An Inside Look of the Stage 32 Writers' Room: Writing Romantic Comedies

Hosted by Jason Mirch

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Jason Mirch

Webinar hosted by: Jason Mirch

Producer & Director of Script Services at Stage 32

Jason Mirch is a feature film and television producer and executive with over 15 years of experience. Jason also serves as the Director of Script Services at Stage 32 where he works directly with screenwriters, filmmakers, and leading industry executives. In addition to his work with Stage 32, Jason runs production and development for a company which produced low-budget genre pictures for an international audience, as well as serves as a business advisor to a successful post production vfx company which contributed to The Peanut Butter Falcon, Crawl, Martin Scorsese's Silence, Arctic, and Let them Talk for Steven Soderbergh and HBO. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Emmy-winner Christopher Lloyd, Oscar-winner Mel Brooks, Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson, and Emmy-winner Carol Kane. Mirch was the Head of Feature and Television Development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of Flight, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion, Careful What You Wish For, Ghost Rider 2, and 100 Foot Journey.​ Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Storyline Entertainment (Oscar-winning Chicago, Footloose, The Bucket List) where he developed a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. He has lectured on all areas of filmmaking, speaking on panels at the Producers Guild of America, Austin Film Festival, the Harvard Screenwriting Group, American Film Market, University of Southern California Film School, Chapman University School of Film & Television, NYU, as well as several international film festivals and markets. In addition, he has consulted brands, including Burberry and Creative Artists Agency. Mirch graduated Cum Laude from Chapman University’s School of Film and Television, where he received a B.F.A., in Film Production, with an emphasis in Writing and Directing. He was mentored by Academy Award Winning Writer/Director David S. Ward and is the winner of Chapman University Student Filmmaker Award, for Best Director for his film Ally. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

A Vice President of Development at an A-List production company recently said,"Every studio executive is asking me for Rom Coms!"

If you look at recent trends, it is clear they are on a come back. With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre". If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies.

So how do you as a writer approach writing a Romantic Comedy without falling into the trap of tired cliches? Or, how do you take the storytelling conventions and turn them on their head? 

Jason Mirch is a 10+ industry veteran who's worked in development on films for Image Nation such as THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, FLIGHT, CONTAGION, as well as in management, financing and producing. Jason is Stage 32's Director of Script Services and has helped dozens of writers in the Stage 32 community springboard their careers. He's the host of the Stage 32 Writers' Room which is a weekly online writers' group that meets online with writing challenges and one-on-one access to top industry professionals who serve as mentors and provide advice on the group's projects. 

During this 90-minute look inside the Writers' Room Breakdown Webcast, Jason will go over the history of romantic comedy as well as the anatomy of a romantic comedy. He'll teach you the 7 essential story beats in a romantic comedy and you will learn to develop your romcom with a theme or dramatic question. Plus, Jason will break down scripts including WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, THE APARTMENT, KNOCKED UP, WHAT WOMEN WANT and more. 

Jason will discuss what makes these projects work and how we can apply those same principles to our writing! Plus! Jason will be taking ANY of your writing questions!

Like what you heard from Jason during this webcast? Send him your screenplay and speak with him privately for an hour by clicking here!

 
 
Praise for This Writers' Room Webcast

"Thanks for this summary! Loved the rundown ad the clips!" - Bethany B.

"Such an insightful breakdown, thanks so much." - Crispin

"Jason, you always overdeliver! THANKS so much!" - Petula

"This was an amazing breakdown. Wow." - Ricki L.

"Great breakdown as always, Jason, with superb choice of clips." - Stephen P.

What You'll Learn

  • The History of Romantic Comedy
  • The Anatomy of a Romantic Comedy
  • The 7 Essential Story Beats in a Romantic Comedy
  • Developing your Romantic Comedy with a Theme or Dramatic Question
  • Tips for Writing a Romantic Comedy
  • Jason will breakdown scripts and examine films including:
    • WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
    • 500 DAYS OF SUMMER
    • THE APARTMENT
    • KNOCKED UP
    • WHAT WOMEN WANT
    • and more
  • Live Q & A with Jason!

This Breakdown Webcast is part of a series of weekly webcasts that take place in the Stage 32 Writers' Room.

 

What is the Writers' Room?

A Worldwide Community of Writers Who Support Each Other 24/7
The Stage 32 Writers' Room is a community of screenwriters from around the world, serious about their craft and pursuing a life in the industry. This is your exclusive writers' group where members get support from other writers, meet and speak with 2 industry executives per month, participate in 4 craft and business webcasts per month, and get access a private lounge where members can discuss their projects, swap scripts, give and receive advice, all in a supportive and exclusive environment. And if you miss the webcasts live, not to worry! They are available for on-demand 24/7 viewing in our Writers' Room Vault.
 
