How to Develop Compelling Dramatic TV Characters

Hosted by Conrad Sun

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Conrad Sun

Webinar hosted by: Conrad Sun

Manager at Meridian Artists

Conrad is currently working as a TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists, a literary management company with offices in Canada and the United States. Originally from Canada, Conrad made the move to Los Angeles over five years ago where he attended the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program. After attaining his masters in film & TV producing, Conrad went on to work in both TV lit management at New Wave Entertainment, and TV production at Motion Theory Films. Conrad currently heads the Los Angeles offices of Meridian Artists and reps TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad boasts a successful short, Giri, starring Lauren Mary Kim (Star Trek), in which he produced and wrote. Conrad is also the founder of the popular website www.filmescape.com, an online resource and encyclopedia for learning anything related to the film and television industry. FilmEscape is deigned to give people a go-to place online to answer all their questions pertaining to the entertainment business. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

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 pilot, 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 do you accomplish this? 

Literary Manager Conrad Sun represents TV writers in all genres for shows such as Blindspot, Two Broke Girls and Bojack Horseman and is a master at building character in scripts. In this top rated Stage 32 Next Level Webinar Conrad will teach you how to bring your characters to life and go from good to GREAT.

You will learn empathy vs. sympathy and how the best characters invoke both feelings from your audience. Conrad will breakdown real-life examples from characters on shows such as Fargo, Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and more. And, most importantly, you'll walk away learning how to apply character development to your own writing. 

This webinar is vital to help you strengthen your TV pilot! 

What You'll Learn

Conrad Will Utilize the Following Character Case Studies:

  • Walter White (Breaking Bad)
  • Annalise Keating (How to Get Away With Murder)
  • Piper Chapman (Orange is the New Black)
  • Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)
  • Frank Underwood (House Of Cards)
  • Lester Nygard (Fargo)

Using Character Case Studies, Conrad Will Analyze:

  • What does it mean for a character to be compelling?
  • How to define a character not just with their dialogue and appearance but with their choices.
  • To veer from tradition and let your story dictate your characters instead of the other way around.
  • Examples of how the best characters are faced with worst choices.
  • Empathy vs sympathy and how the best characters invoke both feelings from your audience
  • How to utilize character flaws to invoke empathy and sympathy from your audience
  • How likability of your character irrelevant.
  • How to apply character development to your own writing - tips, tools & techniques.
  • Recorded Q&A with Conrad!

About Your Instructor

Conrad is currently working as a TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists, a literary management company with offices in Canada and the United States. Originally from Canada, Conrad made the move to Los Angeles over five years ago where he attended the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program.

After attaining his masters in film & TV producing, Conrad went on to work in both TV lit management at New Wave Entertainment, and TV production at Motion Theory Films. Conrad currently heads the Los Angeles offices of Meridian Artists and reps TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad boasts a successful short, Giri, starring Lauren Mary Kim (Star Trek), in which he produced and wrote.

Conrad is also the founder of the popular website www.filmescape.com, an online resource and encyclopedia for learning anything related to the film and television industry. FilmEscape is deigned to give people a go-to place online to answer all their questions pertaining to the entertainment business.

FAQs

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! 

Testimonials

"Great job. You're a VERY engaging, knowledgeable and articulate speaker. Thanks." - James

"Excellent amount of information. Very practical" - Eric

Terrific seminar worth 3 times the cost. You answered all my questions and some of them were stopping us from going to market within the next couple of weeks. We will do exactly what you recommended.” – Robert

Great GREAT information! I took lots of notes and it gave me ideas even as my feature comedy is in development.” – Diane S.

"Amazing amount of practical information conveyed in a clear and concise way." - Dan

"Conrad you were so very informative, had absolutely great advice and information a person would need. You covered most everything I wanted to ask. Thank you Stage 32, this was the best webinar I have taken." - Diane K.

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

  • The discussion about empathy vs. Sympathy was excellent. Very interesting and helpful.
  • Conrad is so knowledgeable -- yet accessible and helpful. He gave us some great insights on the how's and why's of structuring dramatic TV characters in the most effective of ways. Most impressive!!
  • Really concise information. Very good descriptions from well-known TV shows, about how to create stronger characters. Especially appreciated that he broke down the examples based on the theory, to show exactly what he meant. Fantastic character development class.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

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.

