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.
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!
**Only 10 Spots Available - Sign up to work one-on-one with an award winning comedy writer before this lab fills up** There’s a reason comedy sketches is one of the cornerstones of a successful comedy writer’s arsenal. They’re not easy to nail. In just a few minutes you need to find a great concept, clear characters, solid structure, and an effective ending, all while delivering consistent jokes and inserting your own unique comedic voice. Yet mastering sketch writing can be a major boon for your career as a comedy writer and can get you noticed and opportunities in writers’ rooms, talk shows, even SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Sketch writing isn’t just about being funny, though. It’s a specific art form that takes practice and an understanding of fundamentals to do correctly. Let an Emmy-award winning comedy writer give you the tools you need. 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. Through the countless sketches he has written for nationally broadcast comedy shows throughout his career, Rob has become incredibly familiar with quality sketch writing and how to make them work, and he’s ready to work with you directly to show you how it’s done. Over three sessions, Rob will teach you the fundamentals of comedy sketch writing and work with you in writing and improving your own sketch, all from the comfort of your own home. In the first session, Rob will walk you through the anatomy of a great comedy sketch and the different forms they take. He’ll also provide strategies you can take with you before tasking you to write your own sketch. In the second session you will perform your new sketch for Rob and your classmates, and Rob will offer feedback and pointers to improve. You will also have the opportunity to hear your fellow classmates’ sketches and provide your feedback as well. In the final session, you will perform your improved and rewritten sketch and gain final valuable feedback from Rob. Through this one week intensive, you will gain the knowledge and experience you need to greatly improve your sketch comedy writing and improve your own writers’ packet or portfolio for your comedy career. PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 students and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a seasoned and award-winning writer and expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at email@example.com for more information WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for aspiring comedy writers of all levels interested improving their sketch writing skills. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 10 Spots Available*** This class will consist of three sessions, each 90-120 minutes in length, taking place over the course of one week. In addition to the lessons where Rob teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with him directly about your specific project. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the TV project development process. To see the full class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".
In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, we will be focusing on how to take your script and simplify it, while keeping the elements of the script complex, so it's easy for the reader (an executive, producer, manager) - and ultimately the viewer - to be able to follow your story. Your instructor, Samm Haillay, has produced films which have red carpet premiered at Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Toronto and more! Samm will share a simple/complex theory which he had developed called “The Story Rainbow”, which will examine the relationship and interconnectivity between Story, Narrative and Plot. We will be focusing on how to keep your script simple - yet complex - rather than confusing and complex. Of course, structure is vital, but we’ll be weaving a “Story Rainbow” through the elements of your script. You will be given the tools to approach the development of your film from a different angle. Clearly, it's worked for Samm, having had such success with his films screening at some of the world's top festivals!
Whether we’re talking about a comedy or drama, sci-fi or horror, a film or television series, animated or live action, short-form or long-form, having good characters is essential. There’s no escaping it. Even a script with everything else going for it, if it doesn’t have strong, compelling characters, it’s not going to work. Great characters connect the audience to your world and ground it in humanity. They provide stakes, bolster your plot and keep it moving. It’s therefore crucial to understand what make an effective character and how you can create that in your own project. Unfortunately there’s not a step-by-step guide to crafting the perfect character. There’s no secret formula and there’s no surefire algorithm. Good characters are complicated and hard to define because so are people. Good characters hold a mirror up to reality and let the audience see themselves or someone else they know in them. And all of that might be fine and good in theory, but what does that actually mean in practice? If you’re a writer how can you create a character who serves as a mirror, who will stick with audiences long after the movie or show ends? And if you’re a producer or director, how can you recognize a great character from a mediocre one through the written word? Lee Sternthal is a screenwriter, director and photographer who has written screenplays for every major studio, including TRON: LEGACY for Disney, as well as scripts for Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and many others. His film, THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons was an Official Sundance Film Festival selection and was later bought by CBS Films. Lee is a Sundance Institute Fellow, and his work has appeared on The Black List. Through his writing career, Lee has spent more time than most considering the art of character and using that to aid his own career, as well as writers he continues to mentor and champion. Lee will walk you through the power of character and how to create great characters for your own project. He’ll begin by discussing why exactly characters are so vital to story and will teach you the key differences between a TV character and a film character. Next he will give you a brief history of character in storytelling and reveal the one fictional character from history that all other characters draw from. Lee will then discuss the difference between heroes and anti-heroes, as well as help you determine which of your characters is the driver and which are the riders. He’ll then delve into the art of a great antagonist and why an interesting adversary is so crucial to a successful story. Lee will help you frame your story through the clarity of need, both in character and in story. Next Lee will go over the classic Hero’s Journey and slightly re-imagine it for modern times. He will give you strategies and exercises to better understand and develop your own characters, including his “What’s Their God?” and “Changing A Flat Tire” games. He’ll then teach you the concept of revealing character through behavior and hiding character with words. Next Lee will delve into the idea of how your characters fit into your world, including how the environment might change your character. He’ll teach you the Shakespearean approach to character and compare it to the Balzacian approach, and will also discuss the difference between neuroticism and human comedy. Finally Lee will go over the dance between plot and character, illustrating how the two should work with and against each other to create a feedback loop that’s necessary for any great script. Praise for Lee’s Webinar “Great insight. Really helped me in moving forward.” -Martin R. “I really enjoyed Lee's perspective on script writing. The examples he provided were very helpful. I'm very appreciative that he would share his knowledge, some of his techniques and be so generous with his encouragement.” -Simone L. “Lee had a great way of explaining how to get a feel for the character and why they have the traits they do. Lee did a great job of covering a lot of character related topics which I am glad I have been exposed to.” -Karl H.
