You only get one chance to make a first impression… And the same goes for your characters in your scripts. Think about when you go to a party… Sometimes, you meet a new person that just stands out to you, and you never forget them. Those are the kinds of characters you want to create. A compelling character introduction can hook a reader instantly so that they climb aboard for the rest of your story. So many people talk about how a screenplay needs to grab a reader within the first five pages – let's dive in to how you grab them and keep them turning pages. If we don’t care about the characters, we won’t be invested in the story. Far too often, we’re so eager to get into our script’s plot, that we don’t give our characters the attention that they need. Ultimately, a character doesn’t have to be likeable, or even relatable, but they do need to be captivating. While a character introduction might only take two or three pages, its ramifications are felt throughout the entire screenplay. It’s the foundation that everything else is built off of. If you’ve ever received a note like, “I don’t like your protagonist,” or “I’m not sure what the character wants,” or “the characters felt one-dimensional,” or “the story took a while to get going,” then this is the webinar for you. Steve Desmond is a professional WGA screenwriter who works across a variety of genres. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, HARRY'S ALL NIGHT HAMBURGERS, to Warner Bros in a bidding war. The project now has an Oscar nominated producer attached and is in active development. FilmNation (ARRIVAL, THE KINGS SPEECH) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD. He’s also been hired to write a feature film for Legendary Pictures, and two TV pilots for IM Global. His screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List three times in the past four years. His short film, MONSTERS, that he wrote and directed, has amassed over one million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards including being a winning film in the Stage 32 4th Annual Short Film Contest. Steve will focus on different methods to introduce your protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters in your projects. By using both real life examples and case studies in film and TV, he’ll help you to tailor your thinking to “character first, plot second.” Whether your characters are larger than life heroes, cruel villains, or average Joe’s and Jane’s, he’ll give you tips to help them leap off the page from the first time that we meet them. Ultimately, your character introductions can become microcosms for entire arcs and plots. Beyond your main characters, this webinar will also cover bit characters as well, so that each introduction makes a strong impression on the reader. Steve will not only dive into your main characters, but supporting characters including your villains. He will also go deeper into how to create suspense, setting up opposites for your characters, and establishing contrasting needs. Finally, Steve will illustrate everything he's gone over with real world examples from films and shows such as PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, WHIPLASH, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and BREAKING BAD. Praise for Steve's Stage 32 Webinar "This was fantastic. Steve offered so much insight, dozens of little nuggets that rang true or gave me pause to think of something I'd never considered before."-Ed K."Perfectly laid out, clear and concise material taught by a genial host!"-George P."Steve was fantastic. His examples and insights were on point. Thanks!"-Adam H."I made 3 pages of notes; good pertinent topics with simple fundamental answers presented. Very helpful, worth the time and fee."-Thomas W.
In this Pitch Tank Webcast, Jason Mirch is joined by The Bucket List and Hairspray producer, Travis Knox. Travis and Jason listen to 5 pitches and offer feedback to Writers' Room members. Projects include a contained political thriller, family drama series, elevated action thriller, anthology series, and a feature with a big conceptual hook! Travis also offered his thoughts on how to deliver a pitch and shared the best advice he ever received.
Learn directly from Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom, Producer and Independent Filmmaker (Short Term 12, Friends With Kids, It Follows)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar you will learn the answer to one of the most asked questions there is in regards to film: how to get a paying job. Whether you’re new to the industry, trying a different line of work, or getting back into the industry after a hiatus, it can feel like walking on to a minefield – it’s tough to know where to begin, how to get your foot in the door and how to get away from unpaid positions. Your host Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom is here to explain how she got her start in the business, how she worked her way up to a Development Executive position, and give you detailed advice about how to navigate getting a paying job in the industry. You will leave the webinar knowing: If it makes sense for you to get an internship or not. What different jobs exist in the industry - and if they'll still be around in 5 years. How to get a paying job in the film industry rather than unpaid positions. How to write a great resume and cover letter. How much money you can expect to realistically make in different jobs - so you know how much to ask for. What makes the most sense for you, your interests, and your lifestyle when pursuing paid work in the film industry. Your host Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom has spent the past 7 years working in the independent film industry in New York. She’s headed up development and production at Animal Kingdom, where she co-produced the multi-award winning Short Term 12 – and worked closely on projects like It Follows. She understands how to get a job – and is working exclusively with Stage 32 to share her know-how with you.
