Mike Gauyo is a TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA. Originally born in Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently writes on HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE with Issa Rae. Mike also founded The Black Boy Writes Mentorship Initiative, a mentorship program for black men who are looking to break into TV writing. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings. Full Bio »
Do you want to break in and get staffed in a TV writers' room? Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting, and as it turns out, you need more than just writing chops to shine in this context. Pitching ideas, working and getting along with fellow writers, story editors, and showrunners, overall presentation and how you hold yourself—all of this plays a role in how well you do in a writers’ room and how you can build your career as a TV writer and producer. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform.
As it turns out, not all writers’ rooms are built equally. Rules and expectations change depending on the genre of the show, the network or platform, who the showrunner is, and how many writers there are. As a result, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and writers who might fit in well at a episodic network drama room might have to adjust if they are later staffed in, say, a comedy room for a streamer. That said, there are still strategies, tools, and things you can understand to better break into a room, fit in, and rise through the ranks. Let’s take a closer look.
Mike Gauyo is an accomplished TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA. Originally born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently serves as Story Editor on the final season of HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE. Mike is also developing his own content and at the top of 2021 launched a mentorship program for pre-WGA Black writers, called the Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings.
Mike breaks down how different TV writers’ room work, and how you can best break in and interact in these settings to build your own TV writing career. He’ll lay out the different types of writers’ rooms and go through the general hierarchy of any room, from assistants to showrunner. He’ll offer advice and strategies on how you can best break into a writers’ room in the first place and then explain how to work your way up once you’re in, including getting promotions and finding opportunities for set or production experience. He’ll finally teach you what good etiquette in a room is, how to form relationships, pitch and effectively work with everyone else in the room.
Whether you're currently in a writers' room looking to advance or move to a different show, or a writer looking for your first television experience, Mike will offer the knowledge, strategies, and perspective to help you take the next step you're looking for.
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Outlining isn’t for everyone. But if you find yourself struggling with where to begin, or getting stuck in the middle of a draft, or if the concept of writing a full screenplay just feels too daunting, then an effective outline can help make the process easier. An outline helps you to dive into your story before you begin writing, so that you can craft a plan for turning your vision into a reality. If your screenplay is a house, the outline is the architectural blueprint. Mastering outlining can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. It happens to everyone: You have an idea that you’re passionate about and leap into writing page one. But eventually, that initial spark wears off and it’s a struggle to figure out what to write next. Outlining is a great way to curate your ideas into a game plan so you can hold on to that spark. But in order to have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Steve Desmond is a WGA screenwriter whose screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times in the past five years, including in 2020 with his latest script, The Saturday Night Ghost Club. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar nominated producer attached. FilmNation (Arrival, The King’s Speech) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World. He’s also been hired to work on projects for Legendary Pictures, Sony, Blumhouse, and Mandalay, amongst others. In honing his craft as a writer, Steve has leaned heavily on the art of outlining and has used it to find success for his work. Steve will provide tips and best practices for outlining to help you better prepare for writing your script and zero in on your project’s story and structure. He’ll explain the positives and negatives of outlining and how to find the outlining approach that’s best for you. He’ll also discuss how best to research and the benefits of creating a notes document. Steve will delve into ironing out your premise, focusing in on theme and tone, and building out characters. He will talk about three act structure and his own “build the bridge” method for outlining. Finally he’ll discuss next steps after you finish your first go at the outline. Expect to leave with strategies and ideas you can take back with you to better organize and attack your own script. Praise for Steve's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "This was fantastic. Steve offered so much insight, dozens of little nuggets that rang true or gave me pause to think of something I'd never considered before."-Ed K. "Perfectly laid out, clear and concise material taught by a genial host!"-George P. "Steve was fantastic. His examples and insights were on point. Thanks!"-Adam H. "I made 3 pages of notes; good pertinent topics with simple fundamental answers presented. Very helpful, worth the time and fee."-Thomas W.
