An entertainment industry veteran, Brian has been working in the industry since 1999, and he has credits on 23 films and television series for major studios like Disney, Universal, Sony, and DreamWorks Animation. Brian has worked with some of the top story tellers in the animation industry, and has been studying the art and development of storytelling from within for nearly 20 years. While at DreamWorks Animation his work fell under the umbrella of the DreamWorks Education department and Brian taught classes to artists and other staff on story telling, Film Noir, and screenwriting. Brian has been a professional screenplay reader since 2006, and has written coverage for over 1,000 scripts and books for companies such as Walden Media and Scott Free Films. Scripts and books that Brian has read and covered include Twilight, Touristas, Nim’s Island, Hotel for Dogs, and Inkheart. Brian is a life-long fan of good stories and he’s spent years studying the techniques and principles of good storytelling. He believes that great cinema and great storytelling are inseparable. He studied animation and screenwriting at the University of Southern California, receiving an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1999. With that knowledge and his appreciation of good stories, Brian gets real satisfaction in helping writers get the most out of their stories through their screenplays. Brian was born and raised on Cape Cod and currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, three daughters, and two dogs. Full Bio »
Subtext in your dialogue and in your story can be the difference between a studio picking up your script or passing on it. Subtext adds layers to your story and depth to your characters. Mastering the art of subtext is not only preferable for writers, it is absolutely essential. The writers and creators of Film Noir were experts at the use of subtext because, due to the restrictions of the Production Code, their films could not have been made without it.
The makers of Film Noir mastered the art of not saying what you’re trying to say, and saying it in a way that sounds like you’re saying something completely different. That subtext allowed the audience to fill in the blanks and become more active participants in the story, and that is why subtext is so important. It gets your audience more involved in the story.
Film Noir and the Art of Subtext will show you how to apply the use of subtext in your own scripts in order to add that depth, further engage the audience and take your script to the next level by using examples from some of the great films of that style.
After reading well over 1,000 screenplays over the course of my career, from both professionals and amateurs, I can tell you that I can recognize good subtext. Also, as someone who has been a professional reader, I can show you through a reader’s eyes where subtext is needed, and how subtext can be used to prevent you and your script from getting the dreaded PASS on coverage notes.
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After reading well over 1,000 screenplays over the course of my career, from both professionals and amateurs, I can tell you that I have a solid idea of what makes a good story. Also, as someone who has been a professional reader, I can show you through a reader’s eyes where a story becomes flawed, and how those stories can be improved to prevent you and your script from getting the dreaded PASS on coverage notes. The Dirty Secret of Story Structure will take a meticulous look at the art of building dramatic structure within your story by learning how to do it in individual scenes. Each and every scene in your script should serve as an opportunity to move the story forward. If it is not doing that, it’s not serving its correct purpose within the world of your story. Just as your overall screenplay has a beginning, a middle and an end, so too should each scene. Within each scene should be a character who wants something, and another character or entity that is trying to stop her. Developing a structure within each scene to determine how those events transpire is just as important to telling your story as making sure the Act I to Act II transition happens somewhere between pages 25 and 30. However, the notion of dramatic structure has been misinterpreted for years. Dramatic structure is not necessarily what you think it is, and when it is re-examined, the thought of fitting a story within the confines of dramatic structure becomes less daunting. This webinar will provide detailed examples on how to build solid dramatic structure within your scenes, as well as within your overall screenplay.
