Deconstructing The Script: Guardians of the Galaxy

From Concept to Script to Screen and Beyond
Hosted by Ross Putman


On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

Overlay Icon

This Next Level Education webinar has a 91% user satisfaction rate.

Ross Putman

Webinar hosted by: Ross Putman


Ross Putman is the co-founder of PSH Collective, an independent film production company with a focus on unique and fresh cinematic voices. As a long time development executive at Ineffable Pictures, Ross has worked on many films and with many writers to get films from script to screen. His own second produced feature, The Young Kieslowski, won the Audience Award after its premiere at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival. It has been picked up for distribution by LA-based Mance Media, who will be releasing the film in theaters and on all VOD platforms in February 2015. He is producing the upcoming film Eskimo Sisters, with notable comedy director Danny Leiner (Harold and Kumar, Dude Where’s My Car?) at the helm, the con-man comedy My Future Ex-Wife with acclaimed comedy production company Mosaic, and the follow-up film from Kieslowski writer/director Kerem Sanga--a touching young romance set in Los Angeles entitled First Girl I Loved. He sold his original screenplay, Hoods, to Fox Digital Studio, which he will also be co-producing. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Ross Putman, an award-winning producer and founder of PSH Collective!

Transformers. Godzilla. Captain America. Groot...?

Who knew that this summer's biggest success story would be Marvel's band of unlikely heroes, known as The Guardians of the Galaxy? With their biggest star (Bradley Cooper) playing a talking raccoon, a director whose previous film grossed just $300,000 at the box office, and with a cast of characters so unknown that an entire teaser trailer was devoted just to introducing them, the odds seemed long for Guardians to make any impact at all. And yet it's the only film to gross over $300 million at the US box office--something not even Michael Bay's fourth Transformers movie could accomplish (and that had Marky Mark Wahlberg)!

It's a little known fact that Guardians was based on source material that Marvel all but buried. So why did it work? Regardless of whether a good story is based on source material or original material, Guardians would not have been a success if the script, filmmaking, casting and marketing weren't all thought out and executed perfectly.

In this webinar, we'll deconstruct how Marvel "flipped the script" on... well, its own scripts. A focus on quirkiness, the establishment of a unique tone, and bringing their first female writer in the fold added up to a great finished product. Whether it's the very specific character traits (like Drax's inability to understand metaphor) to the very clear stakes (even when things go deep into sci-fi), Guardians has all the right moves to please movie-goers tired of the same-old-same-old. Yet it becomes truly revolutionary by sticking to the basics; it's a script that puts one foot in front of the other and never stumbles.

What You'll Learn

Deconstructing the Script

  • How Nicole Perlman found Guardians in Marvel's back catalog and recognized the potential in a band of misfit outlaws.
  • Why did Guardians succeed despite having an entirely unknown mythology? The script boiled things down to the bare minimum and keeps the action moving.
  • We'll talk about how finding interesting, lesser known IP can be an avenue for young writers to pursue without having to spend much money
  • Why did Marvel bring in James Gunn, who cut his teeth as a screenwriter, as a "closer" to finish the script and direct the movie despite no proven track record with blockbuster films?
  • We'll talk about how Gunn's background as a writer made him uniquely qualified to handle something with a tricky tone, and how sticking to the basics in his script actually helps elevate it beyond other blockbusters.
  • The script is the reason major actors like Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel agreed to voice off-beat characters--a major contributor to the film's success.
  • The story breaks down very cleanly, and allows the characters to go on a journey filled with strange places and characters, with the audience having little trouble following along.
  • How the script fits a great three-act structure while still allowing room for banter, meaning that it never sags but always stays on task. Even the silliest, most memorable scenes, have a strong central conflict and point in the plot.
  • Building a movie where the stakes barely matter. Guardians knows its strengths and sticks to them... a hilarious ensemble in fun situations. Does it really matter what they're trying to accomplish? Gunn and Perlman establish the task (get the orb) and send their characters off to do it.
  • Humor as your best friend, something that's been missing from many contemporary blockbusters, and how it's worked well in the past.

Deconstructing the Marketing

  • How social media, especially on Vin Diesel's part, played a big role in building hype throughout the preproduction and production process.
  • How Marvel recognized that having a unique product in an overcrowded marketplace can fight the laws of diminishing returns that we see with other franchises, like Spider-Man.
  • We'll talk about the marketing campaign: how it found a hook and tone and stuck with them throughout, building a clear and fun milieu.
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Ross!

