John Mooney is an accomplished multi-hyphenate with experience as an actor, comic, singer, and writer. As a comic, he’s appeared on Comedy Central and the AXS television network. As a writer, John is the co-writer and executive producer of a feature film starring Harry Lennix (NBC’s THE BLACKLIST), which is currently in pre-production. John has created content for Machinima and Comedy Concepts, and has appeared in commercials, web series, and video games, including GRAND THEFT AUTO V. He also recurred on 30 ROCK as Reverend Gary. His stage performances include the upcoming musical MAIDEN VOYAGE alongside Jenn Colella (Tony-nominated for COME FROM AWAY) and Hannah Corneau (WICKED). Full Bio »
If you write comedy you know what it feels like to stare at a blank page worrying that your signature lead character may not be funny enough to drive your story and dialogue. Your lead character is central to the success of any comedy and if your lead character bombs in your story then your movie or TV show most likely will follow.
When you're trying to create your signature comedic lead for your scripted comedy, the principles of stand-up comedy will help you find what’s working. And if it's not working, the principals of stand up comedy can show you how to fix it. Stand-up is about finding a character’s voice, creating dialogue that stands out, and knowing how to get out of a scene quickly. You need to learn how to understand a scene’s “premise” and your character’s role in it and create multi-layered characters who are consistent while also getting the laugh.
In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, actor and stand-up comic John Mooney will show you the way. You’ve seen John perform on Comedy Central, recurring on 30 ROCK, and appearing in the video game GRAND THEFT AUTO V. John most recently co-wrote and is currently executive producing a feature film starring THE BLACKLIST’s Harry Lennix and directed by THE SOPRANOS’ Federico Castelluccio.
Most importantly, you’re going to learn to let go of fears that hold back comedy writers and comedians, like “what will they think,” “Should I go to law school,” and “is this offensive?” By the end of this webinar, you’ll be prepared up to create a sustainable comedic lead character, letting go of the mental roadblocks, and confidently embracing your unique point of view and voice.
Using Stand Up Comedy Principles in the Writing Phase
Building a Character from the Ground Up
Writing Holistically and Solving Challenges from a Panoramic Point of View
Q&A with John
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When you think of storyboarding you may think that it's just for big budget productions, but the truth is that storyboards are MORE important for lower budget independent projects. A storyboard helps conceptualize the director's vision of the script and creates a blueprint for all the departments on set to prepare and work from. When your indie film is shooting on shorter timeframes with little wiggle room for mistakes, storyboarding can help save your production time and money. If you've never storyboarded before there are a lot of things to think of and plan for when planning out your scenes. Or, if you have storyboarded, it's good to refresh your knowledge and make sure you're maximizing your boards effectively. You have to know when you should start storyboarding and who gets involved. You need to know how the boards get used with the cast and crew from pre-production all the way into post-production. And, most importantly you need to know how storyboards can help find mistakes in the script that could derail on-set production. And, when we wanted to provide storyboarding education to the Stage 32 community, we had to bring in the best… Mark Simon, the “Godfather of Storyboarding”, has over 30 years in entertainment, amassing over 5,000 production credits, including STRANGER THINGS, THE WALKING DEAD, DEXTER, BLACK LIGHTNING, WOODY WOODPECKER and DOOM PATROL. He is also the animation producer for the HOW HIGH 2, LITTLE RASCALS and TOOTH FAIRY 2 features. Mark is now bringing his expertise to our Stage 32 community! In this webinar, you’ll walk away knowing exactly how to incorporate storyboards into your project and the importance of how it can help your production run smoothly! By the end of this webinar, you’ll be running off to storyboard your next production!
While the scene will be heavy with exposition, disguise the exposition in dialogue and conflict as much as possible. How does the character make the complex simple? What props does the person use? How does the character who receives the info react?
