Alec Sokolow is an Oscar nominated screenwriter, storyteller and character creator who specializes in global branding and franchise creation. Alec regularly works as a screenwriter for all the major studios and various global independent producers. His feature film credits include "Toy Story", "Cheaper By the Dozen", "Garfield", "Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties", "Money Talks", "Evan Almighty", "Goodbye Lover" and "Daddy Day Camp." Alec has also written the meta video game storyline and user interface for Activision's billion dollar franchise "Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure" and "Skylanders: Giants" Alec’s character creation and naming includes Buzz Lightyear (and his catch phrase “To Infinity & Beyond”) and Woody. He has also produced feature documentaries, directed animation shorts and written children's books. Alec’s storytelling has created global receipts of over 2 Billion Dollars. He is also currently an adjunct professor at NYU teaching screenwriting. Full Bio »
Bonus! You will receive a download of the TOY STORY script, written by your host, Alec!
The biggest global streaming services and movie studios are actively looking for family-friendly blockbusters to fill out their upcoming slates. Why? Because G and PG-rated projects are among some of the highest-grossing films in theaters and these films attract this profitable family demographic to their streaming services. So what are the key points a writer needs to know to craft a blockbuster family film?
In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, acclaimed screenwriter and Academy Award-nominee for TOY STORY, Alec Sokolow, will give writers and filmmakers an overview of what a family-friendly blockbuster script needs to sell. Using his screenplay for the first TOY STORY movie as a hands-on guide, Alec will walk attendees through the writing process with a look at the project’s background, plot points, character development, and tone.
Next, he’ll delve into what choices he made when writing the original film and most importantly why these creative decisions were made.
Writing a family-friendly blockbuster with global appeal is more difficult than it seems but Alec will break down the structure and setting to help any writer feel more confident working in this extremely popular genre.
A writer must be able to create imaginative, relatable, and specific characters set in a vibrant world but now, more than ever, must make their scripts feel universal with a global appeal.
Writers often get caught up in thinking about the success of their script or of their big plot idea but they really need to focus on the dynamics and success of their characters. Everything is character-driven. If you get the characters and their dynamics right then all of the action falls into place and the characters, themselves, drive the plot. Once you have that concept mastered, your scripts will all feel bigger and more universal, leading to the success you want.
What are the specific elements that set a family-friendly script apart from other genres?
Developing your Story
Tricks Of The Trade
Common Mistakes When Writing a Family Film and How to Avoid Them
Q&A With Alec
Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.
If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.
YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.
Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.
Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.
Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email email@example.com to request accommodations.
Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.
If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AN EXCLUSIVE ON-DEMAND WEBINAR Learn how to write your best first act in your screenplay from the Academy Award-nominated writer of TOY STORY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, GOODBYE LOVER, and more... You can’t write a great screenplay without a great first act. This puts a lot of pressure on you when you first start and stare at that blank page. The first act sets the tone, the time, and the setting. It introduces the audience to the characters, the stakes, and the tensions that carry throughout your story. The first act also introduces vital and unique information your protagonist will need through their journey. So, how do you do this in a way that doesn’t feel forced? In a way that isn’t heavy-handed but memorable and flows for the audience? How do you write so that it grabs the reader’s attention and never lets go? In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Alec Sokolow (TOY STORY) takes you through his tried-and-true method for crafting your best first act. He’ll show you how to give your audience the information they need to dive into your film for the next two hours. In addition to Alec’s work on Pixar’s TOY STORY (nabbing him an Oscar nomination), Alec penned CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, EVAN ALMIGHTY, GARFIELD, and many other projects. His work has grabbed audiences globally and has so far netted over $2 billion in worldwide receipts. By the end of this webinar, you will have all the pieces you need to craft a fantastic first act from a professional screenwriter with a proven track record using these tools. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn from Alec in this webinar exclusively on Stage 32. PRAISE FOR ALEC'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION: "Wonderful insights. Made lots of notes. Thank you." "Alec is the best! What a world of knowledge!" "Great session with Alec. Thanks for the insights and wisdom from your storytelling experience. Oh, and for the films!"
