How to Write a Spec Script That Sells & Lands You Your Next Job

Hosted by Matt Duffett

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Matt Duffett

Webinar hosted by: Matt Duffett

Screenwriter ('Gunsmith', Sylvester Stallone 'Crash Unit', NY Times' adaptation 'The Destroyers')

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 HOT LIST for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 YOUNG & HUNGRY Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA FILM AWARDS, and two BLACK LIST Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

It’s a competitive landscape right now for film and TV writers to break in. If you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward.

Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job.

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods.

Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK.

 

 

Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar

 

“This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable”

-Rory D.

 

“Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say”

-Candace V.

 

“I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script”

-Jerry F.

 

“This was so helpful! Thanks!”

-Carly E.

What You'll Learn

  • Things to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Spec
    • How to harness your unique background to better write your script
    • How to zero in on your writing brand
    • Navigating the marketplace and understanding what there is and isn’t a need for before starting to write
  • How to Write an Amazing Spec Script
    • Tips to better outline and structure your script
    • How to write a perfect scene
      • What scenes always work
      • What scenes never work
    • How to write characters that actors are going to want to play
    • Getting feedback and putting on the right kind of finishing touches
  • Using Your Spec to Find Success
    • How to get an agent or manager off of your spec
      • And how to work with your reps to find your next job
    • Pitching your spec
      • The steps you should take to prepare for your pitch
      • How to best tell your story in a room
      • What you should NEVER do in a room
      • The #1 thing that sells in pitch meetings
      • What you should leave people in the room with
    • Handling notes and continuing to alter your script
  • Matt’s Case Studies
    • CRASH UNIT (Sylvester Stallone)
    • THE GUNSMITH (Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
    • THE DESTROYERS (NY Times Book of the Summer)
    • FLASHBACK
  • Q&A with Matt

About Your Instructor

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year.

Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 HOT LIST for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 YOUNG & HUNGRY Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA FILM AWARDS, and two BLACK LIST Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion.

FAQs

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!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Feature Writing Workshop: What’s Next For Your Script?

  Week 1: Introduction & Concept/Theme – Every script begins with an idea. I’ll give an intro to the workshop process and discuss the basics of crafting a script with a strong central premise. Week 2: Character – Great scripts revolve around great characters. In this session, we’ll explore how to create compelling, three-dimensional characters that jump off the page and attract talent. Week 3: Plot/Structure – Plotting and structure are among the most difficult elements for any writer to master. We’ll dive into examples and determine how it’s best to craft a strong (but not necessarily conventional) storyline. Week 4: Dialogue & Where to Go From Here – Truthful and natural-sounding dialogue is the secret weapon of any screenplay. We’ll end the workshop by discussing the subtle ways dialogue can improve any script, and writers will determine their plans moving forward. In addition to the scheduled topics, I’ll also speak on general dos and don’ts in the industry, advice on getting representation, and other issues creatives commonly face. Writers are encouraged to participate and ask any questions that would be helpful for their projects or overall career goals.  

The Rewrite Process: What Do I Cut?

To see a video sample of the class, see below! 3 part class taught by Lee Stobby, Manager and Founder of Lee Stobby Management! One of the most challenging parts as a writer is getting your story, ideas and dialogue into a script that is a respectable length. When you're looking at a completed draft that is facing a rewrite, how do you know what to cut? Many times you may think nothing can go without killing the story, but keeping the length is not always a good thing. A development executive's job role varies day to day and with a constant barrage of responsibility, longer scripts usually end up drowning to the bottom of the "to-read" pile. The truth is that executives sometimes even ask how long a script is before committing to read it. As a writer you will lose the battle if turning a page ends up being a struggle for any industry professional. Which brings up the very important question: what can be cut without sacrificing the heart of the script? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: The Rewrite Process – What Do I Cut? taught by Lee Stobby, literary manager and founder of Lee Stobby Entertainment.   Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Lee is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!

The Executive Hour with Sarah J. Cornelius

What an awesome Executive Hour to kick off 2020 with Development & Production Executive Sarah J. Cornelius of Whitewater Films. Despite fighting a cold, Sarah powered through and gave us some awesome insights about the business, the inside story of how their film, Standing Up, Falling Down came together with Billy Crystal, what she looks for in a screenwriter, and the best (and worst) advice she ever received in show business!

