Part 1 - Writing, Budgeting & Pre-Production How to write an effective short script The brainstorming process Utilizing real life experiences, what are memorable moments in your life that stick out to you? Moments in a friend’s life? Creating characters: What topics do you uniquely understand? What jobs have you held? What did your parents do for a living? Where did you grow up? Writing in proper format What is the difference between writing “is working” and “works” in a screenplay and why does verbiage matter when writing action? Should I put my WGA and copyright notices on the title page? The business of making a short film What do I need to do to protect myself? Creating an LLC and lawyering up for the right reasons. How much is this really going to cost? Evaluating SAG Short Film Agreements, cost of renting equipment, everything from lighting to locations, and looking forward to release and distributions, what are the costs beyond the actual production of a film? Logistically, how will I be able to execute all the elements? How do I handle room and board for out of town talent? Is there a local film commission I can work with, and if so, what exactly is their role in helping me execute my vision? Part 2 - Directing, Marketing & Distributing Your Film Preparing to direct and the production process What do I need to do before I get to set? What is the purpose of having location walkthroughs? When and how to I make the shot list and how many shots do I really need? How do I make my vision clear to crewmembers while still being collaborative in the process? How do I work with an actor for the first time? How much say should they have in the script and changing the character? Should I allow an actor to change my lines? How do I follow their emotional journey over the course of shooting a film that is totally out of order so it makes sense in the final product? When problems arise on set, how do I respond? What are best practices to maintaining authority without creating conflict? How do I ensure that everyone is getting the proper attention they need so I can avoid problems? What happens if I find out we didn’t shoot something we needed? How do I work with footage or sound that didn’t come out the way I expected? How long should my final product be so I can be successful at film festivals? Marketing your film What can I do to promote my film before we ever start filming? When is the appropriate time to start promoting? What kind of promotion looks and feels professional versus amateur? Is there such a thing as oversharing information on social networks? During production, how can I use my cast and crew to promote the project? What parameters should I set to not give away plot points? What is the role of a still photographer on set and how can I leverage the still photographer for publicity? How do I reach out to press outlets to promote my film? How do I find out what press outlets are the right ones for my film, and how do I even get a journalist interested in covering it? What makes an effective versus ineffective pitch letter? Releasing your film What makes an effective trailer? How can I best prepare and present the trailer and still photos for promotional purposes? Should I create a Facebook page for my film and a website and a Twitter and an Instagram, etc.? How do I get into Sundance? If I don’t get into Sundance, is my career finished? There are entirely too many film festivals, how do I begin to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad? What are effective ways of meeting, then following up, with producers and gatekeepers that I meet at these events? What kind of communication does an executive find annoying? Should I sell my film or give it away for free? If I give it away for free, how will I be able to pay myself back? How do I quantify if my film was a success? How do I use the short film to get myself ready for my next project? What if the film didn’t come out the way I wanted, am I completely done as a filmmaker? How do I use the lessons I learned to make my next project better? Now that I’ve made my first short film and loved it, how do I make this my full time job and become a professional filmmaker?
A great story starts with great characters and every great character starts with a great introduction. We challenged you to create or rewrite a scene where a major character is introduced.
As a writer, receiving notes on your material may be a difficult part of the process but, ultimately, it's part of your job. And understanding how to deal with and apply those notes to your writing may be your most important job of all. Make no mistake, all writers are precious about their work, and taking notes is never easy, but the sooner you open yourself to receiving and understanding your notes, and the note behind the note, the more likely your work will become tighter and you'll signal that you're a writer that people want to hire and/or pay for your work. Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have a contribution to make. The work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. The bottom line is you need to understand what these notes mean and how to execute them when you agree and what to do when you don't. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America and more. 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 a Producer. Anna has been on the giving and receiving end of script notes of literally hundreds of scripts throughout her career. She has developed a strong understanding on the "lingo" of script notes and what the note behind the note means when it comes to your script. Now, you will learn how to dissect the feedback you get on your script from an executive's perspective. Anna will take you through the entire process of receiving notes. She will take away the anxiety of the entire process and teach you how to accept notes with professionalism and grace. She will explain to you who you should be getting notes from and how listening to the wrong voices can set you back. She will teach you what notes you should think about and when you should take a note as gospel. She will explain what notes are worth challenging and which you should absolutely adapt. She will help guide you through what it means when you get notes that go over structure, plot, stakes, character and exposition. She will take you through logic and clarity, cuts, action lines, dialogue and scene notes. And, she'll even go over what you should do if you get vague notes, nit picky notes and when you get suggestions and alternatives. Anna will remove all the fear and apprehension one feels when asking for and receiving notes, giving you a comprehensive guide to reference every time you get notes on your work. You will learn how apply them to tighten your work and put yourself in a position to sell your material and/or get hired!
