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!”
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The COVID-19 pandemic brought film production to a standstill last year. The risk of holding close gatherings required everyone to profoundly change how a film is produced in order to keep everyone safe. Yet we’ve luckily found a way to create new projects, on both a major studio and independent level. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. The preparation and process for producing a film have changed drastically, as have the rules and guidelines a crew needs to follow. There are ways to safely put your own film together even under these extreme circumstances, but doing so will require a new understanding of how to move forward. As a producer or filmmaker of any level, it’s your job not just to make sure a film comes together, but that the team you assembled stays safe in the process. This is extra difficult due to the pandemic, but it’s not impossible. In fact, independent productions have been finding a ways to do this successfully for a while now and you can as well. But this won’t be accomplished through business-as-usual approaches. Every aspect of the filmmaking process needs to be examined, altered, or even turned on its head in order to comply with new regulations, make the team feel comfortable, and most importantly to keep everyone virus-free. This is a big undertaking, but other independent outfits have figured this out, and learning how they did it can be instrumental in you finding success for your own project. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen.. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN, which was safely shot over December and January during the peak of COVID-19. Shane learned how to find success in the midst of a pandemic and is ready to share the lessons he picked up. Shane will teach you what you need to do to successfully and safely plan and produce a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll delve into the new rules you need to follow, issued by guilds, government agencies and film/permit offices. He’ll also discuss how location scouting works now and what sort of locations can be safely shot in. He’ll go through the changes in production insurance and how to hire and work with a COVID Compliance Officer during production. Shane will also discuss how to conduct COVID tests with your crew and how to work with guilds along the way. He will then go over how to work with actors during this time and will share with you the biggest tips and must-dos he learned to keep your crew safe. Finally, Shane will share the details of how he produced his own recent film DOUBLE THREAT and wrapped his 6 week production without a single COVID positive test. Even in times as tough as this, there’s a way forward and a way to create your art, and Shane will show you how to do so smartly, effectively, and while keeping yourself and everyone on your team safe. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R. "I loved the inside look from someone in the industry that is dealing with Covid restrictions on a daily basis." -Marven L.
"Very informative and complex concepts were broken down so folks without a law degree could understand them." - Elisha B. When you are putting together a deal as a writer, producer or filmmaker there are many things to think about when it comes to your contracts - between option agreements, purchase agreements and negative pickups it's important you understand what deal you're getting yourself into before you start development. Your Stage 32 Educator is entertainment attorney Jordan Barel, who's a California attorney that has worked with AMC, New Line Cinema, Generate and Alloy. He is also a producer who develops projects based off IP and started out as the television coordinator at Verve Talent & Literary Agency. You will cover three different types of contracts: purchase agreement, option agreement, and negative pickup. Jordan will discuss terms in both a legal and practical matter so that you get the information needed to be prepared to negotiate your next agreement. Such things will include material and boilerplate terms, what can or can't be negotiated, and how lawyers themselves will be reading and reviewing your agreement. This will be an in-depth, but accessible, legal discussion walking you through each part of a standard purchase and option agreement. Plus! You'll get 5 contract templates to download! Whether you're a producer, filmmaker or writer learn the overview of contracts to give you a competitive advantage in your next negotiation! **All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about certain types of contracts within the entertainment industry. The information presented is not legal advice and is not to be acted on as such, please consult your lawyer for issues specific to your contract.
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Film festivals are indeed often the next desired destination for a filmmaker, but it’s not always easy to get in, even with a great film. It can be disheartening after finishing a film and investing so much money and resources into it to realize there is still more money to be spent in going the festival route. The act of submitting to festivals can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars simply through festivals’ submission fees. It’s probably going to add up no matter what, but it can set way pricier without a plan in place. It’s common for filmmakers ready with a film to more or less blindly submit to festivals: “Sundance? Check. Tribeca? Check. Cinequest? I heard that one was good, let’s do it.” Yet just because you’ve heard of a festival, just because it’s a legitimately great festival, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your project, and it doesn’t your film is the right fit for them. Successfully navigating the festival landscape requires a lot more effort and a lot more time than just pressing that submit button. Yet doing the research, understanding your goals, and carefully building your strategy will not only yield more positive results, but will also save you money on unneeded submission fees in the long run. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will walk you through how best to develop your film festival strategy and choose the right festivals for your film, well before you start submitting. He will begin with the basics of why you should or shouldn’t be submitting to festivals in the first place, and how to best think of festivals as a tool. He’ll then lay out what the festival landscape looks like, including what makes up the “Festival Circuit”, what Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 festivals are, and the lowdown on both niche festivals and destination festivals. Next he will delve into the importance of having your own specific festival goal and how to find it. He’ll provide six examples of valid and common festival goals and how best to adjust your submission strategy for each. Harrison will go deep into how to research festivals before submitting and what you should be looking for before you should feel comfortable paying their submission fee. He’ll also offer various strategies to choose the right festival and giving yourself the best advantage in getting accepted, including considering niche festivals, finding your ‘in’ and developing your network. He’ll spend some time explaining how scam festivals work and what you can do to spot them and stay away from them. He will offer some tips and context of what you should do if you film is ultimately rejected from one of your top choices, and also what to do if your film is ultimately accepted. You will leave with a slew of strategies to tackle your festival run more strategically and more effectively. Praise for Harrison's Previous Stage 32 Webinar: "This was great. Very comprehensive about festival strategy and works for shorts and features. Probably the best content about this topic I've seen" -Paige F. "The teacher really knew his subject. He was also friendly & warm and made the students feel relaxed. A well spent event and I learned so much." -Toni M. "Appreciated the way Harrison did not gloss over any point — he spoke thoroughly about everything." -Elease P. "Very knowledgeable, open, easy to follow" -Marilyn L.
