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

Hosted by Gabriel Chu

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

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.

 

Praise for Gabriel's Stage 32 Webinar:

 

I was very pleased with the webinar. The speaker got right to the point and explained exactly how the screenplay selling process works.

Steven W.

 

I loved how Gabriel didn't pull any punches and gave a realistic assessment of the realities of breaking into the industry as a writer.

-Peter M.

 

I loved this webinar because Gabriel talked about a variety of things from how to approach agents/managers/producers, to what not to do in a script. I learned a lot!

-Melissa P.

 

Amazing. I liked the "no sugar coating" approach.

-Candice E.

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.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

The 5 Secrets to Financing Your Next Indie Film

Learn directly from Anne Marie Gillen, who has over 20 years of experience with independent film financing and has raised over $100M worldwide! There is no getting around it. If you want to make your own project, if you want to control your own career, you will need financing. In order to secure that financing you will need the necessary tools, language and know-how. Equity is King – and finding and closing it is the key component to funding every project no matter what the budget! This webinar will address 5 key strategies regarding financing that most filmmakers do not know. Are you stressed & overwhelmed with the thought of finding money for your film? Do you know how to talk the language of an equity investor? Entertainment is a high risk investment. Do you know how to mitigate that risk to get investors to a "Yes!"

Perfecting the Basics of Screenwriting

Learn directly from 12-year veteran Mary Cybriwsky, who's worked on films such as THE DARK KNIGHT, GET SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL and THE BANK JOB and has recently produced BURYING THE EX (Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene) and STICKY NOTES (Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie). With any script, setting up a strong foundation is key to a good story. In screenwriting, the craft is your foundation to a more successful journey. All working writers take the craft very seriously and have spent time perfecting their art. Too many writers try to jump into this insanely competitive field with little to no training. Executives can tell by page 5 if a writer knows the basics of screenwriting and they will not take a writer seriously if there are glaring mistakes. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our first ever 4-week "Perfecting the Basics - Introduction to Screenwriting" online class taught by manager Mary Cyrbwisky from Scooty Woop Entertainment. Mary has been one of our most sought out executives through our Coverage Program and has helped many writers better their craft (and even signed one!). Finding such a mentor to teach the basics of screenwriting is crucial and we are thrilled to have Mary for this class. Whether you are brand new to the screenwriting profession, or a seasoned writer, this class is intended to go over the basics of screenwriting to perfect your craft. The objective of this 4 week class is to cover basic screenwriting formatting, 3 act structure, characters, plots, themes, what to write and what NOT to write, but Mary will go over so much more! All of this is done in a friendly, interactive, fun online atmosphere. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Mary is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!

Mastering the Self Audition Tape - Tips from a Casting Director with Video Examples & a Resource Sheet

Today, more than ever, self tape auditions are an integral part of the casting process. This is even more true in the age of social distancing. Additionally, due to the convenience self tapes provide and tight deadlines casting directors often operate under, more roles are cast via self tape auditions than ever before. Understanding how to set up, craft, and shoot a self tape can be the difference between landing more roles or having your talents fall by the wayside.  When a casting director requests and accepts self tapes to assist in their casting process, they inevitably wind up with tapes of varying quality and content. Whether it's picture quality or sound quality fails, a bad self tape immediately gets bypassed. Actors often think that their talent will always win the day. In a room, that might be true. But on a self tape, quality matters. Fortunately, there are some very simple, but comprehensive steps you can take that will make a massive difference in what you present to a casting director. The goal is to keep the attention off cosmetic or sound flaws and on your acting, where it belongs! Marin Hope, CSA is a Los Angeles native and LA-based casting director, who won the 2020 Artios Award for Casting. Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, KINGS, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY, starring Joan Allen and Adrien Brody, and most recently MOLLY, Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Over her storied career she has seen thousands of auditions and hundreds of casting self-tapes and she's back here exclusively on Stage 32 to impart her wisdom on what can help you get a leg up on the competition when it comes to your self tape.  Marin will talk about the need for self-tapes and why they are an essential part of today's casting process. You'll get insight as to why some jobs rely on it vs. others who require in-person auditions. She will go over your question on whether or not you should use a self-tape facility or film from home. When it comes to shooting at home, you will learn background, lighting, angles, wardrobe choices and equipment you will need, as well as whether or not you should film horizontal or portrait. Finally, Karen will teach you the do's and don'ts of a self-tape and share with you examples of good and bad auditions. You will learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective which will give you the unique insight into how your own self-tape is viewed. PLUS! Marin will share with you: Videos clips of do's and dont's for casting videos A resource sheet of tools and equipment that can help you with the look of your casting tape     Praise for Marin's Stage 32 Webinar:   "I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know about self-taping but Marin brought forth valuable new information." -Michele C.   "I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away." -Sondra C.   "The information was informative, Marin gave a lot information that is extremely invaluable to me in this industry and I look forward to many more webinars with Stage32 because of this." -Michael C.   "Well, done. I have made it into several movies and missed getting into others. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions." -Kenneth W.

