"Alan is a phenomenal teacher, who taught me everything about TV writing, from story structure to dialogue. In his class, I wrote and revised the scripts that launched my career in the industry."
Vanessa Reisen, Supervising Producer, WEEDS, CALIFORNICATION, Co-executive Producer EXTANT, TYRANT, VEGAS.
"I went into Alan's Workshops clueless and came out with a pilot script that sold to HBO. I landed an agent at CAA and I'm now working with an amazing team of managers and producers. Alan genuinely loves teaching and giving his students the tools and confidence they need to launch their TV careers."
Natalie Prisco, Show Creator/Writer, HBO.
"Alan has some kind of Jedi genius for feedback. He's lightning fast and right on target. This class was invaluable. In all my years working in entertainment, I've never come across someone whose notes are as specific and helpful."
Eden Wurmfeld; Producer: KISSING JESSICA STEIN, THE HAMMER.
"Alan has been an invaluable guide in helping me turn hair-brained ideas into structured scripts. His emphasis on Character, Story and Structure gets TV Writing into your bones, and the nurturing environment of the class keeps you writing. He manages to pinpoint every storyline's root problem, and poses that question you've been avoiding, and need to answer. I cannot recommend his classes more highly."
Nina Bradock, Staff Writer, BERLIN STATION, THE SINNER, SERVANT
"I had the privilege of taking several TV writing classes from Alan Kingsberg. Not only is he able to present students with an effective method for building a great script, but he is also an excellent resource on television business as a successful, prolific writer himself. His classes were among the most valuable I took as an MFA student."
Grace Edwards, INSECURE, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT.
Alan Kingsberg – Writing the Original Series
To study with Alan Kingsberg is to know that you are under the tutelage of someone with a supreme command of his craft; someone who seemingly by instinct or dead-reckoning can sense the places where a story needs course-correcting and, perhaps even more impressively, can explain why. In addition to the excellent instruction he offers as a professor, Alan repeatedly demonstrates his concern for the quality of the MFA program as a whole and for the success of every student therein. – Walter Strafford, MFA ‘22
Any aspiring TV Writier should be so lucky to be taught by Alan. Not only because he knows the business inside and out but because he’s able to guide your creativity into something tangible. He’s not one to sugarcoat so if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But he can spot gold from a mile away and that’s what you want from a teacher. I speak for all of my classmates when I say we wish we could have year round class from Alan The Pilot Whisperer but we’re lucky enough to have him sculpt this program into the gem that it is. – Omani McDaniels, MFA ’23 – Turner Scholar
Alan Kingsberg’s pedagogy has been a North Star for my writing throughout grad school. His focus on character and conflict has helped me write stories grounded in heart and humanity. I feel so lucky to grow as an artist in this singular program he’s designed. – Emma Gutt, MFA ’22
Michael Rauch – Showrunner Workshop
The intensive course with showrunner Michael Rauch has been one of the highlights of the MFA in TV Writing program at Stony Brook. Michael speed-walked us through the process of how to break season-long character arcs and how to weave together multiple storylines into a single, cohesive episode outline. Along the way, he offered numerous, helpful reflections from his many years of professional experience. – Walter Strafford, MFA ‘22
In “The Showrunner” class, Michael Rauch brought the experience of a professional writer’s room to Stony Brook and it was terrifying! (And also brilliant.) In this intense module, my cohort worked as a team to break an episode of “Instinct.” Michael shared his industry expertise and opened the room to all of our questions (we discussed everything from working with Network executives to assistant jobs to getting staffed.) The class broke down my “how could I ever actually write for TV??” imposter syndrome and introduced us to the fractal fun of writing episode arcs inside of season arcs inside of series arcs. – Emma Gutt, MFA ‘22
Scott Burkhardt – Revision
Going into Scott Burkhardt’s revision class, I knew my pilot needed substantial work, Scott helped me develop relationship subplots between characters that gave the story more emotional depth, and increased the potency and relevance of the themes. Scott has the ability to cut to the core of what a script is missing, and helps you take it to the next level in a way that’s both honest and approachable. - Kate Levitt, MFA ’20 – Winner, Best Pilot Script, Nantucket Film Festival
Scott Burkhardt was the magic weapon when it came to revising a beloved pilot that I knew needed structural and thematic adjustment, but was at a loss at how to fix. Scott’s incisive thinking when it comes to story problems is well, genius. I came out from his class with a pilot that working TV writers have read and loved, and also a new appreciation for how exciting it can be to break open story possibilities and then put it back together again. - Vivien Jastrzebski, MFA '20.
