The Keys to Writing True Stories, Biopics, and Adaptations

An In-Depth Primer
Hosted by Tyler Ruggeri

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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.

 

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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!!

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