Following the survey we published last November, we have quite a few changes to announce, but first we'd like to thank all those who took the time to reply. It's been extremely useful to get our members' input and it's now open to all visitors, so feel free to take part if you haven't had a chance to do so yet. Here are the most significant results to date...
Deciding on our next book / online course
The popular vote was overwhelmingly clear regarding the online course / book you most wanted to see next, so it will cover thrillers. This wasn't a hard decision for us to make as Writing a Successful Thriller was at the top of our adaptation list too — it's always good to know that we're in tune with our audience!
More time to complete online courses
This was one of the most frequent requests, and an understandable one. You'd like more time, not just to go through the course, but also to make sure that you'll have a window of availability to complete it once you purchase it. We hear you!
There have always been two opposing elements at play here, which makes it tricky to find the right balance. We believe that having a limited access window gives more of an incentive to complete a course. On the other hand, we're aware that it's great to have plenty of time to work the concepts into a project or simply revisit the content. With this in mind, we've extended the access window to 90 days for all online courses, which feels like a good compromise.
More affordable online courses
Unsurprisingly, this was also a common request. We do offer regular discounts (up to 50% off), but even with this substantial saving we're aware that our courses can remain out of reach for some. For various reasons, we can't lower the list price of our courses, so we've worked hard and have hopefully come up with a few satisfying solutions.
First, for those who have already done an online course with us (self-led or as part of an online workshop), it's now possible to redeem the STM points accumulated as you go through the course and get up to 25% off your next course (currently within a limit of $100).
It's a simple mechanism: The further you go in a course and the better you do in the quizzes, the bigger the potential saving in the next one. In other words, you earn as you learn! This is in addition to the automatic 50% discount you can use on the next course within 30 days of completing any course, or any other available discount.
This is done at checkout, where you can select how many STM points you want to withdraw from your current balance. It looks like this:
There is no time limit to use your STM points and this applies retroactively to all existing accounts (i.e. anyone who's already done an online workshop or course with us in the last two years). Your current balance is shown at checkout when you redeem your points, as can be seen above.
If you've completed an online course or workshop before any quizzes were associated to it, or if you've done the quizzes as a group during a live workshop, please get in touch before purchasing, mention the course or workshop you've attended and we'll credit your account with 5,000 STM points ($50).
Sounds great, but I haven't done a first course yet, so how does that help me?
Granted, the above won't help those who still can't afford or justify a first course, so we've created two pricing tiers. For studios, groups, film funds and training organisations, the list price remains the same, but for individual filmmakers and independent producers the price goes down by about 15% on all our online courses. This is before any additional savings (such as using a discount code or redeeming STM points).
You select your price tier here:
So as an individual filmmaker or independent producer, you get 15% off the list price if you select the lower price tier before adding the course to the cart, then during checkout you can add a discount code (usually up to 50%, such as the SUTV2022 code valid until the end of January) and redeem some STM points (for a value up to $100) if you've already followed one of our online courses. This means that a $997 course can cost as little as $325 if it's not your first one.
This is the best we can do at this stage. Hopefully, these two changes will help make our courses accessible to more of you, though we're aware that this investment might still be too steep for some. If that's the case, you might want to look at the FAQs for Screenwriting Unchained - Advanced Development or Writing a Successful TV Series, the last question "I'd love to do the course but I can't afford it, can you help?" lists a few suggestions.
Quite a few of you also expressed interest in an iOS/Android app, so we've decided to put that project in the fast lane. We would like to combine this with our plan to redesign The Structurator (our free interactive story tool) so that it is more tuned into TV Series. We're hoping to have something ready in the next few months, so watch this space!
Some of the information collected was conflicting (not everyone wants the same thing!), but most of you seem to welcome more screenwriting tips, pre-recorded/live webinars or YouTube videos and more frequent newsletters, so we'll do our best to oblige in these departments. We also have a list of topics that you'd like us to explore, so we'll definitely be looking at these for inspiration!