How to Develop a Treatment That Will Sell Your Project

Somewhere between your logline and your full script lies your treatment. Treatments are extremely important sales tools for you as a writer. Access to executives and decision makers is easier than ever these days through The Stage 32 Happy Writers, so what happens when you've peaked the interest of an executive off your logline, but they're not quite ready to read your whole script? You need a comprehensive, well thought out treatment. Whether you’re a writer, producer or a manager/agent, it’s vital to know how to properly put the right elements in a treatment in order to sell your project. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Conrad Sun will share with you some of the effective ways to structure your treatment so that your reader will say “I Want To Read More” and will hopefully lead to the sale of your script. Whether you’re new to the writing game or a long time veteran, your project deserves to make the right first impression, and Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is here to show you how. Conrad Sun is currently working as a TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists in Los Angeles and represents TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad has also worked in content development with companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films.

How To Sell Your Network, Cable or Streaming TV Series

It’s a dream of many to turn their idea for a television show into reality and actually sell their series to a network or company. And with so many shows constantly being created by more and more companies, this dream is coming true for more people all the time. As networks continue looking for new ideas, new voices, and diverse perspectives to fill up their slate, opportunities have never been greater to get your television show sold. And yet, it’s going to take more than a great idea and a great voice to get your TV series picked up. After the research, the writing, and development, there’s a lot you need to do if you want your series to get noticed and see the light of day. The truth is having a completed pilot is only half the battle. You also need to understand the current TV market and how to get that pilot seen. This can feel like a large or insurmountable task. Where do you even start? Do you call production companies? Hit up a studio? Perhaps reach out to a network? Do you need to attach a showrunner or an actor? How do you approach the next steps of trying to sell your show? These next steps aren’t easy, but there is a lot you can learn to better prepare you for the battle ahead. Conrad Sun is a Film & TV Literary Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists where he represents TV writers in all genres for shows such as BLINDSPOT, TWO BROKE GIRLS and BOJACK HORSEMAN. Conrad has also worked with foremost production companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (BREAKING BAD), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films. He knows what it takes to get a television show off the ground. Conrad will teach you exactly how you can sell your TV series. He will begin by describing the general TV landscape, including broadcast networks, basic cable, and premium cable. Then he’ll outline the players in the landscape and how they operate, including showrunners, production companies, studios and networks. He will walk through the three main seasons of broadcast network television—staffing, development, and pilot season. Conrad will share 4 approaches to setting up a TV show, which include format, pitches, original pilot, and intellectual property. Next he will delve into the concept of a TV package and how best to incorporate producers, showrunners, talent, and directors. Then he will outline how individuals get paid once a TV show is set up. He’ll explain the agent packaging fee, the producer fee, royalties, and residuals. Finally Conrad will pull the curtain back on the current marketplace and explain how many shows get bought vs. produced vs. aired vs. ordered to series. The TV landscape is murky, but Conrad will walk you through how it actually works and how you can navigate it to better your chances of getting your own television series sold.     Praise for Conrad's Stage 32 Webinar   “Terrific seminar worth 3 times the cost. You answered all my questions and some of them were stopping us from going to market within the next couple of weeks. We will do exactly what you recommended.” – Robert   "Amazing amount of practical information conveyed in a clear and concise way. Thanks for sharing this with us." – Dan R.   "Conrad you were so very informative, had absolutely great advice, information a person would need to understand, when going to a meeting for negotiations with studio executives. You covered most everything I wanted to ask. Thank you stage 32, this was the best webinar, I have taken. Thank You again, Conrad Sun." - Diane K.

