Jon Hersh is the Manager at Housefire Management, a boutique literary management company based in Los Angeles that represents writers and directors in film, television, and digital content. Housefire specializes in deep development, strong client relationships, and incendiary material that stands out like a house on fire. Jon's client list includes writers and writer/directors for film and TV including emerging writers Hayley Easton-Street, whose project THIS IS AFRICA is in development with Eclipse Films (FINDING YOUR FEET, URBAN HYMN); Casey Giltner, whose project FELIX is in development at Conquistador Entertainment (CAKE, RESCUE DAWN); and Marc Bloom, whose title RUNT is in development at the Traveling Picture Show Company (JOSIE, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES). Jon is also working with a writer he discovered in a pitch session and is setting up his TV series with a major production company he's excited to announce soon! After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, Jon Hersh went on to become a full-time story analyst at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). During his tenure there, he evaluated thousands of screenplays, pilots, and books, and gave detailed story notes to high-level clients of the agency. After four years at CAA, Jon moved on to the fledgling mini-studio Broad Green Pictures (THE LOST CITY OF Z, JUST GETTING STARTED) where he helped found a new and innovative Story Department and had a hand in developing a slate of quality projects for the company. Full Bio »
Literary Manager Jon Hersh has read thousands – yes, thousands – of screenplays in his career. Starting at CAA he was a story analyst covering screenplays, manuscripts books and television pilots, which helped him get a crash course on effective structure for a project. He moved on to be a development executive at Broad Green Pictures and helped develop feature material for their slate.
Being around so much material Jon learned one thing – you MUST have solid screenplay structure to get past development and get your project greenlit. In this exclusive webinar Jon is going to show examples and break down beat by beat what needs to be in your outline, plus go in detail on the 13 steps you need to follow to nail your screenplay structure.
***This webinar is a reduced price because 10 minutes of Q&A are not captured on audio***
Step 1: Outline
Step 2: Cold Open
Step 3: Set-Up
Step 4: Catalyst
Step 5: Debate
Step 6: Act II Plunge
Step 7: Trailer Moments
Step 8: Midpoint
Step 9: Challenges
Step 10: Rock Bottom
Step 11: Act III Lightbulb
Step 12: Climax
Step 13: Epilogue
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As a screenwriter, if you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward. Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job. Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods. Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK. Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar: “This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable” -Rory D. “Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say” -Candace V. “I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script” -Jerry F. “This was so helpful! Thanks!” -Carly E.
When people think of Manchester By the Sea, they think of an independent film drama that finds comfort in its misery. There is a stoic color palate that highlights the depressing grey of New England and its melancholy protagonist. The script (and film) are also filled with a certain quirkiness and comedy typical of the American working class city by the sea. Through its incredible pain, there are rays of sunshine and humanity that are delicately written and incredibly effective. We've brought in the Development Executive for Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond, to deconstruct this Oscar-winning script. What we will discuss and uncover is the process and elements required that enabled a film as seemingly small and intimate, like Manchester, to become a commercial and critical success. We also will address the elements of writing that attract A-level talent and help create characters that support great performances. Patrick looks forward to the discussion. All attendees will receive the Manchester by the Sea script and we highly recommend you read it in advance of the webinar.
People often say the most important thing when writing is just to write something that's good, but it needs to be more than good; it needs to be producible. Meaning if a producer reads your script and likes it, they also need to feel comfortable that they can help you make your movie for a budget that's smaller than THE AVENGERS. Writers don't always realize that what they write on the page directly translates to how much money it will cost and how long it will take to shoot. Things like locations, genre, number of scenes and number of characters can absolutely make or break whether your movie can get produced and whether you can get the partner you're looking for to sign on. It's important for writers to understand how producers think when reading scripts and how you can adjust your own script without sacrificing your voice or quality to make the project more achievable to actually put together. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN. Over the countless films he has produced, Shane has gotten pre-production down to a science and knows what it takes to prepare a film of any level. Shane will demonstrate to you how to craft your ideal script to overcome the hurdles of budget and schedule and to attract the eye of producers. Shane will discuss how writers, producers, actors, and execs will read your script, the biggest red flags producers will look for when reading a script, and what aspects of a script will cost the most money in production particularly in regards to genre. He will also touch on how to strategically write for locations and how to maximize the space you have to help producers and how to know how long it will take to make your script and provide quality advice on how to adjust it to better fit your schedule. Shane will even offer a valuable case study where he will break down the pages of his own script and demonstrate how he would view it as a producer and where concerns and warning signs might be. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar: "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R.