Direct Access to Industry Professionals
During webcasts, members have direct and exclusive access to top managers, producers, film & television executives, directors, and working screenwriters who speak about members' projects and answer industry-related questions. These industry pros listen to pitches and offer feedback to members during the "Pitch Tank" webcast and impart specific, actionable advice during the 'Executive Hour" webcast.
 
Screenwriting Education and Motivation
Each week, our Stage 32 Script Services team and industry executives will provide you with a wide variety of actionable information designed not only to help your writing, but to assist in succeeding in this increasingly complex business. Every month, writers will learn more about a different aspect of writing during the "Breakdown Webcast" and then apply those screenwriting conventions to their own writing during the 'Write Now Challenge" webcast.
 
Exclusive Benefits
Writers' Room members also receive other amazing perks including 10% off all Stage 32 coverage and consulting services, contests entries and writing labs! And the more writers you refer to the Writers' Room the more perks you get - including FREE pitch sessions, Stage 32 Next Level Educational Webinars, coverage, consultations and more!

About Your Instructor

Jason Mirch is a feature film and television producer and executive with over 15 years of experience. Jason also serves as the Director of Script Services at Stage 32 where he works directly with screenwriters, filmmakers, and leading industry executives.

In addition to his work with Stage 32, Jason runs production and development for a company which produced low-budget genre pictures for an international audience, as well as serves as a business advisor to a successful post production vfx company which contributed to The Peanut Butter Falcon, Crawl, Martin Scorsese's Silence, Arctic, and Let them Talk for Steven Soderbergh and HBO.

Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Emmy-winner Christopher Lloyd, Oscar-winner Mel Brooks, Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson, and Emmy-winner Carol Kane.

Mirch was the Head of Feature and Television Development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of Flight, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion, Careful What You Wish For, Ghost Rider 2, and 100 Foot Journey.​

Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Storyline Entertainment (Oscar-winning Chicago, Footloose, The Bucket List) where he developed a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime.

He has lectured on all areas of filmmaking, speaking on panels at the Producers Guild of America, Austin Film Festival, the Harvard Screenwriting Group, American Film Market, University of Southern California Film School, Chapman University School of Film & Television, NYU, as well as several international film festivals and markets. In addition, he has consulted brands, including Burberry and Creative Artists Agency.

Mirch graduated Cum Laude from Chapman University’s School of Film and Television, where he received a B.F.A., in Film Production, with an emphasis in Writing and Directing. He was mentored by Academy Award Winning Writer/Director David S. Ward and is the winner of Chapman University Student Filmmaker Award, for Best Director for his film Ally.

FAQs

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!

Testimonials

"Thanks for this summary! Loved the rundown ad the clips!" - Bethany B.

"Such an insightful breakdown, thanks so much." - Crispin

"Jason, you always overdeliver! THANKS so much!" - Petula

"This was an amazing breakdown. Wow." - Ricki L.

"Great breakdown as always, Jason, with superb choice of clips." - Stephen P.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

The Secret to Cracking Your Script's Second Act

Ask any executive where most screenplays go wrong and they'll tell you it's in the 2nd act. That's because many screenwriters type FADE IN knowing their opening (Act I) and closing (Act III) inside out, but haven't thought through how to bridge the gap (Act II). How many times have you watched a film and thought that it dragged in the middle? It happens more often than you think. Introducing a great concept and fantastic, deeply drawn characters is, of course, a staple of Act I, but the Second Act is where the heart of the narrative happens and where momentum must be found. Your Second Act must propel you through to the climatic Third Act. If your Second Act stalls, anyone reading your material will likely quit right there and then. As a 10+ year executive and producer, Jason Mirch has read (or partially read, when things go bad) thousands of screenplays. He's also been involved in some of the most successful films of the last 10 years including THE HELP, THE BEST MARIGOLD HOTEL, FLIGHT and more. Jason has taught for Stage 32 for 6 years and now serves as our Director of Script Services. There are few that know story and story structure better.  In this webinar, Jason will explain the common pitfalls and why so many Second Acts fail. You will learn techniques for crafting dialogue that moves the narrative forward, while exposing their characters’ flaws. You will learn how to carefully order their scenes in such a way that it creates a series of authentic and escalating obstacles for their characters to overcome. He will identify and explain key plot points that typically exist in a well-written Second Act, and explain how you can use these as guidelines for their own projects.   Jason will be citing specific examples from films in several different genres as well as providing you tools to apply to your own writing.

