In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will teach you how to write a kick-ass comedy pilot that will get executives’ attention. This webinar is not only about how to properly execute writing a comedy pilot, but also about how to make it your strongest sample so that it can get noticed! You will leave the webinar knowing: The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot as they relate to concept, structure and voice. How to properly highlight your unique comedic voice and stuff your script with laughs. How to create a crisp 1-2 sentence pitch that will get executives excited about your idea. How to navigate the competitions and fellowships. How to think from a Producer/Manager/Executives POV and understand what they're looking for so you can apply it to your script. Michael Poisson is a former Director of Development who's worked for Ryan Reynolds TV production company DarkFire TV, Krysten Ritter's company Silent Machine and CAA and is now a writer on Netflix's Raising Dion. This background gives has given Michael a unique perspective for what kind of script stands out among the hordes on everyone’s “Weekend Read” lists and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you.
Learn directly from Michael Poisson, the former Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at TV production companies. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will guide you through the business side of how to become a working writer in Hollywood. Writing an awesome script is only part of the process for becoming successful in this industry. Having worked on various projects from both the executive side, as well as the writer side of things, Michael has obtained great insight for how to avoid the difficult terrain when meeting and working with producers, studios, and networks. And while the process of finding a manager or agent is daunting, keeping a strong relationship with them so that they’re doing the most for you as their client can be equally difficult. Michael will share with you his insider knowledge to help: keep your writing on track, your meetings fruitful, and your industry contacts strong. If you’ve ever wondered what you should talk about in “general meetings”, how to take notes from friends/producers/execs that you don’t agree with, or how to be a more prolific writer, this webinar is for you!
In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter. In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show. "Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started." - Mia L. "Demystification complete." Lorraine R. "Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years." - Regina K. "There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo." Angelo D.
Let's face it. We spend a good portion of our days on social media. Be it Stage 32, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we're constantly checking in. For many, social media serves as a fun distraction. But for those in the know, social media is a powerful tool to build your presence, brand, and portfolio as an actor. It's an absolute and undeniable fact that casting directors, managers and agents search social media platforms every day to help them with their ultimate goal - to find new, exceptional talent that they can book on open projects. Yet, so many actors misuse or ignore social medial altogether. That has to change. Your online presence can help you get noticed, get in front of the right people, get you in rooms, and, ultimately, accelerate your path to success. Being an actor today is more than just being talented at delivering lines. You have to approach acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur. That means taking advantage of all online opportunities for branding and exposure. You're in full control of taking time to carefully craft your online presence. You have to make sure your actor profiles and resume have the information and media decision makers want to see. You have to understand how to use social media the right way to capture the attention of people that can hire you. Actors who are taking the time to do this correctly have a competitive advantage. Wendy Alane Wright is the CEO of WAW Entertainment, a leading talent management firm in Los Angeles. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, HBO, Comedy Central, BIO, SyFy, Lifetime, and more. Some of the projects her clients have booked are TV shows including Modern Family, Black-ish, American Horror Story, Sharp Objects as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Universal Studios, Homegoods, Walmart, Justice, Target, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. After decades in the business Wendy uses the internet now more than ever to help her find talent and decide on talent when sending her clients on auditions. Wendy will teach you how your online presence can help you get more auditions (or lose them!). She'll help you zone in on what your brand is as an actor and how you can best portray that online. You'll learn what is needed on your online profiles such as Actors Access to be competitive, stand out, and be considered for more roles. Wendy will show you examples of actor profiles, resumes, social media accounts and talk through what about them stands out to casting directors, managers and agents. She'll teach you five things to up your game immediately on social media and how to approach networking to get noticed. And, she'll answer the question on every actor's mind: does your follower count matter? One of the industry's top talent agents will walk you through all of this step-by-step so you are crystal clear on what goes on in their mind when they're looking at you online. "Wendy, thank you for sharing your time, energy and insight. Seeing the profile examples and hearing you describe what casting directors and agents look for was extremely helpful. I hope to work with you one day!" - Jack S. "This is a fantastic webinar!! Wendy's straightforward approach answered so many questions that I kept asking myself about social media." - Amber F.
