The Keys to Writing True Stories, Biopics, and Adaptations

An In-Depth Primer
Hosted by Tyler Ruggeri

$49

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

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

Tyler Ruggeri

Webinar hosted by: Tyler Ruggeri

Writer/Story Consultant

Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter and story consultant with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series. Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers and were awarded by the Black List and Nicholl Fellowships. Tyler also works as a consultant for independent shorts and features, with a focus on shaping both the material and the filmmaker's individual voice. He serves as a mentor for film students at his alma mater, Emerson College, and is a member of the WGA.   Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

If there has been one genre that has stood the test of time throughout the history of the film industry, it's the biopic. True stories about interesting people and events are always in vogue. Studios, indie production companies and the streamers love them because they draw big audiences and awards recognition. Actors love them because it gives them something meaty to chew on and increases their odds for awards success. Many a writer has broken through by writing a screenplay based on true events. And right now, especially with the streamers upping their game, the genre has never been hotter. But to write a killer, non-rote biopic, you need to understand where to find your material, how to secure it, and then how to best tell your version of the story so that it attracts representatives, producers, financiers, and talent.

The last 10 years has seen a biopic renaissance. The Social Network, Wolf of Wall Street, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody, American Sniper, The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The King's Speech, Dolemite is My Name, The Irishman and Ford Vs. Ferrari all have been nominated or won major awards. And those are just a handful of the biopics that have been distributed either theatrically or digitally over the last decade. And with the streamers going full force, the studios looking for the sure thing, and the independent community looking for smaller, unknown stories, the desire for biopic and true story screenplays is only going to grow. Even short form biopics are booming with TV series and limited series based on real people and events all the rage.

Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter, story consultant, and former literary manager with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series. Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers.

With his vast experience, Tyler not only knows the world of writing biopics, but how to find and secure material as well. He will teach you resources to help you find the right material and how to find the right story for you to tell. He'll show you how to secure intellectual property. He will instruct you on the benefits of wiring an original screenplay vs. an adaptation. He will dig deep into the process of how to shape your story, including how to find your way into the story before you start writing so that your opening is an attention grabber. He will teach you how to do research and how you can do the extra legwork to go deeper into the world of your story. He will dive into 4 tips to join fact with fiction and 4 tips on dramatic license and when and how to use it. Tyler will show you how to creative the best character arcs possible including character motivation, behavior, stakes, and how the characters exist in time and place. He will help you uncover themes and make sure those themes are fleshed out to attract the widest audience possible. He will then discuss the market, how to sell, how to cover yourself legally and much, much more.

 

If you've ever had a passion to tell a story based on a real person or events, Tyler will take you through everything you need to know to secure the IP, protect yourself legally, develop the story, write the screenplay and put yourself in a position to get the material massive attention.

 

 

"Legitimately one of the best classes I've ever taken. I've had a story based on a book I've been eyeing forever and didn't know how to go about it. Now I do. What an incredible blueprint to securing, writing, and selling biopics."

- Amanda P.

 

"Outstanding in every way."

- Marco G.

 

"I'm overcome with gratitude. The best."

- Danny C.

 

"I don't think I could be any more inspired."

Patricia S.

What You'll Learn

  • Selecting Material
    • How to Find the Right Story to Tell
    • Resources on Where You Can Find Material
  • Writing an Original Screenplay vs. an Adaptation
    • Which One Is Harder?
    • Why To Write an Adaptation
  • How to Tell Your Version of the Story
    • How To Shape Your Perspective of Real People and Events
    • Determining Your Focus: What’s The Way In?
  • Research
    • Getting to Know the World of Your Story
    • Tips on How to Research
  • Legal Issues
    • Public vs. Private Figures
    • Libel
    • Book or Life Rights
    • Stories Inspired By but Not Based on Reality
    • Public Domain
    • Music Rights
  • Preparing Your Story
    • 4 Tips to Join Fact and Fiction
    • 4 Tips on Dramatic License: When and How to Use it
  • Creating Character Arcs
    • Is it Better to Tell the Whole Story of Just One Part of it?
    • Character Motivation
    • Character Behavior
    • Stakes
    • Time and Place
  • Uncovering Themes
    • How to Write Specific Characters for a Broad Audience
  • How to Condense Your Notes and Shape the First Draft
    • When to Begin Writing
    • 7 Steps to Take
  • Selling Biopics/True Stories
    • Are They Viable?
    • What Kind of Producers Make Them?
    • Studios vs. Independent Financing
    • Talent Attachments
  • Comprehensive List of Biopic and True Story Scripts to Read
  • Q&A with Tyler

About Your Instructor

Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter and story consultant with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry.

His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series.

Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers and were awarded by the Black List and Nicholl Fellowships.

Tyler also works as a consultant for independent shorts and features, with a focus on shaping both the material and the filmmaker's individual voice. He serves as a mentor for film students at his alma mater, Emerson College, and is a member of the WGA.

 

FAQs

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! 

