Instructor: Joey Siara (Writer, ABC’s Emergence)

Session A: June 18 – July 10

Session B: July 12 – July 31

Session C: August 2 - August 21
Three Week Online Program

The Precollege Writing for TV Summer Institute introduces motivated high school students enrolled in 9th -12th grade in Spring 2021 to writing for television in Hollywood. This track mirrors the practice of professional writers in the world of episodic television and digital media by teaching students how to develop original series concepts and how to navigate the contemporary marketplace. In the process, students learn how to identify and capture the tone, characters, dialogue, and themes that make their story unique while collaborating in a workshop environment with their peers.

Students will write a pilot episode outline, a series treatment, and the teaser of the pilot script over the course of the class, while getting the feedback and tools they will need to further write their pilot episodes and develop future TV show ideas after the program. The program culminates in a table reading of a section of their script by professional actors. Previous experience in screenwriting is not required, just a passion for storytelling!

Students meet three times a week via Zoom in a small workshop environment to discuss ideas, break stories, and give feedback and notes on each other’s work. This program carries four units of UCLA credit. Please note that this is an intensive course and students are expected to spend a minimum of 25 hours-per-week writing outside of class meetings.


Program Details

Course Credit

All participants will receive UCLA credit for the following course: 

FILM TV 37: Introduction to Writing for Television: Big Ideas for the Small Screen (4 units)

Intensive introduction to television pilot form, covering style and content, as well as principles behind network needs and how pilots are chosen across broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. Students write series outline and teaser of original pilot episode. 

Hollywood and the Industry

Guest Lecture Workshops

Guest lecturers from the industry lead workshops in Finding Your Voice and Writer as Entrepreneur to lend their expertise to students in the craft of screenwriting and exploring the career of a screenwriter.

Finding Your Voice
Everyone in the industry is looking for writers with unique voices and scripts that showcase a writers’ distinct point-of-view. But how does a writer discover their voice? How do they learn to showcase it in their writing? In this workshop, students will explore the concept of “voice” in the myriad ways it can be defined in the industry by reading script excerpts, participating in group discussions, and writing exercises to demystify this commonly used term and give practical ways to discover and develop the individual and specific characteristics of their writing.

Writer as Entrepreneur
This workshop prepares students for a future in the industry by bringing in working screenwriters/TV writers to talk about their career paths and the experiences of being a writer in Hollywood.


JOEY SIARA grew up in Whittier, California. He spent his twenties in a noisy indie-rock band and has seen nearly every state in the country through the cracked window of a Ford Econoline. His music has been featured in several TV series – from SONS OF ANARCHY to PARENTHOOD to GOSSIP GIRL. He has a Master’s from Harvard, an MFA from UCLA, and has worked on series for PBS, DISCOVERY, and CNN. Most recently, he was staffed on EMERGENCE for ABC, co-wrote a comedy feature with his brother for LIMELIGHT, and had a short-story published last summer on SLATE.



NOTE: All course meeting times are in Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). If completing the program in a different time zone, please make sure to account for the time difference. The program schedule is subject to change. 



Program Eligibility

To apply for the Precollege TV Writing Summer Institute, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Open to students enrolled in grades 9th - 12th in Spring 2021 and Spring 2021 High School Graduates

Students who do not meet the minimum program requirements should not apply and should consider other summer opportunities.

How to Apply

To participate in the Precollege TV Writing Summer Institute, students must apply and receive acceptance into the program.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete the following:

  • Responses to the following essay prompts:
    • Three log lines for three original story ideas.
    • Personal Statement: Why would you like to participate in the program, and what do you expect to gain from the experience? 150-200 words.
    • What prior experience, if any, do you have in screenwriting? Include both academic coursework and extracurricular activities. Previous experience in screenwriting is not a requirement. 150-200 words.
    • Submit a creative writing piece written in English that features a character from a TV show that you admire. 150-200 words.
    • In a writing workshop, you are expected to give and receive feedback on your work and the work of your peers. What qualities do you possess that would make you a good collaborator in a writing workshop? 150-200 words.
  • Optional: An unofficial transcript or progress report confirming a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Fees and Payment

Program Fees

Please find below a list of all fees that may apply to you to enroll in the TV Writing Summer Institute.

2021 Summer Institute Fees

  • Registration Fee: $350.00*
    *This registration fee is assessed one-time per each summer term for any precollege Summer Institute. If you are admitted and will be enrolled at UCLA in Fall 2021, other University fees of $132.69 will be assessed in lieu of the registration fee.
  • Program Fee: $2,590*
    * If you are admitted and will be enrolled at a UC campus in Fall 2021, your program fee will be $2,266.
  • IEI Fee: $61.00
  • Document Fee*: $50.00
    *If you are participating in UCLA Summer Sessions for the first time or an incoming UCLA undergraduate student, this document fee will be assessed. The one-time document fee covers life-time academic and verification transcripts that do not require special delivery services.


  • Visiting Students (Non-UC): $3,051
  • Fall 2021 UCLA Students: $2,509.69
  • Fall 2021 Other UC Students: $2,527

Please note that a $350.00 nonrefundable registration fee will be required in order to reserve your space in the program.

Registration is not complete until the registration fee is paid in full. Those who are not prepared to pay can submit their registration form and retrieve registration at another time to pay the registration fee.

