How To Rock TV Staffing Season - Get Read and Crush it in the Room

Hosted by Marla White


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Marla White

Webinar hosted by: Marla White

Former Head of TV for Emmy Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment

Marla is former head of TV for Emmy Award winning writer & producer Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment with experience producing prime time series and award nominated television movies in multiple genres. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas. Clients include writers who have won awards including a Nicholl Fellowship finalist, as well as published novelists. Companies like CAA and Oxygen rely on her skills as a story analyst and story development expert for people who are ready to take their writing to the next level.Writers who have worked with Marla have said, "Marla's approach has changed the way I will pitch forever" and "She has incredible ideas, tremendous patience, and a true sense of character, tone, and place" While one client called her "a fun, hip, whip-smart fairy godmother."When she's not reading scripts or selling projects, you can find her indulging in a cozy mystery, working in her garden or out at the ranch on her horses. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. With more shows than ever looking for writers, the opportunities have never been greater, but that also means the competition has never been higher. To be considered to be part of a writing staff, you need to not only show your chops as a screenwriter, but display what you'll be like in the room. So how can you stand out to the executives and producers hiring and prove that you're going to be a team player, while bringing an original, independent voice to the table?

To be staffed in the competitive world of TV writing, you must first understand what opens the door and what keeps you in the room. Your writing must not only be on point, but you have to also be able to display a comprehension of the art of the meeting. Executives and producers are going to meet dozens if not hundreds of writers. You have to learn how to connect with them, fill their needs, and make their jobs easy! In short, you and your writing need to be sharp, interesting and memorable.

Over her very decorated and successful career as a development executive, Marla White has sat across more writers than she can remember. Marla was not only the development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment, but she's also worked with hundreds of writers who have sold pitches and shows to, and/or been staffed by, Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and just about every premium cable channel and streaming platform you can name.

Marla will discuss what executives are looking for in your writing. Whether "good" is good enough to get you in the room. Whether it's better for your work to be more memorable or sellable. She will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll discuss all aspects of a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" in all situations, each and every time. Plus, she'll also talk about "do's and don'ts" and how you can get invited back for the all important pitch meeting.

This webinar provides pertinent and actionable information for every level of writer. If you're just starting out in your career, what you'll learn will not only prepare you for everything mentioned above, but for preparation when speaking with managers and agents. If you're a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game and how to navigate the politics, this one is for you as well!


This is some straight shooting, no B.S. information. I'm grateful that Marla pulled no punches and told it like it is. Next meeting I get, I'm owning it!

- Samantha W.

What You'll Learn

  • Why getting comfortable in meetings is key for every writer
  • General Meetings
    • The purpose of a general meeting from a producer’s POV
    • How to not tank your own meeting
    • Best ways to get in the door
    • What writing samples you’ll need
      • Is “good” good enough to get you in the door?
    • Research the company – what have they done?
    • Discover information about the person you’re meeting with
      • How making a personal connection makes a difference
      • Why should they want to work with you
    • Be ready to tell the story of you!
    • Ask questions, especially what they’re working on/looking for
    • The pitch you need to have in your pocket that leaves them wanting more
      • Short pitch being a 3 – 5-minute version of your pitch
      • Don’t tell everything – the goal is to get them to say ‘tell me more’
      • Have a backup idea in case
      • Following up vs. stalking
  • Staffing Meeting
    • What a producer is looking to learn
    • How to’s of getting a meeting on the show you want/need
    • The perfect staffing sample – why you need more than one
      • Being memorable vs. sellable
      • Original pilot vs. spec of existing show
      • The tone is key
    • A strong meeting vs ‘meh’
      • Preparation is key
    • Get to know them – and let producers know you
    • Read the pilot script
      • Read the competition as well
    • Be ready to talk about characters & future story ideas
    • Show your passion for project, don’t just tell
    • Your personal connection to the series
    • Be interesting!
    • Being positive goes a long way
    • Most effective follow-up tools
    • Tales from the Darkside – good meetings gone wrong
  • Staying Connected
    • Keeping the door open to come back

Plus, a live and in-depth Q&A with Marla!

About Your Instructor

Marla is former head of TV for Emmy Award winning writer & producer Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment with experience producing prime time series and award nominated television movies in multiple genres. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas. Clients include writers who have won awards including a Nicholl Fellowship finalist, as well as published novelists. Companies like CAA and Oxygen rely on her skills as a story analyst and story development expert for people who are ready to take their writing to the next level.

Writers who have worked with Marla have said, "Marla's approach has changed the way I will pitch forever" and "She has incredible ideas, tremendous patience, and a true sense of character, tone, and place" While one client called her "a fun, hip, whip-smart fairy godmother."

When she's not reading scripts or selling projects, you can find her indulging in a cozy mystery, working in her garden or out at the ranch on her horses.


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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Very well-organized and constructed, and extremely informative. Fun and educational.

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