Jack has performed in countless TV shows, commercials and feature films. You most likely will recognize Jack from his series regular and recurring roles on Silicon Valley, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Reno 911, Action, Ellen, and Drawn Together, and his appearance in the films Meet the Fockers, Down With Love, Rubber and Gods and Monsters. Jack produced and starred in the Lifetime Television comedy Lovespring International (12 episodes on the air), and in the feature film (and cult hit!) Girls Will Be Girls. Most recently Jack starred in the feature film Wrong (5 stars from NY Daily News), was recurring on The Mentalist, is the spokesman for Chex Mix, co-wrote and directed the Off-Broadway musical, Disaster! (Top 10 - NY Daily News) and directed his first feature film, Space Station 76 (starring Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler and Matt Bomer) which was bought by Sony Pictures for worldwide release. Jack is currently doing actor's workshop and lectures in Los Angeles and New York City. To learn more, and to read his free online book, New Thoughts For Actors, go to http://www.jackplotnick.com Full Bio »
It’s no secret that being an actor is one of the hardest jobs there is. Facing frequent rejection, navigating high levels of competition, constantly looking for new opportunities, all while honing your craft and remaining open and vulnerable in what can be a difficult and cold industry—pursuing this career is not for the weak of heart. There are countless challenges to building an acting career, but when we put undue pressure on ourselves we may not even realize that the biggest obstacle to overcome may just be our own psyches and self-destructive strategies. It's time to change course.
There’s so much information out there for actors about improving your craft, changing your auditioning chops, working with your agent, staying on top of trends, making connections, and more. It’s easy to forget that a big part of the craft simply comes down to mindset and confidence. Taking away the doubt that so often comes with performing and replacing it with swagger and confidence will help you not only win over every room, but also make smart, strategic decisions that will lead to a long and prosperous acting career. This, of course, is easier said than done, but a good first step is to learn the best tips, tricks, and traits of the most successful working actors.
Jack Plotnick has been a working actor for over 20 years and has amassed over 100 IMDB acting credits in the process including SILICON VALLEY, MEET THE FOCKERS, THE MENTALIST, RENO 911 and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. He's also parlayed this success into a directing career with SPACE STATION 76 for Sony Pictures Worldwide. He has used his experience to serve as the go-to teacher for many successful film, television and voice actors including Zachary Quinto, Liv Tyler, Alyson Hannigan, and Ryan Potter to name a few. Jack has built a successful acting career for himself by adopting a mindset that has allowed him to win over the room and consistently get parts.
In 10 simple and applicable steps you can return to again and again, Jack will show you how to eliminate fear, doubt, negativity and how to cut out all those detrimental voices so damaging to an actor's psyche. He will give you the tools that will provide a persistent positive mindset that will have you brimming with confidence. He will teach you how to crush every audition and put yourself in position to win every room. He will show you how to be a better actor and why you are versatile enough to handle comedy and drama roles. He will teach you how to keep your mind and spirit healthy and book more work. Expect to leave this webinar with a newfound confidence, enthusiasm, and a set of tools to take with you to start landing more roles and improving your craft.
What Some of the Most Successful Actors are Saying About Jack:
"Jack has an innate ability to communicate a sense of freedom. Our work together has allowed me to more reliably get out of my own way and connect to the material and situation at hand."
- Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes, American Horror Story)
"(Jack) taught me things that were so fucking brilliant. They are things that have stuck with me and helped me as a human being in this world."
- Liv Tyler (The Leftovers, The Strangers, The Lord of the Rings)
"I seriously couldn’t have done it without him. His words of wisdom are always with me."
- Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Pie)
"I've printed out every page of Jack Plotnick's website and made an "acting Bible" for myself."
- Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs, Bridesmaids)
"Right now I'm working mainly with Jack Plotnick, who's just the best acting coach ever."
