From Your Life to the Script: Turn Your Personal Experiences Into a Compelling Story

Hosted by Nikki Levy

$39.20 $49
Black Friday 20% Off Sale
Sale ends Nov 26 - 11:59 PM PST

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
apply

- or -

$39.20
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

Nikki Levy

Webinar hosted by: Nikki Levy

Executive

About Your Instructor, Nikki Levy: Nikki Levy served as Vice President of Wedge Works, a feature film production company with a deal at Fox Animation where she developed the animated film, EPIC. Prior to that, she was Director of Development at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment where she oversaw and developed comedies, as well as Academy Award-nominated Frost/Nixon. She got her start at the Oxygen Network in New York, and cut her Los Angeles teeth in the Endeavor mail room before becoming an assistant and then story editor to Producer, Alison Greenspan at Di Novi Pictures (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants). Nikki is host and creator of the critically-acclaimed live comedy event DON'T TELL MY MOTHER! where writers and performers share true stories they'd NEVER want their moms to know. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (R/TV/F ’99), and hails from New York City. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her pit bull, and believes storytelling is the meaning of life. Full Bio »

Learn directly from a studio executive, Nikki Levy, Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX!

They say “write what you know” and then we sit there racking our brains for story ideas. What’s that big silver bullet, high-concept idea that will get me noticed? That will sell? That will put me on the map? STOP! There is a better saying, “If you survived childhood, you have enough stories to last for the rest of your life.” And that’s where my money is.

Some of the most important screenplays and TV shows in the last two decades have come from complete TRUTH. Think of Seinfeld or the groundbreaking movie (500) Days of Summer. We don’t have to look outside ourselves for great ideas. What we have to do is look inwards, at our own life and pain and joys, to create great story ideas, comedy and dialogue.

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nikky Levy, veteran feature film executive and creator of the critically-acclaimed comedy event Don’t Tell My Mother!, will teach you how to turn your life into a killer story that gets YOU noticed. She will look at ways to find the gems of struggle and victory in your life, and how to translate those into cohesive stories with an arc, a strong narrative structure and characters we love.

Nikki will examine how to keep our work from becoming a therapy session, and instead crafting it into an emotional, funny, relatable story. She will examine movies that did this successfully, and why. She will also discuss how to spin your own personal history into an engaging “story” so you wow executives, agents, managers and talent.


What You'll Learn:

What You Will Learn:

  • The importance of personal story as a way to create your “calling card” script
  • Examples of how this has worked for other successful writers & writer/performers: Neustadter & Weber (500 Days of Summer), Fortune Feimster, Albert Brooks, Whitney Cummings.
  • What is a personal story?
  • The benefit of writing a “smaller” movie for bigger results (money, notoriety). We will cite great examples.
  • Ways to identify all of the “movie moments" in our life that could become possible screenplays or pilots.
  • How do we choose from all the interesting things in our life, and pick out what’s most important?
  • How do we cull down all of those things into one narrative through line and compelling arc?
  • What to put in and what to leave out.
  • How we do protect anonymity for those about which we are writing?
  • Taking our adversities and using them to weave a narrative for general meetings, pitches and “winning” representation.
  • Ways to try out this “true” material to determine what works, and to find the gems.
  • How performance can help us find and hone material for our writing.
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Nikki!

About Your Instructor:

About Your Instructor, Nikki Levy:

Nikki Levy served as Vice President of Wedge Works, a feature film production company with a deal at Fox Animation where she developed the animated film, EPIC. Prior to that, she was Director of Development at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment where she oversaw and developed comedies, as well as Academy Award-nominated Frost/Nixon. She got her start at the Oxygen Network in New York, and cut her Los Angeles teeth in the Endeavor mail room before becoming an assistant and then story editor to Producer, Alison Greenspan at Di Novi Pictures (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants). Nikki is host and creator of the critically-acclaimed live comedy event DON'T TELL MY MOTHER! where writers and performers share true stories they'd NEVER want their moms to know. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (R/TV/F ’99), and hails from New York City. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her pit bull, and believes storytelling is the meaning of life.


Frequently Asked Questions:

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! 

Questions?

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

  • Not enough time spent on the how-to's of turning life stories into scripts. Lots of talk. Lots of television and film examples. Lots of interaction with the listening audience. Lots of who's seen this and who's seen that. But out of all the time spent, only fraction of the time were spent on applicable activities/exercises. Not the best webinar and not the worst. For me somewhere in the middle. I thought this was an interesting topic, and thought that from the "what you will learn" description this would be more step by step how to brain storm it and apply it. The segment with THE TOP FIVE activity was my favorite part because it gave me something to do and apply to my writing but it was very short. One slide. The rest was just examples from podcasts, films, and tv.
  • Absolutely fantastic! Inspiring and informative with great exercises and examples. Thank you so much, Nikki!
  • As an aspiring writer with nothing, this webinar offers so much magnitude. Phenomenal! Thank you Stage 32! Thank you Nikki Levy!

