Classes & Seminars


Our next seminar will take place

Thursday & Friday, October 11-12, 2018

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Sept. 25-26, 2017

Face-to-Face Close-Encounter Meetings
Without the Crowds

Meet at least 10 Hollywood professionals in a close-encounter setting.  Sherwood Oaks is the best place to get the inside scoop from actual top producers, writers, directors, agents, managers, and executives, in-person, where you can create lasting relationships, where real learning takes place.  Every year we add new speakers to our programs as well as call upon our over 800 supportive industry professionals who have spoken at Sherwood Oaks already.  This class will be limited to only 18 students so that the student-to-speaker ratio guarantees personal access.


Darryl Marshak, Manager-Producer

Darryl Marshak, producer, writer, and literary agent, began his career working for agent Robert Littman and is now partner and owner of several agencies including Marshak Wyckoff Associates, Gold Marshak Liedtke Associates, and The Marshak/Zachary Company. Marshak discovered and launched actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Lisa Kudrow, James Franco, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Hilary Swank, and Ron Livingston amongst others. His recent films include Any Day and The Loneliest War. SO alumnus.

Todd Durham, Screenwriter-Franchise Creator

Todd Durham credits Sherwood Oaks and founder Gary Shusett among the most pivotal influences of his career. Mr. Durham, a filmmaker, comedy writer, and novelist, is best known as the creator of the Hotel Transylvania movie franchise for Columbia Pictures which he based on his book of the same name. He is the 6th sole creator of an animated movie franchise which went on to generate over $1 billion from theatrical and ancillary markets after only one sequel. His works, including 40+ screenplays and books, frequently combine fantasy storylines with character comedy. SO alumnus.

Mike Farah, CEO of Funny or Die

Mike Farah is the Chief Executive Officer of Funny Or Die, the premier comedy brand and production studio known for creating award-winning, high-quality content with a global audience of more than 70 million. Prior to becoming CEO, Farah was Funny Or Die’s President of Production, and has won two Emmys as executive producer of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galfianakis: President Obama and Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Brad Pitt. Farah’s Executive Producer credits include Billy on the Street, airing on TruTV, @midnight airing on Comedy Central, and Brockmire starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet and premiering on IFC in April. Recently named a “Maverick of Hollywood” by Esquire, Farah has also been named to the “Silicon Beach 25”, The Hollywood Reporter’s list of the Most Powerful Digital Players in L.A.

Paul Levine, Agent-Entertainment Attorney

In 1998, Paul Levine opened the Paul S. Levine Literary Agency, specializing in the representation of book authors and the sale of motion picture and television rights in and to books. Since starting his literary agency, Mr. Levine has sold over 150 adults, young adult, and children’s fiction and non-fiction books to at least 50 different publishers and has had many books developed as movies-for-television, television series, and feature films.

William Martell, screenwriter without representation


William C. Martell has written 19 films: 3 for HBO, 2 for Showtime, 2 for USA Net, and numerous CineMax Originals (which is what happens when an HBO movie goes really, really wrong); plus many many more sold screenplays and assignments where he was paid the movie was never made. He’s been on some film festival juries, including Raindance in London five times; the late Roger Ebert discussed his work with Gene Siskel on his 1997 “If We Picked The Winners” Oscar show. He knows action and how to sell a screenplay without representation. SO alumnus.
Jude Gerard Prest, Director-Producer

Jude Gerard Prest has directed, produced and overseen hundreds of hours of broadcast, syndicated, cable and international programming. In September 2016, Prest’s original screenplay, Harry’s File (comedy) won the Grand Jury Prize at the Film Invasion Los Angeles, International Film Festival and also in September, 2016, the feature film in which Prest co-stars, Can I Get A Witness Protection, premiered at the Burbank International Film Festival. Jude is constantly working and is currently on a project and we are fortunate to hear him live. He has hired and worked with SO alumni. WGA/PGA/DGA/SAG.

Branden Cobb, Manager-Producer

Branden Cobb has produced low budgets films all over the world, from projects in China to the Ukraine to state-side Florida. He has managed/represented SWO students. Branden is excited to share his latest projects and what he is looking for and it would be great if you are his next project.

