James Dalessandro is a best selling novelist (“1906”), true crime writer (“Citizen Jane”), a full-time working screenwriter and a member of the Writer’s Guild of America. Academy Award winning director Brad Bird is attached to direct the upcoming live action film of James Dalessandro’s “1906” novel and screenplay (on Deadline). James recently finished the Pilot and Bible for the TV series “THE RESTLESS” for POW! Entertainment, created by the late STAN LEE, who handpicked James as his writer. In the past several years, James has sold or been hired as Writer/Executive Producer by the FX Channel (12-Hour Limited Series), Eone Entertainment (Two One-Hour Dramas), Televisa USA/Gaumont Entertainment (One-Hour Drama) Starlings Entertainment (a One-Hour Scripted Series, and a Reality/Documentary series), and Grosso/Jacobson Entertainment (several One-Hour Series and Mini-Series). Lew Hunter, Co-Dean of the UCLA Screenwriting program, calls him “one of the four or five best screenwriting teachers in the world.” Full Bio »
Hollywood studios will release less than 100 movies in 2019, most written by veteran writers. The Independent Film market is struggling. All the while TV is exploding. More than 90% of working WGA writers are in TV, which is the market for quality writing and entertainment. Why? TELEVISION IS RUN BY WRITERS. In 2019, Television will produce more than 500 original scripted shows – that’s more than 5,000 scripts – with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon alone spending a combined $20 to $25 BILLION on programming.
What’s the secret to breaking in, finding a job on staff or selling a new show? A GREAT, ORIGINAL PILOT. James Dalessandro will work with aspiring Writers, Directors, Producers to focus them on what it takes to make the dream come true – a career in Television.
Your host James was handpicked by Stan Lee to write the TV Pilot and Bible for THE RESTLESS for POW! Entertainment. In addition he also has Brad Bird (Incredibles, Incredibles 2, Ratatouille) attached to direct a feature film '1906' based on his own novel. He's also written and produced TV for FX, Eone, Televisa USA, Starlings Entertainment and Gross/Jacobson Entertainment.
***All attendees will receive a pdf of THE AMERICANS pilot!
THE AMERICANS PILOT. Each participant will receive a PDF of THE AMERICANS Pilot. It is highly recommended that everyone read the Pilot script and re-watch the Pilot on NETFLIX so they can compare the differences. WHY? Because James will be going through one of the best Pilots ever written, as Participants refer to their scripts.
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Write Now Challenge: Antihero Character Bios, in which we will hear more about the characters you have created! This month you were challenged to write a character bio for an antihero of your creation. This is unlike any other challenge you've tackled here if you need any last minute inspiration, just revisit the Breakdown Webcast on antiheroes here! As part of this challenge, I will be turning the microphone over to you! If you have submitted your pages and would like to read them for the group, you are more than welcome.
It’s the dream of many to have a career as a writer for TV or film, to be able to make a living creating worlds and telling stories. It is no doubt an exciting career, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For as many people that find success in screenwriting, there are many others who don’t. This doesn’t just come down to talent, but also to a huge array of other aspects (not to mention a good amount of luck and circumstance). Ultimately if you want to write full time, it’s important not just to hone your writing skills, but also the skills needed to live a writer’s life. It’s common for people to jump into the world of screenwriting and strive to write full time without really considering what goes into this lifestyle beyond simply writing. But the life of a screenwriter isn’t exactly straightforward or easy. Even the most successful and in-demand writers face unique challenges and difficulties. After all, you’re not just writing; you’re constantly finding new opportunities, you’re developing your craft, you’re building your brand, and balancing all of it with your own personal life. Though of course, along with these obstacles come incredible opportunities to create, to inspire others, and to contribute to today’s culture. So what does it actually mean to write full time, what does that life look like, and how can you best shape your career and your day-to-day to make the most out of your screenwriting profession? Let’s dig in. Lorien McKenna is a full-time screenwriter as well as co-host of the popular podcast THE SCREENWRITING LIFE with her writing partner Meg LeFauve (INSIDE OUT, CAPTAIN MARVEL). Lorien was a former Pixar story manager who worked on such features as UP, BRAVE, INSIDE OUT, and THE GOOD DINOSAUR and served as a producer for Paramount Animation, where she oversaw development for the animated hit WONDER PARK. Lorien and Meg sold their romantic comedy anthology, THIS THING CALLED LOVE, to Hulu with Dan Lin producing; as well as a half hour sitcom, POOG, to NBC and WBTV. Lorien also wrote HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY, based on the book of the same name by Jesse Ball, for Straight Up Films. Previously, she served as the Co-EP for Hulu's CURIOUS GEORGE series, and has developed projects for Disney Jr., Funko, and Netflix. Lorien has found her path and road to success through screenwriting, and has learned a slew of lessons along the way. Now she’s excited to share her perspective and advice with the Stage 32 community. Lorien will dig into what it actually means to be a full-time screenwriter and offer strategies and advice for those starting out to find their footing and