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 »
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”
“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”
“I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script”
“This was so helpful! Thanks!”
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!
Ever heard an exec say something like: "I'm looking for a grounded, high-concept genre film"? Join Stage 32's Allen Roughton and learn to decipher what execs are actually saying when they tell you what they're looking for! As the Stage 32 Writing Services Coordinator, I spend most of my time talking to execs about the kind of material they want, specialize in, or think is the next big thing. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I need a translator. High-concept? Grounded? Smart? Supernatural... but not horror? A Ten-by-ten? What the heck are these people talking about? Luckily, I've googled my hear out, asked a ton of questions, immersed myself in the script development world, and learned their language so you don't have to! Now I'm here to put it all together in a FREE Webinar breaking down the lingo of Screenwriting Development! Live Wednesday, May 2nd at 1pm PST, I'll become your translator and help you understand the world of development as I break down the lingo so you can make sure you're sending the right project to the right exec. Have a question for Allen? Join Allen live and participate in the Q&A at the end of the webinar! or
Aerial images go back to when hot air balloons first went up in the 1700s, but the use of aerial images has exploded in the 21st century with the now ubiquitous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as drones. In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, tv or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily to rent the necessary equipment to get. In the same way, finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to have the eye and well-developed instincts and they need to understand how to work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. It's important to know that the term ‘drone operator’ is often used for those that use these vehicles to capture video or images, but just as cinematographers are never simply referred to as ‘tripod operators’, neither should anyone simply be seen as a ‘drone operator’. A drone is just a new way to place the camera in incredibly exciting places, a tool in a tool belt. Better understanding the steps that can take you to this point can prove exciting and promising for a cinematographer’s career. Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy. He has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will give you the knowledge and tools to get you started to becoming a successful aerial cinematographer. He’ll begin by giving a brief introduction on drone photography, offering a history and understanding of what exactly drones, as well as how they have affected the current state of helicopter-based cinematography. He’ll explain the benefits and exciting potential of drone cinematography and how that has come into play in media today. He’ll lay out how drones and drone photographers work within small and large productions and their crews. Next Chris will give a rundown of how drones work, what the main types of drones are, what the main drone manufacturers are, and what the notable parts of a drone are. He’ll explain what features are offered for different drones and what features are needed for different types of projects. He’ll also give tips on where to buy your own drone as well as how to obtain a licence to legally operate them. Chris will then outline the safety and legal aspects of operating drones. He will teach you the governmental rules and regulations in most countries, including vertical separation rules and how both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes are treated. He’ll give you tips on how to navigate these rules while still working with your clients and how to understand what your licence gives you the right to do. He’ll also provide strategies to work within the confines and limits to still get the shots you need as well as strategies to keep yourself and your crew safe. Chris will go over how to break into the industry as an aerial cinematographer. He’ll explain the current marketplace and help outline what level of the marketplace you should be targeting. He’ll give you tips on how to build a reel and display your ability to find opportunities and will teach you how to find and stick to your rate, including ways to not undercut the market, manage value-added rates, and offset licence rights against day rates. Chris will even offer case studies from his own career to demonstrate how best to work with clients and get the shots you’re after. Expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to kick start your own aerial cinematography career. "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey
Learn directly from Simon Graham-Clare (Producer) and Ricky Margolis (VP) at Future Films USA (Over 200 films & TV shows financed and produced)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis will demystify global tax incentives and highlight some of the many other factors to take into consideration when looking at different locations. They will look at current example incentives from around the world and also enlighten you on ways these incentives can trigger additional investment into your project. Filmmakers will learn more about international independent film financing and how tax incentives are a key element to the business plan and can open doors to a slew of potential partners, helping to plot a ‘road map’ to production. Writers will learn why they need to be thinking about the locations in which they set their stories, and how it affects the attractiveness of their scripts to producers and financiers. Having a clear understanding of today’s global tax incentives will leave your project looking more professional and further advanced, hopefully increasing your chances to move the project into production. Your hosts Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis are Producers at Future Films USA, having financed and produced over 200 films and TV shows! The Future Film Group was established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principals in both the entertainment and business worlds. They quickly established themselves on the UK scene through their involvement in films such as Bend it like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins). At Future Films USA, Simon works as a producer, assessing film and television projects that Future Films might board to finance or produce. Ricky works in the role of Development Executive, continuing his work on the financing side whilst also becoming a more integrated part of the Future Film Group’s production activities.