About Your Instructor

Ross Putman is the co-founder of PSH Collective, an independent film production company with a focus on unique and fresh cinematic voices. As a long time development executive at Ineffable Pictures, Ross has worked on many films and with many writers to get films from script to screen. His own second produced feature, The Young Kieslowski, won the Audience Award after its premiere at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival. It has been picked up for distribution by LA-based Mance Media, who will be releasing the film in theaters and on all VOD platforms in February 2015.

He is producing the upcoming film Eskimo Sisters, with notable comedy director Danny Leiner (Harold and Kumar, Dude Where’s My Car?) at the helm, the con-man comedy My Future Ex-Wife with acclaimed comedy production company Mosaic, and the follow-up film from Kieslowski writer/director Kerem Sanga--a touching young romance set in Los Angeles entitled First Girl I Loved. He sold his original screenplay, Hoods, to Fox Digital Studio, which he will also be co-producing.


Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.

If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email

Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.


  1. Log into your Stage 32 profile
  2. Click "Settings" in the top right-hand corner (gear icon)
  3. Click "Purchase History"
  4. Choose this webinar and click the link to view
If You Do Not Have a Stage 32 Profile:
  1. Go to
  2. Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar. The email addresses must match in order to watch the webinar.
  3. Once you have your profile set up, you can view the webinar by clicking "Settings" in the top right hand corner (gear icon)
  4. Click "Purchase History"
  5. Choose this webinar and click the link to view

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.

Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.

Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.

Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email to request accommodations.

Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at


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.

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Write Memorable Characters - It's All About Your "Hero's Journey"

4-PART CLASS (OVER 8 HOURS OF EDUCATION!) NOW AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND! 4 part class taught by Ross Putman, award-winning producer! Ross's accomplishments include: First Girl I Loved (premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival), The Young Kieslowski (winner of the LA Film Festival), Bad Samaratians (co-produced for Netflix/FOX), and he was the former creative executive at Ineffable Pictures! From Casablanca to Breaking Bad, the reason you remember these stories is because of the compelling protagonist at their core. Their journey is why we tune in, and the way they change is the reason we root for them to succeed (or in some cases, fail). But character can be a tricky piece of the puzzle for screenwriters, especially in Hollywood’s concept-driven environment. Ultimately, great cinema is based on great characters, and this 4 part class is intended to help you find your character, make them real, and build a story around their journey—all the while staying within the realm of commercial modern cinema. Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: It's All About Your “Hero's Journey” - How to Write Memorable Characters taught by Ross Putman, award-winning producer. To find out more, click the "What You'll Learn" tab above! This 4-part class offers insight into case studies to help you as a writer form a comparison to inform your own writing. In addition, you will walk away with tools and techniques to apply to your own writing! On-demand classes are discounted and purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class which has over 8 hours of education! Although Ross is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate to help continue to hone their own writing skills!

Understanding a TV Executive's Role (and Why It's Important For You)

It is clear that this is the golden age of television with one incredible series after another coming out on cable, streaming and network. If you're interested in breaking into the world of television, there is one key position that you must know the ins and outs of in order to understand the set - a TV Executive.  An TV Executive plays a huge role in a television production, serving as more than a key developer of story, but also a liaison between various departments on set. We've brought in veteran executive Stuart Arbury from Ramo Law (Ramo Law has worked on Netflix's Altered Carbon & Chef's Table, ABC's This Isn't Working, Hulu's Battleground and more). Stuart himself began his career at Captivate Entertainment, Dimension Films and Canvas Media Studios. Arbury was the on-set TV executive for MTV's Scream TV series for two seasons, which was based on the classic horror film franchise. In this webinar, Stuart will walk you through an explanation of the television eco-system and share war stories of his time during Scream. Having worked with various department heads, Stuart will also share tips on getting started in Hollywood on a television production. You will walk away with a clear understanding of a TV executive's role and how it relates to your part of the business, whether you're a writer, producer, director, actor or crew.

