Photo by Mindy Tucker
BEN ACKER & BEN BLACKER are the creators of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a stage show and podcast in the style of old-time radio. The show arose in March 2005 from their desire to create new content for an audience on a regular basis as well as to work with their funny and talented friends and friends-of-friends. They could not be more pleased with the response the show has received from its loyal fans and from the public at large. The Los Angeles Times wrote of the show: “Video may have killed the radio star, but its spirit lives on in... a monthly comedy revue featuring actors in snappy outfits reading equally snappy dialogue.” Snappy being the precise sort of dialogue for which they wish to be known.
The show has provided Acker & Blacker with exciting opportunities in entertainment. They sold several sketches to Fox late night television, developed the segment Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, as an animated cartoon for Nickelodeon, and a pilot for a primetime animated comedy with 20th Century Fox Studios. In 2010 they wrote two pilots for the USA network—an hour and a half-hour—as well as a half-hour comedy for Spike. They have written episodes of Nickelodeon's Supah Ninjas and CW's Supernatural (where they were on the writing staff).
The Thrilling Adventure Hour may be seen live each month in Los Angeles at the Largo at the Coronet Theater. It is available worldwide via iTunes as a podcast from Nerdist Industries. The show's regular cast includes Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Marc Evan Jackson, Busy Philipps, Autumn Reeser, and James Urbaniak. Its recurring guest stars include many famous names such as Nathan Fillion, Emily Blunt, Colin Hanks, Zack Levi, Neil Patrick Harris, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jon Hamm. In autumn 2012, Acker & Blacker successfully raised $193,000 via Kickstarter to fund a Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel, scripted Web series, and live concert film.
Sun, Jun 16: Arrival & Welcome Dinner
Mon-Fri: Seminar Days
Sat-Sun, Jun 22-23: Writing Days (no class)
Sat, Jun 29: Departure by 10am
Each seminar will be about three hours long, with a total of ten seminars during the two week session. Class hours on the first Monday will be in the morning, and thereafter decided as a group. Teachers will be available at other times to discuss individual issues.
Sun, Jun 30
Arrival & orientation for new students
One-to-ones with continuing students
Mon, Jul 1
Seminar with all students
One-to-ones with new students
Tue-Fri, Jul 2-5
Workshops & one-to-one sessions
Sat, July 6 : Departure by 10am
The professors may modify any of the above, at their discretion. Student preferences will be taken into account.
One spot still available! Spend two weeks learning or reviewing the nuts and bolts of screenwriting. Using a balance of lecture, exercise, and feedback on work from the instructors and classmates, this course gives students a firm grounding in all the basics of screenwriting. Workshop-style classes will alternate with practical mini-lessons to get your feature or television script agent- and studio-ready!
Workshops will consist of discussion and analysis of your screenplay or television script (original pilot or spec of an existing show) by instructors and students. For new material, everyone will pitch in with valuable feedback as the instructors guide you through assembling a script, from pitch to outline to completed scenes. If you choose to use this course to finally complete or perfect that script on which you've been toiling for years, we will break it down and put it back together again, thus giving you insight into what works and what doesn't, finally leading to a strong, streamlined screenplay that you'll feel confident handing over to any agent or studio in town!
Practical exercises will help hone your writing skills and teach you a few tricks of the screen trade. These skills-based mini-lessons will tackle specifics of screenwriting, such as subtext, beginnings, creating characters that pop in a brief scene, “getting in late and getting out early” from a scene, defining relationships, plant and payoff, being precise and concise, and much more. We'll use examples from television and film to illustrate these essential points, and every piece will be workshopped by the class.
These days, of course, just writing a great spec script may not be enough, so writing and pitching to all media will be an integral part of the conversation. Acker & Blacker will relate their experiences in creating a brand and help you formulate yours, while the group helps you adapt your concept to various new media platforms as well as brainstorm ideas for launching and garnering attention for your project via Kickstarter, social media, and other DIY venues.
Session 2 is closed. Serious about screenwriting? Then stay an extra week and apply what you've learned, or join us for just this week with a piece you'd like workshopped. Session 2 will be an intensive program to honing and perfecting your feature film or television pilot or spec script. In addition to workshops in which peers and instructors will provide feedback and advice, you'll receive one-on-one tutorial with the instructors, who'll dig deep into your script and zero in on issues holding your story back, helping to make your script as great as it can be. It might be brutal, it will definitely be honest, and you'll come out with a bulletproof script that you can confidently show any agent, producer, or studio exec in town!
Session 1 runs two weeks and accommodates no more than 16 students, who will be divided into two workshops, each led by one of our teachers. Session 2 is a one-week session, intended as a continuing program for students who complete the first session, and (if space is available) for advanced students who want to develop a treatment or workshop an existing project. In Session 2, no more than 12 students will spend time in smaller workshops and working with our teachers individually.
To maximize your time, your teachers may ask you to submit story outlines, beat sheets, or treatments in advance. As part of the application, you must submit a 1 page description of the project you would like to tackle in Italy. You may change your mind, but you must agree the switch in advance with our teachers. To apply, see REGISTRATION.
Michelangelo is a paperless program. All submissions and exchanges of pages will be electronic. You will need a reliable laptop computer, a writing program capable of converting files to PDF format for distribution, and a USB port for memory keys.
AWARDS & TESTIMONIALS
Our past students had a lot of wonderful things to say about us. Also check out our students' achievements and our photo albums in our YEARBOOK!