. Having spent years as a Current Programming Executive, Grisanti knows not only what it takes from a business perspective, but she offers a hands-on, immediately supportive approach to educating writers on what it takes to sell material to a network. After Jen, we will present career consultant and industry expert, Lee Jessup, who will share with you everything you need to know about becoming a working television writer. Lee’s clients continually move from novice, out-of-work screenwriters, to working and career-focused writers who are actually getting paid to do what they love! Both of our guest consultants are offering their expertise for what normally would take most clients weeks, if not months, to learn. Take advantage of their time and insights all in one day! (If you scroll down, you can read all about our fabulous guest consultants.)

On Sunday, veteran consultant and writing expert, Corey Mandell will help you improve your skills to pitch yourself and your ideas, an absolutely essential skill for anyone serious about launching or building a TV writing career. As a TV writer, you are not only attempting to sell a piece of writing, but it’s your responsibility to allow the industry to know who you are on a personal and professional level. Learning how to pitch yourself is just as essential as pitching your project. We will follow Corey’s class with an industry panel that will focus on how to make the most of your screenwriting career, intentions, and creative pursuits no matter where in the country you live. Then we will wrap up the day with an interactive pitch event where 10 lucky writers in attendance will get the chance to practice their pitch in front of a panel of industry pros, all of which will give you direct feedback and support.

The skills you’ll learn over this 3-day event will help you turn your good TV script into a great script, and get you ready to pitch and sell at the highest level. This is a highly competitive industry, so let us help you elevate your craft and your career. You can’t afford to miss this!

Open to all storytellers – screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, filmmakers, producers, agents, actors, development executives and more are welcome to attend.



Friday, May 5th – 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm – NBC’s TIMELESS and Netflix’s STRANGER THINGS:
Breaking Down Story Through The Recurring Moment with Max Timm

Saturday, May 6th – 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

9:00 am – 1:15 pm – WRITING A PILOT THAT SELLS with Jen Grisanti

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Lunch

2:30 pm – 5:30 pm – YOUR TELEVISION WRITING CAREER with Lee Jessup

Sunday, May 7th – 9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.

9:00 am – 12:15 pm – PITCHING PILOTS THAT SELL with Corey Mandell

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm – Lunch

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Industry Panel

3:15 pm – 5:15 pm – Pitching Event, Moderated by Corey Mandell


Breaking Down Story Through The Recurring Moment with Max Timm

Friday: 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Audiences will tune in to watch a pilot episode due to the basic conceptual make-up of a particular show, its tone, and possibly a leading actor, but they continue watching the series if and when the well-crafted characters are entertaining, emotionally developed, and intertwined with a unique sequence of recurring and repeated action. What does all of that really mean? What kind of ride will you put your audience on, and more importantly, how do you develop a show that will continually entertain the audience week in and week out? Using examples from the hit NBC drama Timeless, and Netflix’s cult-favorite, Stranger Things, Max will break down the storylines for each show in order to prove how important it is to develop your own show’s recurring moment before ever writing a page of the script.


The Director of Community Outreach with the International Screenwriters’ Association, and with over a decade of experience in developing material and writers’ careers, Max Timm’s focus with the ISA is to build a creative community and bring ISA writers closer to ISA Industry Professionals. Having attended Holy Cross College at Notre Dame and then transferring to Columbia College Chicago to study screenwriting and producing, Max is a Midwesterner and Chicagoan at heart who prides himself on supporting creative people in as many ways possible. Recently he helped build a development program with the ISA, submitting writers’ projects on their behalf and helping them launch their careers – eight writers received options and representation in 2015-16 because of Max’s assistance and support. His Personal Coaching Service develops working writers and their material much like a studio executive would, and his online classes, titled The Craft Course in Screenwriting, offer writers outside the Los Angeles area to take part in professional full development.

A development consultant, manager, and screenwriting instructor, Max is a screenwriter and author himself. His debut novel, a young adult fantasy adventure titled The WishKeeper, about a teenage fairy with broken wings, won the young adult category of the 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival and released nationwide in the Summer of 2016. Max has also served as a part-time instructor at UCLA, will be a mentor in 2017 with the acclaimed Rocaberti Castle Writers Retreat, and travels nationally and internationally speaking at a multitude of industry events such as the Sundance Film Festival, Nashville Writers Conference, and even educating art program teachers through the LA Unified School District.

Telling the Inside Story Through Structure and Emotion with Jen Grisanti

Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:15 pm

The key to becoming a working writer or creating longevity as a working writer is writing a TV pilot script that they can’t ignore. The pilot script is one of the hardest to write. In this 4-hour Master Series class Jen Grisanti will take you through her story system that has led 44 of her clients to sell their pilots, five of which went to series. Part of her system includes story structure, writing memorable characters and character dynamics, creating a strong internal story and she will do a workshop element on adding fiction to your truth. She plans to discuss the following shows – FLEABAG (Amazon), WESTWORLD (HBO) and NIGHT MANAGER (AMC) and recommends that the participants watch the pilots for these shows.


Mentored by Aaron Spelling, one of the greatest executives and most prolific producers in the business, Jen learned early on how to develop a story and make a script the best it could be before it hit the air. She worked with the executive producers, showrunners and staff of over 15 primetime shows such as: Medium, Numbers, NCIS, Girlfriends, Charmed, Seventh Heaven, Melrose Place, 90210 and many more. She has helped to launch countless writing careers over the last twenty-five years. As a nine-year Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a 12-year former studio executive and a panelist for the WGA and DGA, she also helped other creative talents see the business through the eyes of an executive. Jen’s system for telling and selling story has also led to SEVENTY-FIVE OF HER WRITERS GETTING STAFFED.

with Lee Jessup

Saturday: 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

In this 3-hour Master Series class Lee will share with you everything you need to know about becoming a working television writer. This session will explore the current television landscape, the realities and requirements for landing the agent or manager who will become instrumental for connecting you with the television industry, the various paths available for staffing on a show or selling your pilot, the contests, fellowships and programs available to writers seeking to stand out in the television space, and much more.


