Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
A good book takes the reader to another world. A good film or series does the same. Today, it’s not unusual to turn on the tube and take in films like THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, HILLBILLY ELEGY, and BLACKkKLANSMAN, or series like OUTLANDER, THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and MINDHUNTER, all of which are based on fiction and non-fiction books. Writers of all levels are seeing the potential with adapting a good story from the pages of a book. However, not knowing exactly how to go about structuring the story or what elements to highlight and pull from a novel could be a proverbial brick wall for some. But it doesn’t have to be.
A large part of the battle for many creatives is determining whether or not a book or article is worthy of adaptation. Once that determination is made, deciding what part of the story is high concept and what isn’t is also a challenge for some. With so many facts, timelines, and stories happening all at once, you may not be sure what direction to go in. Do you adapt the story from cradle to grave? Or do you choose a particular point in time to focus on? What characters should be in your story? And how should their arcs be developed? Understanding the writing process when it comes to novel adaptation is a crucial (and often overlooked) step in developing your story.
Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community.
Liz will take you through the process of adapting a book for a film or series from start to finish. From learning how to determine what types of IP to adapt to organizing ideas and materials, Liz will help you boil down your concept so you can get started. What’s more, she’ll dig into how you should best develop the story world, the importance of building strong characters, and how to choose the most notable moments to give your story momentum. Tips on how to reach out to the author are also part of this informative webinar.
Liz will even offer a case study of HBO's adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel BIG LITTLE LIES, breaking down the choices that were made to turn the popular book into the wildly successful series that it became.
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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!
**Only 5 Spots Left** Get Guidance in Rewriting and Improving Your Half Hour Pilot Script with Experienced TV Writer Meghan Pleticha (SILICON VALLEY) Support Your Fellow Writers As You All Work Together To Hone Your Scripts Before you send your half-hour TV pilot to that representative or exec, is the story in the very best place it can be? Rewrites are truly where a good script becomes exceptional. Yet too often, writers neglect to review their scripts because they don’t want to kill their darlings or reshape their scenes. If you’re truly serious about getting your own series and vision off the ground, though, it won’t happen until you invest in rewriting your work. Meghan Pleticha is television writer with ten years of entertainment industry experience who has most recently worked as a staff writer on HBO’s Emmy nominated comedy series SILICON VALLEY. Her work has also appeared on Cartoon Network’s POWER PLAYERS, and in Escala, AeroMéxico’s official in-flight magazine. Previous to being staffed on television shows, she worked as a writer’s assistant and script coordinator for shows like FX’s MARRIED, ABC’s CHARITY CASE, and VH1’s HIT THE FLOOR. Over 8 weeks, Meghan will help you rewrite your own half hour pilot script by walking you through the entire process and offering support and mentoring throughout. Using her own unique and tested rewrite process as well as a series of thought through and tested homework assignments and exercises, she will help you tackle your own project the right way and leave with a stronger pilot script than what you started with.
Once you finish your screenplay and decide it’s time to reach out to producers and representatives, one of the most common responses you may receive is that your idea is not ‘high concept’ enough or your logline doesn’t have a ‘high concept hook’. This term is thrown around a lot in the movie business, but what does it actually mean? ‘High concept’ might be a buzz word, but it’s also a term that carries with it significant meaning as well as some lessons and perspective you can bring back to your own project if you know how best to approach it. Readers, producers and buyers 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 more enticing to the world. So 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? Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold. Andrew will break down what makes a script ‘high concept’ and how you can write and sell your own high-concept screenplay. He’ll nail down exactly what a high concept story is and offer examples of high concept movies in different genres, explaining what makes them successful. He’ll then break down why high concept stories are so appealing, from the perspective of producers, studios, and audiences. Next Andrew will delve into how to actually write a high concept story and whether you can adjust your existing screenplay or write one from scratch. He will go through breaking down genre walls and other writing tips you can take with you. Andrew will then teach you how to sell your high concept story. He’ll talk about the importance of your logline and title and give you tips to pitch your high concept story to execs and buyers, including how to explain your world and use comps. Finally he will go over common mistakes writers make when creating high concept stories and will reveal where not to begin and whether size and budget matter. Expect to leave this webinar with a much clearer idea of what makes something “high concept” and a series of tips and ideas you can bring back to your own project to better sell it. "Throughout my time as a literary manager, the term "high concept" has come up more times than I can count. The writers that I work with that are most successful are the ones that understand what this term really means, what buyers are looking for, and how they can adjust to fit this idea. I'm excited to share these secrets with the Stage 32 community." -Andrew Kersey
The key to packaging yourself as a screenwriter and preparing you for a career in entertainment is all about finding the right people, building relationships, and knowing where your voice fits into the marketplace. Industry veteran, Michael Schulman (THE AVIATOR, SIXTH SENSE) will show you how to navigate your career, from getting your foot in the door and beyond. So you believe you’re ready to launch your screenwriting career. Now what? Most writers hunt for representation in the hopes that they will sell their scripts. But what if you can find the right people to produce with on your own? In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, industry veteran Michael Schulman will show you how to make yourself and your script an appealing package, and find the right producers to build relationships with. Michael’s extensive career includes time working at William Morris, ICM, and CAA, as well as three studios, including Netflix. His experience makes him uniquely aware of what both producers and representatives are looking for in a writer and their scripts. This gives you fantastic access to years of insight from someone involved with some of the most successful films, including THE AVIATOR, ALI, THE SIXTH SENSE, GROUNDHOG DAY, and many more. Believe it or not, accessing real industry pros is not as difficult as it looks. Michael will help you write to your strengths, determine what exactly your script needs, know how to choose the right producers for your package, and also know how to reach out to them. From there, you’ll learn how to prepare to meet with both producers and representatives, even establishing follow-up steps to keep the conversation going with them. By the end of the webinar, you’ll understand the producer’s mindset of how to look at and market your scripts, viewing yourself as a package that can kickstart your career.
