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.
There is a lot of information at your fingertips on how to approach a screenwriting manager, but how do you know if your approach works? What if you have the chance to pull back the curtain back and hear directly from a literary manager what makes them interested? Stage 32 has brought in literary manager Conrad Sun from Meridian Artists for an advanced look into a manager’s mindset when considering a new writer. Conrad manages writers working in film and TV including BLINDSPOT, BOJACK HORSEMAN, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MOTIVE, SLASHER. In this jam-packed 90-minute webinar Conrad will give an overview of the screenwriter/manager relationship. But, more importantly, he will be sharing real-life examples of writing samples, queries, competitions and pitchfests that have caught his eye. You will even see his client’s writing sample – the TV pilot script for BLINDSPOT – which is now a show on NBC. Plus, you will get a list of resources to help on your journey. This is a go-to guide to refer to when you need to do a double check on your approach when engaging representation.
To see a video sample of the class, see below! 3 part class taught by literary manager Steve Iwanyk who sold his client's series, Scorpion, to CBS! Nearly all the executives we work with are on the hunt for 1 hour TV pilots. Venues showcasing TV series continue to pop up at a rapid pace and a lot of our writers have been signed off their 1 hour TV pilot script. As the demand for TV continues to rise it's important that you have a TV pilot in your portfolio that showcases your voice, perspective and talent. One of our favorite success stories is from one of our writers, Michael Madden, who had a solid 1 hour TV pilot which got him signed to Benderspink and ICM in Hollywood. Working with the Stage 32 Happy Writers helped catapult him to became a full time writer on ABC's Black Box. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you this 3 part class: How to Write a 1 Hour TV Pilot and Position it to Sell in Today's Market taught by Steve Iwanyk from Gotham Group. Learn the “whys” and “hows” of writing a TV pilot, what executives are looking for and what to focus on when trying to break in with your new pilot. Here's a sample of what to expect in this exciting Next Level Class: Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Steve is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
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.
While the channels of distribution have never been more diverse and accessible, the education for filmmakers of how to best utilize those channels is often inscrutable. Are day and date releases still your best bet? Do you still need a title to start with an "A" to pander to the alphabetized cable operators? And how much money are these films even making these days?? With so many different opportunities and new platforms arising constantly, how to choose the best path for YOUR film? Equally bilingual in the language of cinema and the lexicon of sales, Mia offers her knowledge of distribution to help filmmakers navigate their opportunities in the marketplace by understanding the rules that exist and the ways they can be bent and supplemented.
Learn directly from Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who recently sold a pilot to CBS. Benderspink sold more spec scripts last year than any other management company and are best known for producing The Hangover franchise, The Ring franchise, We’re The Millers, Horrible Bosses 2, among many others! With the recent success of films such as It Follows, Insidious Chapter 3, Poltergeist and The Visit, it is evident that horror is becoming one of the most profitable and exciting genres in the industry. This is because horror films can be made on the cheap and still yield spectacular returns at the box office. Horror doesn’t rely on big IP, superheroes, or movie stars – all horror needs to deliver is a compelling story, told well, packed with plenty of chills and thrills. However, delivering on this is far easier said than done, and many writers miss important story elements that keep their horror scripts dead in the water. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who is passionate about genre films, will teach you what makes a horror film successful, from developing a marketable and commercial plot, to unique and scary set pieces, to properly structuring and formatting your script to tell the best story possible. You will learn high-level story concepts, tips and tricks to help make your horror script scary and effective, and get an insider perspective on what concepts and types of horror films are currently selling in the marketplace. You will leave this webinar with an understanding of not only how to make your existing scripts stronger, but how to develop and come up with the next big horror hit film!