Courtney is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show "Saints & Sinners" on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. Full Bio »
Writing a film for television has a ‘unique set of skills’ which are different from writing a traditional screenplay. If you never learn how to write for the BOOM!, act break structure, number of locations, and characters, you’ll get stuck in re-writing hell or worse yet, never have your script read. Understanding script structure, outlining, and deliverables for television films prior to writing will give you a leg up on the competition. Additionally, each network has its own set of rules and you want to ask the right questions prior to typing ‘Fade In’.
With more television networks producing their own content and films, the need for content is higher than ever. However, TV films have their own structure and layout, especially when dealing with networks that have commercial breaks. Additionally, working with producers and executives is a different animal than working with producers and executives in the independent world.
Courtney Miller Jr. is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show Saints & Sinners on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. He knows the television writing and directing landscape inside and out and he's ready to share his knowledge with you.
Courtney will dive in by explaining all the differences between writing a TV and a traditional film screenplay. He will discuss how to format acts, how to be sensitive to the shooting schedule, what you can expect regarding deadlines and delivery dates and how to navigate dealing with the network. From there, Courtney will take you to the greenlit phase where you'll need to know what deliverables you are responsible for, how much time you'll be given to deliver your rewrite, and how to handle network notes (there will be plenty). Courtney will then jump into the writing process including how to write for the BOOM!, how many acts you need to have in your script (and if that varies) and the importance of writing a compelling and attention grabbing Act 1. Going even deeper, Courtney will discuss beat sheets, how many beats you need to add, and what your overall beat sheet should look like. And finally, Courtney will explain how to write an outline that keeps the execs happy and off your back so you can go do what you do best...write!
PRAISE FOR COURTNEY'S TEACHINGS:
"Another winner for Stage 32. I have many scripts I thought would be a better fit for television and now I know how to get it done!"
- Fiona C.
"I'm ready to write for the BOOM! Thanks, Courtney!"
- Miguel P.
"It's always been a dream of mine to have something on the Hallmark channel. Now I have the framework and I'm ready to start writing."
"Couldn't have been any better. Great detail!"
- Ida W.
Differences Between a TV Film and a Traditional Film
What Happens After the Greenlight
TV Film Script Structure
Creating a Beat Sheet
Creating the Outline
Q&A with Courtney
Courtney Miller Jr.
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Learn directly from Diane Messias, a former BBC Comedy Producer and Director! How many times have you watched a funny show and thought 'I can do that'? Or expected to laugh, but not heard any jokes? Perhaps you feel your whole existence is just one long comedy script, and it's your mission to show how art imitates life... ...whatever your motivation, sitcom writing is fun, safe, and you can try it at home! As with other genres, there are rules and techniques, tricks of the trade and logistical considerations to contemplate, all of which Diane Messias will discuss in this instructional webinar. If you're passionate about witty dialogue, or curious about plot creation, prepare for the mysteries of good comic writing to unfold. Join Diane Messias, a 30-year veteran in comedy and former Director & Producer from the BBC, who's long list of credits include the UK's best loved sitcom, One Foot in the Grave. For more of Diane's bio, click here. PRAISE FOR MESSIAS'S TEACHINGS: "Awesome webinar. Webinar was very interactive and informative and I'll be looking forward to signing up for more through stage32. Thanks!" - Marquese Clack "I just finished reviewing the recording of your webinar and I just wanted to say thank you for your wisdom and advice! I'm primarily an actress and comedienne, and I've done sitcom acting, but the sitcom writing formula was always a bit of a mystery to me. Not only have you helped me on my way to developing an original sitcom, but your insights really help me with acting in sitcoms as well. Best wishes for 2014 - I can't wait to see the work you do next! Cheers!" - Rachel J. Clark "Challenging, fun and exciting, Diane Messias's comedy workshop was the most terrifying thing I've done in ages! Worth facing my fears, though - very supportive environment and my sense of achievement was terrific!" - Jacqui Deevoy "Diane's attitude and enthusiasm helped me (a complete beginner) find my comedy voice and shake off the nerves I fostered about performing. She took us through all areas of comedy to help get the ideas flowing and taught us various helpful exercises for creating jokes. I am now armed with a finely tuned funny-bone and the confidence to try out what I learned in the big wide world!" - Julia Watson
