It’s no secret that television is a hot commodity right now. The “golden age of television” that began ten or so years ago has since exploded, and with new networks and streamers like Quibi, HBO Max, and Disney Plus coming into the fold, the volume of TV content has hit unprecedented levels. In fact over 500 scripted shows were broadcast or streamed in 2019 alone, more than any other year prior. And with more shows, there are more paths for writers to break in. After all, virtually all of these 500+ shows have their own writers' room. Yet even with this influx of opportunities, it’s still not exactly easy for new writers to land a job in this industry. Everyone’s path is different, but a tried and true route is to enter in as a writer’s room assistant and work your way up. Yet this, too, requires some wherewithal, skill and strategy. Being an assistant affords you the opportunity to learn first-hand how a writers' room works without the pressure of having to contribute to the same level as staff writers. It can be an incredibly valuable and educational step in your career. In fact, as your career advances, this experience will allow you to contribute more than just stories and ideas; you’ll now know how rooms operate, how things run smoothly, and how to keep workflow productive. Yet this journey is easier said than done. Getting into the room as an assistant is one thing, but holding your own, standing out, demonstrating your value, and carving a place for yourself and your future can be even more challenging. So how do people actually get the gig as an assistant in a writer’s room, and how do they find success and further opportunities in the process? Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community. Marcelena will give you the lowdown of how writers’ room assistants work, how to navigate these jobs, and ways to use them to get ahead in your own writing career. She will begin by explaining the four main types of TV assistants, including the Writer’s Production Assistant, the Script Coordinator, the Showrunner’s Assistant, and the Writers’ Room Assistant. She will illustrate what these roles do and what they look like day to day, including primary responsibilities and general expectations. She will then teach you about writers’ room etiquette, including unspoken rules, how the four main assistant roles work within the ecosystem, who is actually in the room when and when to speak up and when to blend in. She will go over what the standard rates are for these positions and go over the main benefits of each position, including some you might not have thought of before. Next, Marcelena will explain how to find and apply for these assistant roles, including tried and true routes, and other strategies that are always worth a try. She will teach you how best to shine in each of these four roles and will also propose two additional positions—researcher and personal assistant to a writer—you could also consider in working to break in. Marcelena will detail what the future of TV writing looks like post-pandemic, specifically for assistants, and go over whether it’s important to live in LA for these roles. Finally Marcelena will talk about how assistants have used these positions to take next steps in their careers and become staff writers in their own right. Breaking into television is always going to be hard, but Marcelena will provide you what you need to know to approach it through a tried and true path that may just give you a step up you’re looking for. Praise for Marcelena's Stage 32 Webinar "Marcelena was very informative and organized. She was also very thorough and informative when answering questions. One of the best hosts in a Stage 32 webinar that I have seen." -Eric Z. "Marcelena did such an excellent job describing the four roles and talking about the writer's room in general. Really enjoyed it and appreciate all of the information she shared." -Patricia W. "Marcelena was a great host, very informative without holding anything back." -Rebecca M. "Marcelena was a fantastic person to learn from. Thank you so much for having her lead this topic. I have so many notes. She's so gracious and I didn't realize how similar our life situations would be before joining this webinar, so it was a treat. She's wonderful." -Amelia S.
During this webcast, writers from around the world including Australia, Scotland, Canada, and more, shared their "writer biographies" and talking points. It was an excellent way to get to know one another and find out how to present their backgrounds and career aspirations during a general meeting. In addition to developing the craft, we endeavor to prepare Writers' Room members for the business of film and television. And that means, knowing how to present yourself, as well as your ideas, in a meeting with producers, executives, and filmmakers. Using the "Breakdown Webcast: Breaking down a General Meetings" as a guide, your challenge was to write a short biography on yourself which focuses on the major "talking points" that you would benefit you in a general meeting with a producer, executive, manager or other industry pro. Include a bit on your personal and professional background, the genres you write, your screenwriting accomplishments (such as awards, accommodations, accolades), your goals for your writing career (features? TV? Both?), and what makes your point of view so unique in an crowded market!
This week the Writers' Room welcomes in Development Executive Anna Henry into the Pitch Tank! Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features. Anna has been a script consultant and screenwriting instructor, as well as building her own slate as an independent producer. Her clients have worked on hit television series on all major networks, such as "THE DEUCE", "POWER", "IN CONTEMPT", "TOMMY", "HUNG", "CHICAGO FIRE", "FEAR THE WALKING DEAD", "THIS IS US", and "THE FLASH". Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast, cable and streaming television network, and have set up projects at Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project, which is why she was an incredible guest!
