How to Write and Sell a High Concept Screenplay

Hosted by Andrew Kersey

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Andrew Kersey

Webinar hosted by: Andrew Kersey

Manager at Kersey Management

Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Once you finish your screenplay and decide it’s time to reach out to producers and representatives, one of the most common responses you may receive is that your idea is not ‘high concept’ enough or your logline doesn’t have a ‘high concept hook’. This term is thrown around a lot in the movie business, but what does it actually mean? ‘High concept’ might be a buzz word, but it’s also a term that carries with it significant meaning as well as some lessons and perspective you can bring back to your own project if you know how best to approach it.

Readers, producers and buyers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it more enticing to the world. So how can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean?

Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold.

Andrew will break down what makes a script ‘high concept’ and how you can write and sell your own high-concept screenplay. He’ll nail down exactly what a high concept story is and offer examples of high concept movies in different genres, explaining what makes them successful. He’ll then break down why high concept stories are so appealing, from the perspective of producers, studios, and audiences. Next Andrew will delve into how to actually write a high concept story and whether you can adjust your existing screenplay or write one from scratch. He will go through breaking down genre walls and other writing tips you can take with you. Andrew will then teach you how to sell your high concept story. He’ll talk about the importance of your logline and title and give you tips to pitch your high concept story to execs and buyers, including how to explain your world and use comps. Finally he will go over common mistakes writers make when creating high concept stories and will reveal where not to begin and whether size and budget matter. Expect to leave this webinar with a much clearer idea of what makes something “high concept” and a series of tips and ideas you can bring back to your own project to better sell it.

 

"Throughout my time as a literary manager, the term "high concept" has come up more times than I can count. The writers that I work with that are most successful are the ones that understand what this term really means, what buyers are looking for, and how they can adjust to fit this idea. I'm excited to share these secrets with the Stage 32 community."

-Andrew Kersey

What You'll Learn

  • You’ve Been Told Your Screenplay Isn’t High Concept— What Does This Mean?
    • What is a high concept story?
    • Why it is important to understand this term
    • Examples of high concept movies and what makes them successful
    • Are there high concept stories in every genre?
  • The Appeal of High Concept Stories
    • Why producers want them
    • Why studios need them
    • Why audiences crave them
    • Your role as a storyteller
  • Writing and Developing a High Concept Story
    • What a producer REALLY means
    • High concept vs. high budget
    • Breaking down genre walls
    • Adjusting an existing screenplay vs. writing one from scratch
    • Other writing tips
    • What is a genre hybrid?
  • Selling Your High Concept Story
    • The role of your logline
    • The importance of your title
    • Tips to pitching your high concept story to execs and buyers
      • How to explain your world
      • Using comps
  • The 6 Questions To Ask About Your Title, Logline, and Plot Before Pitching Your Story
    • Andrew will apply these questions to three existing high concept films:
      • JAWS
      • LIAR, LIAR
      • VACATION FRIENDS (Upcoming Hulu film written by Andrew's client)
  • Common Mistakes When Creating High Concept Stories
    • Where not to begin
    • Does size matter?
    • Does budget matter?
  • Q&A with Andrew

About Your Instructor

Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold.

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Reviews Average Rating: 1.5 out of 5

  • I'm not sure if Andrew just put his presentation together and hadn't tested the slides because he seemed to have difficulty finding them. This slowed down his presentation in the beginning. I also found his presentation to be very repetitive, especially when he kept telling us how jaded producers, reps and executives are. He also went over the importance of the title, logline and questions to ask as you create them several times. I did learn from him to keep loglines for "high concept" features to under 12 words and that "high concept" is not character-driven but premise-driven. Also, it seems that the writer should focus on what's commercial to reach the widest audience, rather than write what you know.

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