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Probably the best webinar I have taken so far on Stage32. Tyler had so much information to cover, it was very helpful in understanding some of the nuances of writing True Stories. My only comment for Stage32 would be that this webinar is quite dated and it would be very helpful if webinars had a date of original recording on them. The Entertainment Industry changes so quickly that many of the things he spoke to as current trends or truths, were heavily dated and no longer correct.
  • Top notch webinar! To the point and very clear. Wide range covered. A++!
  • Tyler's range of film industry shows to great advantage hosting the True Stories, Biopics and Adaptations webinar. His explanations were perceptive and clear. Thanks for a good learning experience, Tyler.
  • Tyler was clear, concise and practical. He dropped nuggets of information that were solid gold. I used some of his tips almost immediately. Thanks Stage32 Team -- you rock!!

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Feature Writing Workshop: What’s Next For Your Script?

  Week 1: Introduction & Concept/Theme – Every script begins with an idea. I’ll give an intro to the workshop process and discuss the basics of crafting a script with a strong central premise. Week 2: Character – Great scripts revolve around great characters. In this session, we’ll explore how to create compelling, three-dimensional characters that jump off the page and attract talent. Week 3: Plot/Structure – Plotting and structure are among the most difficult elements for any writer to master. We’ll dive into examples and determine how it’s best to craft a strong (but not necessarily conventional) storyline. Week 4: Dialogue & Where to Go From Here – Truthful and natural-sounding dialogue is the secret weapon of any screenplay. We’ll end the workshop by discussing the subtle ways dialogue can improve any script, and writers will determine their plans moving forward. In addition to the scheduled topics, I’ll also speak on general dos and don’ts in the industry, advice on getting representation, and other issues creatives commonly face. Writers are encouraged to participate and ask any questions that would be helpful for their projects or overall career goals.  

Writing the Cinematic Protagonist: How to Create Memorable, Multi-Dimensional Lead Characters

Quick, name your 5 favorite movies of all time. Chances are they are all encompass different genres and various worlds and journeys. But likely, they all have one thing in common:  A memorable and multi-dimensional protagonist. Writing lead characters can be tricky. They're usually the first character that comes to mind when we're crafting our story. As such, we tend to have definitive, even strict, ideas of how that character will dress, how he or she will behave, and even what happens to them along the way. As such, many writers end up crafting their leads as rigid and one-dimensional. As a result, their lead character becomes passive and the supporting characters end up being much more proactive and interesting. Writing a truly memorable lead character takes a full understanding of your character's wants, needs, obstacles, flaws and much more. It means digging into the psychology of your lead before you begin writing so that you can make wonderful, informed discoveries throughout the writing process. With a constant parade of franchise sequels, remakes, and reboots, it’s become harder than ever to create a unique and nuanced lead that audiences feel they haven’t seen before. And in a marketplace crowded with more of the same, it’s never been more essential (and potentially lucrative) for screenwriters to set their work apart. In addition, with the explosion of content being created for the streaming platforms, it's more important than ever, no matter whether you're writing features or TV, that you be able to create lead characters that development execs, producers, showrunners, and financiers can't deny and want to follow into fire. That uniqueness in voice and vision is getting writers signed, sold, staffed, and more and more work than ever before. So how can writers create characters that appeal to a wide audience without sacrificing the very qualities that make them singular? Tyler Ruggeri is a writer with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His original screenplay The Making Of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright, Bernie) and Trudie Styler (Moon) of Maven Pictures. He is currently adapting a critically acclaimed non-fiction book and writing an original action drama. Prior to his writing career, Tyler was a talent manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors while developing the company’s slate of projects. He signed emerging filmmakers including Lee Patterson (Nicholl Fellowship winner for Snatched) and Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, as well as the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to Whiplash, scripts he developed with clients have sold to A-list producers/financiers and garnered industry attention and assignments from major studios. Tyler has read thousands of screenplays and knows first hand what makes a memorable and multi-dimensional protagonist. And now for the 2nd time, exclusively for Stage 32, Tyler is back to teach you how to write interesting and complicated characters that audiences can root for without sacrificing depth. Tyler will focus on studying (and deconstructing) the building blocks of movie protagonists in a straightforward, fun, and easy to digest format. He’ll discuss character in a macro-level approach while zeroing in on recent examples from popular films. He will teach you about making meaningful choices for your characters and how you can't be afraid to make the tough choice. He will delve into your characters wants, needs, and goals. He will discuss whether you lead character needs to be likable. He will teach you all the rules of writing characters and show you how you can break those rules to stand out from the crowd and make an exec turn pages. He will teach you all the tips and tricks of character building that he's learned over the last 10+ years of working with writers and reading scripts. He'll even discuss writer's block - if there is such a thing - and how to get beyond it all and keep writing. In short, he will teach you everything to have your lead characters jumping from the page and pulling the reader along for his or her journey.       "Tyler is an extremely articulate presenter. It really helped to have such specific information about how a character can be multi-dimensional. I already see the issues with my protagonist and can't wait to get it all fixed!" - Becca B.   "I took pages and pages of notes, thank you! Very well delivered, Tyler clearly had a vast knowledge of the subject. I really enjoyed it!" - Natalie E.   "Thank you for bringing Tyler back. One of my favorite Stage 32 educators! This seemed like a week's worth of material delivered concisely and deliberately. I'm so grateful! - Bob K.