- Ryan Potter (voice of Hiro in Big Hero 6)
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
All actors want representation. It’s often the first step actors take in their careers. After all, agents and managers are the ones that are connected to the industry. They know who is casting and where the auditions are, and they’re positioned to help you succeed—at least in theory. Many reps are incredible allies and partners for actors and transform careers for the better, but not all are created equal. Some reps unfortunately don’t carry their weight and fail to champion a client—sometimes they’re not as connected and in-the-know as they suggest, sometimes they might not be as invested in you as they should be. It can be common for actors in this position to blame themselves for lack of opportunities, even if the fault lies out of their control. But having a bad rep doesn’t mean you’re untalented and it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the industry; it just means it’s time to recognize where the problem lies and to take back your own power. And, if you've decided to go without a rep, it's important to know that you have the power to move the needle on your career. Many actors will sign with an agent or manager immediately because they feel it is better to be represented than have no rep at all. However, it’s important to make sure you and your rep have the same goals for your career and that you both will do what needs to be done to get those goals accomplished. If that’s not in the cards, it’s time to make a change. Every actor should first and foremost consider themselves their own representative—managers and agents will inevitably come and go throughout your career, but you will always need to be your best advocate. It’s therefore critical to understand, as your own representative, when the people in your corner are really in your corner, and when perhaps there is more you can do as an actor to find more success. When making these difficult decisions, remember that an actor’s world doesn’t start and stop with their rep; there is so much you can do before signing, after, and in between. It’s time to understand how to take control of your own career and hold both yourself and your representative accountable (if you have one). Elizabeth Guest is an actor, writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles and has appeared on Netflix's REAL ROB, the Emmy-winning CALIFORNICATION, NBC'S A.P. BIO, CBS's THE MENTALIST and more. She attended USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has spent the past few years writing and performing her own material. She has put up numerous plays at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of which, called NICE GIRLS, was eventually turned into a digital series by Funny or Die. She also wrote/directed/produced and starred in the digital series GUEST APPEARANCES which won the Best Scripted Digital Series Jury Award at Austin Film Festival and the Best Short Form Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival. She was named by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the "25 Screenwriters to Watch." Season one and season two of GUEST APPEARANCES will soon be streaming on FICTO. She has two feature films that are currently in post production. Elizabeth is a big believer in creating her own opportunities and is ready to inspire actors in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Elizabeth will draw from her own experience to teach you how to find your own power as an actor and how to know when to leave a rep that isn’t doing their job. She’ll begin by going over the roles and expectations of both managers and agents, what the differences are between the two, what an ideal agent and manager look like, and what a beneficial relationship between a rep and an actor should feel like. She’ll also discuss the separation of responsibilities that are standard between reps and actors. She’ll then talk about what to how to know when your rep isn’t doing their job. She’ll give you 6 red flags to keep a lookout for with your rep to determine if they might not be holding their end of the bargain. She’ll also share five things you should be asking yourself as a self check-in to make sure you’re doing all you can before blaming your rep. Elizabeth will teach you strategies you should try with your rep to repair the relationship and will give you tips on when to know it’s finally time to leave. Next, she will discuss the proper way to end your relationship with a manager and how to understand the legal aspects to avoid complications. Elizabeth will give you the tools and wherewithal to move forward with your career after leaving your manager or agent, including creating your own opportunities and finding ways to get yourself discovered without outside help. Finally, Elizabeth will explain what it means to take back your own power, how to craft the career you want and focus on the work to achieve your goals independently. It’s so important for actors in this industry to feel empowered and know their worth, and Elizabeth will give you the tools to do just that. Praise for Elizabeth's Stage 32 Webinar "Liz was informative and inspirational! Great ideas about content creation!" -Bill H. "Elizabeth is terrific, and inspiring. Plus she is experienced and knowledgeable" -Dede R.