When people think of Manchester By the Sea, they think of an independent film drama that finds comfort in its misery. There is a stoic color palate that highlights the depressing grey of New England and its melancholy protagonist. The script (and film) are also filled with a certain quirkiness and comedy typical of the American working class city by the sea. Through its incredible pain, there are rays of sunshine and humanity that are delicately written and incredibly effective. We've brought in the Development Executive for Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond, to deconstruct this Oscar-winning script. What we will discuss and uncover is the process and elements required that enabled a film as seemingly small and intimate, like Manchester, to become a commercial and critical success. We also will address the elements of writing that attract A-level talent and help create characters that support great performances. Patrick looks forward to the discussion. All attendees will receive the Manchester by the Sea script and we highly recommend you read it in advance of the webinar.
A year ago, you might not have believed that one of the biggest limited series phenomena of 2020—or ever—was an intimate story about an orphan chess prodigy battling addiction. Yet here we are. The long-time passion project from Allan Scott started in 1989 when he optioned the rights to Walter Trevis' novel THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT. Now, over 30 years, 9 rewrites and countless directors to get the project off the ground later it is the model of perseverance and inspiration to storytellers worldwide. Scott teamed up with Oscar-nominated writer Scott Frank (OUT OF SIGHT, MINORITY REPORT, LOGAN) and THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT was released on October 23, 2020 and quickly became Netflix's most popular scripted limited-series ever. It was watched by a staggering 62 million households in the first 28 days of release and won 15 awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Television Limited Series. But no one has broken down exactly what makes the series such a critical and commercial success...until now. In an exclusive Stage 32 Script Breakdown Webcast our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch, will break down the first episode of the series live using excerpts of the book and the teleplay, as well as clips from the episode. Jason Mirch is a feature film, television, branded entertainment, and digital content producer and executive with over 15 years in the industry. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, Kenan Thompson, and Carol Kane. Mirch was the Head of feature and television development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of FLIGHT, THE HELP, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, CONTAGION and more. Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Zadan/Meron Productions (CHICAGO, FOOTLOOSE, THE BUCKET LIST) where he was actively involved in developing a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. During this FREE Stage 32 Next Level Webcast Jason will take you step by step as he examines the four key elements that make up the protagonist's character, how the opening sequence is designed to hook the audience, how theme and tone are exhibited in the text and on screen, how this first episode lays the foundation for the arc of the entire series, and much more! Plus, everyone who registers for the webinar will receive a copy of the pilot script of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT to study!
As an actor, there are so many elements that go into being successful. Craft and method, scene study, poise, rehearsal, memorization, building your brand and identity. The list goes on. Yet in the end, getting cast in a project might come down to just two pieces of paper: your headshot and your resume. It’s often the very first impression casting directors or producers have of you and may dictate whether or not you get in the room to audition in the first place. Considering how much can come down to your these two items, it’s critical you make them as effective as possible to put your best foot forward. There are tons of online resources, articles and videos on the do’s and don’ts of actor headshots and resumes, many of which contradict the next. Acting coaches, agents, managers and industry professionals are quick to define what makes a headshot “pop” and what to include on your resume. But what do casting directors really look for? And what can make your headshot and resume stand out from the stack of others that a casting director receives? Over her career, casting director Marin Hope has cast hundreds of actors in film, TV, theatre and commercial projects. The winner of the 2020 Artios Award for Casting, Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, and most recently MOLLY, starring Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Marin’s deep experience in acting has made her a foremost expert in what it takes for actors to get the job, and she’s back exclusively with Stage 32 to reveal what she knows. Marin will reveal from a casting director’s perspective what makes an actor’s headshot and resume effective. She will discuss everything from hair and makeup to how much you should spend on headshots to what makes a headshot stand out. She’ll provide details on how to best format your resume and what credits you should and should not include. She’ll also discuss what a casting director looks for when reviewing actor materials and why one actor may be selected to audition over another based solely on their headshot and resume. You’ll learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective, which will give you a unique and valuable understanding of how to best curate your materials. Praise for Marin's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know about self-taping but Marin brought forth valuable new information." -Michele C. "I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away." -Sondra C. "The information was informative, Marin gave a lot information that is extremely invaluable to me in this industry and I look forward to many more webinars with Stage32 because of this." -Michael C. "Well, done. I have made it into several movies and missed getting into others. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions." -Kenneth W.