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.
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Sara B. Cooper
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Do you see yourself writing for a television show? 543 shows were broadcast last year and thousands were picked up for development. Now, more than ever, is the golden age of television and it’s your opportunity to be able to be staffed on a television show as a writer. But, how do you get there? We’re not going to lie, it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible if you understand the path it takes. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar you’ll learn how to make it happen by learning what type of education you need, how to stack the deck in your favor, how to get your scripts in order and how to seize your opportunity. By learning from Charlie Charbonneau, who’s worked in three television writers' rooms, you’ll be armed with what you need to know in order to break into your first writers' room. No matter your background or level of experience, you will come away with a deeper understanding of the obstacles and the many surprising solutions to getting and keeping a spot at that table in the television writers’ room. "I'm grateful for how generous he was with his knowledge and time. He was awesome." - Joanne L. "This was by far one of the better webinars I've attended on Stage 32. The information was relevant (which was of upmost importance) and Charlie was an enjoyable presenter." - Matthew M. "Charlie was outstanding. He was organized, helpful and extremely insightful." - Kimberly E.
You may be surprised by JUST how many successful filmmakers today began their career by writing short films. Everyone from Christopher Nolan to Ryan Coogler to Chloe Zhao to Justin Lin have short film writing credits to their name and used those projects to springboard their career. This is how new and untested creatives can prove their mettle, get their name out there and actually get their foot in the door. And you can do this as well. Whether you’re building up your filmmaking career, itching to write the next festival darling or award-worthy short film, or just love the short form format, you too, can master the art of short film writing. There are many reasons and inspirations for writing a short, but shorter doesn’t mean easier to write. One of the great challenges is that many people go into writing a short with the mindset of creating a proof of concept for a feature. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, this mindset tends to encourage a few logical fallacies, and in a strange way actually devalues the work. Short films require a fine balance of elegance and story economy. They require an innovative storytelling technique that usually takes years of practice and feedback to master. With the right guidance though, you’ll be able to master this in no time. Clay Liford is an award-winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose many shorts include the Sundance hit MY MOM SMOKES WEED. His projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of writing and making both feature length and short films. He is also a film production instructor at the University of Texas, who has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Clay will take you through his proven and effective approach to writing and effective short films that get you noticed and advance your career. He’ll go over the REAL differences between shorts and features, what every short film needs to succeed, how to think like a director (even if you’re not one), and how to maximize your festival strategy. Most importantly, he’s going to introduce you to the concept of Iconography. You’ll have the opportunity to ask him questions, and by the end of this webinar, you’ll fall in love with this format and walk away with a new perspective and appreciation for the short film format. Clay's guidance will give you confidence to develop your short film and help you succeed in the short film market. PLUS! Clay provides you with the following handouts: Overview of How to Write a Short Film - Things to Consider & What to Watch Out For Story Structure Diagram Breakdown of Film Roles on a Set Elements of a Lookbook Duties of a Director Suggested Reading List Testimonials for Clay's Webinar: "Clay had great energy and pace. He was able to explain things in different ways and with excellent examples." -Magi A. "Clay didn't sugar coat anything - keeping the short within a tight budget and length is smart strategy & practical. I appreciated his honesty." - Shaan D.
Ever heard an exec say something like: "I'm looking for a grounded, high-concept genre film"? Join Stage 32's Allen Roughton and learn to decipher what execs are actually saying when they tell you what they're looking for! As the Stage 32 Writing Services Coordinator, I spend most of my time talking to execs about the kind of material they want, specialize in, or think is the next big thing. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I need a translator. High-concept? Grounded? Smart? Supernatural... but not horror? A Ten-by-ten? What the heck are these people talking about? Luckily, I've googled my hear out, asked a ton of questions, immersed myself in the script development world, and learned their language so you don't have to! Now I'm here to put it all together in a FREE Webinar breaking down the lingo of Screenwriting Development! Live Wednesday, May 2nd at 1pm PST, I'll become your translator and help you understand the world of development as I break down the lingo so you can make sure you're sending the right project to the right exec. Have a question for Allen? Join Allen live and participate in the Q&A at the end of the webinar! or
Whether you're controlling some valuable intellectual property, looking to secure IP, or simply have a valuable property in the form of a spec script, TV pilot, webseries, digital series, or other filmed material, you are likely going to be confronted with signing or distributing an option agreement. It is imperative that you understand the various types of option agreements and what information should be included to assure that you are not only protecting your material, but yourself legally as well. As the content gold rush grows, option agreements have become more and more commonplace. It is the vital piece of the paper trail that will ensure you are exercising and getting all your rights as your project gets made. These agreements are designed to protect both sides of a given deal, but can be complicated and sometimes include unnecessary language or clauses that could serve to hold up your content or payment. before you sign on the dotted line, you need to understand what exactly is an option agreement, who has creative control, how much money can be made and what you need to include to protect your rights up front. Lane Shefter Bishop is an Emmy award winning filmmaker and producer who has set up over two dozen book properties - many of them only on book proposals and early partials - with studios, networks and production companies throughout the entertainment industry. She is the CEO of Vast Entertainment, a book-to-screen company with numerous projects at both studios and networks, including feature films for Fox 2000, Silver Pictures, CBS Films & Lionsgate, and TV films for Lifetime, as well as TV series with Phoenix Pictures, Atlas Entertainment, The Donner Company, Storyline Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. She has been on both sides of option agreements and knows the ins and outs of what you need to take into account for your own option agreement. Lane will provide you essential practical knowledge on the ins and