Sarah Cornelius is the Creative and Production Executive at Whitewater Films, an independent production company spearheaded by veteran producer Rick Rosenthal whose more than 100 credits include: BAD BOYS HALLOWEEN 2 TRANSPARENT BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SMALLVILLE Whitewater Film's mandate is to discover new writers with unique voices and to produce their projects. This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for: Paramount Classics The Orchard Showtime CNN Films Netflix IFC Samuel Goodwyn Films Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner), SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Whitewater is releasing two features in 2021. The critically acclaimed festival favorite THE BOY BEHIND THE DOOR will release on AMC-owned horror streamer SHUDDER on July 29th. The second feature, SMALL ENGINE REPAIR starring Jon Bernthal and Shea Whigham has been acquired by Vertical Entertainment, release details TBA. Full Bio »
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Writing a great feature screenplay is a gargantuan effort, and putting together something like this doesn’t just happen willy nilly. No matter how good of an idea you have, how fantastic your characters are, or how mind boggling your plot twist is at the end, none of it matters without a solid story structure. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and a deep understanding of the craft. But no other elements of your script come together unless they can rest on this crucial foundation. Whether you’re working on your very first screenplay or already have many produced and under your belt, spending time better understanding and improving how you structure your film scripts is worth its weight in gold.
Ask any producer, manager, coverage reader, or gatekeeper of any kind—out of the thousands of scripts they read and the countless issues and problems they come across, no issue is more prevalent in a writer’s screenplay submission than their failure to effectively structure and plot out their story. It makes sense; implementing a tight story structure is HARD, a delicate and complex balancing process that is hard for ANYONE to nail. Yet it’s for this reason that mastering story structure is even more important—if you can present a screenplay with a rock-solid story structure, you’re instantly able to stand out and get your script noticed and considered.
Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Whitewater is releasing two features in 2021. The critically acclaimed festival favorite THE BOY BEHIND THE DOOR will release on AMC-owned horror streamer SHUDDER on July 29th. The second feature, SMALL ENGINE REPAIR starring Jon Bernthal and Shea Whigham has been acquired by Vertical Entertainment, release details TBA. Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner.
Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering stories to delve into how you can master story structure for your own feature film screenplay will use notable past screenplays as examples as she breaks down, act by act, the elements necessary to turn your script into something special. She’ll begin by discussing three-act structure in general and explain why it’s necessary as your begin developing your script. She’ll also teach you some of the biggest elements needed for effective story development, including world building, effective characters, stakes, theme, and tone. Next, Sarah will zoom in on act one and explain how to master introductions and the inciting incident as well as spotlighting your central question. She’ll also reveal the most common pitfalls she sees in act one. Sarah will do the same for acts two and three, spending time to go over complications and escalations, transitions, subplots and turning points, effective revelations, climaxes and resolutions.
Throughout, Sarah will be drawing from the Oscar-winning screenplay of PARASITE and you will receive free downloads of the script.
Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar
"Just a ton of information from someone that is clearly on the 'inside' of the industry."
"Sarah was spot on about structure, It aligns with everything else i have learned, seen, experienced.:
"She was informative and great."
Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast?
Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
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We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
We all know that America is bursting with talented filmmakers. Are you an independent filmmaker, cinema or digital media student, D-I-Y filmmaker or videographer? Do you have great ideas, a few skills and few filmmaking friends? Maybe you can shoot a short movie, but can you finance one, find an audience to watch it, or promote and sell it? Raindance Film Festival Founder and social media maverick Elliot Grove comes to New York to bring a fresh look at breaking into the film industry to get your movie made and seen by others. Elliot has produced over 700 short films, 6 features and trained thousands of new and emerging filmmakers around the world. Discover how to use the Raindance method and social media to build audiences, source financing and screen films. CHARGE YOUR SMARTPHONES! Join @stage32 and @RaindanceNYC and #IndieFilmNYC for this information-packed one-day seminar. DOORS OPEN at 9:15 am.
Join Nick and Allen for the Writers' Room Year-End Webcast where we celebrate all things Film, TV and Screenwriting from 2018 and look forward to making 2019 the best year for your writing ever!
They say not to speak ill of the dead. What about when the dead speak ill of you? We challenged you to deftly write a 3 page scene conveying the nuances of character reactions to getting called out for being exactly who they are, but wish they weren't.
