How To Hook Your Reader In The First 5 Pages

Taught by Regina Lee

$125 $249

On Demand Class - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$125.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

This Next Level Education class has a 91% user satisfaction rate.

Class hosted by: Regina Lee

Producer

Regina Lee is a film and TV series producer and former studio executive who has worked with writers and talent of all levels to get their projects sold to studios and networks like HBO, FOX, BET, Lifetime, Starz, Universal Pictures, The CW, CBS and more. She recently teamed up with showrunner Rob Thomas (creator of iZOMBIE, VERONICA MARS, PARTY DOWN), Owen Wilson, and Emmy winners of This American Life to sell a pilot to HBO. She began her executive career at Universal Pictures, where she was the primary executive in charge of movies like THE FAST & THE FURIOUS 3, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, AMERICAN WEDDING, SEABISCUIT and more. Regina has a deep and accomplished history of elevating projects and helping them find success and understands what it takes for scripts to break through. Full Bio »

Summary

As you break into writing professionally, the one thing you’ll always need to do is hook your reader from the get-go, specifically within the first 5 pages. Whether you’re submitting your script to a screenwriting contest, a manager, an agent, a non-writing producer, a series showrunner/producer, a financier, a star, or a director, you have to get through your reader’s initial skepticism and earn every single page that is read. And that goes for all scripts, whether you’re a beginner trying to place in your first contest, or you’re a professional, with scripts sold to major studios and networks. It’s a challenge that never goes away. That’s why it’s critical that you truly understand how to make the first five pages of all your scripts sing.

When you break it down, it’s incredible just how much needs to go into your script’s first five pages and how many cylinders it needs to operate on for it to break through. In a very short amount of time you need to achieve A LOT, including setting up your protagonist, conveying your world and establishing your tone, all while keeping the pacing up and making the reader excited to read more. This isn’t easy, especially when that reader might be reading your script among tens of others that day alone. Let’s spend some serious time breaking down how to make the most of those critical first few pages of your script.

Regina Lee is a film and TV series producer and former studio executive who has worked with writers and talent of all levels to get their projects sold to studios and networks like HBO, FOX, BET, Lifetime, Starz, Universal Pictures, The CW, CBS and more. She recently teamed up with showrunner Rob Thomas (creator of iZOMBIE, VERONICA MARS, PARTY DOWN), Owen Wilson, and Emmy winners of This American Life to sell a pilot to HBO. She began her executive career at Universal Pictures, where she was the primary executive in charge of movies like THE FAST & THE FURIOUS 3, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, AMERICAN WEDDING, SEABISCUIT and more. Regina has a deep and accomplished history of elevating projects and helping them find success and understands what it takes for scripts to break through.

Over the course of three jam-packed sessions, Regina goes in depth on what NEEDS to happen in your script’s first five pages, what executives are looking for, the typical paradigms for a script’s opening, and how you can give executives what they want to see. You will leave this class with a solid understanding of how to get your reader hooked in only 5 pages or less!

 

Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Regina is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.

 

 

Praise for Regina’s Stage 32 Class

 

"I just re-wrote my first five pages based on this class and Regina's incredibly insightful feedback, and wow! What a difference it made. This class is a "must take" Stage 32'ers!"

- Shari F.

 

"Regina offers great insight. This class instantly made me a better writer.”

- David L.

 

"Thanks for a wonderful class! Your efforts have been amazing."

-Heather F.

 

"Great class, very helpful and useful information."

-John R.

What You'll Learn

Part 1 - Introduction: Who is Your Reader & What Are They Thinking

Regina will cover what readers are looking for when they read your material and what their considerations/criteria are as they evaluate the market viability of your project.

  • Regina will introduce herself to the class and talk about her experience in Film and TV.
  • She will go over who will be reading your script as you make your way into the major LA/NY studio and indie film systems and the Hollywood TV system.
  • The discussion will range from screenwriting contest readers, to managers and agents, to producers to financiers, to the actors and directors who bring value to a project.
  • You will learn what it’s like to sit on the other side of the table, which will help your own presentation and strategy.

Part 2 - Effective Paradigms of a Script’s Opening

Regina will go over effective paradigms typically used to open scripts, including teaser openings, openings which set up the protagonist, openings which convey the backstory and mythology of a new world, and openings which are set-pieces unto themselves.

  • Regina will explain these paradigms by referencing popular movies and TV shows for clarity.
  • She will discuss genre expectations, using the opening to fully set-up the protagonist, and using the opening to establish tone.
  • She will also cover how to use the opening to set up protagonists that audiences can relate to and root for.
  • Then she will offer tips on how to better execute the elements that have been discussed.
  • Regina will also go over the previous week’s homework in class and analyze some projects that volunteers put forward for discussion.

Part 3 - Analyzing Well-Executed Openings

Regina will lead the class in analyzing several well-executed openings in both Film and TV, ranging in genre and tone.

