Amy Baer - President, Gidden Media Amy Baer's experience in the entertainment Industry uniquely spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Her first film as a producer was the 2013 hit LAST VEGAS (starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) which grossed $136MM worldwide. In 2012, Baer raised a 7 figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film, the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED) and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour (WADJDA), had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. It was released by IFC in May 2018. GM’s next film, the inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS, had its World Premiere at the LA FILM FESTIVAL on September 22nd, 2018, and won the LAFF Audience Award. Starring Aldis Hodge (UNDERGROUND), Oscar-nominee Greg Kinnear (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) and directed by Tom Shadyac (BRUCE ALMIGHTY),) the film tells the story of Brian Banks, an all-American high-school football player committed to USC by his junior year, whose life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks got his conviction overturned his name cleared in 2012 after a decade of wrongful imprisonment and parole. BRIAN BANKS is eyeing an early 2019 release. Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011), launching the division for CBS Corp. Baer spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as 1997’s MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION (2001), S.W.A.T. (2002), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), and the 2006 holiday hit THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney. Baer became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood, as the entertainment industry faces a broad reckoning over gender disparities and sexual harassment. Founded in 1973, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. Baer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1988 with a B.A. in English literature. She is married to producer Matt Baer (UNBROKEN), and has two sons. In addition to Women in FIlm, she also serves on the board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA. Richard "RB" Botto - Founder, Stage 32 Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). Stage32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Since 2011, Stage 32 has emerged as an online community of over 500,000 creatives with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by over 500 industry executives. Stage 32 is also the official film education & networking platform of AFM and the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film. RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award winning feature, Another Happy Day, written & directed by Sam Levinson, the documentary Crutch, and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, his latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently in development at Covert Media. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire is premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.RB has spoken at such festivals as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Raindance, SXSW and has taught at institutions such as Harvard and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. Additionally, he has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and other news and entertainment outlets speaking on the film and tech industries. Prior to launching Stage 32, RB was the founder, publisher and editor of RAZOR Magazine, a national men's lifestyle magazine which had a readership of 1.5 million at its peak. He was also a sports radio host on a variety of programs on ESPN and FOX affiliates. In the 90’s, RB was an integral part of the team responsible for creating the vendor tracking system used by many of today’s top e-commerce companies. Botto headed the development, design and commercial implementation for several of the top 50 most visited sites on the web during that period. RB serves on the Advisory Board for Old Town Music Hall, a classic film theater in El Segundo, built in 1921. A lifelong fan of film, a serial entrepreneur and a passionate creative himself, he’s a great guy to have a drink with! Oh, and he was once named one of People Magazine's Most Eligible Bachelors (no lie) Full Bio »
With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre" for 2018 and beyond. If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies.
Join our very own Richard "RB" Botto, producer Amy Baer (MARY SHELLEY, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE) and Head of Development of Gidden Media Chris Ceccotti (BRIAN BANKS) as they break down the current marketplace for romantic comedies in a FREE webcast!
Amy Baer, President Gidden Media - Richard Botto, Founder Stage 32
In this Pitch Tank webcast, we welcome producer Aimee Schoof of Intrinsic Value Films. Aimee has produced more than 35 feature films! Of those, 10 have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, 4 at the Tribeca Film Festival, 3 at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale. Among many of her notable films, she produced TESLA with Ethan Hawke, AMERICAN SATAN with Malcolm McDowell, MARJORIE PRIME with Jon Hamm, EXPERIMENTER with Peter Sarsgaard, BLUE CAPRICE with Isiaiah Washington, Tim Blake Nelson, DEATH OF A DYNASTY with Kevin Hart and Rashida Jones, and XX/XY with Mark Ruffalo. She has expanded into television and currently has a slate of scripted and unscripted projects and feature films in all phases of production. And on top of all of that, Aimee is also a partner in the comic book publishing company Red Giant Entertainment, developing comic book properties for film and TV! During the webcast, we hear pitches that range from Sci-Fi to Supernatural in both film and television! Aimee provides some incredible insights and provides her 2 key pieces of advice to keep in mind while pitching!
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.
