Whether it’s penning a feature screenplay or finding a staff position on a TV series, many actors have found new and continued success by venturing into writing. And there’s a good reason why. Transitioning from one part of the industry to another can feel daunting. But if you’re an actor, you’re not starting from scratch – you are pivoting. And in order to do so you need to recognize your strengths, utilize your previous acting experience, and build on your established relationships. Most importantly, as an actor, you already have inherent superpowers that will help you excel as a writer. Actors are storytellers so it makes sense that at some point they may want to write their own stories. But will you be taken seriously? Can you move from being in front of the camera to behind the computer screen successfully? You absolutely can. And you don’t have to give up acting in order to do so. Ultimately, you will be able to write, pitch, and produce better because of your previous experience. So let’s hone those skills and get you ready to make that pivot! After starting out her career as an actress, most notably starring as Emily in the cult classic 3 NINJAS, directed by Jon Turteltaub, Kate Sargeant has become an accomplished television writer, working on over 100 episodes of network TV on shows like CASTLE, CSI: CYBER, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS and BLINDSPOT. She has also written, directed, and produced a few of her passion projects including three short films: CHANGING LANES, FACING LIFE, and ANOTHER FOREIGN CONCEPT. In addition, Kate launched an original comedic series that she wrote, directed, and produced called YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON THE INTERNET about our obsession with social media. Most recently Kate served as a Supervising Producer on an upcoming one-hour drama for TBS entitled OBLITERATED. Kate has successfully navigated the pivot from acting to writing and is excited to share what she’s learned during this transition. Exclusively for Stage 32, Kate will teach you how you can make the jump from acting to writing, not by starting over, but by using the superpowers you’ve already developed as an actor to take the next step. She’ll explain her own story and how she made the jump herself before explaining how you can do the same. She’ll discuss what it really means to become a writer and will then show you the superpowers you have as an actor that you might not realize that can help you with every element of writing, from dialogue writing to pitching. She’ll discuss specific challenges you’re going to need to face as an actor and will give you tools and strategies to take the first steps towards writing. She’ll finally reveal how you can use your writing to boost your acting career. If you’ve always wanted to write but have never been sure how to make the leap, Kate will give you the tools and inspiration you’ve been looking for
Kristi Speiser, Certified Image Consultant and Life Coach for actors has been in the business 25 years and worked with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler! Now she brings her extensive knowledge and experience in honing, refining and defining an actor's image exclusively to Stage 32. Examples of Kristi's Image Consulting Work “Going within is the most challenging place one will ever go. But this brings the biggest payoffs and sets you up for more success in life both personally and professionally” - Kristi Speiser When you're an actor, you're seemingly being given advice at every turn. Whether it's who to take acting classes with, how to address casting directors in and out of the room, or what roles you are or aren't a fit for, the opinions never seem to stop coming. It can be overwhelming. But one piece of advice that is golden is that understanding your brand and assuring that you are doing everything possible to put that brand on display will undeniably give you an advantage in a very crowded field. Simply put, most actors go into headshot sessions, auditions, and meetings with no clue or definitive idea as to what they're putting out there or how they are being perceived. That's something that's fully in your control and something that you can begin honing, shaping, and changing starting today. Kristi Speiser is a certified image consultant and life coach with the International Coaching Federation. After a hugely successful 20 year career working with actors in fashion advertising, Kristi moved on to become Chief Operations Manager in her husband’s acting studio. For 25 years she had an insider’s access to the business side of acting and entertainment. Exposed to thousands of actors, she played a part in the rise of major directors, producers, and stars like, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler. Exclusively for Stage 32, Kristi will teach you how to gain a full understanding of you who are and use that to help you define your brand. She will show you how you are likely perceived by decision makers and gatekeepers and how you can change that perception so you stop wasting time and money pursuing the wrong roles or markets. She will show you how clothes, voice patterns, communication behavior and more can be altered and modified to any situation to increase your chances of success. She will discuss how you can build effective and important relationships so you stay top of mind of casting directors and producers. Kristi will even get down into your headshots - telling you the real truths - and what photos and information should be on a personal website. In short, Kristi will teach you how to treat your career as a business and how embracing that mentality alone, and implementing these strategies toward that end, will result in more work and more happiness! This is a major deep dive into your image and brand designed to help actors of all experience and skill levels. This information will leave you refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to tackle any audition or meeting! She helped me realize the image I was putting out there was not an accurate representation of who I was. She opened my eyes to a world of color, silhouettes and accessories. Through her nurturing, I not only discovered the ability to reflect my essence outwardly, but also how to own it. – Leena H. She is an expert at what she does but most importantly someone who truly desires to see her clients succeed in the industry. – Stephanie F. I felt like I was being pulled in a dozen different directions when it came to my career: my look, my characters, my goals, my personality… Kristi brought all that into focus. – Shayna R.
Writers can't rely on jump-scares and creepy music, so how do screenwriters create tension on the page? We'll take a look at needling suspense of THE BABADOOK, the tension just below the surface in GET OUT, the apocalyptic horror of “The Walking Dead”, and the creeps and chills of IT.
