Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them. Full Bio »
The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the area where writers find their footing and voice within this world. Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting and breaking into a writers’ room as an assistant or coordinator is often the springboard needed for writers to build their career in the television space. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform and stand out in one to positively contribute and get noticed for the right reasons.
While each show’s writers’ room has unique characteristics, there are specific expectations of a comedy show’s room in particular that differ from their counterparts. You’re not just breaking story in these rooms, but jokes too. This process brings with it a different rhythm and understanding. Finding success in a comedy room requires different skills than others. If you’re an aspiring comedy writer with hopes of breaking into a show’s writers’ room, it’s crucial you understand how exactly these rooms work and how you can best fit in and stay in.
Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them.
Jon will break down how a leading TV comedy writers’ room works and outline how you can break in and find success in one as a script coordinator. He will begin by going through the basics of how a writers’ room runs and the different key players. He’ll show you how to get a job in the writers’ office and delve into the culture of the room and you can navigate. Next Jon will break down the duties of a script coordinator in the room, including, taking notes, scriptwriting, distribution, investigating clearances, using the white board and more. He’ll also give tips on the technical side of the script coordinator, including typing etiquette and using specific software. He’ll go through the art of pitching in a room and how to handle “big personalities”. Finally Jon will give you tips on how to take next steps from the script coordinator position, how to put together writing samples and use your connections to move up.
If you’ve always wanted to have a career in TV writing but don’t know where to start, start here.
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There was once a time when screenwriters solely used typewriters to tell their stories. Obviously that time has since passed, and the tools writers use to create their scripts have drastically evolved. Software like Final Draft, Writers Duet and Fade In has been created to optimize a writers’ experience, help with formatting, and ideally aid writers through their various obstacles and make the process easier. Yet this doesn’t always work out as intended. Too often, technophobia - the tendency to be intimidated by technology - limits writers’ ability to work with efficiency and speed and makes these programs more overwhelming and burdensome than helpful. And with so many different types of writing software out there, how can you know which one is the best fit for you? We all know that writing is hard enough on its own without the extra burden of navigating difficult technology. The tools you use to write shouldn’t get in the way of creativity. Instead, gaining confidence and proficiency with technology can allow it to fade into the background, allowing you to focus on the task of great screenwriting. Knowing how best to use the tools available to you—and which ones to use in the first place—can serve as a powerful boon to your writing process and overall career. Whether it’s software, hardware, or workflow, moving past the technophobia and embracing the tools that are right for you can allow you to write with more ease, speed and efficiency than might be otherwise possible. First, it’s important to know what’s out there and how to actually use it. Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Jon’s career has hinged on writing quickly and efficiently by using various software and technologies and knows better than most how to use the tools available to enhance your own writing career. Jon will give you the tools to embrace good technology and use all the technological tools at your disposal to tell an amazing story. He’ll begin with a rundown of the different tools you should have to write, including keyboards, monitors, ergonomics and software. He’ll then delve explain why you need screenwriting software in the first place. Jon will delve into the lay of the land of screenwriting software, including a run through of the main players, free and affordable options, and what the standards and expectations are in the industry. Next he will show you how you know what screenwriting software is the best fit for your specific needs. He’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses of the leading programs and show you what paid software can offer that free versions do not. Jon will then go through a live demonstration of Final Draft. He’ll walk you through Final Draft’s interface and main features, how to start a script on the software, how to set up your workflow through Final Draft, and keyboard shortcuts you need to know to save you time. He’ll also go through other tricks Hollywood writers use to optimize Final Draft, how to write safely and back up your work, and how to use templates. Jon will then do the same live demonstration for both WriterDuet and Fade In. Next he will discuss other types of software to consider, including general purpose writing software, miscellaneous writing tools, and system software. Finally, he will provide you with additional resources you should consider. Expect to leave feeling a lot more confident and a lot less overwhelmed in bringing in good technology to help your writing. "Screenwriting software is a necessary tool for anyone who wants to write for film and TV. I'm so excited to lead this webinar and help anyone who wants to gain proficiency with these widely-used tools, so you can focus on the craft of storytelling." -Jon Stahl
