A Better Way to Write and Develop Your Feature for the Streamers

Hosted by Michael Schulman

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Michael Schulman

Webinar hosted by: Michael Schulman

Feature Story Analyst at Amazon Studios; Former ICM, WME, Netflix & Development for Alec Baldwin & Michael Mann

Michael Schulman is a Feature Story Analyst for Netflix as part of its Independent Original Film Division, and his job revolves around evaluating feature screenplay submissions and deciding which ones to pass up to the executives to consider. Prior to his role at Netflix, Michael spent nearly a decade in the story department at CAA where he found projects for CAA clients. Over his storied career, Michael also served as an agent at ICM’s Motion Picture Literary Department and held numerous studio creative executive positions at Orion, TriStar, and Disney where he worked to develop film and television projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Michael is very familiar with what it takes for a script to find its way to decisionmakers since this has been a key feature of his job for over a decade. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Streamers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO Max have quickly become the holy grail for many filmmakers hoping to get their film produced and find success. And it’s no mystery why. With a subscriber base in the tens of millions (Netflix has 74 million subscribers alone!), there might not be a better place for your film to be seen and enjoyed across the globe. And streamers ARE picking up a lot of content, a staggering amount even. Netflix recently announced it is releasing 40 more films this year—that’s twice what most major traditional studios make in a whole year, all in just a few months. That said, even with this huge volume of new content Netflix and the other streamers continue to pick up and produce, it is not easy to get your film noticed or considered at these platforms, especially if you’re not already an established filmmaker. This is not to say it’s impossible, but it does require finesse, strategy, luck, and an understanding of how exactly streamers find their original films.

For as prominent as streaming platforms have become, the process behind how a film actually finds its way into their libraries is opaque and enigmatic. With so little information on the inner workings of the streamers, it can seem confusing, maybe even impossible to get your own proverbial foot into the portal and get your project noticed. After all, there isn’t exactly a submission platform to upload your script for Amazon to review. The truth is, unless you’re already established or have that ‘in’ with a streamer, it’s very unlikely to get straight through and have them consider your work blind. There IS another way though, a way to get your project to a streamer, not by going through but by going around.

Michael Schulman is a Feature Story Analyst for Netflix as part of its Independent Original Film Division, and his job revolves around evaluating feature screenplay submissions and deciding which ones to pass up to the executives to consider. Prior to his role at Netflix, Michael spent nearly a decade in the story department at CAA where he found projects for CAA clients. Over his storied career, Michael also served as an agent at ICM’s Motion Picture Literary Department and held numerous studio creative executive positions at Orion, TriStar, and Disney where he worked to develop film and television projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Michael is very familiar with what it takes for a script to find its way to decisionmakers since this has been a key feature of his job for over a decade.

As a companion piece to his previous webinar that details the script evaluation process at Netflix and other streamers, Michael will teach you a smarter and more viable way to get your own feature film considered by streaming platforms, not by targeting the streamers themselves, but instead focusing on their content suppliers. He’ll begin by laying out how the normal streamer system works and go over specific reasons why your script might NOT be as good of a fit for them as you think. Michael will then delve into how “outsiders” can get in the streaming game by taking advantage of resources along the way and better understanding the content pipeline. He’ll explain what streamer “originals” actually are and show how streamers rely on production companies to fill their slate. Michael will show you how you can use this to your advantage by finding your way in with specific production companies and what you can do to make them want to produce your film with you.

Michael will even offer a live demonstration, showing how to find the right production companies for your own project and the best contacts within them.

 

Getting your work on Netflix and other streamers will never be easy, but you will leave this webinar with a better understanding of the best way forward.

 

 

Praise for Michael's Previous Stage 32 Webinar

 

"I loved Michaels honestly. His advice is invaluable."

-Linda R.

 

"Very genuine, authentic, knowledgeable."

-Lissa C.

 

"Michael was highly competent, extremely knowledgeable about his subject, and not afraid to share hard truths about the industry that many just won't be upfront about."

-Lee T.

 

"Michael did not sugarcoat anything. He gave honest information that clarified a lot of questions I had."

-Nikki J.

