Perfecting the Basics of Screenwriting

It's Introduce Yourself Weekend at Stage 32! Head over to the Introduce Yourself section of the Stage 32 Lounge and let everyone know who you are, what you're working on, your dreams and aspirations. And be sure to peruse other member's threads. You never know when you're going to make a connection that changes your life!

Introduction to Screenwriting
Taught by Mary Cybriwsky

$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
apply

- or -

$249.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

Class hosted by: Mary Cybriwsky

Manager & Producer at Truth Magician

About Your Instructor, Mary Crbriwsky: Mary Cybriwsky is an independent manager and producer with over 12 years experience working in entertainment. Prior to opening production/management company Scooty Woop Entertainment in 2009 with Frankie Lindquist, Mary worked in all aspects of film development and production as an executive at Mosaic Media Group / Atlas Entertainment under the prolific producer Charles Roven and his team, on projects such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL, THE BANK JOB, amongst others. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, and with a film production degree from Syracuse University, Ms. Cybriwsky’s fascination with film and television’s unique ability to influence the audience’s emotions drives her enthusiasm to work in entertainment. She’s passionate about creating unique, entertaining, and substantive content, as well as working with and breaking new writing and directing talent. Scooty Woop Entertainment manages an impressive roster of emerging writer and director clients working in film and television, and has several film and television projects in active development and pre-production. Most recently Ms. Cybriwsky produced Joe Dante’s BURYING THE EX, starring Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario and Oliver Cooper, as well as executive produced STICKY NOTES starring Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie and Justin Bartha both slated for release in 2015. Full Bio »

Week 1 - Introduction

Introduction to the class – Who am I and why are we all here. What is a movie, what makes a good story, what are the essential elements of a script (character, plot, theme, stakes). How to determine what to write when you’re starting out – where to find ideas, what types of scripts to write (artsy versus marketable), putting that idea in a sentence or two… Give a brief overview of screenplay formatting and structure and explain loglines vs outlines vs treatments vs scripts.

Week 2 - Screenplay Formatting and Characters, Description and Dialogue

Discuss and answer any questions the class has about the scripts assigned for homework. Explain screenplay formatting in detail. Go over types of characters, character arcs, character goals, and talk about how to write an engaging protagonist and antagonist. Discuss how to write engaging yet appropriate description. Discuss how to write dialogue, hiding exposition and giving each character their own unique voice.

Week 3 - Screenplay Story Structure, Theme and Genre

Review the homework in class. Explain screenplay story structure in detail – the three act structure, the plot points, the pacing and the characters journey in the three act structure (what the protagonist should be going through at each point.) Discuss tone and theme through genre and creating the appropriate world for your story.

Week 4 - What to Write and How to Get It Out There

Discuss the structure of Hollywood – who you have to please and how to do so – managers, agents, producers, lawyers, etc. General advice on common traps writers fall into that can hurt their chances before even getting read and the right steps to take to make sure you fall in the “must read” pile. Getting rejected, continuing to write and believing in your own voice – the life of a writer. This will lead to a general Q&A to allow writers to ask any other questions they may have.


Summary:

Learn directly from 12-year veteran Mary Cybriwsky, who's worked on films such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL and THE BANK JOB and has recently produced BURYING THE EX (Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene) and STICKY NOTES (Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie).

With any script, setting up a strong foundation is key to a good story. In screenwriting, the craft is your foundation to a more successful journey. All working writers take the craft very seriously and have spent time perfecting their art. Too many writers try to jump into this insanely competitive field with little to no training. Executives can tell by page 5 if a writer knows the basics of screenwriting and they will not take a writer seriously if there are glaring mistakes.

Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our first ever 4-week "Perfecting the Basics - Introduction to Screenwriting" online class taught by manager Mary Cyrbwisky from Scooty Woop Entertainment. Mary has been one of our most sought out executives through our Coverage Program and has helped many writers better their craft (and even signed one!). Finding such a mentor to teach the basics of screenwriting is crucial and we are thrilled to have Mary for this class.

Whether you are brand new to the screenwriting profession, or a seasoned writer, this class is intended to go over the basics of screenwriting to perfect your craft. The objective of this 4 week class is to cover basic screenwriting formatting, 3 act structure, characters, plots, themes, what to write and what NOT to write, but Mary will go over so much more! All of this is done in a friendly, interactive, fun online atmosphere.

