Michelle Mower is an acclaimed writer, producer and director whose work has been featured on Lifetime, Apple TV, Amazon and many other platforms. Mower’s debut feature film THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), was picked up by Lifetime in 2012 and garnered the highest ratings for the network that year. This success lead Mower to write and direct three more telefilms for the network – A WOMAN BETRAYED (2013), THE PREACHER’S SIN (2015) and WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER? (Fall, 2022). In 2018, Mower produced and co-directed the political docu-series DAYNA STEELE: ROCK THE 36TH that followed a former radio DJ running for Congress as a Democrat in the “Reddest District in Texas”. The docu-series gave Mower a chance to interview her idol Joan Jett. This lead to her producing and directing political ads for the PAC Mothers Against Greg Abbott that were tweeted by some of her heroes, including Mark Hamill, Mark Ruffalo and George Takei. Mower more recently directed the dark teen comedy THE NEVER LIST, starring Fivel Stewart, Jonathan Bennett and Booboo Stewart, that was released theatrically in the U.S. in December, 2020. Mower is currently in development on the independent feature film RUNNING FROM HORSES, a coming-of-age drama about a horse racing jockey and her tempestuous relationship with her alcoholic father/trainer. In 2016, Mower acquired Imagination Worldwide, an international sales and distribution company based in Los Angeles. For 6 years, the company provided opportunities for talented female filmmakers to get their first feature films distributed both domestically and in dozens of territories worldwide. Some of the films distributed by Imagination Worldwide include Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut “Paint It Black”, starring Alia Shawkat and Janet McTeer, and the 2018 SXSW Audience Award-Winning drama “The Light of the Moon”, directed by Jessica M. Thompson (“The Invitation”) and starring Stephanie Beatriz (“Encanto”, “Brooklyn 99”). Michelle received her B.A. degree in Radio/Television from the University in Houston in 2000. In 2003, Michelle went to work for Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), a non-profit media arts organization based in Houston, where she organized monthly professional development workshops for filmmakers, after-school programs for at risk youth, independent film screenings at Rice University, monthly networking mixers and other special film-related events. Through her work with SWAMP, Michelle started Lights! Camera! Action! Summer Moviemaking Camp for teens and the annual Business of Film Conference at Rice University. She currently sits on the board of 4th Wall Theatre Company and on the advisory boards for University of Houston’s Valenti School of Communication, Texas Southern University’s School of Communication and Houston Community College Film & TV Department. Mower formerly served on the boards of Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA), Women In Film and Television Houston (WiFT-H) and Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP). Full Bio »
An Exclusive Webinar
Learn How To Sell A Made For TV Movie From An Acclaimed Writer/Producer/Director Who Has Worked WIth Lifetime, Apple TV, Amazon And More!
Many filmmakers think the only pathway to a career as a writer or director is to get their indie film into Sundance or become a TV episodic director. But there’s another pathway into the industry that filmmakers often overlook– Made for TV Movies.
Stalking. Kidnapping. Murder. These are just some of the ingredients of the Made for TV recipe.
But what sets a great TV thriller apart from not-so great ones? What’s the difference between writing movies for television vs. big screen? What budgets should you consider when writing a Made for TV movie?
All of these questions and more will be answered in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar hosted by Michelle Mower. Michelle is the acclaimed writer, producer and director whose work includes Lifetime's highly rated movie THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), A WOMAN BETRAYED, THE PREACHER’S SIN, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?, and the dark teen comedy THE NEVER LIST, starring Fivel Stewart, Jonathan Bennett and Booboo Stewart.
You'll learn the types of stories and/or genres that television networks are buying and how to pitch your TV movie or screenplay to a network and to streamers like Netflix, HULU or Tubi. You'll cover business models including selling to a U.S. broadcast network to retain international rights? How casting plays a hand in getting these movies sold. And so much more.
The market is hot for TV movies, but developing these movies can be challenging because you want to ensure your story includes all the elements that make a TV movie successful without being too paint-by-numbers formulaic.
