We've got another fantastic Pitch Tank Webcast with special guest, Senior Coordinator Janean Jeffries of ViacomCBS! Janean works directly with the Executive Vice President Head of Production for MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount TV, Logo, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Studios, TVLand, Pluto TV, Comedy Central, and Pop. Janean has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, giving her a broad knowledge of what executives want and need on their screens. Previously, Janean worked for Love Life Entertainment & CBS Films. During the webcast we heard excellent pitches across the spectrum, from Action Adventure and Sci-Fi to Character-driven Drama and even TV-series.
There is a myth in the television industry right now: more channels mean it’s easier to sell a show, right? WRONG! The diversification of television and the dominance of streaming services over linear cable have made it HARDER to sell unscripted programming. Why? Because there are too many places for the audience to go. In order to get a hit, networks have to become specialized and truly define their brand in order to stand out. You can no longer just pitch IDEAS to networks. IDEAS are not STORIES and they’re not SERIES. There is a lot more work (research, interviews, and writing) that has to go into a pitch before you can take it to a network. Bomb a pitch and a network might not let you in the door again. Angela Molloy is one of the original unscripted executives having been in the game since 2001, when it was just getting started. She’s also one of the only executives who has been a network buyer, a production company development executive (seller), and an Executive Producer in the field. In this webinar you’ll learn get an overall sense of the reality landscape and concrete essential tips for how to develop and pitch into it. Sign up today to make sure you don’t get caught with your pants down during a pitch!
Learn from one of the most successful and in demand directors of the past few years, Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due, Ready or Not, upcoming Scream reboot) exclusively on Stage 32. If you’re reading this and you’re an aspiring storyteller, you’re probably well aware that no path in this business follows a straight line. There’s no recognizable ladder to climb. No standardized “five-year” plan. There are so many questions – How do I get my start? How do I tell stories that inspire me? What’s the right story to tell? How do I find an audience? How do I get recognized? So many questions and no hard and fast “right” answer. With the rise of digital technology, storytellers now have access to a new and incredibly valuable set of tools to help sell their ideas. Shooting a compelling short film, web series, or proof of concept has never been easier – and it is one of the most effective ways to practice your craft, showcase your voice and set your work apart from the rest of the pack. But there’s a catch – the increased accessibility of these tools has lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of content created and it has become much harder to cut through the noise and really stand out. Tyler Gillett is a film, television and new media writer, director and producer. He has recently been tapped to direct the new SCREAM reboot feature film for Spyglass Media Group. Prior to SCREAM, Tyler directed the 2019 hit READY OR NOT, which was one of the biggest successes for FOX Searchlight with a budget of $6MM and grossing over $57MM worldwide. He also directed DEVIL'S DUE for 20th Century FOX and The Orchard's SOUTHBOUND. As one of the founding members of the filmmaking collective Radio Silence, Tyler got his break with the Sundance hit V/H/S, which originated with short form content he created. He has made an impressive career which launched from directing his own short form content and he's here to show you how to do it. Tyler will share his own path and how utilizing these tools helped him move from directing zero-budget digital shorts to directing and producing feature films for studios. Tyler will go over the 4 main benefits to create a short film and how to choose the right idea or genre the compliment your talents to get you noticed. He will get into the script phase and discuss what works and what doesn't as it relates to your characters, tone, style, scale, runtime and more. He will teach you how to design your production model and by giving you 4 huge tips to use heading into production. And, as we all know there are limitations on a smaller production, and to that point, Tyler will present 3 things you need before you get on set to assure a successful production. To prepare you for post production, Tyler will show you how to obtain quality VFX on a budget. And of extreme importance, Tyler will discuss the best places to release your work and why. To illustrate all of these teachable points and more not even mentioned, Tyler will be citing examples from over 10 features including Boogie Nights, District 9, Leviathan, Whiplash, Chronicle and more! Tyler will discuss how to conceptualize and create low-budget, high-quality short-form content that will wow financiers and producers and help you sell yourself and your ideas to a larger audience. Praise for Tyler: "Tyler is so humble considering all the success he has had. He truly made me feel like I can do anything and that no project is unattainable." - Kevin M. "A unique look at short form content as your calling card. It's a fundemental creative shift that can actually HELP you get work from your short work. Bravo Tyler." - Anne N. "Another superstar in the Stage 32 lineup. What a thrill to learn from someone of Tyler's caliber. I hope he continues to come back." Jenna G. "I loved READY OR NOT. And I loved Tyler. So much good information." - Susan M.
