Marc Scott Zicree has written and produced hundreds of hours of drama series TV for most of the major studios and networks, including Paramount, Universal, Disney, Sony/Columbia Tri-Star, MGM, Castle Rock, New Line, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, WB, UPN, Showtime, PBS, Turner, USA Networks, Syfy, Discovery, Nickelodeon, the BBC, Marvel and NPR. Zicree’s landmark book The Twilight Zone Companion has been credited with creating the modern genre of books on TV series and inspiring a generation of series creators and filmmakers, including J.J Abrams and Damon Lindelof. The Companion was an instant bestseller (over a half million copies to date) and named in 2006 by the New York Times one of “ten science fiction books for the ages,” the only non-fiction book on the list. Zicree has been nominated for the Hugo Award, American Book Award, Humanitas Prize, Nebula Award and Diane Thomas Award, and has won the prestigious Hamptons Prize, Rondo and Saturn Awards. In 2014, he was named a Writers Guild Diversity Honoree. Zicree’s most recent book, co-written with director Guillermo del Toro, is Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities for HarperCollins (which debuted as the number one movie book on Amazon at Christmas). Zicree is currently writing, directing and producing Space Command, an epic science fiction series starring Doug Jones (Falling Skies, The Strain, Pan’s Labyrinth), Mike Harney (Orange is the New Black), Christina Moses (Containment), Faran Tahir (J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, Iron Man, American Crime), Armin Shimerman (Deep Space Nine, Buffy), Mira Furlan (Lost, Babylon 5), James Hong (Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Elementary), Bill Mumy (Lost In Space, Babylon 5), Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager, Stargate Atlantis, Hail Caesar) and Armin Shimerman (Deep Space Nine, Buffy). He is currently in post on the first two-hour story, Space Command: Redemption, and has just shot one-third of the second, Space Command: Forgiveness, at Space Command Studios in Southern Calif. One of Zicree’s recent credits is the Hugo and Nebula Award nominated Star Trek New Voyages “World Enough And Time,” starring George Takei, which Zicree executive produced and directed. Zicree co- wrote the script with Emmy-winner Michael Reaves. Zicree is regarded as one of the country’s top media experts and has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio shows, including The Today Show, American Masters, All Things Considered, Entertainment Tonight, E! True Hollywood Story, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Variety, New York Times and L.A. Times. Beyond his three-year stint as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition, he is a regular guest on Coast To Coast, one of the country’s top-rated night-time radio shows. In addition, Zicree is a lauded novelist with the bestselling Magic Time trilogy, published by HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio. Zicree has lectured at many colleges, professional conferences, and museums in America, Europe and Asia, including USC, UCLA, Stanford and Ithaca, where he was a keynote speaker. Zicree is also founder and for the last twenty-two years has run The Table, which has provided a supportive community to thousands of Industry professionals in Hollywood and around the world, at no charge. (The documentary on the Table won Best Documentary Award at the SoCal Film Festival and has been screening on Hulu and Netflix and via iTunes.) Full Bio »
Ever since Georges Méliès’ iconic LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE came out in 1902, science fiction has had an indelible mark on pop culture and has become a multi-billion dollar industry, evidenced by such popular recent projects as THE MIDNIGHT SKY, TENET, DEVS and BLACK MIRROR. Science fiction doesn’t just offer escapism, but also a unique lens through which to see our own lives and world. As a result, audiences are always going to have an appetite for this type of content, and sci-fi stories and scripts will continue to be discovered, picked up, and produced. If you are a sci-fi writer, there is always opportunity for your work to find success. First, it’s important that it’s what people are actually looking for.
Almost everyone is a fan of science fiction in some form or fashion, but we can all attest to the fact that not all of the sci-fi content out there today is exactly good. So what is it actually that separates good sci-fi writing from the bad? And what can you do to not only elevate your own science fiction writing, but find the best medium or platform for it to flourish? Good science fiction will always be a challenge to write, but it’s absolutely possible, especially with guidance from a practiced and proven sci-fi writer.
Marc Scott Zicree has written and produced hundreds of hours of drama and science fiction TV for most of the major studios and networks, including Paramount, Universal, Disney, MGM, New Line, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Showtime, Syfy, and Marvel. He has written for such sci-fi classics as STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE 9 and BABYLON 5, and his landmark book The Twilight Zone Companion has been credited with creating the modern genre of books on TV series and inspiring a generation of series creators and filmmakers, including J.J Abrams and Damon Lindelof. Marc’s most recent book was co-written with director Guillermo del Toro and debuted as the number one movie book on Amazon. Marc’s decades of writing in the sci-fi space has made him a foremost expert on the art form of science fiction writing, and he has brought his extensive knowledge to the Stage 32 community.
