Bret Slater is an LA-based TV and Film producer with over a decade of experience in both Production and Development. Bret is the producer on the HBO series "Ballers", starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Rob Corddry, USA Network's "Shooter", starring Ryan Phillippe, Shantel VanSanten and Omar Epps, and Associate Produced the feature BROKEN CITY, starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Bret got his start in the industry working on features including OLD DOGS, BEDTIME STORIES, TWILIGHT, THE PROPOSAL and CONTRABAND, then moved to TV working with veteran producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson on series including HBO's "Boardwalk Empire", "Entourage", "How to Make It in America", and "In Treatment". Bret is currently working on a series he co-created and sold to truTV with Reddit and Wahlberg attached to executive produce alongside him. Full Bio »
It's no secret that television is a red hot medium right now. Over the last few years, the average number of shows broadcast has been well over 500. With the advent of even more streaming options (HBO Now, Disney+, and more), some experts expect that number to double or even possibly triple over the next 2-4 years. That doesn't even account for the number of television projects that get sold or brought to pilot that never get picked up! In short, the amount of television pitches being greenlit in the room and the amount of television scripts being optioned and sold has never been higher. But, as is the case with just about anything, the bigger the gold rush, the more people seeking the gold. The content is one thing, how you pitch the content to networks, development execs, financiers, producers, managers, agents and other decision makers is quite another. Experienced professionals can spot an amateur pitcher within the first 30 seconds, if not sooner. You have to be able to stand out. And we're here to help you do just that.
So, you have a great idea for a show, now what? How do you get it to the right people? What to do/how to present it to them? What most people don’t understand, is that once they’re in the door they need to think about the other side of the table. Who they’re pitching to, how many pitches that person reads/hears and how best to position themselves to stand out. Busy producers and executives get pitched all the time - honestly...All. Day. Long. Whether oral, written or Skype, you basically have 30 seconds or the first paragraph to keep them interested. And for both, the format matters! Don’t let your great idea fall on deaf ears or eyes! If you’re a writer or someone who works with writers, you need to know how to orchestrate a good pitch.
Bret Slater has worked as a producer on such acclaimed shows as the multi Emmy nominated Boardwalk Empire and Ballers for HBO. Bret has worked alongside such talent as Steve Buscemi, Mark Whalberg, Russel Crowe, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Steven Levinson (Entourage), Catherine Zeta Jones, Ryan Phillippe and many more. Bret has been reading and listening to television pitches all day and just about every day since he broke into the business over a decade ago. He's seen every style, heard every idea, and knows as well as anyone what makes a television pitch a winner.
Bret will teach you the entire landscape regarding pitching a television pilot or idea. In what is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the pitching process, Bret will take you inside the mind of the pitchee, the person hearing the pitch. What are they looking for in the first 30 seconds? What are you portraying when you walk in the room? What details matter and which make the person you are pitching to zone out? How do you craft your pitch to producers, managers and agents? He will teach you the 3 basic, yet much overlooked, rules that must be in every pitch along with the #1 rule on how to deliver your pitch. Bret will break down written, oral and online/Skype pitches and the do's and don'ts for each. He will teach you how to open, and more importantly, close your pitch so that you leave the person or people you are pitching to wanting more. Bret will even show you the proper etiquette for following up after a pitch. Bret will provide all the tools that will help lift the anxiety and doubt of pitching for television and give you the confidence to deliver your pitch in a mannered, informed and professional way.
"Yet another winner from Stage 32."
- Patricia C.
"So much quality information. There were at least 3 things I was absolutely doing wrong with my approach when pitching. This clarified the mistakes I was making. Thank you, Bret."
"Having spent nearly 10 years in the feature world, I recently wrote a pilot and quickly realized the landscape is much different. My old tricks for pitching features didn't apply for TV. It's a different animal. Now I'm ready to get back on the attack."
Bret on set
Bret Slater, Producer
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.
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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!
Sebastian is currently a partner in Circus Road Films after working in development at Paramount, and at Touchstone, the TV division of Disney and ABC.We'll discuss the business + a live Q&A!
