Overview of Learning


At Sherwood Oaks, we have different course styles to suit the tastes of different students. Therefore, you will notice when reading the various course descriptions that a style is listed in order to allow you to choose which course best matches your needs and personal preferences. We leave the choice to you…

Close Encounters

The most popular format, due to its small size and resulting high access to our guests. Up to 18 students gather for a roundtable discussion, for which a guest of honor (industry professional) is centrally seated at the table. The guest will introduce him/herself and discuss his/her own perspective of the industry before a facilitator opens the floor for questions from the students. This process is then repeated for each guest in turn, allowing the students to meet an average of five guests per day of the course.

Rotating Roundtable

These courses open with a Panel Discussion where several industry professional introduce themselves, followed by our rotating format: Instead of all students remaining at one table throughout the day and meeting the guests in succession, the speakers rotate to different tables so that 7 to 12 students can individually talk to each speaker. A different industry professional is seated at each table, and the Roundtable discussion commences for 20-30 minutes (dependent upon the number of guests for that day, as well as each guests personal schedule) before the speakers rotate to their next tables. Each class day features 2 – 3 panel discussions, followed by rotations. This means that a student can meet at least 10 speakers per day and often this number can be as high as 14 each day. Over a two-day course, a student can expect to talk to at least 20 speakers which is more than any other event in the industry.

This format presents students with the opportunity to learn from their fellow students, as well as the numerous industry professionals. It also has the added benefit of a lower cost, since the course sizes are typically 50 – 90 students. Yet, with our rotating format, students still benefit from the smaller class sizes, thanks to the 1:9 student-to-guest ratio at each table.

Panel Discussion

This style of course features several industry professionals conversing at once in a lecture format followed by questions from the students, schedule-permitting. Note: This class style is rare, since Sherwood Oaks believes in creating the best possible student-to-speaker ratio, allowing the students increased access to each guest. However, for practicality and security reasons, we use the Panel Discussion format for classes that feature Directors and famous Actors.


For almost half a century, we have offered one to four day seminars where people learn and meet Hollywood professionals. We open our contact lists to you. No where else in the world is there an opportunity for this unprecedented access for such a small investment of both time and money.

Agents & Managers
Meet at least 10 agents and managers in a close encounter setting. Every class at least 1 out of 10 gets representation. Get one step closer toward representation . MeetHollywoodExecs is the only place to get the inside scoop from the actual Top Hollywood Execs. Live in person is where you create lasting relationships and real learning …

They want to find people to represent who typically have won major screenwriting contests or they love your material and your personality. They will talk about what is selling, who they represent and how they work with writers, etc. They want to sell your script. Agents want to sell your scripts fast within a year (Larger agents want it to sell scripts within a few months or at least garner immediate interest). Managers are more interested in developing your script and talent. And there is much more to learn but you have to go to class to find out…

Producers are looking for material. They prefer represented writers but they will take non-represented writers if they like your one-sheet. They want to get a sense of our personality before they move forward. They must feel comfortable with you. This is why Sherwood Oaks close encounter classes work. They want to make movies and our looking are a hot new script.
Can it be your script or even better can you be a producer’s next investment?

Companies of Actors
Actors are looking for new material. Actors will create their own production company. This will allow them to find material (hopefully your script). Actors do not want to wait for their agent to give them material but want to see what is out there.

Actors have different interests and will take on roles if they think that you will help them expand their image and growth as an actor in Hollywood. Often times, they will take on these roles for a lower fee than they normally would. For example, if an actor is known for romantic comedy then they made interested in a drama or thriller. For example, Jim Carrey who is known for comedy, will jump at the chance to star in a drama.

If they like your writing and have been a semi-finalist at Nicholls then they may want to develop your material. They may want to produce material that they are not in. For example, Will Smith does this and his company often comes to Sherwood Oaks such as This Means War.

Actors have to keep their resume fresh so may take on a role if they have not worked for a year or two. One of our students, Megan Johnson got financing for $250,000 and made a film in 2011 utilizing a Sherwood Oaks producer and attached some name character actors.

Before just attaching an actor, we encourage you to attend a class to find out more of the pros and cons. When you have the right actor attached to your project (script), then you can more easily get financing.

Most directors start as writers. The famous alumni, James Cameron, Sylvester Stallone and Nancy Myers all attended Sherwood Oaks as writers and then became directors. Directors of films run the show. They are in charge. As a film writer, the director will have the final say on your script. Most studios consider the director as one of the most important aspect of the film. We highly recommend attending a director panel or listen to a director to learn what they feel is important and how they became successful and what you need to become successful. It also provides you a future option in your Hollywood career.