Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime comedy series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over his career, Ashley has worked with a slew of talented writer and helped them find success and build their creative career, and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
Learn how you can begin your career as a screenwriter from the founder of Leigh Hill Management, a top literary management company with clients who have worked at AppleTV, Showtime, and more.
It’s the dream of many to have a career as a writer for TV or film, to be able to make a living creating worlds and telling stories. However finding success as a writer is rarely easy, no matter how talented you are. Once you’re able to get your script into the hands of someone who can do something real with it, your script can speak for itself. But until then, you have to strive to get your work read and make sure it stands out from the others. This can be very tough. Without a professional, targeted approach, you could have the talent and the drive for a successful and sustained career as a writer but never get the opportunity.
Once you’ve worked on your craft and put the finishing touches on a script you’re proud of, it’s important to remember your job as a writer is not yet done. You still need to get your script into the right hands and make sure you stand out from the crowd. There’s no singular blueprint to get discovered and find success as a writer. Every writer’s story is different and often involves a bit of luck and happenstance. That said, there are many paths available that working writers can take advantage of. Making use of opportunities like notes services, coverage and scores, competitions, script hosting services, festivals, networking, queries, and more, can help get you on the right track as a writer and help attract the attention of busy managers, agents, and producers.
Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime comedy series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over his career, Ashley has worked with a slew of talented writer and helped them find success and build their creative career, and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Ashley will go through the nuts and bolts and provide you with an introduction of how to build your own career in screenwriting. He will discuss what you should always have in your screenwriting “tool kit” including script formatting and other materials to have at your disposal. He’ll explain literary representation and the difference between a manager, an agent, and a lawyer and how they work together. He’ll also delve into whether you need representation in the first place. Next Ashley will talk about networking and how to come across professional when speaking with others. Finally Ashley will teach you how best to get noticed, including writing cold queries and using opportunities like festivals, competitions, script hosting, and script coverage to advance your career. Expect to leave with a much clearer idea of paths to take to better approach your writing career and strategies to better find clear success and get noticed.
Praise for Ashley's Stage 32 Teaching
“I've always dreamed of becoming a screenwriter but never really knew how to start until this webinar. Big, big thanks to Ashley for sharing his experience and wisdom." - Phil D.
"As someone who has been at screenwriting for a couple of years, I found this webinar to be immensely rewarding and useful." - Chris B.
"Everyone from professional screenwriters to anyone remotely interested in screenwriting should take this. Ashley is so full of information and knowledge, he's really a fantastic resource." - Patrick H.
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A Top Literary Manager Gives You a Guide to a Full-Time Career in Screenwriting The truth is there’s a lot more that goes into being a full-time writer than just writing, and every successful writer working today has learned how to balance the craft with the business. And while each writer’s path to success is unique, it almost always involves building your toolkit, finding the right representation, getting noticed, and networking. These elements do not come easy and are not always self-explanatory. If you’re a writer that’s serious about building a career in this field, it’s crucial to learn how writers have achieved their goals in the past and how you can use the tools at your disposal to pave your own path to success. Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Over his career Ashley has represented writers and directors including Tony Jaswinski (THE SHALLOWS), Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY), two time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND), Nicholl Fellowship winners Alisha Brophy & Scott Miles (INSIDE JOB/Netflix), and BAFTA winner Tinge Krishnan (INDUSTRY/HBO). Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over the course of four information-packed on-demand sessions, Ashley will dive deep into the steps you should be taking to build your writing career and the strategies, tips, and advice you can use to find your place in the industry. He will work directly with you in a class setting, focusing on four major aspects of a writer’s career—building your toolkit, finding representation, getting your work and yourself noticed, and networking. If you are a screenwriter with the hopes of writing full-time but aren't sure where to start, start here! PRAISE FOR ASHLEY'S TEACHINGS: Wonderful and insightful class. Great look inside the industry from a manager's perspective, with reference materials too. Blunt and honest but very encouraging. -Darren T. "Ashley was fantastic. I liked his realistic and honest view on the job. We learned about the upsides and the downsides. And that is the part of Ashley's class that I’m most thankful for." -Thomas D.