outs of option agreements and break them down step-by-step and section-by-section. You will know what is included in a typical option, what purchase price can be expected, what royalties can be expected, what reserved rights are and how to handle publishers releases, notarized addendums and author assignments. This is vital for authors and screenwriters who currently have or expect to have their own material optioned and want to know what monies they can expect to make, when, and how. But it is also highly beneficial for producers, directors, and talent looking to acquire their own underlying material for development- books, short stories, graphic novels, articles, etc. Lane will provide you with a comprehensive, but easy to understand deep dive on option agreements. She will remove the fear and anxiety which will allow you to clearly and decisively protect yourself and ask for the important items that need to be included in all your agreements. PRAISE FOR LANE'S TEACHINGS: “Very impressed with Ms. Bishop, both her formal presentation and the Q & A that followed.” - Steve Weintz “The seminar was informative, insightful, well documented, entertaining, well thought out and delivered with a touch of humor. Wonderful!” - Katharine Carter “Lane was so focused. She was totally prepared.” - Karisa Wiseman Ewinger “Content: Outstanding!” - Doug McLeod “Loved it. Very informative.” - GR Case
Learn how to effectively network to improve your career as a screenwriter from Steve Desmond, the screenwriter of M. Night Shyamalan's KNOCK AT THE CABIN and a writer on the upcoming TRANSFORMERS ONE for Paramount Pictures! Plus! You'll receive a query letter template you can use to help you make the most out of networking! You want to be a professional filmmaker, but how do you make connections to get your foot in the door? We’re all in the business of telling stories, but we’re also in the business of building relationships. Without those relationships, the entertainment industry can seem daunting. So how do you meet new people and make meaningful professional connections? In this webinar, we’ll throw the stereotypical “networking” pretenses aside, and focus on what it takes to begin crafting real partnerships and collaborations, with the hopes of elevating each other’s careers. The old adage holds true - it’s not just about what you know, it’s about who you know too… But who you know is ultimately up to you. This is an industry that is built on relationships. But far too many aspiring filmmakers don’t spend nearly enough time meeting new people and building those relationships. Just like writing, meeting people takes time, effort, and focus. The onus is on you to reach out and stay in touch. It’s not just about meeting people who want to do the same thing as you (i.e. writers meeting other writers). It’s about meeting people that can be helpful to your career, and who you, in turn, can be helpful to theirs. The bottom line is that your chances of success improve exponentially when you combine skill with a network of like-minded colleagues. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you will learn the skills and tools you need as a screenwriter to network effectively and build and maintain long lasting business relationships to help you shape your career. Teaching you everything you need to know about networking as a screenwriter is Steve Desmond. A longtime member of Stage 32, Steve co-wrote KNOCK AT THE CABIN, which was directed by M. Night Shyamalan and released theatrically by Universal Studios. It opened at # 1 at the box office, and subsequently #1 on VOD on Peacock. Steve is one of the writers on the upcoming Transformers franchise prequel, TRANSFORMERS ONE starring Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth, which will be released in theaters in fall, 2024 by Paramount Pictures. His screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times, including THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB which he is attached to direct with Brad Fuller (A QUIET PLACE) producing. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, HARRY’S ALL-NIGHT HAMBURGERS, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with Oscar nominated producer Andrew Lazar attached. His short film, MONSTERS, that he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 46 awards. Steve is represented by APA and Ziffren-Brittenham LLP. In a information-packed webinar, you will learn how to make the most out of in-person and virtual networking events, how to utilize social media for networking purposes, and strategies to maintain relationships once you make them. Steve will teach you who you should be targeting when networking (hint: it’s all about who can actually buy your script!) and how you can research and get in touch with writers, producers, and reps in an organic way. PLUS! You'll receive a query letter template you can use to help with your own networking! In today’s ever connected world, it is easier than ever to network to improve your career, you just need to know how! Praise for Steve's Stage 32 Teaching "No wonder Steve's career has taken off. It's clear he has a strong sense of how to write and also how to handle the business of the industry. Learned a ton from him." - Anthony M. "Incredibly valuable webinar for everyone to take - not just writers. Networking is a tricky thing that I've never felt comfortable with, but Steve's approach and recommendations honestly make it way less daunting." - Laura L. "It's the well known truth that you have to network to make it in the film industry. But even approaching networking is a hard thing to do. Steve broke it down in a sensical and practical way that I think can work for everyone." - Matt C.
4-PART IN-DEPTH CLASS (OVER 8 HOURS OF EDUCATION) Learn from a director who's worked with Paramount+, Syfy, Vice, and more. Includes Exclusive Handouts Only Available For Those In Clay's Class! There are countless views on the “correct” way to direct, however there are universal fundamentals that all directors can use, whether it’s your first film or your 20th. Learn these fundamentals of directing in this class! In this exclusive Stage 32 class, you’ll learn the fundamental pillars of directing and techniques you need to do the job at a professional level. This includes how to analyze the script and bring in your unique vision, how to build your cast and crew, what technical elements from lensing to lighting you need to know, how to use pre-production for a successful production and, ultimately, your role in the editor’s room. You’ll cover how to collaborate with your cinematographer to define your style, how best work with your actors, and how to strengthen your visual awareness, all while participating in readings, exercises, screenings, and other assignments to sharpen your skills. Guiding you is award-winning director Clay Liford. Clay has written and directed four feature films that have screened at major festivals like SXSW, AFI, and Sundance, and his short film, MY MOM SMOKES WEED, has played at over 40 festivals. He’s also worked with major entertainment studios, networks, and production companies, including Syfy, Paramount+, Vice, and Troma Film. Clay is also sharing with you these exclusive handouts: Example diagrams Director “cheat sheets” for acting and lensing Phrasing for communicating with actors and crew And more By the end of the four intensive sessions with Clay, you will have developed the ability and self-confidence to communicate your vision and translate it from the page to the screen as a director. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn these universal techniques every director needs while shaping your own unique style and vision.