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.
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!
"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
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.
4-PART CLASS (OVER 8 HOURS OF EDUCATION!) NOW AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND! 4 part class taught by Ross Putman, award-winning producer! Ross's accomplishments include: First Girl I Loved (premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival), The Young Kieslowski (winner of the LA Film Festival), Bad Samaratians (co-produced for Netflix/FOX), and he was the former creative executive at Ineffable Pictures! From Casablanca to Breaking Bad, the reason you remember these stories is because of the compelling protagonist at their core. Their journey is why we tune in, and the way they change is the reason we root for them to succeed (or in some cases, fail). But character can be a tricky piece of the puzzle for screenwriters, especially in Hollywood’s concept-driven environment. Ultimately, great cinema is based on great characters, and this 4 part class is intended to help you find your character, make them real, and build a story around their journey—all the while staying within the realm of commercial modern cinema. Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: It's All About Your “Hero's Journey” - How to Write Memorable Characters taught by Ross Putman, award-winning producer. To find out more, click the "What You'll Learn" tab above! This 4-part class offers insight into case studies to help you as a writer form a comparison to inform your own writing. In addition, you will walk away with tools and techniques to apply to your own writing! On-demand classes are discounted and purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class which has over 8 hours of education! Although Ross is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate to help continue to hone their own writing skills!
A good book takes the reader to another world. A good film or series does the same. Today, it’s not unusual to turn on the tube and take in films like THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, HILLBILLY ELEGY, and BLACKkKLANSMAN, or series like OUTLANDER, THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and MINDHUNTER, all of which are based on fiction and non-fiction books. Writers of all levels are seeing the potential with adapting a good story from the pages of a book. However, not knowing exactly how to go about structuring the story or what elements to highlight and pull from a novel could be a proverbial brick wall for some. But it doesn’t have to be. A large part of the battle for many creatives is determining whether or not a book or article is worthy of adaptation. Once that determination is made, deciding what part of the story is high concept and what isn’t is also a challenge for some. With so many facts, timelines, and stories happening all at once, you may not be sure what direction to go in. Do you adapt the story from cradle to grave? Or do you choose a particular point in time to focus on? What characters should be in your story? And how should their arcs be developed? Understanding the writing process when it comes to novel adaptation is a crucial (and often overlooked) step in developing your story. Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Liz will take you through the process of adapting a book for a film or series from start to finish. From learning how to determine what types of IP to adapt to organizing ideas and materials, Liz will help you boil down your concept so you can get started. What’s more, she’ll dig into how you should best develop the story world, the importance of building strong characters, and how to choose the most notable moments to give your story momentum. Tips on how to reach out to the author are also part of this informative webinar. Liz will even offer a case study of HBO's adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel BIG LITTLE LIES, breaking down the choices that were made to turn the popular book into the wildly successful series that it became.
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution! Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. Whether you’re a screenwriter, an actor, comedian, or anything, creating content for platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and Instagram can be a powerful way to be discovered, find fans, and give yourself the chance for bigger opportunities. Yet despite the positives, the internet isn’t exactly the safest place, and having your work stolen or plagiarized is unfortunately far too common. Keeping your content protected on online platforms can be complicated but if you put your own work online, it’s crucial you first understand how to best legally protect yourself. Just because your work is posted and widely accessible on platforms like Twitter or Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to have it protected. The internet can be tricky, but it’s not the wild west it once was. Understanding how to be safe and what happens to your ideas when they’re posted can make all the difference. For instance are your YouTube videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Who owns your tweet or snap? And what steps can you take from the outset to dissuade people from stealing your work? Better understanding the legal side of this world and being aware of the steps you can (and should) take is incredibly important if you’re interested in building your online presence and putting your own ideas out there for everyone to see. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their work safe, and is going to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jaia will equip you with the tools necessary to protect your work and ideas in an increasingly online world. She will first outline the copyright registration process and how it applies to online content She’ll even go through step-by-step how to get your online work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next she will delve into specific online sites and platforms, discuss their terms and conditions and give you tips on how to protect your work on each. This includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Faceboook. Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
Horror genre television series are in demand in a BIG way. Many production companies and buyers are actively looking for stories that provide thrills, chills and scares. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in developing and producing popular shows for cable, steamers and network television. Shows like AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, Netflix’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (and now BLY MANOR), FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and HBO’s LOVECRAFT COUNTY have been paving the way for a new era of high quality, diverse, and ambitious horror series unlike anything that’s ever been created before. And according to the ratings, the appetite for this TV genre only continues to grow. If you have ever thought about writing, producing or selling your own horror television series, now is the time. You want to capitalize on this hot genre if you have a horror project you're thinking about creating or if you're interested in going to market with one you already have. With the barrier for entry open at networks, streamers and cable, there is more opportunity for you to showcase your story in the best possible light. In order to do so you have to know what the buyers are looking for and determine if your project aligns with their needs. You'll also need to understand the pitching environment and what you're up against in the room. It's important you have a clear understanding of your story, your series and your pitch in order to go from good to great and get the buyers excited about your project. Kevin Nicklaus is a veteran development executive with a long tenure with the The Wolper Organization, which has a first-look deal with Warner Bros., including HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros. features, and more. He has been integral to the early development and sales of BATES MOTEL for A&E, the Emmy-nominated ROOTS for History, STEPHEN KING'S SALEM'S LOT for TNT, THE MISTS OF AVALON for TNT, HELTER SKELTER for CBS, THE BAD SEED for Lifetime and more. Kevin has been active in the world of horror television for years now and knows better than most what it takes to get a scary series off the ground. Kevin will delve into what the world of horror television looks like today and how best to approach and pitch your own horror series to give it the best shot of getting noticed. He’ll begin with a primer of horror television, including its history and a look at why it’s now more desirable for networks. He’ll also delve into the 4 popular trends currently found in horror TV and what the most popular horror series are right now and why. Kevin will then give you tips on how to approach your own horror series including how to consider your audience, whether your idea is a series or just a long movie, using teasers and cliffhangers effectively, and how to find your episodic engine. Next Kevin will show you how best to pitch your horror series. He’ll explain who’s looking for horror projects, what a good horror TV pitch deck looks like and what to focus on when you’re in the room. Finally he will outline the biggest mistakes to avoid when putting together your horror series, both when writing the pilot and when pitching. Expect to leave with a much clearer idea of how best to craft your own horror television series and have it find success. Kevin will even provide a free download of STRANGER THINGS’ early pitch deck and use it as a case study when delving into building your own pitch documents. Like what you heard from Kevin during this webinar? You can send your TV pilot script or feature script to Kevin and speak with him for an hour! Click here for TV pilots. Click here for features. Praise for Kevin's Stage 32 Webinar "It was exactly what I was looking for!" -Seth N. "Spot on! Helped me think big picture." -Scot B. "There was a lot of specific detail and the breakdown of the pitch deck was fantastic." -Brien G. "Great speaker. very knowledgeable." -Shelly A.
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.