Matt Harry is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose popular fantasy novel SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS was recently optioned for television by Boatrocker Media with Matt on board to adapt the pilot. His first produced feature screenplay, FUGUE, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has also written screenplays for Primary Wave, Platform One Media, Co-op Entertainment, and Flynn Picture Co. His short film SUPER KIDS, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 6 million views on YouTube. Now, inspired by his new interactive book “You Are A Filmmaker,” Matt is bringing his knowledge and experience to Stage 32 so that anyone looking for an entry-level job in the biz can get one. Full Bio »
“How can I make it in the movie business?” This is the perpetual question that haunts every generation of budding filmmakers. There are so many success stories that start with humble beginnings, and then there are so many more stories that don’t make it as far. If you want to “make it” in the movie business, you have to know how to get a job in it first. But how?
First, there are SO MANY more jobs in this industry than most people realize. Do you know all the many ways to be part of the film industry? Not to mention, it takes a lot of grit to make it in this biz. Most people pay their dues through grueling hours as an assistant with little pay. With the right guidance from someone who has been there and done that, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success for any job in the industry. You just have to know how to get your foot in the door.
Matt Harry is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose popular fantasy novel SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS was recently optioned for television by Boatrocker Media with Matt on board to adapt the pilot. His first produced feature screenplay, FUGUE, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has also written screenplays for Primary Wave, Platform One Media, Co-op Entertainment, and Flynn Picture Co. His short film SUPER KIDS, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 6 million views on YouTube. Now, inspired by his new interactive book “You Are A Filmmaker,” Matt is bringing his knowledge and experience to Stage 32 so that anyone looking for an entry-level job in the biz can get one.
Matt is going to tell you exactly how to get any job in the film business, starting with the 10 Do’s for ANY job and the 5 Don’ts. He’ll go over how to get a job in development, production, the camera department, post-production, post sound, the art department, as a writer, and even a director. He’ll also answer questions like, “do you need to live in Los Angeles,” and provide tips on how to afford to work in the industry, because let’s face it…when you’re starting out this biz is far from the glamorous life. But don’t worry, with Matt’s insightful tips and experiences, you’ll walk out of this ready to snag any job in the industry.
Praise for Matt's Previous Stage 32 Webinar
"Chockful of examples and able to keep a running theme throughout and not lose the audience. Great enthusiastic speaker."
"Overall it was very informative. The fact that there was an actual tried and true professional of the industry willing and able to answer questions and give the talk was a very huge plus for me."
"Matt has such a way with words. He articulates concepts exceptionally well."
"Matt was very engaging. His in-depth knowledge of the subject matter was crystal clear."
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Getting your work seen and considered is a SLOG, as any writer can attest. No matter how great your script is, even if it has placed in contests, even if you’re repped by a manager or agent, it is hard to break through the noise and get execs or studios interested in what you have to offer. Part of the problem, though, is that execs are often scared to move forward with an original story. It’s more of a gamble than relying on remakes, sequels, or other projects that already have brand awareness and a built-in audience. Yet this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for you or your script. Instead, you can use this to your advantage. Like it or not, production companies and studios big and small are moving forward overwhelmingly with projects based on IP, or intellectual property—in other words, films that feature characters, worlds, and stories that already exist in other formats or other films. IP is the name of the game now, so let’s play the game! How? Turn your script into IP. It’s actually more possible than you think. Whether it’s a novel, a podcast, a web series, or other formats, you can prove your story’s worth and independently build your own audience so that execs start coming to you and that dream script of yours can actually get made. It’s been done, it continues to be done, and you can do it too. Don’t believe us? Listen to writer Matt Harry. When his original fantasy script SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS was going nowhere, he turned it into a