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Writer Goes From Pitch To Screen Through Stage 32 - Female-Focused Series On Amazon!

A year and a half ago I wrote a new script, a comedic pilot called "The Other F Word." I had previously written four-produced indie features, but this story was episodic in nature, so it was a whole new world, as none of my relationships were in television. "The Other F Word" is a comedic coming of age series about four women who deal with the hights and lows of mid-life as they reinvent themselves now that their kids are grown. I discovered Stage 32 and after joining Happy Writers, I p…

Writing the Moral Premise and the Biggest Mistake Writers Make

The idea that any good story has a moral heart is not a new idea. Writers, story gurus, developmental editors, everyone who has had any experience with storytelling talks about the importance of having a moral element that drives the protagonist (and antagonist) in any good story. There are many terms people use: moral argument, moral problem, moral flaw, fatal flaw, inner-fault the list goes on, but regardless what the proprietary language used, everyone who advocates for this basic pri…

How To Get Commissioned for British TV Right Now!

Stranger Things is killing it among the industry people I know right now. Almost everyone who watches it drinks it straight down. I thought I'd try half an ep to see what it felt like. I watched five episodes non-stop, then finished the series off the following evening. Same with the recent Ashley Pharoah show The Living and The Dead from the BBC. I watched it as fast as I possibly could. One is glorious 1980s nostalgia, one is a heart-achingly beautiful journey into Thomas Hardy …

Gutless and Grateful

  As actors, we tell stories constantly. I first told mine over four years ago. Not only to myself, but to complete strangers and New York theater goers. Fresh out of my 27th surgery, I performed words from journal entries I wrote years ago as a way to pass the time between the endless series of medical interventions. Every time I 'perform' what happened to me, I find myself somehow transformed in the process. Theater has the power to change lives, both for those performing and th…

Film Funding: The Independent Producer And the PPM/LLC

  In the late 1990’s, I was asked to be involved with a film that was to be funded via a Private Placement Memorandum/an LLC. My company was to be the worldwide sales agent for the film, which was budgeted at about $1.2m. I read the script and also reviewed the film package (writer/director/actors/producers etc) and the production budget. I did my due diligence on the film project. I liked the project, the genre and pace of the script etc., so I was happy to provide revenu…

Understanding The Option Agreement For Your Screenplay

Many writers dream that someday their story or script will garner interest from someone who wants to develop it into a film or TV project. Usually, the first step is when that someone, maybe a producer or a production company or even a studio, offers the writer a contract known as an option agreement. As with all such matters where art meets commerce, I always advise that if you are asked to sign anything – other than an autograph – you should have your lawyer review it first…

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…

Breaking into Screenwriting: Features vs. Television

When approaching the industry strategically, many writers consider not only what they enjoy writing or what format speaks to them, but also where they might have greater odds for building a tangible, sustainable, screenwriting career. Judging by the numbers, there are more opportunities in television than there are in film. In 2014, over 4,000 WGA members claimed income generated from working in the television sector; by contrast, only 1,800 WGA scribes made their money in the feature fi…

Five Pieces of Advice for Film & Media Composers

Here are five pieces of advice I wish I'd known when I was starting out as a media composer. Firstly as my disclaimer; these are by no means hard and fast rules. Think of the following as food for thought and NOT a recipe for success, but it may help you avoid cooking up a few dodgy meals. 1. Be a 'Jack of All' or a 'Master of One'  I think there is a primary decision to be made that lays the foundation of any composer's career: to be a 'jack of all', or a 'master of one'. I thi…

Collaboration Agreements: What They mean And How They Work

This article focuses on the issues that can arise and the pitfalls to beware of with respect to collaborations between and among creators of books, screenplays, stories, theatrical plays and television show scripts. Under the US copyright law, although ideas alone are not protectable, an author or creator owns a copyright in his or her work the moment the author’s expression of the idea is 'fixed in a tangible medium.' (i.e., when the expression of an idea is written down or recor…

Story Development Tools & Techniques—'The Whistles and Bells Test™'

'The Whistles and Bells Test™' is a quick test you can carry out whenever you get the inspirational flash of a new story idea. It is a simple, cut-to-the-chase technique that can quickly give you a sense if you have either a story or a situation. It is not a substitute for learning the difference between a story and a situation, or for working through the full premise development process, but over time, with a lot of practice, using this test you can hone a kind of sixth-sense for …

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