This course will take you through the process of developing, writing and producing Made for TV movie that will sell.
Plus! Michelle will give out exclusive handouts to help you in developing and writing your made for TV Movie! Downloads include:
How To Develop and Write A Made For TV movie That Sells
Pitching Your Made For TV Movie
Production Requirements for Broadcast TV Movies
Beyond Broadcast TV
Q&A with Michelle
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“Michelle’s screenwriting workshop offered insights and techniques that helped me write better screenplays. Her class changed my life and gave me courage to go for my dream.” Stacy Newton
Limited spots available - grab your spot now! Work with a Writer-Producer-Director With Hits On Lifetime, Apple TV, Amazon + handouts to help you with your projects! **Michelle will be available on email during the 4 sessions to answer any questions you have about the class or your work.** Payment plans available - contact email@example.com for details Made-for-television movies, also known as Movies Of The Week (MOWs), are incredibly hot content for both PayTV/Cable networks and streamers alike. Traditionally thought of as the romance, holiday, and thriller movies seen on networks like Lifetime and Hallmark, MOWs have seen a boom in viewership in recent years, which has resulted in the major streamers - Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, to name a few - green-lighting numerous MOWs each year. The tried and true structure, tone, and pacing of MOWs are clearly striking a chord with audiences right now, as more and more people are tuning in for these types of movies. Everyone is getting into the MOW business…and business is booming! In this interactive 4-part Stage 32 class, you will learn the step-by-step process of developing, writing and producing a high quality TV movie that will sell to a cable network or streamer. You will be taught by MOW guru Michelle Mower, whose debut film THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), garnered the highest ratings for Lifetime in 2021. With MOWs featured on Amazon Apple TV, Michelle is a true expert in all aspects of making a MOW - from development to production and distribution - and will equip you with the necessary tools to conceive, sell, and produce a successful MOW. While many writers, producers, and directors are clamoring to make MOWs with networks and streamers, many professionals aren’t well equipped to jump into the niche and deceivingly complex world of MOWs. For example, holiday films, thrillers and romance are some of the most in-demand genres for MOWs, but what types of stories/themes are programmers wanting to buy? What type of cast do these movies feature? And how do you know if your idea would make a great MOW? Many independent filmmakers approach the development of made-for-tv movies the same way they develop independent features, but there are distinct differences that must be considered if you want to make a successful MOW. You will walk away from this 4-part class with a comprehensive understanding of how you can successfully develop and sell your MOW to a major network or streamer and how you can effectively produce the film to ensure it is a hit with audiences. Plus! Michelle will provide you with exclusive handouts to help develop and execute your current and future MOW projects! Downloads include: Michelle's Screenplay for THE PREACHER"S SIN A Made For TV Movie Shooting Schedule A Made For TV Movie Copyright/Licensing Deliverables List Copies of Michelle's Industry Blog Post An Example One-Sheet From A Made For TV Movie Testimonials on Michelle's Work and Teaching: "Michelle was incredibly helpful in getting my film in good shape to pitch to Netflix and Lifetime!" - Sammy C. "Michelle is a wealth of knowledge on everything from screenwriting to the business side of selling your project. I'm lucky to have had the chance to work with her before taking my project forward!" - Alison L.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is making a living doing what you love and telling stories in a visual medium. You may have great ideas, a knack for working with others, and an eye for cinematic beauty, but it can still be very hard to break in. One path you might not have considered yet to find work as a commercial director. Commercial directing can give you opportunities to put your skills to use, to create a product that people will be able to see, and to actually tell stories. And more so, this job will allow you to do this WHILE GETTING PAID –often very well. This does not mean the world of commercial directing is easy, and you’ll find that it’s also highly competitive and tight-knit, but understanding the marketplace and landscape can very well give you the ability to break through and find work doing what you love. The industry of advertising is turning upside down right now; socially, culturally, and politically. Everyone is trying to grasp this ever-changing industry, but it’s important to remember that the more things change the more they stay the same. No matter what else is going on in the world, finding success and opportunities as a commercial director comes down to being personable to clients, communicative with your crew, knowing when to be firm or flexible in your creative approach, and understanding how to push your creative spirit out of its comfort zone. So how does the commercial filming industry actually work? What will make brands and agencies