Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
There is A LOT that goes into making a film. Countless roles, countless facets, countless obstacles. And while all aspects are important and necessary to put together a successful film, there are few components more crucial than casting. The cast is not only the key component in delivering your screenplay to an audience but it also determines whether or not you actually get your film made. Funding is often contingent on casting and on recognizable talent being attached, as is distribution deals which will allow your film to ultimately be seen. Actors have a huge influence on how the finished film will be received so how do you approach them and secure their services?
Many independent filmmakers quickly write off the idea of including name talent in their project, believing it’s a fool’s errand or something you can’t actually accomplish without deep pockets and deeper connections. This isn’t necessarily true, though. What is essential is a complete understanding of how the casting system works and how to successfully navigate it as an independent filmmaker. Perhaps the most important aspect of this process is the actor meeting, where you pitch your film and convince the actor or their reps to join the project. So much hinges on this meeting, and nailing it can make all the difference. So how exactly can you pitch a bigger actor to star in your project? With so many film projects to choose from, why should they choose yours?
Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Piotr will teach you how to successfully navigate and execute a key actor meeting in order to bring on a high level actor for your independent project. He will begin by going over how to build your wish list of the actors you’d like for your film, including how to choose who should go on the list, how to navigate creative vs. business choices, setting expectations early and being realistic, and dealing with budget. He will then explain how to approach your desired actor. He’ll explain how to navigate the catch 22 of attaching actors, which is the fact that you need money to go to actors, but you need actors to get money. He’ll talk about when in the process of your project to make contact, who to contact first and how, and how best to work with agents. Piotr will delve into how best to prep for the actor meeting. He’ll talk about the difference between a video conference meeting and a face-to-face one and go over what you should know going in. He’ll walk you through the research you should do ahead of time and where you should choose to meet and why. He’ll also give you a rundown of what your appearance should be for a good first impression and what the proper etiquette is. He’ll give you an idea of the key questions to ask your actor and how best to communicate your vision and prepare your look book to make a convincing case. Piotr will also give you tips of what to do if you’re facing a creative disconnect and how to overcome it. He’ll also go over how best to take criticism if it comes up during the meeting and how to ultimately know if you found the right fit for your actor. He will next teach you best practices for the meeting follow up, including the next steps to take care of right after the meeting, what the do’s and don’ts are, and how to deal with production delays that may come up in the process. Finally, Piotr will go through a case study of his own film THE LAST WITNESS and explain how he ultimately landed the actors Alex Pettyfer and Robert Wieckiewicz to play his lead roles. He’ll discuss the early development of the film, how he attached his producer, and when the key actors became part of the plan. Piotr will even share the look book he created to convince the actors to join. Key actor meetings are scary things, but Piotr will give you the tools you need to navigate them with more confidence and develop the skills to nab your dream actor.
Praise for Piotr's Stage 32 Webinar
"The presentation was very personable and straight forward. Thank you for the great advice and guidance"
"I learned some great tips on how to approach talent and work with them. Nothing is impossible. You just really need to be prepared and know what you are doing. This is especially helpful for first time directors or writer-directors."
"It was great hearing about all of this from someone like Piotr. It made me feel like I could do it too. Such great advice. Thank you, Piotr!"
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Limited Class Size - Only 5 Spots Left Payment plans available - contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details Work one-on-one with a top Hollywood manager as you write your one-hour pilot for a major streaming platform. HBO Max, Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Paramount+... Do you want to write for them? Their audiences want amazing new shows every day. But the bar is set high. That's where Stage 32 comes in. Whether you want to sell a show or be staffed on a series, the first step is writing a great one-hour pilot script. In this exclusive Stage 32 lab, you’ll work one-on-one with top Hollywood manager Charlie Osowik to craft your pilot script over 10 weeks. Professional screenwriters work with managers like Charlie to develop their ideas, pitch concepts, and get feedback on drafts. This relationship ultimately leads to a stronger script that executives are more likely to get excited about, and that is the exact process you’ll be going through in this lab. At the end of 10 intensive weeks, you’ll have a completed script, vetted and developed by an industry professional. Charlie is a literary manager who built a successful international sales career at FilmNation, Sierra/Affinity, Voltage, and MGM, so he knows what buyers are looking for. Since establishing his own company in 2018, he’s had numerous writers staffed (like on the HBO Max series DOOM PATROL) and helped them develop and sell original material (including 2018’s DUST). In addition to your five one-on-one meetings with Charlie, you will also have access to him via email for the entire duration of the class, and you'll be connected with the other writers in the lab through a private Stage 32 Lounge. With limited spots available for this lab, you’re guaranteed specialized attention for your script and the time to build relationships with your fellow writers. But don’t wait too long to sign up. Spots to work one-on-one with Charlie are limited to just 10 writers and they’re going fast. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to work with an industry pro and write your pilot script now!
