VEEP Script Coordinator Breaks Down Expectations of a Comedy Writers' Room

Hosted by Jon Stahl

$49

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

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Jon Stahl

Webinar hosted by: Jon Stahl

Script Coordinator at Veep (HBO)

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

 

What You'll Learn

  • General info on a Writers’ room. Briefly:
    • What a Writers’ office is (and what it isn’t).
    • The key players.
    • How it operates day to day.
    • Hours / Pay
  • Getting a job in a Writers’ Office
    • How to make new connections
    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • How to use existing connections
    • Moving from production to Writers’ Room
    • How to format your resumé
  • Room Culture
    • How to navigate
    • Handling sensitive information
    • What makes a writers’ room different from every other job you’ve worked in
    • Food and why it's very important
    • Office hierarchy
    • Writers’ Office Politics
    • Language
  • Duties of the Job
    • Notes
      • Notes etiquette
      • Software platform
    • Scriptwriting
    • Distribution
    • Clearances / WGA Paperwork
    • Assisting on Set
    • Brief Outline / Story Breakdown
    • White Board
    • Administrative 
    • Technical - This gets its own section later
    • Custodial 
    • Creative - This gets its own section later
  • Technical Stuff
    • Speed
    • Typing etiquette
    • Final Draft / Others
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Microsoft Word
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Scenechronize
      • General info / Tips & Tricks
    • Other useful software / Platforms
  • Internet Searches
    • Useful searches
    • Fun searches
    • How to read the room
  • Pitching
    • Etiquette
    • How to pitch
    • Examples of good and bad pitches
    • Responding to other writers’ pitches
    • Room bits
  • “Big Personalities” = Code for “Assholes”
    • How to deal with stressful people/situations
    • Sometimes your job is just to get shit on and pretend you love it. Brings us to our next topic:
  • How To Get Shit On And Pretend You Love It
    • Relax, it’s only TV
    • There are awesome parts of the job
  • Next steps
    • Writing samples
    • Advice on how to keep moving up
    • Why you should be good at your job (but not too good)
  • Q&A with Jon!

 

About Your Instructor

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.

 

 

FAQs

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!

Questions?

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.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

Learn directly from Rachel Chervin, former Development Department at Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman), Gersh Agency and Imagine Entertainment! A screenwriting journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page, to paraphrase an old saying. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical writer has to grab the attention of the anonymous, overworked reader that picked their script off a pile for evaluation. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the agent's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the agent's desk. But who are these mysterious readers? Who decides which scripts go on to consideration or representation - and maybe one day fame and fortune - while others get a stone-cold pass? It's not exactly who you might think: while the agents and managers of Hollywood excel at their jobs, they only have so much time in the day and most of it is not spent seeking out new talent. That job falls to the Gatekeepers, the assistants and pro readers who tackle stacks of scripts every week hoping to find the diamond in the rough: a script they can confidently recommend. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Rachel Chervin will bring you an insider's perspective on agency submissions and what you can do to maximize the impact of your writing on the unsung decision makers of Hollywood. Rachel will discuss fun and informative strategies for giving yourself the best chance possible to make a lasting impression on everyone who reads your script. There are so many ways that writers can take themselves out of the running with easily avoidable mistakes, but fortunately, there are just as many ways to stand out from the pack and deliver a calling card script that demands recognition. The key, besides great writing, is knowing the Gatekeepers' game plan - and then blowing it out of the water. Rachel Chervin has been on both the buying and selling sides of the business and has extensive experience with what industry executives are really looking for and the language they use to talk about scripts under consideration. She has worked in development for Broadway Video  (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman) in both features and television, working to find and promote up-and-coming comedic voices in the industry. She has previously worked for several years at Imagine Entertainment and the Gersh Agency on several feature films including The Rite (2011) and Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012).

How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller

Nearly every executive that has come in to hear pitches through Stage 32 is looking for thriller features. It's one of the few genres that can translate internationally. Having a solid, unique thriller in your portfolio is something any manager or agent will appreciate. Thrillers like Gone Girl, Taken, The Boy Next Door and Non-Stop have profited more than quadrupled what their respective shooting budgets were. But writing thrillers comes with its own challenges. A writer has to make sure the characterization is strong throughout the story without letting the action sequences overshadow it. But those action sequences must be thrilling enough to fuel the story forward and the pacing must be thriving and building in every scene. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our exclusive 3-week online intensive class How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller taught by the creative executive of Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! In this hands-on course, you will learn what it takes to write a compelling, fast-paced thriller and how to successfully pitch it to production companies. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a thriller that will stand out. The objective of this course is: To learn the rules of writing a page-turner thriller with a unique hook. To prepare you on how to pitch your completed thriller. To elevate your writing and story to a more marketable level. You will leave the course knowing: Tropes used in thrillers to avoid and tropes to embrace. How to commit to tone from page 1. How to option a book or article to establish an IP. The difference between the subgenres of a thriller (including blockbusters, psychological, erotic and art-house). How to prepare your pitch document for your completed thriller. About Your Teacher Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures Patrick started his career working as an assistant at Gersh, where he was able to learn the business from the ground up as well as make solid connection in the town. He worked primarily in the production department but gained lots of exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He utilized his experience and passion as leverage in a transition to work as a producer’s assistant. LD Entertainment became his home the next three years, where he was eventually promoted to a creative executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. After three years, he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up. He learned a lot about assembling large studio films. He has transitioned back into more of a creative executive position at Mandalay Pictures, where he gets to go back to my passion: cultivate amazing stories and working with great writers. Class Schedule ( 6/20, 6/27, 711) Week #1 (6/20): This is an all inclusive look into the world of thrillers. This will offer you a behind-the-scenes look on what executives look for when reading thrillers and some common mistakes writers make that disrupt the reading process. This class will also cover: Concepts that sell and concepts that don’t. Market trends (i.e. female driven thrillers, the state of erotic thrillers after movies like The Boy Next Door). Tips on making sure your first 10-15 pages pop and hook the executive. Stereotypical tropes/cliches writers use to set up their characters that turn off an executive. Tips on creating and layering your antagonist. How to make sure your protagonist is relatable and engaging. How to create a stand out catalyst and a sharp break into act two. Week #2 (6/27): This week will focus entirely on the engine of your story. This week will cover outlining and writing act 2 and act 3. Topics that this will cover include: How to write a thrilling action sequence. Description to dialogue ratio. Making sure you are incorporating set pieces that complement your sub-genre (i.e. what specific set pieces would you include in your second act if you are writing an erotic thriller). Tips on how to outline your heightened set pieces to make sure the emotional crescendo of your story is always escalating smoothly. How to make sure your characterization is strong throughout act two and three while keeping the tension hight. Overall tips on how to outline your script. Week #3 (7/11): This week will cover tips on how to end your script with a lasting final image and what happens after your first draft is completed. This week will include: Some of the most common elements that are rewritten after getting picked up by a production company. How to avoid development hell. Tips on how to pitch your thriller. Typical elements that can be found in a pitch package. How to decipher which companies are looking for what.

