Diane Messias is a former BBC Comedy Producer and Director, whose long list of credits includes directing one of the UK's best-loved sitcoms, One Foot In The Grave. Having worked in professional comedy for the past 30 years, Diane has directed, produced and written for many of the country's top comedians and actors including Alistair McGowan, Rory Bremner, Harry Hill, Ian Hislop, Richard Ingrams, Paul Merton, Richard Wilson, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton, Andrew Sachs, Barry Took, and the list goes on. She has recently formed a new satirical comedy group with Days of Our Lives actress Miranda Wilson, The Caustic Sodas, and teaches comedy writing and standup, both with her own company, SecretofComedy.com and for Up The Creek in Greenwich. You can follow Diane on Twitter as @NiceEtoile, and her topical satire blog can be found at AmuzeNewz.com Diane's Stage 32 Blog Posts: Bottom Line on Above the Title (Part I) Bottom Line on Above the Title (Part II) Full Bio »
How many times have you watched a funny show and thought 'I can do that'? Or expected to laugh, but not heard any jokes? Perhaps you feel your whole existence is just one long comedy script, and it's your mission to show how art imitates life...
...whatever your motivation, sitcom writing is fun, safe, and you can try it at home! As with other genres, there are rules and techniques, tricks of the trade and logistical considerations to contemplate, all of which Diane Messias will discuss in this instructional webinar. If you're passionate about witty dialogue, or curious about plot creation, prepare for the mysteries of good comic writing to unfold.
Join Diane Messias, a 30-year veteran in comedy and former Director & Producer from the BBC, who's long list of credits include the UK's best loved sitcom, One Foot in the Grave. For more of Diane's bio, click here.
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!
"Awesome webinar. Webinar was very interactive and informative and I'll be looking forward to signing up for more through stage32. Thanks!" - Marquese Clack
"I just finished reviewing the recording of your webinar and I just wanted to say thank you for your wisdom and advice! I'm primarily an actress and comedienne, and I've done sitcom acting, but the sitcom writing formula was always a bit of a mystery to me. Not only have you helped me on my way to developing an original sitcom, but your insights really help me with acting in sitcoms as well. Best wishes for 2014 - I can't wait to see the work you do next! Cheers!" - Rachel J. Clark
"Challenging, fun and exciting, Diane Messias's comedy workshop was the most terrifying thing I've done in ages! Worth facing my fears, though - very supportive environment and my sense of achievement was terrific!" - Jacqui Deevoy
"Diane's attitude and enthusiasm helped me (a complete beginner) find my comedy voice and shake off the nerves I fostered about performing. She took us through all areas of comedy to help get the ideas flowing and taught us various helpful exercises for creating jokes. I am now armed with a finely tuned funny-bone and the confidence to try out what I learned in the big wide world!" - Julia Watson
Justine Wentzell, former lead of MarVista's Acquisitions & Co-Productions team, will discuss the current feature market, including alternative avenues like TV movies, plus a live Q&A!
Art/Work Manager Spencer Robinson will discuss the differences between managers and agents, how to grab a manager's attention, working with a manager and what he currently is seeing in the industry.
You can join Daniel Kendrick, Manager and Development Executive at Chatrone (Golden Globe nominated animation feature film The Book of Life, with animated clients for SpongeBob SquarePants, The Lego Movie, Robot Chicken, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as he deconstructs PIXAR's Oscar-nominated script, Inside Out! As the second highest grossing PIXAR film ever made and Oscar nominee, what makes Inside Out resonate so deeply with audiences across the world? PIXAR, the world’s premiere animation studio, has yet again managed to produce a smash hit that makes everyone laugh and cry all the way from children to grown adults. Join your host, Daniel Kendrick as he delves deep to deconstruct the Inside Out script as part of the popular Stage 32 Next Level Education "Deconstructing the Script" series! You will learn the storytelling strategies and techniques PIXAR employs to produce hit after hit award-winning animated features. Daniel will go over the methods by which PIXAR tweaks traditional story structure to compose an enthralling character piece. You will understand the plot points and characterization that makes the fictional inhabitants of a mind in this script so appealing and endearing. You will also understand the visual and poetic appeal of Inside Out and its characters’ journeys. You will walk away with a solid understanding of all the elements that make Inside Out a successful script including: protagonist, plotlines, characters, dialogue & visuals, set ups & pay offs, animation and overall development. To find out more, click the "What You Will Learn" tab above!