The entertainment industry is constantly evolving and changing, and given the state of the business and external factors that have impacted the ecosystem, that statement is more true than ever. So how do we continue to package and sell projects in the time of quarantine (and beyond)? Despite what some may thing, studio and development executives are reading material and distributors are watching films to possibly acquire during this time as they are not inundated with meetings in their office. Now is the time to take advantage of these open and willing eyes to push your projects and connect with industry executives to package and sell your projects from the development stage to distribution. When packaging, producers, filmmakers and financiers often desire to immediately approach A-list names and talent to better sell their projects. But it's difficult to get the attention of most A-list talent when there are no other significant attachments and/or financing. But that doesn't mean all is lost. Quite the contrary. There are other paths to explore including who else you can approach for attachments and/or financing to bring value to assure you have the most sellable and attractive package possible. Since joining Ramo Law in 2009, Tiffany Boyle has leveraged her business-oriented sales and packaging skills to bring hundreds of films and documentaries to fruition. Tiffany connects filmmakers with producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-finance partners, distributors, agencies and other industry representatives. Since 2018 alone, Tiffany has optimized clients’ financial and business positions in more than 35 films and documentaries. Through her critical review of content and strategic use of Ramo Law resources, Tiffany creates successful content packaging that bridges the needs of both client and industry demands. In addition to all these skills, recently, Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will provide you with the pertinent and actionable information you need to package a project in the current environment. She will begin by discussing the packaging and sales world before COVID-19, what is happening right now and what can be expected once we're in the clear. She will discuss packaging and selling of all budget levels and dive deep into the world of attachments including landing valuable producers, directors, actors, and even financiers. From there, Tiffany will tell you how to build your relationships to help enhance and accelerate your path to getting your project packaged and sold. She will discuss sales and the current state of the marketplace. And finally, Tiffany will even include some outside the box methods and resources toward packaging and selling your project outside the traditional model. "Let's do a deep dive into everything happening right now and what to expect down the road so you can take action. We will focus on who to approach first for attachments and how to build the project from there in order to make it the most sellable and attractive package it can be." - Tiffany Boyle
It’s a competitive landscape right now for film and TV writers to break in. If you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward. Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job. Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods. Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK. Things to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Spec How to harness your unique background to better write your script How to zero in on your writing brand Navigating the marketplace and understanding what there is and isn’t a need for before starting to write How to Write an Amazing Spec Script Tips to better outline and structure your script How to write a perfect scene What scenes always work What scenes never work How to write characters that actors are going to want to play Getting feedback and putting on the right kind of finishing touches Using Your Spec to Find Success How to get an agent or manager off of your spec And how to work with your reps to find your next job Pitching your spec The steps you should take to prepare for your pitch How to best tell your story in a room What you should NEVER do in a room The #1 thing that sells in pitch meetings What you should leave people in the room with Handling notes and continuing to alter your script Matt’s Case Studies CRASH UNIT (Sylvester Stallone) THE GUNSMITH (Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) THE DESTROYERS (NY Times Book of the Summer) FLASHBACK Q&A with Matt Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar “This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable” -Rory D. “Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say” -Candace V. “I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script” -Jerry F. “This was so helpful! Thanks!” -Carly E.
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. 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.
Part 1 - Overview of the Staffing Process Amanda discusses the strategy and steps of the staffing process from the studio, network and production company perspective. You will gain incite into what producers are looking for from a staffing sample and how to improve your chances of standing out in crowd. Part 2 - Tips for Writing an Original Pilot A discussion on the creation of a strong, unique and memorable original pilot; Choosing the right concept to display your original voice, crafting characters who can last for seasons and improving dialogue skills. Part 3 - Pilot Format, Structure and Plotting Amanda details structure and formatting techniques, for drama and comedy, as well as the importance of a strong, steady plot and why you need to keep the reader engaged with big plot moments every few pages in a staffing sample. Part 4 - Spec Scripts & Next Career Steps Amanda answers why it’s important to have a spec script to send as a follow up to your original pilot, and how to write a spec script through copying an existing show’s voices and format. She also covers reaching out to agents, managers, and studio training initiatives with your writing samples. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Amanda is no longer handing out or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!