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 »
The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the place where writers find their footing and voice within this world. 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 which recently received a second season order. 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 will break 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.
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.
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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.
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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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
It seems like every day another film festival launches or expands. Specialty festivals are becoming all the rage and major, established festivals have been expanding to accept shorts, digital shorts, documentaries, television pilots, specialty genre content and content focused on diversity. With the market growing, so are the number of submissions to any given festival, especially those which are producing results for the connections of the accepted films. You want to make sure your screenplay is on point, that the story is a fit for the style of the festival you are entering and that the film grabs a judge's attention from the get go. Part of assuring you have a festival darling film is understanding the festival landscape, knowing the right players and making connections that assure your film is being viewed by the decision makers. But this all starts, as it always does, with the script. A majority of screenwriters do not write big budget tentpole blockbusters. They tell more intimate, character driven stories. And these are the kind of stories that most festivals adore. But why do some of these scripts attract financing, producers, and, ultimately, the attention of festival directors while others fall through the cracks? As a writer and/or producer, how can you identify the aspects of your screenplay that might be killing your chances of festival success and fix them before filming begins? And how can filmmakers and producers assure, even if they have a winning film based on a fantastic script in place, that they are entering the right festivals and navigating the circuit correctly? There is a chemistry to all of it. A mixture of the creative and the business side of things. It's imperative that you have an understanding of both. Maren Olson has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes, festival favorites such as An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Natural Selection and Red Flag, and Sundance Audience Award winners This is Martin Bonner, Valley of Saints and Kinyarwanda. As a producer, she was responsible for critically lauded Short Term 12, which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. The film went on to win 19 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Maren currently works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerly the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. To say she understands all the ins and outs of the festival circuit, what festivals look for and how they operate would be a massive understatement. Maren will teach you what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. She will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. She will teach you the 3 components of a festival-friendly story idea and why you must answer yes to each. She will talk budget, shooting locations and when the proper time is to bring on a producer. She will explain the mistakes people make and demystify the myths people believe when navigating the festival circuit. She will go over common pitfalls screenwriters, filmmakers and producers make that can be fatal when submitting to festivals. Maren will give you the tools to get traction on your project. She will lay out, in clear, precise terms, how to assure your project is given the best opportunity to become a "Festival Darling." "Excellent - informative. Maren brought facts and experience to a very nuanced subject about "Film Festival Darlings - offering an extremely in-depth analysis to the elements of what a writer or producer should consider when moving forward in the Indie film world. My fav Stage 32 webinar so far. Thanks." - Robert G. "Fantastic seminar. Like a good filmmaker, you kept us engaged from opening to close. Thanks again!" - Bob B. "Maren had a lot of practical information and road trap warning for indies. I appreciated the components of a festival face, comps, and specific advice that is useful." - Betty S.
In Stage 32's commitment to bringing you free educational virtual events we are excited to bring you a special global edition of the Stage 32 Writers' Room Pitch Tank. We brought in the President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, and 3 industry leading literary managers from Circle of Confusion, The Cartel, and Art/Work Entertainment to hear pitches directly from writers across the globe! In this exciting 90 minute webcast four different screenwriters from the US, UK and Scotland step into the Stage 32 Pitch Tank to pitch their script to a panel of some of Hollywood's power players. The hopeful end result? That their script is requested! And...as an exciting surprise, we have brought in a special industry pro to come in and pitch to the panelists! Pete Goldfinger, who is the scribe behind the SAW franchise's JIGSAW, Piranha 3D and Sorority Row steps into the tank to pitch his new screenplay idea. You'll be able to see up close and personal on what different types of pitches and learn how the decision makers on the other side of the table feel about the process. And...best of all there were several requests in the tank. Want to find out which ones they were and why? You have to watch to find out!
Learn directly from Jessica Sitomer, who has had her writing produced by an Emmy Award Winner, produced TV herself and has coached thousands of professionals who work in the entertainment industry. So you have chosen to pursue one of the most sought out industries on the planet: film, television or theater. People come and go, jobs come and go; this is not like becoming a teacher and once you have tenure, you’ve almost guaranteed your job security. This is an unstable industry. You’ve heard of the corporate ladder? The bad news is in our industry there isn’t one clear ladder to climb. The good news is you can build your own ladder. But before you build it, give yourself a reality check in regards to the nature of the industry you are pursuing. Understand its cycles so they don’t scare you and you’re prepared for them when they come. Take a moment to remember why you’re passionate about what you do… you’ve been given a gift, and you need emotional, financial, and physical stability so you can share it with the world. People have asked me, ‘Can I really have a career in the entertainment industry that I love, make money at it, and still have time for friends, family, self care, health, spirituality, and fun?’ And my answer… YES! Once you understand the nature of the industry and take some steps to plan for the instability, you can build your life any way you want.