Stage 32 Writer Hangout Webcast

Hey screenwriters and creatives! Mark your calendars and come hang out online with Stage 32 Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch on Tuesday, November 12th at 1pm (Pacific).    If you're a screenwriter and looking for support for your writing or your career, this is the online hangout for you!   What is a Stage 32 Writer Hangout? This is an online webcast where screenwriters and creatives gather to share what you're working on, things that are inspiring you and give you a forum to ask questions you have about your craft, the business or the industry.    For over a decade, your host, Jason Mirch, has worked in nearly every aspect of the business, including representation, development, production, and film finance. He has worked with Academy and Emmy Award winners on studio and independent projects.  

Pro Tips For Producing A Winning Short Film

Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.

Finance Your Independent Film & Break Even Before Its Release

Learn directly from Jason Mirch, a 10-year film and TV producer and former Head of Feature and Television Development and Production at Image Nation Abu Dhabi (The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion and 100 Foot Journey)! Raising financing for a feature film project can be one of the most daunting aspects of independent filmmaking. Many independent writers, directors, and producers simply do not know where to begin when seeking funding for their projects. With studios producing and releasing fewer films every year, independent filmmakers must rely on non-traditional financing models to fund projects. Where can you find the funds to get your project made? How can you best mitigate downside risk while maximizing upside potential? What options are available in terms of equity, soft money and pre-sales to get you to your financing goal? In this On-Demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jason Mirch navigates you through the Risk Mitigation Model of independent film financing, which utilizes foreign pre-sales, soft money, and equity to finance feature film projects. Drawing from his 10 years of experience financing both independent and studio films, Jason teaches you some traditional and non-traditional financing models so you can choose the right model for your specific project and gives you strategies to put these models into action. He then covers what international sales companies look for when evaluating potential projects and gives advice on how to position your projects when pitching to these companies. You will leave this on-demand webinar with a comprehensive understanding of not only the world of independent film financing, but how to get your project funded and breaking even before its release!

Short Film Master Class - Learn To Take Your Idea From Concept To Post-Production

In this 5-session online master class, learn from leading producer Jason Mirch, and his special industry guests on how to take an idea for a short film from concept all the way to post-production. Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. You are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 5 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, you should have a screenplay ready for production! Every week your host, Jason Mirch, will be bringing in special guests to help teach you, including: Christina Snider - Casting Associate, Susan Edelman Casting (Melrose Place, Malcolm in the Middle, Drop Dead Diva, Wonder Years) Michael Carney - Director (Same Kind of Different As Me) Brian Swanson - editor and sound designer  Abeer Abu Schmeiss - Marketing Director, Image Nation (He Named Me Malala, Flight,The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

Introduction to TV Accounting - How to Analyze Budgets and Make Movie Magic Budgeting Easier

It's an undeniable fact that we're in a gold rush of television content. Last year, over 500 television shows were produced and a thousand more were shot either as pilots or proof of concept. This means the need for accountants and those who can work with television budgets, incentives, payroll and other facets associated with the accounting of a television project is higher than ever. This also means that many backroom people who have worked for years on feature films are making the jump to the television side. But, between the two mediums, the work is varied and seemingly changing by the day.   Being an accountant for television requires a knowhow of the entire landscape. Between networks, premium cable and the streaming platforms, every deal has its own parameters and variables that need to be fully absorbed and understood. Whether it's working with a variety of different unions and dealing with fringes or simply deciphering and interpreting the every growing and wide ranging array of incentives available globally, you must be on top of everything happening at the moment to assure that the back end of the project runs smoothly, efficiently, and with no fiscal catastrophes.   Jonathan Siebel is the Director of Budgeting & Estimation for Paramount Network. Prior to joining Paramount Network and working on their slate of television projects, he also worked in budgeting and accounting on Berlin Station, produced by Anonymous Content on Epix, and on The Unknown starring Dominic Monaghan for Crackle. He began his career working in accounting on major studio films such as Bridesmaids, Django Unchained, Thor and more. In addition to working on the studio level, Jonathan also works in the independent space, having written, directed and crowdfunded his own independent film BREAK THE WILL. He's worked on all types of projects small and large and is bringing his extensive knowledge to the Stage 32 community.    With his vast and varied experience, we're thrilled to have Jonathan teaching this extremely important subject exclusively for Stage 32. While inside Movie Magic Budgeting software Jonathan will detail all the differences between a P&A and an AIO budget and show you which would be best for your project. He will teach you everything you need to know about globals, including setting up the schedule, rates, and pay hours to be used on all globals. He will define and explain fringes including state, federal and union fringes including IATSE, WGA, SAG and DGA. He will simplify and take away the anxiety of dealing with the wide world of incentives to make sure your paperwork is in line and that you're getting the best bang for your buck. Jonathan will make the complex easy and get you on the path to working consistently in television accounting and budgeting setup.  

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