How to Get Past the Gatekeepers: Give Your Script the Best Chance for Success

Hosted by Gabriel Chu

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Gabriel Chu

Webinar hosted by: Gabriel Chu

Story Analyst at Sony Pictures

Gabriel Chu works with artists, writers, and directors to identify and develop new ideas and stories, shepherding them from page to screen. As a story analyst at Sony Pictures, he works on current projects alongside the executive team and helps to field incoming submissions and identify new talent for the studio. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he was an executive at Vertigo Entertainment, working closely with award winning directors and writers on both animated and live action film projects for Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Co. and Fox Animation. Gabriel started his career at director Bryan Singer's company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and has also worked at Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures. Through his career, Gabriel has served as a gatekeeper in multiple roles and knows intimately what it takes for a script to break through and make it to the right person’s desk, and he’s ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

A script's journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical script has to grab the attention of the anonymous, overworked reader that picked their script off a pile for evaluation. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the manager's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. If a producer's script is perfect for the marketplace, a reader will get excited, move it up the ladder and then the wheels start in motion for finding financing, attaching talent and going into pre-production. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the decision maker's desk.

But who are these mysterious readers? Who decides which scripts go on to consideration or representation - and maybe one day fame and fortune - while others get a stone-cold pass? It's not exactly who you might think: while the agents and managers of Hollywood excel at their jobs, they only have so much time in the day and most of it is not spent seeking out new talent. That job falls to the Gatekeepers, the assistants and pro readers who tackle stacks of scripts every week hoping to find the diamond in the rough: a script they can confidently recommend. So, who are these gatekeepers, how do you even get to them and, more importantly, how do you win their endorsement to help move your script up the ladder? 

Gabriel Chu works with artists, writers, and directors to identify and develop new ideas and stories, shepherding them from page to screen. As a story analyst at Sony Pictures, he works on current projects alongside the executive team and helps to field incoming submissions and identify new talent for the studio. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he was an executive at Vertigo Entertainment, working closely with award winning directors and writers on both animated and live action film projects for Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Fox Animation. Gabriel started his career at Bad Hat Harry Productions, and has also worked at Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures. Through his career, Gabriel has served as a gatekeeper in multiple roles and knows intimately what it takes for a script to break through and make it to the right person’s desk, and he’s ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

Gabriel will give you a rundown of how gatekeepers manage script submissions and what you can do to give your own script the best chance to be noticed and make it past those first rounds of coverage to make it to the eyeballs you’re aiming for. Gabriel will begin by explaining how scripts are able to get submitted to studios and other gatekeepers in the first place, including through agents and manager, through script competitions, other types of referrals, and through networking. He will also explain how taking the assistant route at an agency could help your chances of getting that script noticed. Next he’ll outline how coverage actually works at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the differences between the procedures at production companies, studios, and other organizations and what their differing expectations might be. He’ll delve into what roles read your script at what point in the process, focusing on the verticals at production companies and studios. He’ll explain the roles of interns and assistants, coordinators, story analysts, and finally executives, and what each role looks for when reading scripts. Gabriel will teach you the common formatting errors that knock scripts out of the running before people even start reading for content, including title page expectations, font and spacing, dialogue formatting, and other issues. He will share real examples of scripts that exhibit these errors to share what they look like on the page. Next he will go over narrative issues that can also sideline a submitted script. Finally, he’ll share other strategies that can make your script stand out to readers in these positions. Through demystifying the process of script reading and coverage as well as the people behind it, Gabriel will leave you with a concrete sense of how to get your script in front of the people you want to read it, and practical ways to help your chances.

 

"Throughout my career at Sony Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, and Bad Hat Harry, I've read thousands of scripts, and time and time again, have seen countless fall by the wayside because of some simple unspoken rules that weren't followed. I'm excited to share what I know with the Stage 32 community to empower writers and help them avoid hidden traps, challenge them to execute to their highest ability and standards, and give their script the best possible shot in moving forward."

-Gabriel Chu
 

What You'll Learn

  • How Scripts Get Submitted to Studios and Production Companies in the First Place
    • Using your agent/manager
    • Taking advantage of script competitions
    • Finding other helpful referrals
    • The art of networking-who and how to meet the people who can pass along your script
  • Finding Your ‘In’ by Going the Agency or Writers Room Assistant Route
  • A Rundown of How Coverage Works at Production Companies and Studios
    • What’s the difference between production companies, studios, financiers, etc.?
    • How coverage and expectations can differ among these various organizations
    • What roles read your script and at what point?
      • Interns/assistants
      • Coordinators
      • Story analysts
      • Executives
    • What do readers look for in each round of coverage?
  • Big Formatting Errors That Will Knock You Out of the Running Before You Even Get Started
    • Real examples of what these errors look like on the page
  • 6 Common Narrative Issues That Can Sideline Your Script
  • Helpful Strategies To Make Your Script Stand Out to Readers
  • Q&A with Gabriel

About Your Instructor

Gabriel Chu works with artists, writers, and directors to identify and develop new ideas and stories, shepherding them from page to screen. As a story analyst at Sony Pictures, he works on current projects alongside the executive team and helps to field incoming submissions and identify new talent for the studio. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he was an executive at Vertigo Entertainment, working closely with award winning directors and writers on both animated and live action film projects for Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Co. and Fox Animation. Gabriel started his career at director Bryan Singer's company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and has also worked at Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures. Through his career, Gabriel has served as a gatekeeper in multiple roles and knows intimately what it takes for a script to break through and make it to the right person’s desk, and he’s ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

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