How to Start a Career in Screenwriting

Hosted by Ashley Berns

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Ashley Berns

Webinar hosted by: Ashley Berns

Manager and Founder at Leigh Hill Management, Executive Producer of Showtime's WORK IN PROGRESS

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

 

What You'll Learn

  • What Should You Have in Your Screenwriting “Tool Kit”?
    • Materials
      • Feature specs
      • Pilots (1hr, ½hr).
      • Originals
      • IP
      • Public domain.
    • Format
  • Representation
    • What is a manager, an agent, a lawyer?
    • How do they work together?
    • Do you even need representation?
  • Networking
    • How to keep up with a changing business so you come across as a professional and not an amateur
    • How to develop a network
  • Getting Noticed
    • Cold queries - what to do or not to do in your query.
    • How best to use festivals, competitions, script hosting, script coverage to advance your career and your query.
    • Case studies: HANNA and PERFECT HEIST
    • Navigating the first call/meeting (“so what else are you working on?”)
  • Q&A with Ashley

About Your Instructor

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.

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Your Guide to a Full Time Career in Screenwriting

"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 I’m Ashley most thankful for." -Thomas D.   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.   Includes Exclusive Handouts Including Scripts, Query Letter Templates, Contact Lists and More! 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 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. In addition, Ashley will provide material for future use including: Successful screenplays, particularly those that started as a query Management and agency lists Successful examples of queries TV pod deals, feature producer deals, film festival lists etc. If you are a screenwriter with the hopes of writing full time but aren't sure where to start, start here!   WHAT TO EXPECT This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of screenwriting as a career This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Ashley will be walking you through various elements of building a career in screenwriting, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".

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