There aren’t a lot of jobs more challenging than that of an independent producer, but there also might not be any job as rewarding. It’s the producer who turns a bunch of ideas and dreams into reality and a singular product that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. What can be better than essentially creating something out of nothing? From conception and pre-production through distribution and beyond, the producer is with the film from beginning to end, builds the team, and makes the decisions that ultimately make the project a failure or success. This role is an enigmatic one, though, since it covers so much. This can also make it feel difficult or overwhelming to break into. So how does someone actually start off a career in producing in the first place? There is no one correct way to become a successful producer, especially in the indie space. However there are three main paths that most working film producers have taken to get to where they are today: the executive path, the production path, and the independent path. Each path comes with its share of obstacles, but each can also provide the education, connections, and wherewithal to spark a successful career making movies. Better understanding how to find success through these tracks can help you turn your aspirations of becoming a working independent producer into a reality. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Through years of successes and challenges, Jim has learned what it takes to be a working full-time producer and is excited to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Jim will explain what it means to be an independent producer and the three main paths you can take to become a full-time producer of your own. Jim will first talk about the main skill set and duties of an independent film producer and give you an honest explanation of what this job really looks like. Next he will explain cow you can start your career as a producer through the three most common career paths: the executive path, the physical production path, and the independent path. For each, Jim will talk about how to get your foot in the door and how best to use these opportunities to learn what you need to get yourself ready to become your own producer. Jim will then teach you how to find longevity as an independent producer and share with you some of the biggest lessons he’s learned through his career. If you’ve ever been interested in starting a career as an independent producer and making the types of films you’ve always been passionate about, Jim will give you the tools and tips you’ll need to make that actually happen. Want to work more closely with Jim? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here.
So you want to shoot a low budget feature film. You've heard everyone tell you how difficult it will be to raise the funds, secure talent, get through production and post, and most of all, what a pain in the ass time you'll have securing distribution and finding a path to profitability. But what if we told you that that's all BS? What if we told you there was not only a path to profitability, but that you could already be making money before you started shooting? Let 'em all say it's impossible. We're here to tell you show you how to get it done. Low budget filmmaking has changed drastically over the last few years. From finding investors to attaching talent to having your pick of distribution channels, the landscape looks markedly different than at any time before. And in many ways, these shifts have proven to be quite advantageous to filmmakers, screenwriters, producers and financiers - if you know where to look and how to navigate. Zach Ward has done just about everything in the film industry. Zach is a veteran producer, director, screenwriter and actor. You may remember him as Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story, but that was just the beginning. Zach has acted in over 100 films and been involved in dozens of others. Over his 3 decades in the industry, Zach experiences have allowed him to become an expert on the world of indie film. Over the last few years, Zach has produced 3 independent films and directed one more. His films Restoration and Ubiquity which he wrote, directed, acted in and produced are currently available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, and for rental through Redbox. Ubiquity was made for only $75,000, was shot in 14 days - and - here's the kicker - was making money before he ever yelled "ACTION!" How did Zach get it done? Well that's exactly what he's going to teach you. Zach will start by setting up some indie film guidelines including the 4 "P's" every filmmaker needs to live by in order to make a successful independent film. He will then discuss the triangle and the trinity which includes 3 more "P's" designed to help you hold the production together. From there, Zach will get into that subject everyone wants to know about - the money - including what to do if you have money and what to do if you don't. Then, Zach will dive into the script and what legal steps you need to take to protect yourself and keep your money in house and ready to be put to its proper use. At that point, you're ready to rock and Zach will show you how to prep, from table reading, script rewrites, location scouting, hiring cast & crew and everything that goes along with this process. During the production portion, Zach will cover production partner expectations, hiring decisions and how to keep the whole production on time and on budget (or even under budget). Zach will also lead you through the all important (and often misunderstood) world of post-production where films often go over budget. Finally, Zach will help you navigate the world of distribution deals and how to make sure you pick the right path so your project gets the widest audience and the largest profitability channels possible. "Zack was great and was enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. Loved every second." -Jonah A. "Zach was phenomenal. This was such rich information. He is the real deal." -Debra S. "Best, most practically informative webinar I have taken on Stage 32. So good to have someone walk through the process giving so much valuable insights. Good to hear Zack talk about the importance of looking at a project from the business side. Thought this was most informative webinar yet. Zack was fantastic in detailing through various stages of film little things that had to be done." -Andy S. "This was easily one of the most approachable How To sessions I've seen here. Advice given was rooted, did not include things only obtainable from within the system or resources that are unreasonable or unmanageable for starting/indie filmmakers." -Shane W. "Zack was fantastic. Honest, open, helpful, informative. Loved the content and Zack!" - Dave P.
