Sara B Cooper is an accomplished and experienced TV writer and producer with over 30 years in the industry writing for standout shows like THE X-FILES, CHICAGO HOPE, HOUSE, and HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS. Over her storied career, Sara has learned from and worked with TV icons like Chris Carter, David E. Kelley, Tom Fontana, David Mamet, and Eric Roth. Beginning her writing career on science fiction shows like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, Sara has been able to pivot to other genres like police procedurals, medical dramas, and even feature films like LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER with Angelina Jolie. Sara continues to write and consult on many TV projects in both the U.S. and Canada and serves as a writing coach and mentors young writers through the WGA and WGC. Sara's deep experience writing characters, producing character-driven television shows and coaching newer writers to find their own voice has given her valuable knowledge in the art of character development, as well as useful tools and shortcuts any writer can apply to their own project. Full Bio »
Having a great idea for a television series or movie is one piece of the writing process. But introducing characters into your world, characters with layers and depth and nuances and flaws, is a huge piece of the writing process that often missed. Whether you're a new writer or someone that's more experienced, creating grounded and believable characters can always be challenging. Yet if you can clear this hurdle and paint fantastic characters, it’s no holds barred.
There can be something very intimidating about creating people out of nothing and building your story's characters from scratch. In the real world, people are complicated, nuanced, and hard to fully nail down or encapsulate. Yet creating an incomplete representation of a person and a less-than developed character is instantly noticeable to the audience, and of course to decision makers and actors who might be considering your script. It's a process that would be a lot easier with a shortcut, and a spelled out guide for how to develop your own story's characters. Believe it or not, though, this writing hack already exists.
Sara B Cooper is an accomplished and experienced TV writer and producer with over 30 years in the industry writing for standout shows like THE X-FILES, CHICAGO HOPE, HOUSE, and HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS. Over her storied career, Sara has learned from and worked with TV icons like Chris Carter, David E. Kelley, Tom Fontana, David Mamet, and Eric Roth. Beginning her writing career on science fiction shows like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, Sara has been able to pivot to other genres like police procedurals, medical dramas, and even feature films like LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER with Angelina Jolie. Sara continues to write and consult on many TV projects in both the U.S. and Canada and serves as a writing coach and mentors young writers through the WGA and WGC. Sara's deep experience writing characters, producing character-driven television shows and coaching newer writers to find their own voice has given her valuable knowledge in the art of character development, as well as useful tools and shortcuts any writer can apply to their own project.
During this information packed webinar, Sara will show you a surprisingly effective strategy and shortcut to help build out your own characters and aid them in being three-dimensional, authentic and memorable. This method is based on the Enneagram, a model that explores nine personality types. Using the Enneagram as a guide, Sara will show you how to better define your characters, explore how they should interact with each other, and dig into more nuanced factors like speech patterns, reactions, behaviors. Sara will show you how to use this model not only for your TV or feature script, but also for your bible, character descriptions, and pitch. Leaning on notable examples and case studies to help, Sara will demonstrate how her Enneagram model may be the key you're missing to fully developing your own characters and making your project more desirable for execs, producers and other decision makers.
Sara B. Cooper
Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.
If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.
YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.
Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.
Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.
Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email email@example.com to request accommodations.
Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.
If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. With more shows than ever looking for writers, the opportunities have never been greater, but that also means the competition has never been higher. To be considered to be part of a writing staff, you need to not only show your chops as a screenwriter, but display what you'll be like in the room. So how can you stand out to the executives and producers hiring and prove that you're going to be a team player, while bringing an original, independent voice to the table? To be staffed in the competitive world of TV writing, you must first understand what opens the door and what keeps you in the room. Your writing must not only be on point, but you have to also be able to display a comprehension of the art of the meeting. Executives and producers are going to meet dozens if not hundreds of writers. You have to learn how to connect with them, fill their needs, and make their jobs easy! In short, you and your writing need to be sharp, interesting and memorable. Over her very decorated and successful career as a development executive, Marla White has sat across more writers than she can remember. Marla was not only the development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment, but she's also worked with hundreds of writers who have sold pitches and shows to, and/or been staffed by, Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and just about every premium cable channel and streaming platform you can name. Marla will discuss what executives are looking for in your writing. Whether "good" is good enough to get you in the room. Whether it's better for your work to be more memorable or sellable. She will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll discuss all aspects of a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" in all situations, each and every time. Plus, she'll also talk about "do's and don'ts" and how you can get invited back for the all important pitch meeting. This webinar provides pertinent and actionable information for every level of writer. If you're just starting out in your career, what you'll learn will not only prepare you for everything mentioned above, but for preparation when speaking with managers and agents. If you're a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game and how to navigate the politics, this one is for you as well! This is some straight shooting, no B.S. information. I'm grateful that Marla pulled no punches and told it like it is. Next meeting I get, I'm owning it! - Samantha W.
