Masters of Craft: Creating Compelling Characters with Oscar Nominated Roger S. H. Shulman - With Downloadable Worksheets

From the Oscar-Nominated & BAFTA Winning Screenwriter of SHREK
Hosted by Roger S. H. Schulman

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Roger S. H. Schulman

Webinar hosted by: Roger S. H. Schulman

Oscar- nominated Screenwriter, SHREK

ROGER S. H. SCHULMAN has been a working screenwriter for nearly thirty years. He co-wrote the animated feature Shrek, for which he won a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay. He previously co-wrote the animated feature Balto for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and wrote Mulan II and The Jungle Book II for Disney. Roger has also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television. He co-created the Disney Channel series JONAS; was Executive Producer of 2Gether for MTV and was Executive Producer for Living Single with Queen Latifah. He’s currently co-writing a pilot for HBO with Tom Hanks. Roger started out as a journalist for outlets such as Newsweek and BusinessWeek. He earned an MS in Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. When he’s not writing, Roger teaches feature and television writing at the University of Southern California. He’s also performed in the Angel City Chorale and hosted episodes of a popular podcast about the Golden Age of radio. He’s blessed to live with his beautiful and talented wife Elizabeth Vienneau and their daughter along with two pug dogs and something else that as far as can be determined is also a dog. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

There’s only one way to get your audience to sit still for the story you want to tell: create compelling characters. As human beings, we are endlessly fascinated with ourselves and our interactions. When we find a character to whom we can relate, we lock in. Constructing relatable, entertaining and realistic characters is essential to a successful screenplay, not to mention critical to our own enjoyment of the writing process. But what separates the memorable personalities on the screen from the “which-one-was-that-again” types? Understanding the answer to that question and following some tried and true strategies while outlining and then writing your screenplay will give you a better chance of producing characters who not only engage your audience, but do the heavy lifting for your story and themes. Miss out and you’ve got page after page of shoulder shrugs.

We all know the goal for any screenwriter is to get reads. But the challenge doesn't end there. You have to make sure your reader keeps those pages turning! To assure that your reader is engaged from the jump and stays engaged through the final page, your characters must be compelling and relatable. Whether you are trying to score big in a screenwriting competition, land a manager or agent, sell producers on your material, or secure financing, you must remember that your script is one of dozens your target audience likely reads each week. The competition is fierce and most readers won't go beyond page 5 or 10 if your story and characters don't grab them. Most writers simply do not know how to creative quickly established, well drawn characters. Those that do have an instant leg up on the competition. 

Roger S. H. Schulman knows a thing or two about writing compelling, complex and memorable characters. For starters, he co-wrote the animated feature Shrek for which won him a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Prior to Shrek, Roger co-wrote the animated feature Balto for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and wrote Mulan II and The Jungle Book II for Disney. Over his 30 years in the industry, Roger has also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television. He co-created the Disney Channel series Jonas; was Executive Producer of 2 Gether for MTV and was Executive Producer for Living Single with Queen Latifah. He’s currently co-writing a pilot for HBO with Tom Hanks. And now, he's teaching exclusively for Stage 32.

Roger will teach you the function of character, specifically how character, story and theme work together. To help you understand why certain characters work, he'll give you a brief, insightful, and helpful history of character including how humor plays a part in almost all character building. He will breakdown American characteristics, Likeable characteristics, and relatable characteristics. He will dive into developing characters and show you how to discover and write your characters seen and unseen character traits. He will discuss the tools of character including dialog, action and behavior. He will break down the anatomy of your cast and where mirroring, complementing and conflicting strategies can come into play. Roger will use examples from Shrek, Breaking Bad, Phillips, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Guys and Dolls, Up, and Carl Jung (yeah, the guy).

In addition to all this material presented in Roger's exclusive Master's of Craft presentation, he will give you 2 downloadable handouts related to developing and analyzing characters that you can return to time and time again. This is invaluable information and material you won't find anywhere else.

 

A Word From Roger

When you’re done with my webinar, you’ll know a lot more about what makes good characters tick, what makes bad characters just sit there, and just maybe a little bit more about yourself. And you’ll come away with a tool chest from which you can pick and choose the techniques you prefer to build unique characters so remarkable that sometimes they’ll write their dialog for you.

 

Praise for Roger

"A masterclass, plain and simple."

- Phil C.

 

"No joke, the best lesson on writing characters I've ever seen (or read). Nothing has come close.

- Margot G.

 

"Now that I understand how the sausage was made, I have to watch Shrek again. This more than lived up to its "Masters of Craft" label. What a winner, Stage 32!"

- Elyse A.

 

"Too many times in my writing, I'm so wrapped up in my main character, that I do short shrift to my secondary characters. Not after watching Roger. No how, no way."

- Robin W.

 

"I am going in for a second viewing immediately. I already have 5 pages of notes written out. Incredible information."

- Stephen D.

 

What You'll Learn

  • The Function of Character
    • How character, story and theme work together
  • A Brief History of Character
    • Humorism
    • The Alchemist’s Diamond
    • Commedia dell'arte
  • Analyzing Character
    • “American” characteristics
    • “Likeable” characteristics
    • “Relatable” characteristics
      • Handout: My Character Iceberg, a schematic for analyzing character that I’ll share with students.
    • Developing Characters
      • The Iceberg of seen and unseen character traits
      • Questionnaire: build your character
        • Handout: My Character Questionnaire, a quick tool for developing characters that I’ll share with students.
      • To arc or not to arc?
    • Using Characters
      • When, how and why to introduce
      • Tools of Character: Dialog, Action, Behavior
    • The Secret of Character: Relationship
      • Mirroring, complementing and conflicting
      • Anatomy of a cast
    • Q&A With Roger!

 

Examples We’ll Discuss (subject to change slightly)

  • Shrek
  • Breaking Bad
  • Phillips
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Jaws
  • Guys and Dolls
  • Up
  • Carl Jung (yeah, the guy)

About Your Instructor

ROGER S. H. SCHULMAN has been a working screenwriter for nearly thirty years. He co-wrote the animated feature Shrek, for which he won a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay. He previously co-wrote the animated feature Balto for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and wrote Mulan II and The Jungle Book II for Disney.

Roger has also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television. He co-created the Disney Channel series JONAS; was Executive Producer of 2Gether for MTV and was Executive Producer for Living Single with Queen Latifah. He’s currently co-writing a pilot for HBO with Tom Hanks.

Roger started out as a journalist for outlets such as Newsweek and BusinessWeek. He earned an MS in Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

When he’s not writing, Roger teaches feature and television writing at the University of Southern California. He’s also performed in the Angel City Chorale and hosted episodes of a popular podcast about the Golden Age of radio. He’s blessed to live with his beautiful and talented wife Elizabeth Vienneau and their daughter along with two pug dogs and something else that as far as can be determined is also a dog.

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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • I'm so glad I watched this webinar! Roger Schulman is not only a great writer but a great teacher of craft as well.
  • Excellent master class! Informative on a whole new level...definitely motivated me to look deeply at the characters I've created to make them more compelling. And with the explanations and tools that Roger presented in this webinar I feel confident I will be able to do that now. Thanks!
  • Roger is one of the best presenters I have ever experienced on Stage 32, not to mention his wealth of information with a unique perspective I have not heard before on writing compelling characters. I'm so glad I took this class. Thank you, Roger.
  • Very impressed with the level of information provided. I can clearly see where I can add two additional dimensions, currently missing from my characters. Thank you!

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