Producer Tiegen Kosiak joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
**Learn the art of TV joke writing from long time TV comedy writer Kirill Baru and participate in an actual episode punch up room, working to improve scenes from a notable TV comedy.** Jokes don’t just come out of nowhere, and their success is completely reliant on the medium. Things that are funny in conversation or in front of an audience might not be funny on a television show. This is why being “naturally funny” just isn’t enough to make a funny series with great jokes. It takes an understanding of the medium and insight into the types of jokes that work on television. It also usually takes a team of people in a punch up room setting, utilizing multiple perspectives and senses of humor to arrive at the best joke for each situation. Understanding how to find the best jokes in an episode script and learning how to operate successfully in a punch up room setting will help make your own comedy pilot funnier and can give you the tools to be a more desirable member of any TV comedy writers room. Kirill Baru is a sitcom writer and executive producer who has staffed on and sold a variety of live-action and animated comedy shows like Freeform’s BABY DADDY and the critically acclaimed animated show DAN VS. on the HUB. He’s also written and produced several comedies in the kids space, from Disney’s SYDNEY TO THE MAX to Cartoon Network’s MAD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. When Kirill isn’t staffing on shows, he’s developing projects with networks such as Disney and Netflix. He attributes his career to writing comedy that finds a way to have a lot of edge without ever losing any of its heart. Kirill is very familiar with punching up TV scripts, finding ways to make them funnier and finding success in a TV punch up room. In this special extended workshop, Kirill will teach you how to craft effective jokes for any TV comedy. He’ll break down where good jokes come from and the elements needed to make a joke work. Kirill will also lay out the main types of TV jokes you can draw from and walk you through important comedy terminology that’s used in every writers’ room and punch up room. He’ll also go through how to make jokes work with an eye towards scene construction and explain what makes a great punch up room for any TV comedy. Kirill will then lead a TV comedy punch up room, similar to how real TV comedies run them. Everyone who signs up will be able to participate in this room and work with the group to add jokes, fill in pitches, and create alt docs for two scenes of an episode of an actual notable TV comedy. Kirill will provide feedback and analysis or all of the joke pitches. If you’re interested in breaking into TV comedy, it’s so important that you know how to craft great jokes in this specific medium. This workshop is the perfect way to help you get there. Praise for Kirill's Previous Workshop "The workshop was awesome! Going through this workshop and seeing the end result produced by our team of writers (classmates), not only shed light into how the sausage is made, but also showed me that this is something I can actually do. Well worth the investment!" -Kane B. "Kirill's workshop was a great experience. He's a natural teacher, professional, insightful, and encouraging. It was not only educational but practical, allowing the attendees to punch up an actual script as if in the writer's room, followed by him, putting on his showrunner hat and reviewing what had been created by the group. I would highly recommend anyone interested in working as a professional writer, with dreams of being in the writer's room to attend one of his classes." -Dave W. "This was the best online class tv writing class I’ve ever taken. There is only so much the brain can grasp and retain in a lecture format. Kirill did an amazing job structuring the class and providing an in the moment experience — the best way to learn. Thank you." -Barbara G.
A New Lab for Stage 32 Writers! Payment Plans Available - Contact email@example.com For More Information Only 3 Spots Still Available - Don't Miss Out Your chance to be mentored by a professional writer who has worked with Netflix, TVOne, Aspire TV, AMC, Bounce TV, and more. Write your feature or television pilot outline in 8 weeks while being mentored by a professional screenwriter and script consultant! Screenwriting is often described as a solitary craft. Many writers embrace this option, but we've got a better option for you to explore your narrative work. In this exclusive Stage 32 lab, you'll work with a professional screenwriter to learn every aspect of screenwriting story structure and put it into practice as you write your own feature film or television pilot outline in 8 weeks. The eight-sequence structure taught in this lab is used widely in the industry. The writers who live and breathe this structure are some of the most creative working writers as they instinctively understand the framework, allowing their minds to focus on the emotional journey of the characters and find innovative ways to tell their stories. Outlining is a crucial step in the development process when working with executives and representation, who often must approve an outline before the writer can start writing their script. Over eight sessions, you and a group of passionate screenwriters will dive deep into screenwriting structure, focusing on one sequence each week, and applying what you've learned to your script's professional outline throughout the lab. You'll cover world-building, character dimensionality, pacing techniques, and more along the way. Taking you through story structure is AZ Yeamen, a writer and consultant who has sold nearly every script she’s ever written, and now she’s giving writers an incredible crash course in screenwriting based on her years of industry experience. AZ has become the go-to for revisions, doctoring, whipping stories into shape, and pitch packages for Netflix, TVOne, Aspire TV, UMC Streaming, Bounce TV, and independent production companies. She most recently served as a Story Editor on Covenant for AMC's ALLBLK. AZ has mentored countless up-and-coming writers, and her students have sold projects to networks and won numerous screenwriting competitions. With limited spots available, you’re guaranteed hands-on guidance and an interactive experience with AZ. These spots are first-come, first-serve, so don't miss out on working with AZ and walk away with a strong outline and a better understanding of how working writers structure their scripts. PRAISE FOR AZ'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION: "If you’re someone like me who keeps saying they want to be a writer, this is the place to start taking that seriously. AZ is informative and fast-paced, encouraging you to rise to the occasion with every assignment." -- Rachel Cuyler "First and foremost, AZ is AMAZING! The information provided, the examples, the illustrations, the assignments were all geared towards equipping us to become great script writers. I MUST take the course again. Nothing but applause for AZ and her style of teaching." -- Chris Strickland