Rob Kutner is an Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy Award-winning late night television staff writer who has worked on shows like CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. Starting out as a writers’ assistant on DENNIS MILLER LIVE, Rob is also the author of the satirical end-of-times bestseller Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times into the Best of Times! and has written material for the Oscars, Emmys, Writers’ Guild Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Guys’ Choice Awards, and two White House Correspondents’ Dinners. Rob has spent the majority of his storied career operating and thriving in the world of late night television and is ready to tell you how you can do the same. Full Bio »
The television landscape has changed dramatically over the years and continues to evolve, seemingly on a weekly basis. Yet through all of it, an undeniable constant has been late night TV. In fact, with their up-to-the-minute spoofs of our fast-changing news cycle and cultural landscape, late night shows like THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON, THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH, LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER, and FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE have never been more relevant. The appetite is high, but writing for this rapid-turnaround genre is its own skill set, separate from others used throughout TV and film. Furthermore, getting hired for such a show can be particularly challenging. Yet it’s still possible. So how can you prepare yourself with for when late night writing opportunities present themselves, and can you find these opportunities in the first place?
For as ever-present as late night TV is, the industry itself can seem hard-to-know and enigmatic. It’s certainly less covered in media than other types of television. Yet if you’re interested in writing for a late night program, it’s critical to have a basic understanding of how these shows work--both the media ecosystem they exist in, and more specifically, how they are produced day-to-day, and even hour-to-hour. It’s also crucial to put together a strong, standout Late-Night Writers’ Packet, which combines a number of different elements that decision makers are looking for when hiring. If you want to pursue a career in late night writing, it’s time to learn everything you need to know to find success.
Rob Kutner is an Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy Award-winning late night television staff writer who has worked on shows like CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. Starting out as a writers’ assistant on DENNIS MILLER LIVE, Rob is also the author of the satirical end-of-times bestseller Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times into the Best of Times! and has written material for the Oscars, Emmys, Writers’ Guild Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Guys’ Choice Awards, and two White House Correspondents’ Dinners. Rob has spent the majority of his storied career operating and thriving in the world of late night television and is ready to tell you how you can do the same.
Rob will teach you how late night television works and how you can best position yourself to find opportunities as a writer within it. He’ll begin by going over an introduction to late night television, including a brief history and overview, an examination of how late night is different than other genres, how a late night show generally works, and what a typical day on a program like this looks like. Next Rob will go through his own experiences with late night and extract the biggest lessons he’s learned from his own journey. He’ll discuss his early steps, his work as a production assistant and a writers’ assistant, and how he got his first writing gig. He’ll also go into the differences between the shows he’s worked on, including CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. He’ll explain how he continues to find work in this space. He will then go through five ways you can find a late night writing job of your own. He will also teach you strategies you should use to better get noticed as a writer. He’ll explain the difference between “hiring” and “reading”, how to be gently persistent, and what a late night writing packet is as well as why it’s crucial. Rob will dive deep into how to put together your own late night packet and share with you the 8 different pieces you’ll need to build a packet that will get producers’ attention. He’ll explain how to make your packet look good and noticeable. Rob will even offer a live demonstration, showing how to put together a packet live. Next he will talk about how to keep your writing job once you’re staffed. He’ll explain the differences between late night and episodic production cultures and go through what the day-to-day requirements of a late night writer are. He’ll explain what the etiquette of the writers’ room is, how best to pitch your ideas, and how to take and move forward with notes that you’re given. He’ll also talk about how best to navigate the quick turnarounds that are notorious in jobs like this. Finally, Rob will go through further opportunities in the world of late night that you can explore, including finding producing opportunities and chances to actually perform on your show. Let Rob help you walk into the world of late night with your eyes open and with a collection of strategies to best find the writing opportunity you’re after.
Praise for Rob's Stage 32 Webinar:
"Very informative, told with kindness."
"Rob's webinar was uber insightful and detailed. I learned more about breaking into the industry than several UCLA extension classes."
"Wonderful insider POV, super helpful tips on the package/sample work"
"Very on point. Speaker was knowledgeable and had lots of real world experience. He seemed very relatable, too."
Rob Kutner (Instructor)
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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, how hard it will be to secure distribution and find a path to profitability. 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 for filmmakers, screenwriters, producers and financiers - if you know where to look and how to navigate. Here to show you the ropes on how to make your low budget feature film is veteran producer, director, screenwriter and actor, Zack Ward. 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. His film Restoration 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 in this extended webinar - almost 2 hours of information! PRAISE FOR ZACK'S TEACHINGS: "Zack 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 Wheeler
When your characters each have their own voice, you should be able to tell them apart by their dialogue alone. We challenged you to write a scene removing all character names and descriptions so that each character is distinguishable by their dialogue alone.
