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
This week Host & Director of Script Services Jason Mirch reads and critiques Write Now submissions written by Writers' Room members. Jason offers insights on how the writers executed the inciting incidents in their projects.
Let's face it. We spend a good portion of our days on social media. Be it Stage 32, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we're constantly checking in. For many, social media serves as a fun distraction. But for those in the know, social media is a powerful tool to build your presence, brand, and portfolio as an actor. It's an absolute and undeniable fact that casting directors, managers and agents search social media platforms every day to help them with their ultimate goal - to find new, exceptional talent that they can book on open projects. Yet, so many actors misuse or ignore social medial altogether. That has to change. Your online presence can help you get noticed, get in front of the right people, get you in rooms, and, ultimately, accelerate your path to success. Being an actor today is more than just being talented at delivering lines. You have to approach acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur. That means taking advantage of all online opportunities for branding and exposure. You're in full control of taking time to carefully craft your online presence. You have to make sure your actor profiles and resume have the information and media decision makers want to see. You have to understand how to use social media the right way to capture the attention of people that can hire you. Actors who are taking the time to do this correctly have a competitive advantage. Wendy Alane Wright is the CEO of WAW Entertainment, a leading talent management firm in Los Angeles. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, HBO, Comedy Central, BIO, SyFy, Lifetime, and more. Some of the projects her clients have booked are TV shows including Modern Family, Black-ish, American Horror Story, Sharp Objects as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Universal Studios, Homegoods, Walmart, Justice, Target, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. After decades in the business Wendy uses the internet now more than ever to help her find talent and decide on talent when sending her clients on auditions. Wendy will teach you how your online presence can help you get more auditions (or lose them!). She'll help you zone in on what your brand is as an actor and how you can best portray that online. You'll learn what is needed on your online profiles such as Actors Access to be competitive, stand out, and be considered for more roles. Wendy will show you examples of actor profiles, resumes, social media accounts and talk through what about them stands out to casting directors, managers and agents. She'll teach you five things to up your game immediately on social media and how to approach networking to get noticed. And, she'll answer the question on every actor's mind: does your follower count matter? One of the industry's top talent agents will walk you through all of this step-by-step so you are crystal clear on what goes on in their mind when they're looking at you online. "Wendy, thank you for sharing your time, energy and insight. Seeing the profile examples and hearing you describe what casting directors and agents look for was extremely helpful. I hope to work with you one day!" - Jack S. "This is a fantastic webinar!! Wendy's straightforward approach answered so many questions that I kept asking myself about social media." - Amber F.
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Yet despite festivals serving as a lifeblood of the film industry and a launching pad for so many, it’s still a relatively enigmatic and opaque landscape and a difficult one for even the savviest of filmmakers to navigate. Perhaps because festivals can feel so enigmatic, it’s common for filmmakers not to consider the workings of a festival or the rules and goals they operate under before submitting. After all, you already spent a huge chunk of time learning the rules and goals of filmmaking. You put in time, money and resources to make something good and that you’re proud of. Shouldn’t that be enough for a festival? Can’t they just say ‘yes’? Unfortunately, like with any aspect of this industry, there’s more to it. Programmers do a lot more than “find the best films” and they have to balance a lot more than simply choosing things because they’re “good”. To set yourself up for success, it’s time to better understand how festivals tick and what you can do while submitting, or even while making your film, to be better positioned for success and to hopefully get that long awaited acceptance letter. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will pull back the curtains on how film festivals are organized and how they select films, and will give you tips and strategies to better position your film for success once it’s time to submit. He’ll begin by going over at the most basic level who festival programmers are and what drives them. He’ll then offer a bird’s eye view of how a festival’s selection process normally works, including who watches your film, how many times it’s usually watched, and whether it’s watched in its entirety. He’ll also give you a sense of how films are declined, shortlisted, or accepted. Next he will spend time discussing what programmers look for when evaluating films. He’ll go over what appropriate runtimes for both shorts and features are how programmers may react to specific themes and topics. He’ll also talk about festivals’ identities and audiences, premiere status requirements, and other content issues they consider. He’ll bring up copyright issues that sometimes come up as well as how to navigate submitting your film as a work-in-progress. Then Harrison will teach you tips for submitting your film, including how to navigate deadlines, how to work with FilmFreeway and other services, and what you need to have ready beyond just the film when submitting. He’ll also touch on press kits and cover letters. Harrison will delve into how to best communicate with festival programmers. He’ll talk about best practices, appropriate circumstances to reach out and situations when you should refrain from contacting them. He’ll also discuss what to do when you need to change your submission's Vimeo password and how to navigate updating your submitted cut. Finally, Harrison will explore the complicated, notorious world of fee waivers. Expect to leave with a comprehensive lay of the land of how festivals operate and a toolkit to better position your own projects for success on the festival circuit. Praise for Harrison's Stage 32 Webinar "Very informative and honest. Good coverage and great to hear form someone who knows." -Paula M. "Absolutely Great! It was really helpful to hear Harrison's insights & wisdom after having gone through the 2019 International Festival Season. I will definitely take all this with me into my next journey into the festival circuit!" -Becca G. "Excellent and insightful." -Elease P. "Super helpful in a LOT of ways! I will be sharing these insights with the production team of the short film I recently directed. We'll take many of these suggestions into account when we start hitting the submission circuit." -Peter M.
Part 2 you're not going to want to miss! Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position. In Part 2 the followup to So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!
Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays)! You hear it again and again: “We’re looking for character driven drama/comedy/action/name your genre.” You may have a great plot, amazing action sequences, or the most hilarious idea for a comedy set piece but without great characters, you’ll be dead in the water. Why? Because everything should be motivated by your characters. What would The Godfather be without Michael’s change from the good man who served his country to a vengeful and tyrannical ruler? What would Star Wars be without the father son drama? Creating memorable characters is such an essential aspect of creating a compelling, sellable story, yet so many writers struggle with doing it correctly and fail to avoid the trap of stock characters that leave their scripts lifeless and weak. The Stage 32 Happy Writers is thrilled to bring you a 3-week online course Avoid Stock Characters: How To Create Memorable, Compelling Characters so you can learn how to create the memorable characters your story deserves. This class is taught by Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures, a production company with a first look deal at Fox 2000 Pictures. What Melissa loves most about her job is working with writers and developing exciting, compelling projects and she’s excited to be here teaching with Stage 32 to help you develop compelling characters in your story! In this class, you will learn how to set up a character arc so the character’s change is compelling, how to develop supporting characters who support the story and compliment your protagonists, how to avoid stock characters and scenes and how to adjust what you already have to make your work better. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared toward strengthening your characters, you will leave this class knowing exactly how to create memorable characters for your stories.
We're kicking off the first Writers' Room of 2020 with a deep dive into antiheroes - one of the most difficult character types to write. During this supersized 90 minute webcast, Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch explores the complexities of characters from some of our favorite films and television series including Joker, Kill Bill, The Social Network, The Irishman, "Fleabag", "The Sopranos", "Sherlock" and more to find out what makes them tick...and why we love them. We discuss the how screenwriters craft compelling antiheroes and I will give you specific types of antiheroes to consider when writing as well as tips on how to write them!