Get the lowdown on how to save your film even in the worst case scenario with a veteran producer with over 35 films under her belt. Comes with example Letters of Intent Try as hard as you might, even when you dot every ‘i‘ and cross every ‘t’, the production of your film is never going to go perfectly. Things invariably come up or go wrong that are outside your control. Ask any producer—it is a certainty. As a result, it’s not the mark of a good producer to prevent unexpected problems from coming up, but instead to be able to address these issues when they do inevitably arise. You’ll never know what might come up during the course of your film’s production, but two of the biggest and scariest issues are when your money or your talent fall through. Even with everything else set to go, a full team intact, your locations booked, and your equipment prepped, if you lose either of these two crucial elements, it can bring your entire film to a grinding halt. Losing your film’s money or top-level talent just before production begins is a more common issue than you might think, and while it’s certainly a difficult situation to navigate, it doesn’t need to derail your project. There are strategies you can use as a producer to soften the blow, move forward, and bring the money or actors back on board. It comes down to attitude, knowing your options, always having contingency plans, and being smart and measured in how you communicate with financiers, agents, and actors. So how do experienced producers deal with losing these elements last minute? How can they convince financiers to stay on board? How do they renegotiate with actors without going over-budget? And how do they know when to re-approach and when it’s time to part ways? Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and a veteran film producer with 35 features under her belt. Of those 35, 9 have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Through her career, Aimee has had to navigate losing money and losing talent many times and has developed valuable strategies she will share with the Stage 32 community that has kept her projects moving and allowed them to find success. Aimee will walk you through what exactly you should do for your film if either your funding or your talent fall through during the course of pre-production or production. She’ll lay out the first steps you should always take when you first find out you’re about to lose either of these elements. She’ll then spend time discussing financing specifically and strategies you should employ. She’ll talk about how to figure out what really went wrong and how to renegotiate with the financier, including how to offer points or credits. Aimee will also talk about how you can move forward anyway by paring down expenses and altering your schedule. She’ll also tell you how to reapproach investors or partners that said no in the past. Aimee will also spend time discussing strategies specifically for losing talent. She’ll tell you how to gauge if the talent can be recovered, and offer actor-specific tips on how to renegotiate. She’ll talk about communication tips for both actors and their reps and advise you on when it’s worth it to reschedule your shoot. She’ll also go through how to find new acting choices and use leverage to get a last minute replacement. Finally, Aimee will show you how you can best recover when things fall through and how to move forward with your plan B without sacrificing the quality of your film. Along the way, Aimee will share personal stories of her own past and even show you specific emails and language she used to renegotiate or find new funding or actors. You’ll never be able to fully prepare for problems that come up last second, but Aimee will give you the tools and confidence you can use to navigate these problems and keep your project afloat. Praise for Aimee’s Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "I've taken many Stage 32 webinars and they've all been wonderful, but Aimee's had me ready to run through a wall! So much thoughtful and intelligent information!" - Debra S. "This webinar was jam packed with so many useful and accessible strategies I can start using today. Thank you!" -Brian D. "Grounded and Practical" -Jennifer S. “Aimee was able to take these big ideas and make them feel totally accessible and easy to understand. I really enjoyed hearing from her” -Howard F.
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" for 2018 and beyond. 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.
Chris Moore has done and seen it all. During a career spanning over 30 years, Chris has produced films that have had multiple Oscar nominations and wins such as Good Will Hunting and Manchester by the Sea, to studio blockbusters like American Pie and The Adjustment Bureau, to independent darlings such as Waiting, to creating and starring in the critically acclaimed industry television shows Project Greenlight alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and The Chair. One of the secrets of Chris' longevity in the business is a full understanding of the business. He's as plugged in as they come and he knows how to adjust quickly, swiftly, and successfully as the landscape changes - which seems to happen on a daily basis these days. Most importantly, Chris is known in the industry as a take-no-prisoners, no bullshit guy. He tells it like it is and pulls no punches, which, in this business, is welcome and refreshing. And now he's here exclusively for Stage 32 to teach you how to build a lasting career in today's entertainment industry. With the evolution of the industry causing dramatic shifts in the way you create and consume content (film, television, digital) and more content being created, bought, sold, screened, broadcast and streamed than ever before, there are more and more opportunities are being presented for a creative career. But you have to know where to look, how to position yourself, how to best present yourself and show that you have a complete understanding of where the industry is headed and how you can add significant value. Chris will discuss the current state and the shifts in the market to help you make educated decisions on the path you should take with your career in the industry to not only assure success, but satisfy the lifestyle you desire. He will also discuss where he believes the future is headed so you can be ahead of the curve in making the right decisions for you and your career. Then, Chris will make the proceedings interactive, workshopping with select attendees and discussing primary and alternative paths for their wants and goals. Some examples: For filmmakers having trouble gaining traction, Chris will go over alternative ways you can break in and gain your footing. For screenwriters who have been at it a long time and haven’t gotten their break, Chris will discuss alternatives and lifestyle choices for the current industry. For cinematographers (or other creatives) looking to move from digital shorts to streaming TV, Chris will present a path and strategies to make it happen? This is a no nonsense, detailed filled, strategy packed session designed to help ALL creatives and professionals! PRAISE FOR CHRIS'S TEACHINGS: "Undoubtably, my favorite Stage 32 webinar yet, and that's saying something. Wow, was this a welcome kick in the ass. I love Chris' style, passion, and energy. Obviously, his experience and success speaks for itself, but as a teacher, he's a master. This was a huge land for Stage 32. I hope you bring him back again!" - Ronnie W. "I like the way Chris organized all the changes in entertainment so it was easy to understand. It's overwhelming trying to figure it out and I appreciated Chris taking the time to explain it. I also appreciated the workshopping advice. Thank you Chris." - Marisa S. "The brutal truth how Hollywood operates was eye opening, but it's best that I'm aware as I try to find my place." - Wolf O. "Chris Moore is a hero. He saved me from my doubts." - Julia C.
