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 to turn into a television series or feature is one piece of the writing process. And you likely have a great idea. But introducing characters into your world, characters with layers and depth and nuances and flaws, is a huge piece of the writing process that sometimes goes unchecked. Character flaws are diminished or underserved. Backstories aren’t fully explored. Or relationships between characters aren’t developed to their highest potential. 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 decisionmakers and actors who might be considering your script. Learning to create players with separate agendas, quirks, fears, and passions is vital to creating an exciting script and memorable characters, but it can be incredibly difficult. 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 kind of 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 decisionmakers.
Sara B. Cooper
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.
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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.
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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.
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A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
Victor Bui, Kristi Shuton & Adienne C. Thomas are on the Disney | ABC Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Team where they oversee the Writing and Directing Programs. We discuss what writing programs and fellowships, writer development, and how to create a personal brand/story, plus a live Q&A!
This week the Writers' Room welcomes two very special guests into the Pitch Tank! Jason brings in Director of Development Rachel Crouch of Cold Iron Pictures, a production/financing company that most recently produced Being Frank starring comedian Jim Gaffigan and Anna Gunn. Previously Cold Iron produced Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, as well as Marielle Heller’s directorial debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, both of which premiered at Sundance. Previously Cold Iron releases also include Joseph Cedar’s political drama Norman starring Richard Gere which was released by Sony Pictures Classic, Don't Think Twice, and Lake Bell’s second film, I Do...Until I Don't.As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue, TVGuide.com, EveryGeek.net, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods. We are also joined by the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, Rich "RB" Botto. RB is a writer, producer, and actor himself, who is currently writing a biopic with a major company on board! During the Pitch Tank, Rachel, RB, and Jason give feedback on pitches a diverse set of project from members around the world!
THIS 4-PART CLASS IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! As a director, one of your most important jobs is eliciting great performances from actors. Fail at that, and your film or series could crumble under the weight of bad acting. Although the best directors shape performances with a deftness that may seem effortless, it is not. In fact, becoming a great director of actors is hard work and takes years of disciplined practice. Like playing a violin, it is a skill that must be nurtured. Yet if you can achieve this crucial skill and relationship, you’ll be able to greatly elevate your films and projects and champion your actors at the same time. The film director’s working relationship with an actor starts in the first casting session, continues through the various rehearsal stages, onto the set and ends in the ADR session. Most trained actors begin by trusting the director, but if you can’t direct actors in a language they understand, you may have a difficult time getting actors to trust you. And if actors don’t trust you, you will have a difficult time blocking them on set and getting layered performances from them. It’s important to meet actors where they are, and we’ve brought in the perfect person to explain how to do this. Peter Marshall is a director and film directing coach with over 40 years of experience including 12 features, 16 TV movies, 8 TV series, over 30 episodes of TV drama, 50 hours of documentary and educational programming, and over 20 commercials. Through his career, Peter has worked with and helped elevate the performances of actors such as Peter O'Toole, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. He has also had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from other directors like John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. Peter’s long and impressive history has given him a deep understanding of how to work with actors of all sizes and levels and understands what he needs to do as a director to elicit great performances. Over the course of four sessions, Peter will dive deep into the relationship between the director and actors and teach you how directors can build a relationship built on trust with actors by creating a safe place for them to perform. Peter will first explore how to understand human behavior and emotions and use this to better support your cast. He will then explore the main strategies of proper script analysis you can use to help actors achieve the performance you desire, including his “9 Part Scene Breakdown Process”. In the next session he will delve into how to work with actors in prep and finally will break down the process of working with actors and getting the performance on set, including his “10 Step Actor/Director Blocking Process”. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Peter is no longer distributing or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate! Praise for Peter’s Stage 32 Class “I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing.” - Brad L. “Hey Stage 32, I wanted to thank you and Peter Marshall for such an enlightening class. I have so many notes and as a new Director I have to say I feel a bit more relaxed, knowing what steps I need to take to be more prepared for a shoot. Peter is so generous with his knowledge. I have his Directors class downloaded and I'm excited to view it” Diane L. "Very helpful, in depth and extremely well-structured." -Memi K.
We're kicking off the first Writers' Room of 2020 with a deep dive into antiheroes - one of the most difficult character types to write. During this supersized 90 minute webcast, Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch explores the complexities of characters from some of our favorite films and television series including Joker, Kill Bill, The Social Network, The Irishman, "Fleabag", "The Sopranos", "Sherlock" and more to find out what makes them tick...and why we love them. We discuss the how screenwriters craft compelling antiheroes and I will give you specific types of antiheroes to consider when writing as well as tips on how to write them!
You’re a writer who is struggling with crafting believable dialogue. You’re a director looking for the greater meaning in a scene. You’re an actor trying to connect with what a character is feeling. Subtext is the backbone of emotion in any story, regardless of what genre you’re working in. It also helps to separate great scripts from not so great scripts. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, filmmaker Steve Desmond will help you to craft engaging subtext to layer your stories with nuance and emotion. Whether you’re going for laughs, drama, or impending fear, he’ll help you to make your screenplay feel more true to life. For directors or actors working with existing scripts, this webinar will help you to dig deeper below the surface to find the true lifeblood beneath a line. For producers, we’ll discuss tips on how to work with writers to make their subtext come alive. Whether you’re a writer, a director, an actor, or a producer, subtext is a major part of your game and this webinar will help you add an entirely new layer to your projects.
"I know of few others who have "been there, done that" as well as Chris has over the years. His willingness to share his experiences with the future generations is a gift that few can give." - Quincy Jones Learn directly from Chris Boardman, 6 time Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominated composer. Whether you are an actor looking to find the inspiration to perform, a writer looking to develop an authentic idea, or a cinematographer looking to shape your canvas, this webinar will help you get unstuck and into the creative zone for that process. Or, as a filmmaker looking to tell your story or a gaffer looking to light the beauty of the story you are about to shoot, take time to learn from Chris the tools to be effectively in that creative zone. All professions in the creative industry can benefit from this webinar. The only chance we have to connect with an audience as a storyteller is to be brutally honest and vulnerable. And, during that process sometimes it's hard to stay focused and determine a clear path to get there. All of us in the creative arts deal with these issues. Those who have sustaining careers learn how to turn on their creative engine at will. It’s not an accident. It’s predictable. It’s practiced. It’s what separates the amateurs from the professionals. It’s time for you to develop your own streamlined creative process and become more productive than ever before. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, 6 time Emmy Award winner Chris Boardman will take you through the 6 steps of unblocking creative roadblocks, understanding your own personal creative process and using it as effectively as you can. You’ll learn why you aren’t as productive as you can be, and how to get yourself unstuck and deliver creative yet consistent results. No matter how trivial your creative blocks may seem, or how self-conscious you may feel, you are not alone...you are in great company.