want to hire you to direct their project? And how can you apply your skills and your background to break into this lucrative field and even use it to find further opportunities in narrative film? Keith Rivers is an award-winning commercial director who has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Delta Airlines, Unlimited Tomorrow, Porsche, McDonald’s, and Soundcloud to name a few. He has written, produced, and directed several global ad campaigns including Internet Explorer 9, where a music synchronization deal for Alex Clare begot him triple-platinum record sales and a BRIT award. Rivers also created the instantly viral Microsoft Surface launch video, which received 9 million views within the first week on YouTube and won a Gold ADDY award. Keith continues to direct large scale advertising campaigns for large and notable companies and his years of experience in this field has allowed him to become a bona fide expert in how to find success telling stories for brands and agencies. Keith will break down what the landscape of commercial directing looks like and how you as a director can break in, stay in, and even use your success to transition to narrative film directing. He’ll break down what the life of a commercial director looks like, including how much you could expect to make and what the ecosystem is between production companies, agencies, and brands. Keith will also give you tips into how to find opportunities and break into commercial directing. He will teach you how to make yourself better and more hirable with tools like your reel and spec work, and will go through how to pitch well to get a commercial directing gig. Keith will next explain how to get the directing gig and do it right by doing your best work and aligning with creatives and will finally outline how to build your career and using your work as a stepping stone to long form narrative directing. Keith will also provide a slew of examples and resources like storyboards, lists of production companies and agencies, example treatments and more that you'll be able to take with you afterwards.
Let's get one thing out of the way immediately: It's not just Hollywood anymore. Actually, let's take it one step further, it's not just the United States either. If you're a filmmaker, screenwriter or producer seeking to sell and/or distribute your content, looking to work on a consistent basis and, hopeful in building a long lasting career in the industry, you must be paying attention to what's happening around the world. The international entertainment industry now contributes to over 70% of the theatrical releases and box office receipts across the globe. And many estimate that number will grow over the coming years. But it's not just film that has seen this global expansion, television and digital content has exploded outside of the U.S. as well. Not to mention, many of the streaming platforms are now looking for film, television and other short form content that will play with a U.S. audience, but will be especially popular in specific regions overseas. So where do you begin to look where others aren't, expand your prospects and give yourself a competitive advantage? Well, right here, of course! For many, navigating the international market presents a black hole. Where can one find producers, financiers, representatives and development execs who serve these markets? How do you know what the trends are and how you may best serve them? How do you know the mandates of streamers, distributors and sales agents? Do you have a story already in hand that can be tweaked to serve an international audience? You may be surprised. We could fill 20 paragraphs with what Alexia Melocchi has achieved in her 25 year career in the entertainment business. Alexia is an accomplished entertainment industry professional with a long proven track record of success within both the domestic and international arenas. A vital contributor to the LITTLE STUDIO FILMS brand, Alexia Melocchi's expertise and footing in the entertainment industry began in the international marketplace, as both a sales agent and buyer’s representative for eleven territories, giving her diverse exposure to all types of films and functions in the entertainment industry. As a consultant she currently uses her professional relationships and expertise by providing screenplay development, packaging films, securing co- productions and arranging for US and international distribution for her clients. A regular participant at most major film and television markets as well as festivals around the world, Alexia Melocchi still pursues international acquisitions and uses a global film marketing approach for the projects of her clients as well as the films she has and is producing under the Little Studio Films banner. During her tenure as a sales agent she sold more than 50 movies to profit on behalf of her producer clients, and acquired more than 100 major studio and independent films on behalf of the Distributors she has ongoing relationships with in Italy, Greece, Latin America, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and Scandinavia. She recently handled territorial sales for Unstaged, the Duran Duran live concert film directed by David Lynch, the Italian American film American Fango directed by Gabriele Altobelli and the Australian feature Bathing Frankie directed by Owen Elliott. Alexia will teach you everything you need to know about the international marketplace and how to use your