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.
Part 2 you're not going to want to miss! Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position. In Part 2 the followup to So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!
As a producer it’s your job to get a film up and running and to put the pieces in place so cameras can start shooting and something fantastic can actually get made. You might already have a great script that you feel is ready to shoot, but especially for newer filmmakers and producers, the next steps you need to take can feel uncertain. Where are you going to get the money and how much money do you actually need? Who’s going to direct, who’s going to star and how can you get each player on board? What materials do you need to prepare ahead of time and how can you use the connections you have (or make new connections you need) to get what you need going? The path from script to production can feel big, vague, and intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, especially with the right guidance and understanding. Michael Wormser is a co-founder and producer at Cinemand and has produced over 70 projects over his career that span film, commercials, music videos, short films, branded content, interactive web series, and studio marketing campaigns. His most recent film work includes THE THINNING, THE THINNING: NEW WORLD ORDER for Legendary, INTERNET FAMOUS for Lakeshore (now on Netflix), and the award-winning indie drama FUNNY STORY which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival. Michael and his team at Cinemand are currently in pre-production on the true-crime thriller THE CULT, based on the true story of Heaven's Gate. Michael’s long, long list of completed projects attest to his honed ability to get projects off the ground, an important talent for any producer and one he is excited to share with the Stage 32 community. In this two part class, Michael will offer you a comprehensive and intensely helpful guide to the steps you need to take to actually get your project made by using your connections, finding the money, building your team, and closing the deals. His first class will focus on the steps you should be taking before “going out” with your script, including beta testing your script, putting together your materials like look books, budgets, and shooting schedules and how to package your project. In the next session, Michael will lay out how to actually “go out” with your project, including how to pitch, how to build your network and how to actually close the deal. Along the way, Michael will be answering your questions and giving you specific and helpful strategies you can take back to your own project. No matter how experienced you are, getting your passion project made is within your reach. Whether you’re a brand new producer or someone with more experience looking for a refresher or new perspective, Michael will give you the tools you need.
Learn from one of the most successful and in demand directors of the past few years, Tyler Gillett (Devil's Due, Ready or Not, upcoming Scream reboot) exclusively on Stage 32. If you’re reading this and you’re an aspiring storyteller, you’re probably well aware that no path in this business follows a straight line. There’s no recognizable ladder to climb. No standardized “five-year” plan. There are so many questions – How do I get my start? How do I tell stories that inspire me? What’s the right story to tell? How do I find an audience? How do I get recognized? So many questions and no hard and fast “right” answer. With the rise of digital technology, storytellers now have access to a new and incredibly valuable set of tools to help sell their ideas. Shooting a compelling short film, web series, or proof of concept has never been easier – and it is one of the most effective ways to practice your craft, showcase your voice and set your work apart from the rest of the pack. But there’s a catch – the increased accessibility of these tools has lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of content created and it has become much harder to cut through the noise and really stand out. Tyler Gillett is a film, television and new media writer, director and producer. He has recently been tapped to direct the new SCREAM reboot feature film for Spyglass Media Group. Prior to SCREAM, Tyler directed the 2019 hit READY OR NOT, which was one of the biggest successes for FOX Searchlight with a budget of $6MM and grossing over $57MM worldwide. He also directed DEVIL'S DUE for 20th Century FOX and The Orchard's SOUTHBOUND. As one of the founding members of the filmmaking collective Radio Silence, Tyler got his break with the Sundance hit V/H/S, which originated with short form content he created. He has made an impressive career which launched from directing his own short form content and he's here to show you how to do it. Tyler will share his own path and how utilizing these tools helped him move from directing zero-budget digital shorts to directing and producing feature films for studios. Tyler will go over the 4 main benefits to create a short film and how to choose the right idea or genre the compliment your talents to get you noticed. He will get into the script phase and discuss what works and what doesn't as it relates to your characters, tone, style, scale, runtime and more. He will teach you how to design your production model and by giving you 4 huge tips to use heading into production. And, as we all know there are limitations on a smaller production, and to that point, Tyler will present 3 things you need before you get on set to assure a successful production. To prepare you for post production, Tyler will show you how to obtain quality VFX on a budget. And of extreme importance, Tyler will discuss the best places to release your work and why. To illustrate all of these teachable points and more not even mentioned, Tyler will be citing examples from over 10 features including Boogie Nights, District 9, Leviathan, Whiplash, Chronicle and more! Tyler will discuss how to conceptualize and create low-budget, high-quality short-form content that will wow financiers and producers and help you sell yourself and your ideas to a larger audience. Praise for Tyler: "Tyler is so humble considering all the success he has had. He truly made me feel like I can do anything and that no project is unattainable." - Kevin M. "A unique look at short form content as your calling card. It's a fundemental creative shift that can actually HELP you get work from your short work. Bravo Tyler." - Anne N. "Another superstar in the Stage 32 lineup. What a thrill to learn from someone of Tyler's caliber. I hope he continues to come back." Jenna G. "I loved READY OR NOT. And I loved Tyler. So much good information." - Susan M.