Networking is the key to success in any industry, but in the entertainment business, it is a NECESSITY if you want to break in. And now in this increasingly online and virtual world, a large part of networking takes place in virtual settings, namely on apps and online platforms. This landscape is constantly changing, and while it can be hard to keep up with, it can also be incredibly lucrative. It is not uncommon now for writers to be discovered because of a viral post on Twitter, for friendships to be formed on Clubhouse, or for a script to be optioned right here on Stage 32. All of this just while sitting at home on your computer or phone. It’s clear that these tools are too powerful of a tool to ignore, but it’s important you know how to use these tools correctly. The world of virtual networking can seem overwhelming and foreign, especially when you’re more accustomed to traditional networking and in-person events. Yet success on these platforms is not just reserved for Gen-Z and “influencers”; creatives of all ages and background are finding success and getting discovered through these tools. Yet the key is knowing how to use these apps the right way. Just like for in-person events and old-school networking, you can use these opportunities to build your connections, or you can leave others with a bad impression. It often just comes down to understanding the rules and expectations on each platform, and understanding how to contribute and make yourself part of the community. So what are the apps where the real opportunities are forged? How can you stand out (in a good way)? With the right strategies and approach, you’ll be able to build your network and meet people who can be your cheerleaders along the way. Kristen Lucas and Tara Gore are powerhouse networkers in the entertainment industry. Kristen Lucas is a talent manager at Bohemia Group, specializing in actors and filmmakers in film and television. Her clients have appeared in films such as Netflix's I CARE A LOT and THE HONEST THIEF alongside Liam Neeson, and on television such as Netflix's THE GOOD COP and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Hulu's CASTLE ROCK, AMC's BETTER CALL SAUL and many others. Tara Gore has produced over 300 live shows and original content for MLB including Avicii, Billy Joel, Demi Lovato, Zac Brown Band, One Republic, Elton John, John Legend, Jason Aldean, Ziggy Marley and many more. Kristen and Tara attribute their success to hustling to find opportunity where others find dead ends. Their long history of creative networking has built them a vast network of contacts across all areas of entertainment and business and allowed them to ensure the success of their clients and projects. Working together, Kristen and Tara will outline the six main apps and platforms they use to network and find connections and clients: Clubhouse, Instagram, Twitter, Stage 32, IMDB, and LinkedIn. For each they will lay out how the app works, how you can best operate within it, and the mistakes to avoid. Along the way they'll dive into success stories each platform has provided and why they worked, as well as horror stories and how you can avoid similar fates. Online networking doesn’t need to be scary and it's something you can master no matter what your background is. Expect to leave this with a bunch of ideas, real world examples, and inspiration to master these apps, continue meeting new people online, and finding your place in this industry.
If you're an independent filmmaker, it's likely you don’t have all of the funds you need to begin or complete your production. In this scenario, you need a film financier to step in and invest equity. While the financier is often hands-off with the actual production, they do have a prominent position in the process. Their assets are your assets, and they need to be protected. Borrowing money is only one step in the process. Assuring your financier that their assets will be protected during the filmmaking and production process is another. If you’re ready to take your film to the next level but aren’t clear on what financiers expect as far as protection when you borrow, you may be at a disadvantage. Protecting money given to you by someone with a vested interest in your film is extremely important. It’s also good business practice. And going into a conversation knowing what they expect before they hand over any equity - can only work in your favor. Your future lender has expectations. Let's delve into how you can always meet those expectations. 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 teach you how you can keep your financiers protected and explain the 6 different options you should take into consideration when you sit down with a financier for your own project. After explaining what the role of a financier on an independent film usually looks like, he will discuss security interests, completion bonds, escrow accounts, collection accounts, legal representation, and compliance, what each of these look like, and how you can use these to best protect your financier. There are variables for every filmmaking scenario, but David will leave you with a much clearer understanding the role of the financier and how you can keep them happy and safe so that they’ll want to work with you time and time again. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
Founded in 2011 by Richard "RB" Botto, Stage 32 is the world's largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV and new media creatives and professionals worldwide. Stage 32 works with over five hundred industry professionals and executives who provide education, instruction and professional opportunities for members of the platform. Stage 32 currently has over 1,200 hours of exclusive film, television and digital craft and business education in its library. Stage 32 members use the platform daily to build their network, take online webinars, classes and labs, find work and cast and crew their projects. Stage 32 members range from students to Emmy, BAFTA and Academy Award Winners. We work tirelessly to ensure that you know that Stage 32 is your online home to stay connected with over 600,000 creatives and professionals from across the globe. Now, we are excited to present a virtual panel featuring some of the top minds in the Stage 32 community to discuss the current state of television, as the industry adapts to a new development and production landscape after the COVID-19 pandemic and a continuing battle between the WGA & ATA. In this roundtable discussion you will hear the point of view of a production company (Tracy Mercer, Senior Vice President, Television at Amasia Entertainment), a television packager (Stuart Arbury, Director of TV & Episodic Content at Ramo Law), a literary manager (Raquelle David of Elevate Entertainment), a writer, producer, Stage 32 CEO (Rich “RB” Botto), all moderated by producer, writer, and the Stage 32 Director of Script Services (Jason Mirch). Stage 32 is proud to be putting the "social" in #SocialDistancing. Please share this event on your social media and tag @stage32 on Twitter and @stage32online on Instagram.
Jason Mirch welcomes Courtney Miller Jr., of television's "Saints and Sinners" for Bounce TV. and A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, into the Writers' Room Pitch Tank! Courtney is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, andBritney Spears. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical.He has development deals with has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer.
Remember that every line of dialogue matters, every image has a purpose, and there are no wasted bullets in the gun! We're kicking off another month of a packed Writers' Room schedule with the Breakdown Webcast: Exposition as Ammunition! Many writers struggle with how to get out critical information and backstory to the audience in an organic way. So during this webcast, we discuss how to get the audience the information they need without a lecture they don't want. During this webcast we'll discuss different ways of getting out information in a way that feels organic to the narrative and the characters. We examine some of the best - and worst - examples from film and television!