  • Students will be given sample scripts of the first 5 pages of successful movies such as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, American Pie, American Beauty, and hit TV show pilots such as The Strain and Grey’s Anatomy.
  • The class will discuss the first 5-10 minutes of movies/shows like Jaws, Jerry Maguire, and Friends.
  • Students will also be given the first 5 pages of a few well-written scripts that have sold to studios, but have not yet been produced.
  • Regina will go over the previous week’s homework in class, which will involve class members writing their own 5-page openings. Volunteers can put forward their own script openings for analysis and discussion.

About Your Instructor

Regina Lee is a film and TV series producer and former studio executive who has worked with writers and talent of all levels to get their projects sold to studios and networks like HBO, FOX, BET, Lifetime, Starz, Universal Pictures, The CW, CBS and more. She recently teamed up with showrunner Rob Thomas (creator of iZOMBIE, VERONICA MARS, PARTY DOWN), Owen Wilson, and Emmy winners of This American Life to sell a pilot to HBO. She began her executive career at Universal Pictures, where she was the primary executive in charge of movies like THE FAST & THE FURIOUS 3, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, AMERICAN WEDDING, SEABISCUIT and more. Regina has a deep and accomplished history of elevating projects and helping them find success and understands what it takes for scripts to break through.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 2 to 4 week ongoing broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the class software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The class software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live class and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the class afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Network Online and in Virtual Settings as an Introvert

The key to succeeding in Hollywood, or really any industry, is to put yourself out there. We all know this is a business of relationships and that building relationships takes time and effort. But even if you've built a solid base of meaningful relationships, you still have to take action. Make inquiries, take meetings, get on people’s radars, show up. For introverts, however, putting yourself out there has always been easier said than done. And that’s in a normal world. Now, in this new quarantined era, and with seemingly everything - networking, pitch meetings, general meetings and more going virtual - putting yourself out there online can feel positively impossible. With extended isolation, reduced in-person connections, restricted travel, and working from home, how can you stay connected and relevant? And how can you do those things while being naturally shy? How can you overcome your self-imposed barriers. Believe it or not, it's easier than you think. The world might feel like it’s in standstill right now, but it’s more important than ever that you keep moving, not only for your career, but also for your passion and your well-being. It may be easy to curl up on your couch, order that delivery deep dish pizza, start a 7 season series on Netflix and fade away from the outside world, but it’s not going to move you or your desired career forward. Staying connected remains key, and to do that, it’s necessary to be versatile and continue to adjust as the world changes. But what does that look like? How do people successfully network from home? How do you use powerful tools such as Stage 32, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Zoom to help get yourself out there? And where do you even start the conversation as a naturally introverted person? The good news is you already have all of the tools to do it—you just have to power up and commit. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy and social media working with Lionsgate, Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. Along the way she has mastered the art of digital and has helped thousands of creatives overcome their fear of networking online. Jennifer has developed a passion and expertise in the art of networking and will share her experience exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jennifer will discuss the importance and benefits of staying connected and the larger positive implications of being involved. She’ll then delve into the tools we all have to stay connected in our own homes and the best ways to go about using them. Next, Jennifer will go over how to find your tribe in the current landscape and how to use your community not only to advance in your own goals but also to give back. She will give you the rundown of how best to approach new people virtually, including where to start, and right and wrong approaches she’s seen. She’ll then give you tips on how to make a good impression from your own home and how to define your brand despite being quarantined. Jennifer will discuss ways to be agile as the world continues to change, and how to stay on track while still being able to adjust. Finally, Jennifer will go over the best ways to set goals and then actually stick to them so that you can overcome your fears and reservations about getting yourself out there and get the results you desire!     Praise for Jennifer’s Stage 32 Webinars   " Fantastic, optimistic and informative, I feel I have a lot to work with and was a pleasure to be a part of" - Christie S.   "Great webinar - lots of interesting and useful information. Great speaker! Thanks!" - Ron H.   "Lots of good advice. Took 9 pgs of notes!" - Martha C.  

Your Guide To Fearless Film Festival Networking

Networking at a film festival or industry event. For some people, just the idea strikes fear in the heart. Who do you talk to first? How do you start the conversation? Holy crap, business cards?! Do I need business cards? I'm sure you have been at industry events before where you're all fired up to go, then once you get there you stand in the corner talking only to the people you know. So, how do you break that cycle?   You've probably heard things like "you have to know someone to get ahead in this business" and thought to yourself "OK, but how do I get to the point where I know that mysterious 'someone?' "   The answer comes back to networking. And though that word conjures up images of smarmy frat boys in suits swilling cocktails and collecting business cards, it's really about overcoming the initial awkwardness between strangers and turning those strangers into new friends. It happens slowly, organically, naturally. But if you're smart about it and go in with a plan, you can make it happen more often and more reliably – without feeling the need for a hot shower afterward.   Stage 32 is proud to bring in industry veteran, Christopher Holland, who for over a decade has worked with over 200 film festivals, including Sundance, Austin, AFI, Atlanta and more. Chris is teaching exclusively for Stage 32 Your Guide To Fearless Film Festival Networking. This webinar will ease your anxiety about making professional connections in the festival environment, or any type of creative industry event.   This webinar goes beyond simply breaking the ice.  You will learn specific tools & get examples on how to go into an industry networking event knowing what you want and knowing how to get it. You will receive practical advice you can use for your career no matter what level you are at. Plus, this webinar will be available for you to reference time and time again as you get ready for any festival! Register now!

