Paul Watling has orbited the animation industry for the past two decades, honing his skills as a director, story artist and designer, joining Nickelodeon. He was head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s Academy award winning feature, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER VERSE and contributed to numerous television and feature productions most recently, as a director on Craig McCracken's Netflix series KID COSMIC. He served as a story artist on several other Sony Pictures Animation films, including SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, along with a multitude of feature development projects. Paul relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a storyboard artist, designer and director on a variety of television productions, such as GROJBAND, SIDEKICK, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, YIN YANG YO, ATOMIC BETTY and ED, EDD N EDDY. Conrad Vernon is an American director, writer, storyboard artist and voice over artist best known for his work on the DreamWorks Oscar-Nominated animated film series SHREK as well as other films such as MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED AND PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. He also co-directed the adult animated film SAUSAGE PARTY and the newest release of the animated movie THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Conrad is now tapped to direct an animated movie version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros. Full Bio »
Exclusive opportunity only available on Stage 32!
Stage 32 Masters of Craft Series Presents: Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2.
Animation is one of the most in-demand genres of film and television with a wide audience appeal. Whether it's billion dollar box office hits like THE LION KING, ZOOTOPIA, MINIONS or FROZEN or Emmy-winning television like THE SIMPSONS, BOB'S BURGERS or RICK AND MORTY, there is always a need for fun, fantastic and unique storytelling through animation. Animation as a medium is much different than its live action counterpart and requires a unique series of skills. One of the most important among them is pitching. A good pitch stands between you and your greenlight.
Pitching animation is unlike any other storytelling. First, you are in charge of not only nailing a perfect pitch complete with character and story arcs, but you are also in charge of helping your audience visualize something that doesn't exist yet. Being able to do both and succeed can be challenging. You have to know how to map out your story, how to lay out your storyboards and how to verbally hone in on a perfect pitch. Missing a key element can mean you will get a pass.
To make sure you put your best foot forward, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring you an exclusive Masters of Craft webinar with Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2.
Paul Watling has orbited the animation industry for the past two decades, honing his skills as a director, story artist and designer, joining Nickelodeon. He was head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s Academy award winning feature, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER VERSE and contributed to numerous television and feature productions most recently, as a director on Craig McCracken's Netflix series KID COSMIC. He served as a story artist on several other Sony Pictures Animation films, including SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, along with a multitude of feature development projects. Paul relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a storyboard artist, designer and director on a variety of television productions, such as GROJBAND, SIDEKICK, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, YIN YANG YO, ATOMIC BETTY and ED, EDD N EDDY.
Conrad Vernon is an American director, writer, storyboard artist and voice over artist best known for his work on the DreamWorks Oscar-Nominated animated film series SHREK as well as other films such as MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED AND PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. He also co-directed the adult animated film SAUSAGE PARTY and the newest release of the animated movie THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Conrad is now tapped to direct an animated movie version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros.
In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar Paul and Conrad will go over what a story pitch is for animation and how it can affect your story board. They will teach you how to prepare for a story pitch and how to plan a pitch story board. They will share from their decades of experience things that work well and things that do NOT work well in a pitch. And, exclusively to Stage 32, you will see video of the actual in-room pitch Conrad did for SHREK 2 - complete with the live pitch, the story boards and the final product! Paul will even do a live pitch to the class. You will get to see how the top pros pitch!
Join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how two of the top people in animation today pitch - you'll walk away with creative ideas on how to apply it to your future pitches!
"Conrad teaching is like a master class in animation."
- Miguel V.
"Wit, wisdom and no bull-sh*t. Conrad was clear in what it takes to work in animation. Bring him back please!"
- Tiffany F.
"Conrad is a terrific instructor who I learned a tremendous amount from. I especially like how thorough he is in explaining technical details."
- Paul I.
Paul Watling (Head of Story SPIDERMAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE) and Conrad Vernon (Director, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, SHREK 2)
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!