Marc will give you the lessons and tools you need to know to deliver exceptional sci-fi writing for film, television and beyond. You will learn the tools necessary to apply to your writing that will help improve the essence and marketability of your sci fi script. Marc will even walk through how to build out your world and what to do continue finding stories in the universe you created. You will walk away with a clear path to identifying your story and incorporating elements to strengthen your characters, story and dialogue.
Praise for Marc's Stage 32 Webinar
"EXTREMELY USEFUL points!! Loved hearing stories about behind the scenes stuff on Star Trek and his take on why different films worked or didn't. Would love to have a beer with this guy!"
"Very interesting webinar Thanks!"
"Very informative and inspiring - I learned a lot and also feel motivated to act upon the information I learned."
"Marc has always been an extremely generous, informative and entertaining mentor/instructor. This webinar is just one more example of that."
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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
You’ve heard that the opening pages of your pilot script are the most important – hook your audience early and they’ll be invested in your show, fall short and producers, managers and executives might not even finish reading your script. At many companies, your script will be handed off to a member of the development team whose job is to just read the first act, then decide whether to pass or flag your script for further consideration. Having a great first act isn’t just a good way to get your pilot noticed; it might be the only way. When you watch a pilot, though, whether on Netflix, HBO or ABC, it can feel like every show is so different, it’s hard to see a pathway to success. Or even if you master one aspect of your opening act, somehow it can still feel like you’ve not done enough. In a TV pilot, that crucial first act is the most challenging because there is so much you have to do really well, really quickly: you have to introduce your characters, set up your world, and launch your story. What’s more, the first act sets your pilot on solid footing – nail this section and the rest of the pilot seems to develop and flow easily. Get stuck on how to start, and you might never finish writing the pilot that could launch your career. You’ve probably watched outstanding pilots where 10-15 minutes in you’re already making plans to binge the season. What do all those pilots have in common? What techniques do experienced show creators use to give them that early edge? And what exactly do producers, managers development execs and other professionals expect to see in a first act? We have the answers to those questions and much more. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will analyze pilots more deeply so you can see the tools successful writers use to set their show on the right path from the start. She’ll discuss the ingredients of a pilot in general, including the basic structure, identifying the type or genre of your show, meta-themes, and crafting characters to serve as the audience's entry point. Anna will then delve into the key elements of a first act, as well as a great teaser or cold open, including using framing devices, and a strong out. She will go over tips to writing memorable character descriptions, using physical descriptions, elements of identity, and putting thought into how you name each character. She'll next focus on introduction scenes and using them to generate interest in your characters, using dialogue to establish their voices, and introducing relationships. A vital aspect of a pilot's first act is creating character moments, and Anna will go over effective examples of many different types of these moments, including meeting heroes, meeting villains, meeting supporting characters, establishing the right amount of backstory, and the benefits of having your characters argue. She will then discuss how to create exposition and communicate your world effectively, crafting a mystery and building the rules of your universe, as well as how to avoid overused crutches. Anna will then offer her take on implementing and incorporating tone and themes into the script and how to sneak them in subtly through details and character moments. She will finally lay out how to best use your first act to bring the audience into your story and world, where exactly your story should start, and how to launch your 'A' story and introduce your 'B' and 'C' stories. Examples will be used from one-hour and half-hour shows on network, cable and streaming platforms, PLUS! you will receive pilots for each after the class: THIS IS US - NBC ONE DAY AT A TIME - Netflix / Pop MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL - Amazon ATLANTA - FX KILLING EVE - AMC THE EXPANSE - Syfy / Amazon Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar: "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H. "Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation." -James F. "It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much." -Kristin G.
