Writing Program

Learn the basics of sketch comedy scenes, the building block of any Second City show. Study classic Second City scenes, use improv to develop scenes and write original sketches.

Please note that some of these classes will be delivered online.

Sketch & Comedy Writing

Writing 1

Writing 1 is for any student who is looking to start the journey of writing to and for a Second City-style revue. This class is the foundation for scenic comedy writing, a guide for utilizing an improviser’s skill set for rapid creation, and learning writing refinement. The concepts and tools…

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Writing 2

Writing 2 builds on the foundation for scenic comedy writing established in Writing 1 by expanding on scenic types, writing to cast and running order, and writing through collaboration. Writing 2 focuses on the construction of a sketch comedy revue running order. Students who understand the structure of a show…

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Writing 3

Writing 3 builds on the exploration into a Second City running order established in Writing 2 by focusing on the various sources of scenic inspiration and delving deeper into satirical writing. Writing 3 addresses the satirical needs of a sketch comedy revue running order as well as the skills and…

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Writing 4

Writing 4 completes the writer’s toolkit with advanced skills for achieving strong point-of-view and applying scenic writing skills to custom writing opportunities. Writing 4 is a culmination of the skills acquired through The Second City Writing Program. It is with this class that a student will be prepared to move…

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Writing 5

Writing 5 focuses on generating and refining written satirical material that results in a fifty-minute sketch revue script. Writing 5 puts into practice the skills acquired from previous class levels to create and produce a Second City-style revue.

Students in Writing 5 learn how to complete a script for a Second…

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Writing 6

Writing 6 is the culmination of the Writing Program guaranteeing the production and theatrical run of a Second City-style revue. Writing 6 focuses on producing a staged comedy sketch show by fulfilling production roles, writing to show and cast needs, and working with a director to mount a show properly…

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Writing for TV & Film

Intro to Writing for TV & Film

Intro to Writing for TV & Film is for anyone who wants to learn the crucial basics of writing for film and television or anyone with a great idea of a movie who needs help putting it into (properly formatted) words. It gives you a strong foundation for TV and…

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Writing for Late Night TV and Talk Shows Levels 1 & 2

Level 1 – Learn how to write monologue jokes, desk bits, remote segments, guest pieces, sketch and a variety of segments for shows like Fallon, Kimmel, Amber Ruffin, Seth Myers, Colbert, Ellen, Noah, Oliver and more. Pitch monologue jokes weekly, brainstorm, explore and heighten material in this collaborative Writer’s Room…

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Screenwriter's Lab

Screenwriter’s Lab is a class for people serious about finishing their screenplay. Students will build on the fundamentals presented in previous screenwriting classes. This is a place for advanced students to continue their writing projects, revise completed scripts, or begin developing new work.

You’ll explore more of the architecture of a…

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Comedy TV Pilots Program

Level 101 – Do you have an idea for a TV show but don’t know where to start? Comedy TV Pilots 101 is designed to give you the tools for converting your idea into an outline of your very own TV pilot. From character to relationship to story, each week…

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Writing for Animation

Interested in writing cartoons? This class will introduce you to the wonderful world of writing for animation. Learn about the animation production pipeline, how to break down episodic structure, and study show bibles to understand the unique opportunities and demands of the medium of animated tv and films. You will…

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Specialty Writing

Writing The Humorous Personal Essay

Do you have funny personal stories to share? In this four-week class, you will learn to write about humorous experiences in your own life. We will discuss how to make your stories interesting and relatable to other people. This class is offered online and in-person (Chicago).

We will brainstorm ideas and develop…

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Creating a Web Series

Join us in a 7-week class on creating your very own web series. With the success of web series like Brown Girls or Broad City, creating your own can jump start your career. We will learn about storyline, character development and dialogue, as well as focus on the logistics of shooting. Tell your…

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Writing Sadness Through Humor

Cry ‘Til You Laugh! In this four-week course, you will learn to write about sad experiences either in your own personal life or through fiction. This class will also teach you how to add humor to your writing in order to provide some comic relief. Writing about emotional experiences can…

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Virtual Writing

Writing Comedy News (Online)

In this intensive 4 session class (3 hours each), students will act as if they are the writing staff of a news-driven show that is a cross between SNL and The Daily Show. Some writing experience is recommended but not required. Students will submit scene pitches and two-line jokes prior…

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Writing Lab: Content Creation (Online)

In this small size 4 week class students will learn, plan and create content. By the end of the class every student will have at least one project of their choice finished and shared online with the world.We’re all in this together. We’ll learn from each other and…

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Satire and Humour Writing with Sophie Kohn (Online)

Over this four-class intensive, learn to write short, satirical pieces in the style of McSweeney’s, The Beaverton, Reductress, Shouts and Murmurs, and The Onion. Explore the elements that make for especially powerful, smart, memorable and ~funny~ humour writing as you and your fellow students workshop…

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Writing Short-Humor and Telling Big Jokes (Online)

In this small size 4-week class students will write short-humor pieces using stand-up comedy jokes. In each class students will spend time on writing exercises and telling stand-up jokes in an extremely supportive open-mic like environment. Students will (outside the class) expand ideas from these jokes into 500-800 words long…

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What's Your Story (Online)

What’s Your Story takes you through the steps of the storytelling process. You will learn how to identify and talk about meaningful narrative events in your life in a way that is compelling and entertaining to an audience. Story structure, finding your story, developing characters, voice, physical theatre, and stage…

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Writing On-Demand

Sketch Writing Level 1 (On-demand)

Students living away from one of the Second City Training Centers can still study comedy sketch writing! In Sketch Writing 1 students receive individual instruction through online correspondence, exploring the fundamentals of character development and theatrical scene structure. Exercises include a variety of comedic genres, from “Simple Yet Impossible Goal”…

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Sketch Writing Level 2 (On-demand)

Building on Online Sketch Writing 1, students will continue to learn the universal comedy techniques used in mainstream media as well as focusing on satire, character development and rewriting.

