Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays)! You hear it again and again: “We’re looking for character driven drama/comedy/action/name your genre.” You may have a great plot, amazing action sequences, or the most hilarious idea for a comedy set piece but without great characters, you’ll be dead in the water. Why? Because everything should be motivated by your characters. What would The Godfather be without Michael’s change from the good man who served his country to a vengeful and tyrannical ruler? What would Star Wars be without the father son drama? Creating memorable characters is such an essential aspect of creating a compelling, sellable story, yet so many writers struggle with doing it correctly and fail to avoid the trap of stock characters that leave their scripts lifeless and weak. The Stage 32 Happy Writers is thrilled to bring you a 3-week online course Avoid Stock Characters: How To Create Memorable, Compelling Characters so you can learn how to create the memorable characters your story deserves. This class is taught by Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures, a production company with a first look deal at Fox 2000 Pictures. What Melissa loves most about her job is working with writers and developing exciting, compelling projects and she’s excited to be here teaching with Stage 32 to help you develop compelling characters in your story! In this class, you will learn how to set up a character arc so the character’s change is compelling, how to develop supporting characters who support the story and compliment your protagonists, how to avoid stock characters and scenes and how to adjust what you already have to make your work better. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared toward strengthening your characters, you will leave this class knowing exactly how to create memorable characters for your stories.
When making an independent film, finishing the film is only half the battle. You need people to actually see the film you’ve worked so hard on. When it comes to distribution, it’s important to know how to get your film into the worldwide marketplace. Once it’s there, you need to know how to generate interest toward it so the film can make its money back for the investors and back-end participants. Distribution comes in all shapes and sizes, but what kind of distribution is right for your indie film? Sometimes it means getting your film distributed by a studio; sometimes it’s creating a self-distribution path. Sometimes —- most typically — the distribution lands somewhere in between. Every film is different and therefore requires a different marketing plan, release strategy, and team behind it that have the passion and drive to get the most out of its release amongst the myriad other movies available. In this on-demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tiffany Boyle will get into the details of what the independent distribution process looks like. She will go over how to get the right representative, foreign sales agent, and domestic distribution, and the different options for each based upon the size, genre and execution of a film. She will also discuss what the key points are to look at when reviewing a foreign sales agent and/or domestic distribution deal. Filmmakers should be making an informed decision when choosing who will be handling the licensing of their film for the next 3-25 years, and Tiffany is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of indie distribution. Tiffany Boyle is the Vice President of Packaging Sales at Ramo Law and works with producers, financiers and writer clients to bring their new material to life. Having been a Director of Sales at Crystal Sky Pictures, Tiffany has an extensive background in foreign sales. She now works with the attorneys to review, collaborate, develop, submit and supervise creative materials on behalf of clients within the firm. Tiffany has worked on over 100 features including, Stuck In Love, Pawn, Gimme Shelter, Maladies, and I-Lived. She has been to AFM, Berlin, Tribeca, TIFF, Sundance, and Cannes and is constantly expanding her knowledge of how to match films with production and distribution companies.
4 part class taught by WGA Award-nominated writer John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures. AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! The first 10 pages and the last 10 pages of a script are the most important. Making an executive walk away from a read of your script with a powerful impression is crucial to getting your script made. The last pages of a script come with their own web of problems (how to tie everything together, how to complete a character's arc, how to create a powerful final image, etc.). Sometimes a time crunched executive will read the first and last 10 pages of a script before deciding to read the whole thing. A writer has to make sure that they "stick the landing." Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: “Always Be Closing” - How to Write a Killer Final 10 Pages taught by John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures (Black Swan, The Woman In Black, Ides of March). Learn how to make your last act resonate for your characters, your audience, yourself and the executive reading it. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although John is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Learn directly from Tatiana Kelly who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. The barrier of entry for the micro-budget / DIY / indie filmmaker has never been lower, making the landscape of independent film more exciting than ever. With box office and VOD sales at an all time high and more distribution opportunities than ever, independent films are enjoying a resurgence. Throw into the mix that many studios and larger production companies are committed to producing numerous micro-budget films each year (see Paramount Insurge) and independent producers such as Jason Blum (Blumhouse) have made a living in the space, and the demand for films with micro-budgets has never been higher. Additionally, many creatives are taking matters into their own hands by making micro-budget films as a calling card for their talents. Some examples of micro-budget films include Napoleon Dynamite, Halloween, Clerks, The Blair Witch Project, Mad Max, Eraserhead, Open Water, Catfish, Saw, Once, Pi. Story and style win the day as a result of the passion and dedication put into micro-budget films. If you are a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker or any other creative that values control of your story and film and has decided to write, develop, shoot or distribute a film in the micro-budget space, this is the webinar for you.
