Subtext – How to Add Layers to Your Story and Characters

Hosted by Steve Desmond

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On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

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Steve Desmond

Webinar hosted by: Steve Desmond

Professional Screenwriter

Steve Desmond is a Chicago native, a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and a working screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Last year, he sold his thriller spec screenplay with an Academy Award nominated producer attached to it. The script is now out to directors and is slated to shoot later this year. Steve was also recently hired to write a treatment for a mini-series on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, being produced Discovery Networks, Giant Pirates, and Trigger Street. Currently, Steve is writing a new thriller for Davis Entertainment (Chronicle, The Blacklist), inspired by actual events. He is also in post-production on his Twilight Zone-esque short film that he directed, after raising nearly $30K on Kickstarter. His screenplays have appeared on the 2011 and 2013 Hit List, honoring the best spec screenplays of the year, the 2013 Blood List, honoring the best genre screenplays of the year, and he was voted for inclusion on the Young and Hungry Writers List in 2012. Over the years, he’s written or developed projects with Imagine Entertainment, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV, The Walt Becker Company, Dreamworks Animation, and (shockingly) The Disney Channel. Steve is represented by APA, The Gotham Group, and Eclipse Law Firm. Full Bio »

You’re a writer who is struggling with crafting believable dialogue. You’re a director looking for the greater meaning in a scene. You’re an actor trying to connect with what a character is feeling. Subtext is the backbone of emotion in any story, regardless of what genre you’re working in. It also helps to separate great scripts from not so great scripts.

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, filmmaker Steve Desmond will help you to craft engaging subtext to layer your stories with nuance and emotion. Whether you’re going for laughs, drama, or impending fear, he’ll help you to make your screenplay feel more true to life. For directors or actors working with existing scripts, this webinar will help you to dig deeper below the surface to find the true lifeblood beneath a line. For producers, we’ll discuss tips on how to work with writers to make their subtext come alive.

Whether you’re a writer, a director, an actor, or a producer, subtext is a major part of your game and this webinar will help you add an entirely new layer to your projects.


What You'll Learn:

  • What exactly is subtext? What is on the nose dialogue?
    • Defining the concepts to set our foundation.
  • Examining Subtext examples
    • We’ll study some great films and show how subtext creates character chemistry and memorable moments.
  • How to get there – It all begins with characters
    • If you don’t understand who your characters are, you can’t write them.
    • Engaging in pre-writing exercises to discover your characters’ inner voices.
  • Scene Analysis for Writers, Directors, Actors, and Producers
    • What is a scene about? What is a scene really about?
  • Steps to crafting stronger subtext
    • How beginning with on the nose dialogue is the first step towards adding layers.
    • The fine art of trimming to find the real meaning hidden within the clutter.
    • Sometimes not having a character say anything is more powerful than any words.
  • Writing Exercises
    • Creating scenarios and giving yourself limitations.
    • How acting leads to better writing.
  • Using real life interactions to enhance your writing
    • Learning to really listen to how you talk with others.
    • Drawing upon real life memories and examining the subtext behind them.
  • When to go on the nose
    • How to make these moments count. And how often to use them.
  • For Directors & Actors – Finding the subtext within a scene.
    • Sometimes ‘ordinary’ lines are filled with meaning.
    • Discovering multiple ways to play a line, a moment, or a scene.
  • For Producers – Improving subtext within a writer’s script.
    • Tips (from a writer) on how best to give notes to make a script feel less on the nose.
  • Case Studies
  • Live Q & A with Steve!

About Your Instructor:

Steve Desmond is a Chicago native, a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and a working screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Last year, he sold his thriller spec screenplay with an Academy Award nominated producer attached to it. The script is now out to directors and is slated to shoot later this year. Steve was also recently hired to write a treatment for a mini-series on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, being produced Discovery Networks, Giant Pirates, and Trigger Street.

Currently, Steve is writing a new thriller for Davis Entertainment (Chronicle, The Blacklist), inspired by actual events. He is also in post-production on his Twilight Zone-esque short film that he directed, after raising nearly $30K on Kickstarter. His screenplays have appeared on the 2011 and 2013 Hit List, honoring the best spec screenplays of the year, the 2013 Blood List, honoring the best genre screenplays of the year, and he was voted for inclusion on the Young and Hungry Writers List in 2012. Over the years, he’s written or developed projects with Imagine Entertainment, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV, The Walt Becker Company, Dreamworks Animation, and (shockingly) The Disney Channel.

Steve is represented by APA, The Gotham Group, and Eclipse Law Firm.


Frequently Asked 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!

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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

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