David Ian McKendry is a professional screenwriter, script consultant, and script doctor who has worked for Universal, Blumhouse, Lifetime Networks, and The Hallmark Channel as well as numerous independent production companies. He began working in the entertainment industry as a video producer and writer for Fangoria Entertainment before later putting together his own horror films, including the recent ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, starring Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS). Through his own experiences writing and producing horror films as well as fixing other writers’ scripts and teaching screenwriting and production to countless students and aspiring filmmakers, David has a keen sense of what makes a script successful in the horror genre and will be sharing what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
If you’re a horror writer, you may have tons of great set pieces you can’t wait to terrify audiences with, but unless those pages are compelling and maintain the readers interest, your script will remain just a collection of words. The first priority of ANY writer, horror or otherwise, is storytelling. Before you make a classic horror film, you’ll need an effective and readable screenplay.
Horror movies are no exception to the importance of structure. It’s not just about terrifying the audience; it’s most importantly about telling a story. The story is what makes us care about the characters and the hell they are about to go through. You could have the most original scares imaginable, but if we don’t care about the story then we won’t care about the characters who have to endure those horror set pieces. Most importantly, without elements of structure, a producer may stop reading your screenplay. If that happens, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be interested in making your film.
So how do successful horror screenplays nail story structure? What are the major pitfalls most horror writers fall into and what can you do to make your script stand out from the rest?
David Ian McKendry is a professional screenwriter, script consultant, and script doctor who has worked for Universal, Blumhouse, Lifetime Networks, and The Hallmark Channel as well as numerous independent production companies. He began working in the entertainment industry as a video producer and writer for Fangoria Entertainment before later putting together his own horror films, including the recent ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, starring Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS). Through his own experiences writing and producing horror films as well as fixing other writers’ scripts and teaching screenwriting and production to countless students and aspiring filmmakers, David has a keen sense of what makes a script successful in the horror genre and will be sharing what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
David will dive deep into how to write and structure an effective horror screenplay. He will begin by first teaching you what the horror industry looks like today, how to find work within it and what sort of horror trends are important to note right now. He’ll then break down effective structure in horror, including dissecting the cold open, Act One, Act Two and Act Three. David will conclude by providing tips on what to do with your script after you’ve written and re-written it to get it out into the world and find the attention it needs.
David will be using the screenplays for 1980’s FRIDAY THE 13TH and 2017’s HAPPY DEATH DAY as case studies as he continues to break down horror film structure. Everyone who signs up for this webinar will receive these screenplays to download for free.
David Ian McKendry
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Learn how to write a great horror script or improve one you've already written with the support and guidance of horror expert David Ian McKendry who's worked with Blumhouse, Universal, Fangoria and More! From classics like PSYCHO and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, to newer and highly acclaimed films like A QUIET PLACE, GET OUT, and US, there is a worldwide audience that loves a good scare! Horror is consistently one of the most popular and sellable genres. This is an exciting space to be in for a writer, because there are endless possibilities for storytelling and production. Yet not just any horror script is going to find success. Writing a great horror screenplay is surprisingly hard and requires the writer have a handle on many important elements. David Ian McKendry is a professional screenwriter and filmmaker who has worked for Blumhouse, Universal, Lifetime Networks, and The Hallmark Channel as well as numerous independent production companies. He began working in the entertainment industry for Fangoria Entertainment before later putting together his own horror films, including the recent ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, starring Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS). He also produced the Nerdist's BLOOD AND GUTS with Scott Ian. Through his vast experience in the industry as well as writing, producing and directing horror films, David has a keen sense of what makes a script successful in the horror genre and will be sharing what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David is going to take you through the elements of any good horror screenplay and walk you through how to improve your own by focusing on characters, setting, and each act. In this 4 session on demand class you will: Learn all about story and building your iconic protagonist and villain. Learn to build a strong foundation in Act One and hook audiences in within the first few minutes. Learn Act Two and building out the story and your protagonist’s journey. Learn how to keep audiences guessing at your ending throughout Act Three and write mind-blowing endings. At the end of this class, you’ll be able to deliver a fresh scare with unforgettable characters. Case Studies for This Class Include: HELLRAISER AMERICAN PSYCHO BLACK SWAN JENNIFER'S BODY SCREAM Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Excellent presentation, easy to follow examples, real advice, and I felt hope after listening and participating." -John M. "Such a fantastic deconstruction of the way to construct a horror story." -Shrader T. "David was really great and well-versed. He confirmed I was on the right path for some of my storytelling methods and I became aware of areas I need to work on." -John R. "David was extremely knowledgeable, well prepared, articulate and enthusiastic. His answered during the Q&A were honest and not sugar-coated yet supportive." -Margaret M.
We will examine ways in which screenwriters tackle one of the most complex and difficult concepts in narrative storytelling, looking at projects like Edge of Tomorrow to discuss rules that are created, bent, and broken by writers.
