Beyond The Page: The Business Side of Breaking In & Getting Work as a Screenwriter

Hosted by Michael Poisson

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

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Michael Poisson

Webinar hosted by: Michael Poisson

Associate, Current Programming at NBC Entertainment

Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television. Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to a desk in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michel continues to develop independently and on the writing side, he co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival in 2011. He has placed in numerous writing competitions including: Top 5 Sitcom Pilots in the Austin Film Festival writing competition, and 1st Place in TVWriter.com’s comedy pilot competition. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel The Arcs which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo in November of 2013. http://www.thearcscomic.com/ Full Bio »

Learn directly from Michael Poisson, the former Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at TV production companies.

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will guide you through the business side of how to become a working writer in Hollywood. Writing an awesome script is only part of the process for becoming successful in this industry. Having worked on various projects from both the executive side, as well as the writer side of things, Michael has obtained great insight for how to avoid the difficult terrain when meeting and working with producers, studios, and networks. And while the process of finding a manager or agent is daunting, keeping a strong relationship with them so that they’re doing the most for you as their client can be equally difficult. Michael will share with you his insider knowledge to help: keep your writing on track, your meetings fruitful, and your industry contacts strong. If you’ve ever wondered what you should talk about in “general meetings”, how to take notes from friends/producers/execs that you don’t agree with, or how to be a more prolific writer, this webinar is for you!

 


What You'll Learn:

YOU WILL LEAVE THE WEBINAR KNOWING:

  • How to put yourself on a solid schedule to complete new work
  • Types of writing you should have in your portfolio
  • How to take general meetings with producers and executives so that they're most productive
  • How to take meetings with agents and managers, and how to keep them excited about you once they sign you as a client
  • How to take notes from producer and executives that you don't agree with
  • Selling your script once it's completed
  • How to create and keep a writer's group going
  • The importance of finding a mentor and how to find one
  • How to successfully work with production companies, studios, and networks so that they want to work with you again.
  • LIVE Q&A with Mike - bring your questions!

About Your Instructor:

Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television.

Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to a desk in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks.

Michel continues to develop independently and on the writing side, he co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival in 2011. He has placed in numerous writing competitions including: Top 5 Sitcom Pilots in the Austin Film Festival writing competition, and 1st Place in TVWriter.com’s comedy pilot competition. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel The Arcs which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo in November of 2013. http://www.thearcscomic.com/


Frequently Asked Questions:

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! 

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.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • As this was my maiden voyage with webinars I was quite pleased with Michael's openness and informative approach. It definitely felt as though the time was well spent and I feel more educated regarding the daunting side of Show'bidness.
  • Great insight and plenty of plain common sense. Lots of tips here. Basically, guess what? People are people. Be nice. Be professional. Treat EVERYONE you meet with respect.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Mentor Series: Write A TV Bible That Sells

Class Space Limited: Maximum 20 Writers August 13, 20, 27 and Sept 10 from 1pm-3pm. Your TV Series Bible is an extremely important, and often overlooked tool for selling your pilot in the industry. It’s a document which explains in detail – who your characters are, what they will be up against, where future conflict will come, and what themes your show will be exploring. It gives studio and network executives confidence that you know what you’re doing, and that the show has the story potential to live on for multiple seasons. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of literature out there detailing how to construct a bible. This Stage 32 Intensive is aimed to give you the information and guidance that you need to write a strong bible that can be used when sending out and selling your pilot script. Each week, your instructor Michael Poisson (Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV) will be giving a lecture about how to write one section of your series bible, and then you’ll be assigned to write that section for a project of your own. The following week Mike will offer one-on-one skype sessions to discuss your work, give you any notes, and answer any questions that you may have. So, at the end of this Intensive, you will have a strong and well-executed bible that you’ll be able to use as a selling tool for your own TV series. Mike has worked at CAA, two production companies, and as a showrunner’s assistant on a TV series, and at each job he has seen the importance of bibles and how they have been used to get series sold and on the air. As a writer, Mike has also used them in his own writing career, and a well-written bible of helped him to secure his manager, and get multiple production companies interested in his work.

How to Write a TV Series Bible

In the current TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Michael Poisson will talk about the very exciting, sometimes harrowing, process of creating TV Series Bibles. In this webinar Michael will cover everything you need to know to craft your TV series bible, from format, to arc, to how to introduce characters, all the way to how to create a strong closing beat.

How To Write A Comedy Pilot Executives Will Want To Read!