Lee is a career coach for professional and emerging screenwriters, with an exclusive focus on the screenwriter’s ongoing professional development. Her clients include working screenwriters who have sold screenplays and pilots to major studios and booked writing assignments, staffed television writers, best-selling authors, television writing programs and feature fellowships participants, contest winners, as well as emerging screenwriters just starting on their screenwriting journey. In her role as career coach, Lee serves as a sort of industry guidance counselor, adviser, drill Sargent, cheerleader, confidant and strategic partner. Lee’s knowledge and expertise in the space have been utilized by such entities as the WGA, NBC International, and FilmCourage, to name a few, as well as screenwriting conferences and film festivals across the United States and around the world. Her previous book, Getting It Write: An Insider’s Guide To A Screenwriting Career is a bestseller, and her next book Breaking In: Tales From the Screenwriting Trenches is due out from Focal Press in late 2016/early 2017. Additionally, she has been the interview subject of countless podcasts and screenwriting-centric websites. With her husband, two children, a dog, two cats, and hippie parents living upstairs, Lee currently resides in Los Angeles, where she continues to shepherd, champion and challenge her stable of talented, ambitious and dedicated writers.

with Corey Mandell

Sunday: 9:00 am – 12:15 pm

The ability to pitch yourself and your ideas is an absolutely essential skill for anyone serious about launching or building a TV writing career. In addition to knowing what is required to sell an original idea in the current marketplace, writers need to know how to effectively market themselves in the room in order to land a staff writing job. In this 3-hour Master Series Class, Corey teaches the specific pitching skills and techniques that have helped his students and clients sell pitches to all of the major broadcast, cable and streaming buyers.


Corey is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Walt Disney Pictures and more.

His Professional Screenwriting and Television Writing Workshops offer an alternative to the same old tired rules and formulas found in most screenwriting classes, books and seminars. In the past three years, 87 graduates of his classes have sold original pilots. Others have been staffed on such shows as Community, The Fosters, Jane The Vigrin, Bones, Justificed, BoJack Horseman, The Mentalist, Marvel’s Agents of the Shield, Up All Night, Rosewood, The Leftovers, Treme and more.

INDUSTRY PANEL DISCUSSION – Navigating the Screenwriting Business and Breaking into Hollywood from Chicago
moderated by ISA’s Max Timm

Sunday: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Join the ISA as we host a panel of distinguished industry guests who will focus on how to make the most of your screenwriting career, intentions, and creative pursuits no matter where in the country you live. With a focus on the Chicago creative community, the ISA will bring you an educational, empowering, and inspiring panel that will get you excited to pursue your writing dreams, with a practical and realistic approach.


Angie Gaffney is a Midwest-based producer and entrepreneur who serves as the President of Black Apple Media and Co-Founder of Stage 18 Chicago.


A veteran TV Producer with numerous credits and hundreds of hours of produced programming, including CNN’s Chicagoland and A&E’s The First 48, Craig J. Harris is also an award winning Writer, whose work has been recognized with five Emmys and a Telly Award.

More panelists TBD soon.

moderated by Corey Mandell

Sunday: 3:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Ten lucky writers registered for TV Weekend will get the chance to pitch our Producer’s Panel. The panel will provide notes and give advice on their pitch. The top two pitches will receive a FREE ISA Development Program Evaluation valued at $199!

To apply to pitch you must be registered for TV Weekend. Once you are confirmed you’ll receive an email notification with the information needed to submit to pitch. All pitches will be considered, 10 will be chosen to pitch on stage. Please come prepared to pitch or listen and learn, and be sure to have fun!


We do not have any arrangement with local hotels but here is a list you can check out to secure your stay:

Travel to and from the event is up to you. There is a train station location nearby. Please refer to the Chicago Transit Authority for details.


All registrants for TV Weekend will receive The Craft Course ($69 value) for FREE!*

Presented as an online version of the live Master Class hosted by Max Timm in Los Angeles, this course was inspired by his popular writing podcast, The Craft, and will offer you exclusive podcast episodes only online class writers will receive.

Receive immediate access to all lessons, lectures, and audio, and the material provided within this full development screenwriting course will help you build your script, one step at a time. This course allows you to work at your own pace and finish a script in less than 12 weeks!

With the amount of material that is covered in this course, you will not find a more inexpensive course on screenwriting that offers as much as The Craft Course. The International Screenwriters’ Association takes pride in offering services to writers without breaking the bank. Take advantage of what is offered here and we promise you will come away with a stronger draft of your script had you tried to go this route alone.

So jump in and get ready to write!

*Valid only for Craft Course-Online Only, or as a discount from other Craft Courses. A discount code will be emailed to you upon completion of your payment for TV Weekend.



For a limited time, you can add an ISA Development Program Evaluaton ($199 value) for only $150 with your TV Weekend registration.

The ISA Development Program can now be accessed through application! This specialized program was created to develop and support emerging screenwriters who have yet to secure an agent or manager, while helping writers better navigate this highly competitive business to find a path to break through. Our mission is to ultimately help you get represented and sell your work.

After applying and regardless of acceptance into the program, your material will receive a full evaluation with up to five pages of notes. Your project will be rated and considered for inclusion in the ISA’s Development Program and, if accepted, will immediately enable you and your project to be submitted to ISA approved agents, managers, production companies, producers and more.

EIGHT writers in the program have signed with an agency or had their work optioned in the past TEN months. You can find out more about the ISA Development Program below, or by visiting www.networkisa.org.


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