All writers think they have the next great screenplay or series. And maybe you do! But to get the proper feedback, get the script into market shape, and have a confidant on the business side of your pursuits to get your work out there, having a great manager who's plugged in can make all the difference. It’s your manager who often is the key to getting in front of execs, getting staffed on a TV show, and building your career to writing full-time. But as most writers can attest, finding a manager can be HARD. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. It’s more in your power than you may think. Most managers will tell you that most newer writers make the same mistakes when looking for a manager that can prevent them from ultimately finding representation. The good news is that these mistakes are easily avoidable and can be replaced with effective strategies and actions that can greatly help your chances. It’s time to hear from a successful literary manager herself on how she finds clients and what you can do to find the representation you need for your own career. Audrey Knox is a TV literary manager at The Cartel, a premiere management company with clients on shows including the Emmy-nominated IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, Golden Globe winning CALIFORNICATION, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, BONES, LUCIFER, HAPPY!, BLACK LIGHTNING, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, and more. For years, Audrey has been helping clients get their work in front of execs and networks and most recently staffed one of her clients on the new series THE UPSHAWS for Netflix. As an established and successful literary manager, Audrey has seen more than her fair share of queries and writing samples and has met her fair share of hungry writers. She knows very well what mistakes most writers make and how the writers she ends up working with find success. And now she’s going to lay it all out for the Stage 32 community. In a special and exclusive 2-part class, Audrey will give you the tools you need and the strategies you’ve been lacking to put your best foot forward and better your chances of getting a great literary manager for your own screenwriting or TV writing career. In the first session, Audrey will walk you through how to approach managers the right way and explain the proper approach to query letters, writing samples, bios, and loglines. She even dissects brave volunteers’ own query letters and writing samples. After laying out this approach, Audrey will leave you to put these skills to use and actually reach out to managers on your own! The second session will discuss how the new approach worked and then dive into next steps you can take as a writer once you have an interested manager, including signing, how to be a good client that your manager will want to keep on board, and the other members of your team you may or may not need, like agents and lawyers. If you’ve been struggling to find representation, there are likely things you can be doing differently to better your chances. here’s no one better than Audrey to help you adjust your approach and ultimately get the representation you’re looking for.
Get one-on-one mentoring from an accomplished producer and favorite Stage 32 educator on writing your historical television pilot! Limited Class Size - Only 2 Spots Left! Historical shows are more popular than ever. From THE GREAT to CHERNOBYL to BABYLON BERLIN, these stories from yesterday are winning raves today from fans and critics alike. It’s never been a better time to write your own historical television pilot, and in this exclusive Stage 32 lab will help you do just that. Over eight sessions, you’ll study how to write a historical television pilot under the guidance of accomplished producer, Anna Henry. Throughout the class, you’ll study successful period shows depicting both real and fictional characters in historical settings, and cover crucial writing topics, such as: How to find the right story engine for your show Different approaches to historical subjects How to use source materials How to generate current appeal with yesterday’s stories Adding, altering, and conflating real people World-building Budget and production considerations Striving for authenticity over accuracy Challenges of writing exposition Avoiding anachronisms Common pilot problems And so much more Best of all, you’ll have time scheduled throughout the course to work one-on-one with Anna and ensure that your pilot has everything it needs and you walk away with an industry-vetted script to add to your portfolio. Anna is a producer and development executive who has set up projects at AMC, Amazon Prime, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, and OddLot Entertainment, among others. She’s worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as in management at Andrea Simon Entertainment where she worked with writers. Anna is also an instructor for Netflix & Stage 32 Creating Content for a Global Marketplace Program. Spots to work one-on-one with Anna in this unique opportunity are limited, guaranteeing you focused attention and the ability to network with your fellow writers. Don’t miss out on this incredible chance to develop your pilot with an industry veteran and leave with a fantastic historical pilot script. Payment plans available - contact email@example.com for details TESTIMONIALS FROM PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION FROM ANNA: "Anna's webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H.
Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success. When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life? Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for. Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project. Like what you heard from Jim from during this webcast? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Jim's Stage 32 Webinars: "This was my first webinar and I learned so much. I thought Jim was thorough in his descriptions of what each medium has to offer regarding IP" -Marietta K. "Jim opened up new avenues for our IP that I didn't realize existed. He was a great presenter and shared his own experience with relevant info. It was really motivating." -Ricki L. "Thoughtful way of exploring options. Using podcasts was inspirational." -JoAnne E. "Tons of new information. Thanks!" -Jacqueline L.
