Michael Colleary is a film producer, screenwriter and television writer who’s career has spanned over 3 decades. Some of his writing credits include Face/Off, which the New York Times praised as one of the “1,000 greatest movies ever made”, Firehouse Dog, The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the story for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Most recently in television he wrote for Unnatural History on the Cartoon Network. Michael is an active teacher and consultant who’s students have gone on to careers making movies and writing television shows such as BoJack Horseman, Modern Family, Arrested Development, The Boy Next Door, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Scrubs, Psyche and CSI Miami. Michael mentors for the Writers Guild Foundation and the CineStory Foundation. Full Bio »
Learn directly from 30+ studio veteran Michael Colleary (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Face/Off, The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents & more)!
Demystifying "The Business"
The ever-changing landscape of the entertainment industry can be a challenging and confusing place. In this section Michael will discuss:
Screenwriter as Entrepreneur
Screenwriters can be notoriously slow to embrace their "business" side. Here Michael will discuss the crucial importance of connecting with your inner entrepreneur.
Building Your Team
You'll learn what each of your reps provides - and doesn't provide - for you. Common questions addressed:
Let's Make a Deal
In this section, Michael will explain the different categories of screenwriting jobs within the Studio system, including:
Michael will then revisit his "planetary guide" of Hollywood and walk you through - step-by-step - the process of landing a studio writing job, including:
Finally, Michael will break down how a screenwriter gets paid, how a writer's reps are paid, and how to manage economic unpredictability without losing your creative fire.
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.
Learn directly from Heather Hale, an Independent Film and Television Producer, Director and Screenwriter! The entertainment industry is changing dramatically all over the globe. Now, more than ever, there are major opportunities for people who work behind the scenes on set on all types of crew positions. Below-the-line positions are crucial to the success of any film or television. This includes everything from camera operators to gaffers, craft services to costume designers, composers to editors, production assistants to script supervisors – and everything in between! No matter where you live or where you are at in your career, this webinar will help you strategize how to find the best opportunities and points of entry for you to break into the crew business; shift horizontally into new locales or formats; or move up laterally into the higher echelons of professional caliber, marquis value and budgets. Discover an empowered approach to networking to help you get on the right people’s radars, get noticed, gain momentum - and get hired. Learn time-proven techniques and new resources to proactively brainstorm where the opportunities of the moment – and future - might be, who’s doing the hiring – and trace any connections you might have to the decision makers or key players. Learn how to identify, research and prioritize a finely honed hit list of Producers Line Producers, Department Heads, Directors and Below-the-Line Agents who might be accessible to you. Figure out how to track them down, strategize the best approaches to communicate with them and how to develop the kind of track record, resume and interview skills they would most likely respond to. Learn the key words you should be using in your profiles in the online communities that might be worth your time. Below-the-line team members are the lifeblood of any production and an exciting way to work in film and television. Heather uses in-the-trenches humor, candor and real world examples to illuminate the many paths to getting hired - again and again! Testimonials: "Using Heather's techniques and system, the day after her seminar, I had meetings set up with Oprah and Warren Buffet and now have access to A-List celebrities." - Sarano Kelly, #1 Motivational Speaker on Wall Street "It was that sticky, oppressive day in China Grove, in the church parking lot, when you took time out of your busy day to thank EVERYONE - including extras – for being there and helping out. That speech made me feel as if I was back on the right track with my life and made you an instant hero in my life. So few people would have taken the time to not only show their appreciation but also to treat even random Extras with kindness and respect – I couldn't help but be impressed. That might help explain why I not only consider you to be the best Director I've ever worked with but also why I'll always be willing to help you out with anything." - Kevin McDermott, Actor (Absolute Killers) "If – and when – I win an Oscar, Heather will be the first to get the thanks! Heather is so inspirational, she could raise the dead! Her knowledge and integrity amazes. A walking muse. Like a pep rally from afar. Nothing less than transformational. Heather possesses a keen understanding of how the entertainment industry operates. She was invaluable in helping me construct a game plan to define and reach my goal target audience in the most efficient, effective manner possible – to fill the theater with casting directors for my one woman show. Not only did Heather demystify the art of schmoozing but she also provided me with the tools to overcome my fear of cold calling industry folks." - Jennifer Rosen, Actress/Writer (One Woman Show: Tall Girl) "Heather is so insightful. She gives her heart and her soul to her students and their work – it’s so obvious how much she cares." - Keren Green, Director, Writer, Producer
Part 1 – THE SET UP ELEMENTS A strong lead Our girl! Creating a compelling, three-dimensional character we want to spend two hours with. The love interest. Someone adorable and smart and hot – and perfect (but only for our leading lady – or lass). The best friend. A cooky, quirky, amazing foil (for an amazing character actress). A great hook. Coming up with an amazing logline, title, and concept Inherent conflict What’s the driving force of the story? How to come up with conflict so good that scenes write themselves? Part 2 – THE PLOT ELEMENTS and THE CRUCIAL ELEMENT The cute "meet". How to craft a perfect moment. The “Benny and the Jets” Moment. Stolen from 27 DRESSES, that moment when we see our leads bond. The moment after which there’s no turning back. The break apart Anxiety, tears, snot. Will they end up together or won’t they? How to make this moment feel real and earned? The epic moment The big kiss. The wedding. The perfect moment. A FRESH VOICE The crucial element. How to discover your own voice – and then use it!