It can be more exciting to focus on the creative side of developing and producing your film or TV project, but if you’re a producer, you know this is not the only aspect you need to cover. Navigating business and legal aspects can truly make or break your project. Handling IP, chain of title, contracts and legal documents, setting up production entities, domestic and international negotiations with producers, financiers, talent agents and law firms—the list goes on, and not one element can be overlooked or handled haphazardly. No matter the size of your project, understanding the business and legal affairs that come with it is of the utmost importance and can be the difference between your film making it to the screen and falling apart in the process. Business and legal affairs are a different story for larger independent production companies and studios. They will have in-house staff and lawyers to handle these matters or can hire outside production council. This is likely not be possible for your smaller independent project. As a result, business and legal affairs are often overlooked in smaller productions—to the production’s own detriment. Yet it doesn’t need to be this way. You don’t need to hire a team of attorneys in order to ensure your indie project is covered and protected. Instead, you need to understand which aspects of business and legal affairs are important, what support there is available for independent producers, and how to best navigate the process to ensure every other aspect off your production stays on track. David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories. Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management globally on hundreds of productions. David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David will discuss both business and legal affairs that will be involved with your independent production. He’ll dive into how to deal with multiple players in the industry while putting together your project, how to negotiate and make deals, and the other business knowledge and expertise that is important for you to know when putting your film or series together. On the legal side, David will explain the different types of agreements you’ll need to have and the process of navigating many agreements at once. He’ll also go into the trickier aspects of legal affairs including domestic vs. international jurisdiction, distribution rights and licensing, recoupment schedules, and even arbitration and legal proceedings. Through David’s advanced and wide-stretching presentation, he will share with you countless tools that you can take to ensure that your own project is protected and can ultimately come together.
Learn directly from leading creative executive at Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! Every screenwriter has a goal they set out to accomplish. The mark of a great screenplay usually depends on whether or not this goal was achieved. Aside from being a visually arresting film, 'Ex Machina' stands apart as one of the great recent screenplays and finds its success in bringing forth engaging ideas, strong characterization and lofty goals. What is it about this intriguing and unsettling piece that resonates with audiences across the globe? What makes this ambitious screenplay cinematic as opposed to something we can watch on television or other formats? We are going to dig deep into the pages to identify the mechanisms and components that are utilized by Writer/Director Alex Garland the really bring the pages to life. I'm excited to take this journey with you and look forward to our discussion.
It's an undeniable fact, we are living in a gold rush of comedy content featuring lead female characters. Just think about the major box office and streaming successes we've seen over the last few years. On the feature film side, you have movies such as Late Night, Girls Trip, What Men Want, Rough Night, Bad Moms, and Trainwreck to name a few. On the networks, premium cable channels, and streamers Fleabag, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, Glow, Russian Doll, Insecure, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt have drawn huge audiences and many have won major awards. Is it any wonder why development executives, managers, agents, producers and financiers are looking for writers who have the ability to write screenplays and teleplays featuring memorable and iconic female characters? There are many inroads to breaking and staying in the industry as a writer, but one of the most important factors is understanding what's hot in the marketplace. And right now, thanks to the massive buying power of the streaming platforms along with other major feature film and television production companies looking for comedies, it's never been a better time to understand how to write female driven comedies that pop. David Shecter has has been working in the industry in production, development, and as a writer for over a decade. David has written on many shows, including season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His experience and success on that show landed David on the pilot of the CBS show. 2 Broke Girls where he worked his way up as a staff writer on the 6th and final season of the show. David is currently developing a female driven action comedy cop show, Lady Copped, with New Form and STX Entertainment. Most recently David was named one of the WGA TV Writer access honorees for his script For Worse. David will teach you everything he's learned about writing female driven comedies throughout his career. He will show you how to avoid the all to common cliches that seemingly find their way into every female driven script. He will show you why sex sells, but how to properly write sex and sexuality into your screenplay to make it unique. He will teach you the practice of gender flipping and role reversals. He will show you how you can bring a personal connection to your female characters no matter whether you're a male or female. He will show you how to examine your plot and your characters before you begin writing to make the process flow more smoothly. He will show you the difference between one dimensional vs multi-dimensional characters and how easy it is to fall into the former, but how important it is that you learn the latter. Finally, David will present a case study of his latest screenplay Lady Copped which is now in development with New Form and STX. Whether you're a feature or TV writer, you will learn all the important factors in writing a female driven comedy that will get you reads and attention. "Another incredible and insightful webinar presented by Stage 32. I have received notes on my screenplays in the past that my female characters fell into cliche. As a female, that pissed me off! But now I understand why and I'm already on the path to changing things for the better. Thank you, David, and bravo, Stage 32! -Melissa J. "Can men write female driven comedies? I often asked myself that question. I'm not any longer. Loved this presentation. - Kyle P.
One of the most respected agents in the business, Adam Van Dusen of Gersh will discuss the agent/screenwriter relationship, how to break in, industry trends and more! Live Q&A to follow!