Writing For the Small Screen: From Broadcast to Streaming to Web (Fall 2020)

10/03/2020 - 11/14/2020




  • $299.00  -  General
  • $249.00  -  New Student




Sessions: 7 Saturdays
Session Dates: Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Nov 7, 14
Session Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm


Writing for the Small Screen: From Broadcast to Streaming to Web 

Oct 3 - Nov 14
10:00am - 1:00pm

Instructor: Mary Ruth Clarke

People are staying home and tuning in and producers are looking for great shows.  This class is for anyone who has an idea (comedy or drama, any genre) that could make a great series and who wants to learn the crucial basics of how to write it.  
Students will study and analyze successful pilots. You will tease out/explore the inherent possibilities in your idea, where it fits in the vast TV landscape, how to position the idea, what makes a great TV characters, visual storytelling, budgetary considerations, proper story structure, and formatting. And you will write and rewrite.

Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her dramedy teleplay Broadway, Ohio is under a short option, and has also advanced to the second round at the Sundance Episodic Lab 2020.  Her play Bonhoeffer’s Cost just finished a run at The Agape Actors Co-op in Austin, Texas and has been produced at the Beacon Theater in Philadelphia, and the Provision Theater in Chicago.  Agape also produced her farce Suffer The Long Night, co-written with her “Meet The Parents" partner, Greg Glienna. Suffer The Long Night was also produced in Los Angeles at Meta Theater.  Her play Address Unknown was produced in Chicago by 20% Theater Company, and was also produced by Fury Theater.  Her solo performance, I Could Kill Him For Dying, ran at Three Cat Productions in Chicago.  Her play Zap:  An Unauthorized History of the Microwave Oven has been produced five times around the country.  Her almost one-woman musical, Fay Burns! had a 28 Hour Workshop.  
Recent Saturday Series staged readings include her teleplay Broadway, Ohio, Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes, and her play Right In Front of Us. 

Mary Ruth is a screenplay consultant for clients in LA and Chicago, and she has critiqued about a gazillion plays and screenplays.  She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting and TV writing, and also teaches screenwriting at Story Studio.  She’s a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network monthly meet up and recently ran workshops for the Off Campus Writer’s Group, the Chicago Independent Film Project, Renaissance Theaterworks Milwaukee, and the Michigan City library. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.

Sessions/Weekday 7 Saturdays
Session Dates

Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Nov 7, 14

Time 10:00am - 1:00pm