One of the hardest parts of being an artist is understanding the business part of the “film business”. You very likely have the “art” part down--you have a script; you’re an actor; you learned how to direct, etc--but as you set out to make the magnum opus that is your film, you quickly realize that you are spending way more time talking about legal documents, business prospectus, waterfalls, and returns on investment. It’s not what anyone signed up for when they set out to be artists, but it’s still absolutely part of the job. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing, though. Understanding the business side of your craft and learning how to work within this world will give you the ability to ultimately create the art you want to make. Unless you already have a personal fortune at hand to put towards creating your project, you’re going to need to work with non-artists, executives, and financiers to find the funding to turn your vision into a reality. This means you’ll need to convince them that your project is worth investing in. A solid business plan can help you achieve this goal. A great business plan will get investors excited, it will tell them who you are as a filmmaker, and most importantly, it will translate your project from a creative language to the business language that investors more readily understand. This is no small feat, but it’s a critical step in getting your film made. If you can learn to speak investors’ language, they will help you speak yours. So what does a great business plan look like and how can you make your own to position your project for optimal success? With over thirteen years of experience in film distribution, Bryce C. Campbell is one of the leading distribution and marketing executives in the industry. Bryce got his start working at Miramax Films and later began working with Open Road Films as the Vice President of Operations for Distribution and Marketing. In this role, he oversaw vendor relations, finance and film budgets, as well as handling sales with a concentration in the US and Caribbean territories. One of his key interests is negotiating distribution deals with filmmakers and leveraging industry analytics to provide insight into box office potential for each project. Bryce’s heavy experience with the business side of filmmaking has given him a wealth of knowledge of how best filmmakers can get buyers on their side, and he’s sharing what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Bryce will show you how to talk business and present business materials that “non-artists” can appreciate. Specifically he will walk you through building a strong and convincing business plan. He’ll explain how to make a strong opening statement, with examples, and he’ll show you what needs to be broken down at the beginning. He’ll delve into what should be included in your bio and what can be taken out for buyers to be interested in working with you. He’ll go over the 4 key things that need to be in your business plan when discussing your project and will demonstrate what you need to get an investor to trust you. He’ll spend time talking about research and comps and how to use these for films and talent. He’ll then teach you how to show an investor they will make money back on your film. Finally Bryce will explain how to create a strong closing summary and leave investors with a good impression. Through Bryce’s lecture, even the least business-savvy artist can gain valuable skills to better present their project to buyers and find the money and business partners needed to find success.
As animators we pour our heart and soul into creating content we can be proud of. What most people don't realize is how many hours, days, months and even years it takes to create even the shortest form animation content to showcase your skills. Often you aspire to be noticed, not only by a viewing audience, but also by professionals who can help move the needle on your career. So how can you be assured that all your time and effort will pay off by not only reaching the widest audience possible, but by those who can help you get to the next level? Writing, boarding and creating animation content takes immense discipline. It takes the distinguished voice of a storyteller, the skillful eye of a director and the polished chops of an artist to make your vision come to life on screen. Once you've decided to embark on the path of creating content, how do you go about getting noticed? Animation is difficult to break into, but it's certainly not impossible and you CAN be seen by people that matter if you take the right steps to creating your content and getting it out there online. You have powerful tools in your hands and at your disposal through platforms like Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram and more - if you know how to use them to your advantage. Mike Disa knows a thing or two about animation. He's been working in the industry for over two decades and is currently the lead director on Netflix's hit show Paradise PD. He's worked with companies such as Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others on feature films, television shows and digital series. Before he got his start, he knew no one in animation or entertainment and used his own methods to get noticed and sustain a nearly twenty five year career, which he will share with you. Mike will teach you what type of content you can create that will help you stand out online to those working in animation. You will learn how online platforms can be best utilized to show your content and learn to set clear goals of what you are trying to get out of creating content and reach your target audience. You will know what to expect if you embark on the path for the genre of animation you work in. Mike will walk you through the development process to make sure your time is worth it before you start investing your time creating content. And, Mike will even walk you through how to promote yourself to get noticed! Remember, it just takes one champion of you and your work to kick start your career and Mike will help you know what type of content you can create and how you can get it out there in the right places to capture the right person's eye! We're thrilled to welcome Mike back exclusively to Stage 32. Here are testimonials from Mike's previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The webinar was excellent and very well paced. I truly appreciated the honesty and straightforwardness of the presenter. I learned a lot and look forward to the next one." - Jerry M. "Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H. "I believe such given information was highly inspirational, utterly legit and true regarding the industry and show business. I've always wanted to learn what it takes to write an idea for an animated series, and how to put it on screen, and this webinar truly answered these vital questions. Conclusively, I would really take these tips into consideration during the writing of my ideas, and would highly recommend them to those who are ambitious to spread their stories world-wide." - Mohammed H.