Congratulations – you’ve finished your first draft! But now comes the real work. The old adage goes that ‘writing is rewriting’ and that is absolutely true in film and television. A big part of screenwriting is learning how to receive feedback and how to implement it. Most professional writers go through numerous drafts and rounds of feedback before taking their scripts to the market. Just think about the first time you tried anything new – a new instrument, a new workout program, or a new screenplay. Unless you’re a natural, your first attempt isn’t usually your best. It’s the practice – or in this case, the rewriting – that helps you get better and will allow you to create something truly special. Too many aspiring writers think the hard work is over after the first draft. A first draft is a milestone accomplishment, but ultimately just one rung up the bigger ladder. But rewriting and polishing is not always an intuitive process – it’s hard to determine what to change or how much to change it. A big part of rewriting or polishing is learning how to listen to others, and realizing that even a solo screenplay can become a collaborative process. Steve Desmond is a WGA screenwriter whose screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times in the past five years, including in 2020 with his latest script, The Saturday Night Ghost Club. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar nominated producer attached. FilmNation (Arrival, The King’s Speech) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World. He’s also been hired to work on projects for Legendary Pictures, Sony, Blumhouse, Mandalay, and IM Global, amongst others. 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 45 awards. Steve has found his voice as a sought-after screenwriter by mastering the art of the rewrite and his excited to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Exclusively for Stage 32, Steve will give an in-depth and practical deep dive of the art of rewriting and polishing that you can take back to your own screenplay or pilot. Steve will share how best to utilize feedback and explain the difference between a rewrite and a polish. He will go through the psychological components of rewriting and show you how to make an effective plan to go through the rewrite process, and then how best to execute it. Next Steve will talk about how to actually trim your script by focusing on scenes and characters and how to work with producers and executives, including how to receive notes and maintain communication. He will then give you tools you can use to determine when you’re actually done. Expect to walk away with a slew of tools and ideas you can use to rewrite your own project and make it the best it can be. Praise for Steve's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "This was fantastic. Steve offered so much insight, dozens of little nuggets that rang true or gave me pause to think of something I'd never considered before."-Ed K."Perfectly laid out, clear and concise material taught by a genial host!"-George P."Steve was fantastic. His examples and insights were on point. Thanks!"-Adam H."I made 3 pages of notes; good pertinent topics with simple fundamental answers presented. Very helpful, worth the time and fee."-Thomas W.
In Stage 32's commitment to bringing you free educational virtual events we are excited to bring you a special global edition of the Stage 32 Writers' Room Pitch Tank. We brought in the President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, and 3 industry leading literary managers from Circle of Confusion, The Cartel, and Art/Work Entertainment to hear pitches directly from writers across the globe! In this exciting 90 minute webcast four different screenwriters from the US, UK and Scotland step into the Stage 32 Pitch Tank to pitch their script to a panel of some of Hollywood's power players. The hopeful end result? That their script is requested! And...as an exciting surprise, we have brought in a special industry pro to come in and pitch to the panelists! Pete Goldfinger, who is the scribe behind the SAW franchise's JIGSAW, Piranha 3D and Sorority Row steps into the tank to pitch his new screenplay idea. You'll be able to see up close and personal on what different types of pitches and learn how the decision makers on the other side of the table feel about the process. And...best of all there were several requests in the tank. Want to find out which ones they were and why? You have to watch to find out!
Have you ever wanted to see what it takes to sell a kids show successfully in today’s market? In this webinar, you’ll learn from an executive producer in kids programming what today’s audiences are looking for, how to deliver a great script, and how to pitch and sell your project successfully. Do you have a fantastic idea for the next great kids show? Do you want to inspire and shape the next generation? Or make their day a little brighter with relatable stories with heart? Some of the best comedy writing and storytelling on television comes from kids programming, but the space is rapidly changing as more platforms and networks arrive, each with their own unique needs. These networks need you and your stories to meet their programming demands. In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, you’ll find out exactly how the pros create and sell their stories to the biggest networks and streaming platforms in town by creating projects with humor, heart, and knowing what kids are watching today. You’ll learn: Tips and current trends in kids television Obstacles and constraints How not to talk down to your audience The difference between Nickelodeon and Disney How to use point-of-view to your advantage Essential elements to seeing your pitch The differences in pitching for kids shows vs. adult shows The power of co-viewing And so much more You’ll be learning directly from executive producer and sitcom writer Kirill Baru. He has worked on and sold both live-action and animated comedy shows in both the adult and kids space, including Disney’s SYDNEY TO THE MAX and Cartoon Network’s MAD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Kirill also sold the series EAGLETON ESTATES to Netflix Kids and, using this project as a case study, Kirill will walk you through creating his pitch that sold the show, providing you with the steps to sell your own. By the end of this webinar with Kirill, you’ll be confident about writing and packaging your kids television series as a market-ready project. PRAISE FOR KIRILL'S TEACHINGS: "Good information from a successful writer of children's comedies! " -Deborah J. "Loved Kirill and his openness and enthusiasm." Katy D.