Major Concepts: Short history of sketch comedy, relationship, game and…

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Sketch Writing Level 3 (On-demand)

In Online Sketch Writing 3 you will continue building the blocks of a sketch revue! Explore sketch structures that “break the rules”, including blackouts and clothesline scenes. Expand your ability to collaborate with other writers as you learn the structure of a Second City sketch revue.

Major Concepts: Specialty…

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Sketch Writing Level 4 (On-demand)

The culmination of the Online Writing Program allows you to strengthen your own voice as a writer as you explore concepts of satire founded in historical and personal events. Gain new tools for rewriting your sketches to strengthen the point of view. This term includes special workshops in songwriting and…

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Intro to Writing for TV (On-demand)

Intro to Writing for TV is for anyone who wants to learn the essence of writing for television or anyone with a great idea for a series who needs help putting it into (properly formatted) words. This on-demand course gives you a strong foundation for TV writing structure, demystifies the…

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Writing a Screenplay (On-demand)

A sellable screenplay = quit your day job. This class will help you create characters, understand structure & learn to pitch. You’ll end this course with an outline of your [awesome] screenplay idea as well as the start of your script.

This…

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Writing for Late Night TV and Talk Shows Level 1 (On-demand)

Write desk bits, remote segments, guest pieces, sketch and a variety of segments for shows like Fallon, Seth Meyers, Kimmel, Amber Ruffin, Colbert, John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Ellen, Desus & Mero and more. Write monologue jokes weekly, create original material to strengthen your writing samples, and produce the elements to…

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Writing for Late Night TV and Talk Shows Level 2 (On-demand)

Building on Writing for Late Night TV and Talk Shows Level 1, this class will consist of joke maximizers for monologue jokes, finding the angle for your joke to help come up with multiple punch lines, jokes with visual punchlines, writing a rant on a topic like John Oliver’s show….

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Writing the Sitcom Spec Script (On-demand)

Students of this class do not need to log in at a certain time or day for streaming sessions, as content, exercises and assignments are on-demand.

According to agents and managers, in order to break into Hollywood, it’s useful to have a spec script, an original pilot, a screenplay (if you’re…

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Writing Satire for the Internet Level 1 (On-demand)

In this four-week online writing satire course, you will learn how to form a strong comedic point of view on topical news and pop culture events. You will brainstorm, draft and rewrite short pieces in the style of McSweeney’s, Shouts and Murmurs and The Second City Network. Internet presence, pitching,…

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Writing Satire for the Internet Level 2 (On-demand)

This second four-week satire writing intensive builds on the concepts learned in Satire 1 and puts an increased emphasis on writing at a professional level. Students will keep a running pitch document, have access to exclusive interviews with top editors and satire writers working today, and create a website for…

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Writing Satire for the Internet Level 3 (On-demand)

Portfolio, Pitching and Submitting Bootcamp

In this two-month class, the final in the Online Satire series, students will complete a writing portfolio that showcases their voice and POV, work to create a professional network, and focus on pitching and submitting finished pieces throughout the course. Topics covered…

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Writing Sadness Through Humor (On-demand)

Cry ‘Til You Laugh! In this four-week course, you will learn to write about sad experiences either in your own personal life or through fiction. This class will also teach you how to add humor to your writing in order to provide some comic relief. Writing about emotional experiences can…

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Writing the Humorous Personal Essay (On-demand)

Do you have funny personal stories to share? In this three-week course, you will learn to write about humorous experiences in your own life. We will discuss how to make your stories interesting and relatable to other people.

We will brainstorm ideas and develop them into personal essays. You can write…

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Comedy TV Pilots 101 (On-demand)

Netflix. Disney+. Apple TV+. HBO Max. Peacock. CBS All Access. Streaming content has made this the second golden age of television. 497 scripted shows were made last year. If you have an idea for a comedy or dramedy that you’d like to develop, this is the class for you. An…

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Stand-Up 1: Joke Writing (On-demand)

Develop yourself as a solo comedic performer by writing and workshopping your own material. By understanding how earlier stand-up comics evolved, students experiment outside their comfort zone and experiment in a variety of styles until discovering their own unique style. Students will be encouraged to perform in local open mics…

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Storytelling: Tell Better Stories (On-demand)

A online, go at your own pace Personal Storytelling course

Understanding the basics of a good, compelling story is essential to life, essential to connection, essential to whether you want to write a memoir, give a Ted Talk or share a story piece for The Moth. Understand your story and you’ll…

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