Understanding Film Noir and Applying the Art of Subtext in Your Script

Hosted by Brian Smith

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Brian Smith

Webinar hosted by: Brian Smith

Industry Reader & Educator for DreamWorks at (works with Disney, Universal, Sony, DreamWorks Animation)

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

What You'll Learn

  1. Intro: The creation of the Hays Code. 
  2. The History of Film Noir
    • Influences
    • Conventions
    • Themes
    • Styles
  3. Subtext is Not Saying What You’re Saying: Dissecting subtext in dialogue and direction 
    • Double Indemnity vs. Body Heat case study
    • Double Indemnity vs. The Godfather case study
    • Out of the Past vs. Blade Runner case study
  4. Nuvo Noir & how showing and saying everything you want is not really what your audience wants. 
    • Mulholland Falls case study
    • L.A. Confidential case study
    • The Man Who Wasn’t There & Miller’s Crossing case studies (The Coen Brothers)
  5. Other effective examples of subtext & how to incorporate it into your script.
    • A Bug’s Life
    • What is being said, vs what you’re trying to say.
    • Subtext adds a layer to your dialogue that makes it more than conversation. It adds to the drama of your scene.
  6. Questions

About Your Instructor

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.

 

FAQs

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!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

The Dirty Secret of Story Structure

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.

They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass On My Material?

Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to bring you They Said “No” – Why Did They Pass? hosted by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive at Atlas Entertainment (Wonder Woman, Justice League, Suicide Squad, American Hustle, The Dark Knight Trilogy). Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material? Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran. I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process." We are thrilled to bring you an executive of this caliber to be able to teach you directly about what you can do to help that crucial moment once you get in front of an executive. In this webinar, Dan will bring you a fun and informed approach to what it's like from the executive side of the table.

13 Steps to Nail Your Feature Screenplay Structure

Literary Manager Jon Hersh has read thousands – yes, thousands – of screenplays in his career. Starting at CAA he was a story analyst covering screenplays, manuscripts books and television pilots, which helped him get a crash course on effective structure for a project. He moved on to be a development executive at Broad Green Pictures and helped develop feature material for their slate. Being around so much material Jon learned one thing – you MUST have solid screenplay structure to get past development and get your project greenlit. In this exclusive webinar Jon is going to show examples and break down beat by beat what needs to be in your outline, plus go in detail on the 13 steps you need to follow to nail your screenplay structure.

Bradley Gallo (Producer & CCO) & Nat Topping (Development Executive), Amasia Entertainment

CCO Bradley Gallo and Story Editor Nat Topping from Amasia Entertainment join our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.

Subtext – How to Add Layers to Your Story and Characters

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.

Loglines, One-Sheets, and the Critical Personal Narrative

Learn from Lee Jessup, Screenwriting Career Coach and author of best selling book 'Getting It Write: An Insider's Guide to A Screenwriting Career'! First impressions are everything. And in today's industry, where screenplays are not easily read and many writers are competing for every rep's or executive's attention, screenwriters deliver their best first impression with their loglines, one-sheets, pitches and all-important personal narrative. This is how an executive becomes interested not only in reading a particular script, but also in working with the content creator behind it on assignments, adaptations, or future works. True story: One of my coaching clients was pitching via Happy Writers. His material was strong, but represented some subject-matter challenges right out of the gate. However, he kept getting screenplay requests. I called up one of the managers who requested to read the work, and asked for her impression. "The work has issues" she said "but the presentation was so strong, the writer's identity was so clear, I just wanted to read for voice." Careers are rarely built on any one script these days; instead, they are build on the writer's identity and voice, and nowhere are those more powerful than in the materials you use to introduce yourself. In today's shifting industry climate where single script sales present a challenge, agents, managers, development executives and producers are seeking to get involved with content creators who will deliver again and again, complete with a strong understanding of not only how to market their work, but also how to position their personal narrative and brand, the sort that executives want to work with, and reps want to sell. Remember: Executives get in business with people, not with a piece of paper. They want to know that you understand how to present both your material and yourself. In order to take you on as a client or a creative partner, they want to know that they can send you on a general meeting or a pitch assignment in which you will thrive and impress. Those are the skills that will get you into the room again and again. Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is excited to present Developing Your Marketable Identity: Loglines, One-Sheets, and the Critical Personal Narrative presented by Lee Jessup, career coach for professional and emerging screenwriters. Lee is the best-selling author of Getting It Write: An Insider's Guide to A Screenwriting Career, whose clients include television fellows, contest winners, produced screenwriters, and more. Lee will discuss the various materials you should prepare for meetings, pitches and events, and provide practical examples and guidelines for each. She will also explore the often-under-prepared personal narrative, which will allow you to effectively communicate who you are as a person and a writer, and the critical life events that inspired you to explore the specific themes, wounds and worlds that will set you apart in your work. This webinar is for screenwriters aiming to present their work to the professional space, be it via Skype or in-person pitches, general meetings or screenwriting events.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In