The Breakdown Webcast: Plot Twists!

Director of Script Services Jason Mirch dissects scenes from some of our favorite films and TV series including Bad Times at the El Royal, "Game of Thrones", The Sting, The Sixth Sense, and more! During this webcast, Jason discusses how screenwriters craft compelling plot twists and how you can use the principles in your own writing. We will also discuss practical tips and ideas on how you can create a twist that is worthy of a, "Whoa!" instead of a "huh?"

The Breakdown Webcast: Breaking Down a General Meeting

Rich "RB" Botto is a producer, writer, and actor himself, and he and Jason have been on both sides of the table of hundreds of General Meetings. During this webcast, RB and Jason discuss how screenwriters should approach a general meeting, how to prepare for a general meeting, what to expect once you are in the room, and how to follow up so the first meeting turns into another meeting. This is essential information that every writer should be aware of!

How to Create an "Investor Kit" to Raise Financing for Your Film or Project

It's no secret that raising funds for a film is a difficult proposition. Most people who repeatedly invest in the film industry have no shortage of projects from which to choose to place their money. They also have a particular set of standards and requirements that need to be met before they write a check. Even more casual investors in film who go in with lowered expectations still will want to see that you have the knowledge, discipline and understanding on how to handle and protect their money and put them in the best position for a return. The fact of the matter is that you could have the most attractive project with a highly marketable and commercial screenplay and fantastic talent interested in attaching, but if you can't deliver on the important details, know how to answer the toughest questions, and show that you have the savvy to withstand the scrutiny associated with putting together a film financing deal, your potential investment target will be on to the next pitch without a blink. There is no straight answer on how to pitch an investor. Some will tell you that without a pitch deck, you have no shot. Others will tell you that 99% of the time a pitch deck is just a pretty, overblown document designed to dazzle and amazing, but with very little substantiative information. Regardless of the approach, there is one fact that is undeniable: you need to know every angle on how a film can come together and be able to show clearly and concisely a path to how your investor is going to recoup their money and potentially make a profit. To do that, you need to be able to put together an investor kit, first for yourself, and then as something you can tailor to your investor. There's no need to be intimidated by this. Once you understand the various facets of film investing, the rest will fall into place quite naturally. And we're here to help you do just that. Kevin Christoffersen has been producing multi-media content internationally for over two decades across four continents while living in five countries. Currently, Kevin is working as a development executive, producer, writer and consulting with the technology platform Movie Rights Exchange which is changing the way films are being distributed. Kevin's current projects include his co-written feature, Falling Up with Stephanie Drapeau, Dallas Brennan’s Deception Road, a new Hal Hartley feature in development and Rear View Windows being casted by Kerry Barden. Kevin has guest lectured at NYU, teaches workshop classes with the IFP, Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, Filmshop and moderated a producers panel at the Hunter Mountain Film Festival. He then works with students on creating their packages throughout the A to Z Development process. Kevin will be teaching about the step by step process required throughout the development financing stage of your feature film project to create your "Investor Kit". This includes all of the elements from business plans to budgets, proof of concept videos, retaining production counsel and a casting director. Kevin will show you the all important skill of bringing packaging elements to your project, something so very important in this day and age. He will tell you how to handle the common issue of securing "First-in money" and how to navigate talent retainer fees. He will talk co-production agreements, also a valuable thing when putting together a film. He will teach you about distribution agreements, tax credit loans and pre-sales estimates. Kevin will even teach you how to source your investors and how to build a powerful team so you can wear limited hats and divide and conquer.   Praise for Kevin   "Took the intimidation and fear of approaching investors by presenting clear facts and strategies that make perfect sense." - Michael M.   "I've read complex and dense books on this subject that have taken me months to get through and I learned more in 2 hours with Kevin. Brilliant material." - Cheryl Lee K.   "This one was off the charts." - Sammie P.   "This removed so many questions. So many. I feel as if the clouds have parted. This IS possible. Thank you, Kevin." - Marty K.  

register for stage 32 Register / Log In