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 »
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.
Plus, a live and in-depth Q&A with Marla!
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.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
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.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
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 audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
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 from her perspective as an executive. In addition, 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 and how to apply that to your 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.
This week the Writers' Room welcomes in Development Executive Anna Henry into the Pitch Tank! Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features. Anna has been a script consultant and screenwriting instructor, as well as building her own slate as an independent producer. Her clients have worked on hit television series on all major networks, such as "THE DEUCE", "POWER", "IN CONTEMPT", "TOMMY", "HUNG", "CHICAGO FIRE", "FEAR THE WALKING DEAD", "THIS IS US", and "THE FLASH". Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast, cable and streaming television network, and have set up projects at Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project, which is why she was an incredible guest!
There are many ways to forge a path toward a directing career in the film industry. But as almost any successful director will tell you, surviving and thriving takes much more than just talent. Packaging, the streaming platforms, and new and intriguing distribution channels have all but upended the independent film world. More and more filmmakers are embracing a DIY (Do It Yourself) mindset and educating themselves on the business - who's making what, what festivals matter, how a producer sees a project, what investors are looking for (and where to find those investors), who's the audience for my film, where can the film live and, most importantly, how can I use this information to build a long, lucrative, and successful career in the film industry. Director Qasim Basir exploded onto the Sundance scene with his film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.: Love on Election Night. The film received a massive standing ovation at its Sundance premiere which led to a bidding way, a major theatrical release, and enormous critical acclaim. The film not only takes place in once location, but is filmed in single shot. It's a masterclass, and Qasim proved that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The accolades and offers haven't stopped flowing in. Up next for Qasim is to direct the NFL Biopic ‘Hawk’ based on life of Andrew Hawkins. Prior to his Sundance debut, he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his film Mooz-Lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross & Danny Glover, and premiered at the LA Film Festival with his film Destined starring Jesse Metcalf, Cory Hardrict and Margot Bingham. Qasim has had choices for all of his films as to how they got out into the world and where they were going to live after their release. He's chosen everything from theatrical to VOD releases, and he's learned much along the way. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Qasim is bringing all his knowledge including the wealth of information he learned from the dream Sundance experience to the Stage 32 community. Qasim will dive right into the deep end of the pool to discuss how to navigate this difficult industry and how to keep yourself intact. He will teach you what you'll learn along the way as you become more successful and how to use that knowledge as fuel. He will discuss short filmmaking as a calling card or as proof of concept of something bigger. He will show you how to identify and engage financiers and production companies. Then, Qasim will delve into the filmmaking process including how casting comes down to understanding the 3 P's. He will discuss pre-production, voice, tone, story, performance & camera. He will teach you how to make decisive and confident creative choices. And he will teach you how to deal with failure and disappointment, but also how to deal with success. "People will tell you many different things in this business, but none is better than when you find what's actually right for you. Let me help get you there." - Qasim Basir Praise for Qasim "I saw A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. at Sundance. The movie is brilliant and watching Qasim during the Q&A it became clear that he is as well. To be able to learn from him here on Stage 32 is such a gift. Inspiration on a whole other level." - Monique T. "Genius in every way." - Tyler K. "Qasim is my hero." - Mikael F. "Another home run for Stage 32. A teacher above and beyond worthy of the subject matter. More please!" - Imani L.
It’s no secret how profoundly the visual effects industry has taken over Hollywood. What was once relegated to only the biggest summer blockbusters and studio tentpoles has spread to virtually every wide release film, scores of TV shows, even web series and short form content. And with more avenues for VFX to be incorporated into projects, there is also a need for more VFX artists. A LOT more. As VFX continues to grow, innovate, and evolve, there hasn’t been a better time to venture into this field. Even still, this doesn’t mean breaking into VFX is ever easy. The truth is it has always been a challenge to break into VFX as a career. Being successful in this industry requires both artistic and technical wizardry, a combination that is hard for anyone to master. Not to mention the ever-present and ever-difficult obstacle of 'getting noticed.' With today's entertainment landscape so severely altered, there are additional challenges, but also new opportunities. Understanding how the VFX industry works today and how best to put yourself out there in a way that will make people take notice will aid you in taking the first step into this exciting, explosive field. Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Using his deep knowledge and wealth of experience on this topic, Geoffrey will walk you through the pitfalls and opportunities that exist in the VFX industry today and give you tips and ideas on how to position yourself for success and make your dream of working in visual effects a reality. He will begin with a brief overview of VFX in film and television today and will give you a rundown of the two main branches within the industry. He’ll then break down the skills you need to begin a career in this field. Since it’s such a big and diverse field, Geoffrey will spend time outlining the many sub-fields and specialties within the VFX landscape and will give you strategies to help you figure out which of these will be the best fit for you. He will give you tips on how to find free education to continue learning and honing your craft and will show you how tutorials can sometimes be helpful, and at other times insufficient. Next Geoffrey will explain how to create your own reel as a tool to get noticed and hired in the industry. He’ll walk through how long the reel should be, what kind of content stands out the most, what content you should never include and how best to incorporate music. He’ll also give you tips on updating your reel as you go and how to alter your reel to better fit different job opportunities. He will also talk about how to actually get your reel out there once it’s complete, where the opportunities and listings can be found and the best ways to approach employers. He will then walk you through how to actually get the VFX job you’re after, including how to come across as hirable in a job interview. He’ll explain the three generally accepted skill levels employers are looking for and will show you how to determine which level you are currently at. Finally, Geoffrey will delve into how to actually deliver when you get the job. He’ll walk you through the overall landscape and pipeline, how to best work with the schedules you’re given, and strategies to work most successfully with both your lead and your supervisor. Through this webinar, you will gain a clear understanding of what the journey looks like to become successful in the field of VFX and learn strategies to better get you to that point.
Most Execs will toss a script if they aren't hooked in the first 5 pages. We challenged you to create or polish a teaser or opening sequence that builds a world, characters, and plot that leave us begging to read more!
One of the weakest elements in screenwriting is story momentum. Without story momentum, pacing drags, plots lose focus, second acts die, and story climaxes are – anticlimactic. Achieving story momentum is not addressed often enough in screenwriting classes. Nor is the direct correlation between dramatic tension and the cause and effect elements needed to link scenes and scene sequences. This relationship is the cornerstone of achieving dramatic tension and mastering story momentum. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Max Adams, a 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures, will explain why linear plotting fails and will give you practical tools and techniques you can immediately apply to you writing. You will leave this webinar knowing how to fix story holes, correct pacing, create driving story engines and achieve rising story momentum to maintain a feature film script straight through to a riveting story climax!