MASTERCLASS: The Art of Writing for Television



"Great novelists are born. Great television writers have no such luck—they have to work at it."

From writing in an active voice to using metaphors, from simplifying complex ideas to using visual words, television writing has its own techniques and rules. Television writing comes with its own unique toolbox and to become a great television writer you must master this toolbox.

The objective of this 2-day masterclass is to explore the many elements in this toolbox, to learn and practice some of the key techniques and rules. The trainer will share through examples, discussions and an extensive collection of illustrative clips from all forms of television production. Participants are expected to complete a series of writing exercises using the toolbox and applying the techniques and rules taught and present their writings for the trainer's feedback.


Learning Outcomes

  • Key Elements of Style for Television Writing, Narrative Writing for Specialist Factual Genres
  • Introduction to a 360 view of the factual television industry
  • A real-life training experience on real scenarios that filmmakers experience every day
  • Participants will be equip with a toolbox of useful and practical techniques and concepts that they can immediately apply to the work they do


Who Should Attend

Writers, Producers


(Duration) Date

(2 Days) -

Registration Closing Date: -



9:30am to 5:30pm


Fees (Inclusive of 7% GST)

Application Fee: S$53.50 -Waived-

Full Course Fee*: S$2,889.00

*This course is supported for up to 90% subsidy under the IMDA Talent Assistance Specialised Training Grant (T-Assist). Terms and conditions apply. For more information, click here


Trainer Profile

Sydney Suissa is currently a broadcast consultant who designs and leads training workshops in story development and production for international clients, including Fox Latin America, National Geographic Asia and Europe, and Frantic Films (Canada). Workshops focused on creative, editorial and technical elements of factual and lifestyle development and production.

Sydney was with National Geographic Channel International for 8 years, as an Executive Vice President on Content, as well as on Regional Production. He designed and executed a global, aggressive, and forward-looking programming strategy to expand NGCI’s position and reach in all media, as well as programming strategies for the launch of new channels including Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo HD, Nat Geo Wild, and Nat Geo Music.

He has approved and oversaw all programming for National Geographic Channel International, (budget of $55 million for global content). Key signature series and specials included Great Migrations, Megastructures, Megafactories,  Air Crash Investigation, Meet the Natives, Engineering Connections The Gospel of Judas, Apocalypse: World War II,  Brady Barr’s Dangerous Encounters, Food Lover’s Guide to the Planet, and Light at the Edge of the World with Wade Davis.

Before joining Nat Geo, Sydney was the Vice President for Documentary Production and Development for Barna-Alper Productions Inc, Toronto Canada, managing all creative aspects for existing signature documentary series, including Turning Points of History (12x1hr for History Television, Discovery Times, History Channel UK, various channels in Latin America), and Frontiers of Construction (13x1hr for Discovery Channel Canada, Canal D, NGCI, Tech TV).

Sydney’s extensive experience in documentary production and development will provide great learning opportunities for media practitioners who are looking at expanding and creating great documentaries for the intended audience.





Question: Tell us more about yourself and also what is unique about this Masterclass workshop you are conducting with Singapore Media Academy.

Sydney: From 2004 to 2011 I was in charge of all programming for National Geographic Channel International. This included oversight over the Development, Production and Marketing teams responsible for 300 hours of original content every year. Since then I chose to become consultant so that I could pursue a variety of areas in television that have always interested me. My clients have included Smithsonian Institution, Fox International Channel and National Geographic. As well I led the development and production of a new children's educational channel called Zoomoo, which recently launched in Singapore and most of South East Asia as well as all territories of Latin and South America. I also consult for a number of independent production houses in the US and Canada and I conduct production workshops throughout the world.

This 360 view of the factual television industry allows me to introduce multiple perspectives to my workshops. It also reinforces my strong belief that television training is not just an intellectual exercise but rather a structured process based on real problems and real solutions that filmmakers experience every day. My goal in all workshops is to leave participants with a toolbox of useful and practical techniques and concepts that they can immediately apply to the work they do. I do this through real examples, through discussion and through an extensive collection of illustrative clips from all forms of television. I also use a carefully planned series of writing exercises so that each participant can start using and applying the various elements of that toolbox.

« Back Registration Form