A Tribeca-winning producer breaks down the specific pitch elements and approach you need to secure funding for your project! How do I get financing? How can I win over a financier? How can I stand out from other projects looking for funding? How can I create a pitch that blows financiers away? These are the questions on everyone filmmakers mind. And we have the answers here for you. As you no doubt know, the competition for raising financing is fierce. With so much content being created, investors have more projects to choose from than ever before. It's not enough to say "I have a great project!" You must be able to show and convey why your project is worthy of those investment dollars and the interest of producers who can get a film made quickly and efficiently. One of our favorite educators, Tribeca-winning producer Samm Haillay, is back again exclusively at Stage 32 and this time he's bringing the goods to help you design the best pitch possible for your film. In this 2-part class, Samm will be showing you the 15 minute pitch which helped raise ALL the funding for the feature length film, BYPASS, which went on to be nominated for Best Film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival (among others) and continued Samm's incredible stretch of raising funds and winning awards. The film was written, directed and produced by Duane Hopkins, who's experience prior to this was primarily in short films. In this 2-part Stage 32 on-demand class, Samm will break down what it takes for any filmmaker, producer, screenwriter or other creative looking to raise funds and get their projects into development! We know raising money can be hard; Samm Haillay has been there time and time again. And he is sharing his methods and knowledge to give you the competitive advantage you need to make your pitch worthy, relevant, and memorable. If you are a filmmaker looking to get financing for your next project, this class is a must! Praise For Samm's Teaching: "No wonder Samm has made a career out of raising money for his films, he's a pro at it and I feel so fortunate to have learned from him!" -- Nicholas B. "There's an art and a science to raising money for film and Samm helped me understand that better than anyone else has before." - Meg W.
Learn how to pitch your work so you can build a profitable career in film and television with the Vice President of the company behind Finding Ohana (Netflix), Saving Private Ryan, Transformers: The Last Knight, Almost Famous, The Boys (Amazon), Preacher (AMC), and more! Do you ever feel like your great ideas go unnoticed by producers, directors, agents, and managers alike, and that you don’t get the shot you're looking for as a result? This isn’t because these decision makers don’t care; it’s because you may not have pitched or sold your ideas the right way. The reality is, successful screenwriters are as much storysellers as they are storytellers. Whether you like it or not, your primary goal as a writer must be to stand out in a sea of competing projects. The bottom line: Whether you're a screenwriter, filmmaker, producer, or any creative or industry professional looking to gain representation, sell their material, attract talent, raise financing, or simply looking to find work, you will have to pitch. Further, you will be in competition with others pitching as well. You've put so much time and effort into your work and building your reputation, you don't want to have it all undermined with a terrible pitch. And the truth of the matter is that most people that pitch make the same fatal mistakes over and over. They don't know how to tell a concise, riveting story. They don't know what to put in, what to leave out, and what elements really and truly sell someone on their story. This webinar will give you insight and tools to pitch better and get ahead of the pack. Will McCance is the Vice President of Production for Ian Bryce, producer of blockbusters like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, ALMOST FAMOUS, the TRANSFORMERS franchise, and most recently Michael Bay's SIX UNDERGROUND for Netflix. At Ian Bryce Productions, Will oversees the company's entire development slate. Before working with Ian Bryce, Will worked in development at Original Film's TV department, working on hit shows such as THE BOYS (Amazon) and PREACHER (AMC), as well as on SWAT (CBS) and HAPPY! (Syfy). Independently, Will has produced films such as the upcoming LOLA JAMES, starring Nicola Peltz and Oscar-Nominee Virginia Madsen, BERNARD AND HUEY, starring Jim Rash, David Koechner, and Mae Whitman, as well as Belarus's 2018 Oscar selection for Best Foreign Film, CRYSTAL SWAN, along with Vice. Through his years working as an executive, Will has deep experience with working with writers and choosing to work with them or not based on their pitch, and is prepared to share what he’s learned with the Stage 32 community. In this exclusive on-demand Stage 32 webinar, Will will equip you with all the tools you'll need to elevate your next script to the top of the reading stack. He will discuss the various techniques of pitching, from finding the right words and unique style, to understanding which type of pitch to use and when. He will also analyze sample TV and feature film pitches and break down the hidden power of the perfectly-worded logline. He will teach you tactics, strategies, and even books that will make you a stronger storyseller, and in turn, a stronger storyteller. Will will even deliver a pitch of his own to use as an example and will share other film and TV pitches to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Through Will’s presentation, you will not only learn how to better understand and explain your story, but to also instill a newfound sense of confidence that you can take with you to your next meeting or pitch session. PRAISE FROM WILL'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 TEACHING: "I would not have been able to advance in my writing career without Will McCance and the pitching lab. I highly recommend Will as an instructor and the pitching lab itself for Stage 32 writers. Thank you." -- Sean M. "Will's credentials speak for themself. He is an incredibly knowledgable executive with the passion to help writers get their projects moving forward. Thank you for all your help on my pitching for my feature!" -- Morgan M. "Will has been hands down the best teacher for pitching I've ever had!" -- Chase R.
