13 Steps to Nail Your Feature Screenplay Structure

Hosted by Jon Hersh

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Jon Hersh

Webinar hosted by: Jon Hersh

Manager at Housefire Management

Jon Hersh is the Manager at Housefire Management, a boutique literary management company based in Los Angeles that represents writers and directors in film, television, and digital content. Housefire specializes in deep development, strong client relationships, and incendiary material that stands out like a house on fire. Jon's client list includes writers and writer/directors for film and TV including emerging writers Hayley Easton-Street, whose project THIS IS AFRICA is in development with Eclipse Films (FINDING YOUR FEET, URBAN HYMN); Casey Giltner, whose project FELIX is in development at Conquistador Entertainment (CAKE, RESCUE DAWN); and Marc Bloom, whose title RUNT is in development at the Traveling Picture Show Company (JOSIE, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES). Jon is also working with a writer he discovered in a pitch session and is setting up his TV series with a major production company he's excited to announce soon! After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, Jon Hersh went on to become a full-time story analyst at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). During his tenure there, he evaluated thousands of screenplays, pilots, and books, and gave detailed story notes to high-level clients of the agency. After four years at CAA, Jon moved on to the fledgling mini-studio Broad Green Pictures (THE LOST CITY OF Z, JUST GETTING STARTED) where he helped found a new and innovative Story Department and had a hand in developing a slate of quality projects for the company. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Literary Manager Jon Hersh has read thousands – yes, thousands – of screenplays in his career. Starting at CAA he was a story analyst covering screenplays, manuscripts books and television pilots, which helped him get a crash course on effective structure for a project. He moved on to be a development executive at Broad Green Pictures and helped develop feature material for their slate.

Being around so much material Jon learned one thing – you MUST have solid screenplay structure to get past development and get your project greenlit. In this exclusive webinar Jon is going to show examples and break down beat by beat what needs to be in your outline, plus go in detail on the 13 steps you need to follow to nail your screenplay structure.

What You'll Learn

Introduction

  • My background (CAA, Broad Green, Housefire)

Step 1: Outline

  • Is an outline necessary? We'll go over the various types of outlines and how to draft them.

Step 2: Cold Open

  • We'll talk about various styles of cold opens, what you must do and what you should never do.

Step 3: Set-Up

  • We'll talk about how to best set up the hero and the world. 

Step 4: Catalyst

  • What is the purpose of the catalyst, how do you write it and what elements does it need to have?

Step 5: Debate

  • What type of reaction do you need for your catalyst? What beat(s) need to be here? 

Step 6: Act II Plunge

  • We'll go over your hero and why the transition into Act II is so important. 

Step 7: Trailer Moments

  • What elements are needed in the premise and what needs to be introduced? 

Step 8: Midpoint

  • How do you shift your goals and raise your stakes? 

Step 9: Challenges

  • We'll go over effective ways to to stretch your hero's challenges.

Step 10: Rock Bottom

  • This is such an important part of the script. We'll talk about how to make this moment work effectively. 

Step 11: Act III Lightbulb

  • What is the lightbulb and how do you help it turn to Act III in your script?

Step 12: Climax

  • How do you make the climax count?

Step 13: Epilogue

  • We'll discuss the end of your script and what your intentions are with the story. 

Q&A

About Your Instructor

Jon Hersh is the Manager at Housefire Management, a boutique literary management company based in Los Angeles that represents writers and directors in film, television, and digital content. Housefire specializes in deep development, strong client relationships, and incendiary material that stands out like a house on fire.

Jon's client list includes writers and writer/directors for film and TV including emerging writers Hayley Easton-Street, whose project THIS IS AFRICA is in development with Eclipse Films (FINDING YOUR FEET, URBAN HYMN); Casey Giltner, whose project FELIX is in development at Conquistador Entertainment (CAKE, RESCUE DAWN); and Marc Bloom, whose title RUNT is in development at the Traveling Picture Show Company (JOSIE, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES). Jon is also working with a writer he discovered in a pitch session and is setting up his TV series with a major production company he's excited to announce soon!

After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, Jon Hersh went on to become a full-time story analyst at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). During his tenure there, he evaluated thousands of screenplays, pilots, and books, and gave detailed story notes to high-level clients of the agency. After four years at CAA, Jon moved on to the fledgling mini-studio Broad Green Pictures (THE LOST CITY OF Z, JUST GETTING STARTED) where he helped found a new and innovative Story Department and had a hand in developing a slate of quality projects for the company.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars 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 webinar.

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 webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, 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!

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