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.
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.
“Anyone, and I mean anyone interested in becoming a screenwriter – or becoming a BETTER screenwriter has come to the right website. Michael Colleary is the best story analyst in Hollywood. Smart, insightful, thorough and creative – he will work his rear-end off on your script or story idea until it sings with commercial and artistic viability. I know this from first hand experience, having collaborated with him on numerous television and feature film projects, beginning with ‘Face/Off.’
“Additionally, he has served as my personal mentor and sounding board on practically every sale I’ve ever had in my entire career. You will not be disappointed!”
Mike Werb; screenwriter “The Mask,” “Face-Off,” “Tomb Raider,” “Unnatural History” and more.
“Among the most serious—and common—mistakes writers make is to expose their screenplays before they’re truly ready.
“Nothing better could happen to writers than to have Michael Colleary review their pages and provide notes prior to submission to agents, managers, and producers. This is true not only for first-time writers but also for seasoned professionals, even those who have development deals with production entities, writers smart enough to have Michael ask the hard questions before the producers ask them.
“I have worked closely with Michael Colleary now for over thirty years, first as my student, and now as my longtime friend and colleague. That we regularly engage him to teach advanced classes in UCLA’s graduate screenwriting program represents eloquent testimony to the nosebleed-high regard in which he is held by all of our faculty.
“Michael Colleary is an approachable, gentle taskmaster with a keen eye for what is superfluous, the roiling, swirling paraphernalia that burdens scripts when writers inevitably get in our own way, blocking our narratives, suffocating our chances for success with a particular project or an entire career.
“Rarely do I encounter a script consultant with chops as strong as Michael’s. Never have I met one who is stronger.”
Prof. Richard Walter
Screenwriting Chairman; Associate Dean
UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
“Not every great athlete is a great coach and likewise, not every artist is a great teacher. Michael Colleary is that rare find who excels in both areas.
“As co-area head of the UCLA screenwriting program, I have watched Michael with his students. He is generous, supportive, involved. his critical insight is laser sharp, delivered with the kindest of hands.”
former co-chair of UCLA MFA Screenwriting Program
“Michael is one of the smartest script consultants around. I first met him when I was a UCLA screenwriting grad student and was lucky enough to have him as an instructor.
“His notes were incredibly insightful and delivered with such finesse that I left my critique not only feeling that I could rewrite my script with ease, but that’d I’d become a better writer from that note session alone.
“I have since invited him to come to numerous CineStory Foundation retreats, where he is a beloved mentor, not only because his notes are outstanding, but because he is also outstanding as a person, mentor and critic. He is on our permanent mentor ask list – he’s that good.”
Lisanne Sartor is an award-winning writer/director whose short film “Six Letter Word” has screened at over fifty film festivals worldwide, including the Telluride Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes (www.sixletterword.org).
She made “Six Letter Word” via the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.
When people think of Manchester By the Sea, they think of an independent film drama that finds comfort in its misery. There is a stoic color palate that highlights the depressing grey of New England and its melancholy protagonist. The script (and film) are also filled with a certain quirkiness and comedy typical of the American working class city by the sea. Through its incredible pain, there are rays of sunshine and humanity that are delicately written and incredibly effective. We've brought in the Development Executive for Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond, to deconstruct this Oscar-winning script. What we will discuss and uncover is the process and elements required that enabled a film as seemingly small and intimate, like Manchester, to become a commercial and critical success. We also will address the elements of writing that attract A-level talent and help create characters that support great performances. Patrick looks forward to the discussion. All attendees will receive the Manchester by the Sea script and we highly recommend you read it in advance of the webinar.
The Cartel Manager Corey Ackerman joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.
Part 1 - The Industry & Genre Kelly dives into what the industry is looking for in the genre, the recent success of faith based films and how to reach a large audience. He also looks at examples of faith based I/A films throughout history and show why they have worked and what makes them continue to work. Part 2 - Faith Based Kelly looks at what it means to be a faith based film, for example: based on a bible story, a church, a specific religion, other religions beyond Christianity, becoming a pastor, priest or nun. He discusses how churches become involved in the marketing and how studios can find religious meanings in a variety of films. Finally, he covers stories from the bible, how to write them as period or modern day as well as parables. Part 3 - Inspirational & Aspirational Kelly looks over a number of “I/A” films: 42, Lincoln, Million Dollar Arm and War Horse. He covers the sub-genre of Disney, both live action and animated, and what their brand means to the business and to you. Other topics covered include sports films, holiday movies, bio pics, true stories and documentaries, their relevance and what is being sold in the marketplace. Part 4 - Networks & Faith Discussion centers on how faith works on television, how it's portrayed by the networks and it's relevance in the marketplace.