Saturday January 5 is National Screenwriters Day! Make sure to follow @stage32 and tag #NationalScreenwritersDay on social media! Stage 32 CEO, Rich "RB" Botto, Stage 32's Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch, literary manager, Krista Sipp, and Hal Croasmun lay down some serious knowledge regarding the craft and business of screenwriting in 2020. Enjoy over an hour of FREE screenwriting tips and advice from those in the trenches! Remember, if you have any questions regarding how Stage 32 can help you with your screenwriting career or craft, reach out to our Director of Script Services directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you likely start working on a new endeavor for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet this is, of course, not the only element of filmmaking. Like it or not, your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money not only in the present, but for years to come. In short, you’re not just a making a piece of art; you’re also running a business. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur and understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments. Further, you need to open up your creative mindset to the myriad opportunities available all over the world including hot markets found throughout Europe. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but the more you understand, the better your chances of finding a production partner or investor to take your vision forward. Working in the European market, especially with films in the €1MM and sub€1MM range can offer you opportunities you haven't thought of before. But to take advantage of this surging market, you need to understand the variety of production and financing options available and how to tap into them. Whether it's hard money, soft money or other methods toward financing and securing the necessary pieces to greenlight your project, getting a handle on the in's and out's of how to proceed will put you in a powerful and advantageous position. Understanding and executing this business model will open new doors to other productions around the world and serve to create a portfolio of proof that will serve as a calling card moving forward. David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Europe. As an international film business specialist David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David is intimately familiar with how independent films are financed and made profitable all over the world and will share what he knows exclusively about the European market with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the European market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, EUR1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a EUR1MM or under budget looks like, whether it’s considered a small film or microbudget, and how it compares in the larger worldwide film market. He’ll delve into how film financing works specifically in Europe, including a breakdown of soft money sources versus hard money sources, debt financing versus equity financing, tax and location incentives, and film funds and government support. He will also discuss working with a co-production as a financing tool. He will highlight how European film financing is different compared to other regions and the different levels of film financing to consider: European, national, and regional. David will next demonstrate the importance of language, culture, and collaboration and will then teach you what specifically Europe can offer for both European and non-European productions, including incentives, co-productions, diversity, talent, and shooting locations. He will explain how to approach your film as an asset, how to see yourself as an entrepreneur, and how to see filmmaking as a business. David will then go over the continental circle of financing, distribution, and investment recoupment and will explain how risk mitigation works for European film projects. Next he will discuss managing revenue and rights, as well as managing recoupment as a whole. He will spend time delving into European film contracts, including distribution agreements, CAM agreements, and sales agency agreements. David will ultimately illustrate whether European films can be profitable and how, and analyze with you when a European film can be considered successful, whether it breaks even or finds profitability. Plus, David will show a case study of a real EUR1MM European film to illustrate how a film of this level can be profitable and exactly how the money flows through from beginning to end. He’ll show financing documents and spreadsheets to illustrate the financing structure and demonstrate how money flows in and out. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own EUR1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. This Stage 32 Webinar is Part 2 in David’s "Think Like an Entrepreneur" series. Click here to check out David’s webinar on being profitable in US marketplace with a sub-$1MM film. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
Learn directly from Morgan Long, a coordinator from one of the big six Hollywood agencies in the TV literary department! She'll give you specific insider knowledge of the agency system and what it takes to get their attention. There is a cloud of mystery surrounding one of the biggest and most fundamental components of the Hollywood industry – and that’s the agency. Whether you’re a writer, director, non-writing producer, actor – and the list goes on to cover even the most obscure type of talent imaginable– it’s pretty basic knowledge that representation is necessary to launch your career. In this jam-packed Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Demystifying the Agency World, Morgan will take you inside the walls of a premier Hollywood agency to shed light on the inner workings of how deals get made, how agents think and ultimately, how you can take steps in your career towards securing the holy grail that is representation. You will leave the webinar knowing: The types of representation The different departments within an agency and how they work together and function independently. The types of jobs for TV clients Identify the players we sell to What sells in the marketplace? What is packaging? An agent's day-to-day What agents want in potential clients (the brutal, honest answer) Finding representation Moving forward without representation.