A Top Literary Manager Gives You a Guide to a Full-Time Career in Screenwriting The truth is there’s a lot more that goes into being a full-time writer than just writing, and every successful writer working today has learned how to balance the craft with the business. And while each writer’s path to success is unique, it almost always involves building your toolkit, finding the right representation, getting noticed, and networking. These elements do not come easy and are not always self-explanatory. If you’re a writer that’s serious about building a career in this field, it’s crucial to learn how writers have achieved their goals in the past and how you can use the tools at your disposal to pave your own path to success. Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Over his career Ashley has represented writers and directors including Tony Jaswinski (THE SHALLOWS), Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY), two time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND), Nicholl Fellowship winners Alisha Brophy & Scott Miles (INSIDE JOB/Netflix), and BAFTA winner Tinge Krishnan (INDUSTRY/HBO). Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over the course of four information-packed on-demand sessions, Ashley will dive deep into the steps you should be taking to build your writing career and the strategies, tips, and advice you can use to find your place in the industry. He will work directly with you in a class setting, focusing on four major aspects of a writer’s career—building your toolkit, finding representation, getting your work and yourself noticed, and networking. If you are a screenwriter with the hopes of writing full-time but aren't sure where to start, start here! PRAISE FOR ASHLEY'S TEACHINGS: Wonderful and insightful class. Great look inside the industry from a manager's perspective, with reference materials too. Blunt and honest but very encouraging. -Darren T. "Ashley was fantastic. I liked his realistic and honest view on the job. We learned about the upsides and the downsides. And that is the part of Ashley's class that I’m most thankful for." -Thomas D.
It can be the bane of a filmmaker’s existence, but there’s no denying that financing is a critical step in getting that movie made. After all, not even the greatest script can get produced without the money and resources to back it up. But this is never a straightforward endeavor. Securing the funding for your film is almost without question a fraught, complicated ordeal. It can be enough to drive the most optimistic filmmaker away, but if done smartly and successfully, financing can give you the resources you need to not only see your vision through, but perhaps even to elevate it, to gather opportunities and talent to raise your project’s profile and find further success. Finding and dealing with financing for a film can feel like a Sisyphean task, a hunt for treasure without any map to help. After all, we’re not just talking about finding people with deep pockets who believe in your vision (though that definitely helps); you also need to be well versed in tax structure and incentives, legal codes, equity models, sales projections, crafting a pitch to investors—all things you likely didn’t learn along the way or through the process of writing that script. Yet as overwhelming and insurmountable as it seems, there’s always a way through, and there are strategies and skills you can pick up as a producer or filmmaker to find the money and navigate the politics and nuances of this difficult landscape. Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and has produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Aimee’s extensive experience has made her an expert in the art of film financing, and she has developed a slew of skills and lessons learned to more successfully find and manage funding for independent projects, skill and lessons that she’s excited to share with you. Aimee will give you a comprehensive look at how to finance your independent film and the tips and strategies to have in your arsenal to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity available. Aimee will start by discussing how equity models are structured and the benefits that come with starting your own LLC. She will then delve into the legal components of a standard investment deal, including being clear with who owns the rights to the film and how those rights are distributed and paid for. Then, Aimee will go into navigating foreign sales and domestic sales within this quickly changing landscape and how you may be able to find the right sales partner that can give you an advance to make the movie. Aimee will teach you everything you need to know about tax incentives and how best to take advantage of them and earn back what is essentially free money. Next, Aimee will discuss the benefits of crowdfunding and the strategies and tips she has employed in the past to create a successful campaign. She will talk about the rise of the digital streamers and how to target these platforms for possible funding. Aimee will then delve into the art of finding and approaching potential investors, including the research you need to do and how best to pitch them your project. Aimee will even share one of her own pitch decks to illustrate how to craft the perfect pitch deck. She will teach you ways to think outside-the-box and find non-traditional investors or partners that you might not have otherwise encountered. Finally Aimee will teach you strategies to better network, including finding way to get to people you don’t personally know and how to use film festivals and film markets to your advantage. Be prepared to leave this webinar with an expansive and comprehensive view of film funding and the tools you need to get your next project financed. Praise for Aimee’s Webinar: Clear and efficient! -Dirk B. I've watched several webinars on film financing and this has been by far my favorite. Thank you for the practical, straightforward advice, and for presenting the info in a way that is not too overwhelming to take in. -Rose M. Grounded and Practical -Jennifer S. This webinar was jam packed with so many useful and accessible strategies I can start using today. Thank you! -Brian D.
