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

Hosted by Nikki Levy

$49

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 -

$49.00
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

Learn directly from Nikki Levy, former Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX, about how studio executives, producers & reps 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 Develop Iconic Dramatic TV Characters

Learn directly from Conrad Sun, TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists who represents TV writers in all genres for shows such as Blindspot, Two Broke Girls and Bojack Horseman. So you’ve finally fleshed out your ideas for your next TV project and you’re off to the races developing your next screenplay. While working on your series, you’re constantly reminded of the one thing that every executive looks for: CHARACTER CHARACTER CHARACTER. Every executive says they want to read compelling characters. But what exactly does that mean? And how does one accomplish this?  In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Literary Manager Conrad Sun will breakdown six TV characters and how they are portrayed in their respective drama pilots: Frank Underwood (House Of Cards) Walter White (Breaking Bad) Annalise Keating (How to Get Away With Murder) Piper Chapman (Orange is the New Black) Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) Lester Nygard (Fargo) Through these characters, Conrad will illustrate the traits and nuances that make them compelling to their audiences. From there, he will discuss how to apply these traits to your own characters.  

Option Agreements

Learn directly from Lane Shefter Bishop, an Emmy-Award winning Producer! “She was thorough. Great webinar!” - Marni Troop “Lane was so focused. She was totally prepared.” - Karisa Wiseman Ewinger “Content: Outstanding!” - Doug McLeod “Loved it. Very informative.” - GR Case “Very impressed with Ms. Bishop, both her formal presentation and the Q & A that followed.” - Steve Weintz “The seminar was informative, insightful, well documented, entertaining, well thought out and delivered with a touch of humor. Wonderful!” - Katharine Carter Over the last few years, Lane Shefter Bishop with Vast Entertainment has set up more than two-dozen book properties – many of them only book proposals and early partials – with studios, networks and production companies throughout the entertainment industry. Underlying intellectual property is like gold these days. Great projects ‘based on’ or ‘inspired by’ literary material are constantly in demand. And by being in the center of this ‘content is king’ world, only Lane can give you the valuable insights towards making your story more sellable to the industry marketplace. This on-demand webinar will provide essential practical knowledge on the ins and outs of option agreements as Lane breaks them down step-by-step and section-by-section. This is vital for authors and screenwriters who currently have or expect to have their own material optioned and want to know what monies they can expect to make, when, and how. But it is also highly beneficial for producers, directors, and talent looking to acquire their own underlying material for development- books, short stories, graphic novels, articles, etc.

Masterclass: Creating Compelling Characters

There’s only one way to get your audience to sit still for the story you want to tell: create compelling characters. As human beings, we are endlessly fascinated with ourselves and our interactions. When we find a character to whom we can relate, we lock in. Constructing relatable, entertaining and realistic characters is essential to a successful screenplay, not to mention critical to our own enjoyment of the writing process. But what separates the memorable personalities on the screen from the “which-one-was-that-again” types? I’ve discovered answers that work for me, and created some guidelines. Follow them and you stand a better chance of producing characters who not only engage your audience, but do the heavy lifting for your story and themes. Miss out and you’ve got page after page of shoulder shrugs. For almost thirty years I’ve had the privilege of creating and nurturing characters for the big and small screens. From running or co-creating sitcoms like “Living Single” and “JONAS” to writing or co-writing movies like “Balto,” “Mulan II” and Shrek,” I’ve accumulated scores of characters who now sit around my brain, eating my food, drinking my liquor and playing mind games. When you’re done with my webinar, you’ll know a lot more about what makes good characters tick, what makes bad characters just sit there, and just maybe a little bit more about yourself. And you’ll come away with a tool chest from which you can pick and choose the techniques you prefer to build unique characters so remarkable that sometimes they’ll write their dialog for you.

So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 2

Part 2 you're not going to want to miss! Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position. In Part 2 the followup to So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!

How The Pros Rewrite: Essential Rewriting Tools and Techniques

Learn directly from award winning playwright, screenwriter and writing coach Corey Mandell, (Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Disney, Showtime, AMC and HBO)! Writing is rewriting. All writers know this, but unfortunately too many writers waste valuable time and energy rewriting their scripts over and over without really making them better. Or they make some parts of their script better while weakening other parts -it's almost like an endless whack-a-mole game. The reason this happens is that often writers don't know the most effective ways to evaluate and rewrite their material. They rewrite without a clear focus or understanding of the fundamentals. Knowing how to effectively rewrite your script will lead to a dramatic improvement in your final product for both feature and TV scripts, and will be a game changer in your writing career! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Corey Mandell will walk you through the entire rewrite process – from first understanding how your story reads in other people’s heads (and why that is important!) all the way to correcting structural weaknesses in your script. He will break down rewrite memos, notes, and narrative cohesion, leaving you with a comprehensive overview of how to do an effective rewrite and how to immediately apply it to your own work. Having had the opportunity to work closely with some of the smartest and most successful writers, directors and producers in the business, Corey has seen firsthand how they go about revising their scripts and is here to pass on that information to you! Your host Corey Mandell is a screenwriter and screenwriting coach who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Walt Disney Pictures – just to name a few. Corey’s students have gone on to sell or option scripts to large studios such as Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Disney, MGM, and networks such as Showtime, FX, USA Network, AMC, MTV and HBO. Other students of his have been staffed on such shows as Community, Justified, Bones, The Mentalist, The Fosters, and Young and Hungry. As you can see, Corey knows what it takes to write and rewrite a great script, and he has proven it time and time again.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In