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


About Your Instructor:

About Your Instructor, Mary Crbriwsky:

Mary Cybriwsky is an independent manager and producer with over 12 years experience working in entertainment. Prior to opening production/management company Scooty Woop Entertainment in 2009 with Frankie Lindquist, Mary worked in all aspects of film development and production as an executive at Mosaic Media Group / Atlas Entertainment under the prolific producer Charles Roven and his team, on projects such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL, THE BANK JOB, amongst others.

Originally from Philadelphia, PA, and with a film production degree from Syracuse University, Ms. Cybriwsky’s fascination with film and television’s unique ability to influence the audience’s emotions drives her enthusiasm to work in entertainment. She’s passionate about creating unique, entertaining, and substantive content, as well as working with and breaking new writing and directing talent. Scooty Woop Entertainment manages an impressive roster of emerging writer and director clients working in film and television, and has several film and television projects in active development and pre-production. Most recently Ms. Cybriwsky produced Joe Dante’s BURYING THE EX, starring Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario and Oliver Cooper, as well as executive produced STICKY NOTES starring Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie and Justin Bartha both slated for release in 2015.


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!

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

  • Very good basic intro course.
  • Loved Mary's teaching process! Will definitely take other classes if she offers them in the future.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Avoid Stock Characters: How To Create Memorable, Compelling Characters

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.

Making a Film For Under $1MM & How to Come Out Ahead

Learn directly from the Director of Development for Ryan Reynolds' Dark Trick Films! Creating an independent film from scratch is daunting, but immensely rewarding, and can be done with any level of resources. Films under $1MM are especially a sweet spot for many independent filmmakers but certainly come with their sets of challenges.  Stage 32 is excited to bring in the development executive for Ryan Reynold's production company Dark Trick Films & TV, Blake Goza, who has spent the last 7 years working projects such as Deadpool, Buried, The Change Up and RIPD.  Even though Blake works on some of the most popular films & television of today, it's his personal project - a film entitled Escort - which he made independently for under $1MM that fuels his passion for being a creative. With this webinar, Blake will give you a producer’s perspective on building an independently financed movie, from start to finish, for under one million dollars. Using The Escort as a case study, he will walk you through each stage of the independent process: finding a script, packaging talent, determining a budget, acquiring financing, shooting, post production, and ultimately, distribution. Blake will discuss process specifics, like his decision to attach a sales agent in the early stages of development; what financing options he prefers - the benefits and risks of private equity versus foreign pre-sales; what talent he chose to attach first – the argument for finding your director before making offers to actors; and how to build a release strategy for your film that allows for success as you define it – whether your goal is critical acclaim, commercial exposure, or financial reward, begin with the end in mind, and build a platform that allows you to achieve that goal. If you’ve wanted to produce a film outside of the studio system on a responsible budget, then this class if for you!

Writing, Directing & Distributing Your Short Film

Part 1 - Writing, Budgeting & Pre-Production How to write an effective short script The brainstorming process Utilizing real life experiences, what are memorable moments in your life that stick out to you? Moments in a friend’s life? Creating characters: What topics do you uniquely understand? What jobs have you held? What did your parents do for a living? Where did you grow up? Writing in proper format What is the difference between writing “is working” and “works” in a screenplay and why does verbiage matter when writing action? Should I put my WGA and copyright notices on the title page? The business of making a short film What do I need to do to protect myself? Creating an LLC and lawyering up for the right reasons. How much is this really going to cost? Evaluating SAG Short Film Agreements, cost of renting equipment, everything from lighting to locations, and looking forward to release and distributions, what are the costs beyond the actual production of a film? Logistically, how will I be able to execute all the elements? How do I handle room and board for out of town talent? Is there a local film commission I can work with, and if so, what exactly is their role in helping me execute my vision? Part 2 - Directing, Marketing & Distributing Your Film Preparing to direct and the production process What do I need to do before I get to set? What is the purpose of having location walkthroughs? When and how to I make the shot list and how many shots do I really need? How do I make my vision clear to crewmembers while still being collaborative in the process? How do I work with an actor for the first time? How much say should they have in the script and changing the character? Should I allow an actor to change my lines? How do I follow their emotional journey over the course of shooting a film that is totally out of order so it makes sense in the final product? When problems arise on set, how do I respond? What are best practices to maintaining authority without creating conflict? How do I ensure that everyone is getting the proper attention they need so I can avoid problems? What happens if I find out we didn’t shoot something we needed? How do I work with footage or sound that didn’t come out the way I expected? How long should my final product be so I can be successful at film festivals? Marketing your film What can I do to promote my film before we ever start filming? When is the appropriate time to start promoting? What kind of promotion looks and feels professional versus amateur? Is there such a thing as oversharing information on social networks? During production, how can I use my cast and crew to promote the project? What parameters should I set to not give away plot points? What is the role of a still photographer on set and how can I leverage the still photographer for publicity? How do I reach out to press outlets to promote my film? How do I find out what press outlets are the right ones for my film, and how do I even get a journalist interested in covering it? What makes an effective versus ineffective pitch letter? Releasing your film What makes an effective trailer? How can I best prepare and present the trailer and still photos for promotional purposes? Should I create a Facebook page for my film and a website and a Twitter and an Instagram, etc.? How do I get into Sundance? If I don’t get into Sundance, is my career finished? There are entirely too many film festivals, how do I begin to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad? What are effective ways of meeting, then following up, with producers and gatekeepers that I meet at these events? What kind of communication does an executive find annoying? Should I sell my film or give it away for free? If I give it away for free, how will I be able to pay myself back? How do I quantify if my film was a success? How do I use the short film to get myself ready for my next project? What if the film didn’t come out the way I wanted, am I completely done as a filmmaker? How do I use the lessons I learned to make my next project better? Now that I’ve made my first short film and loved it, how do I make this my full time job and become a professional filmmaker?

