Branding and Selling Yourself as a Writer In Hollywood

It's Introduce Yourself Weekend at Stage 32! Head over to the Introduce Yourself section of the Stage 32 Lounge and let everyone know who you are, what you're working on, your dreams and aspirations. And be sure to peruse other member's threads. You never know when you're going to make a connection that changes your life!

Hosted by Tiegen Kosiak


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

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32

- or -

Overlay Icon

This Next Level Education webinar has a 93% user satisfaction rate.

Tiegen Kosiak

Webinar hosted by: Tiegen Kosiak


Tiegen Kosiak was the former Director of Development for Cinestar Pictures, which produces TV, feature, digital, scripted & unscripted content. The partners/producers are Cisely, Mariel & Zoe Saldana. Previously, Tiegen worked with the President of Production & Literary Management at Untitled Entertainment. Prior to that, Tiegen worked in commercial production in West Los Angeles, video production in New York City & live show production in Las Vegas. She also spent two years in the AmeriCorps VISTA program.  Tiegen has a MFA in Poetry from Minnesota Statue University Moorhead & a BA in Communications from Marymount Manhattan College. She is a member of Scriptwriters Network, the Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society (JHRTS) & Film Independent as well as the co-founder of the Young Hollywood Mafia (YHM). Full Bio »

Branding yourself as a writer is integral to your success in the entertainment industry. Your brand is equal parts preferred medium, chosen genre(s), and personal voice/style. Once this is developed, it becomes easier to for you, your representation team, and/or your production company to sell and produce your material. 

The entertainment industry is filled with writers, but with so much talent vying for limited opportunities, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd. And because there are very few new stories, only fresh takes on proven formulas, a writer’s unique voice and style are paramount when creating and selling content. This voice/style combined with preferred genres and mediums make up a writer’s brand, and cultivating that brand is instrumental in selling yourself and your material in Hollywood. And you don’t need representation or a production company behind you to do it! Developing your brand as a writer starts and ends with you, but once you have command of this brand, you’ll find that many more representatives, producers, and other buyers are willing to jump on your bandwagon.

In this Stage 32 webinar, development executive Tiegen Kosiak will teach you the importance of branding yourself as a screenwriter and how that brand is helpful in procuring representation, building relationships in the entertainment industry, and ultimately selling and producing your projects in the ever-changing Hollywood marketplace.

Beginning her career in literary management and working with, among others, the Academy Award-winning writers of BIRDMAN and the creator of STEP UP and SAVE THE LAST DANCE, Tiegen recognized how integral a writer’s brand was in submitting material, setting meetings, and pitching clients for open writing assignments. Formerly, Tiegen worked for Cinestar Pictures, movie star Zoe Saldana’s production company. In this role Tiegen used branding every day to option material, sell screenplays, and attach writers to projects.

This webinar will provide you with the tools needed to craft your brand as a writer and how to use that brand to sell yourself and your material to representatives, producers, and other content buyers in the entertainment marketplace. You will walk away with a better understanding of the Hollywood hierarchy and how to cultivate relationships within each tier. Remember, it all begins with you, the writer!

What You'll Learn:

Understand the Hollywood landscape and its players

  • Creatives – actors, writers, directors, others who create/shape content
  • Sellers – managers, agents, production companies without capital
  • Buyers – networks, studios, production companies with financing

PART I: CREATION – this is the part where you have the most control!

  • Questions to ask before you write and/or when accessing your work: What are your strengths? What do you love? What are you trying to say?
  • Consistency vs. variety
    • Do you write many different things or focus on one thing?
    • Genre/tone/theme/etc.
    • “Your lane” – this is what you’re best at: You need to KNOW it, then CRUSH IT, then TRY A NEW LANE!
  • Branding
    • Think of it as a logline for your writing style
    • Can include medium, genre, style, etc.
    • Ex. Shonda Rimes, Tina Fey, John Hughes

PART II: REPRESENTATION – not necessary for finding your brand, but definitely helpful!

  • Differences between agents/managers/lawyers
  • How to effectively utilize your representation. 
  • All problems are not solved once you get representation
  • How to choose the right representation
    • What is their brand? Ex. Untitled, 3Arts, CAA
    • What kind of work should they do for you?
  • Build knowledge
  • Build relationships

PART III: PRODUCTION AND YOUR BRAND– what gets made and why!