Includes a case study of a real lookbook Yen created for his film 1985! Before you can even take a seat in that director’s chair, you must be able to convince decision makers to give you the job or support our project in the first place. To do this effectively, it’s crucial you can share your vision through a director’s lookbook. A common hurdle directors face early in their careers is the realization that having what it takes to be a director and being able to convince others that you have what it takes to be a director are wholly separate skills. You could be able to create stunning works of cinema, but if you convince producers you have this capability, it’s not going to amount to much. A great lookbook can get decision makers excited about you and your ideas in a way a simple pitch can’t. But what does a great lookbook look like and how do directors go about making them? And how can you use this tool stand out and find the opportunities you are after? Yen Tan is an award-winning Malaysian-born writer and director who has helmed multiple projects that have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, and others. His critically acclaimed feature PIT STOP premiered at Sundance and was nominated for a John Cassavetes Awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Yen also co-directed UNTIL WE COULD, an Addy-winning PSA for Freedom to Marry narrated by Robin Wright and Ben Foster. His film 1985 premiered at South by Southwest and became a New York Times Critic’s Pick Feature. Yen has been a fellow of Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive, IFP’s Film Week, and Film Independent’s Fast Track and was named one of Out Magazine's OUT100 of 2018. His celebrated work as both a director and graphic designer has given him deep knowledge and ability to create effective lookbooks for his own projects and others. Yen will walk you through how exactly to put together a director’s lookbook that will catch a decisionmaker’s eye and help you land opportunities or find support for your own projects. He’ll begin by going through the basics of a lookbook, outlining their purpose, when you should make one, who you’re making them for and in which scenarios they’re helpful. He’ll also explain different types of lookbooks you can create, including general lookbooks and character breakdowns, and will show examples of past look books he designed to help illustrate. Yen will next delve into what a lookbook should look like, focusing on appropriate length, visual vs. text balance, typography, and how to split up page-by-page. He will also discuss how to find add images. Next he will talk about different software options—both free and paid—that you can use to make your own lookbook. Yen will even offer a live demonstration, putting together a page of a hypothetical lookbook using free online software and resources. Finally, Yen will share the lookbook he created for his feature film 1985 and discuss why he made the decisions he did in putting it together.
In this Executive Hour, Screenwriting Jon Stahl talks about moving from production on projects like Young Adult to the Writers' Room of the HBO award-winning series, "VEEP." Jon has in writers' rooms for NBC, Nickelodeon, and HBO. Jon talks about his next creative endeavor, writing and producing a podcast radio play starring Tony Hale of "Arrested Development" and "VEEP"!
In this Break Down we are seeing what it takes to build a world during the Breakdown Webcast: World Building! This comes as a request from several of our members who want to discuss how to build worlds in your writing...and pre-writing. World Building is one of most important tasks in writing - it lays the foundation for everything that occurs in your story. So how can you do it within your screenplay without feeling expository or over the top? We're going to talk about how to avoid common mistakes in World Building, key ways to get better at World Building, and even look at some examples of World Building from both script and screen to see how your favorite screenwriters and filmmakers tackled this difficult task. During this webcast, we watch clips and analyze the scripts for features including TITANIC, BLADE RUNNER, JOKER and more!
A great story starts with great characters and every great character starts with a great introduction. We challenged you to create or rewrite a scene where a major character is introduced.
Viviana Zarragoitia, the VP of Three Point Capital, explains how exactly to take advantage of tax incentives for your own project With a walkthrough of an online application PLUS! a special guest - Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN incentive program It’s important for you to understand how various tax incentives work, because a lot goes into deciding where to shoot and how to piece together projects based on these incentives. They’re a big part of funding projects. Understanding the criteria, how to properly fill out applications, working with local film funds and associations, knowing what is due when, and knowing when money flows back to you are just some of the pieces that go into putting together a film or series as it relates to tax incentives. If your head is spinning a little, don’t worry. With the right guidance, this will all make sense to you and you’ll be on your way to making sure you make the most out of the appropriate tax incentives for your next projects. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how to take advantage of domestic and international tax incentives. In this extended class and workshop, Viviana walks you through the types of incentives and how to access them, domestic and international tax credits, and how to monetize incentives. She also discusses the effects of tax incentives in the entertainment industry and locally, as well as how to decide on a jurisdiction based on creative and financial elements. Plus! Viviana gives a workshop and goes over an online application for a tax credit. Viviana even brings in a special guest- Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN Incentive Program--to take part in a Q&A that answer questions on making tax incentives work for your projects. Praise for Viviana's Past Stage 32 Financing Classes: "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" -Patricia C. "Viviana was personable, professional, interesting, interested, and a wealth of knowledge and useful information. I will take every opportunity to learn from her. She was patient and polite with every question and always clear with what she knew, what she thought, what she believed, and what she didn't know. She painted pictures and delivered facts, outlining the paths she has seen successful producers take while still encouraging all to pursue their art with a greater knowledge of the business and understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls." -Randy G. "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." -Sean R.