Learn from the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of TOY STORY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, EVAN ALMIGHTY, GOODBYE LOVER, and more... You've heard of The Hero's Journey, a concept created by Joseph Campbell after studying mythology and storytelling from thousands of years of civilization and from cultures all over the world. It's been applied by writers to some of the most successful films and franchises of all time, including STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER, TOY STORY, THE MATRIX, and countless others. However, knowing what The Hero's Journey is one thing, but understanding how to apply it to your work is a much more challenging task. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand class, you'll dive deeper than the books and online videos on The Hero's Journey to engross yourself in every step, study how it's been successfully applied to scripts, and learn how to use it in your own work. The more you understand these essential storytelling building blocks, the stronger your story will become, winning over readers, buyers, and, most importantly, the audience. The Hero's Journey is the study of how a protagonist transforms over the course of a story, and guiding you through this transformation for four sessions is Oscar-nominated screenwriter Alec Sokolow. Alec is an expert in the Hero's Journey and has used it in his work, ultimately netting over $2 billion in worldwide receipts. His credits include TOY STORY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, EVAN ALMIGHTY, and many more. He's also produced feature documentaries, directed animation shorts, and written children's books using Joseph Campbell's mythical structure. You'll see how you can use the Hero's Journey to infuse your script with the right tone, an immersive setting, entertaining characters, stakes, tension, memorable moments, and more. Don't miss out on your chance to learn from an Oscar-nominated screenwriter in this 4-part class and take your screenwriting skills to the next level. PRAISE FOR ALEC'S WORK AND STAGE 32 EDUCATION: "Alec Sokolow is one of the world's great storytellers, screenwriters, and teachers, and that's a wonderful combination for anyone to learn from." -- An Award-Winning Producer "Wonderful insights. Made lots of notes. Thank you." -- Mark M. "Alec is the best! What a world of knowledge!" -- Selina R. "Great session with Alec. Thanks for the insights and wisdom from your storytelling experience. Oh, and for the films!" -- David L.
Join The Oscar Nominated Writer Of TOY STORY, EVAN ALMIGHTY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, GARFIELD, and more as He Teaches You How To Develop and Write Your Hit Animation Movie Plus! You'll receive Alec's screenplay for TOY STORY What makes a great animated feature film screenplay? In this exclusive on-demand Stage 32 4-session class, you will explore and celebrate screenwriting for animated films with the Oscar nominated writer of TOY STORY, Alec Sokolow. Alec is a screenwriter, storyteller, and character creator who specializes in global branding and franchise creation. Alec regularly works as a screenwriter for all the major studios and various global independent producers. His feature film credits also include CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, GARFIELD, GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES, MONEY TALKS, EVAN ALMIGHTY, DADDY DAY CAMP and more. Alec has also written the meta video game storyline and user interface for Activision's billion-dollar franchise SKYLANDERS: SPYRO'S ADVENTURE and SKYLANDERS: GIANTS. Alec’s storytelling has created global receipts of over $2 billion. Do you have an idea for an animated movie? A unique world you wish to explore, or a unique point of view in our world, that you believe can be truly realized with animation? Then it's time to develop your idea into a feature length animated screenplay that connects with the intended audience (i.e., a producer, a pitch representative, a network, a studio, a streamer, etc). You'll walk away from this class with the tools and vision you need to write your animated feature at the highest level. If you are looking to create an animated script that imbues your authentic voice with a style of storytelling that evokes emotions, then this is the class for you! PRAISE FOR ALEC'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION: "Alec is not only an incredible educator, but extremely knowledgeable and down to earth. I can't thank Alec enough for his guidance!" - Leo S.