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Get Considered! Evaluate Your Script So You Can Get Signed & Sold

So, you’re a writer with a great script. You want to get signed! You want to get it sold! Heck, you just want it to be read! This is where you learn what the studios/producers/agents look for in a script, so you can address those points before anyone even takes a look. You will be miles ahead of the screenwriting pack by knowing IN ADVANCE how they evaluate a script. Or you’re a writer/producer. The #1 job of any producer is knowing how to identify material, and how to make that material BETTER. This is where you will learn how to break that script down, and build it back up. Or you’re a director. It is your duty to look at a piece of material (yours or someone else’s) and know how to improve all aspects of it – from story to character to conflict. Or, you’re an actor reading a screenplay. You like the part, but something’s missing. The story needs work. You want to shine, and it’s up to YOU to give notes on that character and that story. But you don’t know how to express to the director/producer what you innately feel. This is where you will learn how to analyze the script, and communicate what you think to make your role pop. This workshop is for anyone looking to break into the industry, or anyone already deep into it who wants a better grasp of story. Story is king in entertainment – now and always – and knowing what makes a good story and how to improve upon one, is vital.

How To Create An Outstanding TV Drama Pilot

To see a video sample of the class, see below! 2 part class taught by Conrad Sun, TV Literary Manager and Development Executive for Meridian Artists, who has worked in development with companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films! Most of Hollywood would agree: we’re currently living in the golden age of television. With the rise of distributors like HBO, Netflix, AMC, Showtime and FX, and the accolades of shows like Breaking Bad, Man Men, Game Of Thrones, Fargo and True Detective, creators are constantly elevating their stories and going beyond the boundaries of traditional television. Each year the bar gets set higher and the marketplace for content becomes more competitive. So how does a TV drama pilot stand out from the rest? How does a writer generate an amazing premise for a television show? Then once they do, how do they convey its essential elements in a pilot script? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 2 part class: How to Create an Oustanding TV Drama Pilot taught by Conrad Sun, TV Literary Manager at Meridian Artists who has worked with Epix, Hasbro, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films. Learn what separates the good dramas from the great ones, and how to write one all your own.  Here's a sample of what to expect in this exciting Next Level Class: Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Conrad is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.

"Always Be Closing" How To Write a Killer Final 10-15 Pages

4 part class taught by WGA Award-nominated writer John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures. AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! The first 10 pages and the last 10 pages of a script are the most important. Making an executive walk away from a read of your script with a powerful impression is crucial to getting your script made. The last pages of a script come with their own web of problems (how to tie everything together, how to complete a character's arc, how to create a powerful final image, etc.). Sometimes a time crunched executive will read the first and last 10 pages of a script before deciding to read the whole thing. A writer has to make sure that they "stick the landing." Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: “Always Be Closing” - How to Write a Killer Final 10 Pages taught by John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures (Black Swan, The Woman In Black, Ides of March). Learn how to make your last act resonate for your characters, your audience, yourself and the executive reading it. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although John is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!

The Secret to Cracking Your Script's Second Act

Learn directly from Jason Mirch, a 10+ year film and TV producer and former Head of Feature and Television Development and Production at Image Nation Abu Dhabi (The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion and Flight)! When writing a screenplay, the area most writers struggle with is the dreaded Second Act. The Second Act is the heart of the narrative and where most screenplays crash and burn, leaving the screenwriters wondering where it all went wrong. When constructing your screenplay, it is essential to craft a tight Second Act that will power the narrative through to the climactic Third Act. What many writers don’t realize, is that the Second Act should actually be divided into 2 parts. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will get an in depth look into how to successfully navigate the structure of the Second Act. You will learn techniques for crafting dialogue that moves the narrative forward, while exposing their characters’ flaws. You will learn how to carefully order their scenes in such a way that it creates a series of authentic and escalating obstacles for their characters to overcome. The webinar will identify and explain key plot points that typically exist in a well-written Second Act, and explain how you can use these as guidelines for their own projects. Jason will be citing specific examples from films in several different genres as well as providing you tools to apply to your own writing.

How To Find Distribution For Your Indie Film

When making an independent film, finishing the film is only half the battle. You need people to actually see the film you’ve worked so hard on. When it comes to distribution, it’s important to know how to get your film into the worldwide marketplace. Once it’s there, you need to know how to generate interest toward it so the film can make its money back for the investors and back-end participants. Distribution comes in all shapes and sizes, but what kind of distribution is right for your indie film? Sometimes it means getting your film distributed by a studio; sometimes it’s creating a self-distribution path. Sometimes —- most typically — the distribution lands somewhere in between. Every film is different and therefore requires a different marketing plan, release strategy, and team behind it that have the passion and drive to get the most out of its release amongst the myriad other movies available. In this on-demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tiffany Boyle will get into the details of what the independent distribution process looks like. She will go over how to get the right representative, foreign sales agent, and domestic distribution, and the different options for each based upon the size, genre and execution of a film. She will also discuss what the key points are to look at when reviewing a foreign sales agent and/or domestic distribution deal. Filmmakers should be making an informed decision when choosing who will be handling the licensing of their film for the next 3-25 years, and Tiffany is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of indie distribution. Tiffany Boyle is the Vice President of Packaging Sales at Ramo Law and works with producers, financiers and writer clients to bring their new material to life. Having been a Director of Sales at Crystal Sky Pictures, Tiffany has an extensive background in foreign sales. She now works with the attorneys to review, collaborate, develop, submit and supervise creative materials on behalf of clients within the firm. Tiffany has worked on over 100 features including, Stuck In Love, Pawn, Gimme Shelter, Maladies, and I-Lived. She has been to AFM, Berlin, Tribeca, TIFF, Sundance, and Cannes and is constantly expanding her knowledge of how to match films with production and distribution companies.

Strengthen Your Supporting Characters & Subplot

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 (Development, for Producer/Actor Paul Scheer and Abominable Pictures) 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!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In