Writing Horror to Scare Up the Big Bucks

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Tips & Tricks For Writing Commercial Horror Features
Hosted by Scott Stoops


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

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Scott Stoops

Webinar hosted by: Scott Stoops

Manager at Good Fear Film + Management

Scott Stoops started in the industry working at Paradigm, where he was an Agent Trainee in the Feature Literary department. Making the transition to Benderspink in 2014, Scott was instrumental in signing the comic book publisher Aspen Comics. Scott represents a variety of emerging writers and filmmakers whose films have played in festival across the world and has sold projects in both television and features. Passionate about all things elevated and genre, his favorite films of the last few years have been Wild Tales and Coherence, he loves BBC’s Black Mirror and the UK’s Utopia, and is an avid consumer of horror, science fiction, comic books and comedy Full Bio »

Learn directly from Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who recently sold a pilot to CBS. Benderspink sold more spec scripts last year than any other management company and are best known for producing The Hangover franchise, The Ring franchise, We’re The Millers, Horrible Bosses 2, among many others!

With the recent success of films such as It Follows, Insidious Chapter 3, Poltergeist and The Visit, it is evident that horror is becoming one of the most profitable and exciting genres in the industry. This is because horror films can be made on the cheap and still yield spectacular returns at the box office. Horror doesn’t rely on big IP, superheroes, or movie stars – all horror needs to deliver is a compelling story, told well, packed with plenty of chills and thrills. However, delivering on this is far easier said than done, and many writers miss important story elements that keep their horror scripts dead in the water.

In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who is passionate about genre films, will teach you what makes a horror film successful, from developing a marketable and commercial plot, to unique and scary set pieces, to properly structuring and formatting your script to tell the best story possible. You will learn high-level story concepts, tips and tricks to help make your horror script scary and effective, and get an insider perspective on what concepts and types of horror films are currently selling in the marketplace.

You will leave this webinar with an understanding of not only how to make your existing scripts stronger, but how to develop and come up with the next big horror hit film!

What You'll Learn:

  • Success in Horror: What Makes A Horror Film/Script Successful.
    • A look at what makes horror films effective, both in terms of storytelling and in the marketplace.
  • The Cyclical Nature of Horror.
    • What is “working” and what is “selling”.
    • Case studies of successful past films, current films, and predictions for successful future films.
  • What Makes A Horror Script Marketable/Sellable?
    • What the market is currently looking for.
    • How you can use that knowledge to build a strong script.
  • Making Horror Grounded.
    • Effective horror is generally grounded and relatable.
    • Tips and tricks to make your story more grounded and relatable to a wide audience, even when your story is “out there”.
  • Shades of Horror – The Different Types of Horror and How to Execute.
    • Thrillers, mysteries, supernatural, serial killers, slashers and more.
    • Sub-genres in the horror space.
    • What beats a writer needs to hit to deliver.
  • Delivering on Scares.
    • The most important part of a horror film is making it scary – we’ll talk through how to make your script as scary as possible.
  • Introducing the reader to a dark and mysterious world.
    • Setting up the first act to propel us into the second is of key importance.
    • How to set up the scares to come.
  • How to Structure your Horror Movie.
    • The classic horror ‘formula’.
    • How to employ it to make your script as streamlined and effective as possible.
  • Developing your characters.
    • Although scares are the most important aspect of the script, if the reader doesn’t care about the characters, the script will be far less scary.
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Scott

About Your Instructor:

Scott Stoops started in the industry working at Paradigm, where he was an Agent Trainee in the Feature Literary department. Making the transition to Benderspink in 2014, Scott was instrumental in signing the comic book publisher Aspen Comics.

Scott represents a variety of emerging writers and filmmakers whose films have played in festival across the world and has sold projects in both television and features.

Passionate about all things elevated and genre, his favorite films of the last few years have been Wild Tales and Coherence, he loves BBC’s Black Mirror and the UK’s Utopia, and is an avid consumer of horror, science fiction, comic books and comedy

Frequently Asked Questions:

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! 


Testimonials About Scott Stoops' Previous Stage 32 Next Level Course:

This was one of the best presentations at Stage 32 that I have attended. Thank you!” – CC L.

Scott is so much fun to watch... his energy and passion are undeniable. Love it.” – Sylvia L.

Scott has a lot of energy that keeps me rapt and writing notes…he has initiative. I am skimming my writing mentally when he's speaking and afterwards to see how I've applied his teaching.” – Betty S.


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.

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • It's been a while, but I really enjoyed the talk. The information was helpful and encouraging. I'm hoping to find a few hours to replay it and refresh my memory.
  • Maybe a little disorganized at the start, but still it was very informative. I especially liked to focus on what's marketable.
  • Nothing overly new here. Basically examples of scary films, especially The Ring (How old is The Ring?). Put your characters in peril, and infuse really scary scenes and situations. At times Scott did not seem very prepared, especially when trying to think of examples. Lots of "I'm thinking of a film, but can't remember the title". "That scary scene in that movie, skips my mind, but I'll remember later" type stuff, etc. Slow unorganized start to presentation. E-mail interruptions throughout were annoying and took things off-track. Scott seemed to lose his train of thought several times. Lots of time wasted on commenting on basically useless questions, especially the time spent on which horror film fit into which horror film genre. Scott also has a habit of using the term "ummm" quite often... like an insane amount of times. Should have had very detailed notes and pinpoint helpful examples, given his presentation, and held off any and all questions until he was done with his presentation.This webinar was worth at most $25, certainly not $59.
  • He basically gloated about his favorite films. It's ok for newcomers and outsiders but hardly useful to advanced writers and hardcore fans of the genre. No inside track info whatsoever.

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