It's Introduce Yourself Weekend at Stage 32! Head over to the Introduce Yourself section of the Stage 32 Lounge and let everyone know who you are, what you're working on, your dreams and aspirations. And be sure to peruse other member's threads. You never know when you're going to make a connection that changes your life!
Max Adams is a screenwriter, author, mentor, and teacher. Recipient early in her career of an Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, an Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Award, and an America’s Best Screenwriting Award, Max was dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday. She has worked with industry luminaries including pitch king Bob Kosberg, producers Robert Evans (The Godfather), Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator), David Valdes (The Green Mile) and Wendy Finerman (Forest Gump, The Devil Wears Prada). She is the author of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide, is a former WGA online mentor, is the founder of two international online screenwriting workshops and the founder of The Academy of Film Writing. Studios she has worked with include Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Sony Pictures. Max’s students and workshoppers have been featured on The Black List, have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, three First Place Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Win, and most recently a Tracking Board 2015 Launch Pad Feature Award and Best Screenplay at the California Women’s Film Festival. Many of Max’s students are working professionally in the industry. Full Bio »
One of the weakest elements in screenwriting is story momentum. Without story momentum, pacing drags, plots lose focus, second acts die, and story climaxes are – anticlimactic. Achieving story momentum is not addressed often enough in screenwriting classes. Nor is the direct correlation between dramatic tension and the cause and effect elements needed to link scenes and scene sequences. This relationship is the cornerstone of achieving dramatic tension and mastering story momentum.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Max Adams, a 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures, will explain why linear plotting fails and will give you practical tools and techniques you can immediately apply to you writing. You will leave this webinar knowing how to fix story holes, correct pacing, create driving story engines and achieve rising story momentum to maintain a feature film script straight through to a riveting story climax!
Plus, a live Q&A with Max so bring all of your questions!
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! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
“I’ve taken all of Max’s classes and quite simply, her focused methods and attention to detail blow every other screenwriting class out of the water.” ~ Jules Howe, Best Comedy Screenplay, Austin Film Festival
“If you want someone to challenge you to dive deep and pull the BEST out of yourself, Max is that whip-smart coach, teacher, and mentor.” ~ Ana Maria Montoya, Winner Sundance Latino Screenwriting Project
“Max Adams is one of the most knowledgeable and talented people in screenwriting that I know, all writers need to hear what Max Adams has to say.” ~ Kerry Valderrama, Winner, Best Director, Independent Television & Film Festival
“Max Adams is the kind of smart, engaging teacher that made me want to be a better writer — and she helped me do it.” ~ Alvaro Rodriguez, writer - Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
Learn directly from acclaimed author and screenwriter Max Adams who has worked with companies such as Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures and Max’s students have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Award and more! We continuously hear from the executives that we work with that concept is the most common mistake in spec scripts today. Readers 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 bigger, badder, better and more enticing to the world. 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? Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you acclaimed screenwriter and writing coach Max Adams to teach you how to create compelling concepts and re-craft existing concepts so that they garner instant attention through one sentence descriptions alone. Dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday, she will teach you how to pull a story out of the “been there seen that no thanks” file and into the “I have got to read that” file. You’ll learn how to break your story into individual components to find its strengths and weaknesses, which gives you tools to analyze your future writing projects and raise stories’ impact. This will be your complete crash course in high concept writing, and you will leave this webinar knowing how to make your stories more interesting and enticing for readers, buyers, producers, editors, representatives, cast and industry players!
Back by popular demand, Stage 32 Next Level Education brings you Max Adams, 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures! You will also learn about static locations vs. clear, wider, more open locations and how they can work for and against you in your writing. You will also have a clear understanding on how to use motion and action to move your screenplay forward. You will walk away having all the tools and techniques necessary to apply to fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays to make visuals and action “real” on the page - an art unto itself and something that can separate your work from the pack. You will learn how to create compelling visuals on the page that will catapult your writing into an unforgettable — and visual — experience for your readers on the page, and your audience on the screen. The immediacy of motion on a film screen, and its necessity, sets film writing apart from every other written medium on the planet. And is the difference on the script page — and film screen — between selling — or that script dying in a drawer, and that film never being made.
