I first came across Stage 32 in 2016 but did not really make use of it until early 2017 when I decided I needed to take my screenwriting to the next level. I had toiled for years writing scripts that never made it into any competitions and screenwriting labs. I was already an indie filmmaker with 3 micro-budget features which I wrote and directed.
Although those films played at some festivals and got some awards, they never did much for my career. I was still working the day job trying to get by. I knew that in order to make a truly great film that got noticed, I had to go back to the writing. I made a commitment to dedicate my focus on screenwriting and trying to break in through that route.
Directing on my first feature Bang Bang
I knew that the feedback from my friends and family was not enough. A lot of unreturned emails, and unkept promises to read and give feedback. It just wasn't working for me. I knew that I needed professional feedback so that I could understand why my scripts were not working. I went forth with an open mind and got feedback from various consultants, coverage services, and even attended pitch fests. I wanted to know through my own experience what worked or didn't work.
It was during this time that I decided to give Stage 32's consultation feedback a try. I found them useful and ultimately, it depended on who was giving the feedback. I liked that you could target specific executives or, in my case, managers. I wanted to know directly from the people who represented writers what was or wasn't working in my scripts.
From this process, I came to the realization that my scripts just simply were not ready. They were not good enough to be considered. I returned to the drawing board and kept writing script after script, learning from all and any resource I could find online.
With the Camera team, and Eric Roberts on Las Vegas Story
I took classes. I read every script I could download. During this whole time I would always use Stage 32's various services as a litmus test to see where I was at with a certain script. I used almost every single service available to see what worked or didn't work for me.
What I discovered was that the best service for me was to use the script read + 30 min consultation call with an executive of my choice. I knew the next step for me was to find representation, so I targeted the managers on the site.
Finally, four years since my first paid service with Stage 32, I found a manager, Juan He from Housefire Management who responded to a pilot I wrote called TINO 99. We began working together this year and I've been sent on a round of general meetings with some of the biggest production companies in town.
I'm extremely grateful for Stage 32 to offer this platform where I could connect with my manager in a way that would've been very difficult by blind query letters (which I've tried countless times before).
Working with Eric Roberts
For any writer out there who's looking for that first big break of landing representation, I urge you to first take a critical look at your script. Get professional feedback on it from multiple sources so that you can see where you're at with the writing.
You really have to be truthful to yourself and not be blinded by your ego. Do the work. I wrote over 10 page-one rewrites on the script that finally landed representation. I had written 20 scripts (some never finished) over the course of 10 years trying to develop my craft.
It's not easy but I'm finally starting to see what actually works within stories and concepts. Focus on the work, and when you think it's ready, use Stage 32 to get it into the hands of managers who will give you honest feedback.
I have written and directed 2 narrative features, and 1 feature documentary film. My first feature BANG BANG won the best 1st feature jury prize at the 2011 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. After screening at numerous international festivals, the film was sold by Double Dutch International. My documentary film RASKAL LOVE won Directors Choice award at the 2014 Seattle Asian Film Festival. My 3rd feature film LAS VEGAS STORY starring Eric Roberts, produced in association with Buffalo 8, premiered at the 2015 Chelsea Film Festival , and is distributed by Indie Rights.
Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Got an idea for a post? Or have you collaborated with Stage 32 members to create a project? We'd love to hear about it. Email Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's get your post published!
Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32 Twitter @stage32 Facebook @stage32 and LinkedIn @stage-32
|Audition Tips from Casting Director Eric Souliere (AMERICAN HORROR STORY, 9-1-1, THE MENTALIST)|
|Coffee & Content: Visual Styles of Top Directors & 5 Must-Have Filmmaking Tools|