A script's journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical script has to grab the attention of the anonymous, overworked reader that picked their script off a pile for evaluation. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the manager's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. If a producer's script is perfect for the marketplace, a reader will get excited, move it up the ladder and then the wheels start in motion for finding financing, attaching talent and going into pre-production. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the decision maker's desk. But who are these mysterious readers? Who decides which scripts go on to consideration or representation - and maybe one day fame and fortune - while others get a stone-cold pass? It's not exactly who you might think: while the agents and managers of Hollywood excel at their jobs, they only have so much time in the day and most of it is not spent seeking out new talent. That job falls to the Gatekeepers, the assistants and pro readers who tackle stacks of scripts every week hoping to find the diamond in the rough: a script they can confidently recommend. So, who are these gatekeepers, how do you even get to them and, more importantly, how do you win their endorsement to help move your script up the ladder? Gabriel Chu works with artists, writers, and directors to identify and develop new ideas and stories, shepherding them from page to screen. As a story analyst at Sony Pictures, he works on current projects alongside the executive team and helps to field incoming submissions and identify new talent for the studio. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he was an executive at Vertigo Entertainment, working closely with award winning directors and writers on both animated and live action film projects for Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Fox Animation. Gabriel started his career at Bad Hat Harry Productions, and has also worked at Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures. Through his career, Gabriel has served as a gatekeeper in multiple roles and knows intimately what it takes for a script to break through and make it to the right person’s desk, and he’s ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Gabriel will give you a rundown of how gatekeepers manage script submissions and what you can do to give your own script the best chance to be noticed and make it past those first rounds of coverage to make it to the eyeballs you’re aiming for. Gabriel will begin by explaining how scripts are able to get submitted to studios and other gatekeepers in the first place, including through agents and manager, through script competitions, other types of referrals, and through networking. He will also explain how taking the assistant route at an agency could help your chances of getting that script noticed. Next he’ll outline how coverage actually works at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the differences between the procedures at production companies, studios, and other organizations and what their differing expectations might be. He’ll delve into what roles read your script at what point in the process, focusing on the verticals at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the roles of interns and assistants, coordinators, story analysts, and finally executives, and what each role looks for when reading scripts. Gabriel will teach you the common formatting errors that knock scripts out of the running before people even start reading for content, including title page expectations, font and spacing, dialogue formatting, and other issues. He will share real examples of scripts that exhibit these errors to share what they look like on the page. Next he will go over narrative issues that can also sideline a submitted script. Finally, he’ll share other strategies that can make your script stand out to readers in these positions. Through demystifying the process of script reading and coverage as well as the people behind it, Gabriel will leave you with a concrete sense of how to get your script in front of the people you want to read it, and practical ways to help your chances. Praise for Gabriel's Stage 32 Webinar: I was very pleased with the webinar. The speaker got right to the point and explained exactly how the screenplay selling process works. Steven W. I loved how Gabriel didn't pull any punches and gave a realistic assessment of the realities of breaking into the industry as a writer. -Peter M. I loved this webinar because Gabriel talked about a variety of things from how to approach agents/managers/producers, to what not to do in a script. I learned a lot! -Melissa P. Amazing. I liked the "no sugar coating" approach. -Candice E.
If you are a writer, filmmaker, digital content creator, or producer, it's vitally important to not only understand the role of a sales agent, but how to find, vet and hire the right sales agent. This is a vital, yet extremely overlooked aspect that could make or break the viewership and profitability of your film or project! In this challenging and competitive world of film and digital content finding the right sales agent is key. Understandably, many creatives, producers and digital content creators find venturing into the world of sales agents to be daunting. But it doesn't need to be! There are few who know the world of sales agents better than Simon Graham-Claire and Ricky Margolis. Simon and Ricky head up, Future Films USA and have been involved in the financing and distribution of over 200 films and TV shows. In this extremely popular and exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, Simon and Ricky give you all the tools to navigate the minefield of sales agents. Just some of the questions Simon and Ricky will be answering include: What can a sales agent do for me that I can't do for myself? Where do I go to find a sales agent? How do I know if a sales agent is reputable? How do I know a sales agent is right for my genre? What questions should I be asking when vetting a sales agent? What if a sales agent disagrees with where I believe the film or project should be distributed? How much do sales agents cost? Will a sales agent expect to have an equity position in my film? How does the waterfall distribution of funds work with a sales agent involved? Can a sales agent bring financing to a project? Let Simon and Ricky demystify the world of sales agents and help you protect the films, shows, and projects you worked so hard to conceive and create by getting your work seen and by increasing your likelihood of profitability! Praise for Simon, Ricky and How to Find and Hire the Right Sales Agent to Help You Distribute Your Film or Project "I felt like Simon and Ricky had a concise step by step study guide on the process of getting to the green light... The idea of hiring a sales agent is no longer a jumble" - Betty S. "Loved the presentation and I found it very informative! Thanks again!" - Richard D. "Great seminar - informative and to the point." - Robert G. "Very well presented! Loved their personal approach!" - Glenn C. "Excellent presentation! Organized, well-spoken, and crystal clear!" - Brent B. "My second webinar with Simon and Ricky. They're incredible. Please bring them back again." - Samantha M. This webinar is available for immediate and unlimited viewing On Demand
Using the investigation scene from The Wire or the AI & Wu scene from Deadwood as inspiration, craft a scene where characters communicate using as few words as possible. As a second option, use the initial meeting between Sean and Will in Good Will Hunting or Annie's wedding shower meltdown from The Bridesmaids, and write a scene where your character snaps!