Autumn McAlpin, Screenwriter-Producer

Graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, Autumn McAlpin is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, author, and owner of Side Gig Productions. She recently co-wrote and produced the feature film, Waffle Street, starring James Lafferty and Danny Glover, which won several awards and is on Netflix, DVD and VOD. She has also directed two award-winning short films and national PSA campaigns, and currently, has five feature films in development with various industry partners. Autumn is an active member of Women in Film and the Alliance of Women Directors. SWO alumna, got her screenplay optioned, sold, and made with Sherwood Oaks speaker in 5 years!

Wendy Kram, Producer

Wendy Kram is a producer and the owner of LA4Hire, one of the industry’s leading consulting companies for screenwriters, filmmakers and production companies, assisting them in developing, packaging and selling their projects. She is a respected, working producer with multiple features and series in active development, including projects with Anonymous Content (the company responsible for Spotlight, The Revenant, True Detective and Mr. Robot and represents clients such as Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Steven Soderbergh, among others. Wendy executive produced the award-winning miniseries Sally Hemings: An American Scandal for CBS as well as the feature Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes. She is also responsible for securing representation and high six-figure deals for her clients.

Scott Richter, Screenwriter-Producer

Scott M. Richter is a multiple award winning WGA writer, producer, director, attorney and founder of Richter Scale Media, his Los Angeles based production company. In addition to having written for TV, film and digital media, Scott has practiced law in both Florida and California. Scott is a past Austin Film Festival best drama teleplay winner for his Grey’s Anatomy script, Reality Bites. The Austin Film Festival Winner is best known for writing on the TV Series The Christopher Lowell Show and writing and producing the TV movie Whoa!

Anne Marie Gillen, Mark Kratter, Michael Glassman, Paul Kaufman, Xaque Gruber, Hilliard Guess, a rep from DMG Entertainment, a TV producer, a new media producer, and more…

All guest speakers are working Hollywood professionals, not instructors, and are, of course, subject to their busy schedules.  The class will take place in a historic Hollywood location within blocks of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you need a hotel, you may check out our list of local  accommodations.  We guarantee at least 10 speakers in 2 days; 16 speakers are invited. Imagine sitting at a round table directly across from a Hollywood producer or agent, then later giving him/her your material without representation.  This access has frequently resulted in many students in getting an agent or having a screenplay optioned.

Who should attend?  Entry-level and intermediate to advanced writers and filmmakers.

Who will you meet?  Meet producers, writers, directors, agents, managers, or executives.

How many students?  Up to 18 maximum.

Who is the founder?   Gary Shusett.

How long in the biz?  Since 1971, almost half a century.

How many speakers?  You meet a new guest every hour giving you a vast amount of different avenues and paths into Hollywood.

What is the goal? For each student to learn and for speakers to find new talent in a safe, informal environment.

What type of school?  We are a NON-PROFIT 501 (c) (3) school.  We depend on donations and 100% of all funding goes to the school.  Currently, we are funded by tuition and outside donations; the director does not take a salary so as to give back to the Hollywood community.

What do you learn?

  • Insight into Hollywood
  • What material sells
  • What material Hollywood is looking for right now
  • What the short cuts are to get your script seen
  • How writers are chosen
  • The traits that good writers possess (heard directly by Hollywood professionals)
  • What causes executives to buy scripts
  • Avenues on how a writer transitions to a director
  • How writers are hired for assignments (many are hired through Sherwood Oaks)
  • How to get your script to producers without an agent (no representation required) – check out our Sherwood Oaks One Sheet Method
  • What is happening in the current market (find out what is hot)
  • Inside secrets and strategies to help you succeed in your Hollywood career
  • and much more…


For your benefit, the number of seats is strictly limited, so reserve your place early as classes always sell-out.

  • Date: Sept 25-26, 2017 (Monday to Tuesday)
  • Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (time may vary)
  • Location: Hollywood, California (1/2 block from Hollywood Blvd.)

SINGLE REGISTRATION  reg. $450   now $395 limited time:

VIP Option includes reserved seating across from a speaker and a 15-minute consultation.

Invite your writing partner and save $205 off reg. rate.

Here are two short video clips of speakers and students from a previous seminar:
Speakers from the recent Fall 2016 workshop
Students from the recent Fall 2016 workshop