What Managers Look for in a Horror Short or Feature Screenplay - With 10 Horror Film Case Studies

Hosted by Jake Wagner

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Jake Wagner

Webinar hosted by: Jake Wagner

Manager at Alibi Management

Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management.  Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The horror genre is one of the only genres that still can open big theatrically. In fact, over the last 5 years or so, the horror genre has provided the industry with some of its most profitable films. And that trend shows no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, the trend is accelerating. Horror still lends itself to a shared experience of being scared with a group in the dark. The jump scares, soundtrack and sound effects really play well in theaters, but also lends itself to that adrenaline we all love when sitting home alone streaming a great horror film. Horror can also be produced on a much lower budget than most other genres, so the opportunity for higher margins of profit are always in play. And you don’t need big movie stars as the concept is the star. Additionally, tons of new directors are able to break in through the horror genre and they're all looking for that perfect script with that killer concept.

The challenge for most writers is coming up with either a totally new concept (THE CONJURING), or coming up with a new twist on what has already worked in the past (INVISIBLE MAN). But once you have fleshed out the concept, you need to make sure the writing is on point. That includes a perfect opening, a cadre of memorable characters, a plot that keeps those pages turning, and a close that makes a manager want to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting.

Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management. Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL.

Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Jake will teach writers of horror screenplays what managers look for in a spec screenplay. As one of the leading sellers of horror specs in the market today, Jake will tell you the common mistakes horror writers make and how to avoid them. To start, Jake will take you through the types of horror scripts attracting financing and producing interest in the market right now and he will explain why certain feature scripts stand out above the rest. Then, Jake will dive into the writing and the reading habits and needs of a manager. He will dive into what your first 10 pages tell a manager and how you can not only make them shine, but how to do so in a manner that keeps a manager turning pages. He will discuss the importance of your first act, the introduction and nuances of your characters, how to make sure your plot is not only interesting, but clear, and how to stick the landing. And, as a bonus, Jake will take you through 10 case studies of some of the most successful horror feature and short film projects of recent years including A Quiet Place, No Good Deed, Meet Jimmy and more.

 

"Too often I hear and see scripts that are derivative of other movies and don’t bring anything new to the table. Let me show you what makes a horror script attractive to me and other literary mangers and that will draw attention in the marketplace right now."

- Jake Wagner

What You'll Learn

  • Examples of Types of Horror Scripts That Are in the Marketplace
    • Gore and Disturbing
    • Psychological
    • Killer
    • Monsters
    • Zombies
    • Supernatural/Paranormal
  • What About a Horror Script That Stands Out Immediately
    • What a Manager Can Tell in the First 10 Pages
    • What Keeps a Manager Reading
    • What Stands Out in the First Act
    • How to Know if Your Characters Will Stand Out to a Manager
    • How to Know Your Plot Will Keep a Manager Turning the Page
    • How to Stick Your Landing in Your 3rd Act
  • What NOT to Do (What I've Seen A Million Times)
  • Case Studies: Examples of Projects That Have Stuck Out and Why
    • Matriarch – spec script
    • No Good Deed – spec script
    • Crawl – spec script
    • Meet Jimmy – Horror short
    • Sweet Tooth – Horror Short
    • Polaroid – Horror short
    • Scream – spec script
    • A Quiet Place – spec script
    • It Follows – spec script
    • The Purge – spec script
  • Q&A with Jake

About Your Instructor

Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management.  Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL.

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