ON-DEMAND COMING SOON!
This webinar had a live screening session recently and has not yet been converted into a video format.
Learn directly from dynamo team, Producer and Manager Marilyn R. Atlas, who produced Echoes, A Certain Desire, Real Women Have Curves (HBO) and The Choking Game (Lifetime) and her associate Elizabeth Lopez, VP of Literary Development who together have pitched, shaped, and sold 6 books by new novelists, as well as 2 pilots for ABC & ABC Family!
Filmed entertainment is visual, and though everyone loves a catchy line, it’s really an exceptional exchange framed by a character’s choice of action that we remember. Dialogue is one of the clearest ways of exploring your character’s agenda, frame of mind, and emotional state. The best dialogue is able to do even more (and succinctly, sometimes in just a few lines): It lets us know something about the overall theme of your script, as well as unresolved areas ripe for conflict between your protagonist and the other characters: friend, frenemy, and foe…
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, hosts Marilyn Atlas and Elizabeth Lopez will walk you what professional dialogue looks and sounds like. They will then guide you through the top 10 biggest dialogue mistakes they see novices and sometimes even experienced writers make. These can happen when writers are stuffing their scenes with overlong conversations as a way of exhaustively framing the characters’ POVs, or as a misguided bid to amp up tension. Death by rambling monologue or page-long scene description is an unkind thing to wish on a reader!
You will leave the webinar knowing:
Your hosts Marilyn R. Atlas and Elizabeth Lopez have a screenwriting guide called Dating Your Character coming out in the Fall by Stairway Press. Marilyn is a literary/talent manager who has produced Echoes, A Certain Desire, and Real Women Have Curves for HBO, and last year’s The Choking Game for Lifetime based on a YA book. Together with her associate Elizabeth, she has pitched, shaped, and sold 6 books by new novelists, including The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole, Hungry Woman in Paris, The Ave Maria Bed & Breakfast, On the Move, and Chasing the Jaguar. They’ve also sold two mini-series, the Untitled Posse Pilot to ABC Family, and The Fabulous Fernandez Sisters Pilot to ABC, among others. Their clients have appeared in shows such as Star Trek, Fringe, Pretty Little Liars, 90210, Revenge, Hart of Dixie, NCIS:LA, True Blood, Dexter, Chuck, Castle, and Criminal Minds. In addition, her clients have worked on feature films such as Holes and Transformers. Marilyn herself has been in development on pilots for Showtime and ABC Family.
We’ll do a few exercises to give you practice putting yourself in the mindset of your character.
Once you’re warmed up, we’ll focus on subtext, which is what a conversation is really about under the surface. Characters are ostensibly talking about A, but are really dancing around B, and maybe C.
We’ll conclude with tips on how to differentiate the way each of your characters sounds and functions, so your script is peopled by clearly identifiable characters with their own goals and attitudes.
We will provide a handout, too, as a helpful takeaway to keep you on track.
Webinars take place in Los Angeles time. They are done online using a designated software program from Stage 32. You can participate from the comfort of your own home and you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend the live webinar, you can still participate! The webinar will be recorded and 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. More information can be found below.
An award-winning producer and personal manager of actors and writers, Marilyn R. Atlas is equally at home in the worlds of film, television, and live theater. Among her credits as film producer are Real Women Have Curves for HBO, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, A Certain Desire, starring Sam Waterston, and Echoes, which won the Gold Award at the Texas International Film Festival. In addition to producing a variety of programming for the cable/ pay TV market, Marilyn served as a production consultant on the film Call Me. She was also involved as a producer in the development of the MOW Nightwalker and Playing for Keeps.
Her clients have appeared in shows such as Star Trek, Fringe, Pretty Little Liars, 90210, Revenge, Hart of Dixie, NCIS:LA, True Blood, Dexter, Chuck, Castle, and Criminal Minds. In addition, her clients have worked on feature films such as Holes and Transformers. Marilyn herself has been in development on pilots for Showtime and ABC Family.
In live theater, Marilyn co-produced the West Coast premiere of the musical God Bless You Mr. Rosewater byAshman and Menken (the writers of both Enchanted and Tangled). She also co-produced the award-winning play To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, which was made into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher. Her additional credits as a producer in live theater include Today’s Special and As I Sing.
Marilyn is a member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. She has spoken at their Writers’ and Producers’ retreats, the DGA-sponsored LA Asian Film Festival, as well as various other symposia for the Sherman Oaks Experimental College. She is a founding member of Women in Film’s Luminas Committee, which supports the portrayal of women in non-stereotypical roles in film and television. She has spoken at events such as The San Francisco Writers Conference, the Santa Fe Screenwriters Conference and Richard Krevolin’s USC Screenwriting Retreat. Marilyn has also taught several actor workshops. Additionally, she was a guest lecturer in the USC Writing Program, where she also teaches a class every year on creating three-dimensional, non-stereotypical characters. She has spoken at the Texas Bar Association and was a guest lecturer at Whittier Law School.