Learn directly from 12-year veteran Mary Cybriwsky, who's worked on films such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL and THE BANK JOB and has recently produced BURYING THE EX (Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene) and STICKY NOTES (Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie). With any script, setting up a strong foundation is key to a good story. In screenwriting, the craft is your foundation to a more successful journey. All working writers take the craft very seriously and have spent time perfecting their art. Too many writers try to jump into this insanely competitive field with little to no training. Executives can tell by page 5 if a writer knows the basics of screenwriting and they will not take a writer seriously if there are glaring mistakes. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our first ever 4-week "Perfecting the Basics - Introduction to Screenwriting" online class taught by manager Mary Cyrbwisky from Scooty Woop Entertainment. Mary has been one of our most sought out executives through our Coverage Program and has helped many writers better their craft (and even signed one!). Finding such a mentor to teach the basics of screenwriting is crucial and we are thrilled to have Mary for this class. Whether you are brand new to the screenwriting profession, or a seasoned writer, this class is intended to go over the basics of screenwriting to perfect your craft. The objective of this 4 week class is to cover basic screenwriting formatting, 3 act structure, characters, plots, themes, what to write and what NOT to write, but Mary will go over so much more! All of this is done in a friendly, interactive, fun online atmosphere. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Mary is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
The magnitude to which the television landscape has changed over the past few years really can’t be overstated. Traditional models have been shattered and the dominance of network and cable television has given way to the streamers. Just look at this year’s Emmys—Netflix shows received 160 nominations, compared to NBC, which received only 47. With the way paved by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, the past few years have seen an explosion of streaming platforms and with it, new content and new opportunities for creatives to jump on board. The TV landscape has changed and continues to change, but most would agree: streaming is the place to be. Yet it’s not that simple, is it? With the world of television changing so quickly, it can feel like whiplash to keep up with everything. The world of streaming this year alone has seen new players (hello, Peacock) and others that have already fallen by the wayside (R.I.P., Quibi). Platforms continue to innovate and reinvent themselves to stay current and compete with their fellow networks, and as they change, so does what they’re looking for and how they look for it. If you’re a writer, producer, or creator working to get your television show on a streaming network, it’s hard to know where to start. There are always isolated articles in the trades as well as whatever you can find out through word of mouth, but what you might really need is for someone to lay it all out—what are the players right now, what content is performing well on their platforms, what are they looking for, and where are they headed? As luck would have it, Stage 32 has put this all together for you. Arielle Cohen is a Senior Manager in Strategy at NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock, which launched this past July. In this role, Arielle works to grow and improve Peacock by researching what’s working and where the industry is headed. Arielle is also a Development Executive for Broadway Producer Eric Falkenstein's Spark Productions, whose Broadway credits include MOULIN ROUGE and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. She is on the board of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Associates, a member of TEDx Young Professionals, Women in Cable Television and Ladies of Comedy Association (LOCA). Through her work, Arielle has become a veritable expert in the world of streaming television and has a clearer view than most of where it’s headed. Arielle will provide a comprehensive look at the world of streaming TV today, focusing on who the major players are and what kind of content they are focused on. She’ll begin with an overall look at the television industry and how it has changed. She’ll also explain what the current streaming landscape looks like today. She’ll lay out the major players and how the recent additions of streamers have altered the ecosystem. She’ll also explain the difference between premium and ad-supported streamers. She will then offer strategies for you to determine which streamers could be the right fit for your project. Arielle will offer a deep dive into the seven biggest streamers today, going over their top performing shows and where they’re headed. She’ll do this for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Peacock, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Disney +. She will next delve into where we are going from here, including new trends and developments we should expect to see and whether we can sustain so many streaming networks moving forward. Finally Arielle will offer suggestions of what streaming execs are looking for and suggestions for making your own project more interesting to them. You’ll leave with a much clearer and fuller picture of this quickly shifting industry.
We're excited to bring you another riveting Executive Hour with the Senior Vice President of Development at The Wolper Organization, Kevin Nicklaus! The Wolper Organization has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. which covers all divisions, including HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros. features, and more. Kevin has been integral to the early development and sales of "BATES MOTEL" for A&E, the 2016 Emmy-nominated "ROOTS" for History, STEPHEN KING'S SALEM'S LOT for TNT, THE MISTS OF AVALON for TNT, HELTER SKELTER for CBS, THE BAD SEED for Lifetime and more. The Wolper Organization has been responsible for over 500 films, which have won more than 150 awards, including two Oscars, 50 Emmys, seven Golden Globes, five Peabody’s. During the conversation we discussed developing "BATES MOTEL", how Kevin finds new material, what writers can be doing to break out in this market, and much more!