Sarah Cornelius is the Creative and Production Executive at Whitewater Films, an independent production company spearheaded by veteran producer Rick Rosenthal whose more than 100 credits include: BAD BOYS HALLOWEEN 2 TRANSPARENT BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SMALLVILLE Whitewater Film's mandate is to discover new writers with unique voices and to produce their projects. This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for: Paramount Classics The Orchard Showtime CNN Films Netflix IFC Samuel Goodwyn Films Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner), SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Full Bio »
We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page?
Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses.
Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner.
Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence.
Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page:
Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar
"Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!"
"Very informative, well worth it!"
"Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!"
"Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today."
Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast?
Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
***You will receive your 12 script downloads as pdf downloads underneath the recorded version of the webinar.
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Includes free script downloads of: PARASITE GREEN BOOK MYSTIC RIVER Writing a great feature screenplay is a gargantuan effort, and putting together something like this doesn’t just happen willy nilly. No matter how good of an idea you have, how fantastic your characters are, or how mind boggling your plot twist is at the end, none of it matters without a solid story structure. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and a deep understanding of the craft. But no other elements of your script come together unless they can rest on this crucial foundation. Whether you’re working on your very first screenplay or already have many produced and under your belt, spending time better understanding and improving how you structure your film scripts is worth its weight in gold. Ask any producer, manager, coverage reader, or gatekeeper of any kind—out of the thousands of scripts they read and the countless issues and problems they come across, no issue is more prevalent in a writer’s screenplay submission than their failure to effectively structure and plot out their story. It makes sense; implementing a tight story structure is HARD, a delicate and complex balancing process that is hard for ANYONE to nail. Yet it’s for this reason that mastering story structure is even more important—if you can present a screenplay with a rock-solid story structure, you’re instantly able to stand out and get your script noticed and considered. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Whitewater is releasing two features in 2021. The critically acclaimed festival favorite THE BOY BEHIND THE DOOR will release on AMC-owned horror streamer SHUDDER on July 29th. The second feature, SMALL ENGINE REPAIR starring Jon Bernthal and Shea Whigham has been acquired by Vertical Entertainment, release details TBA. Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering stories to delve into how you can master story structure for your own feature film screenplay will use notable past screenplays as examples as she breaks down, act by act, the elements necessary to turn your script into something special. She’ll begin by discussing three-act structure in general and explain why it’s necessary as your begin developing your script. She’ll also teach you some of the biggest elements needed for effective story development, including world building, effective characters, stakes, theme, and tone. Next, Sarah will zoom in on act one and explain how to master introductions and the inciting incident as well as spotlighting your central question. She’ll also reveal the most common pitfalls she sees in act one. Sarah will do the same for acts two and three, spending time to go over complications and escalations, transitions, subplots and turning points, effective revelations, climaxes and resolutions. Throughout, Sarah will be drawing from the Oscar-winning screenplay of PARASITE and you will receive free downloads of the script. MYSTIC RIVER Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "Just a ton of information from someone that is clearly on the 'inside' of the industry." -Kerry B. "Sarah was spot on about structure, It aligns with everything else i have learned, seen, experienced.: -David G. "She was informative and great." -Lauren F. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
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!
Learn directly from Simon Graham-Clare (Producer) and Ricky Margolis (VP) at Future Films USA (Over 200 films & TV shows financed and produced)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis will demystify global tax incentives and highlight some of the many other factors to take into consideration when looking at different locations. They will look at current example incentives from around the world and also enlighten you on ways these incentives can trigger additional investment into your project. Filmmakers will learn more about international independent film financing and how tax incentives are a key element to the business plan and can open doors to a slew of potential partners, helping to plot a ‘road map’ to production. Writers will learn why they need to be thinking about the locations in which they set their stories, and how it affects the attractiveness of their scripts to producers and financiers. Having a clear understanding of today’s global tax incentives will leave your project looking more professional and further advanced, hopefully increasing your chances to move the project into production. Your hosts Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis are Producers at Future Films USA, having financed and produced over 200 films and TV shows! The Future Film Group was established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principals in both the entertainment and business worlds. They quickly established themselves on the UK scene through their involvement in films such as Bend it like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins). At Future Films USA, Simon works as a producer, assessing film and television projects that Future Films might board to finance or produce. Ricky works in the role of Development Executive, continuing his work on the financing side whilst also becoming a more integrated part of the Future Film Group’s production activities.
