Great Characters should have Great Introductions. Join us as we breakdown how characters are introduced in features and TV scripts including Star Wars, Fargo, The Good Place, Mad Men, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Arrested Development.
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During this Pitch Tank, Jason Mirch is joined by Jonny Perl the Associate Producer at Cinemation, a company built by the creative minds behind features and television including Disney's The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, DreamWorks' & Netflix's "The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show", Stuart Little. They are currently in production on Open Road Films' animated feature Blazing Samurai starring Samuel L Jackson and Mel Brooks, which releases in 2021!
As you know, independent film is enjoying a resurgence. Whereas a few years back, it seemed as if getting a low budget indie off the ground was a Herculean task, now, especially with the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and other streaming platforms not only purchasing indie fare, but producing it on their own, lower budget independent films are back in high demand. However, to take advantage of the current gold rush, you must understand what makes an independent script attractive to managers, agents, producers, development execs, financiers and others in a position to greenlight your screenplay. For most writers focused strictly on the craft, the disconnect between a script that gets high marks for the writing, yet still has a problem drawing attention of managers and agents or finding a buyer, is a lack of knowledge as to the current marketplace. It is vital that you understand the creative and commercial realities of the business. Everything else streams from there including all the aspects that you will need in your screenplay to make it a no brainer for the aforementioned gatekeepers and decision makers to want to get involved with the project. With so many screenplays flooding the market, reps, producers, filmmakers, financiers want to choose those screenplays that already have the heavy lifting toward getting the script into production already figured out. James Kicklighter is a multi-award winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by the world’s press, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India, Film Courage and FilmInk Australia. James began his career raising funds for numerous small budget short films, which allowed him to move into award-winning feature films. Most recently he directed The Sound of Identity about the first transgender woman ever to perform as Don Giovanni in a professional opera. The film is produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Russ Kirkpatrick & Andy Kinslow and executive producer Josh Bachove (Lizzie, Yoga Hosers, The Little Hours). James will teach you the ins and outs of writing a producible, low budget independent feature that will draw the right attention. He'll start by diving into the marketplace and how you can research, review, and understand the current landscape. He will then discuss how to choose material, create compelling, deep, and unique characters, and how to write using accessible locations. He will teach you how to optimize the screenplay for production, including some tips and tricks to help a filmmaker and/or producer understand how they can schedule efficiently just by reading the script. If you are looking to control your own material, James will even dive into how to attach talent and modify the script while in production. "James has style and class to spare. I've taken over 20 Stage 32 webinars and this was one of my favorites." - Theo K. "So much detail and so much information. Makes me look at my scripts in a whole new light." - Amanda D. "I've had so many screenplays that have received Consider or Recommend coverage from executives in this business, but I've never been able to get one of these screenplays launched and I could never understand why. Now I do. The writing is there, but the awareness to a producer's needs can be better. I'm on it. Thanks, James." - David V. "I learned something today. I want to produce my own work. Actually two things. I CAN produce my own work. This webinar was worth its weight in gold." - Martina S. "There’s nothing like listening to one who is passionate and educated on the craft of Filmmaking. James is a voice for aspiring filmmaker's ears. Thank you for the well outlined course.“ - Emeka M.
You know what you like to write, but do you know your personal brand as a writer? Branding yourself as a writer is an integral part of your strategy toward getting read, securing representation, attracting development executives and producers, and, ultimately, securing a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. Should you write in a variety of different formats or stick to one? Should you settle in on a tone or style or show your versatility? All of these questions (and many more) will factor in to how you brand yourself as a writer. Your brand is equal parts preferred medium, chosen genre(s), and personal voice/style. Once all of this is determined and developed, it will become easier to for you, your representation team, and/or your production company to sell/produce/finance your material. There are more screenwriters than ever looking to secure and maintain a career writing for film, television, and now, digital content. But with so much talent vying for limited opportunities, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd. And because there are very few new stories, only fresh takes on proven formulas, a writer’s unique voice and style are paramount when creating and selling content. This voice/style combined with preferred genres and mediums make up a writer’s brand, and cultivating that brand is instrumental in selling yourself and your material in Hollywood. And you don’t need representation or a production company behind you to do it! Developing your brand as a writer starts and ends with you. Once you fully understand, determine and develop your brand with confidence, you’ll find that many more representatives, producers, and other buyers will be willing to jump on your bandwagon. Tiegen Kosiak began her career working with, among others, the Academy Award-winning writers of BIRDMAN and the creator of STEP UP and SAVE THE LAST DANCE. While working in management and development Tiegen recognized how integral a writer’s brand was in submitting material, setting meetings, and pitching clients for open writing assignments. Prior to her new role working with an A-list actress who has a producing deal with Netflix, Tiegen worked for Cinestar Pictures, Zoe Saldana’s production company. In these roles Tiegen uses branding every day to option material, sell screenplays, and attach writers to projects. She'll help you understand how you can stand out, get read and get sold! Tiegen will teach you the tools needed to craft your brand as a writer and how to use that brand to sell yourself and your material to representatives, producers, and other content buyers in the entertainment marketplace. No matter if you're writing for features or television, Tiegen will show you how to rise above the competition by finding your lane and using this focused strategy to get reads and get you in rooms that matter. Whether you're looking for representation or searching for new representation, Tiegen will teach you 9 invaluable tips on approach that won't make you "just another writer" in the eyes of a rep. She will teach you how to choose the right representation (so important). She will explain and help you navigate where to find work, how to handle, general, pitch and network meetings, and how best to approach producers. In short, she will give you all the tools to help brand you and your writing so executives, reps, and decision makers want to read you and work with you from the jump! I found it very helpful and entertaining. I was shocked at how fast the time went. Tiegen packed a lot of great information into the 90 minutes. I know this is a webinar I will listen to again. - Cam C. This was an EXCELLENT webinar! Useful, unique information. Tiegen generously shared an enormous amount of information. Writing is a strenuous, though rewarding endeavor, and her detailed observations and vigorous, yet concise, genotype theories, as it were, have inspired my work ethic. And triple thank you for mentioning there are management companies with offices in NYC, not far. I don't live in LA, and have been worried for ages about that geographic block. Thank you Tiegen, and Stage 32. - Gerri G.
We will examine ways in which screenwriters tackle one of the most complex and difficult concepts in narrative storytelling, looking at projects like Edge of Tomorrow to discuss rules that are created, bent, and broken by writers.