History is littered with the bones of many failed films which fell apart due to conflicts between the director and producer. While you'll often hear how important it is for a filmmaker to have relationships with all the vital players and department heads on his or her set (and it certainly is), the reality is that the relationship between the director and the lead producer is the one that will begin the earliest and last the longest throughout a particular project. A healthy, cohesive relationship between the film director and the producer will show the cast and crew that a united front has been formed and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. An unhealthy, bifurcated relationship will put the cast and crew on their heels, which will inevitably hurt the project. Directors and producers are often people of vision and power. Harnessed correctly and collaboratively, that combination can bring out the best in everyone and help to make a project stay on time, on budget, and on message and voice. Harnessed incorrectly, ego and hubris take over. It may seem obvious that communication is the key to assuring that the relationship flourishes, and that's not totally untrue. But the key to a productive and positive relationship between the director and producer is understanding all aspects of what needs to get done, recognizing what the other person's needs are, defining what's worth standing up for and what's worth letting go, and recognizing that at the end of the day, you're both fighting for the same result. As President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, Tai Duncan oversees film projects from inception to completion encompassing all aspects of development, casting, finance and production. Zero Gravity is a production and management company based in Los Angeles that boasts a strong client list of screenwriters, directors, actors and financiers for feature films and television. Tai recently produced PROUD MARY for Screen Gems starring Taraji P. Henson and HOW IT ENDS for Netflix starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, HONEST THIEF starring Liam Neeson and THE MARKSMAN starring Liam Neeson. Zero Gravity produced the Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck starring action/thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, the drama A FAMILY MAN starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe and Executive Produced the hit Netflix television show OZARK starring Jason Bateman. Needless to say, as an on set producer, Tai knows a thing or two about the director/producer relationship including the pitfalls and the paths to glory. Beginning with pre-production, Tai will take you what steps you will need to take from moment one to forge a productive relationship that will last through post and beyond. Tai will talk about the steps you need to make to assure you are communicating clearly and effectively. He will talk you through script notes, casting, hiring crew, location scouting and scheduling. Moving on to production, Tai will teach you how to keep things smooth on set, how t manage disagreements, scheduling and money issues, and the push and pull between what a director wants and what he or she has in the can. Tai will then move on to post, and how to manage expectations during the assembly cut and the director's cut. He will discuss scoring, sound and color, sales and marketing, festival approaches, and even distribution strategies so that everyone is fully communicating and staying on the same page throughout. "Don't allow a failed relationship, miscommunication or misplaced ego sabotage all the work and effort that's gone in to putting a project together. Cohesiveness begins at the top and must continue throughout the project. I'll show you how to get it done." - Tai Duncan
Robert McKee returns to Stage 32 with The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters - a rare online teaching appearance exclusive to Stage 32! Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world and now, exclusively for the 3rd time on Stage 32, Robert McKee is back and better than ever with a Masters of Craft webinar teaching you The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters. McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar, Robert McKee teaches the principles of character creation and dimension, characterization and the secret to writing complex protagonists, providing you the tools needed to construct compelling characters that will fascinate your audience. Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar and member of the Hollywood Hall of Fame, is the most sought after writing lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 35 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. Those who have learned from McKee have called him “the Aristotle of our time” (Quincy Jones, Ed Saxon, Steve Pressfield to name a few) because of his insight into the substance, structure, style, and principles of the grand art of story. Peter Jackson (writer/director THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD) lauds him as “The Guru of Gurus.” For the creatives at Pixar (TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, UP, INSIDE OUT), McKee’s Story Seminar is a rite of passage.