It’s impossible to find an actor, writer, producer, or director who doesn’t have a favorite sketch they have been quoting since they were a kid. And with the recent explosion of short-form content, sketch comedy is more popular and relevant than ever before. Maybe you’re an actor looking to produce your own short-form content but have no idea how to translate your idea to the page. Maybe you’re a comedy writing machine but your sketches feel disorganized or too scattered. With more and more execs/reps wanting to see your work and click a link, sketch comedy isn’t just fun anymore, it can be a functional calling card. And having your sketches hit the mark is essential to making sure those people know your comedy voice is strong, unique, and one worth watching. Since sketch is so accessible, many people dive headfirst into writing/producing sketches without learning the language, tools, and structure. And that’s the reason why 99% of sketches are, let’s be honest, pretty cringey. But with a clear understanding of what a sketch is and what are the engines that drive the comedy, you can learn actual tools/methods to take a simple funny thought and turn it into a tight, streamlined sketch. You have a comedic POV within you; but without the structure, rules, and techniques to hone and streamline an idea into a tight, digestible sketch those ideas spiral out of control. Conversely, you have a great ideas but no conception of how to take that vague thought to finished comedic product. The solution to both these seemingly opposite comedy ailments is the same – structure and technique. Jeff Galante is an actor/comedian/writer is based out of the Groundlings Theater where he is a regular performer and a senior teacher. He created several network comedy pilots including STUNTED (NBC) and THINK TANK (A&E), which was exec. produced by Chris Moore (AMERICAN PIE, GOOD WILL HUNTING). Jeff is currently developing a slate of feature projects including a horror comedy with Jack Quaid and Joe Dante, a rom com with Damon Wayans Jr. and Davis Entertainment, and a dramedy with Andy Fickman. Jeff has consulted on SMALLFOOT (Warner Bros.), contributed material to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and was an actor/writer on Wanda Sykes’ USA sketch comedy pilot WHAT HAPPENED WAS. He recently won the Stage32 Feature Script Competition and has been a finalist/semi-finalist in competitions including the Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, and the Universal Emerging Writers Fellowship. As an actor, Jeff has appeared on such shows as 2 BROKE GIRLS (CBS), IDIOTSITTER (Comedy Central) and DISASTER DATE (MTV). He has performed live at Standup NBC, San Francisco Sketchfest, Chicago Sketchfest, and was a cast member/writer on NATIONAL LAMPOON’S revival of Lemmings alongside the boys from WORKAHOLICS. He is also a highly sought-after comedy teacher/director for networks like G4 and SMOSH. In this enlightening webinar, Jeff will equip you with all the tools you'll need define sketch comedy and identify the different types of the craft. He will deep dive into the various engines of comedy using sketch examples. He will also explain characters and how to make them memorable. He is including a guided brainstorming session in which he will use tools and techniques to get a jumpstart with a clear sketch idea.
In this Break Down we are seeing what it takes to build a world during the Breakdown Webcast: World Building! This comes as a request from several of our members who want to discuss how to build worlds in your writing...and pre-writing. World Building is one of most important tasks in writing - it lays the foundation for everything that occurs in your story. So how can you do it within your screenplay without feeling expository or over the top? We're going to talk about how to avoid common mistakes in World Building, key ways to get better at World Building, and even look at some examples of World Building from both script and screen to see how your favorite screenwriters and filmmakers tackled this difficult task. During this webcast, we watch clips and analyze the scripts for features including TITANIC, BLADE RUNNER, JOKER and more!
Victor Bui, Kristi Shuton & Adienne C. Thomas are on the Disney | ABC Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Team where they oversee the Writing and Directing Programs. We discuss what writing programs and fellowships, writer development, and how to create a personal brand/story, plus a live Q&A!