Diane Messias is a former BBC Comedy Producer and Director, whose long list of credits includes directing one of the UK's best-loved sitcoms, One Foot In The Grave. Having worked in professional comedy for the past 30 years, Diane has directed, produced and written for many of the country's top comedians and actors including Alistair McGowan, Rory Bremner, Harry Hill, Ian Hislop, Richard Ingrams, Paul Merton, Richard Wilson, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton, Andrew Sachs, Barry Took, and the list goes on. She has recently formed a new satirical comedy group with Days of Our Lives actress Miranda Wilson, The Caustic Sodas, and teaches comedy writing and standup, both with her own company, SecretofComedy.com and for Up The Creek in Greenwich. You can follow Diane on Twitter as @NiceEtoile, and her topical satire blog can be found at AmuzeNewz.com Diane's Stage 32 Blog Posts: Bottom Line on Above the Title (Part I) Bottom Line on Above the Title (Part II) Full Bio »
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.
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"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
You may be surprised by JUST how many successful filmmakers today began their career by writing short films. Everyone from Christopher Nolan to Ryan Coogler to Chloe Zhao to Justin Lin have short film writing credits to their name and used those projects to springboard their career. This is how new and untested creatives can prove their mettle, get their name out there and actually get their foot in the door. And you can do this as well. Whether you’re building up your filmmaking career, itching to write the next festival darling or award-worthy short film, or just love the short form format, you too, can master the art of short film writing. There are many reasons and inspirations for writing a short, but shorter doesn’t mean easier to write. One of the great challenges is that many people go into writing a short with the mindset of creating a proof of concept for a feature. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, this mindset tends to encourage a few logical fallacies, and in a strange way actually devalues the work. Short films require a fine balance of elegance and story economy. They require an innovative storytelling technique that usually takes years of practice and feedback to master. With the right guidance though, you’ll be able to master this in no time. Clay Liford is an award-winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose many shorts include the Sundance hit MY MOM SMOKES WEED. His projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of writing and making both feature length and short films. He is also a film production instructor at the University of Texas, who has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Clay will take you through his proven and effective approach to writing an effective short films that get you noticed and advance your career. He’ll go over the REAL differences between shorts and features, what every short film needs to succeed, how to think like a director (even if you’re not one), and how to maximize your festival strategy. Most importantly, he’s going to introduce you to the concept of Iconography. You’ll have the opportunity to ask him questions, and by the end of this webinar, you’ll fall in love with this format and walk away with a new perspective and appreciation for the short film format. Clay's guidance will give you confidence to develop your short film and help you succeed in the short film market. PLUS! Clay provides you with the following handouts: Overview of How to Write a Short Film - Things to Consider & What to Watch Out For Story Structure Diagram Breakdown of Film Roles on a Set Elements of a Lookbook Duties of a Director Suggested Reading List Testimonials for Clay's Webinar: "Clay had great energy and pace. He was able to explain things in different ways and with excellent examples." -Magi A. "Clay didn't sugar coat anything - keeping the short within a tight budget and length is smart strategy & practical. I appreciated his honesty." - Shaan D.
HBO Max, Netflix, Disney +, Hulu, oh my! It seems that everywhere you turn there is a new streamer showcasing some of the best television shows we have ever seen from creatives. With more distribution outlets than ever and larger, global audiences to be able to watch it, the demand for television content is the highest it's ever been. We've seen incredible shows emerge like INSECURE on HBO, THE HANDMAID'S TALE on Hulu and THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY on Netflix, and it's the engine of the writers' room that keeps us coming back for more and continuing on to watching episode after episode. Stage 32 is going to peel back the curtain and take you behind the scenes of what it takes to write on these popular shows, and what it takes to help you break in to get there. Join us as we bring in showrunner Mike Gauyo from AMC's ALLBLK SEND HELP and writer on HBO's INSECURE, as well as Co-Executive Producers and writers Jason and Jamie Neese from Netflix's THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, and John Herrara and Nina Fiore from Emmy-nominated Hulu's THE HANMAID'S TALE for an exclusive FREE Stage 32 webcast. Moderating this world-class group of television writers is our very own Jason Mirch, Director of Script Services of Stage 32. This world class group of television writers will be talking about the craft of TV writing and going over what they are seeing in the marketplace today for streaming. Come join us for this free fun and educational webinar!
Ask any executive where most screenplays go wrong, and they'll tell you it's in the second act. That's because many screenwriters type FADE IN knowing their opening (Act I) and closing (Act III) inside out, but haven't thought through how to bridge the gap (Act II). Struggling to nail the second act is more common than you might think. After all, how many times have you watched a film and thought that it dragged in the middle? Most writers will agree that the second act is the hardest to nail and usually starts out feeling way too short or way too long. But it’s for this reason that the second act is where you should be spending a lot of your time to ensuring you’re getting it right. Introducing a great concept and fantastic, deeply drawn characters is, of course, a staple of Act I, but the second act is where the heart of the narrative happens and where momentum must be found. Your second act must propel you through to the climactic third act. But this is easier said than done. Writing an effective second act requires many drafts, a solid plan or outline, and some tips and tricks to help get you there. Yet this process is crucial. If your second act stalls, anyone reading your material will likely quit right there and then. But if you can make your second act strong, by this fact alone, your script will be head and shoulders above most scripts that are coming down the pipeline and better your chances of your script getting discovered or even produced. We're going to help you make your second act sing. ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR Jason Mirch is a feature film, television, branded entertainment, and digital content producer and executive with over 15 years in the industry. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, Kenan Thompson, and Carol Kane. Mirch was the Head of feature and television development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of FLIGHT, THE HELP, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, CONTAGION and more. Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Zadan/Meron Productions (CHICAGO, FOOTLOOSE, THE BUCKET LIST) where he was actively involved in developing a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. Jason will will give you an in depth look into how to successfully navigate the structure of your second act. He will be citing specific examples from films in several different genres as well as providing you tools to apply to your own writing. "Plan on listening to it again and again!" - Peggy R.
