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."
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.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
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.
There was once a time when screenwriters solely used typewriters to tell their stories. Obviously that time has since passed, and the tools writers use to create their scripts have drastically evolved. Software like Final Draft, Writers Duet and Fade In has been created to optimize a writers’ experience, help with formatting, and ideally aid writers through their various obstacles and make the process easier. Yet this doesn’t always work out as intended. Too often, technophobia - the tendency to be intimidated by technology - limits writers’ ability to work with efficiency and speed and makes these programs more overwhelming and burdensome than helpful. And with so many different types of writing software out there, how can you know which one is the best fit for you? We all know that writing is hard enough on its own without the extra burden of navigating difficult technology. The tools you use to write shouldn’t get in the way of creativity. Instead, gaining confidence and proficiency with technology can allow it to fade into the background, allowing you to focus on the task of great screenwriting. Knowing how best to use the tools available to you—and which ones to use in the first place—can serve as a powerful boon to your writing process and overall career. Whether it’s software, hardware, or workflow, moving past the technophobia and embracing the tools that are right for you can allow you to write with more ease, speed and efficiency than might be otherwise possible. First, it’s important to know what’s out there and how to actually use it. Jon Stahl is a writer, producer and script coordinator, who has served on HBO’s DGA, SAG, WGA and Emmy Award-winning comedy series VEEP. Jon began his career in production, working on projects like Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT starring Charlize Theron, Showtime’s THE BIG C, and IFC’s MARON. He also produced Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated series EASTSIDERS, before getting his first high-profile writers’ room position on the NBC network sitcom MR. ROBINSON with Universal Television. Jon went on to work in the writers' room at Nickelodeon on their show GAME SHAKERS. He’s currently on the upcoming FOX animated series HOUSEBROKEN starring Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte. Jon’s career has hinged on writing quickly and efficiently by using various software and technologies and knows better than most how to use the tools available to enhance your own writing career. Jon will give you the tools to embrace good technology and use all the technological tools at your disposal to tell an amazing story. He’ll begin with a rundown of the different tools you should have to write, including keyboards, monitors, ergonomics and software. He’ll then delve explain why you need screenwriting software in the first place. Jon will delve into the lay of the land of screenwriting software, including a run through of the main players, free and affordable options, and what the standards and expectations are in the industry. Next he will show you how you know what screenwriting software is the best fit for your specific needs. He’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses of the leading programs and show you what paid software can offer that free versions do not. Jon will then go through a live demonstration of Final Draft. He’ll walk you through Final Draft’s interface and main features, how to start a script on the software, how to set up your workflow through Final Draft, and keyboard shortcuts you need to know to save you time. He’ll also go through other tricks Hollywood writers use to optimize Final Draft, how to write safely and back up your work, and how to use templates. Jon will then do the same live demonstration for both WriterDuet and Fade In. Next he will discuss other types of software to consider, including general purpose writing software, miscellaneous writing tools, and system software. Finally, he will provide you with additional resources you should consider. Expect to leave feeling a lot more confident and a lot less overwhelmed in bringing in good technology to help your writing. "Screenwriting software is a necessary tool for anyone who wants to write for film and TV. I'm so excited to lead this webinar and help anyone who wants to gain proficiency with these widely-used tools, so you can focus on the craft of storytelling." -Jon Stahl
You’ve heard that the opening pages of your pilot script are the most important – hook your audience early and they’ll be invested in your show, fall short and producers, managers and executives might not even finish reading your script. At many companies, your script will be handed off to a member of the development team whose job is to just read the first act, then decide whether to pass or flag your script for further consideration. Having a great first act isn’t just a good way to get your pilot noticed; it might be the only way. When you watch a pilot, though, whether on Netflix, HBO or ABC, it can feel like every show is so different, it’s hard to see a pathway to success. Or even if you master one aspect of your opening act, somehow it can still feel like you’ve not done enough. In a TV pilot, that crucial first act is the most challenging because there is so much you have to do really well, really quickly: you have to introduce your characters, set up your world, and launch your story. What’s more, the first act sets your pilot on solid footing – nail this section and the rest of the pilot seems to develop and flow easily. Get stuck on how to start, and you might never finish writing the pilot that could launch your career. You’ve probably watched outstanding pilots where 10-15 minutes in you’re already making plans to binge the season. What do all those pilots have in common? What techniques do experienced show creators use to give them that early edge? And what exactly do producers, managers development execs and other professionals expect to see in a first act? We have the answers to those questions and much more. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will analyze pilots more deeply so you can see the tools successful writers use to set their show on the right path from the start. She’ll discuss the ingredients of a pilot in general, including the basic structure, identifying the type or genre of your show, meta-themes, and crafting characters to serve as the audience's entry point. Anna will then delve into the key elements of a first act, as well as a great teaser or cold open, including using framing devices, and a strong out. She will go over tips to writing memorable character descriptions, using physical descriptions, elements of identity, and putting thought into how you name each character. She'll next focus on introduction scenes and using them to generate interest in your characters, using dialogue to establish their voices, and introducing relationships. A vital aspect of a pilot's first act is creating character moments, and Anna will go over effective examples of many different types of these moments, including meeting heroes, meeting villains, meeting supporting characters, establishing the right amount of backstory, and the benefits of having your characters argue. She will then discuss how to create exposition and communicate your world effectively, crafting a mystery and building the rules of your universe, as well as how to avoid overused crutches. Anna will then offer her take on implementing and incorporating tone and themes into the script and how to sneak them in subtly through details and character moments. She will finally lay out how to best use your first act to bring the audience into your story and world, where exactly your story should start, and how to launch your 'A' story and introduce your 'B' and 'C' stories. Examples will be used from one-hour and half-hour shows on network, cable and streaming platforms, PLUS! you will receive pilots for each after the class: THIS IS US - NBC ONE DAY AT A TIME - Netflix / Pop MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL - Amazon ATLANTA - FX KILLING EVE - AMC THE EXPANSE - Syfy / Amazon Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar: "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H. "Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation." -James F. "It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much." -Kristin G.
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. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to do your homework and understand the animated TV industry and what they’re looking for if you want to be noticed. This means nailing down a great concept, a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is animated TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Brad Graeber is the CEO and co-founder of Powerhouse Animation Studios, recognized as a leading producer of action animation for its work on Netflix original series like CASTLEVANIA and SEIS MANOS, as well as a multitude of video game cinemas, trailers, and commercials. Through Powerhouse, he has also produced several shows in the children’s space including Nickelodeon's THE ADVENTURES OF KID DANGER and Disney's IT'S A SMALL WORLD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Based in Austin, TX, Brad is currently overseeing the highly anticipated upcoming Netflix series MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION, based on the HE-MAN cartoons from the 1980s and produced by Kevin Smith. Few people know better than Brad what it takes to turn an idea into a successful animated show, and he’s going to share his knowledge with the Stage 32 community. Brad will draw from his deep experience in the world of animated TV to break down how to best develop your animated series and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first teach you what animated TV looks like today, what networks are looking for and where we’re headed. Next he’ll dive into what you should do to get your own animated series market-ready. He’ll address the three questions you NEED to answer before you try to sell your show, and will give you for shaping your character descriptions, plot outlines, structural elements and unique viewpoint. Brad will also talk about how to get the meeting with an interested network or studio. Next Brad will go into crafting your pitch documents including an effective pitch deck and accompanying artwork. He will also go through the 8 biggest mistakes he sees writers make when putting together their animated shows and give you tips on how you can avoid these pitfalls. Brad will even share the pitch deck he used for his original series SEIS MANOS that got it picked up by Netflix and will break down the process of developing the show and getting the streaming giant on board. If you are working on an animated show, you’re going to want to hear what Brad has to say.
During the December Pitch Tank, Director of Script Services Jason Mirch welcomes Literary Manager Jon Hersh of Housefire Management, a company that represents writers and directors in film, television, and digital content. They specialize in deep development, strong client relationships, and incendiary material that stands out like a house on fire. Jon's client list includes writers and filmmakers for film and TV including emerging writers with projects at Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate, Atlas Entertainment, and Gidden Media! Prior to forming Housefire, Jon was at CAA and Broad Green Pictures. He is a graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Jon and Jason listen to pitches from 4 members and offer their thoughts and feedback!
We've got another fantastic Pitch Tank Webcast with special guest, Senior Coordinator Janean Jeffries of ViacomCBS! Janean works directly with the Executive Vice President Head of Production for MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount TV, Logo, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Studios, TVLand, Pluto TV, Comedy Central, and Pop. Janean has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, giving her a broad knowledge of what executives want and need on their screens. Previously, Janean worked for Love Life Entertainment & CBS Films. During the webcast we heard excellent pitches across the spectrum, from Action Adventure and Sci-Fi to Character-driven Drama and even TV-series.