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."
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Streamers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO Max have quickly become the holy grail for many filmmakers hoping to get their film produced and find success. And it’s no mystery why. With a subscriber base in the tens of millions (Netflix has 74 million subscribers alone!), there might not be a better place for your film to be seen and enjoyed across the globe. And streamers ARE picking up a lot of content, a staggering amount even. Netflix recently announced it is releasing 40 more films this year—that’s twice what most major traditional studios make in a whole year, all in just a few months. That said, even with this huge volume of new content Netflix and the other streamers continue to pick up and produce, it is not easy to get your film noticed or considered at these platforms, especially if you’re not already an established filmmaker. This is not to say it’s impossible, but it does require finesse, strategy, luck, and an understanding of how exactly streamers find their original films. For as prominent as streaming platforms have become, the process behind how a film actually finds its way into their libraries is opaque and enigmatic. With so little information on the inner workings of the streamers, it can seem confusing, maybe even impossible to get your own proverbial foot into the portal and get your project noticed. After all, there isn’t exactly a submission platform to upload your script for Amazon to review. The truth is, unless you’re already established or have that ‘in’ with a streamer, it’s very unlikely to get straight through and have them consider your work blind. There IS another way though, a way to get your project to a streamer, not by going through but by going around. Michael Schulman is a Feature Story Analyst for Netflix as part of its Independent Original Film Division, and his job revolves around evaluating feature screenplay submissions and deciding which ones to pass up to the executives to consider. Prior to his role at Netflix, Michael spent nearly a decade in the story department at CAA where he found projects for CAA clients. Over his storied career, Michael also served as an agent at ICM’s Motion Picture Literary Department and held numerous studio creative executive positions at Orion, TriStar, and Disney where he worked to develop film and television projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Michael is very familiar with what it takes for a script to find its way to decisionmakers since this has been a key feature of his job for over a decade. As a companion piece to his previous webinar that details the script evaluation process at Netflix and other streamers, Michael will teach you a smarter and more viable way to get your own feature film considered by streaming platforms, not by targeting the streamers themselves, but instead focusing on their content suppliers. He’ll begin by laying out how the normal streamer system works and go over specific reasons why your script might NOT be as good of a fit for them as you think. Michael will then delve into how “outsiders” can get in the streaming game by taking advantage of resources along the way and better understanding the content pipeline. He’ll explain what streamer “originals” actually are and show how streamers rely on production companies to fill their slate. Michael will show you how you can use this to your advantage by finding your way in with specific production companies and what you can do to make them want to produce your film with you. Michael will even offer a live demonstration, showing how to find the right production companies for your own project and the best contacts within them. Getting your work on Netflix and other streamers will never be easy, but you will leave this webinar with a better understanding of the best way forward. Praise for Michael's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "I loved Michaels honestly. His advice is invaluable." -Linda R. "Very genuine, authentic, knowledgeable." -Lissa C. "Michael was highly competent, extremely knowledgeable about his subject, and not afraid to share hard truths about the industry that many just won't be upfront about." -Lee T. "Michael did not sugarcoat anything. He gave honest information that clarified a lot of questions I had." -Nikki J.
You'll see a breakdown of Netflix internal coverage Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max--they have become the Holy Grail for screenwriters and emerging talent. And yet as prominent as these platforms have become, the process behind how a film actually finds its way into their library is opaque and enigmatic. So what actually happens to your submission behind-closed-doors at one of the streamers? Who is reading it and what are they looking for? The professional readers employed by streamers are trained to use very specific criteria to assess material. They do not use the same methodology as agents, managers, or producers who may be more willing to develop material and incubate projects. It’s helpful to know that there are certain types of projects and styles of writing that are more likely to get these readers’ attention and prompt them to escalate your submission to actual decision-makers. Let’s dive in. Michael Schulman is a Feature Story Analyst for Netflix as part of its Independent Original Film Division, and his job revolves around evaluating feature screenplay submissions and deciding which ones to pass up to the executives to consider. Prior to his role at Netflix, Michael spent nearly a decade in the story department at CAA where he found projects for CAA clients. Over his storied career, Michael also served as an agent at ICM’s Motion Picture Literary Department and held numerous studio creative executive positions at Orion, TriStar, and Disney where he worked to develop film and television projects with some of the top talent in the industry. Michael is very familiar with what it takes for a script to find its way to decisionmakers since this has been a key feature of his job for over a decade. Exclusively for Stage 32, Michael will reveal how streamers evaluate and identify feature film submissions and specifically what the initial readers look for before sending a script along to decisionmakers. He will give you an overall look at the steps a film takes to getting greenlit at a streamer and lay out who exactly these readers are that will be evaluating your script at the beginning. He’ll also show you what these readers are trained to look for and how they know “it” when they see it. Michael will also explain the importance of packaging during this phase and how streamers’ “algorithms” really work. Through Michael’s honest, comprehensive, and in-depth discussion of this often-secretive side of streaming platforms, you’ll be able to leave with a much clearer idea of how to get your own script the best shot of being selected at Netflix or other streamers. Note: This webinar focuses on streamers' reading and evaluation process after a screenplay has been submitted, and focuses less on the actual submission process. Keep in mind that submitting your project to Netflix and other streaming giants is, by design, difficult and often requires an agent or manager that is already connected with the platform, or to go through production companies or studios that already have a development deal in place. For more information on how to reach managers or production companies, check out some of the on demand webinars below! How to Get Pitch Meetings For Your Project How to Find and Choose the Right Screenwriting Manager for Your Career How to Identify, Secure and Build a Relationship with a Great Producer for Your Film Project - with Case Studies How to Capture the Attention of a Showrunner or Manager with your TV Writing Samples
Love is in the air in the Writers' Room! We are kicking off a brand new month this week with the Breakdown Webcast: Writing Romantic Comedies! Jason was speaking with a Senior Vice President of Development at an A-List production company who said, "Every studio executive is asking me for Rom Coms!" If you look at recent trends, it is clear they are on a come back. We will break down the beats of a Romantic Comedy so that you as a writer approach writing without falling into the trap of tired cliches. We will also explore how to take the storytelling conventions and turn them on their head. We will examine films and series including When Harry Met Sally, 500 Days of Summer, The Apartment, Knocked Up, What Women Want and more to find out what makes these projects work and how we can apply those same principles to our writing!