The art of the pitch. In many ways, outside of honing your craft, your ability to pitch may just be the most important skill you can learn as a creative. At its core, pitching is storytelling. But the ability to be a clear, concise storyteller, and, as a result, be someone who can deliver a memorable and winning pitch is something that takes time, knowledge, a clear strategy, and repetition. Understanding how to pitch any person or audience will give you a clear and tremendous advantage in any situation or room. You will stand out from the hundreds if not thousands of pitches a gatekeeper or decision maker hears in a given year. But further, learning how to pitch will help you build confidence, a huge variable in winning over those looking to work with you, buy your material or invest in your project. The bottom line: Whether you're a screenwriter, filmmaker, producer, or any creative or industry professional looking to gain representation, sell their material, attract talent, raise financing, or simply looking to find work, you WILL have to pitch. Further, you WILL be in competition with others pitching as well. You've put so much time and effort into your work and building your reputation, you don't want to have it all undermined with a terrible pitch. And the truth of the matter is that most people that pitch make the same fatal mistakes over and over. They don't know how to tell a concise, riveting story. They don't know what to put in, what to leave out, and what elements really and truly sell someone on their story. But not you. Not anymore. You're about to become a pitching ace. Jared Iacino is a film and television executive who has heard literally thousands of pitches. As the Senior Vice President and Head of Films and Television Production at Panay Films, Jared has overseen the development and production of such films as Hit & Run, Hot Tub Time Machine I and II, Earth to Echo, Mastermind, CHiPS, and numerous television productions in conjunction with Relativity Television. Prior to his time at Panay, Jared worked on such films as The Wedding Crashers, Juno, The Devil Wears Prada, Hairspray, The Bucket List, A Raisin in the Sun, The Proposal, The Muppets, Serendipity, Van Wilder and many more. As Jared can tell you, many of these projects and hundreds more he's see get moved through the pipeline, began with a well crafted pitch. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Jared is going to teach you everything you need to know to become a pitching ace. He will demystify the pitching process by showing you how to form and outline your pitch in practical, repeatable and memorable terms. He will identify from a studio/network/producer's perspective, the common and fatal mistakes writers, filmmakers, producers and other film creatives make when pitching their projects. He will show you the secret formula he's used when pitching and selling projects to high level executives, gatekeepers and decision makers at independent film companies, studios and networks. He will teach you the 3 most important elements every pitch should have. He will show you how to cater your pitch to different audiences and why this is such an important skill to lear. He will show you how to identify projects worthy of pitching and teach you the secret ingredient that appears in every great pitch. Jared will give you the blueprint to not only craft a memorable and winning pitch, but teach you how to deliver it in a manner that has you finding the success your work and projects deserve! "Great hearing from someone who's actually in the trenches like us. You have great energy and broke the presentation down very well; easily digestible and understandable." - Tom Z. "Terrific webinar thank you Jared. You were clear, concise and most importantly efficient! I learned a ton and I am about to use what I learned in a pitch at 2:30. I am excited to see what happens!" - Maggie G. "Thanks for being incredibly generous with your experience and expertise. I feel way more able to take on creating the brilliant pitch that reflects the story I wrote." - John T.
Writing a great screenplay is a gargantuan effort, and putting together something like this doesn’t just happen willy nilly. No matter how good of an idea you have, how fantastic your characters are, or how mind boggling your plot twist is at the end, none of it matters without a solid structure and clear plan. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and trial and error to get right. This is why, whether you’re a brand new writer or someone with tens of screenplays already under your belt, outlining is an essential tool. Mastering this skill can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. Yet it’s not enough just to outline; you have to outline well. At its best, an outline can show you how your story should be shaped—what to cut, what to keep, where to place your beats, and how to take your audience to the perfect ending. Yet an outline can also do the opposite if you’re not careful. It can mire down your story in unnecessary scenes or can help you justify keeping aspects that really should be cut. To have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Sophie Azran is a producer and Creative Executive at ImageMovers, Robert Zemeckis’ production company, where she has developed projects including THE WITCHES for HBO Max., BIOS with Tom Hanks, PINOCCHIO, ARES, MANIFEST and PROJECT BLUE BOOK for History Channel, and many others. Previously, Sophie worked at Warner Bros., Tom Hanks' company Playtone and Trudy Styler's company, Maven Pictures. As an independent producer and through her role at ImageMovers, Sophie works with countless writers in developing and improving their scripts and will share exclusively with the Stage 32 community the structural and organizational practices she works on for her own projects. Sophie will walk you through how to successfully create an outline for your own feature project. She’ll begin by discussing the items you’ll need in addition with your outline, including the logline, comparisons, and character descriptions. Next she will discuss how an outline should work and at what point you should start outlining. She’ll lay out tips on how to actually get an outline started, including how it could be formatted. Sophie will then do a deep dive on structure and how each step should be incorporated into your outline. She will show an example of what an effective outline looks like and will talk through common pitfalls to avoid when outlining. She will also discuss what a completed outline can teach you about your own story and how to move forward once you have a finished outline, including transitioning to index carding and how to use your outline to start writing pages. Outlining and structuring your story is never easy, but Sophie will give you a rundown and a series of strategies to make it much more possible. "Prep work isn’t just for novices—all the great professionals do it. That’s why I’m so excited to talk about outlines, which are the foundation of all screenwriting; helping you iron out structure, character, tone and more." -Sophie Azran