The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine have changed the film and television industry profoundly. Like it or not, we’re thinking about movies differently now, we’re making them differently, we’re selling them differently, and we’re watching them differently. Studios, buyers, and producers are keenly aware of this shift and are applying this to how they are choosing their next projects. As a writer, understanding how the industry is changing and what people are now looking for can make all the difference in being able to take the next steps in your career. With so many new obstacles and challenges now involved in making a film, producers have to weigh a lot more factors when choosing their next projects, including which movies will be safest to put together. Small details in scripts—scenes or moments that might have been no big deal to include as recently as a year ago—might now be all it takes for a producer or financier to reject. So how does production during COVID look like and how can you make your script work and come across as more attractive within these constraints? Let’s take a closer look. 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 continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, including the action thriller BREAK EVEN and action comedy DOUBLE THREAT, currently in production. 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 films during COVID and is well versed on what it takes to put a film together in this unique time. Shane will dive deep into how producers are operating in the time of COVID-19 and how you can make your script “COVID-friendly” and more attractive for producers to work on. He will begin by outlining how production has changed since COVID, including the biggest new hurdles, new guild requirements, and what’s keeping talent from signing on. He’ll explain what’s making movies more expensive to produce and what locations are now ideal or no longer easy to shoot in. He will next delve into what a COVID-friendly script looks like to a producer. He’ll talk about what kind of stories producers and buyers are seeking out, what red flags in your script will keep producers from signing on and how many characters are too many now. He will also discuss locations as well as the genres and themes that buyers are now gravitating towards. Shane will then discuss how to adjust your script to fit this new era, including deciding whether it’s worth adjusting or saving until things are safer and how to find compromise and middle ground when making changes. Finally, Shane will give you tips on how to get a producer on board during this time. This is a tricky time for everyone, but Shane will give you the lowdown to be smarter and more strategic in finding opportunities and success.
How To Build Your Suspense From The Ground Up And Craft A Thriller With Earned Twists, Turns and Thrills If you're paying attention to the trades and seeing which screenplays and projects are being sold and produced, you know that psychological thrillers are highly in demand. With films like Joker, Ma, Escape Room, Glass, Ex Machina, The Invitation, Get Out, Happy Death Day, The First Purge and many more, companies like Blumhouse have propelled the production of thrillers for an audience hungry for suspense and thrills, making creepy, crawly movie-going experiences all the rage. With box office receipts in the billions it's clear that the appetite for psychological stories is raging. And, it's a more exciting time than ever to be able to a screenwriter or filmmaker who has a suspenseful thriller you want to tell. But the art of writing a psychological thriller is one of vulnerable characters, deep secondary characters, memorable set pieces, set ups, reversals, and earned twists and turns. There's a formula to it all, and those who master these skills win the day. Writing a psychological thriller and creating and maintaining suspense and high stakes throughout takes an immense understanding of the history of the genre. It's a genre based in Hitchcockian roots. One that needs to have certain elements in order to be effective to keep the audience involved, engaged and on the edge of their seat. While most psychological thrillers start off with a well thought out premise, that's all they have. The action starts quickly and then falls flat. In many other cases, the premise is in place, but the writer or filmmaker doesn't know how to get past the jumping off point. You must get your hook in place quickly - within your first five pages - and that takes skill. You need to truly create compelling characters, especially protagonist and your villain, and make them layered in order to support your theme and plot and to assure the audience always knows and is invested in the stakes. To be truly successful at getting your reader's attention, keep those pages turning and set yourself up for an offer of representation, an option, a sale, or financing, you need to understand all of the nuances that make a great suspenseful story before you type (or read) FADE IN. Steve Desmond is one of the best in the industry today writing suspense and psychological