English speaking talents to get paid as a director, writer or author by international companies. She will give you an overview of the global film business including trends and how to tell global stories for a global audience. She will take away the fear and anxiety and the time suck of figuring out how to find, meet and engage international producers and financiers. She will explain the film markets and explain which ones to attend and which to skip. She will teach you the proper cultural etiquette when dealing with international decision makers. Of monumental importance, she will show you how to pitch yourself and your projects to the international marketplace and how your pitch may differ from U.S. targets. Plus, you will get a handout of resources and links for foreign resources Alexia goes over in her webinar! This is a comprehensive look at the international market and how to navigate the landscape toward opening up the world for new possibilities as a filmmaker, screenwriter, author or producer. Praise for Alexia "Great information. She covered a lot of ground and it was one of the most informative Stage 32 webinars I've attended. Thank you!!" - Debbi M. "Concise and to the point, great information on international markets, I will apply this knowledge to my debut film's development." - Francisco C. "Great advice. She really demystified a lot of what's involved. Thank you Alexia!" - S.J. "A lot of great info, but also a new way of thinking, a fresh perspective to help advance my career! Thank you!" - John E. "Great energy and to the point info. Loved it." - Sebastian T.
The big streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV) are leading the charge in original programming. The number of new shows being produced has never been higher. However, these platforms have different needs, different expectations and different boundaries and mandates than those of traditional broadcast networks. So how does a creative navigate the big time streaming world? And how does a writer stand out to get staffed or sell a standout drama series? This webinar will explain in comprehensive detail how drama series are pitched, developed, and sold to streaming platforms and what you can do as a writer to position yourself to get noticed. With so many writers vying for an opportunity to sell or be staffed on a show, it’s incredibly important to understand the changing landscape and know the best ways to operate within it. Having a clear sense of how executives at streamers think and what they’re looking for will give you a distinct advantage in adjusting your script to pique their interest or in presenting yourself more effectively to sell your show or get staffed on one of their growing number of series. Spencer Robinson is a literary and talent manager at Art/Work Entertainment who's been in the industry for over twenty years. His clients have been in films with directors Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Clint Eastwood, Gore Verbinski and more. In the TV world, his clients have been regular cast members on shows for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, and TBS, to name a few. His writing clients work in both features and television on broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms. He currently has a client writing on two Netflix series, and another client who just sold a show to Amazon. He also reps a writer who currently has a project at Aggregate Films, which has a deal at Netflix. Spencer will use his extensive experience working with writers and selling their shows to streamers to share some of the do’s and don’ts of writing a drama pilot for streaming television and outline how to tailor your script to make the best impression with the executives at these platforms. He will do this by first laying out how the streaming platforms differ from one another and what exactly they're looking for. Not all streaming platforms are created equal and it's imperative you know the difference. From there, Spencer will dive into script structure and formatting, specifically analyzing what you should be considering before you write your pilot. Next, he will tackle staffing and sales, so no matter what your goal whether to be in a writer's room or selling your pilot, you have all the information you need to position yourself correctly and with the best chance of success. Spencer will even get into the difference between streaming platforms and broadcast networks so you can determine where your material might be a best fit. Expect to leave this class with a comprehensive understanding of the shifting industry of streaming television and a toolkit to better excel within it. Like what you heard from Spencer during this webcast? Send your script to Spencer and speak with him for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Spencer's Stage 32 webinar: Spencer was awesome! Super informative and detail driven - providing great insights. Packed so much into a short amount of time which I'm super grateful for! -Eric C. Spencer Robinson has high energy and packs a ton of information in his lecture. Most importantly Spencer gives realistic advice while encouraging writers to move forward fully informed of the terrain. -Oweeda N. Spencer opened my eyes to how the TV world works with broadcast and streaming. What a great crash course! -Ricki L. "Very enlightening. Gave a realistic view of how difficult it is to get a pilot made but was just inspiring enough to give hope. :)" -Clive M.
