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

Hosted by Nikki Levy


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Nikki Levy

Webinar hosted by: 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 »

Webinar Summary

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

  • 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

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.


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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!

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