Christopher Lockhart is Hollywood’s foremost story professional. As Story Editor at WME, the world's largest diversified talent agency, Chris curates projects for A-list actors such as Denzel Washington, reading and exploring through piles of screenplays, magazines, books, old movies, TV shows, and pitches in search of potential film projects. Chris began his career at International Creative Management (ICM), where he worked as script consultant to legendary talent agent Ed Limato, who represented industry giants such as Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson, and Robert Downey, Jr. Chris later moved to the venerable William Morris Agency, which eventually merged with Endeavor to form WME. As an educator and consultant, Chris has lectured around the world on the craft and business of screenwriting, and he has advised on countless feature films. Chris graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dramatic writing and was awarded the school's Public Service Prize for his dedication to public education. He is an adjunct professor at National University's Professional Screenwriting Program. He has also taught at LA Valley College and UCLA. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was filmed for Los Angeles television, earning him an Emmy Award nomination. Chris's creative counsel has been used on many hit films such as the 2016 Sundance Film Festival sensation The Birth of a Nation. Chris crossed over into film producing with the cult horror hit The Collector (2009) and its sequel The Collection (2012), which opened in the top ten box-office. He also wrote and produced the award winning documentary Most Valuable Players (2010) which was acquired by OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), and that Matt Roush of TV Guide reviewed as the “Sleeper of the week...Charming and disarming…A genuine treat.” Chris has set up several other projects, including A Rhinestone Alibi at Paramount, and Crooked Creek, a modern noir thriller. Chris is a member of the Writers Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Television Academy. He lives in Beverly Hills, CA and has a ten-year-old son. Full Bio »
Exclusive to Stage 32, Chris Lockhart, one of the most legendary and revered agency story editors in the business teaches for the community. Chris has read over 60,000 scripts in his career for WME and has the database to prove it!
A logline is the way your screenplay is introduced to the world. It’s rare that anyone will read your script without knowing something about it first. A-List Actors, producers, directors, managers, agents, financiers and development execs will often lean on hearing a logline before ever asking for or agreeing to read a screenplay. If your logline doesn't sing, the script doesn't get opened. Even more important, if the logline doesn't work, it's a signal to those who read screenplays for a living that the script probably doesn't either. Delving into a logline can help you identify problematic elements of a screenplay, enabling solutions to fix them.
Simply put, there is no one better to help teach this subject than Chris Lockhart. As Story Editor at William Morris Endeavor (WME), the world's largest diversified talent agency, Chris has curated projects for A-list actors such as Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and countless others over the last 20+ years. He's accomplished this reading and exploring through piles of screenplays, magazines, books, old movies, TV shows, and pitches in search of potential film projects. If you've seen one of these actors in just about anything, chances are Chris was the first stop for the screenplay (of which he's read over 60,000), but only after he heard the logline and deemed it worth of a read!
Chris began his career at International Creative Management (ICM), where he worked as script consultant to legendary talent agent Ed Limato, who represented industry giants such as Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson, and Robert Downey, Jr. Chris later moved to the venerable William Morris Agency, which eventually merged with Endeavor to form WME. Chris is the Story Editor for A-list talent such as Denzel Washington, Michelle Williams, Richard Gere and more!
As an educator and consultant, Chris has lectured around the world on the craft and business of screenwriting, and he has advised on countless feature films. Chris graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dramatic writing and was awarded the school's Public Service Prize for his dedication to public education. He is an adjunct professor at National University's Professional Screenwriting Program. He has also taught at LA Valley College and UCLA. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was filmed for Los Angeles television, earning him an Emmy Award nomination. Chris's creative counsel has been used on hundreds of hit films Chris is a member of the Writers Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Television Academy.
In a jammed packed and often hilarious webinar (trust us, Chris is a character and a half), Chris will not only teach you how to write a logline, but how to tailor it in such a way that it is appealing to talent, representation and the money. He'll break down the mechanics of a logline to determine what makes one work. He'll show you what aspects A-List actors, directors, managers, agents, producers, financiers and development execs look for in a logline that makes them want to take the next step and read your script. Chris will then take you on a broader discussion of the elements of successful screenwriting and how your logline can betray what you've written or reveal the shortcomings in your script. As a bonus, Chris will then play a recording of an interactive logline pitch shop he recently held where he broke down several loglines to show what worked and what didn't. All this followed by a fun and informative Q&A filled with even more actionable information.
"Chris, without question, is not only one of my favorite people in the industry, but one of my favorite people on the planet. His knowledge of screenwriting is beyond compare and his ability to break down every aspect of the writing process beginning with the logline is something to behold. He's smart, engaging, and funny as hell. And he's right about everything...Just ask him!"
- Richard Botto, CEO (and screenwriter), Stage 32
"Amazing seminar loved it. It was the best I have ever watched or ordered!"
