Writing the Cinematic Protagonist: Creating Multi-Dimensional Lead Characters

It's Introduce Yourself Weekend at Stage 32! Head over to the Introduce Yourself section of the Stage 32 Lounge and let everyone know who you are, what you're working on, your dreams and aspirations. And be sure to peruse other member's threads. You never know when you're going to make a connection that changes your life!

Hosted by Tyler Ruggeri

$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:

Tyler Ruggeri

Webinar hosted by: Tyler Ruggeri

Writer/Story Consultant

About Your Host Tyler Ruggeri: Tyler Ruggeri is a writer with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His original screenplay The Making Of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright, Bernie) and Trudie Styler (Moon) of Maven Pictures. He is currently adapting a critically acclaimed non-fiction book and writing an original action drama. Prior to his writing career, Tyler was a talent manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors while developing the company’s slate of projects. He signed emerging filmmakers including Lee Patterson (Nicholl Fellowship winner for Snatched) and Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, as well as the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to Whiplash, scripts he developed with clients have sold to A-list producers/financiers, appeared on the annual Black List, and garnered industry attention and assignments from major studios. Apart from screenwriting, Tyler has written advertising and web content for companies such as Baseline, AwesomenessTV, and Tool of North America. He has also served as a development consultant for independent shorts and features. His expertise ranges from story analysis and adaptation to rights issues and Writers Guild arbitrations, with a focus on shaping both the project itself and the writer's individual voice. Tyler is a graduate of Emerson College and began his career in the development/acquisitions department of Focus Features, following dual internships at DreamWorks and Warner Bros. Pictures. Full Bio »

Learn directly from Tyler Ruggeri, a writer, story consultant, and former manager who has developed and sold screenplays to top producers, including his own The Making of Rock Hudson to Maven Pictures! Tyler managed Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, as well as the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival!

This year, audiences have been introduced to a number of singular, fully fleshed out lead characters. From the surprisingly dimensional Joy in Inside Out, to two distinct Brian Wilsons in Love & Mercy, to the female road warrior Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, films continue to provide an endless amount of potential for diverse protagonists.

But these characters are often the exception rather than the rule. With a constant parade of franchise sequels, remakes, and reboots, it’s become harder than ever to create a unique and nuanced lead that audiences feel they haven’t seen before. And in a marketplace crowded with more of the same, it’s never been more essential (and potentially lucrative) for screenwriters to set their work apart.

So how can writers create characters that appeal to a wide audience without sacrificing the very qualities that make them singular?

In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, we are thrilled to bring back Tyler Ruggeri to discuss how to write interesting and complicated characters that audiences can root for without sacrificing depth. Having worked both on the writing and management side in Hollywood, Tyler brings uniquely qualified, invaluable experience on Writing The Cinematic Protagonist.

In this live and interactive webinar, Tyler will focus on studying (and deconstructing) the building blocks of movie protagonists in a straightforward, fun, and easy to digest format. He’ll discuss character in a macro-level approach while zeroing in on recent examples from popular films. Participants will learn that there’s no one way to create a memorable protagonist. But by knowing and staying true to what’s special about your story (and your lead character), you can shape a screenplay that’s fresh and unexpected while remaining accessible to all kinds of viewers.


What You'll Learn:

What You Will Learn:

  • What do we mean when we talk about character?
    • Understanding character as both a person and their environment.
  • Everything in your script is a choice.
    • How to make the right choices to present a realistic and definitive protagonist.
  • What does your character want?
    • Externalizing your character’s inner feelings and goals to make them relatable to viewers.
  • Do characters have to be likable?
    • What is “likable” anyway?
    • How “rooting for” a character doesn’t mean what you think it does.
  • What it means for a character to be “unlikable” (and how to avoid this note).
    • How an unlikable character can actually be an asset to your script.
  • Knowing the rules so you can break them.
    • Screenwriting books/blogs/manuals – helpful or harmful?
    • Becoming an avid consumer of what you want to create.
  • The “Stakes”.
    • Development execs always talk about stakes, but what are they?
    • Is an antagonist necessary?
    • Figuring out what’s holding your character back.
  • Peeling back the layers of your character.
    • Structuring your story so we learn more about the protagonist as it goes on.
  • Tricks of the trade.
    • Tips, shortcuts, and other ways to harness your character.
  • Finding out what kind of writer you are.
    • Discover how you specifically approach your characters.
  • Avoid writer’s block.
    • Is writer’s block real?
    • How not to get stuck when mapping out your lead’s journey.
  • Integrating themes.
    • Understanding that WHO your story is about dictates WHAT it’s about.
    • Writing specific characters with universal traits
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Tyler

About Your Instructor:

About Your Host Tyler Ruggeri:

Tyler Ruggeri is a writer with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His original screenplay The Making Of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright, Bernie) and Trudie Styler (Moon) of Maven Pictures. He is currently adapting a critically acclaimed non-fiction book and writing an original action drama.