thrillers. His most recent feature screenplay, Harry's All Night Hamburgers, was adapted from a Hugo award winning short story and was one of the highest priced spec sales of the last 5 years, selling to Warner Bros. in a bidding war worth 7 figures. The film now has Oscar Nominated Producer Andrew Lazar (American Sniper) producing via his Mad Chance production banner and Ted Melfi directing. He has recently been tapped by Film Nation to adapt The Cabin at the End of the World, a Harper Collins title from author Paul Tremblay. The psychological horror and suspense novel centers on a vacationing family terrorized by four strangers who claim to be either attempting to bring about or trying to avert the apocalypse. His short film, Monsters, has played in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 43 awards including Best Short Film at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego and was a finalist at Stage 32's 3rd Annual Short Film Program. Steve filmed Monsters to serve as a proof of concept for his feature script, Twisted Avenue which is now in development. Needless to say, thrillers and suspense are in Steve's blood and the focus of all his writing. And now he's bringing all he's learned along the way to you. Steve will help you build your suspense from the ground up. He'll teach you the ultimate tool you need - the Hitchcock Ticking Clock Method which will help you on your way to setting the vital groundwork for your story. You'll learn how to create a compelling protagonist and an enticing villain. Steve will give you exercises you can use to craft your own characters and give you 5 must have tips on backstory and character confessions to give depth. You'll learn how to hook your reader in the first 5 pages and what the 3 different teasers you can write for your opening. You'll explore the power of murder in your script and the art of a twist ending. He will show you how to craft your script with producers in mind to give yourself the best chance to have your material attractive to the widest audience possible. Steve will go over how you can incorporate visuals into your story and break down case studies of Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. And, finally, Steve will share some advice on how to get your script on the screen by writing it in a producible budget. You will have a fully immersive experience from a suspense expert that will leave you excited, inspired and confident to tackle your next psychological project. This webinar was AWESOME!!! I just finished a thriller and now as a result of listening to Steve Desmond, I am ready to do a re-write which I believe will be one of the best screenplays I have ever written. Let's see what happens! - Michelle C. What a thrilling and insightful webinar, excellent!! - Kathleen W. Super helpful information that you don't find in books! - Pamela C. Very useful information - well structured and clearly presented! - Sara C.
Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to exclusively present They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass on My Material taught by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive of Atlas Entertainment (WONDER WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUICIDE SQUAD, AMERICAN HUSTLE, THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY) Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material? Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran. I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process." Dan will teach you why you are not receiving the response you are looking for from your film or screenplay pitch and how to fix those issues immediately. He will show you the do's and don'ts related to introductions and openings of a pitch or submission. He will teach you the red flags within your pitch including your story, presentation and personality. He will dive into what execs are looking for, how to assure you're tailoring your pitch to who you're pitching and navigating the "Culture of No" (and giving them a reason to say "Yes".) Dan will even show you examples of pitches he's passed on and pitches that had him begging for more. That's just some of what Dan will tackle, and rest assured, he'll leave you not only with a wealth of actionable information, but a ton of inspiration as well! Dan will explain to you exactly what it looks (and sounds) like from an executive's side of the table. He'll give you the tips and tricks to assure that your film or screenplay pitch is on point and attractive to representation, buyers, producers, financiers and development execs. Praise for Dan "There's nothing like learning at the feet of an expert in their field. I was inspired from the beginning to the end!" -Marla O. "There's nothing worse than being rejected. Except now understanding WHY I've been rejected. Thank you, Dan, for making me see the error of my ways and helping me course correct." - Terry G. "Worth 10 times the price. Gold." - Thom P. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but thanks to Dan, I can't wait to pitch. What was pure horror in my mind has now turned to an abundance of hope." - Tasha P.