SEE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW: Netflix and Stage 32 have partnered on an exclusive global education series in an effort to democratize the worldwide entertainment industry. Together, over the course of 5 webcasts Stage 32's world class educators will bring their knowledge of what it takes to write, develop and produce today's television for the Stage 32 and Netflix creator community. In our second webinar in series, we are going to talk about how you can effectively write a TV series to budget. More television than ever is being made and consumed. With streamers like Netflix looking for new, exciting, original stories from all over the world to produce, you have to put yourself in the best position to make sure your story stands out. But, the truth is that an intriguing story in today's marketplace is not enough. You have to look at the practicalities of making your story into a television series, and with that, you have to think about how what you write will affect the budget. Getting a clear understanding of how to think about budget when you are writing will help give you the competitive advantage you need to get you closer to your greenlight. To help you is Jeanette B. Milio, a producer who has worked on over 500 hours of film and television content in the US, Europe, Dubai and South Africa. She produced the Netflix Original THE EXPERIMENT starring Adrian Brody and Forrest Whittaker and has worked with ABC/Disney, USA, Showtime, TLC, CW, Discovery, Lionsgate, Paramount and more. She has also consulted for the international co-production department of Warner Bros. in the U.S. and Germany, which was focused on producing local feature content in Europe. In this exclusive Stage 32 + Netflix webinar, Jeanette will go in-depth on how to think about your characters, locations and scenes when you are writing to give your script the best chance of being produced. She will go over how decisions you make at the script stage have a trickledown effect that affect an entire production and how you, as a writer, can be a valuable member of the team by thinking about these things as you are writing your story. She will break down writing exercises you can use to apply to your characters and locations and give you handouts that you can use to apply to your own script. You will walk away with a clearer understanding of how you can give your story a competitive advantage by thinking through characters, locations and scenes as you are writing. Some examples will be used from notable TV shows on network, cable, and streaming platforms including: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING SQUID GAME MADMEN THE BOYS EUPHORIA QUEEN'S GAMBIT SUPERSTORE PLUS! you will receive the following worksheets to help you analyze your own script: Character Trait Breakdown sheet Location Sheet Note: You will receive the Zoom link to login by the morning of the webinar. If you are not yet a member of the Stage 32 community, we encourage you to join the community today at www.stage32.com, it is FREE! You will instantly connect with over 800,000 creatives and professionals in the entertainment industry from all over the world who use Stage 32 to network, find work, learn and develop their projects. YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO.
"Very informative. Sean is very knowledgeable and charismatic. When questions were asked, he gave full and complete answer. I highly recommend taking Sean's webinar." Learn from one of the top entertainment attorneys in Hollywood who has worked on hundreds of film & TV projects! After pouring so much time, money, and passion into your feature film and putting together a finished product thatyou’re truly proud of, it’s an amazing feeling when a distributor wants to buy your film. What can be more vindicating? Not so fast, though. This is your film, and it’s absolutely critical you walk into any distribution agreement with both eyes open, an understanding of what you want, what you deserve, and how to make sure you’re protected and not being taken advantage of. Distribution can often be confusing, complicated, and murky territory, and there are many common pitfalls filmmakers of all levels fall into when navigating. It can feel like you need a law degree and a special glossary just to understand the rights you’re giving away, along with the territories, fees, expenses, residuals, and everything else that comes along with a distribution deal. But you don’t need to pass the Bar to find success in seeking distribution. Gaining a keener understanding of the process and how agreements work can empower you as a filmmaker to negotiate a distribution deal that’s right for you and your film. Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Sean worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has helped countless filmmakers negotiate fair distribution deals and make the most out of their film, and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. In this advanced level and intensive two-part class, Sean will walk you through the nuts and bolts of distribution deals and zero in on the provisions and clauses you need to understand when negotiating your own distribution and sales agreements. Sean’s exhaustive rundown will leave you with a much deeper understanding of what agreements look like, what you should be looking for, and how to avoid pitfalls along the way.