Robert McKee: The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters (Part 1) | Stage 32 Masters of Craft

Robert McKee returns to Stage 32 with The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters - a rare online teaching appearance exclusive to Stage 32! Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world and now, exclusively for the 3rd time on Stage 32, Robert McKee is back and better than ever with a Masters of Craft webinar teaching you The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters.  McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees.     In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar, Robert McKee teaches the principles of character creation and dimension, characterization and the secret to writing complex protagonists, providing you the tools needed to construct compelling characters that will fascinate your audience. Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar and member of the Hollywood Hall of Fame, is the most sought after writing lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 35 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. Those who have learned from McKee have called him “the Aristotle of our time” (Quincy Jones, Ed Saxon, Steve Pressfield to name a few) because of his insight into the substance, structure, style, and principles of the grand art of story. Peter Jackson (writer/director THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD) lauds him as “The Guru of Gurus.” For the creatives at Pixar (TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, UP, INSIDE OUT), McKee’s Story Seminar is a rite of passage.

Developing Your Narrative Voice As An Editor

Learn the impact of film editing from international director/editor Max Leonida whose films have been screened and awarded at a range of festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, the International Salerno Film Festival, the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival and the L.A. Short Films Festival, to name a few. “I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit.” (Stanley Kubrick)  Some of the greatest, most iconic filmmakers of all times (like Scorsese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino, Coppola, Lynch, Fellini, Gilliam and many others) used to spend hours, days and sometimes months into the dark secrecy of the editing room, sitting next to their faithful editor, enjoying the guilty pleasure of reshaping – over and over again – a world of their own.  The post-production phase is the most critical one throughout the entire film production process… and editing, in particular, is a pivotal moment where as a filmmaker you should be able to understand that you are writing the final version and destiny of your movie. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, international director/editor, Max Leonida will use his years of experience to give you a more profound knowledge of the artistic nature of the editing process, together with a clear, up-to-date and technical expertise about the most important digital editing systems on the market. Max's most recent films include Run (winner at 2013 MIFF and double winner at the 3D International Festival) and the feature film “What Separates Us”, Best Feature at the Machetanz Film Festival. Editing is not just a simple matter of pace, rhythm, and mere image composition: editing pertains to the core of storytelling itself. Every professional filmmaker knows that a closeup placed in the right place, at the right moment, can definitely chance the course of a narrative process. Editing includes re-defining the story, reconstructing the characters, reshaping the very structure to the point of even changing and re-dubbing the dialogue in a totally different way from the original script… all for the sake of beauty. And this webinar aims to give you these tools.   

What Makes Your Logline Interesting for an Actor, Producer, Manager or Agent?

"Amazing seminar loved it. It was the best I have ever watched or ordered!" - Robert M. "Excellent! Very practical and useful." - Kathi W. "Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor." - Lori H.   A logline is the way your screenplay is introduced to the world. It’s rare that anyone will read your script without knowing something about it first. Agents, managers, producers, executives, actors, and anyone associated with making movies, rely on the logline for the most basic information about your screenplay. Often, if a logline doesn’t work, neither does the screenplay. A logline can be used to identify problematic elements of a screenplay, enabling solutions to fix them. In This Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: Your host, Christopher Lockhart, Story Editor at WME, breaks the mechanics of a logline to determine what makes one work and open-up a broader discussion on the elements of successful screenwriting. He interacted live with the class listening to logline pitches and provided feedback on what works and what doesn’t. You will walk away learning how to make your logline stand out to grab the attention of an actor, producer, manager, agent or executive. Why Chris? Through his career at ICM and WME he’s read over 60,000 scripts for consideration for A-list talent, such as Denzel Washington. Yes, 60,000. That’s not a typo. Every one of those scripts started with a logline. Whether you’re in the early stages of plotting your screenplay or have already written fade out, this webinar will help you create an effective logline and give you greater insight into your own work.

Cursing in Dialogue

Cursing in dialogue can have an impact on many things in your screenplay. We'll examine how swearing is used to reveal character, explore subtext, and drive a narrative forward.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In