With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre" for 2018 and beyond. If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies.
The backbone of the entertainment industry was shaken to the core after the trades announced one of the major festivals - SXSW was going to cancel its in-person festival. Shortly after festival after festival had to adapt to a new way of doing things - should they present their festival live and take a chance of it being cancelled? Or, should they present their festival virtually bringing on a new slew of challenges? Navigating this "new normal" has rocked the industry and has left many filmmakers scratching their heads about what it all means. Should you release your film in this new format? Or should you hold onto it and wait it out, with the fear of another year going by without it seeing the light of day? Despite the ongoing shift to a virtual, watch-from-home and hybrid model, film festivals continue to serve as an important platform for your film to make its debut. Your film can continue to find attention, distribution and other successes from participating, yet there are new questions and considerations you should factor into evaluating which festivals to submit to. The current spirit of cooperation and collaboration between festivals during the pandemic has radically changed, creating lots of new and exciting ways you can benefit from the circuit. But, with the excitement, there is also a lot of confusion about premiere status, virtual screenings vs online screenings, and more. Outside of getting your film into a festival, there are things you can learn from what the successful festival films are seeing that you can apply to your own film and its release. Whether you are a feature filmmaker or a short filmmaker you need to understand and embrace the new practices emerging among festivals presenting virtual and hybrid events. It’s time you take stock of the situation. Kimberley Browning is an independent filmmaker, the Associate Short Film Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and the founder of the long-running short film screening series Hollywood Shorts. Kimberley is also the Executive Producer of HBO ACCESS Directors Fellowship, the network's program developing and launching underrepresented voices into episodic television. Formerly a short film programmer for both the Los Angeles Film Festival and Guadalajara International Film Festival Los Angeles, Kimberley has a long history of working with film festivals and continues to serve as a festival consultant for many independent filmmakers. Kimberley has built her storied career around elevating new voices and empowering them to get their projects out into the world. Kimberley will delve into how filmmakers are finding success with their new films during the pandemic and how you can use film festivals as well as other practices to successfully release your own short or feature film. She’ll begin by explaining how you should be setting your gals and building your strategies to get your film out there. She’ll talk about new practices to build an audience, strategy essentials—with or without COVID—and how you should now be defining success and whether it needs to evolve due to the pandemic. Next Kimberley will focus on film festivals and show you what the new festival landscape and vocabulary looks like. She’ll explain what the best digital platforms festivals are utilizing and which to avoid. She’ll also teach you what ‘geocaching’ is and how to determine your geofencing options. She will go over DRM protections and how to keep your film safe when screening virtually and will talk about the difference between virtual screenings and online screenings. Next Kimberley will delve into the new film festival calendar, how the overall festival circuit is shifting due to date changes and postponements. She’ll give you the rundown of how to read small print before submitting to festivals to make sure you know what you need to know ahead of time. She’ll walk through how you should revamp your festival strategy to better navigate COVID and how you should now be communicating with a festival team. Kimberley will also talk about how to now navigate premiere status with festivals and explain how virtual festivals impact your film’s status and its ability to get distributor attention. She’ll also talk about how media and distributors are now navigating new rules in 2020 to find work with films. Next she will teach you how to navigate a virtual festival if your film is accepted, including how to promote your film to a virtual audience and how to build relationships and make connections without in-person events. Beyond festivals, Kimberley will give you strategies to promote and market your film to a general audience for its