Learn directly from 12-year veteran Mary Cybriwsky, who's worked on films such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL and THE BANK JOB and has recently produced BURYING THE EX (Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene) and STICKY NOTES (Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie). With any script, setting up a strong foundation is key to a good story. In screenwriting, the craft is your foundation to a more successful journey. All working writers take the craft very seriously and have spent time perfecting their art. Too many writers try to jump into this insanely competitive field with little to no training. Executives can tell by page 5 if a writer knows the basics of screenwriting and they will not take a writer seriously if there are glaring mistakes. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our first ever 4-week "Perfecting the Basics - Introduction to Screenwriting" online class taught by manager Mary Cyrbwisky from Scooty Woop Entertainment. Mary has been one of our most sought out executives through our Coverage Program and has helped many writers better their craft (and even signed one!). Finding such a mentor to teach the basics of screenwriting is crucial and we are thrilled to have Mary for this class. Whether you are brand new to the screenwriting profession, or a seasoned writer, this class is intended to go over the basics of screenwriting to perfect your craft. The objective of this 4 week class is to cover basic screenwriting formatting, 3 act structure, characters, plots, themes, what to write and what NOT to write, but Mary will go over so much more! All of this is done in a friendly, interactive, fun online atmosphere. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Mary is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Learn directly from Laurie Cook, Producer and Head of Development at Bigscope Films, who's produced 6 feature films that have sold theatrically worldwide! With advances in modern technology across all facets of production, post and distribution, there is no better time to go and make a low-budget film and establish yourself in the industry. From Christopher Nolans' £4,000 Following to Eran Creevy's £100,000 Shifty to Jay Blakeson's £1 million Disappearance of Alice, there are different types of "low-budget" that have been proven successes in their own right, but more importantly a launching pad for the filmmakers. So what kind of film should you make? And how can you, regardless of how small your budget is, get the most for your money? Most importantly, how can you make sure that the right kind of people see your film once you have made it? In this exclusive stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Laurie Cook will guide writers, directors and producers through his experience developing and producing for the UK low-budget market. Having produced 6 low-budget feature films in the past few years within the UK, which all received worldwide theatrical distribution, Laurie will teach you his tips and tricks for producing low-budget, high production value feature films and how to best utilize UK resources. From development ideas to sources of finance, production tips to the ever-changing distribution landscape, this will be your go-to guide for navigating the low-budget UK film market, with an open question and answer throughout the webinar for maximum interaction.
Learn directly from Heather Hale, an Independent Film and Television Director, Screenwriter and Producer! In this exclusive 90 minute Next Level Webinar, Heather will teach you how to identify your most efficient points of entry into the business and ways to step up into the big leagues, specifically where to focus your networking and marketing energies. Heather will inspire you to think more strategically and act more provocatively when it comes to your work and your career. Discover not only how to brainstorm, but how to identify and research a finely honed short hit list of agents and managers truly appropriate to the type of material you write. Find your unique voice, where you’re at in your career and where you want to be. Heather will also help you identify marquis-value actors truly appropriate for your roles and directors bankable in your genre or budget range. Learn various empowered approaches to get on their radars and get your literary assets in gear! This is an all inclusive webinar for screenwriters designed to help you stop wasting time and make the proper connections and contacts that will get your work in the right, targeted hands and improve your odds of success.