Marla is former head of TV for Emmy Award winning writer & producer Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment with experience producing prime time series and award nominated television movies in multiple genres. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC, have been staffed on premium cable dramas. Clients include writers who have won awards including a Nicholl Fellowship finalist, as well as published novelists. Companies like CAA and Oxygen rely on her skills as a story analyst and story development expert for people who are ready to take their writing to the next level. Full Bio »
We've brought in veteran development executive Marla White to give you an ultimate guide on dissecting the first 10 pages of a TV script from her perspective as an executive. In addition, by looking at specific examples from great scripts like “Justified,” “Weeds,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Modern Family” and more, she's going to break it down for you why and how those pilots succeed where others failed and how to apply that to your script. Marla has worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas.
Case studies referenced in this webinar: “Justified,” “Weeds,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Modern Family” "Breaking Bad" and more.
What Your Character Needs
How to Make Your Opening Compelling
Lean In To Your Genre
Q&A with Marla
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Staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. With more shows than ever looking for writers, the opportunities have never been greater, but that also means the competition has never been higher. To be considered to be part of a writing staff, you need to not only show your chops as a screenwriter, but display what you'll be like in the room. So how can you stand out to the executives and producers hiring and prove that you're going to be a team player, while bringing an original, independent voice to the table? To be staffed in the competitive world of TV writing, you must first understand what opens the door and what keeps you in the room. Your writing must not only be on point, but you have to also be able to display a comprehension of the art of the meeting. Executives and producers are going to meet dozens if not hundreds of writers. You have to learn how to connect with them, fill their needs, and make their jobs easy! In short, you and your writing need to be sharp, interesting and memorable. Over her very decorated and successful career as a development executive, Marla White has sat across more writers than she can remember. Marla was not only the development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment, but she's also worked with hundreds of writers who have sold pitches and shows to, and/or been staffed by, Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and just about every premium cable channel and streaming platform you can name. Marla will discuss what executives are looking for in your writing. Whether "good" is good enough to get you in the room. Whether it's better for your work to be more memorable or sellable. She will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll discuss all aspects of a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" in all situations, each and every time. Plus, she'll also talk about "do's and don'ts" and how you can get invited back for the all important pitch meeting. This webinar provides pertinent and actionable information for every level of writer. If you're just starting out in your career, what you'll learn will not only prepare you for everything mentioned above, but for preparation when speaking with managers and agents. If you're a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game and how to navigate the politics, this one is for you as well! PRAISE FOR MARLA'S TEACHINGS: This is some straight shooting, no B.S. information. I'm grateful that Marla pulled no punches and told it like it is. Next meeting I get, I'm owning it! - Samantha W.
Learn How To Develop Your Unscripted TV Show From A Former Head of Development Of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Media Company Westbrook, Inc. In today’s global content landscape, the demand for unscripted television shows is more robust than ever. Netflix's QUEER EYE, NBC's THE VOICE, Amazon's LIZZO'S WATCH OUT FOR THE BIG GRRRLS, Hulu's THE KARDASHIANS, ABC's SHARK TANK, Netflix's TOO HOT TO HANDLE, Paramount+'s RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE...the list goes on and on and the profits keep rolling in. Unscripted series are huge business and there is no end in sight! This exclusive Stage 32 webinar is hosted by Bobby Gomez, a Development Consultant who most recently served as the Vice President and Head of Development of Unscripted Television at Westbrook Studios, the studio arm of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s media company, Westbrook, Inc., where he oversaw the development of original unscripted content. Bobby sold projects to Amazon, Roku, Meta, National Geographic/Disney+, Freeform and CNN ranging in genre from documentaries and docuseries to competition formats and game shows. Prior to Westbrook Studios, Gomez was a longtime executive at Critical Content formerly Relativity Television, most recently serving as its VP of Strategic Development overseeing 15 production overall deals and worked on projects such as Celebrity Game Face (E!), Catfish (MTV), Get Organized with the Home Edit (Hello Sunshine/Netflix), The Mysterious Death of Eazy-E (WeTV), Instant Dream Home (Netflix), Buy My House (Netflix), and The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network). In this webinar, you will learn how to develop your unscripted series to become the next global phenomenon and how to best position your project in today's unscripted