Stage 32 Screenwriting Lab: Develop Your Faith-Based Film's Outline and Pitch

Develop and hone your faith-based film project with the expert guidance of producer and executive Brad Wilson, who has already discovered writers through Stage 32!   Faith based and faith friendly films have been a steady, popular, and profitable industry and one of the hottest genres for success. It could be considered a niche audience, but it’s a powerful and dependable niche audience that has helped catapult films and filmmakers to success. Recent films like I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, GOD’S NOT DEAD, and THE SHACK have found popularity and impressive box office numbers by tapping into this audience and bringing out church-goers and other faith-friendly communities that might not be as eager to watch films outside of this genre. And it makes sense that faith-based films are doing well. In challenging or negative times, people will more actively seek out positivity and inspiration, two ingredients almost guaranteed to be featured in a faith-based film. Considering how challenging and negative our current world can be, there might not be a better time to break into the world of faith-based films and write a script that can shine in this market. The opportunity is certainly prevalent for new faith-based films to be sold and produced, but it will still be difficult to get your own project off the ground if you don’t understand how exactly your project can fit in. That’s why it’s critical you have a clear understanding of your project, your story, your world and your characters. It’s also why it’s important to understand what the industry looks like today and what buyers are specifically searching for. Beyond a great story and a great script, knowing how to communicate your project, pitch it to the right people and actually get it sold can make all the difference. If you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to improve your faith-based film project and get it market-ready Brad Wilson is the Co-founder of Higher Purpose Entertainment (HPE), a production company dedicated to telling stories in film and TV that encompass truth of character and strive to embrace inspirationally redeeming qualities. While at HPE he's produced a number of films including THREE BLIND SAINTS, CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET, MY MANY SONS, THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, and THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, which was recently released in 1,100 theaters across the country. Brad is well-versed in the business of faith-based films and has a keen sense of how projects thrive in this genre. Brad is also a staple and favorite of Stage 32 who has brought on and helped produce Stage 32 members’ films. Brad is currently working with Stage 32 writer, Lynne Logan, on their upcoming feature, UNDONE. The film tells the life story of televangelist Sherry Damron, and is set to star Cory Oliver (GOD'S NOT DEAD). Lynne was hired to pen the script after being discovered and having her own script optioned by Brad after a Stage 32 Coverage. Over the course of five weeks, you will work closely with Brad in a virtual class setting to develop your own faith-based or faith-friendly feature film, understand the market today, and build your film’s outline, logline, character breakdowns, and pitch in order to work towards a market-ready and standout project. If you already have a concept, or even a completed script, Brad will use the same tools to help you hone your material.   Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Brad as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your family film project.   WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for writers and creators of all levels looking to write and put together their faith-based film. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. By the end of this 5-week writing lab, you will have an outline and practiced pitch for your more market-ready and developed faith-based film Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with Brad. 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 development 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 working executive 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 for more information     Praise for Brad's Previous Stage 32 Webinar   "Brad was amazing. He laid out so clearly the genre and how to write for it in a practical way. He was an awesome instructor who combined practical info, inspiration, and was so "real." Loved it." -Ricki L.   "This was the best webinar I've had so far at Stage 32. Brad's very seasoned and gave wonderful tips that will help me make my faith-friendly script" more marketable." -Gayle R.   "A very honest, forthright presentation from a guy whose been there and done that, and knows the pitfalls and promises of the biz." -Dennis H.  

Inside the Writers’ Room Tell All – Secrets, Successes, and Lots of Snacks

Have you ever wanted the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in a TV writers’ room? Get full access through the eyes of a working television writer with over a decade of experience on some of your favorite TV franchises. Most writers experience initiation by fire when joining their first writers’ room. Since there’s no manual or list of rules to follow, navigating your way through your role can feel like a minefield. You might be afraid of talking too much and upsetting the room or too scared to speak up and be shut down. It’s not just about getting the staffing job, it’s about putting yourself in the best position to be a part of the team, impress the right people, and most importantly, keep your job. Stage 32 is here to give you an insider look at the inner workings of a television writers’ room in this exclusive webinar, hosted by CASTLE, CSI CYBER, and NCIS NOLA scribe Kate Sargeant. Kate has over 12 years of experience, working on some of the most recognizable television franchises, and was most recently staffed on the upcoming series OBLITERATED from the creator of COBRA KAI. she is here to share her mistakes and triumphs so that you can avoid her pitfalls and become a valuable staff writer. From breaking the story through the final mix and everything in between, Kate has you covered as she walks you through: What you’ll see on your first day The differences between working on a new show and an established one Navigating meetings What are the unwritten rules of the writers’ room Understanding how rooms break the story together The day-to-day writing process Learning how to take notes and handle rewrites Who the major players are What are the most common pitfalls Kate wants to unlock the secrets of these exclusive jobs as she provides the nuts and bolts of what your future will become when you’re staffed. Instead of entering the room scared that one wrong move will end your dream, why not set yourself up for success?

