Max Adams is a screenwriter, author, mentor, and teacher. Recipient early in her career of an Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, an Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Award, and an America’s Best Screenwriting Award, Max was dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday. Max’s produced feature films include Excess Baggage, The Ladykillers, One For the Money and she recently appeared in Tony Tarantino’s Underbelly Blues. She has worked on concepts and pitches with industry luminaries including pitch king Bob Kosberg, producers Robert Evans (The Godfather), Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator), David Valdes (The Green Mile) and Wendy Finerman (Forest Gump, The Devil Wears Prada). She is the author of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide, is a former WGA online mentor, is the founder of two international online screenwriting workshops and the founder of The Academy of Film Writing. Max’s students and workshoppers have been featured on The Black List, have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers award, and most recently a Tracking Board 2015 Launch Pad Feature Award. Many of Max’s students are working professionally in the industry today. You can read more about Max on her websites http://seemaxrun.com and http://theafw.com. Full Bio »
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!
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!
“Max Adams is the kind of smart, engaging teacher that made me want to be a better writer — and she helped me do it.” – Alvaro Rodriguez, Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
“Max Adams is the real deal. I’ve taken three of her classes so far and they’ve upped my game as an author and a screenwriter. I still refer to her class lectures as I work on new projects. Max offers real tools you will continue to use over and over again in your career.” – Doug Solter, Skid, My Girlfriend Bites, Legends
“You laid the foundation, Max. Best teacher ever.” - Debi Yazbeck, 2015 Tracking Board Launchpad Feature Winner
“Max Adams is one of the most knowledgeable and talented people in screenwriting that I know, all writers need to hear what Max Adams has to say.” – Kerry Valderrama, Garrison, Sanitarium
“The brilliance of taking Max Adams’ classes is that you start seeing improvement in your writing almost immediately. She has that indescribable knack for finding methods and exercises and examples that break open your understanding of how to be the best writer you can be, how to improve on your voice without mimicry, and how to get your story on the page in such a way that you start getting those “wow” responses… and sales. Not long after Max’s classes, I sold a three book deal to St. Martin’s Press on a pre-empt, hit the USA Today Bestseller list, and am now considering offers on my fourth book.” – Toni McGee Causey, Charmed and Dangerous, Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, When A Man Loves A Weapon
“I’ve taken all of Max’s classes and quite simply, her focused methods and attention to detail blow every other screenwriting class out of the water.” – Jules Howe, Best Comedy Screenplay Austin Film Festival, Best Family Film Screenplay
“The input I got from Max Adams lifted my script, “Redemption,” from a SemiFinalist to a Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting award winner. She is smart, savvy, experienced, and generous. She is a fabulous teacher. If you’ve got what it takes, she will pull it out of you. ” – Patricia Burroughs, Winner Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
One of the weakest elements in screenwriting is story momentum. Without story momentum, pacing drags, plots lose focus, second acts die, and story climaxes are – anticlimactic. Achieving story momentum is not addressed often enough in screenwriting classes. Nor is the direct correlation between dramatic tension and the cause and effect elements needed to link scenes and scene sequences. This relationship is the cornerstone of achieving dramatic tension and mastering story momentum. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Max Adams, a 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures, will explain why linear plotting fails and will give you practical tools and techniques you can immediately apply to you writing. You will leave this webinar knowing how to fix story holes, correct pacing, create driving story engines and achieve rising story momentum to maintain a feature film script straight through to a riveting story climax!
Back by popular demand, Stage 32 Next Level Education brings you Max Adams, 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures! You will also learn about static locations vs. clear, wider, more open locations and how they can work for and against you in your writing. You will also have a clear understanding on how to use motion and action to move your screenplay forward. You will walk away having all the tools and techniques necessary to apply to fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays to make visuals and action “real” on the page - an art unto itself and something that can separate your work from the pack. You will learn how to create compelling visuals on the page that will catapult your writing into an unforgettable — and visual — experience for your readers on the page, and your audience on the screen. The immediacy of motion on a film screen, and its necessity, sets film writing apart from every other written medium on the planet. And is the difference on the script page — and film screen — between selling — or that script dying in a drawer, and that film never being made.
