The Secret to Creating Characters That Bring a TV Pilot to Life OnDemand Webinar

The Secret to Creating Characters That Bring a TV Pilot to Life OnDemand Webinar

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We all dream of creating the next Breaking Bad or Orange Is The New Black or Transparent the kind of complex drama built around an unforgettable character in an impossible situation. And most of us may even have an idea for that character in mind -- a protagonist just as compelling as a high school teacher who becomes a meth king or a retiree who finally comes out to his grown children about always identifying as a woman. But this is the easy part -- the real challenge lies in making that character live and breathe on the page... and that can only happen if you surround him or her with a cast of supporting characters designed especially for the job.

This presentation explores the least-understood aspect of creating the memorable protagonist -- how to build a set of supporting characters that will allow you to explore every aspect of your lead's soul. Because while we may immediately think of Don Draper when we hear the Mad Men theme music, we only understand who he is because of his interactions with Peggy Olson and Pete Campbell, with Betty and Sally. We'll learn how to create supporting characters that do more than support -- that can allow you to create a pilot script worthy of your lead.

Before William Rabkin wrote the best-selling book Writing the Pilot, he created a dozen pilots for broadcast and cable networks and several more on spec. He has devoted the last several years to the study of the pilot.


  • How to create a rich, full cast of characters
  • How to design supporting characters that define your protagonist
  • How to move beyond "diversity" to embrace the full range of human lives in your characters
  • How to make sure your characters work together as a whole
  • How to use your supporting characters to define your themes and conflicts
  • How to know if a character is right for your series
  • How to know when to get rid of a character before it can kill your pilot
  • What to do if the characters aren't working


  • Writers who are planning their first pilot
  • Writers who are trying to rewrite a pilot
  • Writers whose previous pilots have not sold
  • Writers who want to know how contemporary TV series work
  • Writers who want to refine their series pitch
  • Writers who want to understand what makes a pilot sell
  • Writers who have great series concepts but need to know how to develop them into a script

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