Award-Winning filmmaker, Joe Russo, has seen his short films featured in festivals worldwide, garnering praise from top film critics. His years of production experience includes work on commercials, web-series, television and feature films for such companies as Nike, FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios. Joe is currently the Director of Development at Level 1 Entertainment, under CEO and Hollywood producer, Bill Todman, Jr., heading up a slate of feature films and television programs, working hand-in-hand with several major motion picture studios and television networks. Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters”, developing many acclaimed projects, including Exorcist Inc. and City of Exile, developed with writer Claire Weaver, which were featured on the 2014 Young and Hungry List, How High the Moon developed with writer Isaac Adamson, which was featured on the 2014 Hit List, and the screenplay Nicholas, created by Joe and developed with writer Leo Sardarian, that was featured on the 2013 Young and Hungry List, the 2013 Hit List and the 2013 Black List- Hollywood’s most prestigious list of the best unproduced screenplays. Full Bio »
Learn directly from Joe Russo, Director of Development for Level 1 Entertainment (Rendition, Grandma's Boy) who has helped steer writers' projects through the development process to land on The Young and Hungry List, Hit List and The Black List and sales to the Major Studios and Networks. Joe’s extensive production background includes working on productions for FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios!
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Joe Russo will take writers behind the scenes of 2 horror films and one horror pilot. This webinar will be an honest, unapologetic look at the successes and struggles during the writing development process for each case study so you can you learn what to mimic and what to avoid for your own project.
Your host Joe Russo is the Director of Development for Level 1 Entertainment, where he heads up a slate of feature films and TV programs, working hand-in-hand with several major motion picture studios and television networks such as FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios. He has developed acclaimed projects such as Exorcist Inc and City of Exile, which were both featured on the 2014 Young and Hungry List. . An award-winning filmmaker himself, Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters” and he is here exclusively for Stage 32 to share his knowledge on the writing development process.
Learn directly from Joe Russo, an Independent Producer who has worked on projects with FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios! You’ve spent days, weeks, months, maybe even years, toiling away on your screenplay. You’ve read all the books. You’ve taken the seminars. You’ve work shopped your script to death. You’ve crafted a sharp pitch and logline for your script – and now someone in the industry wants to READ your work! You celebrate this long awaited victory, but what happens next? What if they don’t just like the script you’ve poured your heart and soul into, what if they WANT it. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Joe Russo will shine a light and give an executive’s opinion and advice on a Hollywood process you’ve all heard of, but probably don’t know nearly enough about – Development. Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters”, as well as developing many acclaimed projects. The path to taking your written words and turning them into a major motion picture is a tricky, windy road. You all know the coined phrase “Development Hell”, and too many projects fall into this pit simply because the process isn’t clearly understood at the outset. So join Stage 32 as we explore the complicated and fascinating world of Development, and all of the small victories and bumps along the road that you can experience on your way to the green lighting of your screenplay into a movie.
Learn directly from Jeff Kitchen, 20-Year Advanced Screenwriting Teacher who has taught Development Executives at all of the major Hollywood Studios! This course was previously recorded. All sessions now available on demand. It's for seasoned writers and development executives; Beginners are absolutely welcome, but please be aware this will be high-impact and fast paced. Dramatic writing is considered the most elusive of all the literary disciplines, and plot construction is notoriously tricky. You must weld together a seething amalgam of ideas, actions, characters, and powerful moments—and the finished product has to roll out one scene after another in a specific order to create maximum dramatic impact. The story has to move ahead crisply and grip the audience in a powerful transformative experience, in any genre. Even seasoned pros struggle with this. Stage 32 Next Level Education is thrilled to bring you our first ever Advanced Screenwriting 10 Week Working Writers Lab! This lab is taught by Jeff Kitchen, who has taught his three-step process, Sequence, Proposition, Plot, to development executives from all the major Hollywood studios—and they consistently say it’s the most advanced development tool in the film industry. Now, for the first time anywhere, Jeff is doing a high-intensity training program on this remarkable tool, an exclusive for Stage 32! In this lab, Jeff will train you in the detailed mechanics of how to work with reverse cause and effect and sophisticated conflict structuring to strip your story down to its absolute essentials and make it work. Then once you got your core story solid, you use Sequence, Proposition, Plot to systematically build out each of the acts, then all the major sequences, and finally all the scenes, writing each scene as you structure it. This gives you a remarkably solid working draft of your story. The lab will be a high-intensity training program, focusing entirely on technique, so you learn how to turn a fairly developed idea into a structured outline that gradually knits all