First, you’ll need to figure out what this season is about. As you’ve learned in your English Language Arts classes, good stories tend to follow the same conventions/rules. The story of the first season of your series should follow the familiar diagram below:
Begin by identifying some of the major plot points. For the next step, you’ll need to break that story down into seven detailed mini-stories. It may help you to start by using the Story Map graphic organizer, located at the bottom of this post – click here to view and print it.
Now, when you’re ready, write a paragraph for each episode – these are called Episode Storylines.
The Episode Storylines provide a focused summary of the major plot arcs for each episode showing both the storyline within each episode and how each episode contributes to any over-arching story line across the series. Each episode should follow an interior story arc, and fit into the story arc of the six episode season.
Obviously, this is going to take some time.
How will you introduce your viewers to the show? The main characters? The conflict? This information will go into an additional episode, meant to air before the entire series. This episode is called the pilot.
Type out the plot for the pilot and each of the six episodes, leading the viewer through the first exciting season of your show.
Series Synopsis Grading Criterion:
- Outline includes stories for pilot AND six episodes (seven total)
- Every episode has a title with a one-paragraph plot explanation
- All episodes work together to form a complete story over the course of one season
- Bonus points awarded for future season story arcs
- Emailed to email@example.com by the end of the school day on the due date (attached MS Word document or shared Google Document are acceptable)
EXAMPLE by L. Shultz*
Series Outline: Gora + Frenz
The First Day of High School (Pilot Episode) – We meet Gora and her best friends from middle school, Hannah and Emmie, all freshman cheerleaders. Varsity cheerleader and junior Ashli is introduced, loudly drawing attention to Gora’s new mask. As the accident over the summer is briefly mentioned, Gora’s middle school friend and crush, Zane, shows concern but is then whisked away by the ego-boosting coos of Ashli, interested in the prospect and clout of dating an older woman. Life at Taft High School is off to a rocky start, but Gora is grateful for the support of Hannah and Emmie. It is unclear with whom the Snapchat story has been shared with, but it is clear that the audience of these posts does not attend Taft High School.
Season 1: Freshman year
Episode 1 – Homecoming
Episode 2 – Halloween
Episode 3 – Deck the Halls
Episode 4 – Valentine’s Day Rager
Episode 5 – Spring Fever
Episode 6 – School’s Out for Summer
Homecoming (Episode 1) – Everyone at Taft is excited about the big game against Stapleton. Emmie lands a date with a pimply sophomore at the last minute, so Gora plans to go stag with Hannah. The game is a smashing success, with JV athletic savant Zane getting brought up and gaining Varsity field time while Gora and Ashli vie for his attention from the sidelines during the game. Hannah hits it off with a new guy, Nester, at the dance. While Gora sits alone watching Zane dancing with Ashli, Gora contemplates her friendships, for the first time acknowledging the absent, unnamed, mystery friend that is the (assumed) audience of Gora’s Snapchat stories.
*Note: This is the outline for ONLY the first two episodes. See Ms. Shultz’s complete series outline (pilot AND six episodes) for “Gora + Frenz” hanging on the white board in the TV studio.