Exclusive to Stage 32, Chris Lockhart, one of the most legendary and revered agency story editors in the business teaches for the community. Chris has read over 60,000 scripts in his career for WME and has the database to prove it! A logline is the way your screenplay is introduced to the world. It’s rare that anyone will read your script without knowing something about it first. A-List Actors, producers, directors, managers, agents, financiers and development execs will often lean on hearing a logline before ever asking for or agreeing to read a screenplay. If your logline doesn't sing, the script doesn't get opened. Even more important, if the logline doesn't work, it's a signal to those who read screenplays for a living that the script probably doesn't either. Delving into a logline can help you identify problematic elements of a screenplay, enabling solutions to fix them. Simply put, there is no one better to help teach this subject than Chris Lockhart. As Story Editor at William Morris Endeavor (WME), the world's largest diversified talent agency, Chris has curated projects for A-list actors such as Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and countless others over the last 20+ years. He's accomplished this reading and exploring through piles of screenplays, magazines, books, old movies, TV shows, and pitches in search of potential film projects. If you've seen one of these actors in just about anything, chances are Chris was the first stop for the screenplay (of which he's read over 60,000), but only after he heard the logline and deemed it worth of a read! Chris began his career at International Creative Management (ICM), where he worked as script consultant to legendary talent agent Ed Limato, who represented industry giants such as Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson, and Robert Downey, Jr. Chris later moved to the venerable William Morris Agency, which eventually merged with Endeavor to form WME. Chris is the Story Editor for A-list talent such as Denzel Washington, Michelle Williams, Richard Gere and more! As an educator and consultant, Chris has lectured around the world on the craft and business of screenwriting, and he has advised on countless feature films. Chris graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dramatic writing and was awarded the school's Public Service Prize for his dedication to public education. He is an adjunct professor at National University's Professional Screenwriting Program. He has also taught at LA Valley College and UCLA. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was filmed for Los Angeles television, earning him an Emmy Award nomination. Chris's creative counsel has been used on hundreds of hit films Chris is a member of the Writers Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Television Academy. In a jammed packed and often hilarious webinar (trust us, Chris is a character and a half), Chris will not only teach you how to write a logline, but how to tailor it in such a way that it is appealing to talent, representation and the money. He'll break down the mechanics of a logline to determine what makes one work. He'll show you what aspects A-List actors, directors, managers, agents, producers, financiers and development execs look for in a logline that makes them want to take the next step and read your script. Chris will then take you on a broader discussion of the elements of successful screenwriting and how your logline can betray what you've written or reveal the shortcomings in your script. As a bonus, Chris will then play a recording of an interactive logline pitch shop he recently held where he broke down several loglines to show what worked and what didn't. All this followed by a fun and informative Q&A filled with even more actionable information. "Chris, without question, is not only one of my favorite people in the industry, but one of my favorite people on the planet. His knowledge of screenwriting is beyond compare and his ability to break down every aspect of the writing process beginning with the logline is something to behold. He's smart, engaging, and funny as hell. And he's right about everything...Just ask him!" - Richard Botto, CEO (and screenwriter), Stage 32 "Amazing seminar loved it. It was the best I have ever watched or ordered!" - Robert M. "Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor." - Lori H. "Oh my god, I was laughing all the way through. In between writing about 10 pages of notes. SO much fun and a wealth of knowledge." - Denise G. "I went into this thinking it was going to be yet another of those dry logline classes. I was upended. This wasn't just the best thing ever regarding loglines, but the best screenwriting class I've ever taken." - Robert S. "Excellent! Very practical and useful!" - Kathi W.
