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!
In this Pitch Tank Webcast we are brining in Distribution Executive Ken Korba Jr. of Universal Pictures! Previously, Ken worked at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Principato Young Entertainment (Artists First), Paradigm, Open Road Films , Global Road, Entertainment, Crypt TV, and Focus Features. As an Executive in Distribution, Ken works directly with screenwriters and filmmakers to prepare their projects for production and release. Universal Pictures is....well....Universal Pictures! They are responsible for some of the industry's most recent critical and commercial successes, including THE INVISIBLE MAN, 1917, the JURASSIC PARK-franchise, US, FIRST MAN and GET OUT. Their upcoming projects include CANDYMAN and HALLOWEEN KILLS! Ken's background is in talent representation, development, production, theatrical sales, and film campaigns. Ken specializes in working with screenwriters and specializes in understanding what attracts sales agents to a particular film package in the current market, and how to guide a project from inception to completion! So you know he will have excellent feedback for our members pitching.
In this exclusive 2 hour Stage 32 online webinar, here is just some of what you will learn from Robert McKee: Crafting believable and engaging dialogue. Why certain lines resonate and others fall flat Strategies and techniques for writing impactful dialogue The importance of showing vs. telling The three functions of dialogue: exposition, characterization and action. But that's not all! After Mr. McKee's lecture, Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard "RB" Botto, conducts an interview speaking further about the craft and opens it up to the Stage 32 community to ask questions. Now, no matter where you live in the world, this is an extremely rare opportunity to learn from Mr. McKee online! "You just don't get Robert McKee like this for this kind of price. Kudos to Stage 32 and thank you Mr. McKee" - Burton B. "Thank you RB and your awesome teem, and a big thanks to Robert McKee who is truly a Master of the craft! This webinar could be hard one to top in the writers field." - Scott W. "Just wanted you to know that McKee's webinar was fantastic. One of the best lectures I have heard on the craft. He was brilliant. And irascible." - Anthony R. "Amazing wisdom from a writing giant. Felt he was very giving and thoughtful in his replies which made it a fantastic experience." - Paul B. "Fantastic webinar - lots of great insights and ideas. Thanks!" - Ron H. "I will say it again - this was a great webinar. I am more inspired and motivated than ever to increase my skill as a writer and devote more time to doing so." - Christine D. (see more testimonials below!)
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.
Short films are all the rage. Not only are more and more film festivals accepting short films, but festivals dedicated to nothing but short films have become more popular than ever. Additionally, more managers, agents, and producers are looking to short films to find untapped talent and new ideas. So many successful filmmakers today, from Christopher Nolan to Damien Chazelle, have used short films as a calling card to showcase their skills and show the world that they were ready for the big time. But shooting a quality short film means raising some financing. And for many, this can be challenging. Allow us to help you out by showing you everything you need to know so that you can attract investors looking to get behind you, your unique vision and your work. One thing that many creatives avoid when putting together a short film is everything that goes into the business end. From determining and compiling a true and realistic budget to being able to tell their creative and financial story within a pitch deck to thinking about a distribution strategy and recoupment plan well before shooting, there is so much to think about toward getting investors in your corner beyond the creative. JT Molner knows a thing or two about raising funds for shorts and feature films. Although JT is a writer and director, he's been deep in the trenches in raising funds for his projects leaving no stoned unturned and nothing to chance. After raising financing for many successful shorts which caught the eyes of producers and talent, JT rolled up his sleeves and helped his producers raise financing for his first feature film, Outlaws and Angels, which was originally shot as a short film as proof of concept. The feature became an Official Selection at Sundance and was sold to Orion Films. JT will teach you everything he's learned from his decade of raising financing for his short films and other projects. He will dive into how you can determine your budget and how you can include that information and other pertinent material in a pitch deck that stands out from the norm and attracts investors. He'll talk about the benefits of private funding vs. crowdfunding (he's done both) and how you can gain support from individuals and the crowd. And he'll dive into distribution strategies and recoupment planning so that you can clearly and concisely explain to your investors your grand vision of how they are not only going to make their money back, but turn a profit! Added Bonus! You'll receive a pitch deck from JT's film OUTLAWS AND ANGELS which started as a short film proof of concept, and went on to be made as a feature, being selected as an Official Selection at Sundance and selling to Orion films! Holy clarity! I've made so many mistakes along the way. Every short film has seemed like a struggle not worth reliving and now I understand why. These wounds were self inflicted. Thank you, JT, for not only (kindly) setting things straight, but for opening my eyes. I can't wait to get started on my next project. - Manford C.
Writers can't rely on jump-scares and creepy music, so how do screenwriters create tension on the page? We'll take a look at needling suspense of THE BABADOOK, the tension just below the surface in GET OUT, the apocalyptic horror of “The Walking Dead”, and the creeps and chills of IT.
It is clear that this is the golden age of television with one incredible series after another coming out on cable, streaming and network. If you're interested in breaking into the world of television, there is one key position that you must know the ins and outs of in order to understand the set - a TV Executive. An TV Executive plays a huge role in a television production, serving as more than a key developer of story, but also a liaison between various departments on set. We've brought in veteran executive Stuart Arbury from Ramo Law (Ramo Law has worked on Netflix's Altered Carbon & Chef's Table, ABC's This Isn't Working, Hulu's Battleground and more). Stuart himself began his career at Captivate Entertainment, Dimension Films and Canvas Media Studios. Arbury was the on-set TV executive for MTV's Scream TV series for two seasons, which was based on the classic horror film franchise. In this webinar, Stuart will walk you through an explanation of the television eco-system and share war stories of his time during Scream. Having worked with various department heads, Stuart will also share tips on getting started in Hollywood on a television production. You will walk away with a clear understanding of a TV executive's role and how it relates to your part of the business, whether you're a writer, producer, director, actor or crew.