Nearly every executive that has come in to hear pitches through Stage 32 is looking for thriller features. It's one of the few genres that can translate internationally. Having a solid, unique thriller in your portfolio is something any manager or agent will appreciate. Thrillers like Gone Girl, Taken, The Boy Next Door and Non-Stop have profited more than quadrupled what their respective shooting budgets were. But writing thrillers comes with its own challenges. A writer has to make sure the characterization is strong throughout the story without letting the action sequences overshadow it. But those action sequences must be thrilling enough to fuel the story forward and the pacing must be thriving and building in every scene. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our exclusive 3-week online intensive class How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller taught by the creative executive of Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! In this hands-on course, you will learn what it takes to write a compelling, fast-paced thriller and how to successfully pitch it to production companies. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a thriller that will stand out. The objective of this course is: To learn the rules of writing a page-turner thriller with a unique hook. To prepare you on how to pitch your completed thriller. To elevate your writing and story to a more marketable level. You will leave the course knowing: Tropes used in thrillers to avoid and tropes to embrace. How to commit to tone from page 1. How to option a book or article to establish an IP. The difference between the subgenres of a thriller (including blockbusters, psychological, erotic and art-house). How to prepare your pitch document for your completed thriller. About Your Teacher Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures Patrick started his career working as an assistant at Gersh, where he was able to learn the business from the ground up as well as make solid connection in the town. He worked primarily in the production department but gained lots of exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He utilized his experience and passion as leverage in a transition to work as a producer’s assistant. LD Entertainment became his home the next three years, where he was eventually promoted to a creative executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. After three years, he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up. He learned a lot about assembling large studio films. He has transitioned back into more of a creative executive position at Mandalay Pictures, where he gets to go back to my passion: cultivate amazing stories and working with great writers. Class Schedule ( 6/20, 6/27, 711) Week #1 (6/20): This is an all inclusive look into the world of thrillers. This will offer you a behind-the-scenes look on what executives look for when reading thrillers and some common mistakes writers make that disrupt the reading process. This class will also cover: Concepts that sell and concepts that don’t. Market trends (i.e. female driven thrillers, the state of erotic thrillers after movies like The Boy Next Door). Tips on making sure your first 10-15 pages pop and hook the executive. Stereotypical tropes/cliches writers use to set up their characters that turn off an executive. Tips on creating and layering your antagonist. How to make sure your protagonist is relatable and engaging. How to create a stand out catalyst and a sharp break into act two. Week #2 (6/27): This week will focus entirely on the engine of your story. This week will cover outlining and writing act 2 and act 3. Topics that this will cover include: How to write a thrilling action sequence. Description to dialogue ratio. Making sure you are incorporating set pieces that complement your sub-genre (i.e. what specific set pieces would you include in your second act if you are writing an erotic thriller). Tips on how to outline your heightened set pieces to make sure the emotional crescendo of your story is always escalating smoothly. How to make sure your characterization is strong throughout act two and three while keeping the tension hight. Overall tips on how to outline your script. Week #3 (7/11): This week will cover tips on how to end your script with a lasting final image and what happens after your first draft is completed. This week will include: Some of the most common elements that are rewritten after getting picked up by a production company. How to avoid development hell. Tips on how to pitch your thriller. Typical elements that can be found in a pitch package. How to decipher which companies are looking for what.
Learn directly from leading creative executive at Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! Every screenwriter has a goal they set out to accomplish. The mark of a great screenplay usually depends on whether or not this goal was achieved. Aside from being a visually arresting film, 'Ex Machina' stands apart as one of the great recent screenplays and finds its success in bringing forth engaging ideas, strong characterization and lofty goals. What is it about this intriguing and unsettling piece that resonates with audiences across the globe? What makes this ambitious screenplay cinematic as opposed to something we can watch on television or other formats? We are going to dig deep into the pages to identify the mechanisms and components that are utilized by Writer/Director Alex Garland the really bring the pages to life. I'm excited to take this journey with you and look forward to our discussion.
When people think of Manchester By the Sea, they think of an independent film drama that finds comfort in its misery. There is a stoic color palate that highlights the depressing grey of New England and its melancholy protagonist. The script (and film) are also filled with a certain quirkiness and comedy typical of the American working class city by the sea. Through its incredible pain, there are rays of sunshine and humanity that are delicately written and incredibly effective. We've brought in the Development Executive for Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond, to deconstruct this Oscar-winning script. What we will discuss and uncover is the process and elements required that enabled a film as seemingly small and intimate, like Manchester, to become a commercial and critical success. We also will address the elements of writing that attract A-level talent and help create characters that support great performances. Patrick looks forward to the discussion. All attendees will receive the Manchester by the Sea script and we highly recommend you read it in advance of the webinar.
