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!
Finding, securing, and building a relationship with a meaningful and experienced producer can be one of the biggest challenges writers and filmmakers face. Even with a great script and a stacked cast, many producers who can move the needle on a project are often in great demand. Securing a meaningful producer means you have someone on your team who can pull the strings, make the offers and put the puzzle pieces of the project together. But how do you find a producer in the first place? How do you build a relationship and show them that you’re someone they should take a chance on? And once you’ve reached that point, how do you get the most out of that relationship to assure that your vision reaches the screen in the most productive, and hopefully profitable manner possible? One of the biggest misconceptions for talent is that producers stifle creativity. ‘The only word they know is “no!”’ or ‘The only thing they care about is money!’. The truth is, though, that building a relationship with the right producer can be a career-maker and can also make your life easier. Producers help you make connections, take all of the day-to-day questions about making a project off your plate, and can even creatively add to your series or film. But you need to know how best to use your producers if you’re going to succeed. Writers and filmmakers alike need to know how to find the right producer for them, understanding the skills different types of producers bring to the table, and finding the best way to create a good producer/talent relationship. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development at 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 DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, both of which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. They also produced the Sundance hit UNTITLED AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY, which premiered in the US Documentary Competition section and is available on Hulu. Rachel has been involved in every step of producing these films and has helped launch careers of the talent involved with them. Rachel will walk you through the nuts and bolts of finding the right producer and forming a great working relationship with him or her. She will discuss the different types of producers and how each contributes to different projects. She will then go into how to find that perfect producer, and the best ways to do research, take meetings, and woo them to get them on your side. She will also discuss the producer’s role in every phase of production—from giving notes during development, to building the team in pre-production, serving on the ground during production, and handling sound, color, and deliverables during post, among many, many other facets. Rachel will help you tackle the tricky issue of dealing with money with your producer and outline the common ways the producer-talent relationships fall apart, as well as flourish. Rachel will even provide case studies from her own background to illustrate how the producer-talent relationship helped create Independent Spirit Award winning DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Sundance winning SWISS ARMY MAN, and SXSW nominated BEING FRANK. Praise from Rachel’s Previous Stage 32 Webinars: “Rachel is a wealth of information and experience. Really appreciate her insight and candor” -Steven S. "I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us." -Susan S. "Very practical advice that I can apply right away." - Brianne G. "I thought Rachel was very professional and informative." - Chris R.
In this big, bonus episode of the Executive Hour we are joined by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-nominated screenwriter, Meg LeFauve! Meg is the brilliant screenwriting mind behind critically acclaimed films including INSIDE OUT (which earned her an Academy Award nomination, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2016), THE GOOD DINOSAUR, and CAPTAIN MARVEL. She has also contributed to Pixar films including FINDING DORY and INCREDIBLES 2, as well as the 20th Century Fox animated film SPIES IN DISGUISE! Prior to her career as a screenwriter, Meg ran development for actress and filmmaker Jodi Foster. She has been nominated for an Academy Award, Emmy Award (as a producer), NAACP Image Award, and BAFTA Award, with a total of 24 award nominations and 8 wins! During the webcast, Meg's discusses her career at Pixar, how she is adapting and working in the current quarantine situation, what writers can be doing during this time, what types of scripts and projects she thinks will be in demand once this quarantine is over, and so much more!
So you want to shoot a micro-budget film. You've got your idea. You're excited as hell. You can't wait to get going. There's just one problem. You have little to no money, need to shoot this film on the cheap, and you can't do it without an experienced crew. So how can you get quality, talented people to work for you for little to no money? It happens every day. If you know how to navigate. The old saying goes, a filmmaker is only as good as his or her crew. Making sure that everything is buttoned up on set, from your script supervisor to your sound engineer to your DP and gaffer, the more quality you throw at your film in pre-production and during production, the less headaches and "let's try to fix it in post" problems (which are also painfully expensive) you'll face in post-production. The thing is, regardless of your budget, and in this case we're talking ultra low to $250,000, you can find passionate, creative, and qualified people to work for you well below their normal rate. Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films (time and time again with some of the best crews imaginable) and has had his features theatrically released in theaters with his latest film distributed by Lionsgate. Barry's has also shot several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. As if that wasn't enough, Barry is also the author of the hugely successful and revered DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Barry will teach you how to secure top level, Hollywood quality, crew members for cheap no matter where you live in the world. He will instill in you the confidence to identify and then go in for the proper "ask". He will show you why sometimes a positive and visionary attitude is everything. He will even teach you how to be flexible with your story and locations in an effort to give yourself the best chance of finding and securing a crew that can take your film from OK to masterpiece. Barry is an excellent teacher. He never fails to inspire and make you understand that what you always believed to be impossible, or at least ridiculously daunting, is not only possible, but absolutely attainable if you follow his methods. I wouldn't be where I'm at without him. - Julia V.
