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
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.
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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.
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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!
Ready to make the transition into TV work? Or looking to start your career in TV? Even the best actors can stumble when faced with starting out in a new medium. Especially if your experience or training is mostly in theater, there are key differences between the audition styles. Most actors start with co-star roles, which are often short scenes that can be especially challenging to prepare well. Breaking into TV also requires a strong working knowledge of the business, how to build relationships with casting directors and agents, and how to best market yourself. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, actors Uma Incrocci and Christian Pedersen will walk you through each step of the TV casting process, from submissions to auditions to producer sessions to bookings. They’ll discuss practical strategies on how to get in the audition room, how to prepare for the room, and how to book the room. They’ll focus on how to tackle a co-star audition – with specific tools and tips on preparing the material, even if you only have one line. They’ll share the tactics they use themselves on how to deal with nerves, how to ace the chit chat in the room, and how to be a smart actor that casting directors will want to call in again and again! They’ll also offer a preview of what to expect on your day on the set. Self-taped auditions are becoming more and more the norm, so they’ll also review how to make a high-quality audition video. After attending over a hundred casting director workshops and classes, going on hundreds of auditions, and booking many TV roles, Uma and Christian offer a unique insider perspective on getting started in TV work.
In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, TV or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily. But finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to understand how to properly use the tool and work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. The truth is, for as often as drone camerawork is used in film, television and new media today, you can still stand out as a cinematographer in a big way by using drones smartly, artfully, and effectively. But what turns drone photography from mediocre to great? And how can you use this tool to stand out and not only enhance your current project but also help you get more work in the future? Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy and has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will continue his drone cinematography education by expanding into the more intermediate and advanced elements of creating a great drone shot and using your work to help you get work. He will begin by going over the nuts and bolts of operating a drone, including preparation and safety checks, proper thumb and finger placement, and what the 180 degree shutter rule is. He’ll also explain how to maintain the shutter rule with ND and PL filters and teach you how to properly take off and land. He will also give you tips of how to eliminate variables and trip points when planning your flight and will show you how to continue to improve. Next Chris will break down the anatomy of a good drone shot. He will explain when drones are useful and when they should actually replace a jib or dolly shot. He’ll talk about the importance of getting the shot you’re after and how to tell if you’re overshooting. Next Chris will discuss different types of cinematic drone shots, including landscape shots, dolly shots, and lift shots. Then he’ll go more in depth of when you SHOULD use a drone and when you SHOULDN’T, including questions you should ask yourself before using the drone, how best to plan your shot, and what situations are most effective for drones. Finally, Chris will go over how drones work in the industry and how this particular skill set fits in. He’ll teach you the best ways to show off your talent and get noticed and give you tips on pathways to find work, including networks and communities, forums and drones for hire databases, and how that intersects with representation. Chris will leave you with a lot more context, skills, strategies, and knowledge to start using drones for your project and stand out from the pack while doing it. This is Part 2 of Chris Tangey's Drone Cinematography Webinar Series. To check out Part 1, now available on demand, click here. "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey
The Cartel Manager Corey Ackerman joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
***All lab spots filled - Check our Next Level Class and Lab page for new opportunities as we continue to announce** If you’re a writer, producer or other aspiring creative with hopes of one day actually getting behind the camera and directing your own project, taking the first step can be daunting. Where do you even start? And how can you be sure you know what you need to in order to take that plunge? Now you can under the guidance of Oscar-nominated director/producer Rick Rosenthal. Over the course of 7 weeks, Rick will guide you through actually prepping, shooting and editing your first project as a director in a supportive and encouraging environment - best of all? You can do all of this in the comfort of your own home. Even better? You don’t need any special equipment to participate. All you need is a cell phone that records video, a computer, and editing software that you will download for free. You will leave this lab with real world, valuable practice in putting a project together, and the knowledge and skills to direct the next project on your own. Rick Rosenthal is an Oscar and Emmy nominated director/producer and the CEO of Whitewater Films, which is known for many feature film hits that have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, and more. Through his film directing background, Rick has directed the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Sean Penn, John Lithgow, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Along with his credits directing films, Rick has also worked as a producer on Amazon’s Emmy-winning series TRANSPARENT for the first three seasons, along with directing and producing credits on countless other shows. When Rick launched Whitewater Films as a production company, he committed to helping up-and-coming filmmakers and offering them the advice and assistance he never had. Furthering his drive to give back and educate burgeoning filmmakers, Rick also served as the chair of the Directing Program at the American Film Institute. Through his decades-long career Rick has become well versed in diverse genres of filmmaking and has specialized in educating and empowering new voices, which he is bringing directly to the Stage 32 community. Through this lab, you will have the opportunity to prep, shoot, and edit two scenes from a script that Rick will provide you. You will learn camera placement, camera movement, blocking a scene, all from different points of view--single character, multiple character, and omniscient. Rick will bring in a special guest editor to teach you the basics of editing a scene through the free software DaVinci Resolve, which is quickly becoming an industry standard. Through Rick's mentorship, you will walk away confident to take these skills and apply them to your own directing project, whether that's a short film, feature film, or web series. 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 practiced director 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for writers, producers, or other aspiring creatives interested in becoming a director and looking for actionable skills, practice, and guidance to make this transition. 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 six weekly sessions. There will be an additional week where you will sign up for an extensive one-on-one mentoring session with Rick. In addition to the lessons where Rick 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 directing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".
Using the investigation scene from The Wire or the AI & Wu scene from Deadwood as inspiration, craft a scene where characters communicate using as few words as possible. As a second option, use the initial meeting between Sean and Will in Good Will Hunting or Annie's wedding shower meltdown from The Bridesmaids, and write a scene where your character snaps!
HAPPY 100TH WEBCAST! We're jumping in the Writers' Room Pitch Tank for #100 with special guest, Literary Agent Ariella Carmell of PureFlare Talent! Ariella has been specifically tasked with building the literary department from the ground up! PureFlare is one of the fastest growing bi-coastal, boutique talent and literary agencies, representing talent nationwide. They are known for cultural diversity and represent clients across film, television, theatre, and more. Clients have appeared in projects such as GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, GREY'S ANATOMY, LEGALLY BLONDE, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THE OFFICE, LETHAL WEAPON, and many more. Previously, Arielle held positions at 21 Laps Entertainment and Red Wagon Entertainment. She was named the 2019 Michael Collyer Memorial Fellow in Screenwriting by the Writers Guild of America, East. During this pitch session we heard from writers across the world who pitched a variety of projects including a supernatural and psychological thriller, a sports comedy, a historical series about the Slavic Dark Ages, a "MomCom", and many more!