Cursing in Dialogue

Cursing in dialogue can have an impact on many things in your screenplay. We'll examine how swearing is used to reveal character, explore subtext, and drive a narrative forward.

How to Write a Great Sitcom Pilot Script with a Case Study of HBO's BARRY pilot

The television landscape is constantly changing, with new technology, new networks, new trends, and new players. Yet a constant throughout the years has been the popularity of the situational comedy. From I LOVE LUCY all the way to MODERN FAMILY and THE GOOD PLACE, there has always been an appetite for new sitcoms, funny stories and beloved characters to come back to week after week (or binge all at once). As a result, if you have great idea for a sitcom and a great pilot script to go with it, networks are always going to be interested. But first you have to write that pilot. But you can't build a house without a blueprint. That's why it's so important to understand the sitcom pilot script on a fundamental level. A written TV pilot is not something physically tangible. You're selling the network an idea, an episode, and, really, an entire series without ever shooting a single frame. That alone is an overwhelmingly huge task. This is why people often struggle writing a pilot script. Putting too much into the script, or not enough. Properly setting up the world. Getting your audience attached to your characters. Including enough jokes and still having a prominent story. All of these elements make crafting your sitcom pilot difficult and the overall process intimidating. Yet shining a light on the pilot process can help reduce the fear and better equip you when writing. David Shecter has has been working in the television industry in production, development, and as a writer for over a decade. He has written on many shows, including season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His experience and success on that show landed David on the pilot of the CBS smash hit 2 Broke Girls, where he worked his way up as a staff writer on the 6th and final season of the show. Since 2 BROKE GIRLS, David has served on the FOX sitcom OUTMATCHED starring Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson and was named a WGA TV Writer Access Honoree for his script For Worse. David’s continued work in the sitcom TV world has lent him a keen understanding of what makes these shows successful and how to make the most of your sitcom pilot. David will break down how to write a great sitcom pilot that can build your world, show your style, and appeal to both executives and audiences. He’ll give you tips on how to find your sitcom’s tone and decide where it lies on the comedy spectrum between comedy and drama. He’ll discuss the differences between premise-based and character-based sitcoms and teach you how to find the balance between jokes and story. Next David will delve into the proper structure of a sitcom pilot, looking at length, episodic vs. serialized and if commercial breaks are still a thing. He’ll give you tips on how to start writing your sitcom pilot and break down the anatomy of a sitcom scene. He’ll share tips on how to build effective sitcom characters and will finally teach you how to best establish your world through the pilot and how to pack everything neatly into your script. David will even offer a deep dive of the pilot script for HBO's Emmy-nominated sitcom BARRY, analyzing why this script works. Everyone who signs up will receive a free download of this script.   David is excited to show you the proper tools so you can start building the world of your sitcom from the ground up with complete confidence and create a product that can help you find the success you’re looking for.

Breaking Down The Business of Producing Virtual Reality & 360

We've brought in Zeke Thomas, a VR producer who recently did the 360 experience for HAPPY DEATH DAY for Universal & Blumhouse and who's clients include: Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV and more. Zeke will be breaking down the business of VR/360 in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar.  Billions of dollars have been poured into Virtual Reality & 360 spherical capture, but is there really a business for this form of storytelling? If you're already filming in VR/360 or are interested in pursuing this medium, it's important to understand not just the craft, but the business of it.  

How to Navigate Different Types of Audition Rooms To Calm Your Nerves Going In

The audition room. Even thinking about it makes even the most seasoned actor cringe. Walking in, you never truly know what you're going to get, but what if you had an upper hand on knowing what to expect before you ever walk in the door? We're here to help you learn just that! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, accomplished actors Uma Incrocci and Christian Pedersen are back by popular demand to walk you through what happens in every type of audition room: Film auditions TV auditions Theater auditions Voiceover auditions New media auditions Commercial auditions Self tape auditions They’ll share the tactics they use themselves on how to deal with nerves, how to ace the chit chat in the room, and how you can be a smart actor that casting directors will want to call in again and again! After attending over a hundred casting director workshops and classes, going on hundreds of auditions, casting their own projects, and booking work in every area of the business, Uma and Christian offer a unique insider perspective on booking the room, no matter what the format. Everything you learn in this webinar is essential for you to know and understand when trying to book a new role. "Uma and Christian are amazing: super smart, highly articulate, totally authentic and exceptionally charming and generous. As long as they're willing to create more fantastic webinars, I'll be attending them." - James B. "They are very charming, giving, fun, and always very sharing. I feel that I am very close to where they are at in their careers, so it is nice to know that we are all experiencing the same things, and they always give me some new info. Great webinar!!" - Jan H.  

register for stage 32 Register / Log In