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
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! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
As a television writer, staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. You not only need to show your chops with your writing talent, but you also need to show what you will be like in a writing room. Many writers are vying for the same spots, so how do you stand out? How do you make an impression in front of the executives and producers hiring? We've brought in Marla White, the former development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment who has sat in on hundreds of writer meetings from the executive side of the table. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas. Marla will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll walk you through the difference between a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" for each case. 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 will be useful for every level of writer, whether you’re just starting out in your writing career as preparation to talk to agents or managers, or if you are a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game. You don't want to miss out on learning from one of the industry's top executives!
Learn directly from Rachel Chervin, former Development Department at Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman), Gersh Agency and Imagine Entertainment! A screenwriting journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page, to paraphrase an old saying. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical writer 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 agent's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the agent'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. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Rachel Chervin will bring you an insider's perspective on agency submissions and what you can do to maximize the impact of your writing on the unsung decision makers of Hollywood. Rachel will discuss fun and informative strategies for giving yourself the best chance possible to make a lasting impression on everyone who reads your script. There are so many ways that writers can take themselves out of the running with easily avoidable mistakes, but fortunately, there are just as many ways to stand out from the pack and deliver a calling card script that demands recognition. The key, besides great writing, is knowing the Gatekeepers' game plan - and then blowing it out of the water. Rachel Chervin has been on both the buying and selling sides of the business and has extensive experience with what industry executives are really looking for and the language they use to talk about scripts under consideration. She has worked in development for Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman) in both features and television, working to find and promote up-and-coming comedic voices in the industry. She has previously worked for several years at Imagine Entertainment and the Gersh Agency on several feature films including The Rite (2011) and Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012).
Victor Bui, Kristi Shuton & Adienne C. Thomas are on the Disney | ABC Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Team where they oversee the Writing and Directing Programs. We discuss what writing programs and fellowships, writer development, and how to create a personal brand/story, plus a live Q&A!
Network TV is dead, right? All good shows are on cable and streaming! Not so fast! Network TV is alive and well, as demonstrated by the critical success and healthy ratings of new shows such as This is Us, Designated Survivor and Speechless, as well as powerhouse veterans such as Big Bang Theory, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, and NCIS. Broadcast networks are increasingly having to compete for top talent and ideas in a crowded marketplace. While landing a series order from ABC or FOX is no easy feat, the networks’ deep coffers mean they can buy and develop a high volume of shows, season after season. Producers of course enjoy the prestige of developing ideas for HBO or Amazon, but they are equally eager to find the next network hit, which can yield huge financial dividends with multiple season orders. What’s more, agents and managers judge prospective clients based on their original pilot scripts, and the right network pilot can demonstrate to a potential representative that you are ready to staff and ready to sell. As a manager, I always recommend writers have at least two or three finished scripts ready to go, and a mix of cable and network samples increases the number of producers and executives who may be interested in your work. In this webinar, you will learn about the brands and programming models of broadcast networks, how to know what ideas they will find appealing, what you need to include in your network pitch, and the do’s and don’ts of writing your network spec pilot.
To see a video sample of the class, see below! 3 part class taught by Lee Stobby, Manager and Founder of Lee Stobby Management! One of the most challenging parts as a writer is getting your story, ideas and dialogue into a script that is a respectable length. When you're looking at a completed draft that is facing a rewrite, how do you know what to cut? Many times you may think nothing can go without killing the story, but keeping the length is not always a good thing. A development executive's job role varies day to day and with a constant barrage of responsibility, longer scripts usually end up drowning to the bottom of the "to-read" pile. The truth is that executives sometimes even ask how long a script is before committing to read it. As a writer you will lose the battle if turning a page ends up being a struggle for any industry professional. Which brings up the very important question: what can be cut without sacrificing the heart of the script? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: The Rewrite Process – What Do I Cut? taught by Lee Stobby, literary manager and founder of Lee Stobby Entertainment. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Lee is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Learn directly from award winning non-fiction producer of 8 films, Jim Young, President of Animus Films: Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried), The Words (Bradley Cooper), Life of a King (Cuba Gooding Jr.) - Exclusive for Stage 32 members! With all the recent success for true story dramas including 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, and Dallas Buyer's Club (among many others), it’s an exciting time in the marketplace for non-fiction. If you have found a story that truly inspires you and know it will make a great film, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to make that happen. The easy part is finding the right story, the hard part is knowing what to do with it. Whether it’s a book, a newspaper or magazine article, a documentary, or even if it’s a story of someone you’ve met or are related to - If you want to learn how to take the kernel of an idea or acquire existing material and develop it into a feature length film, this is the webinar you need taught by one of the most experienced independent producers on the subject. Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you Developing a True Story Into a Film (Acquiring / Developing / Writing / Producing / Distributing), hosted by award-winning Producer Jim Young of Animus Films (Lovelace, The Words, Life of a King). Jim is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with 8 films under his belt. We are honored he is bringing his knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. In Developing a True Story Into a Film, Jim will take you through the steps of acquiring the rights to a particular article, book or other printed material about, or the life rights of, a given person (or persons). From there he will cover writing and developing the script, getting buttoned up legally to avoiding pitfalls in the pre-production and production phases, and navigating the process of releasing and distributing the film. He will provide real life case studies using some of his own films as examples to help you gain real world experience and make the process painless.