**Payment plans are available - contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details*** **If you have to miss a class, don't worry. Each class is recorded and you can watch on-demand** PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your comedy pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Character, World This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of comedy pilots and how they differ from network to network. This will include a discussion about Single-Camera and Multi-Camera comedies. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. Also knowing the world your show takes place in. We will also discuss other kinds of TV comedy writing (late-night talk shows, sketch, political comedy talk shows, etc.) The assignment for this week will be to create a document with a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters, and an explanation of the world. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline, Pitch Document This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of comedy pilot (single-camera or multi-camera) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pitch document with characters, pilot outline, and future episode ideas. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline and pitch document before proceeding with next week’s class. WEEK #4– Structure, Scenes, Dialogue, We will discuss both the Single-Camera and Multi-Camera structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. We will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, dialogue, and jokes. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the cold open, a scene introducing your main character(s), and a scene with strong jokes. WEEK #5– Pilot Structure This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in a comedy pilot, including traditional page count, act breaks, tags, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete a first draft of your pilot WEEK #6– After You Write Your Pilot Last online class. We will discuss what happens when you take meetings with managers, agents, and showrunners, and how to pitch a comedy pilot. The assignment for the week is come up with a pitch for your pilot WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Each writer will have a 10-minute call to pitch your pilot. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes on the pitch and script. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given.
Part 1 - Overview of the Staffing Process Amanda discusses the strategy and steps of the staffing process from the studio, network and production company perspective. You will gain incite into what producers are looking for from a staffing sample and how to improve your chances of standing out in crowd. Part 2 - Tips for Writing an Original Pilot A discussion on the creation of a strong, unique and memorable original pilot; Choosing the right concept to display your original voice, crafting characters who can last for seasons and improving dialogue skills. Part 3 - Pilot Format, Structure and Plotting Amanda details structure and formatting techniques, for drama and comedy, as well as the importance of a strong, steady plot and why you need to keep the reader engaged with big plot moments every few pages in a staffing sample. Part 4 - Spec Scripts & Next Career Steps Amanda answers why it’s important to have a spec script to send as a follow up to your original pilot, and how to write a spec script through copying an existing show’s voices and format. She also covers reaching out to agents, managers, and studio training initiatives with your writing samples. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Amanda is no longer handing out or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
If you’re reading this and you’re an aspiring storyteller, you’re probably well aware that no path in this business follows a straight line. There’s no recognizable ladder to climb. No standardized “five-year” plan. There are so many questions – How do I get my start? How do I tell stories that inspire me? What’s the right story to tell? How do I find an audience? How do I get recognized? So many questions and no hard and fast “right” answer. With the rise of digital technology, storytellers now have access to a new and incredibly valuable set of tools to help sell their ideas. Shooting a compelling short film, web series, or proof of concept has never been easier – and it is one of the most effective ways to practice your craft, showcase your voice and set your work apart from the rest of the pack. But there’s a catch – the increased accessibility of these tools has lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of content created and it has become much harder to cut through the noise and really stand out. We've brought in studio director, writer & producer Tyler Gillet to share his own path and how utilizing these tools helped him move from directing zero-budget digital shorts to directing and producing feature films and TV. Along the way, we’ll discuss how to conceptualize and create low-budget, high-quality short-form content that will wow financiers and producers and help you sell yourself and your ideas to a larger audience.