Nikki Levy served as Vice President of Wedge Works, a feature film production company with a deal at Fox Animation where she developed the animated film, EPIC. Prior to that, she was Director of Development at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment where she oversaw and developed comedies, as well as Academy Award-nominated Frost/Nixon. She got her start at the Oxygen Network in New York, and cut her Los Angeles teeth in the Endeavor mail room before becoming an assistant and then story editor to Producer, Alison Greenspan at Di Novi Pictures (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants). Nikki is host and creator of the critically-acclaimed live comedy event DON'T TELL MY MOTHER! where writers and performers share true stories they'd NEVER want their moms to know. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (R/TV/F ’99), and hails from New York City. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her pit bull, and believes storytelling is the meaning of life. Full Bio »
Learn directly from a studio executive, Nikki Levy, Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX!
They say “write what you know” and then we sit there racking our brains for story ideas. What’s that big silver bullet, high-concept idea that will get me noticed? That will sell? That will put me on the map? STOP! There is a better saying, “If you survived childhood, you have enough stories to last for the rest of your life.” And that’s where my money is.
Some of the most important screenplays and TV shows in the last two decades have come from complete TRUTH. Think of Seinfeld or the groundbreaking movie (500) Days of Summer. We don’t have to look outside ourselves for great ideas. What we have to do is look inwards, at our own life and pain and joys, to create great story ideas, comedy and dialogue.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nikky Levy, veteran feature film executive and creator of the critically-acclaimed comedy event Don’t Tell My Mother!, will teach you how to turn your life into a killer story that gets YOU noticed. She will look at ways to find the gems of struggle and victory in your life, and how to translate those into cohesive stories with an arc, a strong narrative structure and characters we love.
Nikki will examine how to keep our work from becoming a therapy session, and instead crafting it into an emotional, funny, relatable story. She will examine movies that did this successfully, and why. She will also discuss how to spin your own personal history into an engaging “story” so you wow executives, agents, managers and talent.
Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.
If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email email@example.com.
Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.
YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.
Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.
Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.
Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request accommodations.
Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.
If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at email@example.com.
So, you’re a writer with a great script. You want to get signed! You want to get it sold! Heck, you just want it to be read! This is where you learn what the studios/producers/agents look for in a script, so you can address those points before anyone even takes a look. You will be miles ahead of the screenwriting pack by knowing IN ADVANCE how they evaluate a script. Or you’re a writer/producer. The #1 job of any producer is knowing how to identify material, and how to make that material BETTER. This is where you will learn how to break that script down, and build it back up. Or you’re a director. It is your duty to look at a piece of material (yours or someone else’s) and know how to improve all aspects of it – from story to character to conflict. Or, you’re an actor reading a screenplay. You like the part, but something’s missing. The story needs work. You want to shine, and it’s up to YOU to give notes on that character and that story. But you don’t know how to express to the director/producer what you innately feel. This is where you will learn how to analyze the script, and communicate what you think to make your role pop. This workshop is for anyone looking to break into the industry, or anyone already deep into it who wants a better grasp of story. Story is king in entertainment – now and always – and knowing what makes a good story and how to improve upon one, is vital.
Learn directly from Jen Grisanti, acclaimed Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, and a former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/ Paramount and Spelling Television! Many writers wonder what it’s going to take to get them from being a non-working writer to a working writer. You’ve written great scripts. You’ve entered competitions and writing programs. You may have placed, been a finalist, or even won. However, you’re still waiting for your professional career to start. What is it that makes a TV pilot or screenplay hit it out of the ballpark and get sold? What can you do to your writing to make it more sellable? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Jen Grisanti will teach you the 7 Pillars of Story. What exactly is that? It's the fundamental story components necessary to take your script from good to great. Jen will teach you from the studio executive/analyst perspective how to see your story differently and identify what is currently missing in your script. Jen herself has gone through analyzing countless Oscar and Emmy award-winning scripts and has applied that to her writer's techniques. This has led to over 30 of her clients selling pilots, five of which went to series. After being mentored by Aaron Spelling for 12 years, Jen has emerged as a pro in breaking down story and helping you, as a writer, get the most out of your script. Plus, for Stage 32 members, she will provide case studies for you to learn from! She will be using examples from her clients’ work and how they successfully implemented the 7 pillars to get their scripts sold. Under the guidance of Jen, you will leave this webinar fully prepared to write a marketable story that can help you go from good to great and make the move from non-working to working writer! PRAISE FOR JENNIFER'S TEACHINGS: “It’s very simple, when Jennifer Grisanti talks, writers listen. And they listen because she gets it, can see where they missed it, and knows how to bring them to it.” - Steve Binder, Co-Executive Producer, NCIS“A lot of instructors preach ‘write what you know,’ but Jen’s method is more ‘write what you feel.’ She recognizes that every writer has unique experiences from which to draw, and she helps you access those experiences so you can turn them into stories that have a beating heart on the page.” - Rick Muirragui, Co-Executive Producer, Suits"Jen combines her passion for story with an astute understanding of what makes a story relateable. Nothing gets by her — whether it’s a question of character development, theme, or major story beats, her suggestions are spot on and have helped me realize each script more completely, I trust her instincts implicitly.” - Jude Roth, Feature/Television Writer, Page Int’l finalist, Slamdance and Cinestory semifinalist, Austin second rounder