Part 1 - Writing, Budgeting & Pre-Production How to write an effective short script The brainstorming process Utilizing real life experiences, what are memorable moments in your life that stick out to you? Moments in a friend’s life? Creating characters: What topics do you uniquely understand? What jobs have you held? What did your parents do for a living? Where did you grow up? Writing in proper format What is the difference between writing “is working” and “works” in a screenplay and why does verbiage matter when writing action? Should I put my WGA and copyright notices on the title page? The business of making a short film What do I need to do to protect myself? Creating an LLC and lawyering up for the right reasons. How much is this really going to cost? Evaluating SAG Short Film Agreements, cost of renting equipment, everything from lighting to locations, and looking forward to release and distributions, what are the costs beyond the actual production of a film? Logistically, how will I be able to execute all the elements? How do I handle room and board for out of town talent? Is there a local film commission I can work with, and if so, what exactly is their role in helping me execute my vision? Part 2 - Directing, Marketing & Distributing Your Film Preparing to direct and the production process What do I need to do before I get to set? What is the purpose of having location walkthroughs? When and how to I make the shot list and how many shots do I really need? How do I make my vision clear to crewmembers while still being collaborative in the process? How do I work with an actor for the first time? How much say should they have in the script and changing the character? Should I allow an actor to change my lines? How do I follow their emotional journey over the course of shooting a film that is totally out of order so it makes sense in the final product? When problems arise on set, how do I respond? What are best practices to maintaining authority without creating conflict? How do I ensure that everyone is getting the proper attention they need so I can avoid problems? What happens if I find out we didn’t shoot something we needed? How do I work with footage or sound that didn’t come out the way I expected? How long should my final product be so I can be successful at film festivals? Marketing your film What can I do to promote my film before we ever start filming? When is the appropriate time to start promoting? What kind of promotion looks and feels professional versus amateur? Is there such a thing as oversharing information on social networks? During production, how can I use my cast and crew to promote the project? What parameters should I set to not give away plot points? What is the role of a still photographer on set and how can I leverage the still photographer for publicity? How do I reach out to press outlets to promote my film? How do I find out what press outlets are the right ones for my film, and how do I even get a journalist interested in covering it? What makes an effective versus ineffective pitch letter? Releasing your film What makes an effective trailer? How can I best prepare and present the trailer and still photos for promotional purposes? Should I create a Facebook page for my film and a website and a Twitter and an Instagram, etc.? How do I get into Sundance? If I don’t get into Sundance, is my career finished? There are entirely too many film festivals, how do I begin to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad? What are effective ways of meeting, then following up, with producers and gatekeepers that I meet at these events? What kind of communication does an executive find annoying? Should I sell my film or give it away for free? If I give it away for free, how will I be able to pay myself back? How do I quantify if my film was a success? How do I use the short film to get myself ready for my next project? What if the film didn’t come out the way I wanted, am I completely done as a filmmaker? How do I use the lessons I learned to make my next project better? Now that I’ve made my first short film and loved it, how do I make this my full time job and become a professional filmmaker?
Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position! In Part 1, attendees will learn what life is like when TV writers are between jobs or trying to get that first job. Join Charlie as he discusses ways to manage your own writing schedule, find out how to decide which projects to focus on, and get some tips to stay relevant and visible to the big players and decision makers when you’re not employed. He’ll even lay out some strategy to position yourself for the highly coveted freelance script, whether you’re an assistant or a working writer between gigs. In Part 2, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!
To see a video sample of the class, see below! 3 part class taught by Lee Stobby, Manager and Founder of Lee Stobby Management! One of the most challenging parts as a writer is getting your story, ideas and dialogue into a script that is a respectable length. When you're looking at a completed draft that is facing a rewrite, how do you know what to cut? Many times you may think nothing can go without killing the story, but keeping the length is not always a good thing. A development executive's job role varies day to day and with a constant barrage of responsibility, longer scripts usually end up drowning to the bottom of the "to-read" pile. The truth is that executives sometimes even ask how long a script is before committing to read it. As a writer you will lose the battle if turning a page ends up being a struggle for any industry professional. Which brings up the very important question: what can be cut without sacrificing the heart of the script? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: The Rewrite Process – What Do I Cut? taught by Lee Stobby, literary manager and founder of Lee Stobby Entertainment. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Lee is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a screenwriter and former manager with a decade of experience on both sides of the film industry! Since its inception, Hollywood has made films about or inspired by real people and events. In recent years, the "biopic" has become one of the most prestigious and in-demand genres, and six of the nine 2014 Best Picture nominees are based in reality. Compelling true stories are constantly sought after and frequently top The Black List. From CAPOTE to MILK to THE SOCIAL NETWORK to LINCOLN to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET to 12 YEARS A SLAVE, we'll discuss what makes fact-based films viable today, and more importantly how to separate yours from the rest of the pack. This involves shaping the facts of your story into a fictional narrative that supports your unique point of view. We'll also explore the specific steps involved, such as research, story structure, legal issues, and the best way to position your project in a competitive market. While parts of certain films will be mentioned in detail, only a familiarity with the genre is necessary - we won't be studying examples from beginning to end. This overview will serve as an in-depth primer not just for biopic writers, but for all writers to discover stories that can excite and move today's audiences.