Learn directly from Danny Manus, an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting! You’ve written a killer script. Great. But now you’ve got to get someone to read it. Success in Hollywood is often about making great first impressions. Your loglines and query letters are the first and sometimes only things an executive or agent is going to read of your work. So it’s critical that your logline and query letter are attention grabbing, tell them something of substance, make you look good, and most of all—make them want to read more. Have you sent out hundreds of queries but haven’t gotten many script requests? Are you the type of writer who has no problem writing 120 page script but gets totally stumped by writing a 30 word logline? Have no fear – I’m here to help! As a development executive, producer, and script consultant, I have read thousands of query letters and countless loglines. I have taken over 3,000 pitches, and I’ve helped thousands of writers craft their project’s logline to help them standout and stand above the rest! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, I will show you specific, proven, easy-to-use formulas and tips to construct tight, professional loglines, engaging query letters, and visual one-sheets. We will go over what to include and what not to include in each, the difference between loglines and taglines, words to use that will make your loglines pop, what executives are looking for, how to query for representation and TV, and how and where to send queries to actually get them read. We’ll also go over loglines for some of Hollywood’s hottest movies, one-sheets that made me request the script, and I’ll share with you some of the best and worst queries I’ve ever received so you don’t make the same mistakes. Plus, Q&A. And as a special BONUS, if you register for the LIVE Webinar, you will also be able to submit your logline to me for a critique and fix after the Webinar (details below). If you’re trying to get professionals to notice your project, if you’re trying to submit your script anywhere, or even if you’ve posted or wanted to post your loglines in the Stage 32 Lounges and Forums, this Webinar is for you! Whether you are a screenwriter, novelist, producer, director or exec, your project deserves to make the right first impression. Let me show how. **Please note that the free logline critique Danny mentions in the webinar is not available for On-Demand. It was only available for members who attended the live webinar.**
One of the most useful things a writer can do is to team up with a mentor to help them on their journey. Too many writers try to navigate through the script writing process without guidance. Wouldn't you want a mentor that develops and sells material for a living to help you take the mystery work out of your journey? The most successful writers in the industry have their own mentors to make sure they are going in the right direction - do the same for yourself. Stage 32 Happy Writers is thrilled to bring back our 8 Week Working Writer's Lab. This is one of our most hands on, prestigious and talked about labs and we only offer it a few times a year. To find the perfect teacher we go through our rolodex of 400 executives and hand pick an executive that is one of the most raved about from our writers. Your teacher for this lab will be Patrick Raymond, creative executive at Mandalay Pictures! Patrick has assisted a number of our writers on strengthening their scripts and he is excited to help you bring your concept to life. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards bringing your concept to life, PLUS ongoing contact with Patrick in between classes, your experience writing has never been easier. Under The Guidance of Patrick Raymond you will: Pick a unique and commercially viable concept. Craft engaging, unique characters that pop off the page. A solid structural skeleton that successfully carries your concept. Cinematic set pieces that will give your story that much-wanted theatrical feel. A fully realized outline highlighting every major plot point in your script. The Objective of the Lab is: To take the mystery work out of picking a concept that can sell. To match you with an executive that will assist you with making sure all your script's elements is as strong as possible. Give you an experience on how development executives develop projects that are now on their company's slate. Class ScheduleWEEK #1 – The Story of Me; Your Questions; Your Stories General class overview. Patrick's history and experiences. What Patrick loves writing about and why. What he looks for in a good story/screenplay. Any initial queries raised in the pre-class questionnaire. NOTE: Given the online format, Patrick will use this week’s “office hours” to more personally respond to/discuss the ideas you are contemplating working on during the Lab. WEEK #2 – Character Creating strong, unique memorable characters. How to have them best serve your story, the genre, themes, etc. Dialogue and voice. Patrick will cover some examples, including personal experience. WEEK #3 – Act I; Premise into Story How to make the leap from basic premise/concept and characters into a full-blooded story. Where to start. What to include in Act 1. Where does Act 1 end and Act 2 begin? Creating a world and setting a tone. Patrick will discuss examples of strong (attention-grabbing and/or smartly-chosen) and weak (meandering, overstuffed, unfocused, etc.) beginnings. WEEK #4 – The Story So Far (Consultation) No on-line class this week. Instead, you will submit premise, Character Bio(s), and Act I outline for review; Patrick will discuss the materials individually in 30 minute phone calls and advise any changes/concerns. WEEK #5 – Act II; Structure and Plotting Plotting and development of your story across Act 2. Examples of structure (midpoints, end of Act 2, Internal/external conflict, etc. WEEK #6 – Theme; What’s it All About? How to ensure that your script isn’t just an escalation of events, but is a rich narrative experience that is hopefully actually about something. Topics to include Theme, Topicality, Relatability, Universality. WEEK #7 – Act III; Sticking the Landing Why 'when and how' to achieve a strong finish is arguably one of the most difficult parts of writing a screenplay. Examples of scripts/films that have accomplished this, as well as those that have not (and why). WEEK #8 – The Completed Outline (Consultation) No on-line class this week. Instead, you will turn in your completed outline for review; Patrick will then discuss with you over a 30-minute consultation. About Your Instructor, Patrick RaymondPatrick Raymond is a Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures, Peter Gruber’s decades-old production company responsible for films such Sleepy Hollow, The Score, The Jacket, Into the Blue, When the Game Stands Tall and Horns. At Mandalay, Patrick gets to work on his passion every day: cultivating amazing stories and working with great writers.Prior to joining Mandalay, Patrick studied business and film production at the University of Southern California. He worked in the financial services industry for four years before transitioning to entertainment, where he worked as a production assistant in television for four years.After that he transitioned to working at Gersh in the production department but he also gained exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He then moved over to LD Entertainment for three years, where he was a Creative Executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. Here he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up, and learned about assembling large studio films. He has since transitioned to the Creative Executive position at Mandalay Pictures. Patrick was born in Alaska and raised in Seattle prior to moving to LA.