As screenwriters, it is our job to create well-rounded stories. That means not only having a main character whose journey we follow but also including supporting characters and stories. The addition of strong supporting characters and subplots allows the audience to feel as if your story actually has a life outside of the confines of your script. This is the difference between being a professional screenwriter and someone who writes as a weekend hobby. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jordan Barel, who's worked in producing and development for over 15 years will teach how to bring your supporting characters to life. You will learn how to create characters that are integral to the main plot and the shape of your screenplay. He will walk you through using your support characters to subtly deliver key exposition and give insight into your protagonist. In addition, Jordan will show you how to use your subplots to strengthen your second act and keep the action moving along. You'll break down various film genres to show how each utilizes supporting characters and subplots so you can apply it to your projects. You will walk away with the tools necessary to deliver a fully developed script that says "professional" and not "hobbyist"! "It was absolutely excellent information." - Gerri G. "Great speaker, lots of great info. Thanks!" - Ron H.
If you’re an aspiring writer, a good literary manager is often a vital ingredient for your success and continuing career. They’re with you on every step of your journey. They give you notes on your projects, help you strategize and prioritize, keep you motivated, and get you in front of execs, producers, and other players to get that next job. It’s a crucial and ongoing relationship that can make or break your career. The manager/client relationship is an intimate and important one that should be based on trust and communication, as well as on personalities. Because of this, it’s worth taking the time to think about what kind of working relationship you want to have with your rep. Managers and by extension management companies have different strengths and approaches to working with clients. From the bigger players like Anonymous Content, 3 Arts and Circle of Confusion, to the more boutique companies like Bellevue Productions, MXN Entertainment, and Lit Entertainment, each manager or management company has a different working philosophy and mandate for building a client’s career—from development to career strategy to producing policies to staffing and more. Understanding these differences and knowing what to be aware of and what questions to ask when looking for representation is essential. Kate Sharp is a producer and literary manager at Bellevue Productions. Prior to joining Bellevue, Kate was the VP of Development and Production at Occupant Entertainment, producing short-form content for Showtime, MTV, Verizon, Facebook, and U2, and was an Executive Producer on the Hulu original, Emmy-nominated TV series BEHIND THE MASK. Her film credits include PEEP WORLD, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, MADAME BOVARY and THE HALLOW. Kate is currently producing THE BURNING SEASON (recipient of a Film Independent Producing Fellowship, a 2016 Tribeca Sloan grant, a 2018 Fast Track Sloan grant, a 2015 Athena List winner and on the 2016 Black List), as well as AT RISK (recipient of a Film Independent Writing Fellowship and on the 2018 Black List). Kate’s extensive experience as a manager, producer, and executive of projects big and small has made her an expert on representation, and she’s excited to share her expertise exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Kate will start with the basics of the management landscape, describing the role of a literary manager and illustrating what a good manager/client relationship could look like. She’ll go over the different approaches managers have when working with clients and teach you the major players and the different types of management companies, including the larger companies, and the smaller more boutique ones. She’ll then delve into how a writer should pick a manger by helping you understand what personal needs and wants you should consider when looking, what questions you should ask during the interview process, and what red flags you should be aware of when meeting with potential managers. Next, Kate will go over the relationship between managing and producing and what goes into a manager producing your project. She’ll talk about what you should consider when talking to your manager about serving as a producer. Finally Kate will delve into the ins and outs of a beneficial manager/client relationship, including how to get the ball rolling once you sign, how to work well with them day-to-day, week-to-week, and what expectations you should both have for each other. Kate will leave you with an understanding of the literary representation landscape and a clear idea of what to consider and what questions to ask when finding your own manager. Praise for Kate's Stage 32 Webinar "Kate was fantastic, clear and succinct about what she's looking for, what she's not looking for and a general overview of what managers do." -Gail B. " Kate Sharp was incredible. She laid out the road map for where a screenwriter goes after completing screenplays. She made it clear on what to look for in a manager and how it differs from having an agent. She's a great instructor, and also looks like a very special person to have as a manager, who loves what she does and would be a great partner for a writer! Thank you for sharing her gifts with us!" -Ricki L. "The information was straightforward and practical. I made loads of notes to go back over. Thanks!" -Gillian R. "BRAVO, KATE!!! She provided a wonderful presentation fueled by stellar "real world" facts and scenarios." -Bill B.