At times, the complications that can arise in the pre-production and production processes seem to come out of nowhere. This is especially true when the best laid, most regimented plans concerning budget, cast, and the creative process are upended. Filmmakers are often left wondering about the root of these issues, and whether or not they could have been prevented. This webinar will address how to tackle common hurdles in pre-production and production when identified early on…and how to roll with the punches when you’re blindsided. Some of the most common issues that can plague productions result from a lack of planning. To this end, the importance of having a top-notch line producer for your project, thoroughly researching the professional reputations of your cast and financiers, and maintaining open lines of communication with your director and writer cannot be overstated. Entering into a project blindly, being unrealistic about shooting schedules and financial constraints, or a disconnect between you and a filmmaker will only bog down (or shut down) production. Bottom line: preparation and research will save you money and aggravation. And on the occasion that you’re faced with an issue out of your control (be it inclement weather on set or an MIA actor), an ability to adapt, problem-solve, and then move on is key. Bradley Gallo is the Chief Creative Officer for Amasia Entertainment, and a guest blogger in the Stage 32 community. Helmed by the former president and COO of Marvel Studios, Michael Helfant, Amasia has emerged as one of the top production companies in the industry today. Bradley and Gerard Butler are the producers behind the 2019 Official Sundance Selection THEM THAT FOLLOW, which was acquired by SONY, as well as films like THE CALL (Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin), and MR. RIGHT (Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell). Amasia Entertainment is a production, finance and management company based in Los Angeles. Amasia is currently in pre-production on FATE, written by Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, BOOK OF ELI). Through Bradley's career, he has seen it all and knows how to navigate all hurdles on set. Bradley will take you through the common pre-production hurdles you will go through when making a film including when you lose key elements like money, talent, your director or a location. He'll talk about how to communicate with representation for talent. In addition, he will go over on-set production hurdles you'll face, as well, including when a director loses control of a set, when an actor goes missing or dealing with difficult talent. He'll go over what happens when you run out of money while filmmaking, what happens when you get hit with unexpected fines and how to work with multiple producers and financiers on set. And, he'll even help you understand how to deal with issues out of your control like weather, injuries, and more. This is an immersive deep dive into how to prevent problems not before they arise, but so they never arise so that your production stays on track, on time, on budget and with the entire cast and crew focused on the job at hand. Praise for Bradley's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Bradley is no bullsh*t. He is real, down to earth and tells it like it is. He is proof that anything is possible if you put the work into it" - Stan S. "Bradley is creative in his approach and that's refreshing!" - Samantha R. "Keep bringing Bradley back, please. He's one of the most honest voices I've come across in my 10+ years in the business." - Martin C. "I could listen to Bradley teach all day. He's straight to the point, fun, and inspiring. He makes me believe anything is possible." Melanie L.
Using the principles learned in the Breakdown Webcast: Breaking the 4th Wall, this month members were challenged to write a short scene in which the character(s) break the fourth wall to drive the plot forward, reveal character and deliver exposition. As part of the webcast, Jason turns the microphone over to the writers to read their projects aloud for the other members in the group.
It's an undeniable fact, there is no hotter market right now than television. Over the last year, over 600 shows were broadcast on TV networks, basic cable, premium cable, and the streaming platforms. And this isn't even counting limited series, docu-series and other short form content. And with new platforms like Disney+, Apple, Facebook TV and others diving into original content, there is no peak in sight or end to this gold rush on the horizon. If anything, we may just be getting started. In fact, most streaming platforms like Netflix have made a pledge to have their entire libraries consist of over 50% original content in just a few years. Think about that! So how can you take advantage of this incredible buying and producing spree, get in a writers room, work your way up to an executive producing/showrunning position and run your own show? We're glad you asked. David Weddle has been at the television game for over 20 years. Over a prolific and well documented career, David has worked on some of the most highly acclaimed and longest running shows of all time including Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Guillermo del Toro's award winning and ground-breaking series, The Strain. David has worked side-by-side with some of the top showrunners in the business including Cartlon Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, Jack Ryan). Currently, David is a co-executive producer/showrunner and writer for the Apple TV hit For All Mankind. In this exclusive special event Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar, David will take you to what it takes to build a career from writer to showrunner. He will explain the entire landscape and give you a full understanding of who does what and why. He will explain how to get into a writer's room and what to do (and not to do) once you get in. He will show you how to play the political game, climb the ladder, and earn respect. He will teach you how to think and work like an EP until you become one. As if that wasn't enough, David will then take you through the world of showrunning. He will explain how writer's rooms are staffed. How seasons are laid out, how arcs are created and how episodes are broken down. He will explain budgets and scheduling, using real world examples from The Strain, Battlestar Galactica and CSI. He will talk hiring directors, getting your cast and making sure your show runs like a Swiss watch. And he will take you through the days and nights of being an EP and showrunner, so you know exactly what to expect and how to navigate the playing field. Joining David to moderate this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar is our very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself with a television pilot in active development. The world of breaking in and staying in television doesn't need to be complicated. David will show you the tricks, tips and, most importantly, the facts you need to shorten your path to success. Praise for David "This truly was a masterclass. I learned so much." - Rebecca C. "I was in a writer's room for 9 weeks and then our show got cancelled. I learned more today than I did being in that room for those 9 weeks." Anthony P. "David, you're a rock star." - Pam J. "Rewatching. Rewatching. Rewatching. Thank you, David and Stage 32." - Annette F.