Delivering TV in Post Production: Navigating Your Showrunner, Network and Talent

Whether you’re a writer, an actor, a cinematographer, an editor, sound designer, a colorist, a VFX artist or an animator, every project you work on is going to have to pass through post production on the way to fulfilling its creative promise. Post-production is an intricate, sometimes lengthy and always critical process necessary to turn a bunch of shots, moments, and ideas into a singular and polished product. This is no easy task, and doing it well can lead to strong and ongoing career as a post producer. And if you’re a filmmaker or creator in your own right, peeling back some of the mystery of post can help inform your own art and allow you to better create. Despite how vital post-production is to any project, it’s often enigmatic and not fully understood. When most people think of production, they only think of a film set and are less able to visualize what comes after the film set is over. The concept of a dark room where so many decisions are made that determine a show’s eventual success is foreign to most. A successful Post Production process requires an elaborate choreographed dance between creativity, technology, time and money. Understanding what that Post Production process entails, and how your skills can best fit into it, is critical towards making whatever you do creatively more successful in the end. Let’s explore how post production works in scripted episodic TV, one of the most prolific art forms in today’s broadening media landscape. Brad Carpenter is an Emmy nominated producer who for over fifteen years has built a stalwart reputation as one of television’s most sought after and effective producers specializing in post-production. Brad has overseen a slew of massively successful series including HBO behemoths BOARDWALK EMPIRE and SEX AND THE CITY, Showtime’s hit NURSE JACKIE, USA Network’s critically acclaimed THE SINNER, FX’s Emmy-winning FOSSE/VERDON and most recently LITTLE VOICE for Apple TV with executive producers J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles. Brad continues to produce upcoming TV shows, including the new TV fantasy drama INK MAN, currently in development. Few producers out there are as practiced and knowledgeable about the intricacies of TV post-production as Brad, and as a long-time member of Stage 32’s community, he’s thrilled to share what he knows. Brad will offer a comprehensive deep dive into the process of delivering television series for post-production and will share a bevy of tips and strategies of how to maximize success and bring your team together. Included in his exhaustive deep dive will be tips on how to work with your showrunner, navigating the relationship between the studio and network, building and breaking down your post production schedule, navigating the edit and finishing process, building your post-production team, working with actors and a straightforward discussion of what a day in the life of post actually looks like. Along the way, Brad will offer stories and case studies from his experience with well-known shows like SEX AND THE CITY, NURSE JACKIE and FOSSE/VERDON. Brad will leave no stone unturned in this all-encompassing rundown of TV post-production, so expect to leave with a full picture of how this field works and how best you can approach it yourself.

The Pitch Tank with Special Guest Courtney Miller Jr.

Jason Mirch welcomes Courtney Miller Jr., of television's "Saints and Sinners" for Bounce TV. and A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, into the Writers' Room Pitch Tank! Courtney is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, andBritney Spears. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical.He has development deals with has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer.

Writers’ Room 100th Webcast Celebration: Member Spotlight

The Stage 32 Writers’ Room has just surpassed a milestone achievement - 100 webcasts! For the last year and a half it has been the honor of Director of Script Services Jason Mirch to act as the humble host, guiding webcasts that include script and screenwriting breakdowns, virtual pitch sessions to industry professionals, one-on-one conversations with some of the biggest names in the business, and writing exercises that challenge our imaginations and sharpen our skills. The goal of the Writers’ Room has always been to give writers all over the world the support, access, and education to thrive in their craft and career. Our recent Writers' Room guests have included Oscar-nominated Pixar writer Meg LeFauve, Billion Dollar Producer Amy Baer, AKEELAH AND THE BEE Filmmaker Doug Atchison, Universal Pictures Executive Ken Korba, A QUIET PLACE development executive Linsday Schwartz, GREEN HORNET producer Bradley Gallo, and many more - all of whom spoke and interacted directly with our members. Several of our members have connected with each other and have swapped scripts, collaborated on projects, produced projects they have written, and writers have even been optioned by producers largely because of the Writers’ Room! The Writers' Room is strong because of the incredible members who are serious about their craft and advancing their careers. So we are turning the spotlight over to some of our talented Writers' Room members who will tell us how they broke out in a highly competitive industry and achieved success during this Stage 32 Writers' Room Member Success Spotlight webcast! During this webcast, Writer, Producer, Actor & Stage 32 CEO Rich "RB" Botto and Writer, Producer, and Director of Script Services Jason Mirch shine some light on members who have utilized the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to achieve tremendous success in the industry and learn the secrets they have discovered for breaking out! During this webcast the panel includes: Screenwriter, Martin Reese, who received a $5,000 option agreement from Glass House Distribution and Trick Candle Productions for a script he developed with the help of the Writers' Room! Screenwriter, Chris Torres, who landed representation with Manager Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment after being a part of the Writers' Room and being connected for a meeting by Stage 32! Author and Screenwriter, Christi Corbett, who developed one of her novels into a screenplay which was then optioned by producer Brad Wilson of Higher Purpose Entertainment!Screenwriter and Filmmaker, Chaun Lee, who used the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to develop a short film which she then produced using local crew and cast in Atlanta just prior to lockdown!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In