television marketplace. Unscripted shows can be made quicker, and at a lower price point, than scripted programming. With network and platform budgets getting ever squeezed, unscripted content is filling streaming libraries and network programming schedules. Developing successful unscripted shows is not an exact science, of course, but there are helpful tools and techniques to deploy as you develop your show and get it sold! By learning some of the processes and tricks used to develop unscripted shows of different genres, this webinar will give you valuable insight into creating shows to feed the demand for fresh and innovative ideas, tap into a growing market, and create the next big hit. This webinar will introduce aspiring unscripted creators and producers to the development process for unscripted TV series. From identifying compelling stories and finding interesting characters for a docuseries to how to begin creating and structuring the next great unscripted format or game show, you will learn how to successfully bring your unscripted TV shows to the marketplace. PLUS! Bobby will provide you with an example pitch deck for an unscripted series! Praise for Bobby's Webinar: "I've worked with many talented developers over the years, but Bobby truly stands out. He’s one of the best at identifying compelling stories and interesting characters, as well as crafting unique formats, and developing ideas into successful unscripted television shows. Bobby's passion for this industry is infectious, and his attention to detail and creative vision have made him a valuable asset to many projects. When it comes to developing unscripted television shows, Bobby is simply one of the best." -- Ashley Hoff (Senior Vice President of Development, Center Drive Media) "Excellent. The step by step process from ideation to "now what?" was informative, easy to follow, and gave me concrete steps to do next. As I am in the middle of building a pitch deck right now, all Bobby's ideas gave me insights on how to flush out the concept better. Excited to dive into the sample pitch deck!" -Amber P "Bobby was EXCELLENT & very helpful. Extremely knowledgeable." -Michelle M
STAGE 32's HALLOWEEN HORROR SALE! The third act of your horror movie should be an electrifying climax, delivering visceral and emotional punches and paying off all your sneaky set ups. It should thrill your audience and represent their reward for sitting through—very possibly—a lot of pain, suffering, and gross stuff. Unfortunately, too many horror screenplays fail to deliver. It’s a problem across the genre: filmmakers work hard on the set-up of their narrative ye it all falls apart in the third act of the script. If you want your horror screenplay to stand out from the crowd, then it’s time to learn how to craft an original and compelling ending that leaves your reader breathless and wanting more. It’s easy to write a creepy first act for a horror movie. A mysterious and/or bloody teaser at the top, the entry of a vulnerable protagonist into a danger zone, a few genre tropes like unresolved past traumas, dying cell phones, a gathering storm, and grizzled locals warning the main characters to “stay away” — it practically writes itself. That’s why there are a lot of horror screenplays out there with intriguing first acts. However, by the time many screenwriters get to the third act they have —literally— lost the plot. In order to write a good ending you have to know the genre, acknowledge the tropes, and understand some of the psychological mechanisms that drive human fear. Also, you may have to rethink that suspiciously easy-to-write opening. Let's explore how to make this happen. Karina Wilson is an independent story and development consultant with a specific focus in horror who has worked on many films including SECRET IN THEIR EYES with Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts, 13 SINS, and THE CIRCLE with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. As a story consultant, Karina has helped to shape narratives in every genre, from independent documentaries to Netflix animated series. Previously the in-house story consultant at IM Global, she is currently developing a series of Thrillers for British TV. Karina is considered an expert in the horror genre and her analysis of horror trends through the decades has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, on NPR, in medical textbooks and in documentaries alongside luminaries such as Jason Blum, Joe Dante, and Andy Muschietti. Karina is also the lead screenplay judge for niche indie horror festival, Shriekfest, and has been picking winners for them since 2007. Along with Rob Zombie, John Carpenter, Sid Haig, Tom Savini and many others, Karina can currently be seen on screen discussing horror in the documentary THE HISTORY OF METAL AND HORROR, doing the rounds of film festivals this fall. Exclusively for Stage 32, Karina will teach you the elements of a successful horror film ending and what you can do to make sure your own horror project has an effective and memorable third act. She’ll begin by explaining how to see your screenplay through the lens of audience expectations before going over the main types of horror endings seen in feature films. She’ll delve into upping up your story stakes and show you how to find a resolution that makes sense. Karina will also discuss how you should be reworking your first and second act in order for the third act to work better. Karina will accompany her slew of tools and strategies with notable case studies and examples of notable horror films. If you’ve been struggling to find an ending to your horror film, if you’re looking for a way to tie everything up, or if you need a way to make your script better stand out and get attention with reps, producers and execs, you’re going to want to hear what Karina has to say.
