Week 1– This is an all inclusive look into act two. Lee will go over some of his biggest pet peeves when reading act two’s and what he tells his own clients when they are revising the middle of their story. • The Break into Act Two -How to establish your hero’s journey clearly. -On what page this should occur and how many pages this turning point should take. -How to make sure the break into act two matches your tone. • Set Pieces to Call Back -The importance of creating set pieces to call back at the end of the story to reflect change in perspective. -Lee will take a couple examples from his favorite movies on how they successfully called back set pieces to help portray the characters’ arcs. • Overall Basics of Act Two -Roughly how many pages should act two take up. -The inclusion of other characters brought in during act two that weren’t set up in act one. -What development executives and studios look for in an act two. -The importance of an emotional crescendo in act two. HOMEWORK #1- Write a one page synopsis of your act two highlighting the conflict and protagonist’s journey. Week 2– This week will cover conflict and tone. Lee will give examples of scripts he has read where the conflict successfully crescendoed and make the script a page turner. Lee will also discuss the importance of tonal consistency. • How to Create Ongoing Conflict -Establishing conflict that directly affects your protagonist’s journey. -How supporting characters can also add conflict that mirrors the protagonist’s journey. -How to make sure your conflict matches the tone of your film. -Tips on how to avoid lulls in act two with the help of conflict. -External conflict vs Internal Conflict -The importance of each and how both should complement each other. -What types of obstacles should face your protagonist. How to Use Tone to Showcase Your Unique Voice -Tips on how to make sure you use set pieces to showcase your unique voice no matter what genre you are writing in. -How to make sure your tone feels fresh and examples of scripts Lee read that felt dated due to the writer’s commitment to a certain kind of tone. -Overall tips on how to make sure your tone is consistent in act two. HOMEWORK #2- Outline 3-6 conflicts in your act two and how it directly affects the protagonist. Week 3 -This week will dive deeper into the writing process and how to start putting all your thoughts on the page and how to edit your own work. • Streamlining -How many twists is too much? -Tricks to avoid an executive from putting down your script in the middle of act two because of sloppy storytelling. Subplots -How to successfully layer your act without it feeling too dense. -How to make sure your protagonist’s throughline continues to stay in the foreground. • The Break into Act Three -What plot points should be established right before the break into act three. -How to crescendo your story so it seamlessly leads the reader to this important act. HOMEWORK #3- Write the first 10 pages of your act two . Week 4- The final week will dig deeper into your writing process as well as give you the steps to pitch your concept and prepare your concept for the marketplace. Lee will give tips on how to make sure act three compliments your act two and they don’t end up feeling like two separate movies. • Trimming Your Pages -Tips on how to analyze your own work and how to decipher what to keep and what to cut. -Around how many pages should lead you to the midpoint and how many pages after should lead you to the break into act three. • Pitch -How to properly pitch your film. -How to make sure your act two shines in your pitch and avoid getting the dreaded pitch note that “your story feels too thin”. • Sales strategy. - Getting it out to the right people. How to figure out who is right for your project. Networking tips. • Final thoughts and advice!
4 part class taught by Lee Stobby, literary manager and founder of Lee Stobby Entertainment! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! Executives are busy. On average, a production company will have 10-30 projects in various stages of development and production. That's why the first 10-15 pages of your script are the most crucial. They must grab the executives attention, or lose it forever... most won't read past page 15 if they aren't sold on the story. Most writers don't have the tools to strengthen their beginning, and their scripts wind up getting overlooked... don't let this happen to you! Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: How to Hook the Executive in the First 15 Pages taught by Lee Stobby literary manager and founder of Lee Stobby Entertainment. This class will give you the much needed tools to craft a killer opening to keep the executive engaged and excited about your script! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Lee is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Learn directly from Lee Stobby whose clients include writers on films that have premiered at Sundance and Cannes, as well as a stable of multiple writers on the Black List! Stage 32 is here to give you an honest, no B.S. look at how managers actually approach signing writers, straight from the mouth of a respected Hollywood manager himself. If you’re looking for a sugarcoated opinion on why you haven’t been signed yet, this webinar isn’t for you, but if you’re serious about wanting to take your career to the next level and can handle the blunt and honest truth, buckle up and get ready to learn! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Lee Stobby will provide insight into how he as a manager looks for material and clients. He will discuss the most common turn offs and red flags that kill his interest, even if he liked your script or writing (such as not in LA, “bad” personality, not having a script that is ready to go, or soft concepts). He will then go over ways to overcome these things and accent your strengths. You will learn what types of scripts play best on script hosting websites, how to utilize coverage services, how to get executives to read your script and subsequently refer to reps, how to write scripts that get attention in contests, other ways to get attention on your script, and why being in the relentless search of representation may not be the best use of your time. You will leave with a clear understanding of the mistakes you’ve been unknowingly making and directions on how to avoid continuing to make them, giving yourself a better chance of finally getting signed! Your host Lee Stobby has learned from some of Hollywood’s greatest minds at Misher Films, Double Feature Films, Industry Entertainment, Innovative Artists and Caliber Media; the lattermost is where he began representing literary clients in 2011. Lee is a champion of strong, independent voices and has a knack for finding some of the most in-demand spec scripts on the market. Lee just started his own shingle, Lee Stobby Entertainment, where his clients include writers on films that have premiered at Sundance and Cannes, as well as a stable of multiple writers on the Black List. Lee knows what makes a great client / writer and is here exclusively for Stage 32 to partake some of his knowledge, energy and passion to help writers increase their chances of finally getting representation.
