the Breakthrough Sessions
My name is Jeff Bollow, and I'm a would-be film producer who spent almost 20 years searching for material to produce. When I couldn't find any viable projects, I set out to solve the script development problem once and for all. I reverse-engineered the complete creative process (from before you have an idea all the way to the deal), and then mapped out the world's most comprehensive step-by-step professional screenplay development system.
But over the past several years, I have come to realize two things:
- DIY has its limits.
Writers need personal, one-to-one help with their writing. It's not enough to hand writers the tools; we must also help them use those tools effectively. The great challenge of our industry is that doing this well is extremely difficult to scale. How do a small number of experts offer one-to-one help to thousands of writers?
- Almost every aspect of screenwriting has key dynamics that make it work.
While there are hundreds of facets, nuances, skills and techniques required to create an effective story or screenplay, each of those facets has a "breakthrough" element. Once a writer masters that breakthrough component or dynamic, their abilities skyrocket, and lead to real results in that area.
In my own creative subconscious, I've been trying to figure out a way to combine these two insights to help writers overcome the challenges we both need them to overcome.
When I first built FAST Screenplay, I was trying to solve two problems at the same time.
First, I needed to build a "content factory" — a project development pipeline — that would consistently and reliable help anyone turn their ideas into unique, original, compelling, viable, production-ready screenplays we could then produce (at a rate of 3-6 films per year).
And, second, because the writers I met didn't have those skills, I needed to help writers turn sometimes-good-sometimes-great story ideas into real-world producible content. Most writers I had met or interacted with simply did not have the skills (or, often, even the knowledge) to create viable material. As an indie film producer, I was not able to afford to hire top-tier professional writers. It would take some time to get to that level.
See, spending all my time writing scripts as fast as I could was not a serious option — I would never be able to write 3-6 films per year and produce and distribute them. (No writer cranks out 100% quality, either, so I'd probably need to write even more than that many.)
And spending all my time helping novice writers develop their projects (and their skills, in most cases) was not a viable option, either — there is simply too much to teach, and all that time invested does not necessarily result in a viable, producible project.
So I poured all my time and energy into FAST Screenplay, and guiding writers through that process. But the further I got into it, the more my focus was forced to turn to the writers and their journey than my own journey as a producer. (It's why I now call myself a "would-be" producer.)
And now, after 12 years of watching the results of FAST Screenplay, I have discovered that fewer than 5% of writers have enough internal motivation to DIY this complex craft. Fully 95% of writers, in my estimation, need some sort of one-to-one guidance.
But how do we do that?
The time it takes to read a script, give notes, help a writer understand those notes, implement, analyze the implementation, offer further notes, and so on, is enormous. Yet the writer needs top-tier guidance, or they will fall into the same mistakes, weak choices, unoriginal ideas, and non-viable storytelling as the vast majority of aspiring screenwriters out there.
To pull me away from the work of building the film studio, developing projects with advanced writers, keeping the whole enterprise running, and having some sort of family life — even for just an hour — is not worth it for a single writer whose work may or may not ever reach the production slate. So I would have to charge a small fortune to justify it (so the money itself is the rationale, as it could be used in pursuit of those larger goals).
But the writer, without a discernible way to recoup that investment — at least not until they develop sufficient skill to make a living at screenwriting — can't afford to endlessly spend huge piles of cash to develop their craft. There is a misalignment of value there, and it keeps most writers spinning in circles on their own, mired hopelessly in their gaps of skill and knowledge, while the producer or skilled coaches are unable to develop the projects they need to expand their production output.
The problem is still time and money — how can we help individual writers with the quality of help that will enable them to truly break through... and do it for a reasonable price that makes it work for both parties?
Enter: The Breakthrough Sessions.
What if we launched a series of small, interactive, group coaching sessions? What if we took a group of no more than 10 writers at a time, focused solely on one specific actionable high-impact subject area (facet of screenwriting), and had an intensive work-a-long session designed precisely for rapid implementation of an immediate breakthrough?
So, for example, your story idea or concept.
Imagine waking up one morning so drawn to a movie idea that you pushed everything aside and spent the next two years trying to write it. But as you moved forward, learning how to do it well, you ended up falling out of love with the idea. Or worse, after all that time invested, readers didn't seem to care about it.