One of the most respected agents in the business, Adam Van Dusen of Gersh will discuss the agent/screenwriter relationship, how to break in, industry trends and more! Live Q&A to follow!
For many years in the industry, there were only three types of scripts that a working film or TV writer would ever be asked to write: a feature-length script, an hour-long TV script or a half-hour TV script. But with the addition of Quibi as a major driver of content and a serious player in the entertainment space, more and more writers are finding themselves working in a newer, short-format style of writing. In this webinar, Tripper Clancy, who has sold two shows to Quibi, will discuss how a Quibi show is made: from conception, to pitch, to writing, and ultimately to production. It’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely unlike anything else in the TV landscape right now and it's something you should learn to have another tool to be armed with. If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a working screenwriter in the industry, you may already know exactly what you want to write. Perhaps you want to be staffed on a particular HBO show. Or you have the perfect pitch for Netflix. Or you wrote a feature script that Blumhouse would love. Well, one of the things you’ll learn is that the secret to making a living as a writer is being open-minded about who pays your bills. And in TV, that means that a pitch that you knew was perfect for Amazon may actually end up at Quibi. And suddenly you’ll find yourself wondering how the hell you’re go tell a story that you imagined in one format in an entirely different, much shorter manner. When that moment happens, you need to understand how to be flexible with your story, and how you can adapt it to Quibi’s format. Tripper Clancy is a screenwriter who dabbles in TV and film, comedy and drama. His credits include STUBER for 20th Century Fox, I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS for Netflix, and two new shows for Quibi: DIE HART, an action-comedy starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta, as well as VARSITY BLUES, a modern day reimagining of the original movie. Tripper has carved out a successful career as a writer and has entered into short form storytelling with Quibi as a medium. Exclusively for Stage 32 Tripper will give you insight on how to write for a short streamer like Quibi. Tripper will go over a general overview of writing the the film and TV industry, including how to break in and the roles managers, agents and attorneys play in your journey. You'll get an understanding of specs vs. OWA (open writing assignments), how to pitch and how to get staffed. After you have a clear understanding of the general landscape, Tripper will dive into the similarities and differences between Quibi and traditional TV. You will know the length of time per episode, number of episodes and how they roll the episodes to the public. You'll get to learn the SVOD model and the pros and cons of writing for a streamer like Quibi vs. broadcast/streamers. Tripper will teach you how to approach pitching a Quibi show, how to develop the concept and what to pitch in the meeting. Finally, Tripper will teach you how to write for a Quibi show using case studies of his two Quibi shows: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and DIE HART with Kevin Hart. You will walk away with a clear understanding of the short form storytelling eco-system for a short streamer like Quibi. "With short form storytelling being the new wave of the future on how audiences watch content, it's important you know how to approach it, develop it, pitch it and write it. Let me show you how I used a specific approach toward selling 2 shows to Quibi." - Tripper Clancy
Payment plans are available - contact email@example.com for details 4 Spots Left! If you have to miss a class, don't worry. Each class is recorded and you can watch on-demand PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your comedy pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. Class #1 – Introduction, Character, World This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of comedy pilots and how they differ from network to network. This will include a discussion about Single-Camera and Multi-Camera comedies. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. Also knowing the world your show takes place in. You will have a writing assignment this week. Class #2 – Pilot Outline, Pitch Document This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of comedy pilot (single-camera or multi-camera) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your pitch document. This will include incorporating your character descriptions as well as the pilot storyline, and arc of your show. You will have a writing assignment this week. One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Outline Review (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding your pitch document. Each writer will send in their pitch document in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the pitch document before proceeding with next week’s class. Class #3– Structure, Scenes, Dialogue. Time to Write your Pilot! We will discuss both the Single-Camera and Multi-Camera structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. We will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, dialogue, and jokes. We will also go over all the necessary story beats that exist in a comedy pilot, including traditional page count, act breaks, tags, etc. After this class, you will have 3-4 weeks to complete the first draft of your pilot. Spencer will be available during this time with any questions you have during the process. One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Notes (No Online Class) The assignment this week will be to incorporate any notes given on the pilot before proceeding with next week’s class. Class #4– After You Write Your Pilot Last online class. We will discuss what happens when you take meetings with managers, agents, and showrunners, and how to pitch a comedy pilot. We will also discuss other kinds of TV comedy writing (late-night talk shows, sketch, political comedy talk shows, etc.)