your story elements into a coherent script, developing details as they becomes necessary, and creating gripping conflict that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Sequence, Proposition, Plot enables you to take all the energy that goes into rewrites and engineer your script properly before you write it. Because this is a highly intensive, hands-on format, Jeff will use a mix of lecture, drills, analysis, class work, and homework. Each person should be familiar with the movie, Training Day, starring Denzel Washington. The last hour of each class will be spent building an original story as a class, with each person constructing their own version of the practice story as they learn the detailed mechanics of using this tool fully and properly. The last two sessions will be devoted entirely to intensive work with the demo script that each person is building, structuring scenes and writing dialog based on the deep structure that you’ve developed and constructed. You will emerge with a powerful mastery of this tool, and the habits of mind of the trained dramatist. Class Breakdown: Session 1: Introduction and Instruction on Sequence Work backwards to create a tight chain of cause and effect Separate the necessary from the unnecessary Find the spine of your story, unencumbered by unnecessary detail Get the big picture working, then gradually develop the details Apply reverse cause and effect (Sequence) to the overall story for the practice script Session 2: Instruction on Proposition, Plot Build the core conflict and get the audience on the edge of their seat This works in any genre Test for power and amplify conflict where needed Set up a potential fight and touch off a fight to the finish Apply Proposition, Plot to the overall story for the practice script Session 3: Dramatic Action Create continuous, coherent, compelling dramatic action Work from the macro down to the micro Gradually develop and weave in detail as it becomes necessary Break the overall story down into acts Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I of the practice script Session 4: Writer’s Objective vs. Protagonist’s Objective Learn the difference between the writer’s objective and the protagonist’s objective Create structural unity, with each part serving the whole A sense of proportion orients you in the proper use of this tool Find the holes in your story and create solutions as you flesh the story in Do Sequence, Proposition, Plot for Act II of the practice script Session 5: Cause and Effect Find the cause of an effect, not what came before it If the big picture doesn’t work then the details do not matter An argument actually consist of two opposing arguments Do Sequence, Proposition, Plot for Act III of the practice script Session 6: The Central Dramatic Question Going on the offensive—a declaration of war The central dramatic question does not occur in the middle of the script Break each act down into sequences Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I, Sequence 1 in the practice script Session 7: Create Order From Chaos Chaos is crucial to story creation. Order is crucial to plot construction Learn to stay on track with reverse cause and effect, and not follow false trails Know that your storytelling has to be top notch because well-structured crap is still crap Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Act I, Sequence 2 in the practice script Session 8: How To Engineer Your Script Before You Start Writing Engineer your screenplay before you write it and save many rewrites Attack the audience Be the master of the tools, not their servant Break down sequences into scenes Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 1 in the practice script Session 9: Work On Practice Script Total work session using Sequence, Proposition, Plot on the practice script Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 2 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 1, Scene 3 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Session 10: Wrap Up Total work session using Sequence, Proposition, Plot on the practice script Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 2, Scene 1 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Apply Sequence, Proposition, Plot to Sequence 2, Scene 2 in the practice script Then write the dialog for that scene Keep going until we drop About The Instructor, Jeff Kitchen: Jeff Kitchen has been one of the top screenwriting teachers in the film industry for twenty years, and is a sought-after script consultant. He worked as a dramaturg and taught playwriting in New York theater, and is the author of Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting. Jeff has taught development executives from all the major Hollywood studios and they consistently say that he teaches the most advanced development tools in the film industry. You can read more about him on his website: www.DevelopmentHeaven.com. Testimonials About Jeff Kitchen: “I've worked with Jeff one-on-one for many of my projects. His tools and insights push me to explore the material in a deeper way — and find the dramatic core of the situation. I know he's made me a better writer and made my process more organized and more effective. I highly recommend his book, his classes, and his personal attention.” - Jessica Sharzer - Writer/Producer - American Horror Story “Jeff Kitchen’s writing techniques and teaching have been invaluable tools in my own creative work. His attention to character, process, and form have informed all of my work and will continue to do so. I start every script with the simple question that Jeff asks daily, “What do you want to leave the audience with?” The question and Jeff’s teaching form the foundation for compelling, honest work.” - Ted Melfi - Writer/Director - St. Vincent “Your seminar for Development Executives was by far the best seminar I have ever taken. I have found the tools you discussed to be very instrumental in my analysis of scripts on a day to day basis. Your class is the most comprehensive one offered as far as making people