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!
While the scene will be heavy with exposition, disguise the exposition in dialogue and conflict as much as possible. How does the character make the complex simple? What props does the person use? How does the character who receives the info react?
Learn how to pitch remotely from the writer of JIGSAW and SPIRAL (Number one movie at the box office this year) Includes a live pitch demonstration and an exclusive pitch workshop where YOU can practice your Zoom pitch and receive notes! Pitching films and series has changed DRASTICALLY over the past year, as we’ve moved from traditional in-person pitches between writers and producers to remote ones. And even as we continue on our path to a stronger semblance of “normal”, all signs point to Zoom pitches sticking around and remaining a consistent aspect of the industry. Zoom has become the norm for eager writers, and if you’ve never pitched before, having the right tools, tips, and materials at your fingertips can really make your pitch shine. If you’ve never pitched to an executive or showrunner before, you may not know what it takes to deliver. Now, more than ever, you must be quick, concise, and clear. To avoid aimless rambling or unnecessary detail and conversation, structure is key. And once that structure is in place, your well-developed pitch can take you to the next level. What are the elements you need to pitch to a development executive or producer to get you to that next level? If you don’t know how to pitch efficiently while keeping your concept clear, the virtual call you’ve waited weeks to have could come to an abrupt end. Those who don’t take the time to practice and think they can roll through on the fly quickly, discover they’ve missed out on an incredible opportunity. But armed with the right tools, conversation, and materials, your chances are as good as anyone else’s. Pete Goldfinger knows what those tools are. Pete is an incredibly successful feature and television writer in Hollywood, perhaps best known for penning the two newest features in the SAW horror universe, including JIGSAW, which grossed over $100 million, and SPIRAL, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock, which debuted at number one at the box office this year. Other credits of Peter’s include SORORITY ROW, PIRANHA 3D and TV shows like TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. When he’s not writing for the screen, Pete is running and hosting his own screenwriting retreats, in-person workshops, and Zoom classes. Students of Pete’s classes learn how to turn their projects into marketable, saleable products, and he’s going to deliver these same principles to Stage 32’s community. During this timely and much-needed webinar, Pete will show you how to deliver the most valuable and authentic pitch possible by discussing the elements that need to go into a pitch so that you hook producers and showrunners quickly. From handling (sometimes) awkward small talk to delivering strong loglines with pitch decks, Pete will share his years of experience so that you leave feeling confident about your next (or first!) virtual pitch. After passing on his golden nuggets of wisdom, Pete will deliver a live pitch demonstration, who will take attendees’ ideas on what to pitch and then deliver his pitch on the spot to give you a feel of what Zoom pitching and thinking on your feet is really like. Pete will even offer an invaluable pitch workshop after his presentation, opening the floor to volunteers who will practice giving pitches and then receive valuable notes from Pete!
If you want to work as a TV writer, you need a great writing sample, and these days, that comes in the form of a pilot script. Writing a pilot is hard, though, and writing a great pilot is even harder. One of the most common pitfalls is failing to write a compelling story that showcases your characters and world. But it’s that story that will get a reader to finish the script. It’s that story that can help you get a job. Figuring out the best version of your pilot story often comes down to structuring the script into an A, B and C story. This will allow you to introduce your characters, world, and plot points while still maintaining a pace and shape to the episode. This is harder than it looks though. Writing a great pilot script is such a tricky balancing act, ESPECIALLY for a 30-minute show. In just 30 pages, you need to establish your world, your characters, and your ongoing stories without overloading the audience with exposition and while still injecting the episode itself with its own story and arc. That’s a lot of plates to spin, but if you can’t nail your pilot’s structure, your characters and world won’t reach their full potential. But taking the time to get the story right will let your characters show who they really are and make your creative intent crystal clear. So how can you structure your own half hour pilot into an effective script with a clear A, B and C story? How can you find the balance and spin every plate so you can have a standout pilot script and writing sample that can get you the attention and opportunities you’re looking for? Meghan Pleticha is television writer with ten years of entertainment industry experience who has most recently worked as a staff writer on HBO’s Emmy Nominated comedy series SILICON VALLEY. Her work has also appeared on Cartoon Network’s POWER PLAYERS, and in Escala, AeroMéxico’s official in-flight magazine. Previous to being staffed on television shows, she worked as a writer’s assistant and script coordinator for shows like FX’s MARRIED, ABC’s CHARITY CASE, and VH1’s HIT THE FLOOR. Meghan’s career as a writer as well as her experience teaching other aspiring creatives has given her powerful experience with television story structure, and she’s excited to bring what she’s learned to the Stage 32 community. Over two intensive sessions, Meghan will dive deep into how to effectively structure a 30-minute TV pilot script, focusing on finding the pilot’s story and building it out with an A, B, and C story. In the first session, Meghan will dissect what makes a great A story for a pilot, discussing the goals you should have for this story as well as helpful strategies and secrets to bring it together. In the second session, Meghan will look deeper into B and C stories, how to integrate the into your A story, and how to use them to further define your series and world. Plus! Meghan will be providing the full pilot scripts of FX’s ARCHER, NBC’s SUPERSTORE and Netflix’s GLOW, and will use these three pilots as examples as she illustrates what makes a well structure half hour pilot "Writing pilots is hard! You have to come up with characters, a world, AND a story?! In script after script, I've seen writers spend so much time on the first two, the story gets lost. Even worse, without a strong pilot story, your world and characters won't reach their full potential. I love helping writers find the best structure for their show so their script can most accurately represent them and their idea. And I'm looking forward to doing that with Stage 32. See you in class!" -Meghan Pleticha
Jason Mirch interviews Alexia Melocchi, a producer and film executive with more than more than 25 films and series credits to her name! With more than twenty years in the industry, Alexia has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. Working at Little Studio Films since 2000, Alexia serves as Partner and Producer, involved in all aspects of company operations, including distribution and co-production deals, managing production activities, and film and television marketing. Little Studio Films, created by Alexia and Alexandra Yacovlef, is a multilingual boutique consulting, distribution and production company with an extensive background in all areas of the Entertainment Business. It provides services to a variety of clients including producers, production companies, authors, screenwriters, directors, international distributors and Wall Street Companies.During the webcast, Alexia and Jason discuss her career, the state of the global markets, what types of scripts writers should be in the current market, how to find a producer and if the "dollar option" is really a good idea.
Learn directly from Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who recently sold a pilot to CBS. Benderspink sold more spec scripts last year than any other management company and are best known for producing The Hangover franchise, The Ring franchise, We’re The Millers, Horrible Bosses 2, among many others! With the recent success of films such as It Follows, Insidious Chapter 3, Poltergeist and The Visit, it is evident that horror is becoming one of the most profitable and exciting genres in the industry. This is because horror films can be made on the cheap and still yield spectacular returns at the box office. Horror doesn’t rely on big IP, superheroes, or movie stars – all horror needs to deliver is a compelling story, told well, packed with plenty of chills and thrills. However, delivering on this is far easier said than done, and many writers miss important story elements that keep their horror scripts dead in the water. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who is passionate about genre films, will teach you what makes a horror film successful, from developing a marketable and commercial plot, to unique and scary set pieces, to properly structuring and formatting your script to tell the best story possible. You will learn high-level story concepts, tips and tricks to help make your horror script scary and effective, and get an insider perspective on what concepts and types of horror films are currently selling in the marketplace. You will leave this webinar with an understanding of not only how to make your existing scripts stronger, but how to develop and come up with the next big horror hit film!