novel that became a hit. The novel was described as “J.K. Rowling meets V.E. Schwab,” and Publishers Weekly declared it “a charming package and drily funny adventure.” Since then, the book was recently optioned for television by Boatrocker Media and Matt was hired to adapt the pilot. Book II in Matt’s series, CRYPTOZOOLOGY FOR BEGINNERS was published in 2019 and his middle-grade adventure novel SUPERKID is slated to be published in June 2021. His first produced feature screenplay, FUGUE, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has also written screenplays for Primary Wave, Platform One Media, Co-op Entertainment, and Flynn Picture Co. His short film SUPER KIDS, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 6 million views on YouTube. His TV pilot MONSTER COPS was awarded Grand Prize in the Second City Original Sitcom Contest, and is currently in development. Matt has experienced firsthand what can happen when you turn your own work into existing IP and is ready to give you the lowdown. Exclusively for Stage 32, Matt will teach you how you can turn your own script into IP to prove your story’s worth and get producers and execs interested. He will dig into why IP is so valuable, what types of IP exist, and how time consuming or expensive each type can be to create. Matt will lay out the seven main types of IP you can adapt your story into, all of which can offer your script leverage. Matt will discuss each type of IP and explain the steps you can take to make each happen and will also give you tips on deciding which IP format is right for your own project. He will also lay out what to do after your IP is out there to build your audience, get reviews, and incorporate your success into your pitch for production companies and studios. If you have an original script you believe in, keep at it. Matt will show you how you can use IP to your advantage and beat Hollywood at their own game. Praise for Matt's Stage 32 Webinar "Overall it was very informative. The fact that there was an actual tried and true professional of the industry willing and able to answer questions and give the talk was a very huge plus for me." - J. Brown "Matt has such a way with words. Articulates concepts exceptionally well." - K. Masters "I loved how well-rounded he was in his creative endeavors. Matt knew about so many avenues to getting a script noticed." - Peter M "Matt Harry is a very knowledgeable person. Matt went into it with a solid plan that made picking up what was left out easier due to him referencing materials to look into for ourselves." - Jaboris B.
Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. Now is a great time for your animated project to get noticed, but you need to make sure it’s fully developed and market-ready first. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but so is the competition. If you want your animated pilot to get noticed and seriously considered, it needs to be polished, thought through, and structured correctly. This is harder than it may seem and comes down to having a detailed plan before you start the actual writing process. This plan can come in the form of a beat sheet, a document that you create for yourself that bullets out exactly what will happen in your pilot and when. As simple as it may seem, this crucial step can make all the difference and help you create that animated TV pilot that will get executives to notice you and fire you off the launch pad. First, you need to understand how to best prepare this beat sheet and structure your pilot in a way that’s not only effective, but attractive to actual buyers. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who directed on shows like the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animation and knows what it takes to plan and execute an animated pilot that will make it. Mike will walk you through exactly how to put together a beat sheet and structure it effectively to guide you through writing an outstanding animated TV pilot script. He’ll begin by outlining the state of animated TV today and guide you through committing to the genre, format, and rating system that best fits for your series. He’ll walk you through how to get started and the best way to format the sheet. Next, Mike will go deep into the actual structure of an effective animated pilot, including the cold open, act 1, act 2, act 3, and tag. Finally Mike will provide final tips to make sure you’re leaving with a beat sheet that will aid you. If you’re hoping to write an animated pilot script, if you’ve already written one and are looking to improve it, or if you have an idea but are struggling to get it on paper, Mike will give you the tools and strategy to help you reach your goal and put together the animated pilot you’ve been working towards. Praise for Mike's Previous Stage 32 Webinars Mike’s knowledge is sound and extensive. His vision for what’s happening now and what we are to expect in the future is brilliant. I could listen to him forever. -Jane D. "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S. I loved the wealth of content and Mike's humor. -Prema R.
