Jon Stahl is a working writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also 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 their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Jon’s career has hinged on writing quickly and efficiently by using various software and technologies and knows better than most how to use the tools available to enhance your own writing career. Full Bio »
There was once a time when screenwriters solely used typewriters to tell their stories. Obviously that time has since passed, and the tools writers use to create their scripts have drastically evolved. Software like Final Draft, Writers Duet and Fade In has been created to optimize a writers’ experience, help with formatting, and ideally aid writers through their various obstacles and make the process easier. Yet this doesn’t always work out as intended. Too often, technophobia - the tendency to be intimidated by technology - limits writers’ ability to work with efficiency and speed and makes these programs more overwhelming and burdensome than helpful. And with so many different types of writing software out there, how can you know which one is the best fit for you?
We all know that writing is hard enough on its own without the extra burden of navigating difficult technology. The tools you use to write shouldn’t get in the way of creativity. Instead, gaining confidence and proficiency with technology can allow it to fade into the background, allowing you to focus on the task of great screenwriting. Knowing how best to use the tools available to you—and which ones to use in the first place—can serve as a powerful boon to your writing process and overall career. Whether it’s software, hardware, or workflow, moving past the technophobia and embracing the tools that are right for you can allow you to write with more ease, speed and efficiency than might be otherwise possible. First, it’s important to know what’s out there and how to actually use it.
Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also 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 their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Jon’s career has hinged on writing quickly and efficiently by using various software and technologies and knows better than most how to use the tools available to enhance your own writing career.
Jon will give you the tools to embrace good technology and use all the technological tools at your disposal to tell an amazing story. He’ll begin with a rundown of the different tools you should have to write, including keyboards, monitors, ergonomics and software. He’ll then delve explain why you need screenwriting software in the first place. Jon will delve into the lay of the land of screenwriting software, including a run through of the main players, free and affordable options, and what the standards and expectations are in the industry. Next he will show you how you know what screenwriting software is the best fit for your specific needs. He’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses of the leading programs and show you what paid software can offer that free versions do not. Jon will then go through a live demonstration of Final Draft. He’ll walk you through Final Draft’s interface and main features, how to start a script on the software, how to set up your workflow through Final Draft, and keyboard shortcuts you need to know to save you time. He’ll also go through other tricks Hollywood writers use to optimize Final Draft, how to write safely and back up your work, and how to use templates. Jon will then do the same live demonstration for both WriterDuet and Fade In. Next he will discuss other types of software to consider, including general purpose writing software, miscellaneous writing tools, and system software. Finally, he will provide you with additional resources you should consider. Expect to leave feeling a lot more confident and a lot less overwhelmed in bringing in good technology to help your writing.
"Screenwriting software is a necessary tool for anyone who wants to write for film and TV. I'm so excited to lead this webinar and help anyone who wants to gain proficiency with these widely-used tools, so you can focus on the craft of storytelling."
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.
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!
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.
About this time in a normal year, filmmakers from around the world would be locking down their plans to travel to Santa Monica and attend the internationally renowned American Film Market (AFM). One of the biggest film acquisition, development and networking events in the world, AFM has provided a forum for thousands of films to find funding and acquisition deals since its founding in 1981. Yet this year will be different. Like most events right now, AFM has made the shift to virtual, and with that comes new rules, new expectations, and a new landscape. If you’re hoping to attend the AFM this year and leave with a deal in hand, it’s important you understand what the market will look like and how you can adjust your strategy to find success. With the AFM moving virtual, it will be even more competitive and challenging to access sales agents, buyers, and potential international partners. You will need to know who the players are and how to get their attention - all while working on different time zones and communicating virtually. Trying to understand this new way of doing business adds another layer of complexity as you navigate your market strategy, but don't worry. This new form of market is intended to be fruitful for all - and, most importantly, fun! Alexia Melocchi is a partner at Little Studio Films, and for over two decades has produced and sold award winning movies that have earned nearly $1 Billion dollars in box office returns worldwide. Her clients have bought and partially financed films such as LA LA LAND, PEPPERMINT, THE BOY, TWILIGHT, TEEN SPIRIT and THE BANKER. Amongst her personal producing credits are the DURAN DURAN documentary directed by David Lynch, SERVICE TO MAN released through Entertainment Studios, and SOL DE MEDIANOCHE released on HBO. Alexia is also the host of THE HEART OF SHOW BUSINESS podcast, where she discusses the behind-the-scenes of how Hollywood truly works. Alexia has built much of her success on attending major film markets and intimately knows what it takes to stand out and get the deals you’re after in these forums, whether virtual or otherwise. Alexia will guide you through how to work this virtual edition of the American Film Market to get the meetings you’re after and find success