Jim Uhls is the screenwriter behind FIGHT CLUB (directed by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, based off of the critically acclaimed Chuck Palahniuk novel) as well as the Doug Liman film JUMPER, which has grossed over $222 million worldwide. Next up, Jim is the screenwriter for the new Shane Black film, THE DESTROYER, and THE LEVIATHAN at 20th Century FOX. Full Bio »
The first rule of a Q&A with Jim Uhls is you DO talk about a Q&A with Jim Uhls.
Join Stage 32's Founder Richard "RB" Botto as he talks with legendary scribe Jim Uhls, screenwriter of the Academy Award nominated film FIGHT CLUB, JUMPER, and the upcoming Shane Black film THE DESTROYER and 20th Century FOX's THE LEVIATHAN.
Afterwards we'll open it up for questions from you, the Stage 32 community. Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in and ask Jim questions online exclusively through Stage 32!
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
EXCLUSIVE ON STAGE 32! What can we say about Jim Uhls? We all know he's a legend in the business. Not only is he the acclaimed screenwriter of the brilliant classic, Fight Club, as well as Jumper and the upcoming Shane Black directed, The Destroyer, but he's also one of the nicest human beings on the planet. And now he's here exclusively on Stage 32 for a Masters of Craft Class. It takes a special person to be a screenwriter. It takes a lion's heart as well as patience and perseverance. Through a meticulous step-by-step presentation, Jim is going to show you how you can find ideas, bring them to maturity, bring unparalleled depth to your characters, write by seeing the trailer in your mind, and much, much more, all designed to give you the skills to produce the best material possible and to assure it's attractive to producers, investors, managers, agents and talent. Most of all Jim is going to show you how to channel the passion and remove the cynicism and blocks that were not present when you first started. Our CEO, Richard "RB" Botto, a screenwriter himself, says, "I've never quite met anyone like Jim. His skills are undeniable and revered in the business. But it's his approach, his consistency, his way in to the material and the characters and his ability to see the entire landscape in a clear, calm matter that sets him apart. He's a true original and an inspiration to so many including yours truly. I've learned so much from him." This is a masterclass you will not want to miss. Jim will leave you laughing, full of energy and ready to write.
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 drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character 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 drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. 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. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) 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 pilot outline and start work on your bible. 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 before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WEEK #1 – The Story of Me; Your Questions; Your Stories General class overview. Patrick's history and experiences. What Patrick loves writing about and why. What he looks for in a good story/screenplay. Any initial queries raised in the pre-class questionnaire. NOTE: Given the online format, Patrick will use this week’s “office hours” to more personally respond to/discuss the ideas you are contemplating working on during the Lab. WEEK #2 – Character Creating strong, unique memorable characters. How to have them best serve your story, the genre, themes, etc. Dialogue and voice. Patrick will cover some examples, including personal experience. WEEK #3 – Act I; Premise into Story How to make the leap from basic premise/concept and characters into a full-blooded story. Where to start. What to include in Act 1. Where does Act 1 end and Act 2 begin? Creating a world and setting a tone. Patrick will discuss examples of strong (attention-grabbing and/or smartly-chosen) and weak (meandering, overstuffed, unfocused, etc.) beginnings. WEEK #4 – The Story So Far (Consultation) No on-line class this week. Instead, you will submit premise, Character Bio(s), and Act I outline for review; Patrick will discuss the materials individually in 30 minute phone calls and advise any changes/concerns. WEEK #5 – Act II; Structure and Plotting Plotting and development of your story across Act 2. Examples of structure (midpoints, end of Act 2, Internal/external conflict, etc. WEEK #6 – Theme; What’s it All About? How to ensure that your script isn’t just an escalation of events, but is a rich narrative experience that is hopefully actually about something. Topics to include Theme, Topicality, Relatability, Universality. WEEK #7 – Act III; Sticking the Landing Why 'when and how' to achieve a strong finish is arguably one of the most difficult parts of writing a screenplay. Examples of scripts/films that have accomplished this, as well as those that have not (and why). WEEK #8 – The Completed Outline (Consultation) No on-line class this week. Instead, you will turn in your completed outline for review; Patrick will then discuss with you over a 30-minute consultation. The Objective of the Lab is: To take the mystery work out of picking a concept that can sell. To match you with an executive that will assist you with making sure all your script's elements is as strong as possible. Give you an experience on how development executives develop projects that are now on their company's slate.