Prior to his writing career, Tyler was a talent manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors while developing the company’s slate of projects. He signed emerging filmmakers including Lee Patterson (Nicholl Fellowship winner for Snatched) and Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, as well as the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to Whiplash, scripts he developed with clients have sold to A-list producers/financiers, appeared on the annual Black List, and garnered industry attention and assignments from major studios.

Apart from screenwriting, Tyler has written advertising and web content for companies such as Baseline, AwesomenessTV, and Tool of North America. He has also served as a development consultant for independent shorts and features. His expertise ranges from story analysis and adaptation to rights issues and Writers Guild arbitrations, with a focus on shaping both the project itself and the writer's individual voice.

Tyler is a graduate of Emerson College and began his career in the development/acquisitions department of Focus Features, following dual internships at DreamWorks and Warner Bros. Pictures.


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 Tyler Ruggeri:

"I took Tyler's class on writing a true story, and I found him to be the most knowledgeable and helpful on the topic of any other courses I heard on the subject, and very compelling to listen to and learn from. He represents the material strongly and in a way that can be digested for the listener. I found him to be a good teacher on the subjects he knows so well, which is not always easy to find. And on top of it all, he is very approachable and responsive after the class if you have any further questions. Whatever classes he offers, I will definitely be attending." – Anthony Buono

"Recently I asked Tyler to help develop a short script I'd been working on. Tyler's experience with story and structure were invaluable, while his eye to producing and the practical aspects of filmmaking kept things firmly grounded. This in addition to a creative mind and collaborative style that really worked for me." - Tim Immordino, Producer

"I took Tyler’s class to have a clearer understanding of developing biopics. Not only did it give me a better understanding, it also gave me tools to help communicate much easier with the writers I’m currently developing true stories with." - Angie Lee Cobbs, Producer (Untitled Dinah Washington Project)

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: 5 out of 5

  • I took pages and pages of notes, thank you! Very well delivered, the lecturer had clearly a vast knowledge of the subject. I really enjoyed it!
  • Extremely articulate presenter. It really helped to have such specific information about how a character can be multi-dimensional.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

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.

PITCH PERFECT: Tips To Making Your TV Pitch Sing

Learn directly from Kat Walsh, Director of Development for Edyson Entertainment and former Agent Trainee at CAA where she worked on such films as 12 Years A Slave, Looper, Drive, The Great Gatsby and many others!  In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Kat Walsh will teach you tips, offer advice, and share the buzz around town on what makes a television pitch truly stand out amongst the crowd. She will primarily focus on both what producers are looking for when it comes to verbal and written pitches, as well as general industry insight. Although verbal pitches are incredibly powerful, following it up with a stellar pitch document is equally important in catching a producer’s eye. Kat will be focusing on pitch document formats, character development, world building and that extra little “something” that may just turn a “no” into a “yes.” You will leave the webinar knowing: An understanding of the current television landscape. How to get to the “Do you have pitch pages” stage of your verbal pitch. Producer-friendly written pitch formats. How to make sure your pilot and pitch pages are a perfect complement to each other. What the various networks are looking for. How to best position yourself for producers and executives. Industry Buzz - what executives are talking about these days. Your host Kat Walsh brings with her wisdom from both areas of the business – the selling side and the buying side. While Kat has worked alongside top agents in the entertainment business during her time at CAA, she has ultimately had the time of her life working with Edyson Entertainment in the producing and development game. Edyson is a new TV production company with offices based in LA, Toronto and London and holds a first-look deal with international distribution company, Content Media. Edyson currently has two fully-financed shows in network development and a third on its way.

The Tools You Need To Attach “A” List Actors to Your Film

Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, The Tools You Need To Attach “A” List Actors to Your Film, Franco will outline specific steps and strategies that will ensure that the “A” Lister’s will at least read your script giving you an advantage over everyone else trying to secure talent but cannot. In this 90-minute online webinar you will learn specific tools you need - from LOIs to LOCs, Pay or Play, Deferred Payments, Back-End Point Deals, Credit Currency (and so much more!) in order to give your project the chance it deserves in A-list talent's hands. You will also learn negotiating perks that will help you stand out from the pack of scripts the talent may be considering. Some of the actors Franco has had in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar-Nominated, Dark Knight) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) Christine Lahti (Oscar Award Winner) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Your host, Franco Sama is a financing and producing expert who has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to $5M. Franco is bringing his years of experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community to help you get closer to understanding how you can attach A-List talent to your project.  To read more click "What You'll Learn" on the tab above!

