Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
It’s no secret that television is a hot commodity right now. The “golden age of television” that began ten or so years ago has since exploded, and with new networks and streamers like Quibi, HBO Max, and Disney Plus coming into the fold, the volume of TV content has hit unprecedented levels. In fact over 500 scripted shows were broadcast or streamed in 2019 alone, more than any other year prior. And with more shows, there are more paths for writers to break in. After all, virtually all of these 500+ shows have their own writers' room. Yet even with this influx of opportunities, it’s still not exactly easy for new writers to land a job in this industry. Everyone’s path is different, but a tried and true route is to enter in as a writer’s room assistant and work your way up. Yet this, too, requires some wherewithal, skill and strategy.
Being an assistant affords you the opportunity to learn first-hand how a writers' room works without the pressure of having to contribute to the same level as staff writers. It can be an incredibly valuable and educational step in your career. In fact, as your career advances, this experience will allow you to contribute more than just stories and ideas; you’ll now know how rooms operate, how things run smoothly, and how to keep workflow productive. Yet this journey is easier said than done. Getting into the room as an assistant is one thing, but holding your own, standing out, demonstrating your value, and carving a place for yourself and your future can be even more challenging. So how do people actually get the gig as an assistant in a writer’s room, and how do they find success and further opportunities in the process?
Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community.
Marcelena will give you the lowdown of how writers’ room assistants work, how to navigate these jobs, and ways to use them to get ahead in your own writing career. She will begin by explaining the four main types of TV assistants, including the Writer’s Production Assistant, the Script Coordinator, the Showrunner’s Assistant, and the Writers’ Room Assistant. She will illustrate what these roles do and what they look like day to day, including primary responsibilities and general expectations. She will then teach you about writers’ room etiquette, including unspoken rules, how the four main assistant roles work within the ecosystem, who is actually in the room when and when to speak up and when to blend in. She will go over what the standard rates are for these positions and go over the main benefits of each position, including some you might not have thought of before. Next, Marcelena will explain how to find and apply for these assistant roles, including tried and true routes, and other strategies that are always worth a try. She will teach you how best to shine in each of these four roles and will also propose two additional positions—researcher and personal assistant to a writer—you could also consider in working to break in. Marcelena will detail what the future of TV writing looks like post-pandemic, specifically for assistants, and go over whether it’s important to live in LA for these roles. Finally Marcelena will talk about how assistants have used these positions to take next steps in their careers and become staff writers in their own right. Breaking into television is always going to be hard, but Marcelena will provide you what you need to know to approach it through a tried and true path that may just give you a step up you’re looking for.
"I know firsthand how hard it can be to break into TV as a writer. Everyone's journey is different, but I was able to grow and find success by working my way up as an assistant in a writer's room. I truly think it can be an invaluable experience and I'm excited to share what I've learned to give you the context and understanding you'll need to go down this path as well."
-Marcelena Campos Mayhorn
Marcelena Campos Mayhorn
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Jon got his start with CAA, before moving to Broad Green Pictures and then striking out on his own with Housefire Management. We discuss screenplay structure, boutique management, industry trends, & more, plus a live Q&A!
Getting a job in Hollywood can seem hard...but it doesn’t have to be. If you feel like every job application you send in is a shot in the dark, you may want to rethink your process. Luckily, there are many tangible strategies that can make the job search more efficient. Ultimately, the key is to find a way to stand out in the pack. And we’re here to help you do just that. During this 90 minute session, you’ll learn how to build a robust network, job search tactics that will get your resume into the right hands, how to craft effective resumes and cover letters, and tips to help you ace any job interview. Whether you’re just starting out or are hoping to transition into a new position that will move you closer to your goals, this course is for you. We are professional resume writers, dedicated to helping Hollywood hopefuls find their dream jobs. But unlike most professional resume writers, we are not recruiters or HR executives. Instead, we have actually worked in and hired for entry-level positions across Hollywood. After conducting hundreds of interviews and weeding through even more resumes over the years, we've learned that many qualified candidates simply don't know how to pitch themselves for the Hollywood jobs they want. And, in an industry where most jobs are filled through internal referrals, it’s crucial to impress not only the recruiters, but those in the actual departments that are hiring -- and we know what they’re looking for because we’ve worked in those departments ourselves. We’re excited teach you the proven networking strategies, resume and cover letter writing techniques, and and interview skills that we have used to succeed in our own careers and watched countless others use to succeed in theirs.
Learn directly from Producer Michael Wormser, whose online distribution projects have reached over 30 million viewers! Never has there been a more opportune time than now for filmmakers to directly reach a global audience. YouTube has not only provided the mechanics to do so, but also provides the bandwidth, platform, and global audience - all at the low low cost of FREE hundred dollars! Yes, that's right, FREE. Thousands of people across the world are using this platform to earn a living telling their stories, creating content based on their vision and their voice… Now it’s your turn to help carry your message to the masses. Many people create wonderful YouTube channels that go unseen. Stage 32 is here to help make sure that doesn't happen to you! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Wormser will teach you how you can harness YouTube to create your own network of content for your film and build a massive fan base. Michael will show you brick by brick how you can turn your film into tangible content, culminating that into a functioning channel, and ultimately helping you get to your target goals and have your film reach an audience of millions of viewers. Your host Michael Wormser operates Level 10 Films, a film and digital production company. Prior to that he served as Head of Production at Maker Studios, Executive Producer at BlackboxTV and recently partnered with YouTuber/Actor Joey Graceffa to produce the hit web series Storytellers, which has received over 6 Million views to date. Michael also produced the YouTube Movie Smiley, starring Shane Dawson and Toby Turner, that currently boasts over 30 Million trailer views, and the Hulu series Tease for Fox Television Studios.