Have you ever been asked, “what are the comps” for your project? Or, what’s the “this-meets-that”? Potential investors are always looking for the next big idea, and if your project aligns with past box office success in terms of story, genre, tone, budget, and more, you’ll be able to win those producers over. Having a Comps Report can provide real industry data to push your sales pitch over the top. Short for “comparable,” comps are films similar to your project that prove you have a viable idea to investors. So why can’t you pick a box office success as your comp and call it a day? Because it takes more than knowing titles. You need to understand different markets, different platforms, why those comparable films did well in some areas and not others, and more. An unrealistic report can even do more harm than good by driving away the people who could help your film produced. To walk you through creating your comp report is Bruce Nash, founder and President of Nash Information Services, LLC., the premier provider of movie industry data and research services, including comp analysis and international sales projects for feature films and real-time tracking of the industry through its OpusData service. Since its launch in 1997, Bruce and his team have served over 1,000 clients, with projects ranging from big-budget Hollywood hits to Oscar-winning dramas to low-budget films from first-time producers. In this webinar, Bruce Nash will teach you what quality analysis is, what comps are and how best to choose them, the four key questions to ask when compiling a comp report, and how to understand today’s market. Bruce will also include where you can find free online tools to help assemble your comp report. Don't miss this chance to learn from one of the best in the business.
Rich and diverse talent exists all over the world. We see it in stories like Netflix hits THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT and UNORTHODOX, both produced in Germany, and LUPIN, the hit Netflix series that originated in France and has exploded to the global audience. Or even SUBURRA, the Netflix hit which launched Italian lead actor Alessandro Borghi into the global series DEVILS. It is no surprise that multi-cultural, multi-national stories are here to stay. And, now with film and television productions taking place in every country, more and more filmmakers and actors have opportunity to work. The exciting part about this global storytelling is that it opens the door for creatives all over the world to work internationally - as long as you do the research and put in the work to find opportunities. It's time to stop thinking locally and start thinking globally for your career. Who you are, where you've lived, your heritage, your background makes you unique in the global industry. There are key differences between the US and EU film and television markets, and at the same time there are unique needs within both. By educating yourself on the different type of structures in each region you will open up the possibility to understand how your own personal background can play a key role in an international production's need. Whether you have a strong family heritage that allows you to speak multiple languages, or you are German or Portuguese and moved around to different countries, or a Texan that now lives in the Netherlands, or Emily who lives in Paris ;) - all of that is valuable in today's global filmmaking industry. How can you take these unique characteristics that you have and apply them to help you get more work? Alex Surer is a producer and manager who leads the Berlin division of the global talent management company Bohemia Group. Through this position, Alex links multi-lingual actors, writers and filmmakers from Europe with the US film and TV industries. Born in San Francisco to Swiss parents, Alex grew up in Vancouver and Basel, Switzerland, and was shipped off to Houston as an exchange student, returning to graduate in Zurich, adding proper German, French and Latin to her native Swiss-German and English. Alex has used her deep multilingual, multicultural and multinational background to help actors bridge these gaps and has helped countless performers find roles and long-lasting careers in other countries. Alex will teach you how European creatives can find success in America and how American creatives can find success in Europe. She’ll first go through the differences between European and US acting communities, how opportunities are found on stage and on screen for each region and how unions work. She’ll then compare how European filmmakers work compared to US filmmakers, and how this informs casting. She will also explain how film festival can be the key to expanding your sights and the resources you can be using aside from just IMDB. Alex will even bring in a few special guests--actors and filmmakers who have found success by moving to different countries--to dive into their journeys. ***And, even if you are based outside of the US or EU, there are key things you can learn from this webinar which you can apply to your own region. If you’ve been contained to your own region or country in looking for creative opportunities, prepare to have your mind permanently expanded by Alex’s deep experience and global perspective
They say not to speak ill of the dead. What about when the dead speak ill of you? We challenged you to deftly write a 3 page scene conveying the nuances of character reactions to getting called out for being exactly who they are, but wish they weren't.