virtual release including if and how to work with publicists and new social media strategies to start employing. Kimberley will talk about other release strategies for your film beyond film festivals. She’ll give you tips on how to host your own independent online premiere. She’ll also give you a rundown of how to find distributors in a distanced world and how to operate long-standing marketplaces like AFM that are now turning virtual. Finally Kimberley will go over ways to self-distribute your film during quarantine, including if and how to work with aggregators to maximize your release. This is a tough time to release your film—rules and practices have changed across the board—but it’s still possible to find success and Kimberley will show you how to achieve this with your own film. Praise for Kimberley's Stage 32 Webinar: "Kimberley was very engaging which isn't easy when there is no audience interaction. Her presentation hit the middle ground between newbies and more seasoned festival goers which was very helpful because we are all newbies in this virtual festival world...both presenters and filmmakers alike." -Laurie C. "Good perspective, useful advice." -Mick H. "It was great!" -Daniel G. "I loved how knowledgeable Kimberley was. She gave me so many ideas of how to move forward with my film" -Karen B.
It's an undeniable fact, we are living in a gold rush of comedy content featuring lead female characters. Just think about the major box office and streaming successes we've seen over the last few years. On the feature film side, you have movies such as Late Night, Girls Trip, What Men Want, Rough Night, Bad Moms, and Trainwreck to name a few. On the networks, premium cable channels, and streamers Fleabag, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, Glow, Russian Doll, Insecure, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt have drawn huge audiences and many have won major awards. Is it any wonder why development executives, managers, agents, producers and financiers are looking for writers who have the ability to write screenplays and teleplays featuring memorable and iconic female characters? There are many inroads to breaking and staying in the industry as a writer, but one of the most important factors is understanding what's hot in the marketplace. And right now, thanks to the massive buying power of the streaming platforms along with other major feature film and television production companies looking for comedies, it's never been a better time to understand how to write female driven comedies that pop. David Shecter has has been working in the industry in production, development, and as a writer for over a decade. David has written on many shows, including season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His experience and success on that show landed David on the pilot of the CBS show. 2 Broke Girls where he worked his way up as a staff writer on the 6th and final season of the show. David is currently developing a female driven action comedy cop show, Lady Copped, with New Form and STX Entertainment. Most recently David was named one of the WGA TV Writer access honorees for his script For Worse. David will teach you everything he's learned about writing female driven comedies throughout his career. He will show you how to avoid the all to common cliches that seemingly find their way into every female driven script. He will show you why sex sells, but how to properly write sex and sexuality into your screenplay to make it unique. He will teach you the practice of gender flipping and role reversals. He will show you how you can bring a personal connection to your female characters no matter whether you're a male or female. He will show you how to examine your plot and your characters before you begin writing to make the process flow more smoothly. He will show you the difference between one dimensional vs multi-dimensional characters and how easy it is to fall into the former, but how important it is that you learn the latter. Finally, David will present a case study of his latest screenplay Lady Copped which is now in development with New Form and STX. Whether you're a feature or TV writer, you will learn all the important factors in writing a female driven comedy that will get you reads and attention. PRAISE FOR DAVID'S TEACHINGS: "Another incredible and insightful webinar presented by Stage 32. I have received notes on my screenplays in the past that my female characters fell into cliche. As a female, that pissed me off! But now I understand why and I'm already on the path to changing things for the better. Thank you, David, and bravo, Stage 32! -Melissa J. "Can men write female driven comedies? I often asked myself that question. I'm not any longer. Loved this presentation. - Kyle P.