Now imagine having the intuitive skill of being able to transform that idea into a breakthrough concept. What if you could take ANY idea and immediately — within hours at first, within minutes eventually — turn it into a concept you know with certainty would break through the noise and hook a producer, or an agent, or an audience.
Well, that's what I want to empower you to do.
In one intensive rapid-implementation work-a-long session, we'll take the ideas YOU have right now, and turn them into breakthrough concepts by the end of the session. I'll provide you the insights, the framework, and the tools to do it almost immediately.
That's our first Breakthrough Session: How to turn any idea into a breakthrough concept.
And then we'll follow it up with dozens — eventually maybe hundreds — more, in the year ahead.
Each Breakthrough Session will be:
- a 4-hour, 8-hour, or 12-hour workshop training session (depending on topic)
- held remotely via Zoom
- limited to 10 participants
- broken down into sections: the breakthrough, the action, and the feedback
Some sessions will require prior knowledge, experience, or proof of work, so that we can focus on advanced topics as well as topics for beginners and all screenwriters.
Each session will be an opportunity to participate actively, and every session will be designed to have an immediate transformation for the writers involved. We will work on YOUR ideas and projects (or ideas and projects you create for the workshop), and help and guide you individually on the live session. That way, all participants will get one-on-one guidance as time permits, as well as getting the benefit of seeing the concepts applied by other participants, so the principles and breakthroughs resonate more fully.
When we're finished, all participants will have lifetime access to the recordings of the session, so they can revisit and review the workshops and their insights, and do the exercises and action steps again and again.
We'll also make the recordings available to the public. If there is sufficient interest and the time required is sustainable, we're considering making the Breakthrough Sessions series regular and ongoing, and giving writers the opportunity to subscribe monthly for the recordings of each new workshop, to help make it more accessible to more writers.
The Breakthrough Sessions Pricing Structure
In order to justify the time and expense of creating this series (and the value to be had by participants of the live work-a-longs), attending LIVE will carry the premium, as LIVE attendees get the personalized help and feedback.
So we will launch the series at a price of $495 per session, discounted to $350 per session for FAST Screenplay members. Please note that these prices may increase dramatically if the demand for attending LIVE exceeds the number of session seats we have available. Keep in mind that with only 10 to 20 seats available each month, the opportunity for one-to-one feedback and help is extremely limited.
Recordings of the sessions, however, will be made available for $97 each. A four, eight, or twelve-hour intensive training Breakthrough Session will be an extraordinary value, so prices are subject to increase based on the final value of the sessions.
Here are some of the sessions coming in the months ahead:
- CONCEPT: How to turn any idea into a breakthrough concept
Is your concept good-but-not-great? Discover the keys dynamics that will make a story idea break through, get noticed, and have producers eager to produce.
- STORY: How to turn concepts into compelling stories almost immediately
Discover and implement the keys to rapid-outlining and hyper-plotting. When an idea pops into your head, you'll be able to turn it into a compelling stories within hours.
- CHARACTERS: The secret to creating breakthrough characters every time
Our breakthrough character development workshop, this session looks at the dynamics you can apply to any character to make them pop.
- DIALOGUE: Creating power dialogue that breaks through and leaps off the page
Simple techniques and a creative framework that turns weak dialogue into extraordinary dialogue they'll actually comment on. The quickest way to "wow".
- ANALYSIS: How to see through your project and spot the fixes
In this session, we'll analyze writer's projects and improve their work on the spot. You'll discover a breakthrough framework instant rewrites.
And that's just the beginning.
If there's enough interest, we'll be running two Breakthrough Sessions each month, eventually covering hundreds of topics, facets and nuances of screenwriting and the screenwriting business. Our imagined launch price for this would be $97/month. If this is something you would be interested in, please let us know so we look at building plans around that option. We're looking at different bonuses and discount incentives as well.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide you with the tools YOU need to get the results YOU want.
With the introduction of the upcoming Breakthrough Screenwriter book, I aim to completely transform the way you think about screenwriting, and the strategy you use to carve out a career for yourself and share the stories only YOU can tell.
I believe the Breakthrough Sessions will grow to become absolutely vital, and will help you move forward in your career by enormous leaps and bounds.
It's time to break through.
If you are interested in participating in any of our upcoming sessions, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
And until then, I thank you for your interest!
Planet B Studios
Studio City, CA, USA