for your project. She will begin by outlining the cultural differences that you can expect at this year’s AFM and the global market shifts that are taking place. Then she’ll delve into AFM as a whole and what their new virtual format is going to look like this year, including their Industry Offices, LocationEXPO, On Demand Theatre, Conference, Networking Pavilion, and Advisor Network. She’ll provide you with a rundown of the specific sales agents, distributors, and producers attending AFM this year that you should know. Alexia will then teach you how to handle the virtual obstacles taking place at the market this year, including the online meeting landscape how to work Zoom like a professional, and how to handle time zones. She’ll give you tips on how best to prepare for AFM, how to make appointments ahead of time and select your target list, how to access your targets, and how to use database platforms to hone your plan, including AFM Connect, Cinando, IMDBPro, and Variety Insight. Next Alexia will explain how you should approach buyers. She’ll walk you through the perfect approach for buyers and how to get your message across in a limited time frame to the right person. She’ll also show you what you really need to have ready before AFM begins and other relationship building tips to keep in mind beyond AFM. Finally, Alexia will expand to show you current trends overseas. She’ll talk about production challenges and updates in a COVID-19 era and why you should be planning ahead for the good times. The path to success continues to alter, and the push to virtual is challenging for everyone, but with the lessons and tips that Alexia will provide, you will leave with a solid understanding of how to roll with the punches and find the opportunities you’re after. Praise for Alexia's Stage 32 Webinar "Really great. Actually useful, practical advice. Wasn't full of bullshit platitudes, Alexia shot straight with us, but was also positive and encouraging. All in all, really appreciated the way she gave an overview of AFM and how to best take advantage of it." -Max W. "Alexia did a fantastic job of making it all relatable and cutting through the noise." -Clint G. "I really did gain some needed information on how to address this film market online" -Craig H. "Alexia is clearing very experienced & she is so gracious in sharing her wisdom with all of us. I'm truly grateful that you all put on this webinar!" -Becca G.
It can be the bane of a filmmaker’s existence, but there’s no denying that financing is a critical step in getting that movie made. After all, not even the greatest script can get produced without the money and resources to back it up. But this is never a straightforward endeavor. Securing the funding for your film is almost without question a fraught, complicated ordeal. It can be enough to drive the most optimistic filmmaker away, but if done smartly and successfully, financing can give you the resources you need to not only see your vision through, but perhaps even to elevate it, to gather opportunities and talent to raise your project’s profile and find further success. Finding and dealing with financing for a film can feel like a Sisyphean task, a hunt for treasure without any map to help. After all, we’re not just talking about finding people with deep pockets who believe in your vision (though that definitely helps); you also need to be well versed in tax structure and incentives, legal codes, equity models, sales projections, crafting a pitch to investors—all things you likely didn’t learn along the way or through the process of writing that script. Yet as overwhelming and insurmountable as it seems, there’s always a way through, and there are strategies and skills you can pick up as a producer or filmmaker to find the money and navigate the politics and nuances of this difficult landscape. Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and has produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Aimee’s extensive experience has made her an expert in the art of film financing, and she has developed a slew of skills and lessons learned to more successfully find and manage funding for independent projects, skill and lessons that she’s excited to share with you. Aimee will give you a comprehensive look at how to finance your independent film and the tips and strategies to have in your arsenal to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity available. Aimee will start by discussing how equity models are structured and the benefits that come with starting your own LLC. She will then delve into the legal components of a standard investment deal, including being clear with who owns the rights to the film and how those rights are distributed and paid for. Then, Aimee will go into navigating foreign sales and domestic sales within this quickly changing landscape and how you may be able to find the right sales partner that can give you an advance to make the movie. Aimee will teach you everything you need to know about tax incentives and how best to take advantage of them and earn back what is essentially free money. Next, Aimee will discuss the benefits of crowdfunding and the strategies and tips she has employed in the past to create a successful campaign. She will talk about the rise of the digital streamers and how to target these platforms for possible funding. Aimee will then delve into the art of finding and approaching potential investors, including the research you need to do and how best to pitch them your project. Aimee will even share one of her own pitch decks to illustrate how to craft the perfect pitch deck. She will teach you ways to think outside-the-box and find non-traditional investors or partners that you might not have otherwise encountered. Finally Aimee will teach you strategies to better network, including finding way to get to people you don’t personally know and how to use film festivals and film markets to your advantage. Be prepared to leave this webinar with an expansive and comprehensive view of film funding and the tools you need to get your next project financed. Like what you heard from Aimee during this webinar? Send her your script and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Aimee’s Webinar: Clear and efficient! -Dirk B. I've watched several webinars on film financing and this has been by far my favorite. Thank you for the practical, straightforward advice, and for presenting the info in a way that is not too overwhelming to take in. -Rose M. Grounded and Practical -Jennifer S. This webinar was jam packed with so many useful and accessible strategies I can start using today. Thank you! -Brian D.