It’s no secret that television is a hot commodity right now. The “golden age of television” that began ten or so years ago has since exploded, and with new networks and streamers like Quibi, HBO Max, and Disney Plus coming into the fold, the volume of TV content has hit unprecedented levels. In fact over 500 scripted shows were broadcast or streamed in 2019 alone, more than any other year prior. And with more shows, there are more paths for writers to break in. After all, virtually all of these 500+ shows have their own writers' room. Yet even with this influx of opportunities, it’s still not exactly easy for new writers to land a job in this industry. Everyone’s path is different, but a tried and true route is to enter in as a writer’s room assistant and work your way up. Yet this, too, requires some wherewithal, skill and strategy. Being an assistant affords you the opportunity to learn first-hand how a writers' room works without the pressure of having to contribute to the same level as staff writers. It can be an incredibly valuable and educational step in your career. In fact, as your career advances, this experience will allow you to contribute more than just stories and ideas; you’ll now know how rooms operate, how things run smoothly, and how to keep workflow productive. Yet this journey is easier said than done. Getting into the room as an assistant is one thing, but holding your own, standing out, demonstrating your value, and carving a place for yourself and your future can be even more challenging. So how do people actually get the gig as an assistant in a writer’s room, and how do they find success and further opportunities in the process? Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community. Marcelena will give you the lowdown of how writers’ room assistants work, how to navigate these jobs, and ways to use them to get ahead in your own writing career. She will begin by explaining the four main types of TV assistants, including the Writer’s Production Assistant, the Script Coordinator, the Showrunner’s Assistant, and the Writers’ Room Assistant. She will illustrate what these roles do and what they look like day to day, including primary responsibilities and general expectations. She will then teach you about writers’ room etiquette, including unspoken rules, how the four main assistant roles work within the ecosystem, who is actually in the room when and when to speak up and when to blend in. She will go over what the standard rates are for these positions and go over the main benefits of each position, including some you might not have thought of before. Next, Marcelena will explain how to find and apply for these assistant roles, including tried and true routes, and other strategies that are always worth a try. She will teach you how best to shine in each of these four roles and will also propose two additional positions—researcher and personal assistant to a writer—you could also consider in working to break in. Marcelena will detail what the future of TV writing looks like post-pandemic, specifically for assistants, and go over whether it’s important to live in LA for these roles. Finally Marcelena will talk about how assistants have used these positions to take next steps in their careers and become staff writers in their own right. Breaking into television is always going to be hard, but Marcelena will provide you what you need to know to approach it through a tried and true path that may just give you a step up you’re looking for. Praise for Marcelena's Stage 32 Webinar "Marcelena was very informative and organized. She was also very thorough and informative when answering questions. One of the best hosts in a Stage 32 webinar that I have seen." -Eric Z. "Marcelena did such an excellent job describing the four roles and talking about the writer's room in general. Really enjoyed it and appreciate all of the information she shared." -Patricia W. "Marcelena was a great host, very informative without holding anything back." -Rebecca M. "Marcelena was a fantastic person to learn from. Thank you so much for having her lead this topic. I have so many notes. She's so gracious and I didn't realize how similar our life situations would be before joining this webinar, so it was a treat. She's wonderful." -Amelia S.
Embarking on creating a film or television project is an enormous undertaking from a business perspective. There are many moving parts to consider - from creative rights to copyright, entity structure, chain of title, compensation, financing, publicity - and that's just scratching the surface. Any missteps during the process could expose you and the production to legal risk, which you always want to avoid. If only there were a blueprint that can help you think through every step of the process from development all the way through post production...Now there is! Stage 32 Educator Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Some of his most recent projects that he's worked on include the Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and Emmy-winning Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has put together a thorough and exclusive 2-part class for the Stage 32 community to help walk you through everything you need to consider legally for your project. You'll learn everything you need to know in the development stage all the way through pre-production and production. Sean will help you navigate the legal side of film and TV projects ensuring you feel confident going into your next project prepared.