Learn directly from Patrick Raymond, a development executive at Mandalay Pictures which sold biopic Birth Of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking $17.5 million! Stage 32's "Deconstructing the Script" series has emerged as one of the most helpful ways to learn and improve your own screenwriting skills. By breaking down some of the top scripts in the marketplace, this exclusive series shows you choices screenwriters make in plot, dialogue, pacing, tone, world and description that will help inform your own writing. Even better - Stage 32 brings in working creative and development executives to break down each script - from their own perspective - so you can better understand how executives see writing and develop projects. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Deconstructing The Script: Oscar-Nominated Straight Outta Compton, we have brought in Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures, as your host to break down the script for this Oscar-nominated biopic. Recently Patrick's production company sold biopic Birth of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record breaking $17.5 million! Even though Straight Outta Compton is a biopic, the structure, themes and world-building is applicable to any narrative feature screenwriting. In this 90-minute online webinar Patrick will work through the script, identifying the key elements, characters, and plot points that make this more than just a biopic but also a statement, keeping the tone and voice consistent throughout as it relates to the subject matter. He will identify specific scenes that support the themes and identify not just specific plot points, but also highlight relevancy for the modern audience/culture. You will be able to see margin notes and specific script examples from Straight Outta Compton to learn how and why choices were made. As a development executive in Hollywood, Patrick has a plethora of experience reading and developing various musical biopics. Straight Outta Compton is one of Patrick's favorite scripts from 2015 and "...from a story and script level, stands as one of the best." Find out why by registering for this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar.
In this breakdown webcast, Jason discusses how the process for writing animated features has evolved from Walt Disney's first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to Pixar's most recent 3D animated releases. Jason discusses how writing for animation is similar to live action and where the process differs. Using scenes and scripts from Up, Wall-E, Bug's Life, "The Simpsons" and more as examples, Jason explains how to apply the principles of animation writing to your work.
Love it or hate it, the power of social media is undeniable. Harnessing the power of social media is one of the great secret weapons many producers, filmmakers, screenwriters and other creatives and professionals use to draw attention to and market their films. Learning how to correctly use social media can not only win you an audience for your film or project, it can also get you much desired attention from managers, agents, sales agents, distributors and other people of influence who can help you get your film seen and move the needle on your creative and professional career. And the greatest thing about social media? It's free. It won't impact your budget in the slightest, yet the return on your time investment can be greater than any money you can spend. But you have to know how to navigate the landscape. Make no mistake, you need this important tool in your arsenal and we'll show you how to wield its power. There is nothing more valuable than a large enthusiastic and vocal audience of supporters. Having people champion you and your film carries with it social proof. The more people who spread the word and the more advocates they can recruit, the more marketing and promotional power you have. This is why studios spend millions of marketing dollars on social media. But you can get the same results without spending a dime. And in this day and age, social proof is valued almost as much as IP. It brings you and your project heat. It says to managers, agents, sales agents, distributors, producers, financiers and other executives and decision makers that you have something worth paying attention to. Something of value. Something they need to see. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy, social media, and integrated marketing. Recently, she launched the Digital Marketing Team for the Day and Date Film Division - Lionsgate Premiere. She's worked on a wide range of films from limited theatrical, VOD, independent, and home entertainment releases. Jennifers has worked with mini and major studios such as: Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. She has designed and run film social media campaigns that have gone viral and have drawn millions of eyeballs. Jennifer will take you through all the reasons you need social media for your film, from SEO purposes, to driving an audience, to giving you the opportunity to tell your story and the story of your film to a mass audience. She will teach you which social media platforms are the right fit for your film and will give you the best return on your time investment. She will teach you about messaging and how to stay on point. She will discuss different types of media and how to utilize each to maximize your exposure and return engagement on each platform. If you are thinking about hiring someone to handle your social media, Jennifer will show you what to look for in a hire. She will take you through various campaigns and tactics, bartering, cross promoting and enlisting your cast and crew to get involved. She will take away your anxiety of the time commitment you may believe social media involves by showing you various social timing and simple graphic design programs. And to make it all easier, Jennifer will present some case studies designed to spark ideas and remove your fears. "Ok, I took this because I HATE social media. Now I see that I allowed that concept to fester and grow irrationally. Jennifer presented this information in a way that made an optimist out of this skeptic. I'm not even going to dip my toe in, I'm diving in head first." - Maria N "Masterful." - Anthony C. "As comprehensive as it gets." - Martina J. "Social is littered with abandoned film accounts. I have always had success promoting my films on social media because I make sure to post great content and to be engaging. But, wow, there is SO much I was missing out on. So many things I did not know, overlooked, or simply didn't consider. Jennifer had me scribbling pages of notes. My mind is spinning. Can't wait to put all this information into practice." - Laura D.