You’ve heard that the opening pages of your pilot script are the most important – hook your audience early and they’ll be invested in your show, fall short and producers, managers and executives might not even finish reading your script. At many companies, your script will be handed off to a member of the development team whose job is to just read the first act, then decide whether to pass or flag your script for further consideration. Having a great first act isn’t just a good way to get your pilot noticed; it might be the only way. When you watch a pilot, though, whether on Netflix, HBO or ABC, it can feel like every show is so different, it’s hard to see a pathway to success. Or even if you master one aspect of your opening act, somehow it can still feel like you’ve not done enough. In a TV pilot, that crucial first act is the most challenging because there is so much you have to do really well, really quickly: you have to introduce your characters, set up your world, and launch your story. What’s more, the first act sets your pilot on solid footing – nail this section and the rest of the pilot seems to develop and flow easily. Get stuck on how to start, and you might never finish writing the pilot that could launch your career. You’ve probably watched outstanding pilots where 10-15 minutes in you’re already making plans to binge the season. What do all those pilots have in common? What techniques do experienced show creators use to give them that early edge? And what exactly do producers, managers development execs and other professionals expect to see in a first act? We have the answers to those questions and much more. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will analyze pilots more deeply so you can see the tools successful writers use to set their show on the right path from the start. She’ll discuss the ingredients of a pilot in general, including the basic structure, identifying the type or genre of your show, meta-themes, and crafting characters to serve as the audience's entry point. Anna will then delve into the key elements of a first act, as well as a great teaser or cold open, including using framing devices, and a strong out. She will go over tips to writing memorable character descriptions, using physical descriptions, elements of identity, and putting thought into how you name each character. She'll next focus on introduction scenes and using them to generate interest in your characters, using dialogue to establish their voices, and introducing relationships. A vital aspect of a pilot's first act is creating character moments, and Anna will go over effective examples of many different types of these moments, including meeting heroes, meeting villains, meeting supporting characters, establishing the right amount of backstory, and the benefits of having your characters argue. She will then discuss how to create exposition and communicate your world effectively, crafting a mystery and building the rules of your universe, as well as how to avoid overused crutches. Anna will then offer her take on implementing and incorporating tone and themes into the script and how to sneak them in subtly through details and character moments. She will finally lay out how to best use your first act to bring the audience into your story and world, where exactly your story should start, and how to launch your 'A' story and introduce your 'B' and 'C' stories. Examples will be used from one-hour and half-hour shows on network, cable and streaming platforms, PLUS! you will receive pilots for each after the class: THIS IS US - NBC ONE DAY AT A TIME - Netflix / Pop MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL - Amazon ATLANTA - FX KILLING EVE - AMC THE EXPANSE - Syfy / Amazon Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar: "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H. "Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation." -James F. "It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much." -Kristin G.
Many beginning filmmakers, even many accomplished ones, remain confused about “the market”, when it comes to short films. But the true question is not “Is there a market?” but rather “Is there a market for me, my film, in the short film world?” The answer is an unconditional “Yes.” Short films are more popular than ever. With more and more film festivals catering to short films, increasing outlets for distribution, and online platforms offering the promise of revenue sharing models, the appeal of making a short film is on the rise. But how do you market your short film? How do you increase your chances of not only being seen, but even making a return on a short film? The answers are out there, if you know the right questions to ask. David Paterson, is an accomplished writer, director, and producer of short films that have been seen in over 100 film festivals throughout the world. David knows that the "marketing" of your short begins well before FADE IN. And as an advisor to four major film festivals as well as performing as a juror on several short film contests, David is an expert at the most successful ways to market your short film. David will discuss not only the many marketable elements of a short film, but how you can develop and cater that film to best benefit you as a writer, filmmaker, or producer. He will show you how, by focusing on your talents and profession within the short film, you can maximize "the bang for your buck". Further, David will cover the holy grail that all filmmakers want to master: Distribution, Recognition and Monetization of their short film. None of these three objectives come without pitfalls. In comprehensive fashion, David will walk you through those pitfalls, how to avoid them, and put you on the road to recognizing and obtaining that perfect "market" for your short film. "I find the market for short films daunting. While I love the process of making a film, getting it seen and the idea of making money off of my work has always been a black hole for me. This information made me realize that I've been taking an "all or nothing" approach instead of a targeted one." - Maya V.