Intro To Using Social Media for Your Low to No Budget Film

Social media is essential for your film. If you want people to find out about it, watch it, like it, and tell their friends to watch it, you need to be on social media. If you have a small or no budget, knowing how social media works is going to be the best tool to market your film. So come prepared to learn! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, social media expert Jennifer Winberg (digital strategy for mini and major studios - Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures) will teach you how to create a social media campaign that is right for your film. She will walk you through the different channels of social media and how to decide which one is right for your film.  Your host, Jennifer will use her 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy, social media, and integrated marketing to show you how to create a social campaign that will build an audience for your film. She'll outline a social media timeline for your film, when to start social media for your film and how to utilize interns to maintain your social media. You'll walk away knowing how to build a successful social media campaign including best tactics, tools and resources.   

How To Hook Your Reader In The First 5 Pages

3-part previously recorded online class taught by Regina Lee, Producer and Former Studio Executive who’s developed and/or supervised movies and TV shows set up at Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, New Regency Productions, New Line Cinema, Summit Entertainment, MRC Film, HBO Series, Starz, CBS, The CW, Sony TV, and Paramount TV! As you break into writing professionally, the one thing you’ll always need to do is to hook your reader from the get-go, within the first 5 pages of your project. 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. In fact, first impressions are cemented when reading page 1. 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. Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: How To Hook Your Reader In Only 5 Pages, taught by producer and former studio executive Regina Lee! In this class, Regina covers what executives are looking for, the typical paradigms for a script’s opening, what an opening must deliver, 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.   Testimonials: "Thanks for a wonderful class! Your efforts have been amazing." -Heather F. "Great class, very helpful and useful information." -John R. "Thank you for a great class filled with valuable info. I think the way you delivered the info seemed fresh and insightful. A few different slants to the way I see the same material made a difference. The point about ‘clean writing’ really resonated with me. I appreciate your ‘personal’ content in what to expect, your encouragement, etc. Thank you so very much." -Lynne L. "I've just watched the recording in the UK and I have to say the content was brilliant! I learnt so much in that 2 hours, especially knowing you are the real deal. It makes the information so much more valuable to me." -David E. "It was a great educational experience taking your class!" -Heather P. "Regina offers great insight, [this class] instantly made me a better writer.” - David L. "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.

Deconstructing the Script: Her

Learn directly from Danny Manus, an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting. He will cover the 10 lessons you can learn from one of the best films of 2014. Everyone wants to write that Academy Award-winning original screenplay, right? The best ways to learn how to write great scripts of that caliber is to READ great scripts of that caliber, study those movies, and learn the lessons these projects can teach. Nominated for 5 Oscars, one of the most acclaimed films of 2013 is HER, written and directed by Spike Jonze, who has already won the Golden Globe and WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay, and is a frontrunner for the Academy Award. In this Webinar, we will go deeper into many different aspects of the film and I will break down the script and go through 10 lessons you can learn from one of the best, most original films of the year that will help you improve your own writing and scripts, no matter what genre you write. Note: If you haven’t seen the movie already, there will be spoilers throughout the class.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In