The new wave of indie publishing has taken the book industry by storm. Previously unknown and/or unpublished authors are making a living—sometimes a prosperous living--by writing. Traditionally published authors are also developing hybrid careers, where they write for their publishers as well as self-publish. Some successful indie authors are also catching the attention of traditional publishers, who are acquiring their books. Screenwriters may struggle to find recognition for their work and make a living with their writing. Often screenwriters must have a “day” job in order to survive, which can leave little time and energy to pursue their dreams of success. Adapting screenplays into a books may produce extra income and recognition, as well as provide other benefits to a screenwriting career. In this Stage 32 Webinar, Debra Holland will discuss her journey from an unpublished author to a NY Times Bestselling author. In her six years of indie publishing, Debra has sold more than a million books and has made a six-figure income for the last five. She’ll introduce you to self-publishing, provide some tips for adapting your screenplays into books, cover basics to get you started in indie publishing, and help you consider whether self-publishing your screenplays as books might be conducive to your career as a screenwriter.
Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a writer, story consultant, and former manager who has developed and sold screenplays to top producers, including his own The Making of Rock Hudson to Maven Pictures! Tyler managed Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, and also won the Best Director Academy Award in 2017. "Extremely articulate presenter. It really helped to have such specific information about how a character can be multi-dimensional." - Becca Boyd "I took pages and pages of notes, thank you! Very well delivered, the lecturer had clearly a vast knowledge of the subject. I really enjoyed it!" - Natalie Ekberg Audiences have been introduced to a number of singular, fully fleshed out lead characters. From the surprisingly dimensional Joy in Inside Out, to two distinct Brian Wilsons in Love & Mercy, to the female road warrior Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, films continue to provide an endless amount of potential for diverse protagonists. But these characters are often the exception rather than the rule. With a constant parade of franchise sequels, remakes, and reboots, it’s become harder than ever to create a unique and nuanced lead that audiences feel they haven’t seen before. And in a marketplace crowded with more of the same, it’s never been more essential (and potentially lucrative) for screenwriters to set their work apart. So how can writers create characters that appeal to a wide audience without sacrificing the very qualities that make them singular? In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, we are thrilled to bring back Tyler Ruggeri to discuss how to write interesting and complicated characters that audiences can root for without sacrificing depth. Having worked both on the writing and management side in Hollywood, Tyler brings uniquely qualified, invaluable experience on Writing The Cinematic Protagonist. In this webinar, Tyler will focus on studying (and deconstructing) the building blocks of movie protagonists in a straightforward, fun, and easy to digest format. He’ll discuss character in a macro-level approach while zeroing in on recent examples from popular films. Participants will learn that there’s no one way to create a memorable protagonist. But by knowing and staying true to what’s special about your story (and your lead character), you can shape a screenplay that’s fresh and unexpected while remaining accessible to all kinds of viewers.
“What’s your story about?” Having a perfect logline ready to answer that question can help give you the best chance of seizing the opportunity when you are asked. Your logline is your most important asset. It's invaluable for keeping you focused on what makes your story unique and for always making sure that you nail the first impression when someone asks you about your work. Having the perfect elevator pitch ready to go can make or break you when the opportunity presents itself. But, why do so many creatives struggle with coming up with that one-sentence? How do you get better at honing your logline? Stage 32 is here to help you. We have brought in Emmy-award winning producer Lane Shefter Bishop who has sold 30 PROPERTIES in the last 5 years - all from pitching just a logline. Plus, she is the author of the book Sell your Story in a Single Sentence; Advice from the Front Lines of Hollywood Touted as “The Logline Whisperer” Lane Shefter Bishop has the specific tools you need to help you know how to sell what you write! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Lane will give you insider information on how you can best position your project to sell your work to agents, editors, publishers and producers. Lane has successfully sold projects to various networks and studios, including NBC/Universal, ABC/Disney, CBS, Lifetime, Sony and 20th Century Fox. All of these projects have one thing in common – they began with a single sentence, a top-notch logline. After all, you can have the best material in the world but, if you get on the phone or in a room, you need to know how to sell it with your logline!