It's an undeniable fact, there is no hotter market right now than television. Over the last year, over 600 shows were broadcast on TV networks, basic cable, premium cable, and the streaming platforms. And this isn't even counting limited series, docu-series and other short form content. And with new platforms like Disney+, Apple, Facebook TV and others diving into original content, there is no peak in sight or end to this gold rush on the horizon. If anything, we may just be getting started. In fact, most streaming platforms like Netflix have made a pledge to have their entire libraries consist of over 50% original content in just a few years. Think about that! So how can you take advantage of this incredible buying and producing spree, get in a writers room, work your way up to an executive producing/showrunning position and run your own show? We're glad you asked. David Weddle has been at the television game for over 20 years. Over a prolific and well documented career, David has worked on some of the most highly acclaimed and longest running shows of all time including Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Guillermo del Toro's award winning and ground-breaking series, The Strain. David has worked side-by-side with some of the top showrunners in the business including Cartlon Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, Jack Ryan). Currently, David is a co-executive producer/showrunner and writer for the Apple TV hit For All Mankind. In this exclusive special event Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar, David will take you to what it takes to build a career from writer to showrunner. He will explain the entire landscape and give you a full understanding of who does what and why. He will explain how to get into a writer's room and what to do (and not to do) once you get in. He will show you how to play the political game, climb the ladder, and earn respect. He will teach you how to think and work like an EP until you become one. As if that wasn't enough, David will then take you through the world of showrunning. He will explain how writer's rooms are staffed. How seasons are laid out, how arcs are created and how episodes are broken down. He will explain budgets and scheduling, using real world examples from The Strain, Battlestar Galactica and CSI. He will talk hiring directors, getting your cast and making sure your show runs like a Swiss watch. And he will take you through the days and nights of being an EP and showrunner, so you know exactly what to expect and how to navigate the playing field. Joining David to moderate this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar is our very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself with a television pilot in active development. The world of breaking in and staying in television doesn't need to be complicated. David will show you the tricks, tips and, most importantly, the facts you need to shorten your path to success. Praise for David "This truly was a masterclass. I learned so much." - Rebecca C. "I was in a writer's room for 9 weeks and then our show got cancelled. I learned more today than I did being in that room for those 9 weeks." Anthony P. "David, you're a rock star." - Pam J. "Rewatching. Rewatching. Rewatching. Thank you, David and Stage 32." - Annette F.
You’ve heard that the opening pages of your pilot script are the most important – hook your audience early and they’ll be invested in your show, fall short and producers, managers and executives might not even finish reading your script. At many companies, your script will be handed off to a member of the development team whose job is to just read the first act, then decide whether to pass or flag your script for further consideration. Having a great first act isn’t just a good way to get your pilot noticed; it might be the only way. When you watch a pilot, though, whether on Netflix, HBO or ABC, it can feel like every show is so different, it’s hard to see a pathway to success. Or even if you master one aspect of your opening act, somehow it can still feel like you’ve not done enough. In a TV pilot, that crucial first act is the most challenging because there is so much you have to do really well, really quickly: you have to introduce your characters, set up your world, and launch your story. What’s more, the first act sets your pilot on solid footing – nail this section and the rest of the pilot seems to develop and flow easily. Get stuck on how to start, and you might never finish writing the pilot that could launch your career. You’ve probably watched outstanding pilots where 10-15 minutes in you’re already making plans to binge the season. What do all those pilots have in common? What techniques do experienced show creators use to give them that early edge? And what exactly do producers, managers development execs and other professionals expect to see in a first act? We have the answers to those questions and much more. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will analyze pilots more deeply so you can see the tools successful writers use to set their show on the right path from the start. She’ll discuss the ingredients of a pilot in general, including the basic structure, identifying the type or genre of your show, meta-themes, and crafting characters to serve as the audience's entry point. Anna will then delve into the key elements of a first act, as well as a great teaser or cold open, including using framing devices, and a strong out. She will go over tips to writing memorable character descriptions, using physical descriptions, elements of identity, and putting thought into how you name each character. She'll next focus on introduction scenes and using them to generate interest in your characters, using dialogue to establish their voices, and introducing relationships. A vital aspect of a pilot's first act is creating character moments, and Anna will go over effective examples of many different types of these moments, including meeting heroes, meeting villains, meeting supporting characters, establishing the right amount of backstory, and the benefits of having your characters argue. She will then discuss how to create exposition and communicate your world effectively, crafting a mystery and building the rules of your universe, as well as how to avoid overused crutches. Anna will then offer her take on implementing and incorporating tone and themes into the script and how to sneak them in subtly through details and character moments. She will finally lay out how to best use your first act to bring the audience into your story and world, where exactly your story should start, and how to launch your 'A' story and introduce your 'B' and 'C' stories. Examples will be used from one-hour and half-hour shows on network, cable and streaming platforms, PLUS! you will receive pilots for each after the class: THIS IS US - NBC ONE DAY AT A TIME - Netflix / Pop MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL - Amazon ATLANTA - FX KILLING EVE - AMC THE EXPANSE - Syfy / Amazon Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar: "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H. "Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation." -James F. "It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much." -Kristin G.