Killing the Cat — Writing The New Dark Television Hero

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Event Date: Saturday, August 15, 2015 || Speaker: Peter Russell  || Check-in: 12:30 pm ||

Whether it’s TRUE DETECTIVE, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, or even THE GOOD WIFE, the fashion in TV heroes now is dark and complicated. How do you write a great pilot in this market where cats don’t get saved, the hero is ambiguous, and the humor is black?


**The deadline has passed and REGISTRATION is now CLOSED for this event. Please view our calendar for upcoming events.

Check-in begins at 12:30 pm.
Event starts at 1:00 pm. 

No Refunds. No Credits.


Peter-RussellPeter Russell (UCLA’s Teacher of the Year, & Pepperdine University’s Seaver School’s TV Pilot Professor) will show you how it works to quickly shape YOUR pilot characters and ideas in this seminar. Bring your pilot idea and Peter will help you improve it.

  1. How to create the ‘permanent dilemma’ at the heart of all great TV story, and why the kind of permanent dilemma audiences love has changed in the last five years — and how to find yours.
  2. How now, more than ever, TV stories need a particular kind of moral theme (yes, even sitcoms) and how finding this theme is key to your story’s power (and why TV scripts that don’t do this invariably suck.)
  3. How your hero’s ‘core wound’ powers every step of the pilot’s storyline, and how to make sure the bleeding never stops.
  4. A great tool that helps you create the four crucial characters around your hero or heroine.
  5. How to figure out the hook of your show for the new TV audience.
  6. One big thing hasn’t changed! Using the most powerful suspense devices to keep the audience’s eyes glued to the screen INSIDE each scene. Watch how great practicers of this craft like Vince Gilligan and Nic Pizzolatto do this.

For 15 years Peter Russell has been a story doctor in Hollywood, working with on projects like The Da Vinci Code (SONY), working for companies like IMAGINE (Einstein), for PARTICIPANT (Food, Inc.), for WALDEN FILMS (Chronicles of Narnia), for CBS Television’s Movies of the Week, for HBO, VIACOM, and scores more. Peter recently helped shape Brian Gazer’s PELE, (coming out in the spring of 2015). Peter also works with the most talented writers and producers in the business. His knowledge of story comes out of the years spent reading over 7,000 scripts for the studios. As Peter discerned the patterns of great story, he began to share them, and that began…


Join us on the Third Saturday every month at:


CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

Free Parking — Enter the CBS lot at the main gate & inform security you are there for the Scriptwriters Network event.

You’ll be asked for your government issued photo ID, and then given directions to the meeting location. You may park in any available space on the lot (unless they direct you to a parking structure during special events).

As this is a professional event, we ask that you please arrive prior to the event start time.

Meeting Timeframe: 1:00 pm to approximately 3:00 pm

Please remember to bring a picture ID and your SWN Membership Card!

Any questions, email us at


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