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Get That "Built-In Audience"

Happy New Year, Stage 32! My goal is to start this year with some fighting words, to dispell some of the privileges and entitlements that are holding us back, and to empower our community to seize the reigns of our crazy, runaway culture. Put on your safety belts and helmets, dear readers… because the year is 2020, and the future is in our hands! Ten years ago or so when I was an active freelancer in the film finance world, one of the myths Hollywood leaned on very heavily in our…

The Ghosts of Show Business Past

If you’ve been following my blogs here on Stage 32, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m someone with a more or less severe personality type. For me, the holidays are a time when everyone else finally leaves Los Angeles and I can work without being surrounded by distraction or noise. Typically, my colleagues come back from vacation to find that I’ve finished one more screenplay and gotten myself caught up on a mountain of work besides. MATTERS OF THE HEART…

How I Survived the Hollywood Crash

In my blogs on “How We Screwed the Showbiz Culture Up” and “Why I Passed On That Screenplay,” I talk a fair bit of trash about how the ethical and creative practices of Hollywood’s development process have strayed from the fundamentals that made this industry strong. By far, the most common and rational response to the ideas I’m expressing in these rants is that “THIS IS A BUSINESS.” If we get caught up in the creative - or even the ethical…

Cashing In Your Million Dollar Idea

Probably the most coveted of all Hollywood’s many careers and titles, more widely sought after even than the dream of becoming a movie star itself, is the position of “idea guy.” Someone has to be doing this job, according to popular wisdom. What’s more, all the remakes and adaptations we see in theaters today make it clear beyond doubt that this person, whoever they are, is doing a pretty terrible job. If someone is going to sit in a room all day, getting paid mi…

Why I Passed On That Screenplay

For almost 10 years, I worked as a development executive for Unified Pictures and Exodus Film Group. One of my chief sources of income over the last year has been writing script coverage, writing development notes, and in general parsing screenplays for writers and producers. My friends, I have read a LOT of screenplays. If you’re an undiscovered screenwriter with more than three our four scripts out there on the market, there’s a fair chance I’ve covered you at some po…

What is Spectacle in Filmmaking? [And How Can Indie Filmmakers Use it?]

In my inaugural Stage 32 blog, entitled Reality Checks from an Inspirational Cripple, I discuss the extent and the price of my insight into film development. For the sake of brevity (hah!), let me say here that I was a Development Executive for nearly a decade, that I’m now working as a screenwriter on some high-profile projects, and that I’m building a film company with the support of many of independent Hollywood’s best and brightest. Just as the title of that first S…

How We Screwed the Showbiz Culture Up [And How We Can Fix It]

Before I delve into the chronic misdeeds of our industrial showbusiness community, forgive me a paragraph or two to establish my credentials as your professor in this matter. Much of my life in showbusiness until now has been defined by the work nobody in Hollywood actually wants to do, but that everyone would gladly take credit and experience for having done, if they could. For ten years, I learned the risks and rewards of producing by financing other people's indie films with cold-call…

Part II: Reality Checks from an Inspirational Cripple

Given my particular challenges and handicaps, the only way I am going to make a contribution to our community and our culture that truly fulfills me is if I focus my labor with absolute precision and efficiency. (If you missed it, check out Part 1 here) My career has constantly nudged me to reduce the workings of our industry down to their most essential strengths and to make those strengths my own. Now that my tolerance for unnecessary risk is completely eradicated and I've broken my wo…

Part I: Reality Checks from an Inspirational Cripple

My name is Tennyson E. Stead and I'm an award-winning writer and director with over 20 years of experience in stage and screen production and an additional ten years spent working as an indie film development executive. While these credentials do hint at my value to the film community, they are not the main reason I've been asked by the excellent people at Stage 32 to write to you today. What makes my words click-worthy, at least right now, is the fact that they're being written by a sur…

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