So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1

Hosted by Charlie Charbonneau

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Charlie Charbonneau

Webinar hosted by: Charlie Charbonneau

TV Writer/Producer (CW's The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and The Secret Circle)

Charlie Charbonneau is an accomplished television writer and producer whose credits include the 1-hour dramas The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals. Born in Las Vegas but raised in the sleepy horse track town of Saratoga Springs in Upstate New York, he moved to California at 17 where he earned degrees in Screenwriting and Spanish from University of Southern California. A born self-starter and anxious to learn the business from the ground up, Charlie quickly continued his Hollywood education as an assistant at The William Morris Agency. There, his work garnered him an intimate and expansive knowledge of the entertainment business and a litany of agents, attorneys, and talent with whom he proceeded to construct his writing career. He cut his TV teeth by assisting and then writing and producing for the likes of writer and Executive Producer Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You did Last Summer, Dawson’s Creek, FOX’s The Following) and Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Containment), eventually earning the title of Executive Story Editor on The Originals. During a time when Network TV saw gradually decreasing ratings, over 3 million viewers from all over the world tuned in live for his episodes week-to-week. In production on its 7th season, The Vampire Diaries can still frequently be found among the most downloaded episodes on iTunes as well as the most watched series on Netflix. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

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 Originalsto 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 1, attendees will learn what life is like when TV writers are between jobs or trying to get that first job. Join Charlie as he discusses ways to manage your own writing schedule, find out how to decide which projects to focus on, and get some tips to stay relevant and visible to the big players and decision makers when you’re not employed. He’ll even lay out some strategy to position yourself for the highly coveted freelance script, whether you’re an assistant or a working writer between gigs.

In Part 2, 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!

 

What You'll Learn

PART 1 — DAILY LIFE OF A WRITER OFF-THE-CLOCK 

  • Questions of job security — why tv writers don’t “work” year-round
  • What should you be writing between jobs? If you’re trying to get that first job? Spec? Pilot? Plays? Shorts?
  • What show should you spec?
  • How to choose the next writing project to focus on 
  • Create a manageable and attainable schedule — includes an example of a 1-week schedule
  • Developing discipline — work up to strong output
  • Budget tips — residuals schedule, make that $ last, part time jobs, the benefits and drawbacks
  • Keep your body healthy — healthy body = healthy mind
  • Consume! Material, people, places. Build this into your schedule
  • Staying visible & relevant to the important players and decision makers — suggestions for how to stay in touch & plant seeds for career growth
  • Networking opportunities 
  • Development vs. Staffing — which to focus on

Plus, an in-depth pre-recorded Q&A with Charlie to answer all of your questions!

Part 1 and Part 2 can function as standalone webinars or be purchased together.

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About Your Instructor

Charlie Charbonneau is an accomplished television writer and producer whose credits include the 1-hour dramas The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals. Born in Las Vegas but raised in the sleepy horse track town of Saratoga Springs in Upstate New York, he moved to California at 17 where he earned degrees in Screenwriting and Spanish from University of Southern California. A born self-starter and anxious to learn the business from the ground up, Charlie quickly continued his Hollywood education as an assistant at The William Morris Agency. There, his work garnered him an intimate and expansive knowledge of the entertainment business and a litany of agents, attorneys, and talent with whom he proceeded to construct his writing career.

He cut his TV teeth by assisting and then writing and producing for the likes of writer and Executive Producer Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You did Last Summer, Dawson’s Creek, FOX’s The Following) and Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Containment), eventually earning the title of Executive Story Editor on The Originals. During a time when Network TV saw gradually decreasing ratings, over 3 million viewers from all over the world tuned in live for his episodes week-to-week. In production on its 7th season, The Vampire Diaries can still frequently be found among the most downloaded episodes on iTunes as well as the most watched series on Netflix.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

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!

Testimonials

On "Pitching Fundamentals":

"The pitching webinar was fantastic. Every I was dotted every T crossed. It helped me to really understand the process than to be afraid of it. I still have lots more work and practicing to do, but it was great. Thank you." - Mindy G

"Very informative!" - Carisia S.

"I liked his down to Earth manner." - Margo T.

"Great real life examples - much appreciated!" - Paul B.

"Charlie put a lot of heart in his presentation... that's everything!" - Matthew R.

"This was exactly what I need. I'm totally new to the industry and I wanted insight into how to best prepare for pitching my projects. Charlie, thanks for doing such an excellent job of providing that insight." - Cam Clark

"Merci beaucoup Charlie. Very clear and informative information, which will most definitely help grow pitching potential." - Romain R.

"Charlie has a great demeanor and delivery. Very comfortable. Great insight on structure of a good pitch." - James R.

