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 »
As a television writer, staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. You not only need to show your chops with your writing talent, but you also need to show what you will be like in a writing room. Many writers are vying for the same spots, so how do you stand out? How do you make an impression in front of the executives and producers hiring?
We've brought in Marla White, the former development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment who has sat in on hundreds of writer meetings from the executive side of the table. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas.
Marla will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll walk you through the difference between a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" for each case. 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 will be useful for every level of writer, whether you’re just starting out in your writing career as preparation to talk to agents or managers, or if you are a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game. You don't want to miss out on learning from one of the industry's top executives!
Plus, a live and in-depth Q&A with Marla!
We've brought in veteran development executive Marla White to give you an ultimate guide on dissecting the first 10 pages of a TV script. Marla has worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas. By looking at specific examples from great scripts like “Justified,” “Weeds,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Modern Family” and more, she's going to break it down for you why and how those pilots succeed where others failed.
Part 1 - Playing the Field Steve discusses the kinds of 1 hour TV pilots networks are looking for, and more importantly, what kinds they are not. He talks about the differences between cable, network, and online (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) as well as the differences between procedurals and serialized series. Part 2 - Character and Structure Steve leads a discussion on characterization. He runs through some of his favorite TV characters and explores the development process most networks go through to amp up the characterization in scripts. He also explores supporting cast, archetypes, structure and act breaks. Part 3 - Creating an Engine to Your Show Steve discusses the engine of a TV show. He runs through the importance of a clear week-to-week and explores series longevity and how to craft story lines that can stretch out for 3-8 years.
Class Space Limited: Maximum 20 Writers August 13, 20, 27 and Sept 10 from 1pm-3pm. Your TV Series Bible is an extremely important, and often overlooked tool for selling your pilot in the industry. It’s a document which explains in detail – who your characters are, what they will be up against, where future conflict will come, and what themes your show will be exploring. It gives studio and network executives confidence that you know what you’re doing, and that the show has the story potential to live on for multiple seasons. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of literature out there detailing how to construct a bible. This Stage 32 Intensive is aimed to give you the information and guidance that you need to write a strong bible that can be used when sending out and selling your pilot script. Each week, your instructor Michael Poisson (Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV) will be giving a lecture about how to write one section of your series bible, and then you’ll be assigned to write that section for a project of your own. The following week Mike will offer one-on-one skype sessions to discuss your work, give you any notes, and answer any questions that you may have. So, at the end of this Intensive, you will have a strong and well-executed bible that you’ll be able to use as a selling tool for your own TV series. Mike has worked at CAA, two production companies, and as a showrunner’s assistant on a TV series, and at each job he has seen the importance of bibles and how they have been used to get series sold and on the air. As a writer, Mike has also used them in his own writing career, and a well-written bible of helped him to secure his manager, and get multiple production companies interested in his work.
Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to bring you They Said “No” – Why Did They Pass? hosted by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive at Atlas Entertainment (American Hustle, The Dark Knight Trilogy). Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material? Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran. I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process." We are thrilled to bring you an executive of this caliber to be able to teach you directly about what you can do to help that crucial moment once you get in front of an executive. In this webinar, Dan will bring you a fun and informed approach to what it's like from the executive side of the table.
Learn directly from Maren Olson, Producer of Short Term 12, who has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes and 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! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar you will learn 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. Host Maren Olson 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. Maren brings over a decade of experience attending and winning film festivals worldwide to change your perspective on what it really takes to create that festival-friendly script, and ultimately a successful independent film. Maren Olson works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerlythe President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. 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 34 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Her 2015 production, Ava’s Possessions, premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival.
Learn directly from Nish Panchal, Talent Agent for Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nish Panchal will identify the various ways you can get your script into the right hands and hopefully secure an agent. With nearly a decade of experience in the U.K. Film/TV industry, Nish aims to arm you with the top tips to make you an attractive client to a screenwriting agent. Whether you’re writing your first screenplay or have 10 under your belt, you will learn the best ways to approach an agent and the dos and don’ts when meeting with agents for the first time. Better still, Nish will explore ways in which you can make the agents come to you! Nish Panchal is a Talent Agent for the Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency in the U.K. who represents writers, authors, directors and filmmakers. Before Curtis Brown, Nish worked at BBC Films as a Development Assistant across a slate of award-winning feature films and BBC Four single dramas, including An Education, Brighton Rock and Toast. Nish is here exclusively for Stage 32 to give you an in-depth insight into how the film business operates in the U.K. and an insider’s view of how to speak directly to the key gatekeepers.