  • Production company/studio/network differences
    • What is their brand? Ex. AnnaPurna, RatPac, HBO
  • Overall vs. first look deals
  • Where is the money? Who sells what to who?
  • “Development hell”
  • You MUST sell yourself in the room
  • General meetings – one-on-one with an executive(s)
  • Pitches – your “take” on a particular project
  • Networking – mixers, seminars, panels, etc.
  • Balancing the brand – matching your style to theirs

Plus, live and in-depth Q&A with Tiegen!

About Your Instructor:

Tiegen Kosiak was the former Director of Development for Cinestar Pictures, which produces TV, feature, digital, scripted & unscripted content. The partners/producers are Cisely, Mariel & Zoe Saldana.

Previously, Tiegen worked with the President of Production & Literary Management at Untitled Entertainment. Prior to that, Tiegen worked in commercial production in West Los Angeles, video production in New York City & live show production in Las Vegas. She also spent two years in the AmeriCorps VISTA program. 

Tiegen has a MFA in Poetry from Minnesota Statue University Moorhead & a BA in Communications from Marymount Manhattan College. She is a member of Scriptwriters Network, the Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society (JHRTS) & Film Independent as well as the co-founder of the Young Hollywood Mafia (YHM).

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!


Great webinar - lots of great useful info - Thanks! ~Ron H.

Very informative. ~Vicki V.

I think Tiegen was absolutely wonderful. I would love the opportunity to have coffee with her one day. I learned a great deal from a really appealing and knowledgeable woman. ~Simone Y.

I found it very helpful and entertaining. I was shocked at how fast the time went. Tiegen packed a lot of great information into the 90 minutes. I know this is a seminar I will listen to again. ~Cam Clark

This was an EXCELLENT webinar! Useful, unique information.Tiegen generously shared an enormous amount of information. Writing is a strenuous, though rewarding endeavor, and her detailed observations and vigorous, yet concise, genotype theories, as it were, have inspired my work ethic. And triple thank you for mentioning there are management companies with offices in NYC, not far. I don't live in LA, and have been worried for ages about that geographic block. Thank you Tiegen, and Stage 32. ~Gerri George


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

Other education that may be of interest to you:

They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass?

Taught exclusively for Stage 32 by Former Creative Executive Dan Wiedenhaupt at Atlas Entertainment (American Hustle, The Dark Knight Trilogy)! Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to bring you They Said “No” – Why Did They Pass? hosted by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive at Atlas Entertainment (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." We are thrilled to bring you an executive of this caliber to be able to teach you directly about what you can do to help that crucial moment once you get in front of an executive. In this webinar, Dan will bring you a fun and informed approach to what it's like from the executive side of the table.

Constructing Your Screenwriting Career: A Breakdown Of Breaking In

Most screenwriters who have been at it for any length of time know the mechanics of writing a screenplay. But not everyone knows the specific steps one must take to go from screenwriter hitting the keys in off hours to become a working screenwriter working within the industry structure. Utilizing knowledge gathered over years in the industry working both in development and directly with emerging and professional writing clients, as well as insights from countless industry sources, during this 3-week session we will set correct expectations for the construction of a screenwriting career, and identify the various paths and opportunities available to writers eager to break into film or television.

How I Learned to Stop Praying A24 Would Pick Up My Movie and Love Creative Distribution

While the channels of distribution have never been more diverse and accessible, the education for filmmakers of how to best utilize those channels is often inscrutable. Are day and date releases still your best bet? Do you still need a title to start with an "A" to pander to the alphabetized cable operators? And how much money are these films even making these days?? With so many different opportunities and new platforms arising constantly, how to choose the best path for YOUR film? Equally bilingual in the language of cinema and the lexicon of sales, Mia offers her knowledge of distribution to help filmmakers navigate their opportunities in the marketplace by understanding the rules that exist and the ways they can be bent and supplemented.