In the first Executive Hour of 2021, we're bringing in Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley! Shane has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like "SEINFELD" and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG starring Dwayne Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Ent. where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, and John Travolta. During the webcast we discuss Shane's time working on - and getting fired from - "SEINFELD", producing for Dwayne Johnson, developing features with Charlie Sheen, and much more!
In today’s content gold rush, audiences aren’t waiting for the official trailer anymore to decide if they’ll see a film in theaters or wait for an on-demand release. Now, audiences decide from the first press release or casting announcement, with teams of people working behind the scenes to create buzz through production and release. So before you start rolling, is your publicity plan in place? There’s a reason that major studios spend just about as much on marketing as they do on the production: The movie doesn’t matter if people don’t see it, making publicity and marketing crucial to a film's success. You have to be your own publicist and grab everyone’s attention as early as possible. Don’t let a limited budget keep you from getting the word out. With the right publicity plan in place, you could blow audiences away around the world without breaking the bank. You need a publicity plan. Creating your publicity brand, including casting, staffing, securing talent participation in promotional campaigns, and finding your key media angles are all strategies that start as early as development and continue through your project’s life cycle. Sharing her wealth of experience in publicity and marketing with you is Janine McGoldrick in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar. Janine has a wealth of experience working in publicity for major studios and production companies, such as Universal Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Lionsgate, BBC, New Line, and more. As the SVP of Communications at Cohen Media Group, she oversaw all theatrical releases, including the Academy Award-winning feature THE SALESMAN and CHURCHILL, starring Brian Cox and John Slattery. Using her vast experience in publicity at every budget level, Janine teaches you how to develop, brand, and sell your script, so that your PR strategy is at work from the beginning by creating a publicity toolkit and press kit. She’ll show you how to ensure a cohesive brand through trailers, posters, and promos, as well as unique opportunities through social media where you can save on your budget. If you’re planning on working with a publicist, Janine has you covered there, too, as she shows you how to find the right publicist for the job and how to work with the in-house studio marketers. For those attending live, you’ll have an incredible opportunity to ask Janine questions about your project, as well as the nitty-gritty details, like pitching, embargoes, and what to avoid so that you don’t endanger your production. No one knows your film better than you, and by investing in yourself today, you can take one step closer to ensuring your film finds success.
For most writers and directors, securing representation represents a huge step forward in legitimizing the pursuit of their dreams. The right rep can help you make a living doing what you love - whether it's seeing actors speak your words on screen or managing a cast and crew and yelling "Action!" on set. It's a step that can get you one step closer to quitting your day job and concentrating on your creative career full time. Finding the right manager and/or agent will help you give you a member of your team responsible for helping you develop your creative voice or your distinguished eye, get you in the right doors to connect with the right opportunities, and to help you begin to get paid for your talent and effort. So, how and where do you find the right managers and agents? And, what makes you stand out among the thousands of creatives reaching out and vying for the attention of these representatives on a daily basis? For starters, there are many questions you need to ask yourself to make sure that you're prepared to be representation ready. Further, beyond putting the work into your craft, you need to do your research to assure you have the right knowledge to give you the best shot to stand out in an effort to secure a rep meeting. There's much work that needs to go into being a professional creative before you get your foot in the door. And, once you bust that door open and get the attention of a quality rep, there's an art to making sure that you are asking the right questions to assure that this rep is right for you and your career so that you can start working and keep working. Antonio D'Intinio is one of the hardest working managers in the industry that represents screenwriters and directors at Circle of Confusion. He began his career at the agency APA before joining Jeremy Platt at Plattform, where you helped manage Plattform's first look deal with Amazon Studios. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW. He strives for excellence in his clients, and that is mutually reciprocated making it a successful client-manager relationship. Antonio will teach you the best strategies to obtain representation as a screenwriter or director. You will learn what you need before you approach representation, how best to reach out to representation and most importantly what to do once you’ve obtained representation. Antonio will get down in the weeds to teach you what you must look for in terms of communication from your rep. What questions to ask to make sure you're making the right decision. What expectations your rep will likely put on you from time management to deadlines to the ability to receive and apply notes. You will learn how to achieve the ultimate goal with your rep, mutual respect and expectations. Antonio will demystify the representation landscape and give you the tools to have the confidence to approach potential reps with a clear understanding of what you're looking for, while understanding fully what they want in a client. No matter what stage of your career you're in - whether you're unrepped or looking to change representation - you will benefit from the INSIDER INSIGHTS Antionio shares in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level webinar! "Antonio really took us behind the curtain with a no B.S. approach. A straight shooter that tells it like it is. Eyes wide open for me now." -Michael K. My goal was always to be repped. And I got my wish. And it went terrible. We weren't on the same page. I didn't know what to do. After watching Antonio's presentation, my last rep and I parted ways and I was able to secure a new manager. The change has been night and day. We work together for a common goal. Thank you, Antonio! - Steven L.