To see a video sample of the class, see below! 2 part class taught by Conrad Sun, TV Literary Manager and Development Executive for Meridian Artists, who has worked in development with companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films! Most of Hollywood would agree: we’re currently living in the golden age of television. With the rise of distributors like HBO, Netflix, AMC, Showtime and FX, and the accolades of shows like Breaking Bad, Man Men, Game Of Thrones, Fargo and True Detective, creators are constantly elevating their stories and going beyond the boundaries of traditional television. Each year the bar gets set higher and the marketplace for content becomes more competitive. So how does a TV drama pilot stand out from the rest? How does a writer generate an amazing premise for a television show? Then once they do, how do they convey its essential elements in a pilot script? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 2 part class: How to Create an Oustanding TV Drama Pilot taught by Conrad Sun, TV Literary Manager at Meridian Artists who has worked with Epix, Hasbro, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films. Learn what separates the good dramas from the great ones, and how to write one all your own. Here's a sample of what to expect in this exciting Next Level Class: Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Conrad is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.
Science Fiction (Sci-fi) is a multi-billion dollar a year film & TV industry with film classics such as Alien, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyessy paving the way, as well at TV classics such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica also blazing a trail. When done correctly, sci-fi can be a storyteller’s dream - taking an audience on a fictional journey through space and time with no boundaries. Writing science fiction is an art that is perfected by a few key leaders in the industry, including our Stage 32 Next Level educator Marc Zicree. Marc has written for such classics as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Babylon 5. Plus, he is also currently writing, directing and producing the multi-part Space Command - an epic science fiction drama film starring Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Falling Skies, The Strain), Armin Shimerman (Deep Space 9, Buffy), Mira Furlan (Babylon 5, LOST), Bill Mumy (Lost In Space, Babylon 5), Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager), Faran Tahir (J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, Iron Man), James Hong (Blade Runner, Big Trouble In Little China) and Mike Harney (Orange is the New Black). We are honored that Marc has brought his extensive knowledge to the Stage 32 community. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Marc will be teaching you the keys to delivering exceptional sci-fi writing. You will learn the tools necessary to apply to your writing that will help improve the essence and marketability of your script. You will walk away with a clear path to identifying your story and incorporating writing elements to strengthen your characters, story and dialogue.
HAPPY 100TH WEBCAST! We're jumping in the Writers' Room Pitch Tank for #100 with special guest, Literary Agent Ariella Carmell of PureFlare Talent! Ariella has been specifically tasked with building the literary department from the ground up! PureFlare is one of the fastest growing bi-coastal, boutique talent and literary agencies, representing talent nationwide. They are known for cultural diversity and represent clients across film, television, theatre, and more. Clients have appeared in projects such as GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, GREY'S ANATOMY, LEGALLY BLONDE, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THE OFFICE, LETHAL WEAPON, and many more. Previously, Arielle held positions at 21 Laps Entertainment and Red Wagon Entertainment. She was named the 2019 Michael Collyer Memorial Fellow in Screenwriting by the Writers Guild of America, East. During this pitch session we heard from writers across the world who pitched a variety of projects including a supernatural and psychological thriller, a sports comedy, a historical series about the Slavic Dark Ages, a "MomCom", and many more!