How to Write a Unique, Commercial Horror Script

Writing a Genre Film that Delightfully Scares Executives
Taught by Stuart Arbury


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

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This Next Level Education class has a 92% user satisfaction rate.

Class hosted by: Stuart Arbury

Creative Executive at Captivate Entertainment

About Your Instructor, Stuart Arbury: Stuart Arbury is a Creative Executive with Captivate Entertainment. Captivate is a production company run by Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner. Captivate has a first-look deal with Universal and is based on the Universal Studios Backlot in Universal City, California. Captivate is most known for managing the movie rights to Robert Ludlum's series of Bourne novels. Prior to joining Captivate, Stuart Arbury was a Creative Executive with Dimension Films and worked in the creative department at Good Universe. Stuart is one of the co-founders of Wolf Knife TV, an award winning online comedy channel. His TV producing and writing credits include Couchers and Bonnie Blake: Parole Officer. Full Bio »

Part 1 - Horror

Stuart runs through his personal experiences in the genre, and how his clients have made money maneuvering through it. He discusses the types of horrors that studios and companies are looking for, the volatility of the horror market, the difference between wide release concept and a limited release concept (with examples), the concept of “elevated horror” and more.

Part 2 - Tone

Stuart explains the importance of the emotional crescendo of a horror script, when the scares should start, and how to implement a successful crescendo that will have the scares build on top of each other. He also discusses the difference between jump scares and atmosphere, the importance of a sharp inciting incident, and runs through a series of examples where the emotional crescendo worked.

Part 3 - The Antagonist

Stuart explores the Antagonist in detail, including an in-depth look into “Creature Features”, inner demons and more. He covers everything from when to introduce your antagonist to how to use a creature to affect the tone and sophistication of your script. He then explores human antagonists before discussing how to layer your horror and how to find a proper balance between keeping it scary and making sure the characters are continuously relatable and compelling.

Part 4 - Pitching and Marketing

Stuart explains how to successfully pitch your genre film and how to market your horror script when completed. He covers tips on how to get an agent, productivity steps, how to increase the value of your material, getting a director attached, filming a short and more. He also gives case studies on how other careers got launched.


4 part class taught by Stuart Arbury, Creative Executive at Dimension Films!

The number one genre we hear most executives look for is horror. Horror written in any language can be easily enjoyed by any viewer from around the world. It's the most universally acceptable genre out there, and it's where filmmakers go to cut their teeth (Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Oliver Stone, Peter Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Zack Snyder, and Steven Spielberg all started in the horror genre). But writing a fresh, commercial, scary horror is getting harder as executives continue to see familiar tropes and generic set pieces. What a writer sees as a fresh idea, is one that an executive has probably seen in some variation many times over.

Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: How to Write a Unique, Commercial Horror Script taught by Stuart Arbury, Creative Executive at Dimension Films. From choosing a concept to picking an antagonist, from strengthening the emotional crescendo to amping up the scares in your project – Stuart covers all in this 4 part intensive class.  

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

About Your Instructor:

About Your Instructor, Stuart Arbury:

Stuart Arbury is a Creative Executive with Captivate Entertainment. Captivate is a production company run by Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner. Captivate has a first-look deal with Universal and is based on the Universal Studios Backlot in Universal City, California. Captivate is most known for managing the movie rights to Robert Ludlum's series of Bourne novels.

Prior to joining Captivate, Stuart Arbury was a Creative Executive with Dimension Films and worked in the creative department at Good Universe. Stuart is one of the co-founders of Wolf Knife TV, an award winning online comedy channel. His TV producing and writing credits include Couchers and Bonnie Blake: Parole Officer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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!


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

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