Proper Protocol for Classes


Class Etiquette at Sherwood Oaks

A must-read, not just for Sherwood Oaks newbies, but for anyone who wants to succeed in the film industry.

Sherwood Oaks stands out as an unconventional learning environment committed to propelling the careers of our students. Our curriculum is crafted to emulate a professional industry experience, ensuring that students are well-prepared for success in the film industry.

We emphasize the significance of polite and mature behavior from every student, guest, and staff member. Maintaining a personable yet professional atmosphere, we offer distinctive courses led by industry professionals. At Sherwood Oaks, manners matter, contributing to a unique and constructive learning environment.

Etiquette Guidelines for Sherwood Oaks Courses

Upon registering for a Sherwood Oaks course, you may be invited to a phone conference providing detailed insights into our expectations for students and what you can anticipate in return. The following overview outlines our etiquette guidelines to ensure a productive and professional learning environment.

At Sherwood Oaks, our courses emulate the business practices of film professionals, employing a round-table style discussion. This approach is favored by industry guests, promoting a comfortable atmosphere and optimizing the learning experience for everyone.

For students, participating in this format offers valuable experience in conducting business within the industry. As this meeting style might be unfamiliar to some, it’s essential to remember that our events and courses blend both a classroom and a professional setting. Please adhere to the following guidelines during your time at Sherwood Oaks to enhance your experience:

1. Round-Table Style: Embrace the round-table discussion format, allowing for a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights.

2. Professionalism: Recognize that Sherwood Oaks operates in a professional environment. Conduct yourself with the same level of professionalism expected in the film industry.

3. Respect for Guests: Show respect and appreciation for industry guests by actively participating and engaging in discussions. Make the most of the opportunity to learn from their experiences.

4. Active Participation: Contribute actively to class discussions, leveraging the round-table format to share and receive insights.

5. Classroom and Professional Environment: Maintain awareness of the dual nature of our events—both classroom and professional. Balance engagement and conduct accordingly.

6. Valuable Learning Experience: Recognize the unique learning experience offered by Sherwood Oaks’ courses, and strive to gain practical skills in conducting business within the industry.

By adhering to these etiquette guidelines, you contribute to a positive and enriching learning environment at Sherwood Oaks.

Building Meaningful Connections Professionally

  • In the entertainment industry, fostering genuine human connections is crucial. We highly recommend approaching speakers on a personal level, emphasizing shared interests rather than aggressively promoting your material. This approach significantly enhances your chances of being remembered by industry professionals.

    Every student has the opportunity to submit a One-Sheet synopsis to each guest speaker, eliminating the need to push your material or log-line during interactions. All One-Sheets are collected in an envelope and presented to the speaker at the session’s conclusion. Remarkably, more than 25% of students have received callbacks and writing assignments through this envelope submission.

    To maintain a focused and relaxed atmosphere, no student should discuss the envelope directly with the speaker. Instead, a moderator or the Sherwood Oaks director will handle the distribution to the speaker.

    This well-established and effective method alleviates pressure from both the speaker and the student. With the assurance that impressing the speaker is not a prerequisite for One-Sheet acceptance, you can concentrate on establishing authentic connections. This strategy ensures that industry professionals remember you and eagerly anticipate potential collaborations.

Ensuring Equality in Participation

Loglines: As part of our commitment to providing equal opportunities, each student is allocated a maximum of 2 minutes to share ONE logline. This rule applies whether you’re participating in a round-table or engaging in a brief one-on-one discussion with a speaker.

Breakout Sessions/Discussions: Our round-table discussions aim to create an inclusive environment for listening, learning, and networking. To guarantee a positive experience for every student, it’s essential that no individual dominates or engages in inappropriate behavior, including the use of inappropriate language, during breakout sessions/discussions. This not only preserves a respectful atmosphere but also prevents any potential discomfort for the speakers.

At Sherwood Oaks, we work diligently to ensure every student enjoys an equally enriching experience. Any behavior that disrupts this balance not only hinders fellow students but may also dissuade speakers from engaging. Such disruptions can impact our reputation and, ultimately, the overall experience for all students.


    Respectful Interaction Guidelines

    Privacy: It’s crucial to respect the privacy of our esteemed speakers. Avoid asking for their email addresses, as this can overwhelm them with correspondence. Most speaker information is available through the Hollywood Creative Directory. We encourage students to refrain from putting speakers on the spot, creating an uncomfortable situation that may deter them from returning to Sherwood Oaks. Genuine relationships often flourish when speakers voluntarily share their contact information with students.

    Follow-Up Contacts: Refrain from following a speaker after a session unless there is a genuine personal connection or a specific, unique genre alignment. Meaningful connections, such as shared languages or specific interests, can justify reaching out. Keep these interactions brief, limited to less than two minutes, respecting both your time and the speaker’s.

    Limit Conversations: Given the valuable nature of time, please keep conversations with speakers to a maximum of two minutes. Demonstrating professionalism includes respecting the speaker’s time as much as you value your own. Avoid pushing your material onto a speaker during these interactions.

    Professional Conduct: In cases of inappropriate behavior that disrespects guests or fellow students, Sherwood Oaks reserves the right to remove the individual from the class immediately, without a refund. While it’s challenging to monitor every table during Breakout Sessions, students are encouraged to report any concerns about dominating discussions or annoyance to event coordinators or Sherwood Oaks staff for appropriate handling.


    Navigating Without Representation

    When engaging with producers, refrain from mentioning your lack of representation, as it may not work in your favor. Ensure your material is copyrighted in Washington DC before submission, and consider having an entertainment lawyer facilitate the process.

    Sending Material: While it’s possible to send material without representation, it’s essential to do so with permission, often granted through attending Sherwood Oaks events. Understand that producers are trained to decline unsolicited material.

    Permission and Insight: If you’re considering submitting material without representation, seek guidance from the Sherwood Oaks director or co-director to gain valuable insights into the process. They can provide advice on navigating this aspect of the industry.


      Post-Class Etiquette

      Following the completion of a Sherwood Oaks class, adhere to these important guidelines:

      1. **Script Submission:** Do not send a script to any guest unless explicitly requested. Unsolicited material, especially full scripts, should never be sent.

      2. **Phone Calls:** Avoid calling any speaker, whether an executive, development person, agent, manager, director, or producer, unless they have initiated contact with you.

      3. **Thank You Note:** It is customary to send a written thank-you note to the guest after the class, expressing gratitude for their valuable insights.

      4. **Follow-Up Inquiry:** Around a month after the class, consider writing (not calling) to inquire if your synopsis (one-page summary of your script) was covered during the sessions. Keep the communication light and non-intrusive.

      **Important Note:** Sending unsolicited scripts to Sherwood Oaks guests will result in academic probation, and attendance in further courses may be restricted.


        Always bear in mind: Hollywood rewards those who exhibit patience and pleasantness.


        Your comprehension is greatly appreciated!

        In the Hollywood landscape, one quickly grasps the pivotal role played by relationships. Given the scarcity of time and access to industry professionals, professionalism and unwavering focus become paramount. While it was previously presumed that many aspects of relationship etiquette were common knowledge, our experiences have illuminated the need to disseminate these guidelines comprehensively.

        Ultimately, success in this industry is reserved for those who embody refined manners and harbor a genuine passion for their craft. We firmly believe that individuals with these qualities are not only positioned to endure but to thrive in the dynamic realm of Hollywood.


        Familiarity creates recognition.
        Attend seminars often & become known as upcoming talent!


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