Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, Vice President of State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays) The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Little Miss Sunshine. What is it, exactly, that makes these comedies stand out from the crowd? With so many different types of comedies in the marketplace, it is becoming the toughest genre to break into. More executives are turning to A list comedians to write than actual screenwriters, so how do you get an executive's attention? How do you get past executives that have different senses of humor, jokes that don't translate internationally, and storylines that can easily get deemed outdated a year later? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our 4 week online intensive class How To Write A Fresh, Stand Out Comedy taught by the Vice President of State Street Pictures, Melissa Dayin Cassill. In this hands on 4 week course, you will learn the importance of the emotional crescendo of a comedy script, how to balance the comedy with the humanity of the characters, and how to pitch your comedy script once you're ready, all while molding your pages under Melissa's supervision. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a fresh stand out comedy script that will grab executives' attention! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Melissa is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.
Writers can't rely on jump-scares and creepy music, so how do screenwriters create tension on the page? We'll take a look at needling suspense of THE BABADOOK, the tension just below the surface in GET OUT, the apocalyptic horror of “The Walking Dead”, and the creeps and chills of IT.
Writing a film for television has a ‘unique set of skills’ which are different from writing a traditional screenplay. If you never learn how to write for the BOOM!, act break structure, number of locations, and characters, you’ll get stuck in re-writing hell or worse yet, never have your script read. Understanding script structure, outlining, and deliverables for television films prior to writing will give you a leg up on the competition. Additionally, each network has its own set of rules and you want to ask the right questions prior to typing ‘Fade In’. With more television networks producing their own content and films, the need for content is higher than ever. However, TV films have their own structure and layout, especially when dealing with networks that have commercial breaks. Additionally, working with producers and executives is a different animal than working with producers and executives in the independent world. Courtney Miller Jr. is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show Saints & Sinners on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. He knows the television writing and directing landscape inside and out and he's ready to share his knowledge with you. Courtney will dive in by explaining all the differences between writing a TV and a traditional film screenplay. He will discuss how to format acts, how to be sensitive to the shooting schedule, what you can expect regarding deadlines and delivery dates and how to navigate dealing with the network. From there, Courtney will take you to the greenlit phase where you'll need to know what deliverables you are responsible for, how much time you'll be given to deliver your rewrite, and how to handle network notes (there will be plenty). Courtney will then jump into the writing process including how to write for the BOOM!, how many acts you need to have in your script (and if that varies) and the importance of writing a compelling and attention grabbing Act 1. Going even deeper, Courtney will discuss beat sheets, how many beats you need to add, and what your overall beat sheet should look like. And finally, Courtney will explain how to write an outline that keeps the execs happy and off your back so you can go do what you do best...write! "Another winner for Stage 32. I have many scripts I thought would be a better fit for television and now I know how to get it done!" - Fiona C. "I'm ready to write for the BOOM! Thanks, Courtney!" - Miguel P. "It's always been a dream of mine to have something on the Hallmark channel. Now I have the framework and I'm ready to start writing." Melissa H. "Couldn't have been any better. Great detail!" - Ida W.
How can you write to make the complex understandable? How can you describe a set piece that is both inventive and relatable? That is the goal for this month's Write Now Challenge!
Art/Work Manager Spencer Robinson will discuss the differences between managers and agents, how to grab a manager's attention, working with a manager and what he currently is seeing in the industry.
The horror genre is one of the only genres that still can open big theatrically. In fact, over the last 5 years or so, the horror genre has provided the industry with some of its most profitable films. And that trend shows no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, the trend is accelerating. Horror still lends itself to a shared experience of being scared with a group in the dark. The jump scares, soundtrack and sound effects really play well in theaters, but also lends itself to that adrenaline we all love when sitting home alone streaming a great horror film. Horror can also be produced on a much lower budget than most other genres, so the opportunity for higher margins of profit are always in play. And you don’t need big movie stars as the concept is the star. Additionally, tons of new directors are able to break in through the horror genre and they're all looking for that perfect script with that killer concept. The challenge for most writers is coming up with either a totally new concept (THE CONJURING), or coming up with a new twist on what has already worked in the past (INVISIBLE MAN). But once you have fleshed out the concept, you need to make sure the writing is on point. That includes a perfect opening, a cadre of memorable characters, a plot that keeps those pages turning, and a close that makes a manager want to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting. Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management. Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Jake will teach writers of horror screenplays what managers look for in a spec screenplay. As one of the leading sellers of horror specs in the market today, Jake will tell you the common mistakes horror writers make and how to avoid them. To start, Jake will take you through the types of horror scripts attracting financing and producing interest in the market right now and he will explain why certain feature scripts stand out above the rest. Then, Jake will dive into the writing and the reading habits and needs of a manager. He will dive into what your first 10 pages tell a manager and how you can not only make them shine, but how to do so in a manner that keeps a manager turning pages. He will discuss the importance of your first act, the introduction and nuances of your characters, how to make sure your plot is not only interesting, but clear, and how to stick the landing. And, as a bonus, Jake will take you through 10 case studies of some of the most successful horror feature and short film projects of recent years including A Quiet Place, No Good Deed, Meet Jimmy and more. Praise for Jake's Stage 32 Webinar "Jake was terrific, and the value of the webinar was immeasurable." -Erica K. "It was amazing!! It was the inspirational kick in the butt that I needed. The discussion sparked a couple great ideas for fresh twists to the genre. I'm excited for the possibilities and am looking forward to seeing where these ideas take me. Grateful to Jake for making me believe in the power of my ideas. Thank you!!" -Lisa H. "Jake was terrific...knowledgeable, insightful and passionate about the subject mater. There were many great, simple takeaways. One of the best webinars I've participated in, in terms of being on point and offering actionable advice." -Michael H. "Outstanding! Informative and entertaining. Thoroughly covered the topic from my perspective. Gave me a lot of ideas and direction to new plans. Inspirational. Great speaker--seemed very genuine and down-to-earth." -Shelley A.