create a long-lasting career. Lorien will describe what a day, month, and a year in the life of a full-time writer looks like and how she’s navigated successes and setbacks along the way. She’ll offer tips into how to make ends meet as you get started and when you might be able to give up the side job. She’ll speak to finding the writing/living balance so you can stay connected. Next Lorien will go into advice into how to get your actual writing done, day in and day out and how to improve and learn along the way. She will discuss what she has done to build her brand and reputation and why she hates networking. Finally, Lorien will share the five most surprising things she’s learned in her writing career. Every person’s writing career is different, but Lorien will provide you with context, perspective and a collection of tools you can include in your own toolbox as you work to build your own path as a screenwriter. Check out Lorien on her podcast THE SCREENWRITING LIFE! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheScreenwritingLife Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_screenwriting_life/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/_TSLpodcast TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@thescreenwritinglife?
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out. The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve. Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry. Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar "This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!" -Allie R. "This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!" -Taylor D. "I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!" -Gail B. "This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects." -Irene C.
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.
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. 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. 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.
It's no secret that raising funds for a film is a difficult proposition. Most people who repeatedly invest in the film industry have no shortage of projects from which to choose to place their money. They also have a particular set of standards and requirements that need to be met before they write a check. Even more casual investors in film who go in with lowered expectations still will want to see that you have the knowledge, discipline and understanding on how to handle and protect their money and put them in the best position for a return. The fact of the matter is that you could have the most attractive project with a highly marketable and commercial screenplay and fantastic talent interested in attaching, but if you can't deliver on the important details, know how to answer the toughest questions, and show that you have the savvy to withstand the scrutiny associated with putting together a film financing deal, your potential investment target will be on to the next pitch without a blink. Regardless of the approach, there is one fact that is undeniable: you need to know every angle on how a film can come together and be able to show clearly and concisely a path to how your investor is going to recoup their money and potentially make a profit. To do that, you need to be able to put together an investor kit, first for yourself, and then as something you can tailor to your investors. There's no need to be intimidated by this. Once you understand the various facets of film investing, the rest will fall into place quite naturally. And we're here to help you do just that. Kevin Christoffersen has been producing multi-media content internationally for over two decades across four continents while living in five countries. Currently, Kevin is working as a development executive, producer, writer and consulting with the technology platform Movie Rights Exchange which is changing the way films are being distributed. Kevin's current projects include his co-written feature, Falling Up with Stephanie Drapeau, Dallas Brennan’s Deception Road, a new Hal Hartley feature in development and Rear View Windows being casted by Kerry Barden. Kevin has guest lectured at NYU, teaches workshop classes with the IFP, Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, Filmshop and moderated a producers panel at the Hunter Mountain Film Festival. He then works with students on creating their packages throughout the A to Z Development process. Kevin will be teaching about the step by step process required throughout the development financing stage of your feature film project to create your "Investor Kit". This includes all of the elements from business plans to budgets, proof of concept videos, retaining production counsel and a casting director. Kevin will show you the all important skill of bringing packaging elements to your project, something so very important in this day and age. He will tell you how to handle the common issue of securing "First-in money" and how to navigate talent retainer fees. He will talk co-production agreements, also a valuable thing when putting together a film. He will teach you about distribution agreements, tax credit loans and pre-sales estimates. Kevin will even teach you how to source your investors and how to build a powerful team so you can wear limited hats and divide and conquer. Praise for Kevin "Took the intimidation and fear of approaching investors by presenting clear facts and strategies that make perfect sense." - Michael M. "I've read complex and dense books on this subject that have taken me months to get through and I learned more in 2 hours with Kevin. Brilliant material." - Cheryl Lee K. "This one was off the charts." - Sammie P. "This removed so many questions. So many. I feel as if the clouds have parted. This IS possible. Thank you, Kevin." - Marty K.