What You'll Learn

  • Why the Normal Streamer System Is Not Designed for “Outsider” Access
    • The true nature of streamers (hint- they’re not as much of content creators as you might think)
    • What readers and execs at streamers are ACTUALLY looking for
    • A more accurate view of how streamers actually develop most feature films
  • Why the Project You Want to Submit to Streamers Might Not Be What They’re Looking For
    • Mandates
    • The need for packaging
    • Scope and scale
    • Flaws in the script that can’t be ignored
  • The Streamer “Algorithm”
    • The key to understanding the streamers’ mentality
    • A look into how streamers categorize and describe films
    • Typical streamer features vs. traditional studio films
    • Streamers sell subscriptions, not movie tickets—why this matters
    • “Bigness” defined
  • How “Outsiders” can get in the game
    • A hard truth
    • Types of projects to avoid if your goal is the streamers
    • Resources to take advantage of before you start writing and before you start selling
  • If You Can’t Go Through, Go Around
    • What streamer “Originals” are, really
    • A look at the streamer content pipeline
  • Identifying and Targeting Streamer Suppliers
    • Which suppliers or production companies will be the best bet for your own project?
    • Do these suppliers work with new filmmakers?
    • Live Demonstration: How to find production companies that can lead you to the streamers
    • How to contact and get your in
  • What Will Make a Supplier Want to Produce Your Film?
    • What production companies with streamer deals are looking for and how this differs from the streamers themselves
    • Elements that should be in place before production companies will consider you
  • Q&A with Michael

About Your Instructor

Michael Schulman is a Feature Story Analyst for Netflix as part of its Independent Original Film Division, and his job revolves around evaluating feature screenplay submissions and deciding which ones to pass up to the executives to consider. Prior to his role at Netflix, Michael spent nearly a decade in the story department at CAA where he found projects for CAA clients. Over his storied career, Michael also served as an agent at ICM’s Motion Picture Literary Department and held numerous studio creative executive positions at Orion, TriStar, and Disney where he worked to develop film and television projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Michael is very familiar with what it takes for a script to find its way to decisionmakers since this has been a key feature of his job for over a decade.

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ScreenMasters is an intensive ongoing workshop designed for screenwriters who have mastered the fundamentals of their craft and are ready to move on to the next phase of their creative and professional development. Participants will be led through innovative presentations that will encourage new ways of thinking about the unique creative process of “writing for the screen,” and collaborative workshops sessions will explore how to put these lessons into practice to bring your screenplay to the next level. For every screenwriter, the leap from gifted amateur to working professional can be the most challenging career step they face. ScreenMasters is based on the simple idea that the best way to remove any obstacles to real-world career success is to deliver extraordinary screenplays that speak for themselves. The concept of this workshop goes beyond the basics of screenwriting to delve into the deeper artistic issues that can transform a merely good project into something a little more extraordinary. Each weekly session will begin with a topic discussion led by industry veteran Michael Schulman, and then the remaining class will be a lab environment for intensive workshopping of works in progress or guidance on career development issues, blocks or troubles students may be running into. The workshop is suitable for projects in any genre and at any stage of development. Enrollment in the workshop will be limited, and interested participants will be asked to submit a short (<1 page) statement outlining your background and writing experience, a brief description of the project to be workshopped, and what you would like to get out of the workshop experience. Michael Schulman is an industry veteran whose career includes stints at William Morris, ICM, and CAA as well as creative executive positions on three different studio lots including Netflix. Michael spent two years as VP Development at Michael Mann’s company where he worked on ALI, THE AVIATOR, and TEXAS KILLING FIELDS and other projects. Michael has worked with other top industry professionals in the development and/or acquisition of many well known features including THE SIXTH SENSE, VENGEANCE, HIDEAWAY, SHANGHAI and GROUNDHOG DAY. Michael has led webinars on the streamer acquisition process and has been quoted and interviewed in the industry media.   ***Please note: This class is not booked yet, it is an application process. You can submit your application between now and February 4. The class shows booked on this page because that is how our system is technically set up, but it is a private class that Michael will be choosing the 8 from the application.***   THE APPLICATION PROCESS This class is limited to 8 students and is exclusive to active Stage 32 Writers' Room members. You must submit an application for review by February 4, 2022. The application can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YX6TFYL. Michael will be reviewing applications and will select the 8 students for the workshop. You will be notified by February 11, 2022 if you will be chosen for this class.  If you are chosen, you will be invoiced via email from Stage 32. Since this is a private group, login links and recordings will be sent directly from Stage 32 Education. 

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