If you want to work as a TV writer, you need a great writing sample, and these days, that comes in the form of a pilot script. Writing a pilot is hard, though, and writing a great pilot is even harder. One of the most common pitfalls is failing to write a compelling story that showcases your characters and world. But it’s that story that will get a reader to finish the script. It’s that story that can help you get a job. Figuring out the best version of your pilot story often comes down to structuring the script into an A, B and C story. This will allow you to introduce your characters, world, and plot points while still maintaining a pace and shape to the episode. This is harder than it looks though. Writing a great pilot script is such a tricky balancing act, ESPECIALLY for a 30-minute show. In just 30 pages, you need to establish your world, your characters, and your ongoing stories without overloading the audience with exposition and while still injecting the episode itself with its own story and arc. That’s a lot of plates to spin, but if you can’t nail your pilot’s structure, your characters and world won’t reach their full potential. But taking the time to get the story right will let your characters show who they really are and make your creative intent crystal clear. So how can you structure your own half hour pilot into an effective script with a clear A, B and C story? How can you find the balance and spin every plate so you can have a standout pilot script and writing sample that can get you the attention and opportunities you’re looking for? Meghan Pleticha is television writer with ten years of entertainment industry experience who has most recently worked as a staff writer on HBO’s Emmy Nominated comedy series SILICON VALLEY. Her work has also appeared on Cartoon Network’s POWER PLAYERS, and in Escala, AeroMéxico’s official in-flight magazine. Previous to being staffed on television shows, she worked as a writer’s assistant and script coordinator for shows like FX’s MARRIED, ABC’s CHARITY CASE, and VH1’s HIT THE FLOOR. Meghan’s career as a writer as well as her experience teaching other aspiring creatives has given her powerful experience with television story structure, and she’s excited to bring what she’s learned to the Stage 32 community. Over two intensive sessions, Meghan will dive deep into how to effectively structure a 30-minute TV pilot script, focusing on finding the pilot’s story and building it out with an A, B, and C story. In the first session, Meghan will dissect what makes a great A story for a pilot, discussing the goals you should have for this story as well as helpful strategies and secrets to bring it together. In the second session, Meghan will look deeper into B and C stories, how to integrate the into your A story, and how to use them to further define your series and world. Plus! Meghan will be providing the full pilot scripts of FX’s ARCHER, NBC’s SUPERSTORE and Netflix’s GLOW, and will use these three pilots as examples as she illustrates what makes a well structure half hour pilot "Writing pilots is hard! You have to come up with characters, a world, AND a story?! In script after script, I've seen writers spend so much time on the first two, the story gets lost. Even worse, without a strong pilot story, your world and characters won't reach their full potential. I love helping writers find the best structure for their show so their script can most accurately represent them and their idea. And I'm looking forward to doing that with Stage 32. See you in class!" -Meghan Pleticha
In this exclusive 2 hour Stage 32 online webinar, here is just some of what you will learn from Robert McKee: Crafting believable and engaging dialogue. Why certain lines resonate and others fall flat Strategies and techniques for writing impactful dialogue The importance of showing vs. telling The three functions of dialogue: exposition, characterization and action. But that's not all! After Mr. McKee's lecture, Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard "RB" Botto, conducts an interview speaking further about the craft and opens it up to the Stage 32 community to ask questions. Now, no matter where you live in the world, this is an extremely rare opportunity to learn from Mr. McKee online! "You just don't get Robert McKee like this for this kind of price. Kudos to Stage 32 and thank you Mr. McKee" - Burton B. "Thank you RB and your awesome teem, and a big thanks to Robert McKee who is truly a Master of the craft! This webinar could be hard one to top in the writers field." - Scott W. "Just wanted you to know that McKee's webinar was fantastic. One of the best lectures I have heard on the craft. He was brilliant. And irascible." - Anthony R. "Amazing wisdom from a writing giant. Felt he was very giving and thoughtful in his replies which made it a fantastic experience." - Paul B. "Fantastic webinar - lots of great insights and ideas. Thanks!" - Ron H. "I will say it again - this was a great webinar. I am more inspired and motivated than ever to increase my skill as a writer and devote more time to doing so." - Christine D. (see more testimonials below!)
We've got another fantastic Pitch Tank Webcast with special guest, Senior Coordinator Janean Jeffries of ViacomCBS! Janean works directly with the Executive Vice President Head of Production for MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount TV, Logo, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Studios, TVLand, Pluto TV, Comedy Central, and Pop. Janean has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, giving her a broad knowledge of what executives want and need on their screens. Previously, Janean worked for Love Life Entertainment & CBS Films. During the webcast we heard excellent pitches across the spectrum, from Action Adventure and Sci-Fi to Character-driven Drama and even TV-series.
