Ten years ago a spec pilot was a joke. Five years ago it could serve as a writing sample. Today, spec pilots are not only purchased, they’re being turned into series and their writers into superstars.

If you’ve been thinking about writing a spec pilot, check out my book Writing the Pilot, which Richard Walter calls “a sometimes touching, often hilarious, always insightful book on writing that is enormously useful not only to writers of TV pilots but also novelists, poets, and all souls who traffic in creative expression. In a voice that is at once lighthearted and serious, and perpetually engaging, William Rabkin reveals the rules to follow and also those to break. He tackles both the artistic issues regarding story, character, dialogue and more, and provides a road map for navigating the occasionally murky–sometimes perilous–waters of TV writing.”

14 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi William,

    A few years ago I read an article you wrote for Storylink – “Writing for TV: Go Big or Go Home.” It was an excellent article and ever since I’ve always tried to incorporate that philosophy into my scripts. I’d rather write a unique, polarizing script, than one that’s good, but forgettable. The article sits in my desk at work (of my day job), so occasionally I’ll see it and it’ll be a minor boost of writing inspiration. I’ll definitely be checking out your book soon!

    Take care,

    • Thanks. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that something I wrote several years back has had such an impact on you. I wish you great success with your writing career — and I hope I didn’t steer you wrong!

  2. I just wanted you to know I took your Beginning Television Writing online course through Writers University where you helped me analyze TV dramas, identify the franchise, pick a show for which to spec, create three stories, turn one of those stories into a two-pager and be ready to outline. All in four weeks. I not only outlined the show, I wrote and rewrote the spec with mentoring and notes from other writers, and a fabulous table read with 14 actors in Baltimore. And I submitted that spec to several fellowships. Whether or not my Castle spec gets me placed this year, your class got me moving in the right direction, and I just wanted to say thank you!

  3. Hi William,

    I’m launching a Masters level Screenwriting program at Rosemont College and I would love to use your book in my class. I came across some strong reviews of it and I believe my students would really benefit from your insight. I have a couple of logistical questions. Can we email directly?


  4. Hi William,

    I’m launching a Masters level Screenwriting class in the Spring and I’d like to use your book in my class. I’ve come across some very strong reviews and the pages I read on Amazon were wonderful. I know my students will benefit from your insight and honesty. I have a couple of logistical questions. Can we email directly?

  5. Hi William –
    I just discovered your book and read some excerpts online. Loved it. I’m now adopting it as the required textbook in an advanced Producing and Directing course I teach at Temple University where students write, pitch, produce and direct, shoot and edit original TV Pilots over the course a semester. I’d love to pick your brain and also share how the book works with the course! Thanks!

  6. Your book is great, and I’ve recommended it to many of my screenwriting students. I stumbled on this blog, and I’m glad I did. Especially because you are focusing on TV pilots. If you haven’t heard of ReadThrough.com and/or WritersDuet.com, I think you’ll enjoy both of these programs. They’re great resource tools for screenwriters.

  7. after i finish your course, does that mean that i’d be good at writing a feature, too? thanks. there’s a deal from script u.

    • I think all the writing you do makes you a better writer, so to that extent yes, but I don’t specifically teach the skills of feature writing in my TV classes…

  8. can kimberly write an episodic spec’s outline using beginning tv writing, too? want to try to mimic chicago fire.

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