We are turning the spotlight - and the microphones - back over to you during the Write Now Challenge webcast!In this challenge, you were asked to write a scene (3 pages) in which a character anticipates the arrival of one character, but instead, an unexpected visitor shows up, and that visitor is the absolute most wrong person. Your main character then needs to come up with a creative lie to get rid of the unexpected visitor. Ask yourself, why is that person the most wrong person in that moment? What tactics does he or she use to try and get rid of the unexpected visitor? How does the tension escalate between characters? How are you conveying the differences in the characters' voices in your writing?
History is littered with the bones of many failed films which fell apart due to conflicts between the director and producer. While you'll often hear how important it is for a filmmaker to have relationships with all the vital players and department heads on his or her set (and it certainly is), the reality is that the relationship between the director and the lead producer is the one that will begin the earliest and last the longest throughout a particular project. A healthy, cohesive relationship between the film director and the producer will show the cast and crew that a united front has been formed and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. An unhealthy, bifurcated relationship will put the cast and crew on their heels, which will inevitably hurt the project. Directors and producers are often people of vision and power. Harnessed correctly and collaboratively, that combination can bring out the best in everyone and help to make a project stay on time, on budget, and on message and voice. Harnessed incorrectly, ego and hubris take over. It may seem obvious that communication is the key to assuring that the relationship flourishes, and that's not totally untrue. But the key to a productive and positive relationship between the director and producer is understanding all aspects of what needs to get done, recognizing what the other person's needs are, defining what's worth standing up for and what's worth letting go, and recognizing that at the end of the day, you're both fighting for the same result. As President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, Tai Duncan oversees film projects from inception to completion encompassing all aspects of development, casting, finance and production. Zero Gravity is a production and management company based in Los Angeles that boasts a strong client list of screenwriters, directors, actors and financiers for feature films and television. Tai recently produced PROUD MARY for Screen Gems starring Taraji P. Henson and HOW IT ENDS for Netflix starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, HONEST THIEF starring Liam Neeson and THE MARKSMAN starring Liam Neeson. Zero Gravity produced the Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck starring action/thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, the drama A FAMILY MAN starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe and Executive Produced the hit Netflix television show OZARK starring Jason Bateman. Needless to say, as an on set producer, Tai knows a thing or two about the director/producer relationship including the pitfalls and the paths to glory. Beginning with pre-production, Tai will take you what steps you will need to take from moment one to forge a productive relationship that will last through post and beyond. Tai will talk about the steps you need to make to assure you are communicating clearly and effectively. He will talk you through script notes, casting, hiring crew, location scouting and scheduling. Moving on to production, Tai will teach you how to keep things smooth on set, how t manage disagreements, scheduling and money issues, and the push and pull between what a director wants and what he or she has in the can. Tai will then move on to post, and how to manage expectations during the assembly cut and the director's cut. He will discuss scoring, sound and color, sales and marketing, festival approaches, and even distribution strategies so that everyone is fully communicating and staying on the same page throughout. "Don't allow a failed relationship, miscommunication or misplaced ego sabotage all the work and effort that's gone in to putting a project together. Cohesiveness begins at the top and must continue throughout the project. I'll show you how to get it done." - Tai Duncan