It's not talked about as often, but faith based and faith friendly films have been a steady, popular, and profitable industry for a while now. It could be considered a niche audience, but it’s a powerful and dependable niche audience that has helped catapult films and filmmakers to success. Recent films like I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, GOD’S NOT DEAD, and THE SHACK have found popularity and impressive box office numbers by tapping into this audience and bringing out church-goers and other faith-friendly communities that might not be as eager to seek out films outside of this genre. And it makes sense that faith-based films are doing well. In challenging or negative times, people will more actively seek out positivity and inspiration, two ingredients almost guaranteed to be in a faith-based film. Considering how challenging and negative our current world can be, there might not be a better time than the present to break into the world of faith-based films and write a script that can shine in this market. The faith-based arena might be lucrative, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cinch to succeed in. It can be a complicated and difficult world to navigate. Faith based films exist firmly within the larger film and television landscape, but they still have their own specific companies, leaders, and expectations to understand. Breaking into any aspect of the film industry is hard, but there are challenges that come specifically with the faith friendly market. It’s important in this world to create a product that is wholesome and accessible for all ages and sensibilities, and navigating this tight rope is tricky, ensuring you don’t turn off any particular group. As a producer or filmmaker wanting to work in this space, it’s your job to understand this world and the different players within it. Having a strong sense of how everything works, what kinds of films succeed in the space, and how to avoid the land mines that come along with this genre is critical. With a proper lay of the land, you’ll be able to better tackle this genre and produce a film that can not only succeed financially, but inspire and uplift viewers at the same time. Brad Wilson is the co-founder of Higher Purpose Entertainment (HPE), a production company dedicated to telling stories in film and TV that encompass truth of character and strive to embrace inspirationally redeeming qualities. While at HPE he's produced a number of films including THREE BLIND SAINTS, CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET, MY MANY SONS, THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, and THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, which was released last year in 1,100 theaters across the country. Brad is well-versed in the business of faith based films and has a keen sense of how projects thrive in this genre. He’s ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Brad will put on his producer’s cap and walk through how a producer can successfully understand and navigate the world of faith-based and faith friendly filmmaking. He’ll begin by teaching you what the state of the faith based industry looks like right now. He’ll focus on the notable and successful faith based films coming out now, including studio films and indie films and what their budgets have been. Then he will provide you helpful strategies on how to independently produce a faith friendly film. Next he will outline themes, topics, and other landmines to avoid while producing your film to stay within this genre and not offend its audience. Brad will outline the main elements that make a faith and family based film successful in the marketplace and will delve into how to be authentic and stick to facts while still remaining commercial and appealing. He will then discuss what the faith based audience looks like and how best to reach them. He’ll talk about getting involved with churches and communities in producing and distributing your film and how best to reach out. Brad will next give a rundown of who the financiers and studios are in this market and what they’re looking for. He’ll spend time talking about the pure business of this space. Finally he will explain who the main distributors targeting this audience are. This is a tricky and very specific part of the film industry, but Brad’s will give you the tools you need to better understand it and succeed within it. Like what you heard from Brad during this webinar? Brad will read your script and speak with you for a half-hour if you click here. Praise for Brad's Stage 32 Webinar "This was superb! He was very open and helpful. I really appreciated him walking us through his business plan." -Crystal B. "He was so informational and inspiring with all he presented. Thanks to Brad Wilson and Stage 32 for presenting this." -Ann K. "Brad Wilson is personable, professional, and knowledgeable. I feel inspired to rework my script and shop it for production" -Darlyn K. "This was very informative. I have not written in this area, but hearing about how these movies get made is very inspiring. I can now see the steps that are needed. It is so great to get his wisdom and the practical step by step how to." -Mary S.
During this Executive Hour Jason Mirch talks with Mike Disa, the director of the Netflix animated series, "Paradise PD" about his career, working directly for Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, finding a mentor, and how to get a job in a writers' room.
Stage 32 is committed to bringing you entertainment, education, and community from the comfort and safety of your own home. Our Script Services Coordinator, Nick Assunto, has procured an amazing slate of talented and funny actors and Stage 32 members to read his pilot The Conspiracists, a half-hour sci-fi comedy. During this exciting virtual event, you will get an exclusive look behind the scenes of a professional television table read. Watch as the actors make the script come alive for the very first time. This is a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain go behind the scenes to watch and see a script workshopped directly with professionals. Our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicked off a night of hanging out virtually. You'll get a chance to laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack. Cindy Chu - playing Helena Francois (New Girl, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) Angela Cristantello - playing Beatrix Baker (Agent Carter, 9-1-1) Nican Robinson - playing Greg Shepherd (13 Reasons Why, Thunder Road) Carolyn Deskin - playing Mee Moo and Super Professional Sue (Water's Edge, Sorrow) Rama Vallury - playing Turkey Hemingway, Sweaty Phil, Nervous Intern, Boss Man and Bus Drive (Happy Ending, AOK) Ramona Apthorp - playing Pickle Frost PLUS! after the table read we did a Q&A with the actors, writer Nick Assunto, our fearless leader Richard Botto and our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch moderated by our Managing Director Amanda Toney so you will get the perspective from everyone involved about the table read! What a great way to have fun and learn! Mark your Calendar! LIVE Online Table Read of the Comedy Pilot "The Conspiracists" Friday, March 27th at 7 pm PST Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32online , Twitter @stage32 , Facebook @stage32 , and LinkedIn @stage-32 .