Learn directly from Jeff Kitchen, 20-Year Advanced Screenwriting Teacher who has taught Development Executives at all of the major Hollywood Studios! This course was previously recorded. All sessions now available on demand. It's for seasoned writers and development executives; Beginners are absolutely welcome, but please be aware this will be high-impact and fast paced. Dramatic writing is considered the most elusive of all the literary disciplines, and plot construction is notoriously tricky. You must weld together a seething amalgam of ideas, actions, characters, and powerful moments—and the finished product has to roll out one scene after another in a specific order to create maximum dramatic impact. The story has to move ahead crisply and grip the audience in a powerful transformative experience, in any genre. Even seasoned pros struggle with this. Stage 32 Next Level Education is thrilled to bring you our first ever Advanced Screenwriting 10 Week Working Writers Lab! This lab is taught by Jeff Kitchen, who has taught his three-step process, Sequence, Proposition, Plot, to development executives from all the major Hollywood studios—and they consistently say it’s the most advanced development tool in the film industry. Now, for the first time anywhere, Jeff is doing a high-intensity training program on this remarkable tool, an exclusive for Stage 32! In this lab, Jeff will train you in the detailed mechanics of how to work with reverse cause and effect and sophisticated conflict structuring to strip your story down to its absolute essentials and make it work. Then once you got your core story solid, you use Sequence, Proposition, Plot to systematically build out each of the acts, then all the major sequences, and finally all the scenes, writing each scene as you structure it. This gives you a remarkably solid working draft of your story. The lab will be a high-intensity training program, focusing entirely on technique, so you learn how to turn a fairly developed idea into a structured outline that gradually knits all your story elements into a coherent script, developing details as they becomes necessary, and creating gripping conflict that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Sequence, Proposition, Plot enables you to take all the energy that goes into rewrites and engineer your script properly before you write it. Because this is a highly intensive, hands-on format, Jeff will use a mix of lecture, drills, analysis, class work, and homework. Each person should be familiar with the movie, Training Day, starring Denzel Washington. The last hour of each class will be spent building an original story as a class, with each person constructing their own version of the practice story as they learn the detailed mechanics of using this tool fully and properly. The last two sessions will be devoted entirely to intensive work with the demo script that each person is building, structuring scenes and writing dialog based on the deep structure that you’ve developed and constructed. You will emerge with a powerful mastery of this tool, and the habits of mind of the trained dramatist. Class Breakdown: Session 1: Introduction and Instruction on Sequence Work backwards to create a tight chain of cause and effect Separate the necessary from the unnecessary Find the spine of your story, unencumbered by unnecessary detail Get the big picture working, then gradually develop the details Apply reverse cause and effect (Sequence) to the overall story for the practice script Session 2: Instruction on Proposition, Plot Build the core conflict and get the audience on the edge of their seat This works in any genre Test for power and amplify conflict where needed Set up a potential fight and touch off a fight to the finish Apply Proposition, Plot to the overall story for the practice script Session 3: Dramatic Action Create continuous, coherent, compelling dramatic action Work from the macro down to the micro Gradually develop and weave in detail as it becomes necessary Break the overall story down into acts Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I of the practice script Session 4: Writer’s Objective vs. Protagonist’s Objective Learn the difference between the writer’s objective and the protagonist’s objective Create structural unity, with each part serving the whole A sense of proportion orients you in the proper use of this tool Find the holes in your story and create solutions as you flesh the story in Do Sequence, Proposition, Plot for Act II of the practice script Session 5: Cause and Effect Find the cause of an effect, not what came before it If the big picture doesn’t work then the details do not matter An argument actually consist of two opposing arguments Do Sequence, Proposition, Plot for Act III of the practice script Session 6: The Central Dramatic Question Going on the offensive—a declaration of war The central dramatic question does not occur in the middle of the script Break each act down into sequences Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I, Sequence 1 in the practice script Session 7: Create Order From Chaos Chaos is crucial to story creation. Order is crucial to plot construction Learn to stay on track with reverse cause and effect, and not follow false trails Know that your storytelling has to be top notch because well-structured crap is still crap Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I, Sequence 2 in the practice script Session 8: How To Engineer Your Script Before You Start Writing Engineer your screenplay before you write it and save many rewrites Attack the audience Be the master of the tools, not their servant Break down sequences into scenes Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 1 in the practice script Session 9: Work On Practice Script Total work session using Sequence, Proposition, Plot on the practice script Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 2 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 3 