In this challenge, members were asked to pick their favorite antagonist or villain from film, television or literature and in - ONLY ONE PAGE - write a monologue from his or her point of view. The participants could frame this as an interrogation, a negotiation, a confession, or a conspiratorial conversation. Most importantly, writers has to make sure the scene had conflict, and the character's point of view in his or her voice. During the webcast we heard from some of our favorite protagonists, including Loki from the Marvel Universe, Terence Fletcher of Whiplash, Commodus from Gladiator, Jack Bynes of Meet the Parents, and Lex Luther of Superman among many others.
If there has been one genre that has stood the test of time throughout the history of the film industry, it's the biopic. True stories about interesting people and events are always in vogue. Studios, indie production companies and the streamers love them because they draw big audiences and awards recognition. Actors love them because it gives them something meaty to chew on and increases their odds for awards success. Many a writer has broken through by writing a screenplay based on true events. And right now, especially with the streamers upping their game, the genre has never been hotter. But to write a killer, non-rote biopic, you need to understand where to find your material, how to secure it, and then how to best tell your version of the story so that it attracts representatives, producers, financiers, and talent. The last 10 years has seen a biopic renaissance. The Social Network, Wolf of Wall Street, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody, American Sniper, The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The King's Speech, Dolemite is My Name, The Irishman and Ford Vs. Ferrari all have been nominated or won major awards. And those are just a handful of the biopics that have been distributed either theatrically or digitally over the last decade. And with the streamers going full force, the studios looking for the sure thing, and the independent community looking for smaller, unknown stories, the desire for biopic and true story screenplays is only going to grow. Even short form biopics are booming with TV series and limited series based on real people and events all the rage. Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter, story consultant, and former literary manager with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series. Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers. With his vast experience, Tyler not only knows the world of writing biopics, but how to find and secure material as well. He will teach you resources to help you find the right material and how to find the right story for you to tell. He'll show you how to secure intellectual property. He will instruct you on the benefits of wiring an original screenplay vs. an adaptation. He will dig deep into the process of how to shape your story, including how to find your way into the story before you start writing so that your opening is an attention grabber. He will teach you how to do research and how you can do the extra legwork to go deeper into the world of your story. He will dive into 4 tips to join fact with fiction and 4 tips on dramatic license and when and how to use it. Tyler will show you how to creative the best character arcs possible including character motivation, behavior, stakes, and how the characters exist in time and place. He will help you uncover themes and make sure those themes are fleshed out to attract the widest audience possible. He will then discuss the market, how to sell, how to cover yourself legally and much, much more. If you've ever had a passion to tell a story based on a real person or events, Tyler will take you through everything you need to know to secure the IP, protect yourself legally, develop the story, write the screenplay and put yourself in a position to get the material massive attention. "Legitimately one of the best classes I've ever taken. I've had a story based on a book I've been eyeing forever and didn't know how to go about it. Now I do. What an incredible blueprint to securing, writing, and selling biopics." - Amanda P. "Outstanding in every way." - Marco G. "I'm overcome with gratitude. The best." - Danny C. "I don't think I could be any more inspired." Patricia S.
The key to succeeding in Hollywood, or really any industry, is to put yourself out there. We all know this is a business of relationships and that building relationships takes time and effort. But even if you've built a solid base of meaningful relationships, you still have to take action. Make inquiries, take meetings, get on people’s radars, show up. For introverts, however, putting yourself out there has always been easier said than done. And that’s in a normal world. Now, in this new quarantined era, and with seemingly everything - networking, pitch meetings, general meetings and more going virtual - putting yourself out there online can feel positively impossible. With extended isolation, reduced in-person connections, restricted travel, and working from home, how can you stay connected and relevant? And how can you do those things while being naturally shy? How can you overcome your self-imposed barriers. Believe it or not, it's easier than you think. The world might feel like it’s in standstill right now, but it’s more important than ever that you keep moving, not only for your career, but also for your passion and your well-being. It may be easy to curl up on your couch, order that delivery deep dish pizza, start a 7 season series on Netflix and fade away from the outside world, but it’s not going to move you or your desired career forward. Staying connected remains key, and to do that, it’s necessary to be versatile and continue to adjust as the world changes. But what does that look like? How do people successfully network from home? How do you use powerful tools such as Stage 32, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Zoom to help get yourself out there? And where do you even start the conversation as a naturally introverted person? The good news is you already have all of the tools to do it—you just have to power up and commit. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy and social media working with Lionsgate, Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. Along the way she has mastered the art of digital and has helped thousands of creatives overcome their fear of networking online. Jennifer has developed a passion and expertise in the art of networking and will share her experience exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jennifer will discuss the importance and benefits of staying connected and the larger positive implications of being involved. She’ll then delve into the tools we all have to stay connected in our own homes and the best ways to go about using them. Next, Jennifer will go over how to find your tribe in the current landscape and how to use your community not only to advance in your own goals but also to give back. She will give you the rundown of how best to approach new people virtually, including where to start, and right and wrong approaches she’s seen. She’ll then give you tips on how to make a good impression from your own home and how to define your brand despite being quarantined. Jennifer will discuss ways to be agile as the world continues to change, and how to stay on track while still being able to adjust. Finally, Jennifer will go over the best ways to set goals and then actually stick to them so that you can overcome your fears and reservations about getting yourself out there and get the results you desire! Praise for Jennifer’s Stage 32 Webinars " Fantastic, optimistic and informative, I feel I have a lot to work with and was a pleasure to be a part of" - Christie S. "Great webinar - lots of interesting and useful information. Great speaker! Thanks!" - Ron H. "Lots of good advice. Took 9 pgs of notes!" - Martha C.