It's hard to get past the gatekeepers and know your script is in a decision maker's hands. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the manager's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. If a producer's script is perfect for the marketplace, a reader will get excited, move it up the ladder and then the wheels start in motion for finding financing, attaching talent and going into pre-production. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the decision maker's desk. 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. So, who are these gatekeepers, how do you even get to them and, more importantly, how do you win their endorsement to help move your script up the ladder? It's time to find out. Gabriel Chu works with artists, writers, and directors to identify and develop new ideas and stories, shepherding them from page to screen. As a story analyst at Sony Pictures, he works on current projects alongside the executive team and helps to field incoming submissions and identify new talent for the studio. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he was an executive at Vertigo Entertainment, working closely with award winning directors and writers on both animated and live action film projects for Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Fox Animation. Gabriel started his career at Bad Hat Harry Productions, and has also worked at Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures. Through his career, Gabriel has served as a gatekeeper in multiple roles and knows intimately what it takes for a script to break through and make it to the right person’s desk, and he’s ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Gabriel will give you a rundown of how gatekeepers manage script submissions and what you can do to give your own script the best chance to be noticed and make it past those first rounds of coverage to make it to the eyeballs you’re aiming for. Gabriel will begin by explaining how scripts are able to get submitted to studios and other gatekeepers in the first place, including through agents and manager, through script competitions, other types of referrals, and through networking. He will also explain how taking the assistant route at an agency could help your chances of getting that script noticed. Next he’ll outline how coverage actually works at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the differences between the procedures at production companies, studios, and other organizations and what their differing expectations might be. He’ll delve into what roles read your script at what point in the process, focusing on the verticals at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the roles of interns and assistants, coordinators, story analysts, and finally executives, and what each role looks for when reading scripts. Gabriel will teach you the common formatting errors that knock scripts out of the running before people even start reading for content, including title page expectations, font and spacing, dialogue formatting, and other issues. He will share real examples of scripts that exhibit these errors to share what they look like on the page. Next he will go over narrative issues that can also sideline a submitted script. Finally, he’ll share other strategies that can make your script stand out to readers in these positions. Through demystifying the process of script reading and coverage as well as the people behind it, Gabriel will leave you with a concrete sense of how to get your script in front of the people you want to read it, and practical ways to help your chances. Praise for Gabriel's Stage 32 Webinar: I was very pleased with the webinar. The speaker got right to the point and explained exactly how the screenplay selling process works. Steven W. I loved how Gabriel didn't pull any punches and gave a realistic assessment of the realities of breaking into the industry as a writer. -Peter M. I loved this webinar because Gabriel talked about a variety of things from how to approach agents/managers/producers, to what not to do in a script. I learned a lot! -Melissa P. Amazing. I liked the "no sugar coating" approach. -Candice E.
Whether it’s penning a feature screenplay or finding a staff position on a TV series, many actors have found new and continued success by venturing into writing. And there’s a good reason why. Transitioning from one part of the industry to another can feel daunting. But if you’re an actor, you’re not starting from scratch – you are pivoting. And in order to do so you need to recognize your strengths, utilize your previous acting experience, and build on your established relationships. Most importantly, as an actor, you already have inherent superpowers that will help you excel as a writer. Actors are storytellers so it makes sense that at some point they may want to write their own stories. But will you be taken seriously? Can you move from being in front of the camera to behind the computer screen successfully? You absolutely can. And you don’t have to give up acting in order to do so. Ultimately, you will be able to write, pitch, and produce better because of your previous experience. So let’s hone those skills and get you ready to make that pivot! After starting out her career as an actress, most notably starring as Emily in the cult classic 3 NINJAS, directed by Jon Turteltaub, Kate Sargeant has become an accomplished television writer, working on over 100 episodes of network TV on shows like CASTLE, CSI: CYBER, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS and BLINDSPOT. She has also written, directed, and produced a few of her passion projects including three short films: CHANGING LANES, FACING LIFE, and ANOTHER FOREIGN CONCEPT. In addition, Kate launched an original comedic series that she wrote, directed, and produced called YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON THE INTERNET about our obsession with social media. Most recently Kate served as a Supervising Producer on a one-hour drama for Sony entitled OBLITERATED. Kate just launched a new half-hour comedy series on YouTube entitled VIRTUALLY SINGLE, which she created, wrote, produced, and stars in. Kate has successfully navigated the pivot from acting to writing and is excited to share what she’s learned during this transition. Exclusively for Stage 32, Kate will teach you how you can make the jump from acting to writing, not by starting over, but by using the superpowers you’ve already developed as an actor to take the next step. She’ll explain her own story and how she made the jump herself before explaining how you can do the same. She’ll discuss what it really means to become a writer and will then show you the superpowers you have as an actor that you might not realize that can help you with every element of writing, from dialogue writing to pitching. She’ll discuss specific challenges you’re going to need to face as an actor and will give you tools and strategies to take the first steps towards writing. She’ll finally reveal how you can use your writing to boost your acting career. If you’ve always wanted to write but have never been sure how to make the leap, Kate will give you the tools and inspiration you’ve been looking for