Stage 32 Screenwriting Lab: Make Your Script Sellable in the US Market

Taught by James Crawford

$799

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Class hosted by: James Crawford

Global Producer and Development Executive

James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold. Full Bio »

Summary

**Work one-on-one with a top producer with deep experience with international writers**

Only 10 Spots Available

 

Success of recent international shows like Netflix's LUPIN and MONEY HEIST demonstrate that US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. This is such an exciting time for international writers to find traction and opportunities in America. Yet even with this opportunity, you still need to adapt your script's sensibilities to make them successful stateside. This is something you can absolutely do as a writer, no matter your genre or format or story, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like. 

Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received?

These are complicated questions to answer, especially if you're not currently living or selling content in the US. This is why it's critical to work with someone who understand the US market, someone who can serve as an asset for you and make sure you're presenting a film or series that can actually find a home in America. Someone like producer James Crawford.

James is a Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. Over his career, James has worked with international writers in developing their television series and working on pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks.

James is very familiar with working with foreign writers and over 8 weeks, he will work closely with you and a small group of other international writers to adjust your film or series script to make it work in the US market. He will also help you with your project's pitch, pitch documents and outline to better sell it to American companies. While walking you through the different aspects of a successful American script and pitch, James will also work one-on-one with you to make sure your specific project can translate successfully in America.

 

If you have a project you want to sell in America, you're going to want to work with James before sending it out.

 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a deeper understanding of the US TV and film market and an updated TV or film script and pitch that fits better into American sensibilities, ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals.
  • Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with James. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward.
  • Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process.
  • To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".

 

PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a producer and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good.

  • Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at h.glaser@stage32.com for more information
  • This lab is limited to 10 people
  • This lab is designed for screenwriters of all levels looking to update their existing film or TV scripts to better fit the US market

What You'll Learn

Session 1: Overview and Introductions

  • The state of the global marketplace in film and television
    • Formats
    • Global Outposts of Networks and Platforms
    • Film Markets and Meetings Across the Globe
    • International Film Co-Productions
  • Where the Buyers Are: The lay of the land, post-COVID
  • The "international voice"-- the paradox of making your writing both universal and specific
  • Workshop: Pitching Your Idea--Bring your concept that we'll be workshopping over the course of the lab

 

Session 2: Subjects, Concepts and Genres

  • Concept: How to think about your it as an Export
  • Story archetypes and common tropes
    • Parables and fairy tales
  • Genres Abroad and Genres at Home
  • Genre Hybrids
  • Controversial Subjects and Taboos in America
    • Sex
    • Violence
    • Race
    • Gender/Sexuality
    • The problem of Middle America
  • Workshop: Finessing your most controversial or difficult scene

 

Session 3: Structure, Beginnings & Endings

  • Story, Plot, and Narrative
  • 3-Act Structure in Film
  • A, B, and C Plot lines
  • Episode Structure in Television
  • A Pilot is a promise: how to think about your first episode
  • How to Structure a Season in Television
    • How to work through the a strong beginning, middle, and end to a season
  • Workshop: Story Beats--How to lay out your story before filling in the details

 

Session 4: Characters

  • Character Archetypes vs. Stereotypes
  • Character tropes that do and don't translate well internationally
  • Diversity and Representation: how ready is America?
  • A, B, and C characters (and how they fit into A, B, and C Plot lines)
  • Workshop: Characters, back-stories, and how they got to the point just before "Fade-In..."

 

Session 5: Dialogue

  • What you can and can't say in film and TV
    • Censorship/Ratings
  • Slang, Argot and Common Phrases
  • Things that get lost in translation
  • Feeling Stuck Between Two Cultures
  • Workshop: Finessing dialogue that doesn't quite translate

 

Session 6: Loglines and One Pagers

  • The business structure of "the Business"
    • Agents
    • Managers
    • Producers
    • Development Executives
  • Beware the conventional wisdom
  • The documents that will get you in the door
    • Loglines
    • Pitch Paragraphs/Pages
    • Bibles
    • Writing Samples
  • Workshop: Crafting the Perfect Logline or Pitch Page

 

Session 7: The Pitch and Pitch Documents

  • General Meetings vs. Pitches
    • "What else do you have?"
  • Semi-pitches
    • The elevator pitch
    • The "soft" pitch
  • Studio and Network Branding
    • Actors with Production Shingles
    • Non-writing executive producers
  • Pitching the right way to the right people
    • Tailoring your pitch without betraying the truth of your story
  • Pitch Expectations
    • Pitch Structure/Format
    • Length
    • Post-pitch Q&A
  • The leave-behind
  • The follow-up
  • How to interpret a "no"
  • Workshop: Refining the pitch from Session 1

 

Session 8: One-on-one Final Consultations with James

About Your Instructor

James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold.

Schedule

SESSION 1 – Overview and Introductions - 6/28/21

SESSION 2 – Subjects, Concepts and Genres - 7/5/21

SESSION 3 – Structure, Beginnings & Endings- 7/12/21

SESSION 4 – Characters - 7/19/21

SESSION 5– Dialogue - 7/26/21

SESSION 6 – Loglines and One Pagers - 8/2/21

SESSION 7– The Pitch and Pitch Documents - 8/9/21

SESSION 8 – One-on-one Final Consultations with James (One on One Consultations – No Online Class)

FAQs

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!

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.

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