Do you have a project that needs a top-tier piece of talent attached to get the proper attention of buyers and financiers? Actors bring your characters and story to life, but before your film is ever seen on screen, signing the right top talent can bring financing and get your project sold. So how do you as a writer, producer or filmmaker approach A-list talent to be a part of your film? In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, top casting director Dori Zuckerman, who has worked with director Garry Marshall and talent including George Clooney, Elijah Wood, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more, will give you an insider’s view on the types of projects that attract top talent, as well as strategies to position your project, break through the gatekeepers and actually sign top talent to get your project made. You'll leave this webinar with essential information and important tools to approach difference-making talent for your own projects that can help propel your work and career. Dori has cast over 100 TV series and feature films. Dori is a member of the Casting Society of America and has twice been the recipient of their award for excellence in casting.
Intellectual property (IP) has become a critical aspect in creating new content and selling projects within the film and television landscape. At this point it’s almost feels like a prerequisite for a project to be tied to some sort of pre-existing property before it’s picked up by a studio or network. Whether it’s a book, graphic novel, podcast, article, life rights, or anything else, IP can give executives the confidence they need to move forward with that next show or movie. After all, with IP, they have a working blueprint of how the finished product could look, they have a built-in audience with the fans of the original property, and they have something substantial to show talent, investors, and the higher-ups looking at the bottom line. This inclination towards IP can make it harder for you as a writer or filmmaker to sell a fully original project, but at the same time it can give you opportunities to better build, package, and sell your next project. If you can find and acquire exciting new IP, you’re going to have a distinct upper-hand in getting people to notice your project and are well on your way to it actually getting made. There’s no denying the value of IP in today’s industry, but navigating this world can take some finesse. If you’re not in the business of constantly tracking and consuming new books and media, it might be hard to come across that property that is perfectly suited to you. And even if you find that standout book or article, how do you get the rights to it in the first place? How can you get that original author to trust you? For the writers and filmmakers not interested in adapting existing material, creating your own IP could be an effective solution, but what does that even mean? Those who are understanding and embracing this new concept of creating your own IP have a major competitive advantage in selling their scripts right now. It’s high time you learn what you need to know about IP in today’s climate. Alex Creasia is a literary manager and producer at Pathfinder Media where he represents writers and directors around the globe, focusing on all formats of TV, film, books, podcasts and digital media. He has sold multiple properties for his clients based on all different types of IP to places like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, ABC, Freeform, Disney +, Marvel, MGM, Imagine Entertainment, AGBO, Facebook Watch, Snap, and more. Alex has become an innovator when it comes to sourcing and creating IP for scripts that big companies want to buy. Alex will teach you all the ins and outs of finding and obtaining intellectual property to position your next project for success. He will begin by giving a rundown of what IP is and the three typical types seen in entertainment. He’ll then provide you with specific and helpful tips to find available IP that’s right for you and what to do if it turns out the property you’re after is unavailable. He’ll then discuss idea of creating your own IP in order to better sell your story as a film or series and how to enhance your IP by finding it a following in order to give it more clout and notice. Finally Alex will delve into the world of life rights and the different ways you can get permission to tell a real person’s story.You will have plenty of fresh, modern and unique IP options to make your project more marketable in today’s climate. Praise for Alex's Webinar: "Informative! A good presentation!" -Susan D. "This gave me so many ideas of how to get my current project noticed" -Regina G. "Alex made something I always thought of as scary and impossible feel easy and achievable. I'm so glad I saw this" -Jeff E. "I feel totally inspired to find my own IP now. Thanks, Alex!" -Jose G.