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Session 10: Wrap Up Total work session using Sequence, Proposition, Plot on the practice script Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 2, Scene 1 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 2, Scene 2 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Keep going until we drop About The Instructor, Jeff Kitchen: Jeff Kitchen has been one of the top screenwriting teachers in the film industry for twenty years, and is a sought-after script consultant. He worked as a dramaturg and taught playwriting in New York theater, and is the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting. Jeff has taught development executives from all the major Hollywood studios and they consistently say that he teaches the most advanced development tools in the film industry. You can read more about him on his website: www.DevelopmentHeaven.com. Testimonials About Jeff Kitchen: “I've worked with Jeff one-on-one for many of my projects. His tools and insights push me to explore the material in a deeper way — and find the dramatic core of the situation. I know he's made me a better writer and made my process more organized and more effective. I highly recommend his book, his classes, and his personal attention.” - Jessica Sharzer - Writer/Producer - American Horror Story “Jeff Kitchen’s writing techniques and teaching have been invaluable tools in my own creative work. His attention to character, process, and form have informed all of my work and will continue to do so. I start every script with the simple question that Jeff asks daily, “What do you want to leave the audience with?” The question and Jeff’s teaching form the foundation for compelling, honest work.” - Ted Melfi - Writer/Director - St. Vincent “Your seminar for Development Executives was by far the best seminar I have ever taken. I have found the tools you discussed to be very instrumental in my analysis of scripts on a day to day basis. Your class is the most comprehensive one offered as far as making people understand how to apply the tools and make them work. This was one class that I can honestly say has helped me to become a stronger executive. I am very grateful to you. I recommend your seminar to anyone in the entertainment industry who wants to know what it takes to make a strong script.” - Jen Grisanti - Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.; Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge; former 12-year studio executive “I found your class to be user-friendly and very informative. I especially enjoyed your technique of working backwards from the climax--it really helps to streamline a screenplay and strengthen the throughline. I highly recommend this class to screenwriters of all levels of proficiency.” - Debra Meringa - Sony Pictures “Having taken virtually every screenwriting course in existence, I found Jeff Kitchen's workshop to be the most valuable in town. His techniques and tools guide one through the entire process of screenwriting: from basic concept to general script structure and further down to the scene level. Jeff is a master teacher who truly understands the art and technique of the screenplay. His course is worth its weight in gold.” - Chris Brancato - Writer - Hannibal, Law & Order: Criminal Intent “From within the swarm of gimmicky screenwriting seminars and trendy new how-to's, it is Jeff Kitchen's approach, relying heavily on the classic principles of dramatic structure and logic that emerges as truly innovative. His technique is the answer for anyone seeking practical tools with which to diagnose script problems, generate effective solutions, or transform story ideas into compelling drama. Jeff's seminars are aggressive; they are work sessions that produce real results immediately. Come with your sleeves rolled up”. - Erin Quigley - Producer, Development Exec., 23 Red Prods. “Jeff Kitchen’s technique and his dedication to the art of screenwriting taught me writing skills that took my script to a whole new level. I’ve never seen anything like what he teaches, and it works better than anything out there. After taking his course I got top representation and sold a script to New Line Cinema.” - Sam Brown, Screenwriter “I recently attended Jeffrey Kitchen's screenwriting seminar and cannot praise it too highly. He is one of the best teachers I've ever had. His attributes are that rare to find. First, he is clear and concise and is a master of the techniques he teaches. Secondly, he has infinite patience and instinctive generosity so that everyone feels that their project is worthwhile, even as he uncovers its flaws. The technique he teaches is truly extraordinary and Jeffrey, it turns out, may be the only person in the world using it in this particular way. I have taken other screenwriting courses and his is head and shoulders above them all. As a result of Jeffrey's course I feel much more secure in my writing. I finally feel that my script will have the best possible structure.” - Mira Tweti, Screenwriter “Jeff Kitchen teaches the most powerful and practical screenwriting tools in the business. I’ve studied numerous techniques, but Jeff is the first person I’ve met who presents a fully developed craft that screenwriters can actually use. His expertise unlocked, energized, and structured a script that I was completely stumped on and now a major studio is considering it for an A-list actress.” - Jon Van Dyke, Writer-Director “Years ago, I was fortunate to begin my ongoing training with the generation of masters that first wrote for stage, then live television, and then film. Jeffrey is one of the few contemporary writer-teachers with a grounding in those ageless techniques of good drama, a tradition rarely passed to current generations.” - George Higginson, Screenwriter “Jeff Kitchen is the best screenwriting teacher in the world.” - Tom Huckabee, Executive Producer, Frailty To read Jeff Kitchen's book, Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting click here!