Stephen Gates – Business of TV
Stephen demystifies the busines of the TV world and how a writer can navigate through it. Taking his class is like getting a crib sheet of the business because Stephen’s perspective is that of a working manager (and former agent) bearing deep knowledge of the industry, how to spot trends in streaming and developing a nose for what will likely stick—or fade away. – Ada Lee Halofsky, MFA’21, Winner: Best Romantic Comedy, Women’s Comedy Film Festival
I feel so honored to have gotten to workshop my pilot pitch with Stephen Gates. Stephen broke down all of my cynical misconceptions around “selling projects” and I fell in love with the art of pitching. – E.G., MFA ’22
Ethan Berlin – Comedy Writing
During our Comedy Class we all realized that being witty and being able to write jokes are very different things. Ethan provided us with a safe space to embarrass ourselves and gave us the tools we desperately needed to tap into our funny bones. This class was by far the hardest but was made really fun by a teacher who knows the comedy world like the back of his hand. And getting Ethan to laugh at one of your jokes meant you were riding a mental high for the rest of the day. – Omani McDaniels, MFA ’23, Turner Scholar
Ethan T. Berlin’s Comedy class was incredible and surprising. By learning about the unique field of late-night comedy in my first semester of grad school, I was able to practice skills and forms that were WAY outside of my comfort zone. Ethan taught us how joke writing is really a boiled down version of story writing. – EG, MFA ‘22
TV Writing Guest Series
In a way, the launch of my career began in the TV Writing Guest Series at Stony Brook where two different writers mentioned the discipline required of them at Tom Fontana’s company. I knew I had to pursue an internship there and was fortunate enough to land the position. But most importantly, and thanks to the understanding of TV writing I had developed at SBU, I was able to take the internship one step further, becoming the writers’ assistant for Tom Fontana’s show, CITY ON A HILL. – Sam Nosratian MFA ’21 – Writers Assistant, City on a Hill
The Guest Series program at StonyBrook was a mini-event that I looked forward to every time. There is nothing like hearing directly from staffed TV writers that are producing, selling, and writing for major networks and getting to soak up their words of wisdom. The guests were also so generous in sharing their knowledge, and as an added bonus the interviews as facilitated by Alan Kingsberg’s great questions, were done in a limited capacity room which gave every event an intimate feel. It’s a real standout gem of the program. - Vivien Jastrzebski, MFA '20.
Adam Yaffe – Limited Series
Adam is very skilled at teaching you how to come up with fictional stories inside an existing true story, and how to make it yours. When I was recently hired to adapt the story of the FIFA Gate scandal, which involved dozens of countries and characters, it felt overwhelming until I methodically and calmly reviewed how Adam taught us to pull the threads of the yarn-ball and pick the right ones. The six part series is completely written and awaits post-pandemic production. – Nathalie Perus, MFA ’20; Writer – The Beautiful Game, Alef One Productions
Kristin Lefcoe – Web Series
Despite being a badass on all fronts, Kris is an immensely approachable instructor and an inspiring mentor. During the semester, Kris was directing an episode of Superstore and she generously shared stories from the set. From Kris I learned that directing isn’t magic, but being super conscientious in pre-production: having a plan, understanding characters’ wants, the emotional turns of every scene and how to best communicate with the crew while earning their trust. When you leave Kris’s class, you will have a short web pilot that can serve as a calling card. Of more value to me, was that Kris made directing less intimidating—and even fun. – Ada Lee Halofsky, MFA’21, Winner: Best Romantic Comedy, Women’s Comedy Film Festival
The MFA in Television Writing
Discovering the Stony Brook MFA in Television Writing is definitely a highlight in my artistic career. The teachers and the cohort offer a supportive, collaborative environment that has given me the tools (and the courage) to take my writing to the next level over the last two years. The Guest Speaker Series also gave us the opportunity to hear from current writers in the TV industry and how their experience directly correlates with our own classroom learning. You just can't beat that. – Noelle P. Wilson, MFA ’21; Winner Best Pilot Script, North Fork TV Festival