Writing, Directing & Distributing Your Short Film

Part 1 - Writing, Budgeting & Pre-Production How to write an effective short script The brainstorming process Utilizing real life experiences, what are memorable moments in your life that stick out to you? Moments in a friend’s life? Creating characters: What topics do you uniquely understand? What jobs have you held? What did your parents do for a living? Where did you grow up? Writing in proper format What is the difference between writing “is working” and “works” in a screenplay and why does verbiage matter when writing action? Should I put my WGA and copyright notices on the title page? The business of making a short film What do I need to do to protect myself? Creating an LLC and lawyering up for the right reasons. How much is this really going to cost? Evaluating SAG Short Film Agreements, cost of renting equipment, everything from lighting to locations, and looking forward to release and distributions, what are the costs beyond the actual production of a film? Logistically, how will I be able to execute all the elements? How do I handle room and board for out of town talent? Is there a local film commission I can work with, and if so, what exactly is their role in helping me execute my vision? Part 2 - Directing, Marketing & Distributing Your Film Preparing to direct and the production process What do I need to do before I get to set? What is the purpose of having location walkthroughs? When and how to I make the shot list and how many shots do I really need? How do I make my vision clear to crewmembers while still being collaborative in the process? How do I work with an actor for the first time? How much say should they have in the script and changing the character? Should I allow an actor to change my lines? How do I follow their emotional journey over the course of shooting a film that is totally out of order so it makes sense in the final product? When problems arise on set, how do I respond? What are best practices to maintaining authority without creating conflict? How do I ensure that everyone is getting the proper attention they need so I can avoid problems? What happens if I find out we didn’t shoot something we needed? How do I work with footage or sound that didn’t come out the way I expected? How long should my final product be so I can be successful at film festivals? Marketing your film What can I do to promote my film before we ever start filming? When is the appropriate time to start promoting? What kind of promotion looks and feels professional versus amateur? Is there such a thing as oversharing information on social networks? During production, how can I use my cast and crew to promote the project? What parameters should I set to not give away plot points? What is the role of a still photographer on set and how can I leverage the still photographer for publicity? How do I reach out to press outlets to promote my film? How do I find out what press outlets are the right ones for my film, and how do I even get a journalist interested in covering it? What makes an effective versus ineffective pitch letter? Releasing your film What makes an effective trailer? How can I best prepare and present the trailer and still photos for promotional purposes? Should I create a Facebook page for my film and a website and a Twitter and an Instagram, etc.? How do I get into Sundance? If I don’t get into Sundance, is my career finished? There are entirely too many film festivals, how do I begin to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad? What are effective ways of meeting, then following up, with producers and gatekeepers that I meet at these events? What kind of communication does an executive find annoying? Should I sell my film or give it away for free? If I give it away for free, how will I be able to pay myself back? How do I quantify if my film was a success? How do I use the short film to get myself ready for my next project? What if the film didn’t come out the way I wanted, am I completely done as a filmmaker? How do I use the lessons I learned to make my next project better? Now that I’ve made my first short film and loved it, how do I make this my full time job and become a professional filmmaker?

How to Write a 1 Hour TV Pilot and Position it to Sell it in Today's Market

Part 1 - Playing the Field Steve discusses the kinds of 1 hour TV pilots networks are looking for, and more importantly, what kinds they are not. He talks about the differences between cable, network, and online (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) as well as the differences between procedurals and serialized series. Part 2 - Character and Structure Steve leads a discussion on characterization. He runs through some of his favorite TV characters and explores the development process most networks go through to amp up the characterization in scripts. He also explores supporting cast, archetypes, structure and act breaks. Part 3 - Creating an Engine to Your Show Steve discusses the engine of a TV show. He runs through the importance of a clear week-to-week and explores series longevity and how to craft story lines that can stretch out for 3-8 years.  

Inside Writing Development: Three Horror Genre Case Studies

Learn directly from Joe Russo, Director of Development for Level 1 Entertainment (Rendition, Grandma's Boy) who has helped steer writers' projects through the development process to land on The Young and Hungry List, Hit List and The Black List and sales to the Major Studios and Networks. Joe’s extensive production background includes working on productions for FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Joe Russo will take writers behind the scenes of 2 horror films and one horror pilot. This webinar will be an honest, unapologetic look at the successes and struggles during the writing development process for each case study so you can you learn what to mimic and what to avoid for your own project. You Will Leave the Webinar With: An understanding of how each film and TV project came to be. An understanding of the different strategies used to package each project and how they were introduced to the town. A comprehensive look into the notes process so you can learn what went right and, more importantly, what went wrong. Clear advice on how to apply these lessons to your own script or project. A chance to interact with and ask questions directly to Joe! Your host Joe Russo is the Director of Development for Level 1 Entertainment, where he heads up a slate of feature films and TV programs, working hand-in-hand with several major motion picture studios and television networks such as FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios. He has developed acclaimed projects such as Exorcist Inc and City of Exile, which were both featured on the 2014 Young and Hungry List. . An award-winning filmmaker himself, Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters” and he is here exclusively for Stage 32 to share his knowledge on the writing development process.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In