Allen James Roughton is the Stage 32 Happy Writers Coordinator, a screenwriter, reader and development researcher who has consulted on over 100 projects, scripts, books, comics and films and conducted research on life stories, exposés, professions and locations for major production companies. Nick Assunto is part of the Stage 32 script services team. He was previously a reader for the Austin Film Festival, and this past year was a writer for the 2017 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. Nick also studied improv and sketch comedy at UCB in both New York and Los Angeles from 2007-2016 where he also co-hosted the Sunday show B.Y.O.T. for a time at UCB Sunset's Inner Sanctum. Though writing is his passion, Nick has also dabbled in acting, having been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, an eHarmony commercial directed by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst (for real), and is infamously known as Tony, the annoying party member from the 'Four Friends' Elder Scrolls spots. Full Bio »
We see over 200 projects pitched on Stage 32 each week and review the feedback execs give on all of them. We see the good, the bad, and everything in between. We see what gets read and what gets the dreaded pass. What lands on the top of the pile and what gets buried under everything else. And we see the questions about pitching that get asked week in and week out. So we at Stage 32 have decided to put our experience together in a FREE Webinar on Pitching through Stage 32!
On Monday, March 12th at 1PM Pacific, Stage 32 Writing Service's Allen James Roughton and Nick Assunto will take a deep dive into sharing what they’ve learned over hundreds of pitch sessions and thousands of pitches.
Have a question about pitching you've always wanted to ask us? Join us live and participate in the Q&A!
We'll cover everything that goes into both verbal and written pitches including:
Allen Roughton & Nick Assunto
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A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.
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A: If you cannot attend a live webinar or purchase an on demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
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A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.
Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.
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We all know that America is bursting with talented filmmakers. Are you an independent filmmaker, cinema or digital media student, D-I-Y filmmaker or videographer? Do you have great ideas, a few skills and few filmmaking friends? Maybe you can shoot a short movie, but can you finance one, find an audience to watch it, or promote and sell it? Raindance Film Festival Founder and social media maverick Elliot Grove comes to New York to bring a fresh look at breaking into the film industry to get your movie made and seen by others. Elliot has produced over 700 short films, 6 features and trained thousands of new and emerging filmmakers around the world. Discover how to use the Raindance method and social media to build audiences, source financing and screen films. CHARGE YOUR SMARTPHONES! Join @stage32 and @RaindanceNYC and #IndieFilmNYC for this information-packed one-day seminar. DOORS OPEN at 9:15 am.
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.
Director of Script Services Jason Mirch dissects scenes from some of our favorite films and TV series including Bad Times at the El Royal, "Game of Thrones", The Sting, The Sixth Sense, and more! During this webcast, Jason discusses how screenwriters craft compelling plot twists and how you can use the principles in your own writing. We will also discuss practical tips and ideas on how you can create a twist that is worthy of a, "Whoa!" instead of a "huh?"
Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success. When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life? Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for. Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project. Like what you heard from Jim from during this webcast? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Jim's Stage 32 Webinars: "This was my first webinar and I learned so much. I thought Jim was thorough in his descriptions of what each medium has to offer regarding IP" -Marietta K. "Jim opened up new avenues for our IP that I didn't realize existed. He was a great presenter and shared his own experience with relevant info. It was really motivating." -Ricki L. "Thoughtful way of exploring options. Using podcasts was inspirational." -JoAnne E. "Tons of new information. Thanks!" -Jacqueline L.
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution! Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. Whether you’re a screenwriter, an actor, comedian, or anything, creating content for platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and Instagram can be a powerful way to be discovered, find fans, and give yourself the chance for bigger opportunities. Yet despite the positives, the internet isn’t exactly the safest place, and having your work stolen or plagiarized is unfortunately far too common. Keeping your content protected on online platforms can be complicated but if you put your own work online, it’s crucial you first understand how to best legally protect yourself. Just because your work is posted and widely accessible on platforms like Twitter or Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to have it protected. The internet can be tricky, but it’s not the wild west it once was. Understanding how to be safe and what happens to your ideas when they’re posted can make all the difference. For instance are your YouTube videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Who owns your tweet or snap? And what steps can you take from the outset to dissuade people from stealing your work? Better understanding the legal side of this world and being aware of the steps you can (and should) take is incredibly important if you’re interested in building your online presence and putting your own ideas out there for everyone to see. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their work safe, and is going to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jaia will equip you with the tools necessary to protect your work and ideas in an increasingly online world. She will first outline the copyright registration process and how it applies to online content She’ll even go through step-by-step how to get your online work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next she will delve into specific online sites and platforms, discuss their terms and conditions and give you tips on how to protect your work on each. This includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Faceboook. Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
Filmmakers, producers, and financiers can really be held back by distribution contracts. If they don’t understand the language or terms, are passive or held hostage by a feeling that they may be getting ripped off, or simply do not have the support system to advise them or the knowledge to know what to fight for, they can find themselves at an extreme disadvantage. In many cases, the excitement of the "someone likes my movie/let's get it out there" mentality supersedes common sense. And that alone can lead you into giving away your rights, accepting horrendous percentages or agreeing to terms that lock you and your project up. Don't fall into these traps! You worked hard on your film. You sacrificed time and likely money to get to this point. While most might think this is time to hit the gas pedal, it's actually time to tap the brakes. You want to be sure you're doing everything humanly possible to not only protect yourself, your investors and your team, but maximizing your film's potential in the marketplace. Anna Darrah is an experienced film buyer, negotiating with and licensing over 800 films in her 12 years working for Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle. She has been an active player on the festival circuit and currently advises filmmakers on custom distribution strategies. Anna is also a filmmaker who produced two documentaries that aired on The Sundance Channel, and directed a music video and the short film THE MATTER OF MAGIC. She also produced a feature-length documentary about Helen Schreider (www.THEHELENMOVIE.com) while also making short films for the ZILLOW.COM series, HOMEMAKERS. Anna has enjoyed jurying and participating in film festival panels and workshops here and abroad and is currently offering a Film Distribution Workshop co-taught with Jilann Spitzmiller. Now Anna brings her knowledge and teaching prowess to Stage 32. Anna will begin by breaking down theatrical and broadcast rights as well as exclusive and non-exclusive deals. She'll dive into breaking down deal points including term, territory, rights and compensation. She'll discuss standard terms and point out red flags within and speak to what you should negotiate to assure you get the best, and most fair, deal. She will even look at the negotiation process from the other side of the table so you can understand what a distributor truly wants out of a deal. Thinking outside the box, Anna will even discuss going the DIY distribution route or a hybrid DIY/traditional distribution path. All this and much more. It’s incredible how each contract is like a snowflake -- totally unique and yet similar in some very important ways. I will help you understand the entire distribution arena so you can sleep well knowing you've made the best deal for you, your partners and, most importantly, your film. - Anna Darrah Praise for Anna "Excellent overview of terms to be aware of when negotiating or reviewing a distribution agreement." - Valerie N. "Anna was great, the information she shared was so very useful!" - Christian C. "For a complex subject, Anna made it all so simple and easy to follow. Excellent webinar!" - Drea P. "A knockout." - Mana W.