This fee is not refundable under any circumstances even if you withdraw from the program before it begins.

Payment Deadline

Full summer fees are due no later than 5PM, May 1*. Failure to pay by the payment deadline may result in your space in the program being forfeited.

NOTE: Your bill reflects your enrollment activities. If you make any changes to your enrollments, be sure to monitor your BruinBill to verify any changes in your balance.

Your enrollment in the program is not officially confirmed until you submit full payment of the program fees and all other administrative fees.

*If you register AFTER May 1, you will be prompted to make full payment of all fees excluding any applicable document fee and IEI fees at the time of online registration. For the document and IEI fee payment, you can follow the same steps listed in PAYMENT METHODS above 1-2 business days after making payment of the full program fees.

Payment Methods

Credit Card of Electronic Check (E-Check)

Accepted forms of payment are VISA, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX, or e-check.

  • Log onto MyUCLA (UCLA Logon ID required)
  • At the MAIN MENU under the FINANCES AND JOBS drop-down menu, click on the BRUINBILL link
  • Once on the BruinBill page, select MAKE A PAYMENT at the top

All credit card payments are subject to a 2.75% non-refundable service charge each transaction. This charge is assessed by Higher One, Inc. and may not be refunded under any circumstances. No service fees are applied to e-check payments.

Cash, Check, or Money Order

Visit Payment Solutions and Compliance, 1125 Murphy Hall, UCLA to pay in person.

Note: Certain charges may apply to returned checks and credit card charge backs.

Foreign Currency Payment

Travelex payments allow you to lock into an exchange rate with your bank. If your currency is not included in the drop down list, you may request that your bank make the transfer in US dollars.

  • Log onto MyUCLA (UCLA Logon ID required)
  • At the MAIN MENU under the FINANCES AND JOBS drop-down menu, click on the BRUINBILL link
  • Once on the BruinBill page, select MAKE A PAYMENT at the top and select PAY WITH FOREIGN CURRENCY

Refund and Cancellation Policy

A valid payment of a non-refundable registration fee is required to complete registration. This fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

Program fees and other applicable fees, excluding the non-refundable registration fee, are refundable if the program is officially dropped prior to 5PM, JUNE 15 (PDT). In the event of withdrawal prior to the refund deadline, the total refund amount will reflect the non-refundable registration fee, appearing as Processing Fee on the BruinBill account.

If the program is dropped after 5PM, June 15 (PDT), all fees are non-refundable and you will be financially liable regardless of attendance. To officially cancel your enrollment, you must access your existing registration online.

If entitled to a refund from the UCLA Summer Sessions Office, you will receive your refund one of three ways within 1-3 weeks:

  • BruinDirect: BruinDirect is a free and automatic way for students to receive refunds directly to a U.S. checking or savings account. You may sign-up on BruinBill.
  • Credit Card: Payments made with a credit card will be returned back to the credit card that made the original payment.
  • Check Refund: If payment made using a method other than credit card and if not signed-up for BruinDirect, a refund will be issued as a paper check and mailed to the mailing address on file.

Participant Agreement

For a full overview of all terms and conditions for UCLA Summer Institutes, please review the Participant Agreement.

Financial Aid

Summer Scholars Support for California High School Students

Qualified students attending grades 8th – 11th in Spring 2021 in the state of California are eligible for Summer Scholars Support, a need- and merit-based scholarship offered by the UCLA Summer Sessions Office. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available to support enrollment in an eligible Precollege Summer Institute.

For more information, visit the Summer Scholars Support page.

Other than Summer Scholars Support, no other financial aid through UCLA Summer Sessions is available to visiting high school students. Please check with your home institution regarding financial aid options.



Grade Overview

Participants of the Precollege TV Writing Summer Institute will be awarded 4 units of credit in the form of a letter grade after the successful completion of the program.

As a participant, you are expected to complete all assigned coursework, take all examinations, attend class regularly, and submit all required work by the end of the program. No part of the coursework may be continued beyond the close of the program unless prearranged by the student and the instructor.

The program instructor is required to assign a final grade for each student enrolled in a course. Grades A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus or minus suffix. If you would like to change your grade type to Pass/No Pass, please email before 5PM of the first day of the program.

For more information on grades, visit the Registrar's website.

Units / Credits

UCLA is on the quarter system. While some schools are also on the quarter system, most colleges and universities are on the semester system. As a general guide to transferring quarter units to a semester system school, one semester unit or credit is worth 1.5 quarter units (e.g., 4 quarter units = 2.5 semester units).

UCLA courses are generally accepted for transfer credit, but all decisions on transferability rest with the home institution. Students should get advance approval of their UCLA Summer Sessions course selections from the home institution prior to registration.


The transcript is a permanent record that reflects all undergraduate and graduate work completed at UCLA. It lists courses, units, grades, cumulative grade-point average, transfer credits, total units, and work in progress in chronological order.

Ordering a transcript can be done online through MyUCLA. Those requiring expedited or special delivery can submit a Transcript Request Form.

Requests are not processed if students have outstanding financial, academic, or administrative obligations to the University.

NOTE: Current or newly admitted UCLA students will have their grades appear on their UCLA transcript immediately after grades are submitted by the course instructor. Current or newly admitted visiting UC students will have their grades appear on their home UC campus's transcript in October or November.












UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.