All actors want representation. It’s often the first step actors take in their careers. After all, agents and managers are the ones that are connected to the industry. They know who is casting and where the auditions are, and they’re positioned to help you succeed—at least in theory. Many reps are incredible allies and partners for actors and transform careers for the better, but not all are created equal. Some reps unfortunately don’t carry their weight and fail to champion a client—sometimes they’re not as connected and in-the-know as they suggest, sometimes they might not be as invested in you as they should be. It can be common for actors in this position to blame themselves for lack of opportunities, even if the fault lies out of their control. But having a bad rep doesn’t mean you’re untalented and it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the industry; it just means it’s time to recognize where the problem lies and to take back your own power. And, if you've decided to go without a rep, it's important to know that you have the power to move the needle on your career. Many actors will sign with an agent or manager immediately because they feel it is better to be represented than have no rep at all. However, it’s important to make sure you and your rep have the same goals for your career and that you both will do what needs to be done to get those goals accomplished. If that’s not in the cards, it’s time to make a change. Every actor should first and foremost consider themselves their own representative—managers and agents will inevitably come and go throughout your career, but you will always need to be your best advocate. It’s therefore critical to understand, as your own representative, when the people in your corner are really in your corner, and when perhaps there is more you can do as an actor to find more success. When making these difficult decisions, remember that an actor’s world doesn’t start and stop with their rep; there is so much you can do before signing, after, and in between. It’s time to understand how to take control of your own career and hold both yourself and your representative accountable (if you have one). Elizabeth Guest is an actor, writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles and has appeared on Netflix's REAL ROB, the Emmy-winning CALIFORNICATION, NBC'S A.P. BIO, CBS's THE MENTALIST and more. She attended USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has spent the past few years writing and performing her own material. She has put up numerous plays at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of which, called NICE GIRLS, was eventually turned into a digital series by Funny or Die. She also wrote/directed/produced and starred in the digital series GUEST APPEARANCES which won the Best Scripted Digital Series Jury Award at Austin Film Festival and the Best Short Form Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival. She was named by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the "25 Screenwriters to Watch." Season one and season two of GUEST APPEARANCES will soon be streaming on FICTO. She has two feature films that are currently in post production. Elizabeth is a big believer in creating her own opportunities and is ready to inspire actors in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Elizabeth will draw from her own experience to teach you how to find your own power as an actor and how to know when to leave a rep that isn’t doing their job. She’ll begin by going over the roles and expectations of both managers and agents, what the differences are between the two, what an ideal agent and manager look like, and what a beneficial relationship between a rep and an actor should feel like. She’ll also discuss the separation of responsibilities that are standard between reps and actors. She’ll then talk about what to how to know when your rep isn’t doing their job. She’ll give you 6 red flags to keep a lookout for with your rep to determine if they might not be holding their end of the bargain. She’ll also share five things you should be asking yourself as a self check-in to make sure you’re doing all you can before blaming your rep. Elizabeth will teach you strategies you should try with your rep to repair the relationship and will give you tips on when to know it’s finally time to leave. Next, she will discuss the proper way to end your relationship with a manager and how to understand the legal aspects to avoid complications. Elizabeth will give you the tools and wherewithal to move forward with your career after leaving your manager or agent, including creating your own opportunities and finding ways to get yourself discovered without outside help. Finally, Elizabeth will explain what it means to take back your own power, how to craft the career you want and focus on the work to achieve your goals independently. It’s so important for actors in this industry to feel empowered and know their worth, and Elizabeth will give you the tools to do just that. Praise for Elizabeth's Stage 32 Webinar "Liz was informative and inspirational! Great ideas about content creation!" -Bill H. "Elizabeth is terrific, and inspiring. Plus she is experienced and knowledgeable" -Dede R.