THE STAGE 32 BLOG

Welcome to the Stage 32 Blog. Browse the archive, browse by tags, or search to get started...

Should I Take a Dollar Option on a Screenplay?

You get the phone call and it goes something like this: Friend: Hey, are you sitting down? (Smile in his voice).You: Yeah, what’s up?Friend: I have a producer who wants to option your script!You: (heart flutters) Oh my god …Friend: Yeah, he’s an indie producer I know—really talented, really connected.You: How much for the option?Friend: (long beat) Well, he wants a dollar option because you haven’t been produced yet. But he’s really connected, and he…

Script to Novel: The 6 Biggest Hurdles to Turning Your Screenplay into a Book

Traditionally published novels have always been a lucrative source of literary properties for the entertainment industry, but, in the last decade more and more self-published books have joined the page-to-screen trend and are responsible for building some of the biggest entertainment franchises, supporting billions of dollars in global box office revenue, (for example, Amanda Brown’s Legally Blond (2001), E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey (2011), Andy Weir’s The Martian…

The 7 Step Process for Busting the Myth of Writer’s Block

As writers, we all have come to accept certain maxims to be true, or at least we have grown so familiar with the consensus memes of the creative writing world, that we have become unwitting suckers, blindly accepting them, without exercising personal discernment and healthy skepticism as artists. The memes I’m speaking of have become normalized and homogenized, so much so that we accept them as if they are true, have always been true, will forever be true: 1. Good stories write t…

Writing the Moral Premise and the Biggest Mistake Writers Make

The idea that any good story has a moral heart is not a new idea. Writers, story gurus, developmental editors, everyone who has had any experience with storytelling talks about the importance of having a moral element that drives the protagonist (and antagonist) in any good story. There are many terms people use: moral argument, moral problem, moral flaw, fatal flaw, inner-fault the list goes on, but regardless what the proprietary language used, everyone who advocates for this basic pri…

Story Development Tools & Techniques—'The Whistles and Bells Test™'

'The Whistles and Bells Test™' is a quick test you can carry out whenever you get the inspirational flash of a new story idea. It is a simple, cut-to-the-chase technique that can quickly give you a sense if you have either a story or a situation. It is not a substitute for learning the difference between a story and a situation, or for working through the full premise development process, but over time, with a lot of practice, using this test you can hone a kind of sixth-sense for …

High Concept—It Actually Means Something!

As writers, we have all come up against the agent, publisher, studio hack, or fellow writer who, when asked to give feedback on our story retorts, “Yeah, good idea, but … it needs to pop more. There’s no high concept.” Sigh, and what the heck does that mean? What are you supposed to do with that? People throw this phrase around like the definition is common knowledge, but when asked to explain their sorry selves, these same people only deliver clichés, lik…

Stories vs. Situations: How to Know Your Story Will Work

If I were to ask you, “Do you know what a story is?” you would probably feel a little put out. After all, you’ve probably been writing stories for a long time, in fact, you might even make your living from writing stories and you're probably thinking ' Honestly, he’s asking me that? The cheek!' 'Story' is a common term d'art in the world of creative writing — everyone knows what a story is, right? You would think so, but, alas, this is not the case. So don…