Cinematographers: How to Light YouTube, New Media, Digital Series and Web Series Sets Brilliantly and Quickly

With the influx of social media, new media, professional YouTube videos, webseries, digital shorts and digital television, the need for cinematographers has never been higher. But to get hired and stay hired, you need to know how to light quickly and efficiently!    The truth is, you don't need fancy equipment and years of know-how to land jobs in this growing arena of content creation. However, with smaller budgets to work with, producers and filmmakers are looking for cinematographers that can move fast and not cost the production time and money.   Veteran cinematographer Alex Darke, owner of Gilded Cinema and cinematographer for Larry King's Ora Media, is one of the most in demand DP's in the new media space. When he isn't working, which is rare, Alex is teaching cinematographers how to land jobs by understanding how digital cinematography has evolved in this new era. And now you can share in his knowledge in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar.   This is a comprehensive class, so dig in. Alex will teach you how to navigate the business, how his tried and true techniques work with any equipment, how to light any set quickly, how to create striking lighting for wide shots and closeups, how to land jobs and keep getting jobs and much more.   All skill levels are welcome to view this webinar and, again, you do not need special equipment. All you need is a desire to learn and get paid for your craft!

Writing a Winning Rom-Com - 10 Essential Elements You Need in Your Screenplay

From epics like Annie Hall to classics like When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman to modern day movies like The Big Sick, Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas, romantic comedies have provided us with some of the most memorable films in cinema history. And now, especially thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and more, rom-coms are not only back en vogue, but hotter than ever. And the demand for great rom-com scripts is at an all time high. If you have a rom-com or are thinking about writing one, you have to understand all the elements that make up the formula that has been so successful for the most profitable rom-coms that came before. We're here to help you achieve just that. You have a great love story you want to tell. You have a great setting, characters, plot and dialogue you know is going to pop off the page. And you also know that love is a universal language and that your idea will be appealing to romantics all over the world. But, did you know that almost all successful romantic comedies have 5 set up elements and 5 plot elements that are necessary to make it a winning formula? You need to know these 10 elements and how to apply them in order to make your script go from the shelf to being greenlit. Amanda Johnston-Zetterstrom is a writer on Netflix’s hit series, YOU – today’s most modern version of an obsessive dark love story. She was a producer on Brie Larson’s debut Short Term 12 and worked on Friends with Kids starring Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. She’s had a storied career taking love stories in complex worlds and bringing them to the screen. And, now, you can learn about her formula on what makes a good romantic comedy screenplay become a great romantic comedy screenplay. In this two part class (over 4 hours of instruction!) Amanda will go over the 10 crucial elements to write a good rom-com, what makes existing romantic comedies work, how to make your script stand out from the pack, what differentiates a good rom-com from a bad one, how to hone your own voice and how to originate a great idea/hook. You will get the tools you need to write a funny, heartfelt, PRODUCIBLE romantic comedy – so that you can see your name in lights (and let’s be real… get paid!)   "Wow. This class was so comprehensive. Between the dozens of case studies and the practical tips and applications I can't imagine there is a better romantic comedy class anywhere in the world." - Gwen B.   "Amanda is like a walking Encycolpedia of all things love and rom-com. It's amazing how she made writing this format so easy to understand. She gave me so much to think about when diving into my script. Thank you Amanda. I will definitely take any class you offer on Stage 32!" - Kaustubh P.

A Testament to Character - "To My Unfaithful Wife..."

They say not to speak ill of the dead. What about when the dead speak ill of you? We challenged you to deftly write a 3 page scene conveying the nuances of character reactions to getting called out for being exactly who they are, but wish they weren't.

The Breakdown Webcast: Breaking the 4th Wall

During this hour-long webcast, Jason explores the uses of this technique to drive plot, reveal character and deliver exposition using some of our favorite films and television series including "Fleabag", Deadpool, Spaceballs, "House of Cards", Fight Club, The Big Short and more to find out how these projects break the fourth wall without throwing us out of the narrative.  We discuss the how screenwriters weave this storytelling device into scripts and Jason gives you specific types of wall breaks to consider when writing as well as tips on how to write them!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In