Robert McKee returns to Stage 32 with The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters - a rare online teaching appearance exclusive to Stage 32! Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world and now, exclusively for the 3rd time on Stage 32, Robert McKee is back and better than ever with a Masters of Craft webinar teaching you The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters. McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar, Robert McKee teaches the principles of character creation and dimension, characterization and the secret to writing complex protagonists, providing you the tools needed to construct compelling characters that will fascinate your audience. Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar and member of the Hollywood Hall of Fame, is the most sought after writing lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 35 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. Those who have learned from McKee have called him “the Aristotle of our time” (Quincy Jones, Ed Saxon, Steve Pressfield to name a few) because of his insight into the substance, structure, style, and principles of the grand art of story. Peter Jackson (writer/director THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD) lauds him as “The Guru of Gurus.” For the creatives at Pixar (TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, UP, INSIDE OUT), McKee’s Story Seminar is a rite of passage.
Only 12 Spots Available Punch Up Your Animation Pilot Script with a Animation Professional and Veteran with 25+ Years of Experience Work and Support Fellow Writers As You All Work Together To Hone Your Scripts Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite pilot script to present if you want to be noticed, and that means more than a workable first draft. The old adage that writing is rewriting is especially true for animation and comedy scripts that need to be tight, punchy, and effective in every sense. And since television writing is almost always a collaborative process, a necessary step to making your project successful is to bring in different perspectives, different senses of humor, and some expertise to get the script fine-tuned and to the point where it’s truly special. We have just the person to help with this. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who produced and directed on shows like THE SIMPSONS and the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. Mike will lead an intimate and valuable writers’ workshop with a small group of students to help rewrite and fine tune each writer’s animation pilot script, line by line. Each session, Mike will focus on 1-2 scripts and work with the group to punch up and improve each. Not only will you receive extended and personalized attention from an expert in the field to improve your own work, but you will also have the opportunity to support other writers with their own projects and learn valuable lessons from the process that you can take back to your own work. Expect to leave this unique program with a much-improved pilot script, a set of tools you can take with you to better improve and rewrite other projects, and a supportive group of like-minded writers from around the world. Note: Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 6-session writing lab, you will have a fully re-written and fine tuned animation pilot script Sessions will consist of 2-hour group classes through Zoom Meetings. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you connected, 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 12 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an animation veteran 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 Harrison at email@example.com for more information This lab is limited to 12 people This lab is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced screenwriters looking to rewrite and improve their already existing 30 minute animated pilot script Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop.
It's an undeniable fact, we are living in a gold rush of comedy content featuring lead female characters. Just think about the major box office and streaming successes we've seen over the last few years. On the feature film side, you have movies such as Late Night, Girls Trip, What Men Want, Rough Night, Bad Moms, and Trainwreck to name a few. On the networks, premium cable channels, and streamers Fleabag, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, Glow, Russian Doll, Insecure, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt have drawn huge audiences and many have won major awards. Is it any wonder why development executives, managers, agents, producers and financiers are looking for writers who have the ability to write screenplays and teleplays featuring memorable and iconic female characters? There are many inroads to breaking and staying in the industry as a writer, but one of the most important factors is understanding what's hot in the marketplace. And right now, thanks to the massive buying power of the streaming platforms along with other major feature film and television production companies looking for comedies, it's never been a better time to understand how to write female driven comedies that pop. David Shecter has has been working in the industry in production, development, and as a writer for over a decade. David has written on many shows, including season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His experience and success on that show landed David on the pilot of the CBS show. 2 Broke Girls where he worked his way up as a staff writer on the 6th and final season of the show. David is currently developing a female driven action comedy cop show, Lady Copped, with New Form and STX Entertainment. Most recently David was named one of the WGA TV Writer access honorees for his script For Worse. David will teach you everything he's learned about writing female driven comedies throughout his career. He will show you how to avoid the all to common cliches that seemingly find their way into every female driven script. He will show you why sex sells, but how to properly write sex and sexuality into your screenplay to make it unique. He will teach you the practice of gender flipping and role reversals. He will show you how you can bring a personal connection to your female characters no matter whether you're a male or female. He will show you how to examine your plot and your characters before you begin writing to make the process flow more smoothly. He will show you the difference between one dimensional vs multi-dimensional characters and how easy it is to fall into the former, but how important it is that you learn the latter. Finally, David will present a case study of his latest screenplay Lady Copped which is now in development with New Form and STX. Whether you're a feature or TV writer, you will learn all the important factors in writing a female driven comedy that will get you reads and attention. PRAISE FOR DAVID'S TEACHINGS: "Another incredible and insightful webinar presented by Stage 32. I have received notes on my screenplays in the past that my female characters fell into cliche. As a female, that pissed me off! But now I understand why and I'm already on the path to changing things for the better. Thank you, David, and bravo, Stage 32! -Melissa J. "Can men write female driven comedies? I often asked myself that question. I'm not any longer. Loved this presentation. - Kyle P.