In addition to Marilyn’s film/TV credits, she has sold (first time) novels Chasing the Jaguar to HarperCollins, Hungry Woman in Paris to Grand Central Publishing, Ave Maria Bed & Breakfast to Hachette Publishing, and Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole to Source Books.
Recently, Marilyn has been developing the Brides’ March for Lifetime Television as well as a limited television series. She previously produced the musical version of Real Women Have Curves in Los Angeles in 2009 and is involved in the current development of Real Women Have Curves for 2015. In the fall of 2012 she co-produced the play Detained in the Desert at the Guadeloupe Theater in San Antonio. As of late, her Lifetime movie The Choking Game based on the YA book by Diana Lopez aired in summer 2014. She is also featured in the book Write Now! from Penguin/Tarcher. She was also recently a speaker at the International Women’s Writer Festival in Italy in 2014.
Elizabeth Lopez attended Vassar College, majoring in English Literature. She started her Hollywood career as a story analyst for talent managers and production companies, including Vincent Cirrincione & Associates and The Little Company. As VP of Literary Development at Marilyn Atlas Management, she has been managing writing talent. She was a screenwriting fellow of the L.A. Latino Film Festival and has had several articles published online and in print for entertainment-oriented magazines such as Gideon’s Screenwriting Tips. She is the co-author of a relationship-based, screenwriting guide called Dating Your Character, about an organic approach to character creation for Stairway Press’s Summer 2015 catalog.
Marilyn R. Atlas and Elizabeth Lopez
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!
Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a screenwriter and former manager with a decade of experience on both sides of the film industry! Since its inception, Hollywood has made films about or inspired by real people and events. In recent years, the "biopic" has become one of the most prestigious and in-demand genres, and six of the nine 2014 Best Picture nominees are based in reality. Compelling true stories are constantly sought after and frequently top The Black List. From CAPOTE to MILK to THE SOCIAL NETWORK to LINCOLN to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET to 12 YEARS A SLAVE, we'll discuss what makes fact-based films viable today, and more importantly how to separate yours from the rest of the pack. This involves shaping the facts of your story into a fictional narrative that supports your unique point of view. We'll also explore the specific steps involved, such as research, story structure, legal issues, and the best way to position your project in a competitive market. While parts of certain films will be mentioned in detail, only a familiarity with the genre is necessary - we won't be studying examples from beginning to end. This overview will serve as an in-depth primer not just for biopic writers, but for all writers to discover stories that can excite and move today's audiences.
Learn directly from leading creative executive at Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! Every screenwriter has a goal they set out to accomplish. The mark of a great screenplay usually depends on whether or not this goal was achieved. Aside from being a visually arresting film, 'Ex Machina' stands apart as one of the great recent screenplays and finds its success in bringing forth engaging ideas, strong characterization and lofty goals. What is it about this intriguing and unsettling piece that resonates with audiences across the globe? What makes this ambitious screenplay cinematic as opposed to something we can watch on television or other formats? We are going to dig deep into the pages to identify the mechanisms and components that are utilized by Writer/Director Alex Garland the really bring the pages to life. I'm excited to take this journey with you and look forward to our discussion.
It’s no secret that many creatives are looking to take the necessary steps to work on a TV show or break into a writers' room. Stage 32 and Jon Stahl, HBO’s Emmy-Award Winning Veep script coordinator, have the answers to help you find your way. We're taking you inside the room of one of the top comedy shows on television today (Veep) to learn what it's like to break in and expectations once you get there. Your host Jon Stahl spent the last decade working in television, with the last third of it in comedy. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them.
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.
Network TV is dead, right? All good shows are on cable and streaming! Not so fast! Network TV is alive and well, as demonstrated by the critical success and healthy ratings of new shows such as This is Us, Designated Survivor and Speechless, as well as powerhouse veterans such as Big Bang Theory, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, and NCIS. Broadcast networks are increasingly having to compete for top talent and ideas in a crowded marketplace. While landing a series order from ABC or FOX is no easy feat, the networks’ deep coffers mean they can buy and develop a high volume of shows, season after season. Producers of course enjoy the prestige of developing ideas for HBO or Amazon, but they are equally eager to find the next network hit, which can yield huge financial dividends with multiple season orders. What’s more, agents and managers judge prospective clients based on their original pilot scripts, and the right network pilot can demonstrate to a potential representative that you are ready to staff and ready to sell. As a manager, I always recommend writers have at least two or three finished scripts ready to go, and a mix of cable and network samples increases the number of producers and executives who may be interested in your work. In this webinar, you will learn about the brands and programming models of broadcast networks, how to know what ideas they will find appealing, what you need to include in your network pitch, and the do’s and don’ts of writing your network spec pilot.
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.