Nearly every executive that has come in to hear pitches through Stage 32 is looking for thriller features. It's one of the few genres that can translate internationally. Having a solid, unique thriller in your portfolio is something any manager or agent will appreciate. Thrillers like Gone Girl, Taken, The Boy Next Door and Non-Stop have profited more than quadrupled what their respective shooting budgets were. But writing thrillers comes with its own challenges. A writer has to make sure the characterization is strong throughout the story without letting the action sequences overshadow it. But those action sequences must be thrilling enough to fuel the story forward and the pacing must be thriving and building in every scene. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our exclusive 3-week online intensive class How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller taught by the creative executive of Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! In this hands-on course, you will learn what it takes to write a compelling, fast-paced thriller and how to successfully pitch it to production companies. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a thriller that will stand out. The objective of this course is: To learn the rules of writing a page-turner thriller with a unique hook. To prepare you on how to pitch your completed thriller. To elevate your writing and story to a more marketable level. You will leave the course knowing: Tropes used in thrillers to avoid and tropes to embrace. How to commit to tone from page 1. How to option a book or article to establish an IP. The difference between the subgenres of a thriller (including blockbusters, psychological, erotic and art-house). How to prepare your pitch document for your completed thriller. About Your Teacher Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures Patrick started his career working as an assistant at Gersh, where he was able to learn the business from the ground up as well as make solid connection in the town. He worked primarily in the production department but gained lots of exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He utilized his experience and passion as leverage in a transition to work as a producer’s assistant. LD Entertainment became his home the next three years, where he was eventually promoted to a creative executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. After three years, he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up. He learned a lot about assembling large studio films. He has transitioned back into more of a creative executive position at Mandalay Pictures, where he gets to go back to my passion: cultivate amazing stories and working with great writers. Class Schedule ( 6/20, 6/27, 711) Week #1 (6/20): This is an all inclusive look into the world of thrillers. This will offer you a behind-the-scenes look on what executives look for when reading thrillers and some common mistakes writers make that disrupt the reading process. This class will also cover: Concepts that sell and concepts that don’t. Market trends (i.e. female driven thrillers, the state of erotic thrillers after movies like The Boy Next Door). Tips on making sure your first 10-15 pages pop and hook the executive. Stereotypical tropes/cliches writers use to set up their characters that turn off an executive. Tips on creating and layering your antagonist. How to make sure your protagonist is relatable and engaging. How to create a stand out catalyst and a sharp break into act two. Week #2 (6/27): This week will focus entirely on the engine of your story. This week will cover outlining and writing act 2 and act 3. Topics that this will cover include: How to write a thrilling action sequence. Description to dialogue ratio. Making sure you are incorporating set pieces that complement your sub-genre (i.e. what specific set pieces would you include in your second act if you are writing an erotic thriller). Tips on how to outline your heightened set pieces to make sure the emotional crescendo of your story is always escalating smoothly. How to make sure your characterization is strong throughout act two and three while keeping the tension hight. Overall tips on how to outline your script. Week #3 (7/11): This week will cover tips on how to end your script with a lasting final image and what happens after your first draft is completed. This week will include: Some of the most common elements that are rewritten after getting picked up by a production company. How to avoid development hell. Tips on how to pitch your thriller. Typical elements that can be found in a pitch package. How to decipher which companies are looking for what.
There is no hotter market right now than television. More content is being ordered than ever before. And with streaming networks such as Netflix planning to have 50% original content in their libraries within the next few years, the demand for quality television scripts, products and minds isn't going away anytime soon. But what makes a television show work? What elements are networks, premium channels and streaming platforms looking for? How do you navigate what has quickly become a very crowded market? By learning from the best, of course. Stage 32 is beyond proud to introduce a new, timely, important and exclusive Masters of Craft webinar: Writing & Producing Compelling Television in Today’s Market. Your teacher is 20+ year television veteran, the one and only David Weddle. Over his prolific career, David has been an award winning producer on some of the most famous shows of all time (Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The Twilight Zone). Currently, David is an Executive Producer and Writer for The Strain – the highly acclaimed television series created by writer/director Guillermo del Toro, based on his series of best-selling novels, co-written with Chuck Hogan. David is working alongside one of the most famous and in demand showrunners in the business, Carlton Cuse (showrunner for Lost, Bates Motel, Colony and the upcoming Amazon Studios' show Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski). As an added bonus, in this exclusive worldwide online event Stage 32’s very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself, will sit down with David and discuss the ins and outs of TV. David will take you into the world and processes of creating quality, compelling television. He will get in depth on how shows get bought and made – from writing to budgeting to casting. In short, you will gain pertinent, usable knowledge and information on writing and producing for TV. Further, we will have an extensive Q&A session where you can ask David any questions you have. This is masterful information brought to you by a master of his craft!