- Robert M.
"Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor."
- Lori H.
"Oh my god, I was laughing all the way through. In between writing about 10 pages of notes. SO much fun and a wealth of knowledge."
- Denise G.
"I went into this thinking it was going to be yet another of those dry logline classes. I was upended. This wasn't just the best thing ever regarding loglines, but the best screenwriting class I've ever taken."
- Robert S.
"Excellent! Very practical and useful!"
- Kathi W.
Chris speaking at the Seattle Film Summit with Sean from Broken Road Pictures, Josh Adler from Circle of Confusion and Kevin Parker from Artists First Management.
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!
Chris was so bang on with his advice for crafting a logline. I redid my two most cumbersome ones within ten minutes after this webinar. In turn, that process has prompted a whole cascade of new scenes to fix everything within those screenplays! - Sarah G.
Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor. - Lori H.
Excellent webinar. Really helped with my logline. - Martin R.
Very informative. Clarified a lot of questions I've always had regarding loglines. Well worth the money. - Emmit R.
It was very informative and insightful. - Mays S.
As a television maker, one of the most difficult aspects of your job is creating and managing the budget for your project. Budgeting a feature or a short can be complicated enough, but at least you have all of the information at your fingertips. You have a script, schedule, rates—all of these things are at your disposal. However what happens when you need to budget a TV show? You don’t have all the scripts, there’s seemingly no way to create a schedule and, on the surface, no way to generate a budget. And once that budget is established, how do you handle decision making and cost tracking over a many, many months long process? These seemingly unsolved issues do have answers, and ones that may be simpler than you think. Successfully producing a TV show to get on screen requires that you understand not just how to build a TV budget, but also how to operate it. Knowing the ins and outs of Movie Magic and the various tools within as it relates to television is key. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and drown in the details of creating and managing the budget of a series. Through thorough research of the software, what it does and how it affects your project, you will be able to create TV budgets with ease. Presenting a solid TV budget will help you gain the confidence of those who can ultimately invite you into the inner circle of TV producing and allow you to advance your career to new heights. Rami Rank is a producer with credits on shows including Amazon's GOLIATH, DEXTER for Showtime, SWINGTOWN for CBS, HELP ME and HELP YOU for ABC, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Rami began his career working on indie features as a Production Coordinator, Production Manager and Line Producer. After joining the union and coordinating the third season of DEXTER, Rami joined Universal Studios where in addition to helping manage the Backlot and Stage Operations he also ran UVS-1, Universal’s Virtual Production business until 2013, when he came back to production. Through his storied career, Rami has produced and budgeted for all types of television shows, including some of the biggest ones out there. He knows intimately what goes into the vital aspect of creating a budget for these projects and is ready to share all he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. In this 3-session class, Rami will offer detailed, practical, and exhaustive guide to creating and managing a successful TV budget. In session one he will review the basic starting point of a TV budget: where the information comes from and how to utilize it. He will review some basic concepts like Budgeting and Scheduling Software, Rate Guides and the two types of budgets you’ll be creating – Patterns and Amorts. Session 2 will be a deep dive into the Amort budget. Students will receive a copy of an Amort budget to use as reference as we walk through all of the departments, positions and costs to consider in preparing the Amort. In the final session you will receive copies of a pattern budget to use as reference as he teaches how this budget is transformed into an episodic budget and then tracked using hot costs and cost reports. You will leave these three classes with the knowledge base and confidence to tackle any TV budget. WHAT TO EXPECT This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of creating a budget for a television show. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more than a standard 90-minute webinar. You will be given guides and walk throughs of software and procedures and will receive handouts and resources that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the class ends. This class will consist of three sessions, each roughly 90 minutes in duration and spaced one week apart from one another. In addition to the lessons where Rami will be sharing his screen and walking you through section by section of television budgeting software, you will have the opportunity to ask Rami questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the budgeting process. To see the full budgeting class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". "As a long time producer, I know how important a solid budget is for any television show, and I know just how challenging it is to create one successfully—much harder than for features and shorts. I’m excited to empower producers and creatives in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Get ready to learn more about TV budgets than you ever have before!" -Rami Rank
If you’re tired of your soul-sucking job or you have your own entrepreneurial venture but need to make more money now (because you’re tired of stealing your neighbors car and living off of Ramen Noodles), this webinar was built for you. During this jam-packed 90 minute teaching, you’ll learn how to find paid speaking, teaching, and writing opportunities that you didn’t even know existed. The best part is, you can start finding them right away and making more bankroll almost immediately. These opportunities not only bring in more money for you, they allow you to live your life on your terms and your timeline so that you can focus on building your career as a writer, actor, director, producer, fill in the creative blank. The fun doesn’t end there. If you sell a product or service, but find people are constantly trying to undercut you or get you to do it for mere pennies, we’re going to talk about what you can say and do to turn that around. You’re done giving yourself away. You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Aside from my time on the streets of Syracuse chasing criminals and crooked politicians (as a reporter, people, mind out of the gutter), I’ve had the pleasure of speaking on stages, hosting masterminds and workshops, and putting up live events for the past fifteen years. As a writer, I ghostwrite blog posts, books, and other content marketing pieces for other Creatives. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to find these kinds of opportunities, too. The best part? You don’t need prior writing experience. I’ve discovered that these multiple streams of income are the answer to creating a lifestyle that affords me the time and space I need to write my own scripts and take off for auditions or roles I’ve been cast in. If you’re tired of the crap job, you want to watch this. If you’re struggling to get your own small business off the ground, you want to watch this. But most of all, if you want to learn what it takes to create multiple steams of income that give you the time, money, and space you need to stay true to your talents, you really, really want to watch this.