We're back in the Writers' Room with for the Executive Hour Webcast with Jonathan Harris the Development Executive for Oscar-winner Jordan Peele at Monkeypaw Productions whose credits include GET OUT, US, BLACKkKLANSMAN and many more. Jonathan sits at the frontline of all incoming projects and development, and assists in shaping and managing projects as they move into the production pipeline. Previously, he worked in the TV department at CAAand in development for Kenya Barris - the producer of COMING TO AMERICA 2. Founded by Jordan Peele, Monkeypaw Productions cultivates artistic, thought-provoking projects across film, television and digital platforms. The company is committed to groundbreaking storytelling, visionary world-building and the unpacking of contemporary social issues. Monkeypaw Productions champions highly specific perspectives and artistic collaborations with unique and traditionally underrepresented voices. The work challenges the conventional architecture of genre storytelling from horror to science fiction to social satire, while balancing avant-garde visual language with undeniably contagious fun. During this conversation Jonathan talks about the ethos behind Monkeypaw and what guides their development process. He also talks directly with writers about how they can get started in the industry.
As a director, you have to oversee every aspect of production, but you can’t micromanage it all. You need to communicate your goals and listen to your cinematographer to achieve your vision. When do you start developing this relationship? How do you know you’re hiring the right person for this role? As a cinematographer, you have to take charge while telling a director’s story. How do you lead without taking control? How do you ensure this is an effective dynamic? When do you speak up to ensure the director has everything they need? When this dynamic duo is at their best, the results can be breathtaking. But if they’re at odds, it will always undermine the success of your film. Directors, cinematographers, and directors of photography can all gain invaluable information from this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, showing you exactly how to find the right people for your production and how to work with them to ensure a cohesive result built on solid communication and trust between the director and cinematographer. Taking you through the inner workings of the director-cinematographer relationship is Emmy Award winning director and cinematographer Charlene "Charlie" Fisk who has worked with networks including FX, Netflix, PBS, ESPN, Disney, HGTV, TLC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Food Network, and OWN. In addition to the incredible wealth of information from Charlene, she will also answer questions for you using her years of experience about the roles of director and cinematographer, or your own feature or role in productions. You’ll walk away with the tools to find the right partnership and cultivate it to create a powerful experience, leading to a fantastic feature film.
In this Executive Hour webcast, the Writers' Room welcomes the President of Gidden Media, billion dollar producer & executive Amy Baer! Amy's experience in the entertainment Industry 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. Before starting Gidden Media, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films, launching the division for CBS Corp. In 2012, Baer raised a 7-figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film was the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning. Amy spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION, S.W.A.T., SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL starring Brad Pitt. Amy became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood. During this webcast, Amy talks about the changing landscape of development and production in the industry, including what helps get a film made, the genres that she chooses to focus on, stories from developing MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and other Sony classics, and how writers can gain momentum in a highly competitive business!
Networking at a film festival or industry event. For some people, just the idea strikes fear in the heart. Who do you talk to first? How do you start the conversation? Holy crap, business cards?! Do I need business cards? I'm sure you have been at industry events before where you're all fired up to go, then once you get there you stand in the corner talking only to the people you know. So, how do you break that cycle? You've probably heard things like "you have to know someone to get ahead in this business" and thought to yourself "OK, but how do I get to the point where I know that mysterious 'someone?' " The answer comes back to networking. And though that word conjures up images of smarmy frat boys in suits swilling cocktails and collecting business cards, it's really about overcoming the initial awkwardness between strangers and turning those strangers into new friends. It happens slowly, organically, naturally. But if you're smart about it and go in with a plan, you can make it happen more often and more reliably – without feeling the need for a hot shower afterward. Stage 32 is proud to bring in industry veteran, Christopher Holland, who for over a decade has worked with over 200 film festivals, including Sundance, Austin, AFI, Atlanta and more. Chris is teaching exclusively for Stage 32 Your Guide To Fearless Film Festival Networking. This webinar will ease your anxiety about making professional connections in the festival environment, or any type of creative industry event. This webinar goes beyond simply breaking the ice. You will learn specific tools & get examples on how to go into an industry networking event knowing what you want and knowing how to get it. You will receive practical advice you can use for your career no matter what level you are at. Plus, this webinar will be available for you to reference time and time again as you get ready for any festival! Register now!