Learn how you can keep the stakes high at all times in your screenplays from the Emmy-nominated writers of the critically acclaimed series THE HANDMAID'S TALE PLUS! You'll receive a downloadable copy of the pilot script for THE HANDMAID'S TALE! Do you ever wonder why you are so drawn to your favorite series and films? What is it about the story that hooks you and keeps you glued to the screen? What makes you fear for your favorite characters while hoping they accomplish their goals and defeat their foes? While there are a number of facets that make a story compelling - nuanced characters, solid world building, and sound story structure to name a few - there is one fundamental aspect of storytelling that keeps audiences engaged: maintaining high stakes. If you’ve ever heard the term “raise the stakes” you’re familiar with the notion of putting your characters in situations that provide the greatest risk if they do not accomplish their goal. While obvious examples of high stakes can be seen in most action films (i.e. defusing the bomb, saving the planet, winning the war), high stakes don’t need to be existential or life threatening; rather, the stakes are as big as their meaning to the characters. While the stakes can vary from story to story, it is critical that you, the writer, maintain high stakes for your characters no matter what you are writing. However, how can you create high stakes and maintain them throughout the course of your story? How can your characters face their stakes in a way that is meaningful and doesn’t feel cheap to the audience? How can you milk the conflict for as long as possible to draw out the tension? Here to answer all these questions and teach how to keep the stakes high in your writing are John Herrera and Nina Fiore, Emmy-nominated writers and producers on Hulu’s critically acclaimed series THE HANDMAID’S TALE. John and Nina are instrumental in keeping audiences engaged in the show and are excited to share their screenwriting knowledge with the Stage 32 community. John and Nina have also written on BLOOM, a new show for Netflix that will be coming soon - and on USA’s THE PURGE, Syfy’s NIGHTFLYERS, BLOOD DRIVE, ALPHAS, and EUREKA. PLUS! You will receive a copy of the pilot script for THE HANDMAID'S TALE. If you’re a screenwriter looking to tell an engaging story that will keep your audience begging for more, this webinar is a must!
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!
Theater closures brought on by the global pandemic are now leading exhibition and distribution communities to work together and think outside-the-box in order to preserve the arthouse theatrical landscape. Imagine a world without arthouse theaters. It’s a bleak concept for cinephiles and filmmakers alike. In a world where landing a traditional, theatrical commitment from a distributor is like winning the golden cup, what are our options when none of those theaters are open? More so, how do we keep independent theaters, already operating on thin margins, alive to fight another day and provide filmmakers, producers and financiers viable options to make profits on their films? Thankfully, there's a new an exciting option to explore. Navigating a successful theatrical release is an enormous challenge, in and of itself, when exhibition is operating normally. Add in a global pandemic and those challenges rise even higher. What are the options? Does your distributor simply claim force majeure and rush you into the home entertainment landscape? Will the home entertainment revenues be hurt by the lack of theatrical exposure? How do theaters survive and make money when they can’t have patrons at their physical locations? In times of crisis, it’s always impressive to see innovation born of necessity. Behold the birth of the "virtual theatrical" release, which has emerged and become a key player in these virtual times. But what is that exactly? How does it work? Can you make money and are other digital platforms willing to accept theaters playing in their sandbox? It’s the new Wild West. Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. Kristin has been at the forefront of this emerging distribution option "virtual theatrical" and will bring her experience to the Stage 32 community for you to understand what it is, how you can make money for your film from it and if it's right for you. Kristin will go over the current theatrical distribution landscape which has been affected by the COVID19 pandemic and discuss current available options for your film's distribution. She will introduce a brand new type of distribution, virtual theatrical, and break down the players, how it works from a macro and micro level and how it makes money. She'll go over how to navigate this new reality and how virtual theatrical folds into traditional and non-traditional release plans, reporting and logistics. She'll go over the pros and cons of a virtual theatrical release and help you decide if it's the right thing for your film. She'll also discuss what the future holds for distribution and buying habits in the current environment. These are challenging, yet exciting times for the industry and especially for those working in independent film. Kristin will give you all the current information and guide you through all scenarios including virtual theatrical to assure that your film has the best chance at profitability. Praise for Kristin's Stage 32 Webinar: "Very informative and have learned a great deal. Will definitely put to use for our Feature Film Projects. Thank you!" -Haskell A. "The webinar was cutting edge and valuable information" -Angela G. "Very good practical information detailed enough to get the lay of the land on this topic." -James P. "Great info in a new age." -Mary M.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Joe Russo will take writers behind the scenes of 2 horror films and 1 horror pilot. This webinar will be an honest, unapologetic look at the successes and struggles during the development process for each case study so you can you learn what to mimic and what to avoid for your own project. You Will Leave the Webinar With: An understanding of how each film and TV project came to be. An understanding of the different strategies used to package each project and how they were introduced to decision makers. A comprehensive look into the notes process so you can learn what went right and, more importantly, what went wrong. Clear advice on how to apply these lessons to your own script or project. Learn directly from Joe Russo, producer who has helped steer writers' projects through the development process to land on The Young and Hungry List, Hit List and The Black List and sell to the Major Studios and Networks. Joe’s extensive production background includes working on productions for FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios!