Rachel Chervin is an industry veteran who formerly worked in development for Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman) in both features and television, to find and promote up-and-coming voices in the industry. She previously worked for Imagine Entertainment and the Gersh Agency, and assisted executive producers of several feature films including The Rite (2011) and Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012). While at the Gersh Agency, she worked closely with three partners in the motion picture literary department to evaluate potential new clients, some of whom now have their successfully produced scripts playing in theaters across the country. After having been on both the buying and selling sides of the business, she has extensive experience with what industry executives are really looking for and the language they use to talk about scripts under consideration. Rachel's specialty is creative development of material for writers and she has been giving suggestions for how to improve other people's writing since before she can remember. Her main focus is in comedy but she also enjoys sci-fi movies, TV shows about superheroes, and Game of Thrones. Full Bio »
A screenwriting journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page, to paraphrase an old saying. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical writer has to grab the attention of the anonymous, overworked reader that picked their script off a pile for evaluation. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the agent's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the agent's desk.
But who are these mysterious readers? Who decides which scripts go on to consideration or representation - and maybe one day fame and fortune - while others get a stone-cold pass? It's not exactly who you might think: 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.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Rachel Chervin will bring you an insider's perspective on agency submissions and what you can do to maximize the impact of your writing on the unsung decision makers of Hollywood. Rachel will discuss fun and informative strategies for giving yourself the best chance possible to make a lasting impression on everyone who reads your script. There are so many ways that writers can take themselves out of the running with easily avoidable mistakes, but fortunately, there are just as many ways to stand out from the pack and deliver a calling card script that demands recognition. The key, besides great writing, is knowing the Gatekeepers' game plan - and then blowing it out of the water.
Rachel Chervin has been on both the buying and selling sides of the business and has extensive experience with what industry executives are really looking for and the language they use to talk about scripts under consideration. She has worked in development for Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman) in both features and television, working to find and promote up-and-coming comedic voices in the industry. She has previously worked for several years at Imagine Entertainment and the Gersh Agency on several feature films including The Rite (2011) and Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012).
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!
We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
We love to hate them...or hate to love them! We're kicking off another month of a packed Writers' Room schedule with the Breakdown Webcast: Antagonists! During one of our character building webcasts, we noted that many of our examples of great characters, were characters who we traditionally see as antagonists! So let's dig in and really explore what makes these baddies so good. Stories need conflict, certainly, but conflict doesn't have to come at the hands of a cackling, mustache-twirling supervillain. There's more than one way to shape your story's antagonist! During this webcast we'll discuss 4 types of antagonists, 6 ways in which to develop a well-rounded and authentic antagonist, how to intrude your antagonists and explore our favorite antagonists from film and television, and a whole lot more!
How do I get financing? How can I win over a financier? How can I stand out from other projects looking for funding? How can I create a pitch that blows financiers away? These are the questions on everyone's mind. And we have the answer. One of our favorite educators, Tribeca-winning producer Samm Haillay, is back again exclusively at Stage 32 and this time, he's bringing the goods to help you design the best pitch possible for your film. As an example, Samm will be showing you the 15 minute pitch which helped raise ALL the funding for the feature length film, BYPASS, which went on to be nominated for Best Film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival (among others) and continued Samm's incredible stretch of raising funds and winning awards.. This film was written, directed and produced by Duane Hopkins, who's experience prior to this was primarily in short films. In this 2 part online class, Samm will break down what it takes for any filmmaker, producer, screenwriter or other creative looking to raise funds and get their projects into development!
In this Stage 32 Next Level webinar, Simon Graham-Clare will discuss 10 business steps for giving your project momentum and creating a viable package that feels right to investors. Having been involved in the production and/or financing of over 200 projects, Simon will discuss how a filmmaker can benefit by teaming up with a producer who understands this world, and he looks at all projects from an international point of view to give you a full spectrum idea of film financing. The last two films The Future Film Group produced were both first time directors, so Simon knows exactly what it takes to get your project in production, no matter if it is your first film or one of many. Simon Graham-Clare is a Producer at The Future Film Group, established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principles in both the entertainment and business worlds. It quickly established itself on the UK scene through its involvement in films such as Bend It Like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins). The company quickly formed a production division to work alongside its financing arm and, through an ever-expanding structure, has since been involved in the production and/or financing of nearly 200 films and television shows. Some of The Future Film Group’s notable productions include Transsiberian (starring Woody Harrelson and Sir Ben Kingsley), 50 Dead Men Walking (starring Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley) and Flawless (starring Sir Michael Caine and Demi Moore).
If you’re tired of your soul-sucking job or you have your own entrepreneurial venture but need to make more money now (because you’re tired of stealing your neighbors car and living off of Ramen Noodles), this webinar was built for you. During this jam-packed 90 minute teaching, you’ll learn how to find paid speaking, teaching, and writing opportunities that you didn’t even know existed. The best part is, you can start finding them right away and making more bankroll almost immediately. These opportunities not only bring in more money for you, they allow you to live your life on your terms and your timeline so that you can focus on building your career as a writer, actor, director, producer, fill in the creative blank. The fun doesn’t end there. If you sell a product or service, but find people are constantly trying to undercut you or get you to do it for mere pennies, we’re going to talk about what you can say and do to turn that around. You’re done giving yourself away. You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Aside from my time on the streets of Syracuse chasing criminals and crooked politicians (as a reporter, people, mind out of the gutter), I’ve had the pleasure of speaking on stages, hosting masterminds and workshops, and putting up live events for the past fifteen years. As a writer, I ghostwrite blog posts, books, and other content marketing pieces for other Creatives. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to find these kinds of opportunities, too. The best part? You don’t need prior writing experience. I’ve discovered that these multiple streams of income are the answer to creating a lifestyle that affords me the time and space I need to write my own scripts and take off for auditions or roles I’ve been cast in. If you’re tired of the crap job, you want to watch this. If you’re struggling to get your own small business off the ground, you want to watch this. But most of all, if you want to learn what it takes to create multiple steams of income that give you the time, money, and space you need to stay true to your talents, you really, really want to watch this.
Part 1 - Budgets & Cash Flows Maura teaches you how to create a realistic plan for your film and make sure there is always money in the bank for what you need. You'll learn how to figure how much money you really need, and how to put together a proper film budget. Part 2 - Cost Reports, Film Infrastructure, & Tax Incentives Maura discusses setting up a film's infrastructure (from setting up an LLC to finding a lawyer) and various accounting options. She details cost reports, and how to analyze what you've spent and what you need to spend. Lastly, she discusses tax incentives before hosting a Q&A session. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Maura is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all filmmakers to participate.