Theater closures brought on by the global pandemic are now leading exhibition and distribution communities to work together and think outside-the-box in order to preserve the arthouse theatrical landscape. Imagine a world without arthouse theaters. It’s a bleak concept for cinephiles and filmmakers alike. In a world where landing a traditional, theatrical commitment from a distributor is like winning the golden cup, what are our options when none of those theaters are open? More so, how do we keep independent theaters, already operating on thin margins, alive to fight another day and provide filmmakers, producers and financiers viable options to make profits on their films? Thankfully, there's a new an exciting option to explore. Navigating a successful theatrical release is an enormous challenge, in and of itself, when exhibition is operating normally. Add in a global pandemic and those challenges rise even higher. What are the options? Does your distributor simply claim force majeure and rush you into the home entertainment landscape? Will the home entertainment revenues be hurt by the lack of theatrical exposure? How do theaters survive and make money when they can’t have patrons at their physical locations? In times of crisis, it’s always impressive to see innovation born of necessity. Behold the birth of the "virtual theatrical" release, which has emerged and become a key player in these virtual times. But what is that exactly? How does it work? Can you make money and are other digital platforms willing to accept theaters playing in their sandbox? It’s the new Wild West. Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. Kristin has been at the forefront of this emerging distribution option "virtual theatrical" and will bring her experience to the Stage 32 community for you to understand what it is, how you can make money for your film from it and if it's right for you. Kristin will go over the current theatrical distribution landscape which has been affected by the COVID19 pandemic and discuss current available options for your film's distribution. She will introduce a brand new type of distribution, virtual theatrical, and break down the players, how it works from a macro and micro level and how it makes money. She'll go over how to navigate this new reality and how virtual theatrical folds into traditional and non-traditional release plans, reporting and logistics. She'll go over the pros and cons of a virtual theatrical release and help you decide if it's the right thing for your film. She'll also discuss what the future holds for distribution and buying habits in the current environment. These are challenging, yet exciting times for the industry and especially for those working in independent film. Kristin will give you all the current information and guide you through all scenarios including virtual theatrical to assure that your film has the best chance at profitability. Praise for Kristin's Stage 32 Webinar: "Very informative and have learned a great deal. Will definitely put to use for our Feature Film Projects. Thank you!" -Haskell A. "The webinar was cutting edge and valuable information" -Angela G. "Very good practical information detailed enough to get the lay of the land on this topic." -James P. "Great info in a new age." -Mary M.
When the entertainment industry shut down as a result of the global pandemic, insurers were left with hundreds of millions of dollars in claims. As a result, traditional production insurance is no longer available. Carriers have modified their coverages, added exclusions and changed coverages they are offering altogether. Additionally, they now require more information in order to underwrite and provide a quote for the film. Production insurance has always been difficult to navigate, but now more than ever it’s crucial to understand how it works and how it’s changed. Filmmakers and creators, both independent and as a part of studios and networks, are itching to get back to work and start creating again. However it’s important to be careful before plunging in, and not just for health reasons. The truth is updates to production insurance is going to change things for everyone, and you need to understand how exactly things will change before you get started on your next project. Filmmakers need to learn what the new underwriting guidelines are and what information is now needed in order to obtain production insurance. You also need to know how to better budget the increased cost for insurance and so that there are no surprises when the quotes come. By knowing what terms and insurances are available for your specific project, you will be able to discuss these options with lenders, distributors and bond companies. It’s more important than ever to be informed and to be prepared when gearing up for your next production. Daniel R’bibo is a Senior Vice President at Gallagher and has worked on over 100 feature films including Oscar winners such as FOXCATCHER and HER, as well as A24's MID-90's, SEARCHING, HAPPY DEATH DAY and a dozen television shows. For nearly two decades, Daniel has provided insurance services for independent and studio projects which have premiered at Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, TIFF and more. He has worked on all lines of insurance ranging from Production Insurance policies to Financial and Cybertechnology policies such as E&O, D&O and Network/ Security & Privacy coverages. Daniel was featured in Risk and Insurance Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 List and has been awarded their Power Broker Award in the Media & Entertainment Category four separate times. Few people in the world know entertainment insurance better than Daniel, and he’s prepared to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Daniel will dive deep into how production insurance works and how it has changed with COVID-19 pandemic. He will begin with a general overview of production insurance. He’ll explain the various insurances relating to production including production package, general and auto liability, workers compensation, errors and omissions (E&O), and COVID specific insurances. Next Daniel will delve into the changes in insurance underwriting and carrier appetite due to the pandemic. He’ll walk you through what you need to know before you get a quote, including COVID related exclusion and new terms and conditions, required safety procedures, and how may quotes you can expect for your project. He will also show you how much to budget for your own production insurance. Finally, Daniel will provide case studies of real films’ insurance breakdowns, both before COVID and after. He will spend time discussing both films made for under and over $5 million. It can feel like the Wild West now in venturing back into production, but Daniel will give you a clear picture of how insurance is going to work moving forward. PLUS! You will receive a production insurance quote checklist to make sure you have everything in order to ensure you get the best quote possible from an Insurance Agent. Praise for Daniel's Stage 32 Webinar: I very much enjoyed the host and his knowledge of the topic -Billy B. Daniel was great - very informative and someone I'll reach out to in the future! -Stephanie B. I'm glad I was able to network live with Daniel today. His insurance knowledge was invaluable for my film projects. -Pamela F. "I learned SO much. I can't believe how helpful this has been!" -Gerry T.