Masters of Craft: The Screenwriter's Process with FIGHT CLUB Writer Jim Uhls

A MASTERS OF CRAFT WEBINAR - ONLY ON STAGE 32!   It takes a special person to be a screenwriter. It takes a lion's heart, discipline, patience and perseverance. It also takes a willingness to learn from those who came before, found success in their craft and developed the skills necessary to navigate the business.   FIGHT CLUB. Need we say more? OK. How about JUMPER? Or the in development THE DESTROYER to be directed by Shane Black. And, of course, any number of scripts for which this legendary screenwriter has collected hefty paychecks on and which never have seen the light of day. (Oh, he'll be teaching about that as well.)   Jim Uhls knows what's what. For over 30 years, Jim has been a working writer in the industry. He was there during bull market for screenwriters, through the independent movement, through the studio resurgence, and into the here and now of the indie renaissance and the dawn of digital and the streamers.   Now Jim is bringing his extensive knowledge of the craft and the business to teach exclusively for Stage 32 and our Masters of Craft series.   In this meticulous step-by-step presentation, Jim is going to show you how you can mine for great ideas and bring them to maturity. He will teach you how to bring unparalleled depth to your characters.  He'll show you how to write by seeing the trailer in your mind. How to use stream of consciousness as a tool to outline your script and find your beats. How to use emotional logic to power your work and much more. How to make sure your material is as attractive as possible to managers, agents, talent, producers, and financiers. He's even going to show you how to adopt a book, using FIGHT CLUB as an example!   Most of all Jim is going to show you how to channel the passion and remove the cynicism and blocks that were not present when you first started.   "I've never quite met anyone like Jim. His skills are undeniable and revered in the business. But it's his approach, his consistency, his way in to the material and the characters and his ability to see the entire landscape in a clear, calm matter that sets him apart. He's a true original and an inspiration to so many including yours truly. I've learned so much from him."   -Richard "RB" Botto - CEO Stage 32, Screenwriter     This is a masterclass you will not want to miss. Jim will leave you laughing, full of energy, and ready to write!

How to Write a Flawless Horror Script - 4 Part Class

Learn how to write a great horror script or improve one you've already written with the support and guidance of horror expert David Ian McKendry who's worked with Blumhouse, Universal, Fangoria and More!   From classics like PSYCHO and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, to newer and highly acclaimed films like A QUIET PLACE, GET OUT, and US, there is a worldwide audience that loves a good scare! Horror is consistently one of the most popular and sellable genres. This is an exciting space to be in for a writer, because there are endless possibilities for storytelling and production. Yet not just any horror script is going to find success. Writing a great horror screenplay is surprisingly hard and requires the writer have a handle on many important elements. David Ian McKendry is a professional screenwriter and filmmaker who has worked for Blumhouse, Universal, Lifetime Networks, and The Hallmark Channel as well as numerous independent production companies. He began working in the entertainment industry for Fangoria Entertainment before later putting together his own horror films, including the recent ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, starring Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS). He also produced the Nerdist's BLOOD AND GUTS with Scott Ian.  Through his vast experience in the industry as well as writing, producing and directing horror films, David has a keen sense of what makes a script successful in the horror genre and will be sharing what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David is going to take you through the elements of any good horror screenplay and walk you through how to improve your own by focusing on characters, setting, and each act. In this 4 session on demand class you will: Learn all about story and building your iconic protagonist and villain. Learn to build a strong foundation in Act One and hook audiences in within the first few minutes. Learn Act Two and building out the story and your protagonist’s journey. Learn how to keep audiences guessing at your ending throughout Act Three and write mind-blowing endings. At the end of this class, you’ll be able to deliver a fresh scare with unforgettable characters.   Case Studies for This Class Include: HELLRAISER AMERICAN PSYCHO BLACK SWAN JENNIFER'S BODY SCREAM     Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinar   "Excellent presentation, easy to follow examples, real advice, and I felt hope after listening and participating." -John M.   "Such a fantastic deconstruction of the way to construct a horror story." -Shrader T.   "David was really great and well-versed. He confirmed I was on the right path for some of my storytelling methods and I became aware of areas I need to work on." -John R.   "David was extremely knowledgeable, well prepared, articulate and enthusiastic. His answered during the Q&A were honest and not sugar-coated yet supportive." -Margaret M.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In