Hello Creative Army! Read any of the trades right now and our industry is in a rapid state of change. From streamers in the race for original content, to companies making acquisitions and, of course, the Great Content Gold Rush still in full force, it's a lot to keep up with. The entire Stage 32 team is on the phone every day to keep their fingers on the pulse of what's happening. It's exciting time for you as a content creator - whether you work in film, television or digital - and it's equally exciting for content makers because the world has opened wide to international voices traveling beyond borders. We are seeing more and more diverse voices represented in the shows and films we watch and it's only the beginning. Since 2011, the Stage 32 team has been working tirelessly to help you stay connected, creative, motivated, and informed. As always, we are committed to bringing you networking opportunities, education and mentoring from top-level industry executives and professionals, and access to decision-makers around the globe all from the comfort of your own home. Now, with a successful first quarter of 2022 behind us, I am thrilled to have hosted an "Ask Me Anything": The State of the Industry & Where We are Headed. ALL creatives and professionals are welcome. Looking to further your craft? Now's the time. Looking to learn more about the business? We'll get into that. Want to find out what I'm hearing from our roster of execs what's going to be happening industry wide throughout the rest of 2022? It's in here. All you have to do is register and I'll provide a couple of hours of no-holds-barred shop talk to get you ready to conquer your entertainment career. Again, all creatives and pros are welcome to join no matter your profession(s), skill level, or geographical location. As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative friends and peers on your social media channels, your email lists, and through your online groups to join us as well. Should any of your contacts not be members of Stage 32 already, you can send them an invite here! If you missed my last few AMA's, you can view them here! Cheers! RB
The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the area where writers find their footing and voice within this world. Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting and breaking into a writers’ room as an assistant or coordinator is often the springboard needed for writers to build their career in the television space. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform and stand out in one to positively contribute and get noticed for the right reasons. While each show’s writers’ room has unique characteristics, there are specific expectations of a comedy show’s room in particular that differ from their counterparts. You’re not just breaking story in these rooms, but jokes too. This process brings with it a different rhythm and understanding. Finding success in a comedy room requires different skills than others. If you’re an aspiring comedy writer with hopes of breaking into a show’s writers’ room, it’s crucial you understand how exactly these rooms work and how you can best fit in and stay in. Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them. Jon will break down how a leading TV comedy writers’ room works and outline how you can break in and find success in one as a script coordinator. He will begin by going through the basics of how a writers’ room runs and the different key players. He’ll show you how to get a job in the writers’ office and delve into the culture of the room and you can navigate. Next Jon will break down the duties of a script coordinator in the room, including, taking notes, scriptwriting, distribution, investigating clearances, using the white board and more. He’ll also give tips on the technical side of the script coordinator, including typing etiquette and using specific software. He’ll go through the art of pitching in a room and how to handle “big personalities”. Finally Jon will give you tips on how to take next steps from the script coordinator position, how to put together writing samples and use your connections to move up. If you’ve always wanted to have a career in TV writing but don’t know where to start, start here.
This webinar has a 100% satisfaction rating! Acquiring the rights to a literary property with an eye towards turning it into a movie or television series is one of your primary responsibilities as a filmmaker or producer. Or, if you’re a writer with a screenplay or someone who owns IP that can be made into a film or TV series, how do you know you’re signing the right contract with a producer? Whether you are looking to acquire a screenplay, article, book, graphic novel or comic book series you need an option/purchase agreement — or is it shopping agreement? Or is it an attachment agreement? Trying to understand which agreement is right for you can make your head spin. But, it’s important to make sure you come to the table with the right agreement to protect yourself upfront and secure all the necessary rights to the amazing property you’re after. At a glance, it seems that there is overlap between the holy trinity of rights agreements: shopping, option/purchase and attachment. Unfortunately, many people confuse the terms and as a result people often end up coming to the bargaining table with very different ideas on what kind of agreement they are — resulting in the creation of Frankensteined-together versions of these three types of contracts. The wrong drafting can leave the writer stripped of their copyrights or producers and filmmakers unable to secure financing because they don’t have the rights they thought they paid for. There are key distinctions between these three agreements and any producer or filmmaker(or on the flipside, writer) must know the difference between them. Experienced entertainment attorney Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is here to help. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will give you a solid foundation of the legal issues involved in the acquisition of film rights, as well as a rubric for understanding, negotiating, and drafting key provisions in the option/purchase, shopping agreement, and attachment deals. He will walk you through the basics of copyright law and the legal steps necessary in transferring rights. Next he will discuss common pitfalls writers and producers make when it comes to breaks in the chain of title, joint authorship, and work for hire. Critically, Thomas will spell out the differences between shopping, option/purchase, and attachment agreements and will give invaluable tips on how to negotiate and draft these agreements to ensure you’re getting what you need and not being taken advantage of. You will have the tools you'll need to navigate the murky waters of copyright law and to land the rights to your dream literary property. Plus! Thomas provides you with a 32 page detailed resource guide to help you navigate the nuances of various agreements Praise for Thomas' Stage 32 Webinar “I would wholeheartedly recommend this webinar not only to producers and writers, but to anyone in the business, even if you think you know what you're doing. It's mandatory viewing if you call yourself a professional." - Anna H. "The best I've heard this explained." - Patricia C. "The best webinar I have taken here so far. Great visuals, clear explanations, relevant topic." - Maritere Y. "Thomas was excellent. Articulate, helpful diagrams, and I liked his delivery and vast experience as a producer and lawyer." - Virginia K