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.
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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!
In order to be successful, building your brand is something that you should ALWAYS be doing. There is never an on & off switch for opportunity. You never know who you are going to meet and where in the film industry. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, entertainment marketing and branding expert Jennifer Winberg (Marketing Strategist for mini and major studios - Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures) will teach you how to network in order to build your brand. Your host, Jennifer will use her 10 years of experience to walk you through setting up your film brand online, the tools and resources needed, finding community, and even how to navigate those industry meetups and happy hours.
Let's face it. We spend a good portion of our days on social media. Be it Stage 32, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we're constantly checking in. For many, social media serves as a fun distraction. But for those in the know, social media is a powerful tool to build your presence, brand, and portfolio as an actor. It's an absolute and undeniable fact that casting directors, managers and agents search social media platforms every day to help them with their ultimate goal - to find new, exceptional talent that they can book on open projects. Yet, so many actors misuse or ignore social medial altogether. That has to change. Your online presence can help you get noticed, get in front of the right people, get you in rooms, and, ultimately, accelerate your path to success. Being an actor today is more than just being talented at delivering lines. You have to approach acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur. That means taking advantage of all online opportunities for branding and exposure. You're in full control of taking time to carefully craft your online presence. You have to make sure your actor profiles and resume have the information and media decision makers want to see. You have to understand how to use social media the right way to capture the attention of people that can hire you. Actors who are taking the time to do this correctly have a competitive advantage. Wendy Alane Wright is the CEO of WAW Entertainment, a leading talent management firm in Los Angeles. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, HBO, Comedy Central, BIO, SyFy, Lifetime, and more. Some of the projects her clients have booked are TV shows including Modern Family, Black-ish, American Horror Story, Sharp Objects as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Universal Studios, Homegoods, Walmart, Justice, Target, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. After decades in the business Wendy uses the internet now more than ever to help her find talent and decide on talent when sending her clients on auditions. Wendy will teach you how your online presence can help you get more auditions (or lose them!). She'll help you zone in on what your brand is as an actor and how you can best portray that online. You'll learn what is needed on your online profiles such as Actors Access to be competitive, stand out, and be considered for more roles. Wendy will show you examples of actor profiles, resumes, social media accounts and talk through what about them stands out to casting directors, managers and agents. She'll teach you five things to up your game immediately on social media and how to approach networking to get noticed. And, she'll answer the question on every actor's mind: does your follower count matter? One of the industry's top talent agents will walk you through all of this step-by-step so you are crystal clear on what goes on in their mind when they're looking at you online. "Wendy, thank you for sharing your time, energy and insight. Seeing the profile examples and hearing you describe what casting directors and agents look for was extremely helpful. I hope to work with you one day!" - Jack S. "This is a fantastic webinar!! Wendy's straightforward approach answered so many questions that I kept asking myself about social media." - Amber F.
In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter. In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show. "Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started." - Mia L. "Demystification complete." Lorraine R. "Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years." - Regina K. "There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo." Angelo D.
Learn directly from Producer Mitchell Peck, who has produced 3 studio movies with worldwide distribution! Hollywood is a global aspiration. This year, 80+ countries submitted films for Academy Awards consideration. And the number of aspiring screenwriters is growing every year thanks to websites like Stage 32, and others. Tech and resource barriers to entry for filmmakers are being lowered, with DSLR's, iPhones, online distribution, social media, etc. Financing is easier than ever before, thanks to options like Slated, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, etc. Filmmaking is finally a democratic medium. Yet, at the same time, Hollywood remains largely impenetrable -- and opaque -- to outsiders. Literary agencies, production companies and movie studios will not read "unsolicited submissions." Hollywood is an inefficient system; good material falls through the cracks all the time. For 20 years in Hollywood as a movie producer, Producer Mitchell Peck has specialized in identifying material (scripts, books, articles, life-rights, etc.) and aspiring screenwriters from outside the Hollywood system -- and successfully guiding them into Hollywood's best literary agencies, top management-production companies, and major movie studios. (Check out some of Mitchell’s success stories on his website below). Few producers can boast the same track-record of success as Mitchell on behalf of aspiring screenwriters. In this webinar, "Anatomy of a Hollywood Movie Deal: 7 Case Studies of Success with Producer Mitchell Peck” Mitchell will shed light on -- and hopefully demystify -- the process of successfully navigating the Hollywood marketplace by sharing highlights from seven (7) Hollywood movie deals in which he successfully guided aspiring screenwriters to top agency representation, script development deals, and-or produced studio movies with worldwide distribution.