Nearly every executive that has come in to hear pitches through Stage 32 is looking for thriller features. It's one of the few genres that can translate internationally. Having a solid, unique thriller in your portfolio is something any manager or agent will appreciate. Thrillers like Gone Girl, Taken, The Boy Next Door and Non-Stop have profited more than quadrupled what their respective shooting budgets were. But writing thrillers comes with its own challenges. A writer has to make sure the characterization is strong throughout the story without letting the action sequences overshadow it. But those action sequences must be thrilling enough to fuel the story forward and the pacing must be thriving and building in every scene. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our exclusive 3-week online intensive class How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller taught by the creative executive of Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! In this hands-on course, you will learn what it takes to write a compelling, fast-paced thriller and how to successfully pitch it to production companies. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a thriller that will stand out. The objective of this course is: To learn the rules of writing a page-turner thriller with a unique hook. To prepare you on how to pitch your completed thriller. To elevate your writing and story to a more marketable level. You will leave the course knowing: Tropes used in thrillers to avoid and tropes to embrace. How to commit to tone from page 1. How to option a book or article to establish an IP. The difference between the subgenres of a thriller (including blockbusters, psychological, erotic and art-house). How to prepare your pitch document for your completed thriller. About Your Teacher Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures Patrick started his career working as an assistant at Gersh, where he was able to learn the business from the ground up as well as make solid connection in the town. He worked primarily in the production department but gained lots of exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He utilized his experience and passion as leverage in a transition to work as a producer’s assistant. LD Entertainment became his home the next three years, where he was eventually promoted to a creative executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. After three years, he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up. He learned a lot about assembling large studio films. He has transitioned back into more of a creative executive position at Mandalay Pictures, where he gets to go back to my passion: cultivate amazing stories and working with great writers. Class Schedule ( 6/20, 6/27, 711) Week #1 (6/20): This is an all inclusive look into the world of thrillers. This will offer you a behind-the-scenes look on what executives look for when reading thrillers and some common mistakes writers make that disrupt the reading process. This class will also cover: Concepts that sell and concepts that don’t. Market trends (i.e. female driven thrillers, the state of erotic thrillers after movies like The Boy Next Door). Tips on making sure your first 10-15 pages pop and hook the executive. Stereotypical tropes/cliches writers use to set up their characters that turn off an executive. Tips on creating and layering your antagonist. How to make sure your protagonist is relatable and engaging. How to create a stand out catalyst and a sharp break into act two. Week #2 (6/27): This week will focus entirely on the engine of your story. This week will cover outlining and writing act 2 and act 3. Topics that this will cover include: How to write a thrilling action sequence. Description to dialogue ratio. Making sure you are incorporating set pieces that complement your sub-genre (i.e. what specific set pieces would you include in your second act if you are writing an erotic thriller). Tips on how to outline your heightened set pieces to make sure the emotional crescendo of your story is always escalating smoothly. How to make sure your characterization is strong throughout act two and three while keeping the tension hight. Overall tips on how to outline your script. Week #3 (7/11): This week will cover tips on how to end your script with a lasting final image and what happens after your first draft is completed. This week will include: Some of the most common elements that are rewritten after getting picked up by a production company. How to avoid development hell. Tips on how to pitch your thriller. Typical elements that can be found in a pitch package. How to decipher which companies are looking for what.
Learn directly from acclaimed author and screenwriter Max Adams who has worked with companies such as Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures and Max’s students have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Award and more! We continuously hear from the executives that we work with that concept is the most common mistake in spec scripts today. Readers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it bigger, badder, better and more enticing to the world. How can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you acclaimed screenwriter and writing coach Max Adams to teach you how to create compelling concepts and re-craft existing concepts so that they garner instant attention through one sentence descriptions alone. Dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday, she will teach you how to pull a story out of the “been there seen that no thanks” file and into the “I have got to read that” file. You’ll learn how to break your story into individual components to find its strengths and weaknesses, which gives you tools to analyze your future writing projects and raise stories’ impact. This will be your complete crash course in high concept writing, and you will leave this webinar knowing how to make your stories more interesting and enticing for readers, buyers, producers, editors, representatives, cast and industry players!