In this Executive Hour we speak with screenwriter Lorien McKenna! Lorien is a former Pixar Story Manager who worked on such features as Oscar-winning UP, Oscar-winning BRAVE, Oscar-winning INSIDE OUT, and THE GOOD DINOSAUR. She also served as a producer for Paramount Animation where she oversaw development for WONDER PARK. Lorien, along with Oscar-nominated writer Meg LeFauve, sold their romantic comedy anthology, THIS THING CALLED LOVE to Hulu with Dan Lin producing; as well as a half hour sitcom, POOG to NBC and WBTV. Lorien also wrote HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY, based on the book of the same name by Jesse Ball, for Straight Up Films. Previously, she served as the Co-EP for Hulu's CURIOUS GEORGE series, and has developed projects for Disney Jr., Funko, and Netflix. She is the co-host of the podcast The Screenwriting Life with fellow screenwriter Meg LeFauve. During the webcast, Lorien discusses her unusual career trajectory, working in the "Brain Turst" on Oscar-Winning animated films at Pixar, battling "Imposter Syndrome", tackling adaptations, writing for television vs. features, how hard it is to take notes even as an established writer, and much more!
***Lab spots filled - Join our TV writing lab next week with TV literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** You’ve heard the phrase “the content gold rush” get bandied about much these days, but as it relates to TV, it’s never been more true. Drama television is at it's peak with such iconic shows like OZARK, KILLING EVE, BETTER CALL SAUL, THIS IS US, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, MR. ROBOT, STRANGER THINGS, BLACK MIRROR, BIG LITTLE LIES and so much more. With the influx of networks and streaming platforms either moving into or expanding their original content libraries, the demand for dramatic TV ideas and pilots has never been greater. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. But not only is the quantity increasing, so is the quality, as companies are funneling an unprecedented amount of money, resources, marketing and talent into their shows. And the impact of COVID-19 is even having an impact that could benefit writers all over the world as many shows are planning to implement virtual writer’s rooms. In short, there has never been a better time to write for TV. Now it’s just a matter of breaking in. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but if you want to write dramatic television you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sensibility. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. The intention of this lab is to help you create that piece of material that stands out, gets you the right meetings, and, ultimately, gets you representation, meetings with decision-makers, and/or a coveted seat in a writer’s room. Over the course of a 15+ year career, Anna Henry has read thousands of television scripts and worked with hundreds of writers. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as an independent producer. Anna was Head of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Century Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America to name just some. Anna’s client credits include Netflix's SEVEN SECONDS; Starz' VIDA; BET’s IN CONTEMPT; HBO's THE DEUCE, BIG LOVE, and VINYL; Showtime's THE CHI; NBC's THIS IS US; The CW's JANE THE VIRGIN; DirecTV's KINGDOM, AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD; PBS' MERCY STREET; and more. Anna has taught numerous webinars, classes and writing labs for Stage 32. She remains one of our most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, she will be working directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions with the goal of helping you write a fantastic, market-ready pilot. To do so, Anna will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing your pilot. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Anna will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a completed drama television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Skype meetings with Anna. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 10 people ***Lab spots filled - Join our next TV writing lab with literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot. "My passion is helping writers make their work better. I’m not a screenwriter, so I don’t try to insert my voice into your work. With 20 years of experience as a development executive and literary manager, I consider myself to be your advocate and guide. I know the marketplace and know what will make your project successful. But my goal is to tell YOUR story in your voice. I don’t give vague “reviewer” notes, and I am brutally honest. If you want a cheerleader, I recommend you get notes from your friends. If you want to put in the work to elevate your writing, you’ve come to the right place." - Anna Henry Praise from Anna's previous Stage 32 writing labs: "Anna exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. Anna and Stage 32 delivered the goods." - John R. "What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring class. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity." - Crispin L. "Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgeable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you!" - Michael L.