So you want to direct. You've been bitten by the filmmaking bug and now all you can think about is making a film. You've got a script (or the concept for one) and have envisioned exactly how you want to see it on the screen. And, now more than ever, with equipment more accessible, the costs of shooting affordable, the barrier of entry lower than it's every been, and the options for distribution growing seemingly by the minute, you know the path from script to screen has never been more viable. We get it. As a director you are the lynchpin of a production and the commander of a creative army in service of your vision. But, in order to truly realize that vision, you have to know everything there is about development, pre-production, physical production, and post production. Even though you can clearly see the film in your mind that's only a small part of the process of being a director. It takes hard work, discipline, and wearing many hats to be able to execute every aspect of developing and filming a movie - and to do it in a way that holds the entire production together. What you do (or don't do) in pre-production will set the tone for the entire shoot, good or bad. How you command the set on the first day will determine whether your cast and crew put forth their best effort or zone out. You have to be cognizant of shooting time/days, your budget, and assuring that your are delivering on every promise. But you're not done when you shout "That's a wrap!" There's still more to do when you get to post-production, working hand in hand with your editor, colorist, sound designer and more. It sounds overwhelming, but we're here to tell you it's not only a manageable environment, but one you can thrive in. Stacia Crawford started as an actress, but had the overwhelming desire to manage and film projects. So, she moved into producing and directing. Last year alone, she had two feature films that premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. With the success of those films, she has been hired to direct two more features this year. Stacia has worked with NBC, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike and more, and has used her experience to make sure she runs a tight and efficient set. She's a pro at managing a project from the script phase through seeing her work on screen and beyond. Stacia will guide you through the entire directing process so you can understand what your responsibilities will be through pre-production, physical production and post-production. She will help you understand what to look for in your contract before you even get hired. She will teach you best casting strategies, how to find and enlist the help of your creative departments, and how to choose the right DP and AD (beyond important!) You'll also learn how to prepare your shot list and how to confidently run your set by learning how to work with actors, producers and your crew and keep them all happy. She'll teach you about your dailies and picking up scenes if the schedule shifts. Finally, she'll take you through post-production and how to work seamlessly and diplomatically with your editor, composer and your color and audio team. You'll be well-armed with all the pertinent and vital information you need to manage every aspect of being a film director. Stacia will remove your anxiety and fears by giving you the tools to succeed, thrive and have your cast and crew looking to work with you again and again. "If you are thinking of going into the industry it was amazing, hit all the points, and she went above and beyond when she expanded on a lot of her points...like making sure you get your insert shots (which I've been a victim of.). Overall she was great, clear and to the point." - Ryan H. I'm a screenwriter and always wanted to direct, but found the idea of it daunting. Stacia not only lifted my fears, but gave me so many "I can do that!" moments that I'm already kicking myself for not doing it sooner. She's a marvel. - Monica R.
Write Now Challenge: Antihero Character Bios, in which we will hear more about the characters you have created! This month you were challenged to write a character bio for an antihero of your creation. This is unlike any other challenge you've tackled here if you need any last minute inspiration, just revisit the Breakdown Webcast on antiheroes here! As part of this challenge, I will be turning the microphone over to you! If you have submitted your pages and would like to read them for the group, you are more than welcome.