Produce Your Horror Movie From Concept To Final Delivery

Taught by Jonathan Heap


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Who Should Attend:

All levels of directors (advanced, intermediate and beginner) looking to start a horror film project.

All levels of writers (advanced, intermediate and beginner) looking to start a horror film project.

Producers looking to start a horror film project.

Actors looking to start a horror film project.

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Class hosted by: Jonathan Heap

Oscar-Nominated Director at Gathering Productions

Jonathan Heap is an Academy Award-nominated director, writer, and producer with a dozen feature films, and short credits. His first film was BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, starring Donald Sutherland for Miramax. He followed that up with five more features, including the award-winning horror film now playing on Amazon and Tubi. He also developed a project for Warner Bros. and Sydney Pollack, which later became the Coen Brothers film SUBURBICON, which George Clooney directed. His other films starred the likes of Rob Lowe, Stephen Baldwin, Eric Roberts, and Tom Skerritt, among others. Full Bio »



Learn from an Academy Award-nominated director who's worked with Sydney Pollack, the Coen Brothers, George Clooney, and more.

Do you want to know how to produce a horror movie from scratch? There is an art to the craft of making a great horror movie and if you understand all the tricks or the trade it will allow you turn your nightmares on the page into a career launching dream of a movie. 

In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand class, you’ll learn what it takes to make a horror film from the script through post-production and delivery. Whether you’re a writer, director, or producer, understanding the scope of the process in this detailed four-session class will help you see the way to make your dream film into a reality that audiences can watch. 

Walking you through the making of your frightening feature is Jonathan Heap. He’s an Academy Award-nominated director, writer, and producer with a dozen feature, television, and short credits, including an award-winning horror film now playing on Amazon and Tubi. He’s also worked with major studios like Warner Bros., where he developed a project for Sydney Pollack that became the Coen Brothers’ SUBURBICON, directed by George Clooney.

First, you’ll develop your script. By analyzing successful scary movies to see what works, you’ll strengthen your concept and your approach to producing it. You’ll then dive into pre-production, one of the most crucial steps in filmmaking, as you set up your crew and schedule.

In production, the fun really begins. You’ll learn to look for creative opportunities on set to heighten every frame through design, lighting, camera movement, costumes, makeup, and special effects, as they all work in tandem to tell a thrilling story.

You have your last chance to raise the stakes and scares as you enter post-production. You’ll look at a variety of examples to see different techniques that you can use with music, effects, coloring, and more to create a fearsome film.

Jonathan will use his vast experience to show you how to develop and produce a great horror movie from scratch. By the end of this class, you’ll have what you need to make your horror film and thrill audiences all around the world.

What You'll Learn

Session One: Development

You’ve got to have something to film. And in many ways horror is the most demanding genre since you have many masters to serve.

We will start with discussing the basic concept, i.e. what kind of horror film do you want to make? Two ways to approach this are asking yourself what has worked for you and what has worked for an audience. Examples will be given.

  • The 5 Kinds of Horror
  • Researching similar successful horror films
  • Understanding what scares you
  • The different kinds of “scares” and how to use and write them
  • Identifying your ensemble and the roles they place
  • Creating sympathy and Jeopardy
  • The basic 3 act structure
  • Examples of above

Q&A with Jonathan

Session Two: Pre-Production 

The class will focus on what many say is the most important phase of making a film. If you are thorough enough here you will find many inherent problems and challenges that can be solved before the first day of photography.

  • Understanding the Importance of your Locations
  • Creating a schedule around the genre’s unique needs
  • Casting
  • Do you need big names?
  • Finding a complementary ensemble

Q&A with Jonathan

Session Three: Production

You can think you’re totally prepared but if production is like trying to harness a horse, horror movie production, well…it’s a hurricane. Nevertheless, the more ideas and solutions you’ve considered the better.

Discussed here will be the average day of shooting, how it’s structured, how to plan it out. How to communicate with your crew and creative partners.

  • A Director prepares
  • The Key to Lighting
  • The importance of Camera Tests
  • Effects: Practical or CGI?
  • Prepping your Production design
  • The Hierarchy of Horror Elements

Q&A with Jonathan

Session Four: Post-Production

Called by some the most enjoyable stage of film making. Why? Less pressure. Time.

Discuss the notion of creation versus commerciality, inspiration versus calculation.

  • Hiring the right editor
  • Determining tone and rhythm
  • Coordinating with your team in prep
  • Effects
  • Music
  • Coloring and shading
  • Screen testing

Q&A with Jonathan


  • This class is designed for students of all levels looking to learn the ins and outs of making a horror movie. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar.


About Your Instructor

Jonathan Heap is an Academy Award-nominated director, writer, and producer with a dozen feature films, and short credits. His first film was BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, starring Donald Sutherland for Miramax. He followed that up with five more features, including the award-winning horror film now playing on Amazon and Tubi. He also developed a project for Warner Bros. and Sydney Pollack, which later became the Coen Brothers film SUBURBICON, which George Clooney directed. His other films starred the likes of Rob Lowe, Stephen Baldwin, Eric Roberts, and Tom Skerritt, among others.


Q: What is the format of a lab?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I 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 webinar, 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 webinar 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 webinar 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 lab class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class. If you cannot attend a live class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. Plus, your instructor will be available via email throughout the lab.

Q: Will I have access to the lab afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of the lab, you will have on-demand access to the video recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like!


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.

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