 

On "Get In The Writer's Room":

"I'm grateful for how generous he was with his knowledge and time. He was awesome." - Joanne L.

"This was by far one of the better webinars I've attended on Stage 32. The information was relevant (which was of upmostimportance) and Charlie was an enjoyable presenter." - Matthew M.

"I think he managed to balance the 'luck' part of this business with the 'talent,' and what we need to do." - Kerry F.

"Charlie was outstanding. He was organized, helpful and extremely insightful." - Kimberly E.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Amazing Webinar, very clear and inspirational.
  • I really enjoyed the webinar as a screenwriter wanted to push into TV. So much I didn't know and want to be prepared for. He has been such a great help.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How To Become a Working TV Writer

Do you see yourself writing for a television show? 543 shows were broadcast last year and thousands were picked up for development. Now, more than ever, is the golden age of television and it’s your opportunity to be able to be staffed on a television show as a writer. But, how do you get there? We’re not going to lie, it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible if you understand the path it takes. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar you’ll learn how to make it happen by learning what type of education you need, how to stack the deck in your favor, how to get your scripts in order and how to seize your opportunity. By learning from Charlie Charbonneau, who’s worked in three television writers' rooms, you’ll be armed with what you need to know in order to break into your first writers' room. No matter your background or level of experience, you will come away with a deeper understanding of the obstacles and the many surprising solutions to getting and keeping a spot at that table in the television writers’ room.   "I'm grateful for how generous he was with his knowledge and time. He was awesome." - Joanne L. "This was by far one of the better webinars I've attended on Stage 32. The information was relevant (which was of upmost importance) and Charlie was an enjoyable presenter." - Matthew M. "Charlie was outstanding. He was organized, helpful and extremely insightful." - Kimberly E.

Pitch Like a Pro: Tools for Any Scenario

You’re a writer. Your work is entertaining, informative, thought provoking — heck, it’s even clever. You dream of tapping away on your lap-top in a cabin, sending off your material to a publisher or a producer, and collecting your check from the mail-box in the evening before pouring yourself a glass of Malbec red wine and walking your dog by a river. It’s a beautiful dream. But the reality is, no matter how good your writing is, no matter how brilliant your ideas are — if you’re ever going to have that cabin, not to mention enough cash to cover dog food every month, you have to know how to pitch well. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) will teach you how to successfully pitch your ideas as a writer. You’ll learn about the many different scenarios where you’ll have to translate that spectacular idea in your brain to someone who’s never heard it before. This webinar will lay out the rudimentary yet vital skills used by the pros to win over the show-runners, buyers, and agents. You’ll hear about the nitty gritty do’s and don’ts of pitching in places like the TV Writers Room, a studio or network executive’s office, and at lunch with the agent or manager you’ve been dying to meet with. Also, Charlie will be giving you tips on how to nail your 8-minute pitch so you can take advantage of the Stage 32 Script Services pitch sessions offered every week. He'll guide you through how to start, cultivate interest and leave the executives wanting more. He'll not only cover live pitching but how to deliver a superb written pitch!  You will get to examine the biggest enemies to a great pitch — fear and anxiety — and strategies to neutralize them so you can keep your cool. And, of course, those who tune in will get to catch some horrific pitch fails from the trenches of TV staff writing. Writers in any medium and at every experience level will benefit from this webinar — from novices to experts. And anyone else looking to hone their sales tactics in the entertainment industry or elsewhere will walk away with strategies to bring their pitch games to the next level.   "The pitching webinar was fantastic. Every I was dotted every T crossed. It helped me to really understand the process than to be afraid of it. I still have lots more work and practicing to do, but it was great. Thank you." - Mindy G   "Great real life examples - much appreciated!" - Paul B.  

So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 2

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!

Building Blocks: How to Write a Great Scene Every Time

Do you suffer from writer’s block? Do you ever get stuck on a scene — at odds with how to proceed, what your character should do or say — for hours, days, sometimes weeks? Do you ever read a scene and think, something’s just not working? Join the illustrious club of every writer ever. Luckily, this very common problem has a simple solution. In this webinar, you will dig down to the building blocks of excellent scene work, those elements which are fundamental to establishing character, advancing plot, capturing tone, and planting memorable moments. By using iconic scenes from landmark film and TV and by citing examples from his 5+ years of TV writing and producing experience, Charlie will offer an array of tools and skills that will harden any writer against the obstacles and pitfalls that come with attacking any scene. Perhaps more importantly, participants will come away with some vital ways to overcome the feared writer’s block that plagues us all.

Art/Work Manager Spencer Robinson

Art/Work Manager Spencer Robinson will discuss the differences between managers and agents, how to grab a manager's attention, working with a manager and what he currently is seeing in the industry.

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

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).

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