An entertainment industry veteran, Brian has been working in the industry since 1999, and he has credits on 23 films and television series for major studios like Disney, Universal, Sony, and DreamWorks Animation. Brian has worked with some of the top story tellers in the animation industry, and has been studying the art and development of storytelling from within for nearly 20 years. While at DreamWorks Animation his work fell under the umbrella of the DreamWorks Education department and Brian taught classes to artists and other staff on story telling, Film Noir, and screenwriting. Brian has been a professional screenplay reader since 2006, and has written coverage for over 1,000 scripts and books for companies such as Walden Media and Scott Free Films. Scripts and books that Brian has read and covered include Twilight, Touristas, Nim’s Island, Hotel for Dogs, and Inkheart. Brian is a life-long fan of good stories and he’s spent years studying the techniques and principles of good storytelling. He believes that great cinema and great storytelling are inseparable. He studied animation and screenwriting at the University of Southern California, receiving an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1999. With that knowledge and his appreciation of good stories, Brian gets real satisfaction in helping writers get the most out of their stories through their screenplays. Brian was born and raised on Cape Cod and currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, three daughters, and two dogs. Full Bio »
After reading well over 1,000 screenplays over the course of my career, from both professionals and amateurs, I can tell you that I have a solid idea of what makes a good story. Also, as someone who has been a professional reader, I can show you through a reader’s eyes where a story becomes flawed, and how those stories can be improved to prevent you and your script from getting the dreaded PASS on coverage notes.
The Dirty Secret of Story Structure will take a meticulous look at the art of building dramatic structure within your story by learning how to do it in individual scenes.
Each and every scene in your script should serve as an opportunity to move the story forward. If it is not doing that, it’s not serving its correct purpose within the world of your story. Just as your overall screenplay has a beginning, a middle and an end, so too should each scene. Within each scene should be a character who wants something, and another character or entity that is trying to stop her.
Developing a structure within each scene to determine how those events transpire is just as important to telling your story as making sure the Act I to Act II transition happens somewhere between pages 25 and 30. However, the notion of dramatic structure has been misinterpreted for years.
Dramatic structure is not necessarily what you think it is, and when it is re-examined, the thought of fitting a story within the confines of dramatic structure becomes less daunting. This webinar will provide detailed examples on how to build solid dramatic structure within your scenes, as well as within your overall screenplay.
The secret: Most films are told in four acts, not three.
Break 3-act structure (and the Hero’s Journey) down to a scene-by scene level.
Break 3-act structure (and the Hero’s Journey) down to a scene-by scene level.
Applying technique - We'll go over how thinking of a screenplay in 4 acts rather than 3 can help you by:
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!
Subtext in your dialogue and in your story can be the difference between a studio picking up your script or passing on it. Subtext adds layers to your story and depth to your characters. Mastering the art of subtext is not only preferable for writers, it is absolutely essential. The writers and creators of Film Noir were experts at the use of subtext because, due to the restrictions of the Production Code, their films could not have been made without it. The makers of Film Noir mastered the art of not saying what you’re trying to say, and saying it in a way that sounds like you’re saying something completely different. That subtext allowed the audience to fill in the blanks and become more active participants in the story, and that is why subtext is so important. It gets your audience more involved in the story. Film Noir and the Art of Subtext will show you how to apply the use of subtext in your own scripts in order to add that depth, further engage the audience and take your script to the next level by using examples from some of the great films of that style. After reading well over 1,000 screenplays over the course of my career, from both professionals and amateurs, I can tell you that I can recognize good subtext. Also, as someone who has been a professional reader, I can show you through a reader’s eyes where subtext is needed, and how subtext can be used to prevent you and your script from getting the dreaded PASS on coverage notes.
Flashbacks are not meant to be a storytelling crutch, but rather a tool used to reveal additional backstory or subvert the audiences expectation of a character or situation. We will examine Casablanca, The Usual Suspects & Casino Royale.
“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!
Christian Sander is The Director of Development for Pensé Productions - we have a fun hour long conversation with Christian about the craft and business.
As we always say at Stage 32, perfecting your craft is only half of your job - the other half is networking! So, how do you meet the right people to move the needle on your career when you don't know anyone? We've brought in industry veteran Jessica Sitomer, who has over 20 years in the industry as a development executive, producer of 3 TV shows, writer and career coach for the Cinematographers Guild. Through the years she has perfected the art of networking - helping creatives grow their networks from one to two people to hundreds. When she moved to Los Angeles, she knew two people and one of them moved the day after she got to LA. She made it her mission to learn how to survive and thrive in the creative industry. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar Jessica will go over the eight concrete strategies for breaking in when you don't know anyone and will offer plenty of tips for successful networking. There are exercises and actionable information you can use to help you start connecting and thriving!
Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to bring you They Said “No” – Why Did They Pass? hosted by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive at Atlas Entertainment (Wonder Woman, Justice League, Suicide Squad, American Hustle, The Dark Knight Trilogy). Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material? Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran. I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process." We are thrilled to bring you an executive of this caliber to be able to teach you directly about what you can do to help that crucial moment once you get in front of an executive. In this webinar, Dan will bring you a fun and informed approach to what it's like from the executive side of the table.