Commercial work can provide you with some of the most fun and lucrative work you can secure as an actor. Getting the right commercial spot with the right brand can help elevate you and your profile as an actor on a national level and capture the attention of casting directors, filmmakers and producers who want to work with you. Knowing what it takes to stand out and improve your callback / booking chances is essential to effectively outpace the competition and secure a lasting career in commercials. You've put the work into honing your craft, now it's time to learn how to navigate the landscape and land those roles. Auditioning for commercials takes special skills and knowhow in order for you to stand out from the pack and win the room. Unlike theatrical casting, you have more room to play and let the real YOU shine during your audition. At the end of the day, giving a great performance in the room is important, but being crushing the role and being memorable is even better. Almost always, casting directors see hundreds of actors for each commercial. You want to not only knock your audition out of the park, but keep yourself first and foremost in the minds of the casting director so you're remembered for the next role, the one after that, and so on. It may surprise you to learn, setting yourself apart is not as hard as you think. Karen Ryan has cast hundreds of commercials over the past 15 years and has in-depth knowledge of the things that directors, ad agencies and clients watch out for when choosing who best represents their brand. She has worked with Corona, Hyundai, Home Depot, Toyota, Walmart, Pizza Hut, Hershey's, Just For Men and more, as well as with major studios such as Disney and NBC Universal (among many others!). She has helped guide actors to be more effective in their choices, how they present themselves and how they can set themselves apart to ultimately improve their chances of booking commercial work. And now she's sharing that knowledge with you exclusively on Stage 32. Karen will teach you the knowledge of how to up your game in the fast paced, competitive world of commercials. You will go through the process from breakdown to booking and understand how to prep your commercial copy. She'll share with you what non-verbal clues can give you a competitive advantage and teach you the do's and don'ts (from a casting director's perspective) in the the casting room. You will know what casting directors and producers are ultimately looking for and how you can bring the best YOU to the audition. She'll also teach you where and when to go off script and improv to give yourself a distinct advantage when the time is right. You'll also learn how to deconstruct your reel (honestly) and how to best present it. You will gain complete insight into booking more commercial work and gain the tools and knowledge to help you win the room, book more work, and stay first and foremost in the casting director's mind. "Karen truly cares about bringing out my best self. Since working with her I have booked more roles in one year than I had in the previous 5. The acting industry needs more people like Karen!" - Sean R. "Excellent advice and guidelines for improved auditions" - Steven F. "Bring Karen back! She's great!" - Anne H. "Loved Karen and all the info she shared!" - Roxanne H.
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.
We've brought in Zeke Thomas, a VR producer who recently did the 360 experience for HAPPY DEATH DAY for Universal & Blumhouse and who's clients include: Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV and more. Zeke will be breaking down the business of VR/360 in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar. Billions of dollars have been poured into Virtual Reality & 360 spherical capture, but is there really a business for this form of storytelling? If you're already filming in VR/360 or are interested in pursuing this medium, it's important to understand not just the craft, but the business of it.
In a short period of time, the world of podcasts has exploded and become an industry to be reckoned with. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis, and individual shows can have millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. An art form in its own right, podcasts have also become a proving ground for stories to be adapted for television or movies. Shows like HOMECOMING, DIRTY JOHN, and LIMETOWN would never have been greenlit or aired if they didn’t first find success and a fan base in podcast form. Now with many more podcast adaptations like CRIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS and ALICE ISN’T DEAD currently in development, this route is becoming much more common and achievable. There might not be a better time than now to adapt your feature screenplay to the podcast medium. If you've had difficulty gaining attention for your screenplay, turning it into a podcast and attracting an audience may provide proof of concept for your story to move it to a show or feature. This type of intellectual property is golden. Adapting your screenplay, of course, easier said than done. Writing for audio is a very different process than writing for a film or TV. Podcasts are written to be experienced as real time events, which is entirely different from a feature or TV script. A good podcast must paint a picture with only words and sounds and be paced to pull a listener in despite any distractions around them. It must also be structured into short episodes that defy traditional film or TV act structure. So, how do you turn 100 pages of a script into a multi-episode podcast? How does writing character or story arcs change when adapting your feature script to multiple episodes? Having a better understanding of what goes into a great comedy, drama, or genre podcast and the rules and expectations that come with this unique format can position you for success in telling your story and finding an audience. Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked 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. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned writing the adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through the nuts and bolts of writing a fiction podcast and give you the tools you’ll need to adapt your long form script into this new medium. He’ll begin by discussing what the state of podcasts looks like today, including what kinds of podcasts are possible and the different formats of fiction podcasts that people are writing and which ones are currently popular. He’ll then delve into how to approach your podcast adaptation and which things you should decide on from the outset. This includes deciding on the format that will work best for your story, how to adapt your writing style to short form when you’re used to writing features or television, and whether you will use a narrator or go full “radio play”. He’ll also give you tips on how to plan for sound while starting to write. Mike will next go into detail on breaking your long form story into multiple short form episodes. He’ll give you tips on extending your story and show you where to put episode breaks within it. He’ll go over building tension between episodes between episodes and what goes into good cliffhangers on podcasts. He’ll also talk about how to avoid needing recaps between episodes. Next Mike will spend time talking about other writing challenges that come with this format, including how to paint a picture in audio form without creating awkward dialogue, the process of holding on to your subplots without your storytelling getting choppy, and how to use your first episode to grab your audience. He’ll also offer tips of how to give your characters separate voices. Finally, Mike will use his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN, which was originally written as a feature, to illustrate the process of adapting for podcasts. He’ll even share samples of both the feature and podcast versions of the SENTINELS script. If you’re excited about podcasts, curious about writing your own or adapting your feature script into one and don’t even know where to begin, start here. Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar FIVE STARS FOR MIKE!!! He is super-awesome! Can't wait for the next session. -Robert S. "Mike Disa is definitely one of the best. He provided advice that is actionable." -Martin R. "I loved how engaging Mike was. It felt like he was genuine and addressing each of us almost individually. I have honestly never had a better Stage32 experience!" -Elle C. "It was great to hear from Mike. What a professional and what great advice from someone who knows the business and the craft of writing for podcasts." -Mary S.
Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. You learn that pieces that come together to make a movie in school but this is the film industry and it's totally different. From studios to independents, your host Aaron Wolf has learned some secrets of the trade....come on the journey! You can’t find this stuff in school or in a book. You have to live it. And Aaron has. From being a student at NYU to being a part of The Groundlings, to working with FOX, Warner Bros. and Disney and dealing with film festivals and independent distributors, Aaron has seen it all in a short time. He wants to share the secrets with you. Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. Just getting a job in LA doesn’t prepare you. Creativity comes in many forms. One form is creatively navigating the business so that YOU can live your dreams. With his recent film, Restoring Tomorrow, being acquired by Seventh Art and featured in Variety, Aaron has learned through trial and error on how to make a living as a filmmaker. Join him in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar as he discusses what he's learned, and what you need to know for your own journey! Twitter: @TheAaronWolf Instagram: @TheAaronWolf Facebook: Aaron Wolf
Many beginning filmmakers, even many accomplished ones, remain confused about “the market”, when it comes to short films. But the true question is not “Is there a market?” but rather “Is there a market for me, my film, in the short film world?” The answer is an unconditional “Yes.” Short films are more popular than ever. With more and more film festivals catering to short films, increasing outlets for distribution, and online platforms offering the promise of revenue sharing models, the appeal of making a short film is on the rise. But how do you market your short film? How do you increase your chances of not only being seen, but even making a return on a short film? The answers are out there, if you know the right questions to ask. David Paterson, is an accomplished writer, director, and producer of short films that have been seen in over 100 film festivals throughout the world. David knows that the "marketing" of your short begins well before FADE IN. And as an advisor to four major film festivals as well as performing as a juror on several short film contests, David is an expert at the most successful ways to market your short film. David will discuss not only the many marketable elements of a short film, but how you can develop and cater that film to best benefit you as a writer, filmmaker, or producer. He will show you how, by focusing on your talents and profession within the short film, you can maximize "the bang for your buck". Further, David will cover the holy grail that all filmmakers want to master: Distribution, Recognition and Monetization of their short film. None of these three objectives come without pitfalls. In comprehensive fashion, David will walk you through those pitfalls, how to avoid them, and put you on the road to recognizing and obtaining that perfect "market" for your short film. "I find the market for short films daunting. While I love the process of making a film, getting it seen and the idea of making money off of my work has always been a black hole for me. This information made me realize that I've been taking an "all or nothing" approach instead of a targeted one." - Maya V.