Netflix and Stage 32 have partnered on an exclusive global education series in an effort to democratize the worldwide entertainment industry. Together, over the course of 5 webcasts Stage 32's world class educators will bring their knowledge of what it takes to write, develop and produce today's television for the Stage 32 and Netflix creator community. In our second webinar in series, we are going to talk about how you can effectively write a TV series to budget. More television than ever is being made and consumed. With streamers like Netflix looking for new, exciting, original stories from all over the world to produce, you have to put yourself in the best position to make sure your story stands out. But, the truth is that an intriguing story in today's marketplace is not enough. You have to look at the practicalities of making your story into a television series, and with that, you have to think about how what you write will affect the budget. Getting a clear understanding of how to think about budget when you are writing will help give you the competitive advantage you need to get you closer to your greenlight. To help you is Jeanette B. Milio, a producer who has worked on over 500 hours of film and television content in the US, Europe, Dubai and South Africa. She produced the Netflix Original THE EXPERIMENT starring Adrian Brody and Forrest Whittaker and has worked with ABC/Disney, USA, Showtime, TLC, CW, Discovery, Lionsgate, Paramount and more. She has also consulted for the international co-production department of Warner Bros. in the U.S. and Germany, which was focused on producing local feature content in Europe. In this exclusive Stage 32 + Netflix webinar, Jeanette will go in-depth on how to think about your characters, locations and scenes when you are writing to give your script the best chance of being produced. She will go over how decisions you make at the script stage have a trickledown effect that affect an entire production and how you, as a writer, can be a valuable member of the team by thinking about these things as you are writing your story. She will break down writing exercises you can use to apply to your characters and locations and give you handouts that you can use to apply to your own script. You will walk away with a clearer understanding of how you can give your story a competitive advantage by thinking through characters, locations and scenes as you are writing. Some examples will be used from notable TV shows on network, cable, and streaming platforms including: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING SQUID GAME MADMEN THE BOYS EUPHORIA QUEEN'S GAMBIT SUPERSTORE PLUS! you will receive the following worksheets to help you analyze your own script: Character Trait Breakdown sheet Location Sheet Note: You will receive the Zoom link to login by the morning of the webinar. If you are not yet a member of the Stage 32 community, we encourage you to join the community today at www.stage32.com, it is FREE! You will instantly connect with over 800,000 creatives and professionals in the entertainment industry from all over the world who use Stage 32 to network, find work, learn and develop their projects. YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO.
Learn How To Budget and Manage Your Film or TV Project from an Emmy Winning Producer Whether you’re a producer, director, or a department head, budgeting and managing your production is the key to creating a successful film. In this exclusive, on-demand 4-session Stage 32 class you’ll learn how to identify and determine your budget needs and learn tips and tricks to keeping on budget and making the most of each dollar. You’ll find out how to not only plan for each day, but to execute with the end-game in mind. Whether it’s a film festival premiere, distribution with a streaming platform, awards, or a theatrical release, you need to know where you’re going in order to pave the road to success. A poorly planned film can derail quickly and the budget can balloon out of control. If you don’t have the right tools, resources, and foresight, you’ll end up with a film that can’t be completed. This class and assignments will help you identify the budget level that’s right for your film, point you to the tools to manage it, and provide you with tips for building relationships and resources to support your efforts. Class take-aways prepare you for creating and managing a company of crew, cast, and stakeholders. You’ll come away from this class with the knowledge to ask the right questions and build a solid plan for your next film. Sharing this invaluable information for you exclusively through Stage 32 is Allison Vanore, an Emmy Award-winning producer with projects at Amazon Prime, NBC Universal, Canvas Media Studios, Facebook Watch, and more. She produced the six-time Emmy-winning series AFTER FOREVER and directed the follow-up special RILEY'S UNFORGETTABLE SCHOOL PROJECT, for which she was awarded the Television Academy Chairman's Pillar Award for getting the production back to work safely during the pandemic. She also produced the award-winning series DARK/WEB and currently produces digital content for Mattel's doll brands, American Girl and Barbie. She was previously the Head of Production at Canvas Media Studios. Having produced films during these significant union, health, and safety changes, Allison is uniquely equipped to highlight the obstacles you're about to face and show you how to circumvent them. WHAT MAKES THIS CLASS UNIQUE How to identify essential elements in your script during development. Practice assignments for creating a plan for a crew of 60 people And more great resources!