Flashbacks are not meant to be a storytelling crutch, but rather a tool used to reveal additional backstory or subvert the audiences expectation of a character or situation. We will examine Casablanca, The Usual Suspects & Casino Royale.
We've brought in Zeke Thomas, a VR producer who recently did the 360 experience for HAPPY DEATH DAY for Universal & Blumhouse and who's clients include: Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV and more. Zeke will be breaking down the business of VR/360 in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar. Billions of dollars have been poured into Virtual Reality & 360 spherical capture, but is there really a business for this form of storytelling? If you're already filming in VR/360 or are interested in pursuing this medium, it's important to understand not just the craft, but the business of it.
We take a look at how writers use cutaways to drive home punchlines in Family Guy and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, explain big ideas in The Big Short, give historical context in Narcos, and frame stories in The Princess Bride.
In a short period of time, the world of podcasts has exploded and become an industry to be reckoned with. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis, and individual shows can have millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. An art form in its own right, podcasts have also become a proving ground for stories to be adapted for television or movies. Shows like HOMECOMING, DIRTY JOHN, and LIMETOWN would never have been greenlit or aired if they didn’t first find success and a fan base in podcast form. Now with many more podcast adaptations like CRIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS and ALICE ISN’T DEAD currently in development, this route is becoming much more common and achievable. Yet before you can score that rich TV deal you first need a podcast HIT, but what does that actually take? Podcasts are easy to make - too easy. That’s partly why there are so many podcasts out there right now. Yet very few of these are actually going to be noticed by executives and transformed into the next big TV series. It turns out to stand out you need more than a great concept and some fancy audio equipment. For a podcast to really pick up steam it needs to be packaged similar to a film or TV series. It usually needs producing partners, it needs banner names and talent, and it needs a distributor or network that is willing to pick it up. So what do you need to do know before you write that first word or produce that first .wav file? How can you put the odds in your favor and still enjoy the ride? Mark Ramsey is the creator, writer, and host of several imaginative, top-ranked podcasts for Wondery including INSIDE STAR WARS, INSIDE PSYCHO, INSIDE THE EXORCIST, and INSIDE JAWS. He wrote and directed POPS! THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF JAZZ LEGEND LOUIS ARMSTRONG starring Reno Wilson (MIKE AND MOLLY, GOOD GIRLS), and THE UNDERCOVERS, hosted by Ed O'Neill (Modern Family). Mark is currently co-producing the upcoming podcast AFTERSHOCK, a full cast fiction audio thriller just acquired by iHeartMedia and starring Sarah Wayne Callies (THE WALKING DEAD, COLONY), David Harbour (STRANGER THINGS), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (THE WALKING DEAD). He is also writing and narrating a podcast adaptation of THE LAST STONE, a true crime story from New York Times best-selling author Mark Bowden (BLACK HAWK DOWN) and is developing a podcast version of William Kotzwinkle’s classic THE FAN MAN, starring David Arquette (SCREAM). Mark's deep experience in the podcast space and the success he has found through his career has given him the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to make a podcast hit, and he's going to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Mark will lay out how to properly develop and package your podcast in order for it to hopefully get picked up by a podcast network and serve as IP for future opportunities. He’ll delve into what the podcast landscape looks like and what it takes for a podcast to become a hit. He’ll share the 4 main ways you can increase your odds for discovery and discuss the need for getting a podcast distributor on board. He’ll also go over how best to bring name actors on board and get them excited on your project. Mark will then teach you how to nail your pitch to networks and podcast distributors, what sort of pitch documents you should prepare and how to communicate your show to get executives on board. Mark will even provide case studies of real pitch documents he’s created for his own shows and go through what about them worked and didn’t. Finally, Mark will discuss the path from hit podcast to IP and what next steps can be. Making a podcast hit means more than a great concept or script. Mark will walk you through what you actually need to do to give your show the platform it needs to find success.