Learn directly from acclaimed author and screenwriter Max Adams who has worked with companies such as Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures and Max’s students have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Award and more! We continuously hear from the executives that we work with that concept is the most common mistake in spec scripts today. Readers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it bigger, badder, better and more enticing to the world. How can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you acclaimed screenwriter and writing coach Max Adams to teach you how to create compelling concepts and re-craft existing concepts so that they garner instant attention through one sentence descriptions alone. Dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday, she will teach you how to pull a story out of the “been there seen that no thanks” file and into the “I have got to read that” file. You’ll learn how to break your story into individual components to find its strengths and weaknesses, which gives you tools to analyze your future writing projects and raise stories’ impact. This will be your complete crash course in high concept writing, and you will leave this webinar knowing how to make your stories more interesting and enticing for readers, buyers, producers, editors, representatives, cast and industry players!
Learn directly from Joe Russo, an Independent Producer who has worked on projects with FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios! You’ve spent days, weeks, months, maybe even years, toiling away on your screenplay. You’ve read all the books. You’ve taken the seminars. You’ve work shopped your script to death. You’ve crafted a sharp pitch and logline for your script – and now someone in the industry wants to READ your work! You celebrate this long awaited victory, but what happens next? What if they don’t just like the script you’ve poured your heart and soul into, what if they WANT it. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Joe Russo will shine a light and give an executive’s opinion and advice on a Hollywood process you’ve all heard of, but probably don’t know nearly enough about – Development. Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters”, as well as developing many acclaimed projects. The path to taking your written words and turning them into a major motion picture is a tricky, windy road. You all know the coined phrase “Development Hell”, and too many projects fall into this pit simply because the process isn’t clearly understood at the outset. So join Stage 32 as we explore the complicated and fascinating world of Development, and all of the small victories and bumps along the road that you can experience on your way to the green lighting of your screenplay into a movie.
There’s only one way to get your audience to sit still for the story you want to tell: create compelling characters. As human beings, we are endlessly fascinated with ourselves and our interactions. When we find a character to whom we can relate, we lock in. Constructing relatable, entertaining and realistic characters is essential to a successful screenplay, not to mention critical to our own enjoyment of the writing process. But what separates the memorable personalities on the screen from the “which-one-was-that-again” types? Understanding the answer to that question and following some tried and true strategies while outlining and then writing your screenplay will give you a better chance of producing characters who not only engage your audience, but do the heavy lifting for your story and themes. Miss out and you’ve got page after page of shoulder shrugs. We all know the goal for any screenwriter is to get reads. But the challenge doesn't end there. You have to make sure your reader keeps those pages turning! To assure that your reader is engaged from the jump and stays engaged through the final page, your characters must be compelling and relatable. Whether you are trying to score big in a screenwriting competition, land a manager or agent, sell producers on your material, or secure financing, you must remember that your script is one of dozens your target audience likely reads each week. The competition is fierce and most readers won't go beyond page 5 or 10 if your story and characters don't grab them. Most writers simply do not know how to creative quickly established, well drawn characters. Those that do have an instant leg up on the competition. Roger S. H. Schulman knows a thing or two about writing compelling, complex and memorable characters. For starters, he co-wrote the animated feature Shrek for which won him a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Prior to Shrek, Roger co-wrote the animated feature Balto for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and wrote Mulan II and The Jungle Book II for Disney. Over his 30 years in the industry, Roger has also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television. He co-created the Disney Channel series Jonas; was Executive Producer of 2 Gether for MTV and was Executive Producer for Living Single with Queen Latifah. He’s currently co-writing a pilot for HBO with Tom Hanks. And now, he's teaching exclusively for Stage 32. Roger will teach you the function of character, specifically how character, story and theme work together. To help you understand why certain characters work, he'll give you a brief, insightful, and helpful history of character including how humor plays a part in almost all character building. He will breakdown American characteristics, Likeable characteristics, and relatable characteristics. He will dive into developing characters and show you how to discover and write your characters seen and unseen character traits. He will discuss the tools of character including dialog, action and behavior. He will break down the anatomy of your cast and where mirroring, complementing and conflicting strategies can come into play. Roger will use examples from Shrek, Breaking Bad, Phillips, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Guys and Dolls, Up, and Carl Jung (yeah, the guy). In addition to all this material presented in Roger's exclusive Master's of Craft presentation, he will give you 2 downloadable handouts related to developing and analyzing characters that you can return to time and time again. This is invaluable information and material you won't find anywhere else. A Word From Roger When you’re done with my webinar, you’ll know a lot more about what makes good characters tick, what makes bad characters just sit there, and just maybe a little bit more about yourself. And you’ll come away with a tool chest from which you can pick and choose the techniques you prefer to build unique characters so remarkable that sometimes they’ll write their dialog for you. Praise for Roger "A masterclass, plain and simple." - Phil C. "No joke, the best lesson on writing characters I've ever seen (or read). Nothing has come close. - Margot G. "Now that I understand how the sausage was made, I have to watch Shrek again. This more than lived up to its "Masters of Craft" label. What a winner, Stage 32!" - Elyse A. "Too many times in my writing, I'm so wrapped up in my main character, that I do short shrift to my secondary characters. Not after watching Roger. No how, no way." - Robin W. "I am going in for a second viewing immediately. I already have 5 pages of notes written out. Incredible information." - Stephen D.