Learn directly from Michael Poisson, Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV! Previously he was at Ryan Reynolds' TV pod, DarkFire TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at production companies! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will teach you how to write a kick-ass comedy pilot that will get executives’ attention. This webinar is not only about how to properly execute writing a comedy pilot, but also about how to make it your strongest sample so that it can get noticed! You will leave the webinar knowing: The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot as they relate to concept, structure and voice. How to properly highlight your unique comedic voice and stuff your script with laughs. How to create a crisp 1-2 sentence pitch that will get executives excited about your idea. How to navigate the competitions and fellowships. How to think from a Producer/Manager/Executives POV and understand what they're looking for so you can apply it to your script. Michael Poisson is currently the Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV, where he works closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Working on the inside of the system, first as a talent agency assistant, then a production company assistant, and currently a director of development has given Michael Poisson a unique perspective for what kind of script stands out among the hordes on everyone’s “Weekend Read” lists and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you.

How To Pitch Your TV Pilot To Cable Networks

Learn directly from Jordan Barel, TV Dept. at Abominable Pictures (Burning Love and Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim)! Once you’ve written the script and you’re ready to get your show idea in front of production companies and executives, it’s important to know how to pitch your TV pilot correctly. A good pitch is often the deciding factor of a show getting picked up or passed on. Aside from knowing how to pitch in the most effective way, an important aspect of pitching your TV pilot that often gets overlooked is knowing how to tailor your pitch to the network you are pitching to. Cable networks all have their niche. For example, AMC has really honed in on intense dramas, such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men; USA focuses on character driven mystery dramas such as CSI, House, and NCIS; TBS centers around comedy sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Ground Floor, and Cougar Town; ABC Family focuses more on sitcoms relating to family, such as Melissa and Joey, Baby Daddy and The Fosters. Knowing how to tailor your pitch to a specific cable network opens up immense opportunity for your TV pilot. Every cable network can be a real home for your work - it’s just a matter of the how, when, and why. Knowing how to appeal to multiple networks gives your pilot a better chance of getting picked up! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Barel will teach you both how to pitch your pilot and how to tailor your pitch to the right cable network. In addition, he’ll go over what kind of shows live on each network currently, and what may be the right fit for you. You will walk away with a clear understanding of how to pitch effectively (information you can take with you over to the Happy Writers Pitch Sessions!) as well as a clear understanding of how to make your pilot what each network is looking for. Your host Jordan Barel currently works for Paul Scheer through his producing deal at FOX, working on development with his projects as well as bringing in new writers for him. Jordan also works at Abominable Pictures in their comedy and TV department. Previously, he worked as the Television Coordinator for Verve Literary Agency, producing the company's staffing video which lead to a 200% increase in the company's staffed writers. While there he also vetted all new TV and film clients. Jordan knows what will make your pitch stand out and is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help guide our writers toward success!

Crash Course: Writing Dynamic Scenes

Back by popular demand, Stage 32 Next Level Education brings you Max Adams, 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures!  You will also learn about static locations vs. clear, wider, more open locations and how they can work for and against you in your writing. You will also have a clear understanding on how to use motion and action to move your screenplay forward. You will walk away having all the tools and techniques necessary to apply to fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays to make visuals and action “real” on the page - an art unto itself and something that can separate your work from the pack. You will learn how to create compelling visuals on the page that will catapult your writing into an unforgettable — and visual — experience for your readers on the page, and your audience on the screen. The immediacy of motion on a film screen, and its necessity, sets film writing apart from every other written medium on the planet. And is the difference on the script page — and film screen — between selling — or that script dying in a drawer, and that film never being made. Testimonials: “Max Adams is the kind of smart, engaging teacher that made me want to be a better writer — and she helped me do it.” – Alvaro Rodriguez, Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series “Max Adams is the real deal. I’ve taken three of her classes so far and they’ve upped my game as an author and a screenwriter. I still refer to her class lectures as I work on new projects. Max offers real tools you will continue to use over and over again in your career.” – Doug Solter, Skid, My Girlfriend Bites, Legends “The input I got from Max Adams lifted my script, “Redemption,” from a SemiFinalist to a Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting award winner. She is smart, savvy, experienced, and generous. She is a fabulous teacher. If you’ve got what it takes, she will pull it out of you. ” – Patricia Burroughs, Winner Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Book-to-Screen: Taking Your Book (or Screenplay) from Proposal to Published to Produced

Learn directly from Emmy Award-winning producer Lane Shefter Bishop! “Your story/book seems like it would make a great TV series or movie!” Ever heard these words before? If so, join executive Lane Shefter Bishop, as she takes you through the process in this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar. Over the last few years, Lane Shefter Bishop with Vast Entertainment has set up more than two dozen book properties – many of them only book proposals and early partials – with studios, networks and production companies throughout the entertainment industry. Underlying intellectual property is like gold these days. Great projects ‘based on’ or ‘inspired by’ literary material are constantly in demand. And by being in the center of this ‘content is king’ world, only Lane can give you the valuable insights towards making your story more sellable to the industry marketplace.