You have a story idea in your mind and you just know it will make a great movie or TV show. You either day dream or stay awake at night with characters entering your head wanting to be given life on the page. You have notes jotted down of scene ideas, pieces of dialogue or inspiration you could see in a script. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you are on the path to being a screenwriter, but, where do you start? Screenwriting is a special art form unto itself - it takes a fertile, vibrant mind to develop story and character, yet immense discipline of the writing craft. Too many writers try to jump into this insanely competitive field with little to no training. It takes 5-10 pages of a screenplay for a professional to know whether or not you know the basics of screenwriting, so don't you want to give yourself the best chance to stand out as a professional? It's important you understand the craft to make sure that when you do get your script in front of a decision maker that yo have a competitive advantage to get them past page 10. Mary Cybriwsky produced Joe Dante’s BURYING THE EX, starring Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario and Oliver Cooper, as well as executive produced STICKY NOTES starring Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie and Justin Bartha. Prior to opening production/management company Scooty Woop Entertainment in 2009 with Frankie Lindquist, Mary worked in all aspects of film development and production as an executive at Mosaic Media Group / Atlas Entertainment under the prolific producer Charles Roven and his team, on projects such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL, THE BANK JOB, amongst others. Mary is a disciplined teacher of the screenwriting basics and in an exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Class, Mary broke down in four jam-packed sessions what you need to know about the basics of screenwriting. If you are brand new to the screenwriting profession, or a seasoned writer who wants to brush up on your skills, this class goes over the basics of screenwriting to perfect your craft. The objective of this 4 session class is to cover basic screenwriting formatting, 3 act structure, characters, plots, themes, what to write and what NOT to write, but Mary will go over so much more! Best of all, the class sessions are available immediately to watch on demand at your leisure! You Will Receive These Handouts: Title page format spec sheet Sample screenplay page, broken down section by section with descriptions Screenwriting dialogue tips Plus! You will get these pilots to download for FREE: Feature Film Scripts LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE ALL YOU NEED IS KILL (movie version changed title to: EDGE OF TOMORROW) PARASITE THE TRIAL OF CHICAGO 7 GET OUT GREEN BOOK THE BIG SICK INSIDE OUT Television Pilot Scripts THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT BREAKING BAD MODERN FAMILY FLEABAG BARRY GAME OF THRONES Testimonials about Mary's Class: "Loved Mary's teaching process! Will definitely take other classes if she offers them in the future." - Jessica R. "Very good basic introduction course!" - Diana B. "Mary makes learning the basics of screenwriting easy and welcoming. I have a lot to think about." - Harry M. "After this class writing is no longer scary. I can't wait to type FADE IN!" - Paul M.
Only 12 Spots Available Punch Up Your Animation Pilot Script with a Animation Professional and Veteran with 25+ Years of Experience Work and Support Fellow Writers As You All Work Together To Hone Your Scripts Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite pilot script to present if you want to be noticed, and that means more than a workable first draft. The old adage that writing is rewriting is especially true for animation and comedy scripts that need to be tight, punchy, and effective in every sense. And since television writing is almost always a collaborative process, a necessary step to making your project successful is to bring in different perspectives, different senses of humor, and some expertise to get the script fine-tuned and to the point where it’s truly special. We have just the person to help with this. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who produced and directed on shows like THE SIMPSONS and the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. Mike will lead an intimate and valuable writers’ workshop with a small group of students to help rewrite and fine tune each writer’s animation pilot script, line by line. Each session, Mike will focus on 1-2 scripts and work with the group to punch up and improve each. Not only will you receive extended and personalized attention from an expert in the field to improve your own work, but you will also have the opportunity to support other writers with their own projects and learn valuable lessons from the process that you can take back to your own work. Expect to leave this unique program with a much-improved pilot script, a set of tools you can take with you to better improve and rewrite other projects, and a supportive group of like-minded writers from around the world. Note: Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 6-session writing lab, you will have a fully re-written and fine tuned animation pilot script Sessions will consist of 2-hour group classes through Zoom Meetings. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you connected, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 12 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an animation veteran and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at email@example.com for more information This lab is limited to 12 people This lab is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced screenwriters looking to rewrite and improve their already existing 30 minute animated pilot script Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop.
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!