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 »
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!
PRAISE FOR CHARLIE'S TEACHINGS:
"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.
PART 2 —LIFE OF A WRITER ON-THE-CLOCK
Plus, an in-depth pre-recorded Q&A with Charlie to answer all of your questions!
To see Part 1: click here.
Q&A with Charlie
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"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.
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.
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.
Learn everything you need to know to nail your pith from a writer/producer who has multiple shows on The CW! 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 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. PRAISE FOR CHARLIE'S TEACHINGS: "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.
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 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! PRAISE FOR CHARLIE'S TEACHINGS: "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.
It’s no secret that television is a hot commodity right now. The “golden age of television” that began ten or so years ago has since exploded, and with new networks and streamers like Quibi, HBO Max, and Disney Plus coming into the fold, the volume of TV content has hit unprecedented levels. In fact over 500 scripted shows were broadcast or streamed in 2019 alone, more than any other year prior. And with more shows, there are more paths for writers to break in. After all, virtually all of these 500+ shows have their own writers' room. Yet even with this influx of opportunities, it’s still not exactly easy for new writers to land a job in this industry. Everyone’s path is different, but a tried and true route is to enter in as a writer’s room assistant and work your way up. Yet this, too, requires some wherewithal, skill and strategy. Being an assistant affords you the opportunity to learn first-hand how a writers' room works without the pressure of having to contribute to the same level as staff writers. It can be an incredibly valuable and educational step in your career. In fact, as your career advances, this experience will allow you to contribute more than just stories and ideas; you’ll now know how rooms operate, how things run smoothly, and how to keep workflow productive. Yet this journey is easier said than done. Getting into the room as an assistant is one thing, but holding your own, standing out, demonstrating your value, and carving a place for yourself and your future can be even more challenging. So how do people actually get the gig as an assistant in a writer’s room, and how do they find success and further opportunities in the process? Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community. Marcelena will give you the lowdown of how writers’ room assistants work, how to navigate these jobs, and ways to use them to get ahead in your own writing career. She will begin by explaining the four main types of TV assistants, including the Writer’s Production Assistant, the Script Coordinator, the Showrunner’s Assistant, and the Writers’ Room Assistant. She will illustrate what these roles do and what they look like day to day, including primary responsibilities and general expectations. She will then teach you about writers’ room etiquette, including unspoken rules, how the four main assistant roles work within the ecosystem, who is actually in the room when and when to speak up and when to blend in. She will go over what the standard rates are for these positions and go over the main benefits of each position, including some you might not have thought of before. Next, Marcelena will explain how to find and apply for these assistant roles, including tried and true routes, and other strategies that are always worth a try. She will teach you how best to shine in each of these four roles and will also propose two additional positions—researcher and personal assistant to a writer—you could also consider in working to break in. Marcelena will detail what the future of TV writing looks like post-pandemic, specifically for assistants, and go over whether it’s important to live in LA for these roles. Finally Marcelena will talk about how assistants have used these positions to take next steps in their careers and become staff writers in their own right. Breaking into television is always going to be hard, but Marcelena will provide you what you need to know to approach it through a tried and true path that may just give you a step up you’re looking for. Praise for Marcelena's Stage 32 Webinar: "Marcelena was very informative and organized. She was also very thorough and informative when answering questions. One of the best hosts in a Stage 32 webinar that I have seen." -Eric Z. "Marcelena did such an excellent job describing the four roles and talking about the writer's room in general. Really enjoyed it and appreciate all of the information she shared." -Patricia W. "Marcelena was a great host, very informative without holding anything back." -Rebecca M. "Marcelena was a fantastic person to learn from. Thank you so much for having her lead this topic. I have so many notes. She's so gracious and I didn't realize how similar our life situations would be before joining this webinar, so it was a treat. She's wonderful." -Amelia S.
Learn how you can transition to a creative career from an Academy Award winner who began his filmmaking career at age 63! Hollywood is overwhelming for anyone trying to break in. The politics are difficult to track, the gatekeepers are challenging to get past, and there’s no clear blueprint for how to “make it.” It’s hard to know where to start, how to make inroads, and how to build a career. And these challenges can feel even steeper for those trying to transition to a creative career from a different industry or later in life. This doesn’t need to be the case. With a strong understanding of the industry and the right tools, this transition is absolutely achievable. Because, no matter what anyone tells you, this industry doesn't have an expiration age for people trying to break in. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar, you’ll see how your unique life experiences can inform your creative work so that your age actually works in your favor and makes you an asset in this industry. Frank Stiefel began making films at age 63 and then won an Academy Award at age 70. Formerly a TV commercial executive in New York, Frank decided later in life to pursue filmmaking. His directorial debut, the documentary short INGELORE, played in national festivals and was later broadcast on HBO. His film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 went on to win the Jury and Audience prizes at the Austin Film Festival and earned Frank the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Frank has found incredible success transitioning to a creative career later in life and is excited to reveal what he’s learned on his journey exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Using his own story and path to success, Frank will discuss how he made the jump to filmmaking later in life, what he learned along the journey, and what lessons you can take along with you as you make your own transition. Frank will use his first short film INGELORE as a case study to explain how to do research and take notes in the trenches. He’ll give you ideas of how to make something of your own on the cheap and what resources are available to you. Frank also helps you prepare to transition to a new creative career. He’ll go over questions you should ask yourself before making the switch and how to form your plan. He will talk about how to better afford the transition and other advice you should consider before making the leap. He’ll also explain the most important thing he learned while making the transition. Frank will then use HEAVEN as an example to demonstrate how you can use your unique personal background to inform your project and take criticism along the way. Frank will also discuss what he’s learned from his multiple festival runs and how he’s used it to win an Oscar, and what comes next after winning. Finally, Frank will break down how to make your own age and experience work in your favor while breaking in. Finding success in Hollywood is difficult, but Frank has done so by carving his own path. He will give you perspective, inspiration, and strategies so that you can do the same. Praise for Frank's Stage 32 Webinar "Extremely inspirational. Great words of wisdom for mature people who want to break into the business." - Karen B. "It was awesome and encouraging to have Frank Stiefel talk to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s that its never too late. Thank you Stage 32 for bringing this programming." - Ann K. "I thought the candor with which Frank spoke was amazing." -Kerry B. "Perfect seminar. I shy away from signing up for these when it's someone who is just 'in the biz.' Frank had a very real take on how to be successful in the industry and I appreciated that. Dedicated filmmaker with years of experience in other aspects of art and storytelling. It made for a very engaging and emotional webinar." - Anthony N.