understand how to apply the tools and make them work. This was one class that I can honestly say has helped me to become a stronger executive. I am very grateful to you. I recommend your seminar to anyone in the entertainment industry who wants to know what it takes to make a strong script.” - Jen Grisanti - Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.; Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge; former 12-year studio executive “I found your class to be user-friendly and very informative. I especially enjoyed your technique of working backwards from the climax--it really helps to streamline a screenplay and strengthen the throughline. I highly recommend this class to screenwriters of all levels of proficiency.” - Debra Meringa - Sony Pictures “Having taken virtually every screenwriting course in existence, I found Jeff Kitchen's workshop to be the most valuable in town. His techniques and tools guide one through the entire process of screenwriting: from basic concept to general script structure and further down to the scene level. Jeff is a master teacher who truly understands the art and technique of the screenplay. His course is worth its weight in gold.” - Chris Brancato - Writer - Hannibal, Law & Order: Criminal Intent “From within the swarm of gimmicky screenwriting seminars and trendy new how-to's, it is Jeff Kitchen's approach, relying heavily on the classic principles of dramatic structure and logic that emerges as truly innovative. His technique is the answer for anyone seeking practical tools with which to diagnose script problems, generate effective solutions, or transform story ideas into compelling drama. Jeff's seminars are aggressive; they are work sessions that produce real results immediately. Come with your sleeves rolled up”. - Erin Quigley - Producer, Development Exec., 23 Red Prods. “Jeff Kitchen’s technique and his dedication to the art of screenwriting taught me writing skills that took my script to a whole new level. I’ve never seen anything like what he teaches, and it works better than anything out there. After taking his course I got top representation and sold a script to New Line Cinema.” - Sam Brown, Screenwriter “I recently attended Jeffrey Kitchen's screenwriting seminar and cannot praise it too highly. He is one of the best teachers I've ever had. His attributes are that rare to find. First, he is clear and concise and is a master of the techniques he teaches. Secondly, he has infinite patience and instinctive generosity so that everyone feels that their project is worthwhile, even as he uncovers its flaws. The technique he teaches is truly extraordinary and Jeffrey, it turns out, may be the only person in the world using it in this particular way. I have taken other screenwriting courses and his is head and shoulders above them all. As a result of Jeffrey's course I feel much more secure in my writing. I finally feel that my script will have the best possible structure.” - Mira Tweti, Screenwriter “Jeff Kitchen teaches the most powerful and practical screenwriting tools in the business. I’ve studied numerous techniques, but Jeff is the first person I’ve met who presents a fully developed craft that screenwriters can actually use. His expertise unlocked, energized, and structured a script that I was completely stumped on and now a major studio is considering it for an A-list actress.” - Jon Van Dyke, Writer-Director “Years ago, I was fortunate to begin my ongoing training with the generation of masters that first wrote for stage, then live television, and then film. Jeffrey is one of the few contemporary writer-teachers with a grounding in those ageless techniques of good drama, a tradition rarely passed to current generations.” - George Higginson, Screenwriter “Jeff Kitchen is the best screenwriting teacher in the world.” - Tom Huckabee, Executive Producer, Frailty To read Jeff Kitchen's book, Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting click here!
There is no hotter market right now than television. More content is being ordered than ever before. And with streaming networks such as Netflix planning to have 50% original content in their libraries within the next few years, the demand for quality television scripts, products and minds isn't going away anytime soon. But what makes a television show work? What elements are networks, premium channels and streaming platforms looking for? How do you navigate what has quickly become a very crowded market? By learning from the best, of course. Stage 32 is beyond proud to introduce a new, timely, important and exclusive Masters of Craft webinar: Writing & Producing Compelling Television in Today’s Market. Your teacher is 20+ year television veteran, the one and only David Weddle. Over his prolific career, David has been an award winning producer on some of the most famous shows of all time (Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The Twilight Zone). Currently, David is an Executive Producer and Writer for The Strain – the highly acclaimed television series created by writer/director Guillermo del Toro, based on his series of best-selling novels, co-written with Chuck Hogan. David is working alongside one of the most famous and in demand showrunners in the business, Carlton Cuse (showrunner for Lost, Bates Motel, Colony and the upcoming Amazon Studios' show Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski). As an added bonus, in this exclusive worldwide online event Stage 32’s very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself, will sit down with David and discuss the ins and outs of TV. David will take you into the world and processes of creating quality, compelling television. He will get in depth on how shows get bought and made – from writing to budgeting to casting. In short, you will gain pertinent, usable knowledge and information on writing and producing for TV. Further, we will have an extensive Q&A session where you can ask David any questions you have. This is masterful information brought to you by a master of his craft!