Content is King – How To Control The Rights To Source Material And Pay Nothing

Bonus! Get 2 contract templates: Option Agreement Template & Producer Attachment Agreement "Conrad you were so very informative, had absolutely great advice, information a person would need to understand when going to a meeting for negotiations with executives. You covered most everything I wanted to ask. Thank you stage 32, this was the best webinar I have taken." - Diane K. "Great summation of the ins and outs of right options. Thank you for the contract templates." - Karla T.   Ideas for movies, TV shows, web series etc. can come from anywhere. Often times it’s an original idea that comes from within your own creative mind, but as you know, a lot of the best stories can be based on other source material like books, real people’s lives, big brands, or any other already existing property. In all of the latter scenarios, you can’t legally create your vision without controlling the rights to the source material. This often discourages people from pursuing these rights because it involves contracts, dealing with rights holders and costs money. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Conrad Sun will change your perspective not only on how to acquire the rights to material, but how to develop great story ideas. He will explore creative ways on how to find and control the rights to stories that you’re passionate about without having to pay for them. Whether you’re a writer looking to adapt a screenplay, or a producer looking to set up a property with a financier, this webinar will provide useful information how to effectively control the rights to your passion project and hopefully lead to its creation. Conrad Sun is currently working as a TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists in Los Angeles and represents TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad has also worked in content development with companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films. Conrad is also the founder of the popular website FilmEscape, an online resource and encyclopedia for learning anything relating to the film and television industry.

How to Get a Screenwriting Manager – Examples & Resources

It's the question every screenwriter eventually wants an answer to:  How do I get a manager. There's a lot of information out there, and probably even more misinformation, on the proper approach toward attracting and securing a manager. The truth of the matter is that most managers are tremendously busy.  They are not only reading their clients scripts, they're helping them flesh out new ideas.  And when they're not reading their clients' work, they're reading scripts recommended to them by trusted sources and staying on top of industry trends, as well as production company/network/streamer mandates, wants and needs. So how best to break through and make sure you have the most solid chance to land a quality manager? What if you had the chance to pull back the curtain back and hear directly from a successful literary manager as to what makes them interested? Now you can. All writers think they have the next great screenplay. And maybe you do! But to get the proper feedback, get the script into market shape, and have a confidant on the business side of your pursuits to get your work out there, having a great manager who's plugged in can make all the difference. Unlike agents, managers are there to make sure all of your screenplays are molded toward marketability. Additionally, they're in the career building business. They'll help you hone and shape not only your existing screenplays, but your ideas for the next one and the one after that so that you go from novice to experienced and in demand. Conrad Sun currently working as a Film & TV Literary Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists, a management company with offices in United States and Canada. Originally from Canada himself, Conrad made the move to Los Angeles nearly 10 years ago where he attended the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program. After attaining his masters in film & TV producing, Conrad went on to work in both film & TV lit management at New Wave Entertainment, and TV production at Motion Theory Films. Conrad currently heads the Los Angeles offices of Meridian Artists and reps film & TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad writers have credits including BLINDSPOT, BOJACK HORSEMAN, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MOTIVE and SLASHER. In this jam-packed 90-minute plus webinar, Conrad will give a complete and thorough overview of the screenwriter/manager relationship. He will explain the often confusing world of managers vs. agents and explain which one you need first, what each does for their clients and whether you'll ever need both. He will explain how a manager works in the day-to-day so you can understand how to best help your manager to position yourself toward success. Then, Conrad will dive into the nitty gritty of how to get the attention of a manager, the importance of writing samples, how to utilize writing groups, the psychology of your reader. From there, Conrad will use real world examples by breaking down the pilot for BLINDSPOT. Conrad will also go over the merits (or lack thereof) of query letters, screenwriting contests, pitchfests and more. And in one of the most important but overlook aspects of the building of a screenwriter's career, Conrad will discuss the importance of defining, building, and explaining your brand and the brand of your work. You will also receive a list of resources from Conrad to help you on your screenwriting journey. This is an all out, fully comprehensive look at how to find, secure and build a relationship with a quality literary manager.   Praise for Conrad   "There are so many 'experts' out there giving advice on how to secure management. This webinar proved how much of it is BS. Thanks to Conrad for giving the straight skinny." - Steven L.   "So much logic. So much common sense." - Gina P.   "Eye-opening and immensely helpful." - Heather P.   "I've wasted so much time taking the long, winding road. Thanks for putting me on the highway." - Drea T.   "My 5th Stage 32 webinar and I get more impressed with each one I take." - Michael M.

Breakdown Webcast: Flashbacks

Flashbacks are not meant to be a storytelling crutch, but rather a tool used to reveal additional backstory or subvert the audiences expectation of a character or situation. We will examine Casablanca, The Usual Suspects & Casino Royale.

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