Jon Stahl is the Script Coordinator at HBO assigned to the DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series "VEEP", starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, and created by Armando Iannucci (THE DEATH OF STALIN, "The Thick of It"). Jon began his career in production, working on projects like YOUNG ADULT, "The Big C", and "Maron". In 2013, he 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 "Game Shakers" before his current role at HBO, where he works alongside some of the best writers in television comedy. Jon grew up with a deep sense of admiration for well-written television. Shows like "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" painted his perception of what a great comedy could be, and impressed on him an irreverent, madcap style that shines through in his own work. Full Bio »
It’s no secret that many creatives are looking to take the necessary steps to work on a TV show or break into a writers' room. Stage 32 and Jon Stahl, HBO’s Emmy-Award Winning Veep script coordinator, have the answers to help you find your way.
We're taking you inside the room of one of the top comedy shows on television today (Veep) to learn what it's like to break in and expectations once you get there. Your host Jon Stahl spent the last decade working in television, with the last third of it in comedy. 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.
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 in about 48 hours after the live session. Your purchases are located in your My Education folder on the lefthand panel.
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!
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
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.
The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry. The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain. Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19. Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar "It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much." Marisé S. I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped. -Jonathan H. I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future. -Carolyn K. Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk -Stephen P.
In this Break Down we are seeing what it takes to build a world during the Breakdown Webcast: World Building! This comes as a request from several of our members who want to discuss how to build worlds in your writing...and pre-writing. World Building is one of most important tasks in writing - it lays the foundation for everything that occurs in your story. So how can you do it within your screenplay without feeling expository or over the top? We're going to talk about how to avoid common mistakes in World Building, key ways to get better at World Building, and even look at some examples of World Building from both script and screen to see how your favorite screenwriters and filmmakers tackled this difficult task. During this webcast, we watch clips and analyze the scripts for features including TITANIC, BLADE RUNNER, JOKER and more!
Learn directly from a studio executive, Nikki Levy, Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX! They say “write what you know” and then we sit there racking our brains for story ideas. What’s that big silver bullet, high-concept idea that will get me noticed? That will sell? That will put me on the map? STOP! There is a better saying, “If you survived childhood, you have enough stories to last for the rest of your life.” And that’s where my money is. Some of the most important screenplays and TV shows in the last two decades have come from complete TRUTH. Think of Seinfeld or the groundbreaking movie (500) Days of Summer. We don’t have to look outside ourselves for great ideas. What we have to do is look inwards, at our own life and pain and joys, to create great story ideas, comedy and dialogue. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nikky Levy, veteran feature film executive and creator of the critically-acclaimed comedy event Don’t Tell My Mother!, will teach you how to turn your life into a killer story that gets YOU noticed. She will look at ways to find the gems of struggle and victory in your life, and how to translate those into cohesive stories with an arc, a strong narrative structure and characters we love. Nikki will examine how to keep our work from becoming a therapy session, and instead crafting it into an emotional, funny, relatable story. She will examine movies that did this successfully, and why. She will also discuss how to spin your own personal history into an engaging “story” so you wow executives, agents, managers and talent.
We love to hate them...or hate to love them! We're kicking off another month of a packed Writers' Room schedule with the Breakdown Webcast: Antagonists! During one of our character building webcasts, we noted that many of our examples of great characters, were characters who we traditionally see as antagonists! So let's dig in and really explore what makes these baddies so good. Stories need conflict, certainly, but conflict doesn't have to come at the hands of a cackling, mustache-twirling supervillain. There's more than one way to shape your story's antagonist! During this webcast we'll discuss 4 types of antagonists, 6 ways in which to develop a well-rounded and authentic antagonist, how to intrude your antagonists and explore our favorite antagonists from film and television, and a whole lot more!