Comes with invaluable handouts and downloads including example pitch documents, structure diagrams, and up-to-date information on production companies and studios to reach out to It is the Content Gold Rush for television and the industry needs television writers. Are you looking to be staffed on your favorite show? Are you looking to sell your TV project? Now is the time. But first, it's important that you understand the overall TV landscape, how you fit in, and where to begin. With so many fresh shows emerging on television and various streaming networks, more and more writers' rooms are looking to be staffed and original ideas are getting bought. The opportunity to start a career in TV writing is more attainable than ever. Literary manager Spencer Robinson can help you get there. Spencer is literary manager at one of the top management companies Art/Work Entertainment who has been selling and staffing his clients on the industry's leading series for years, including shows on Amazon, HBO Max and Jason Bateman's production company Aggregate just this year. He's also had clients work for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, and TBS, to name a few. Spencer is one of the most sought-after literary managers in the business for nearly two decades and is one of Stage 32's most popular and in-demand educators. In this 3-week interactive class, Spencer will go in-depth on the steps you should be taking to find work as a writer in TV. Whether you're interested in selling your own TV show or film, or if you want to join a writers' room, there are specific steps you need to be taking aside from simply writing well, and Spencer will break it all down for you. Spencer will provide you with the proper approach when it comes to talking with reps, managers, agents, attorneys, showrunners and execs. What’s more, he’ll share his powerful pitching knowledge for writers looking to sell their show idea or screenplay. You’ll leave this four week class understanding what it takes to write on assignment, what kinds of written tools you should have prepared prior to meetings, and the general etiquette you should come to the table with so you can land a job as a writer in the industry. In this exclusive Stage 32 class you will be working with and interacting virtually with Spencer so bring your questions! Plus, he'll be available on email for any questions you have throughout the class! Plus! Along the way Spencer will provide exclusive and helpful downloads and resources you can take back to your own projects including: The real STRANGER THINGS pitch deck The real ADVENTURE TIME pitch deck Story Structure Diagrams Sitcom Chart 2021 Facts on Pacts TV "I had a great time learning and progressing my knowledge of the craft of writing and working directly with a mentor who is a professional in the industry. Spencer was fantastic to be taught by! Thank you!" - Natalie A.
A MASTERS OF CRAFT WEBINAR - ONLY ON STAGE 32! It takes a special person to be a screenwriter. It takes a lion's heart, discipline, patience and perseverance. It also takes a willingness to learn from those who came before, found success in their craft and developed the skills necessary to navigate the business. FIGHT CLUB. Need we say more? OK. How about JUMPER? Or the in development THE DESTROYER to be directed by Shane Black. And, of course, any number of scripts for which this legendary screenwriter has collected hefty paychecks on and which never have seen the light of day. (Oh, he'll be teaching about that as well.) Jim Uhls knows what's what. For over 30 years, Jim has been a working writer in the industry. He was there during bull market for screenwriters, through the independent movement, through the studio resurgence, and into the here and now of the indie renaissance and the dawn of digital and the streamers. Now Jim is bringing his extensive knowledge of the craft and the business to teach exclusively for Stage 32 and our Masters of Craft series. In this meticulous step-by-step presentation, Jim is going to show you how you can mine for great ideas and bring them to maturity. He will teach you how to bring unparalleled depth to your characters. He'll show you how to write by seeing the trailer in your mind. How to use stream of consciousness as a tool to outline your script and find your beats. How to use emotional logic to power your work and much more. How to make sure your material is as attractive as possible to managers, agents, talent, producers, and financiers. He's even going to show you how to adopt a book, using FIGHT CLUB as an example! Most of all Jim is going to show you how to channel the passion and remove the cynicism and blocks that were not present when you first started. "I've never quite met anyone like Jim. His skills are undeniable and revered in the business. But it's his approach, his consistency, his way in to the material and the characters and his ability to see the entire landscape in a clear, calm matter that sets him apart. He's a true original and an inspiration to so many including yours truly. I've learned so much from him." -Richard "RB" Botto - CEO Stage 32, Screenwriter This is a masterclass you will not want to miss. Jim will leave you laughing, full of energy, and ready to write!