Writing Horror to Scare Up the Big Bucks

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

$49

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

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

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:

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.

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.
 

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.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Beyond The Page: The Business Side of Breaking In & Getting Work as a Screenwriter

Learn directly from Michael Poisson, the former Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at TV production companies. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will guide you through the business side of how to become a working writer in Hollywood. Writing an awesome script is only part of the process for becoming successful in this industry. Having worked on various projects from both the executive side, as well as the writer side of things, Michael has obtained great insight for how to avoid the difficult terrain when meeting and working with producers, studios, and networks. And while the process of finding a manager or agent is daunting, keeping a strong relationship with them so that they’re doing the most for you as their client can be equally difficult. Michael will share with you his insider knowledge to help: keep your writing on track, your meetings fruitful, and your industry contacts strong. If you’ve ever wondered what you should talk about in “general meetings”, how to take notes from friends/producers/execs that you don’t agree with, or how to be a more prolific writer, this webinar is for you!  

How to Develop Iconic Dramatic TV Characters

Learn directly from Conrad Sun, TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists who represents TV writers in all genres for shows such as Blindspot, Two Broke Girls and Bojack Horseman. So you’ve finally fleshed out your ideas for your next TV project and you’re off to the races developing your next screenplay. While working on your series, you’re constantly reminded of the one thing that every executive looks for: CHARACTER CHARACTER CHARACTER. Every executive says they want to read compelling characters. But what exactly does that mean? And how does one accomplish this?  In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Literary Manager Conrad Sun will breakdown six TV characters and how they are portrayed in their respective drama pilots: Frank Underwood (House Of Cards) Walter White (Breaking Bad) Annalise Keating (How to Get Away With Murder) Piper Chapman (Orange is the New Black) Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) Lester Nygard (Fargo) Through these characters, Conrad will illustrate the traits and nuances that make them compelling to their audiences. From there, he will discuss how to apply these traits to your own characters.  

The Keys to Writing True Stories, Biopics, and Adaptations

Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a screenwriter and former manager with a decade of experience on both sides of the film industry! Since its inception, Hollywood has made films about or inspired by real people and events. In recent years, the "biopic" has become one of the most prestigious and in-demand genres, and six of the nine 2014 Best Picture nominees are based in reality. Compelling true stories are constantly sought after and frequently top The Black List. From CAPOTE to MILK to THE SOCIAL NETWORK to LINCOLN to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET to 12 YEARS A SLAVE, we'll discuss what makes fact-based films viable today, and more importantly how to separate yours from the rest of the pack. This involves shaping the facts of your story into a fictional narrative that supports your unique point of view. We'll also explore the specific steps involved, such as research, story structure, legal issues, and the best way to position your project in a competitive market. While parts of certain films will be mentioned in detail, only a familiarity with the genre is necessary - we won't be studying examples from beginning to end. This overview will serve as an in-depth primer not just for biopic writers, but for all writers to discover stories that can excite and move today's audiences.

How to Get a Screenwriting Manager – Examples & Resources

There is a lot of information at your fingertips on how to approach a screenwriting manager, but how do you know if your approach works? What if you have the chance to pull back the curtain back and hear directly from a literary manager what makes them interested?  Stage 32 has brought in literary manager Conrad Sun from Meridian Artists for an advanced look into a manager’s mindset when considering a new writer. Conrad manages writers working in film and TV including BLINDSPOT, BOJACK HORSEMAN, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MOTIVE, SLASHER. In this jam-packed 90-minute webinar Conrad will give an overview of the screenwriter/manager relationship. But, more importantly, he will be sharing real-life examples of writing samples, queries, competitions and pitchfests that have caught his eye. You will even see his client’s writing sample – the TV pilot script for BLINDSPOT – which is now a show on NBC. Plus, you will get a list of resources to help on your journey. This is a go-to guide to refer to when you need to do a double check on your approach when engaging representation.

Writing the Psychological Thriller

Learn directly from Steve Desmond, professional screenwriter who has worked on projects with Davis Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Treehouse Pictures, and more! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Steve Desmond will help you build your suspense from the ground up. Together, you’ll study some of the masters of psychological thrillers, and he’ll share what he’s learned in the trenches from working with other writers, producers, and executives. From the anatomy of a suspense scene, to how to build compelling characters, to how to hook the reader’s attention early, to the power of murder in a story, all the way to crafting a twist ending that no one sees coming, this will be a fully immersive experience that will leave you excited, inspired and ready to tackle your next project. Steve Desmond is a professional screenwriter represented by APA, The Gotham Group, and Eclipse Law Firm. Recently, Steve sold a thriller screenplay with an Oscar nominated producer attached, and has several other thriller projects in the works with major companies. Steve was also recently hired to write a treatment for a mini-series on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, being produced Discovery Networks, Giant Pirates, and Trigger Street. Over the years, he’s written or developed projects with Imagine Entertainment, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV, The Walt Becker Company, Dreamworks Animation, and (shockingly) The Disney Channel. Steve has repeatedly proved that he knows what it takes to write a great psychological thriller, and he is here to share his knowledge with Stage 32!

Writing the Producible, Low-Budget Script

Writers, producers and directors often complain that they can’t get their projects made, usually because the budget is too large. But what if the problem wasn’t the concept, but the way the script approaches the material? Have you had trouble selling your script? Do you constantly hit a wall when writing because you know it's 'too big' or 'too expensive' to make on a small budget? In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar James Kicklighter will teach you how to develop a film that can be made without large budgets and resources. James will arm you with the knowledge to create a scene that shows the narrative arc without telling it. He will also go through simple elements that often drive up budgets, elements that have been forgotten or unconsidered by filmmakers of all experience levels.  You will learn how to optimize your script to show and not tell the story with nominal resources, providing valuable guidance for the novice and a refresher for the experienced veteran. You will leave this webinar knowing exactly how to write a producible, low-budget script!