Film Development Process: Defining The Producer-Writer Relationship

Learn directly from Gotham Award-winning Producer Shaun O’Banion who's worked with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow. Shaun’s first feature was one of an early group of independent films picked up for Netflix, and remained in the Top 100 for 5 years before airing on such networks as Showtime, The Movie Channel, ComCast On Demand, Time Warner Cable On Demand and Hulu. Navigating the maze of getting a screenplay read by people who can make it a reality is one thing, but moving into the realm of getting material financed and produced by those people is another game altogether. In this Next Level Class, you will learn from an award-winning producer's perspective what producers look for, how doing your research matters, and how collaboration with your new partner is the key to it all. Plus, learn the differences between setting up a short and setting up a feature. Some of the common questions asked during the development process are: where do producers look for material? How do you get someone to read your material? What are the differences between the indie film landscape and higher budget film production? Should you shoot a proof-of-concept short for your film? How can you build a collaborative relationship that will allow the best version of the script to end up on film? Should you shoot for the moon and write a $100 million dollar blockbuster or a down and dirty indie that, in a pinch, you could pull off with friends? In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Class, award-winning producer Shaun O’Banion will take you through all of this and more! Over the course of 2 online sessions you will learn about the process of getting material produced from the producer's perspective. You will also learn about the development process from the mind of an established indie producer who will give you a new set of tools to get your material in top form!

GET CONSIDERED! Evaluate Your Script So You Can Get Signed & Sold

Learn directly from Nikki Levy, former Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX, about how studio executives, producers & reps evaluate your script so you can get signed & sold! So, you’re a writer with a great script. You want to get signed! You want to get it sold! Heck, you just want it to be read! This is where you learn what the studios/producers/agents look for in a script, so you can address those points before anyone even takes a look. You will be miles ahead of the screenwriting pack by knowing IN ADVANCE how they evaluate a script. Or you’re a writer/producer. The #1 job of any producer is knowing how to identify material, and how to make that material BETTER. This is where you will learn how to break that script down, and build it back up. Or you’re a director. It is your duty to look at a piece of material (yours or someone else’s) and know how to improve all aspects of it – from story to character to conflict. Or, you’re an actor reading a screenplay. You like the part, but something’s missing. The story needs work. You want to shine, and it’s up to YOU to give notes on that character and that story. But you don’t know how to express to the director/producer what you innately feel. This is where you will learn how to analyze the script, and communicate what you think to make your role pop. This workshop is for anyone looking to break into the industry, or anyone already deep into it who wants a better grasp of story. Story is king in entertainment – now and always – and knowing what makes a good story and how to improve upon one, is vital.

Writing & Producing Compelling Television in Today's Market | Masters of Craft

There is no hotter market right now than television. More content is being ordered than ever before. And with streaming networks such as Netflix planning to have 50% original content in their libraries within the next few years, the demand for quality television scripts, products and minds isn't going away anytime soon. But what makes a television show work? What elements are networks, premium channels and streaming platforms looking for? How do you navigate what has quickly become a very crowded market? By learning from the best, of course. Stage 32 is beyond proud to introduce a new, timely, important and exclusive Masters of Craft webinar: Writing & Producing Compelling Television in Today’s Market.   Your teacher is 20+ year television veteran, the one and only David Weddle. Over his prolific career, David has been an award winning producer on some of the most famous shows of all time (Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The Twilight Zone). Currently, David is an Executive Producer and Writer for The Strain – the highly acclaimed television series created by writer/director Guillermo del Toro, based on his series of best-selling novels, co-written with Chuck Hogan. David is working alongside one of the most famous and in demand showrunners in the business, Carlton Cuse (showrunner for Lost, Bates Motel, Colony and the upcoming Amazon Studios' show Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski). As an added bonus, in this exclusive worldwide online event Stage 32’s very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself, will sit down with David and discuss the ins and outs of TV. David will take you into the world and processes of creating quality, compelling television. He will get in depth on how shows get bought and made – from writing to budgeting to casting. In short, you will gain pertinent, usable knowledge and information on writing and producing for TV. Further, we will have an extensive Q&A session where you can ask David any questions you have. This is masterful information brought to you by a master of his craft!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In