The more production savvy we are, the better filmmakers we become. As directors, it is our job to know every heartbeat of our story; the preparation needed for executing our vision; and the intricacies of bringing it to its final conclusion, in a way that will illicit an emotional response from our audience. That means that we must not take our foot off the pedal once we wrap. Being present, aware, in control, and maintaining our focus during post-production is vital. Sometimes our film is made (or lost) in the edit. The technical steps of post production can seem overwhelming, especially coming off the heights (or lows) of wrapping a picture. But if we don’t have a good understanding of the post production steps, it could be challenging to bring our vision to a strong finish, and ultimately to a wider audience. Stacia Crawford is a Director/Producer/Writer/Actress who, last year alone, directed two feature films which premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. As a producer she has helmed five feature films with Mar Vista Entertainment (premieres on Hallmark, Lifetime, CMT), in addition to several independent feature films. In television, Stacia co-directed/produced various unscripted series for NBC/Esquire, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike, Logo, Pivot, Blaze TV, MTV. She also produced several web content shows, most notably for My Space. Prior to directing/producing, Stacia started her career as an actress/writer and can be seen in several feature films, including cameo roles in films that she’s directed. As a writer, she has written two novels (KIT TEN, THE SPACE BETWEEN) and co-created four original dramatic television series, (DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, WILDCATTERS, AMERICAN CAESAR, and SENESCENT) all currently in development. In a clear, expansive, yet easy to digest presentation, Stacia will help all filmmakers understand exactly how to handle and navigate the post-production process. She will begin by teaching you what to look for when hiring your entire post-production team. From there, she'll discuss the difference between all the post production positions - some sound quite similar, but do completely different jobs - and...do you need them all? Stacia will then dive into scheduling including the level of cuts for the film, and how long each part of the process (sound, coloring, etc) should take. She will discuss pick up shoots, fixing lighting and audio mistakes, and how to protect for footage errors. She'll even get into key art and what to include in your trailer! This is a comprehensive webinar designed to keep you deeply immersed in the post-production process carrying with you the knowledge that will keep your team on board with finalizing your vision. Praise for Stacia from her previous Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: She explained what is the Director's job was very very well and broke it down step by step! -Sharlene R. Stacia did a great job. She was great! -Tracey A If you are thinking of going into the industry it was amazing, hit all the points, and she went above and beyond when she expanded on a lot of her points...like making sure you get your insert shots (which I've been a victim of.). Overall she was great, clear and to the point. -Ryan H. Stacia was great. A lot of good information in a clear and concise manner. -Angel N. Great information! -Liz H. It was interesting to hear from other filmmakers' perspective. I learned a lot about the Director's position, as it relates to Film & TV. I came into this webinar because of my interest in knowing more about the producing/directing side of the industry, and man Stacia really did go in and cover a lot. My mind was soaking up information left and right. Another great webinar! -Shayne W.
There are a wide array of audition classes, books, and online resources that provide important actor insight and audition technique and etiquette. However, very few actors or industry professionals have an understanding of how the entire casting process works. If you're an actor, you may focused on winning the room. If you're a filmmaker, you may be focused on finding the best performance the quickest way possible. If you're a producer you may be focused on getting the best talent to bring audition to your package. Either way, every person involved with the project controls an important piece of the overall puzzle. If you're an actor it's important that you understand how the entire casting process works so you can build champions, win the room and book more work. If you're a filmmaker or producer, it's important that you understand the casting timeline to prepare for pre-production. Have you ever wondered what happens behind closed casting office doors, both before and after an audition? This is crucial information that helps you determine how you can best contribute to the overall casting puzzle. You need to understand project breakdowns, actor submissions, audition scheduling and director callbacks. You will need insight as to why one actor may be selected to audition over another and you’ll also need to know about the many factors that determine which actors advance in the casting process and ultimately book the role. Marin Hope, CSA is a Los Angeles native and LA-based casting director, who won the 2020 Artios Award for Casting. Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, KINGS, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY, starring Joan Allen and Adrien Brody, and most recently MOLLY, Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Marin has cast hundreds of actors in film, TV, theatre and commercial projects and is back exclusively on Stage 32 to detail the casting director’s process, beginning to end. Marin will walk through the entire casting process from her perspective as an accomplished casting director. She’ll begin by discussing project and character breakdowns, how they’re composed, what details are included, and the various forums and databases these breakdowns are posted. She’ll go over what details actors should not before submitting to a role and how to know ahead of time if you’re right for the role. She’ll teach you how to submit yourself for a role or how to get your agent or manager to do so. Marin will give you an inside look into how casting directors sort through actor submissions to choose who to audition and what elements will help a casting director notice and choose you. Next, Marin will discuss how casting directors schedule actor auditions, how many actors are generally schedule in a single day and what you should do as an actor if you’re unavailable for your audition date or time. She will delve into the process of 1st call auditions, who is typically in the room, what you should expect, how you should prepare, and what the casting director’s process is after a day of 1st call auditions. She will also give you a peek into who views your 1st call audition tapes. Marin will then similarly outline callback auditions, how they work, how they differ from 1st call auditions, and how decisions are made at this stage. Next she will talk about 2nd callbacks, chemistry reads, and test shoots, including how best to prepare for these, how decisions are made at this stage, and what to expect for a test shoot. She’ll delve into what it means to be “put on avail” and how to navigate when you’re “on avail” and when to know if you are “released” or have been booked for the job. Finally Marin will discuss the ultimate step of booking talent, including how you will know if you booked the job, what the process looks like from the casting director’s perspective after getting the green light to book talent, and how you should communicate with the casting office throughout. You’ll learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective, which will give you a unique and valuable understanding of how projects are cast. Praise for Marin’s Past Stage 32 Webinar: Well, done. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions. Thanks so much, Marin. -Joseph H. I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know, but Marin brought forth valuable new information. -Michele C. Clear, professional, informative presentation. Thank you!! -Pamela F. I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away. -Sondra C.