Aimee has added 5 more spots! 2 Spots Remain In today’s film market independently producing a film is a great way to get your project made. There are thousands of independent films that are developed, made and distributed every year that started from a script. But how? Now, more than ever, the need for a major studio to get your project into production becomes less and less, while more control is put into your own hands. Whether you're a filmmaker, producer, writer or actor, you have the ability to produce and shepherd a film project if you know the right steps to take to get it done. In order to do this, though, you will need to get your project market-ready and make it attractive to co-producers, financiers, actors, directors, distributors and more. Looking professional when going out to the market with a film project is key and separates the professionals from the amateurs. Figuring out who and how to get your script into the right hands and get the ball rolling on a project can feel overwhelming, almost impossible for a newer creator. Knowing the right way to strategize, present, and partner with the perfect collaborators is key to success. A good producer is always in action, looking at ways to make her project the best it can be. As intimidating and bewildering as this might feel to creators, it’s absolutely within your reach. And, there are strategies you can learn to put you on the right track to turn your passion project into a reality, especially if you have guidance to help you get there. Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and has produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, 9 have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Aimee’s extensive experience has made her intimately familiar with how to successfully get a project off the ground and build a team to get a script made. In this advanced level and exclusive four-session lab (no more than 10 students will be admitted), Aimee will work directly with you in an intimate class setting to help you make your script marketable and put the pieces together to get the film ready to go. To do so Aimee will begin by working with you on your script and concept. She will help you understand what shape your script is currently in and how marketable your story is. Next she will help you strategize and give you the tools to find the partners you’ll need for your project, including other producers and executive producers, directors, writers, actors, and more. Then Aimee will work with you on your project’s pitch deck, including perfecting your logline and synopsis. Finally Aimee will guide you through forming your own specific plan of attack moving forward, including building the list of people to reach out to and getting your foot in the door with organizations. Aimee will even work with you on practicing your pitch, cold calls, and email messages. Expect to leave this lab with a better handle on the potential for your script, a working pitch deck, and a plan of attack to find your own team and get your film moving towards the finish line. Plus! Aimee will also provide you exclusive, confidential and helpful documents for you to download and use for your own projects including: Up-to-date list of in-demand writers and directors to reach out to Pitch Deck examples Free access to Variety Insight for one month ($200 value) Outreach email templates WHAT TO EXPECT (FOR THE SESSION BREAKDOWN, SEE BELOW) This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate creators looking to get their film project ready to pitch and put together. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Aimee has added 5 more spots! 2 Spots remain *** You will be given exclusive and confidential handouts that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the lab ends. This lab will consist of four weekly sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the lessons where Aimee teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask her questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with her directly about your specific project. 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 TV project development process. To see the full film producing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 people and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a veteran producer and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please 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 Praise for Aimee's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "I've taken many Stage 32 webinars and they've all been wonderful, but Aimee's had me ready to run through a wall! So much thoughtful and intelligent information!"- Debra S. “Aimee was able to take these big ideas and make them feel totally accessible and easy to understand. I really enjoyed hearing from her” -Howard F. “I feel ready and inspired to set out on my own and make some great movies after listening to Aimee!” -Hannah W.
"Jason was and is wonderfully inspiring!" Watch for FREE here: Want to join Jason's 2-part AD class April 8 & April 15? Register here!
"No" "Pass" "It's not for me" - What do you do when your script gets passed on by every company you send it to? Screenwriting is extremely hard, especially when it comes to handling rejection. But the reality is, the "no's" are a normal and part of the game. Even professional screenwriters get rejected numerous times a year. This webinar will offer tips and best practices for how to accept rejection, learn from it, and move on. Rejection can actually be empowering, and going through its trenches will ultimately make your scripts stronger and your victories feel that much better. Many aspiring writers let rejection, or the fear of rejection, stop their career before it even starts. Far too many writers quit after one or two scripts that didn’t sell. Even worse, many would-be writers don't even finish a script because they are afraid that it will never find success. Don't let that happen to you. Unless you’re a prodigy, rejection is something you will encounter over and over and over again, even if you become a working writer. But there are ways to prepare yourself for it, and use it as a teaching device to help you become better at what you love. The reality is, you can’t control if someone doesn’t like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection, and how you choose to move forward. ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full time working screenwriter. He didn't give up and neither should you. Steve has landed on the industry Black List four times and worked with major production companies and studios including Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE), Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, and more. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and he's co-writing a project at Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) attached to direct. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards. Steve believes that going through these trenches ultimately makes your script stronger and your victories even better. In this empowering webinar he'll prepare you for it so that you become better at what you love by showing you: The different kinds of rejection, including "no," no response, and the toxic response How to use rejection to make your script better The feedback process and finding trusted readers Defeating self-rejection How to get your script out there Understanding gatekeepers and how to get past them Tracking your submission progress while celebrating the wins Juggling multiple projects so you're always moving forward And so much more! You can't control if someone doesn't like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection and use it to your advantage. "Before hearing from Steve, I would take months off between scripts if I got a really mean rejection because I couldn't handle it. Now, I'm always working on something new. If they don't want my script. No problem, someone else will or I'll make it myself!" - Emilio S.