Learn about the Hero's Journey and how your screenplays can use this imperative tool from the Academy Award nominated writer of TOY STORY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, GOODBYE LOVER and more... Plus! A Hero's Journey Worksheet and Exclusive Script Downloads For You! STAR WARS, THE MATRIX, HARRY POTTER, TOY STORY... countless successful films use "The Hero's Journey," a storytelling archetype promoted by author and professor Joseph Campbell. You've likely heard or maybe even read about it, but Stage 32 is here to walk you threw what it takes to apply this essential archetype to your own writing! In this exclusive on-demand Stage 32 webinar, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Alec Sokolow will take you through the Hero's Journey so that you fully understand how to use it to elevate your scripts. Alec is a master of the Hero's Journey having applied it throughout his career to his blockbuster films, including TOY STORY, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, EVAN ALMIGHTY, and many more. He's also produced feature documentaries, directed animation shorts, and written children's books, successfully applying Joseph Campbell's mythical structure with his work netting over $2 billion in worldwide receipts. The Hero's Journey is bigger than Luke Skywalker, and following this archetype isn't about following a cookie-cutter story. It's about understanding dreams we all share and heightened realities. It leads to star-making roles that actors are dying to play. It's about raising the stakes and challenging your protagonist to change on multiple levels by pushing them beyond their limits. To truly understand the nature of your writing, it is vital to understand the heroic journey you are constructing for your protagonist and go on your own journey as you craft your script. In the process, you'll have a deeper understanding of how to write these journeys, be able to elevate your writing to something that grabs producers and talent, and prove that you're ready for a career in writing big-screen stories. Where else can you learn about this imperative story structure directly from a successful screenwriter who applies it to their work every day? Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn from Alec Sokolow and start your own Hero's Journey. PRAISE FOR ALEC'S WORK AND STAGE 32 EDUCATION: “Alec Sokolow is one of the world’s great storytellers, screenwriters, and teachers and that’s a wonderful combination for anyone to learn from.” -- An Award-Winning Producer "Wonderful insights. Made lots of notes. Thank you." "Alec is the best! What a world of knowledge!" "Great session with Alec. Thanks for the insights and wisdom from your storytelling experience. Oh, and for the films!"
Every great pitch starts with a great logline and every script you write has a perfect logline, it's your job to discover it. This month we challenged you to write, rewrite or polish your logline(s) and send them our way!
Learn the creative and business factors you need to consider when deciding to write your story as a feature film or television series from the VP of Packaging and Sales at Ramo Law who has worked with Amazon, MTV, and more! PLUS! You will receive case studies of projects that have gone from feature films to TV series and from TV series to feature films! You have a great story to tell and you are wrestling with the correct format for the story that will be most successful. Writers across the industry and at various levels in their career constantly grapple with this question - should I write my story as a feature film or a television series? The answer to this question is actually quite complex and is contingent on a number of creative and business considerations you should consider before developing your project. For example, what is the breadth of the story you are telling? How complex are your characters and the world they live in? And from a business perspective, where are you, the writer, currently positioned in your career? What is the feasibility of getting your story produced as a feature versus as a TV series? Could one lead to the other? While television series seem to be getting much of the attention in the industry these days, trying to get your story made into a binge worthy series makes you beholden to the wishes and timelines of one of the big streamers and networks actually making full blown series. Conversely, pitching your story as a feature film offers a larger set of opportunities to get produced with numerous production companies and independent financing sources in the business of making feature films but that poses its own set of challenges. Luckily, there are key creative and business elements of your project you can consider when deciding whether to turn your story into either a feature or a TV series to give yourself the highest probability of success. Here to guide you through the considerations of what format will work best for your project is Stuart Arbury, Vice President of Packaging and Sales at Ramo Law, a renowned entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Stuart was Director of Development at Canvas Media Studios (StyleHaul’s ”Vanity”) and Captivate Entertainment (”The Bourne Identity” franchise and USA’s “Treadstone” series). Stuart will share his extensive knowledge of both the television and film markets with you so you can make the most informed decisions going forward with how best to develop and pitch your projects. You will walk away from this exclusive Stage 32 webinar with a strong understanding of the different creative and business elements of a feature film project and a television series project and a framework to consider which format you should be working on for your current and future scripts. PLUS! Stuart will provide you with exclusive case studies of projects that have gone from feature to series and from series to feature! Projects include: DEAR WHITE PEOPLE THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE CARNIVAL ROW Praise For Stuart "Stuart webinar was very informative and thought provoking. He explained and gave excellent examples of what makes a series a series and a feature a feature AND the 'cross-over' from one to the other. Compared features, broadcast, streamers clearly and so much more. A wealth of information that one can take away and make educated decisions about their project(s)." -Margaret M "Stuart's experience and knowledge were incredibly helpful for me. I didn't realize the nuances of the industry but am now grateful to have learned from Stuart ." -- Sara M. "Learning from Stuart was hugely beneficial to me as a screenwriter. I've been thinking if I should write my drama project as a feature or series and Stuart made me realize the pros and cons of each, both creatively and from a business perspective." -- Alex W. "Thank you, Stage 32, for providing us access to Stuart. His webinar is fantastic and I can't recommend learning from him enough!" -- Kayla R.