Alumna and Faculty Launch Story Masters Film Academy for High School Students; Courses Transferable to JPCatholic

February 17, 2021

Alumna Tara Stone (BS ‘11, MBA ‘13) has teamed up with JPCatholic film faculty Chris Riley and Nathan Scoggins to create Story Masters Film Academy, an online education platform where homeschool and high school students can receive filmmaking courses from industry experienced writers and directors.

JPCatholic is pleased to announce that students will now be able to transfer credit directly from Story Masters courses toward a bachelor’s degree at JPCatholic. Both the Film Writing course and the Directing course will be eligible to count for elective credit at the University.

Story Masters offers coursework bundles at a variety of price points, including enrollment for individual students, as well as group packages for small, medium, and large classes. Students may also choose between different tiers based on how much interactivity they want:

  • Basic Package: Includes 15 weeks of video lessons, exercises, quizzes, etc.
  • Plus Package: Offers everything in the Basic package plus personalized feedback on writing and/or directing assignments.
  • Ultimate Package: Offers the most interactive and engaging experience. It includes everything in the Plus package and five live Zoom sessions with one of the Story Masters.

The Film Writing and Directing courses both have sample lessons available to view before enrollment.

The idea for Story Masters was born during the pandemic. Stone, herself a graduate of JPCatholic’s screenwriting program, reached out to her mentor Prof. Riley for advice on turning her scripts into educational tools; that conversation resulted in the idea to create an entire online screenwriting course for homeschool students and high school classrooms. Prof. Scoggins soon joined the venture to expand the course offerings to Directing.

“I'm so honored and humbled and blessed to be working with them on this venture,” said Stone. “What a gift to be able to bring their experience and wisdom to high school students, to be able to offer high school students the opportunity to learn from professional screenwriters and filmmakers.”

While at JPCatholic, Stone co-wrote the feature length thriller Red Line (2013), which was distributed on Netflix, Redbox, VOD, and on DVD at retailers like Walmart and Target. After graduation, she worked for many years at Ferrari Films as a writer and project manager, while continuing to write her own scripts and publishing them on Amazon. In 2020, Ferrari Films released the documentary Song of Songs, which chronicles Stone’s discernment and ultimately her 2016 decision to become a consecrated virgin living in the world.

Prof. Riley, a screenwriter with over 20 years of experience, has been teaching screenwriting courses at JPCatholic since 2007. He is a veteran of the Warner Bros. script department and the author of The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style. He wrote After the Truth, an award-winning German courtroom thriller, as well as scripts for Sean Connery’s Fountainbridge Films and Intermedia, Paramount Pictures, and Fox Television Network. From 2005 through 2008, he served as director of the acclaimed Act One Writing Program in Hollywood, which trains Christians for careers as writers and executives in film and TV. He holds a BS in Telecommunications from Oral Roberts University and was a National Merit Scholar.

Prof. Scoggins, an award-winning filmmaker who has written and developed projects for a variety of companies in Hollywood, has been teaching filmmaking courses at JPCatholic since 2008. His list of credits include The Least of These, starring Isaiah Washington and Robert Loggia, as well as The Perfect Summer, starring Eric Roberts. He won the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial contest in 2012 and 2013 with “Sling Baby” and “Fashionista Daddy.” In addition, two of his award-winning short films were released by Lionsgate on DVD in 2008. Nathan holds a BA in English and Film from Wesleyan University.

Story Masters is also offering an online Summer Film Camp and Festival, which will guide high school students in creating their own short films over six weeks – covering the entire process from story development and pitching to production and post-production.

To learn more about their offerings, please visit the Story Masters Film Academy official site.

To learn more about how Story Masters credit transfers to JPCatholic, please read more details here.