Putting together a project can be complicated. The amount of information to sift through, from guild requirements and guidelines to union rules and even whether to go union or non-union can be overwhelming, confusing and intimidating. For filmmakers, producers and other creatives looking to control their own content, navigating the guilds and the unions can be so daunting, it pushes back production and/or any forward momentum your project might have. Allow us to help demystify, simplify the guilds and unions landscape and get you on your way to doing what you want to most, making your film, TV or digital project. With independent productions on the rise, it's more important than ever to know how to handle your budget and schedule accordingly, and that begins with understanding which guilds you'll be working with and how to deal with their rules and regulations. It also means understanding the ins and outs of the unions. Buttoning up all of these important variables early will assure that nothing falls through the cracks, your set runs smoothly, and there are no unpleasant surprises once you hit the distribution and collection phases of your project. Rosi Acosta is a Unit Production Manager, DGA, who has worked on over 75 TV and Film projects and over 100 commercials. She is a valued name in Hollywood as a top UPM who's worked on films such as DRIVEN, SPEED KILLS, IMPRISONED and many more. With over three decades of experience, Rosi has worked internationally with production companies from US, Europe, Russia and Latin America. Rosi began as a casting director 32 years ago in Puerto Rico working for director Marcos Zurinaga at Zaga Films where she became one of the top casting directors in the Island. After working as such for a few years, she wanted to expand her horizons in production moving on to work with the most important TV producer in the Island, Gabriel Suau, in Telemundo-Puerto Rico, where she worked for several years in various TV shows and telenovelas. Rosi will begin by giving you a complete, yet simplified look at the guilds and unions. She will pull back the curtain and discuss the ins and outs and pros and cons of working with the labor organizations. Rosi will go over the differences between unions and guilds and help you decide if you should go union or non-union for your project. You will learn the organizations for above the line - WGAW, WGAE, DGA, SAG/AFTRA and PGA, below the line - IATSE, Teamsters and NLRB, as well as other organizations that work closely with them - ATA, AMPTP, MPAA, ASCAP, CSATF, MPSE and more. In addition you'll learn how to become a member of a union or how to become a signatory production. "Rosi, your 30 years of experience shined through today. You broke down this so it's easily understandable and now I know that my production this year will be union!" - Rachel G. "Awesome explanations of the unions, guilds and organizations. Very comprehensive." - Paul F. "You made this so easy to understand. Thanks Rosi!" - Brandon C. "Putting together my first film as a producer almost made my jump off a cliff. I wish I would have seen this first! What a world of difference it would have made. Thank you, Rosi!" -Marlene D.
Writing is rewriting but that doesn’t just mean dialogue. Scene description is a crucial part of screenwriting, but far too often, it’s not given the attention that it deserves. The reality is, many screenplays are marred by static, wooden scene description. But powerful scene description can help your story to leap off the page and give your screenplay the “pop” it needs. Your scene description is where your writer’s “voice” comes in… And the way you write this prose can make or break your script. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, professional screenwriter Steve Desmond will help you to elevate your descriptive writing to a professional level. He’ll help you to develop the tone of your story right on the page, long before it hits the screen. And he’ll dispel myths and go over how not to write scene description. Whether you’re working on an existing script or getting ready to start a new one, this webinar will help you to unleash your potential in prose writing and make the most out of every word in your screenplay. Your host Steve's latest script, Orb, was recently voted by industry executives as the #1 entry on the annual 2016 BloodList, honoring the top horror/thriller/sci-fi scripts of the year.
Welcome to the final Writers' Room webcast of 2019! The last broadcast of the year was the Write Now Challenge: Plot Twists! This month you were challenged to write a scene in 3-5 pages that tells a story with a major plot twist. This is no easy feat and perhaps the most difficult challenge we have faced to date! There is also a special question and answer session during the broadcast, where members asked me anything about the industry, the craft, the business, your screenwriting career or any other burning questions you may have!