Sorry, this lab is fully sold out. Keep checking back for upcoming labs and other education! You’ve heard the phrase “the content gold rush” get bandied about these days, but as it relates to TV, it’s never been more true. Drama television is at its peak with such iconic shows like OZARK, KILLING EVE, BETTER CALL SAUL, THIS IS US, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, STRANGER THINGS, BLACK MIRROR, THE UNDOING and so much more. With the influx of networks and streaming platforms either moving into or expanding their original content libraries, the demand for dramatic TV ideas and pilots has never been greater. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. But not only is the quantity increasing, so is the quality, as companies are funneling an unprecedented amount of money, resources, marketing and talent into their shows. And the impact of COVID-19 is even having an impact that could benefit writers all over the world as many shows are planning to implement virtual writer’s rooms. In short, there has never been a better time to write for TV. Now it’s just a matter of breaking in. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but if you want to write dramatic television you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sensibility. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. The intention of this lab is to help you create that piece of material that stands out, gets you the right meetings, and, ultimately, gets you representation, meetings with decision-makers, and/or a coveted seat in a writer’s room. Over the course of a 15+ year career, Anna Henry has read thousands of television scripts and worked with hundreds of writers. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as an independent producer. Anna was Head of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Century Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America to name just some. Anna’s client credits include Netflix's SEVEN SECONDS; Starz' VIDA; BET’s IN CONTEMPT; HBO's THE DEUCE, BIG LOVE, and VINYL; Showtime's THE CHI; NBC's THIS IS US; The CW's JANE THE VIRGIN; DirecTV's KINGDOM, AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD; PBS' MERCY STREET; and more. Anna has taught numerous webinars, classes and writing labs for Stage 32. She remains one of our most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, she will be working directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions with the goal of helping you write a fantastic, market-ready pilot. To do so, Anna will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing your pilot. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Anna will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a completed drama television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. This class is geared towards the writing of half-hour and hour-long single camera series. While the focus and the examples that Anna will provide are rooted in these types of shows, many of the exercises and lessons can also be helpful for multi-cam sitcoms, limited series, animated series, and short-form webseries. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with Anna. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at email@example.com for more information This lab is limited to 10 people This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot. "My passion is helping writers make their work better. I’m not a screenwriter, so I don’t try to insert my voice into your work. With 20 years of experience as a development executive and literary manager, I consider myself to be your advocate and guide. I know the marketplace and know what will make your project successful. But my goal is to tell YOUR story in your voice. I don’t give vague “reviewer” notes, and I am brutally honest. If you want a cheerleader, I recommend you get notes from your friends. If you want to put in the work to elevate your writing, you’ve come to the right place." - Anna Henry Praise from Anna's previous Stage 32 writing labs: "Anna exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. Anna and Stage 32 delivered the goods." - John R. "What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring class. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity." - Crispin L. "Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgeable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you!" - Michael L.
In this challenge, you were asked to use The Breakdown Webcast: What the *&%$ is a Dramedy? as a guide to write a short scene (1-5 pages) that uses all of the principles discussed. Make sure to watch the Breakdown Webcast for those tips! You can find that by clicking here. We received some excellent submissions that all attempted to ride that fine line of truly being a "Dramedy."
Research is a component of almost any writing project-- often, a major component. It gives you the ability to write with authenticity, to better understand your characters, and to find story ideas you might not have otherwise considered. Yet research isn’t just useful for solo writers working on their feature or pilot. Research can make or break your pitch to an executive or allow you to stand out in a special way when trying to bring stakeholders on board. More so, research can help you stand out as a member of a TV writers’ room, building story arcs with your colleagues as part of a writing staff. In almost every situation, research can be a writer’s best friend, but only if you know what you’re doing when starting the research process. Not all research is made equal, and some forms of research will serve writers better than others. The internet makes a practically infinite range of material available to television and feature writers, on almost any subject imaginable. 'Doing research online' in a general way isn't enough. Every writer you're competing with for an open assignment, a staff job, or a slot on a development slate is also 'doing research online.' You need to figure out the most effective way to wield what you learn, which varies from situation to situation and project to project. So what's the best way to approach researching your project? Perhaps even more importantly, what are the most effective strategies for deploying the tool of research to further your writing career? Michael Sonnenschein is a long-time and practiced TV writer who has been staffed on shows like The CW’s 90210, NBC’s political conspiracy thriller CRISIS the original, and the groundbreaking syndicated comedy reality series BLIND DATE. Michael began his career as part of the Disney/ABC Television Fellowship after working as a freelance journalist and reporter for publications like the Village Voice, GQ, LA Weekly and elsewhere. He has also developed and sold several series and pilot pitches; current projects include an unannounced series at a streaming service adapting a novel set in the little-known violent aftermath of the American Revolution, a revisionist history of the Roman Empire, and a legal thriller set in Washington, DC. Michael has been able to sell his projects through his careful use of research and knows the steps to take to get research on your side. Using real Hollywood examples and projects from his own past, Michael will teach you the most effective research strategies for any project you’re working on. He will focus on the specific research processes for writing your own project, pitching to studios and execs, and serving on a TV writers room staff. He’ll also discuss how to make sure your research doesn't backfire and weigh down your pitch, bog down your story, or annoy your showrunner-- all of which happen more often than people realize. He will reveal unusual and little-known research sources that will yield material Google won't show you. He’ll also dive into how to gain research from the real world-- unconventional ways to find out about things, researching through experience, and how to get interview subjects to open up and give you the real stuff you need to tell the story you want to tell. "Every project I've sold, and every writing sample that's gotten me a job, has involved research, and I think that's the norm. But when writers treat research as a blunt instrument, it's often ineffective or even counter-productive. I'll share some specific tools and tactics I use in this underdiscussed part of being a working writer in Hollywood." -Michael Sonnenschein