Learn directly from award winning playwright, screenwriter and writing coach Corey Mandell, (Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Disney, Showtime, AMC and HBO)! Writing is rewriting. All writers know this, but unfortunately too many writers waste valuable time and energy rewriting their scripts over and over without really making them better. Or they make some parts of their script better while weakening other parts -it's almost like an endless whack-a-mole game. The reason this happens is that often writers don't know the most effective ways to evaluate and rewrite their material. They rewrite without a clear focus or understanding of the fundamentals. Knowing how to effectively rewrite your script will lead to a dramatic improvement in your final product for both feature and TV scripts, and will be a game changer in your writing career! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Corey Mandell will walk you through the entire rewrite process – from first understanding how your story reads in other people’s heads (and why that is important!) all the way to correcting structural weaknesses in your script. He will break down rewrite memos, notes, and narrative cohesion, leaving you with a comprehensive overview of how to do an effective rewrite and how to immediately apply it to your own work. Having had the opportunity to work closely with some of the smartest and most successful writers, directors and producers in the business, Corey has seen firsthand how they go about revising their scripts and is here to pass on that information to you! Your host Corey Mandell is a screenwriter and screenwriting coach who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Walt Disney Pictures – just to name a few. Corey’s students have gone on to sell or option scripts to large studios such as Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Disney, MGM, and networks such as Showtime, FX, USA Network, AMC, MTV and HBO. Other students of his have been staffed on such shows as Community, Justified, Bones, The Mentalist, The Fosters, and Young and Hungry. As you can see, Corey knows what it takes to write and rewrite a great script, and he has proven it time and time again.
Learn directly from Patrick Raymond, a development executive at Mandalay Pictures which sold biopic Birth Of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking $17.5 million! Stage 32's "Deconstructing the Script" series has emerged as one of the most helpful ways to learn and improve your own screenwriting skills. By breaking down some of the top scripts in the marketplace, this exclusive series shows you choices screenwriters make in plot, dialogue, pacing, tone, world and description that will help inform your own writing. Even better - Stage 32 brings in working creative and development executives to break down each script - from their own perspective - so you can better understand how executives see writing and develop projects. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Deconstructing The Script: Oscar-Nominated Straight Outta Compton, we have brought in Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures, as your host to break down the script for this Oscar-nominated biopic. Recently Patrick's production company sold biopic Birth of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record breaking $17.5 million! Even though Straight Outta Compton is a biopic, the structure, themes and world-building is applicable to any narrative feature screenwriting. In this 90-minute online webinar Patrick will work through the script, identifying the key elements, characters, and plot points that make this more than just a biopic but also a statement, keeping the tone and voice consistent throughout as it relates to the subject matter. He will identify specific scenes that support the themes and identify not just specific plot points, but also highlight relevancy for the modern audience/culture. You will be able to see margin notes and specific script examples from Straight Outta Compton to learn how and why choices were made. As a development executive in Hollywood, Patrick has a plethora of experience reading and developing various musical biopics. Straight Outta Compton is one of Patrick's favorite scripts from 2015 and "...from a story and script level, stands as one of the best." Find out why by registering for this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar.
Learn directly from Lee Jessup, a career coach for screenwriters with an exclusive focus on the screenwriter's professional development. Her clients include WGA members, Golden Globe and Emmy nominated screenwriters, writers who sold screenplays and pitches to major studios, best-selling authors, contest winners, as well as novice and emerging screenwriters! Everyone wants to find representation but... What are reps actually looking for? Strong specs? TV pilots? The million dollar idea? The industry has changed rapidly over the past 5 years, and so has the representation game. Discover how to create a winning brand, develop both creatively and professionally, identify the representation that would be right for you and become the writer agents want to sign, managers want to develop, and executives want to hire. Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is honored to have brought in Lee Jessup, one of the leading screenwriting consultants, with an exclusive focus on the screenwriter's professional development. Her clients include WGA members, Golden Globe and Emmy nominated screenwriters, writers who sold screenplays and pitches to major studios, best-selling authors, contest winners, as well as novice and emerging screenwriters.