Heath Cullens is an accomplished television director who has directed episodes of TV shows like IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at the art of TV directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Full Bio »
Most people have a general idea of what a director does, but that idea usually pertains more to feature films. Directing television can be a separate beast altogether. Successful TV directors need to be adept at navigating inherent contradictions associated with this role. Unlike in films, TV directors have to both have a vision and still fit in with the overall feel of the series. And they need to be in charge despite often only coming in for an episode or two. These are tough lines to straddle, but doing so and honing your craft can lead to a successful and exciting career.
Pursuing a career in directing in any medium is rife with challenges: there is no set path to success and finding insight into the inner workings of directing is challenging. Television directing is an even more specific specialty within the world of directing. Several ways of working and behaviors that would be ideal for a feature director are not compatible with the way television is produced. In addition, the path to breaking in as a television director is quite different from that of a feature director. If your goal is to direct television, it’s vital to understand the way television is produced and the role that the director plays within that specific production environment.
Heath Cullens is an accomplished television director who has directed episodes of TV shows like IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at the art of TV directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32.
Heath will dig into the specifics and craft of directing for television and will reveal how to pursue it and how best to do the job once you get it. Heath will first explain how best to pursue work in TV directing, including discovering the type of TV is the best fit, how to find your ‘in’, developing a reel, shadowing, and working with established creators. Next he will delve into the vital relationships you’ll need to maintain as a TV director, including with the EP/showrunner, the crew, the cast, and the network or studio. Finally Heath will go through the major challenges you should expect in this role and tips on how to navigate. Along the way, Heath will share challenges and experiences from his own career. The role of a TV director can be enigmatic and often eclipsed by feature films, but Heath will give you the rundown so you can be equipped with the knowledge and advice to pursue this route on your own.
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!
In depth and comprehensive 4-session class on the craft of directing with exclusive handouts and downloads Who doesn’t want to be a director? It’s the dream job of many, and it’s easy to see why. As director you get to helm a project, command a creative army, and bring your vision to life. Yet directing is by no means an easy job; it goes way beyond just sitting in a canvas chair and yelling “action!” Whether you’re directing a big budget blockbuster, an episode of TV, or your first micro-budget independent feature, you can’t go into it blind. Being an effective director requires preparation, strategy, discipline, and an overall understanding of your responsibilities and how best to perform them. Perhaps the biggest challenge of being an effective director is the need to understand and master every step of a project’s journey. This includes developing a visual style/point of view, collaboration, text analysis, pre-production planning, working with actors, camera and actor blocking, and overseeing the post-production process. No element here is less important than the next, and if you want your project to be successful, it’s up to you as the director to make sure you can navigate each step as well as the last. While there is no one “right” way to direct a film or episode of television, there are a number of techniques and skills that make for a smoother, more creatively fulfilling process. With the right techniques and the right guidance, finding success as a director is not only possible, but entirely within your grasp. Heath Cullens is an accomplished director best known for directing IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at every step of directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. In this four session class, Heath will walk you through every step of directing a film or television episode, and delve into the skills and techniques you need to know to successfully helm your own project. In session one, he will go over the overall role of the director, how to develop your own visual style and point of view, basic terminology and how to be an effective collaborator. In session 2, Heath will teach you pre-production, including text analysis, building a shot list, camera basics, and how to effectively schedule. Session 3 will focus on production, including working with actors, making your day, knowing when you “got the shot” and how to manage your crew. Finally, Heath will spend the last session going over post-production, including working with the editor and and dealing with notes from producers, investors and the editor. You’ll leave this class with a clear idea of how to tackle every step of a director must take and the confidence to bring these skills with you to your own project. Plus! Heath will provide you with a series of exclusive and helpful handouts to take with you and use when directing your next project. Downloads include: Camera Level & Shot Size Shot lists Ground plans – hand drawings Pre-production guide Mood board Camera Bible & Camera techniques WHAT TO EXPECT: This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of directing a film or television show. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration and spaced one week apart from one another. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Heath will be walking you through various elements of the craft of directing, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". Praise for Heath's Previous Stage 32 Directing Class Sometimes one signs up for a class not really knowing what to expect. This class I could never have anticipated! Heath went above and beyond any expectations I might have harbored. This was one of the best classes I have ever taken on Stage 32 or any other platform. I walked away with so much information, confidence and respect for the role of the director. My heartfelt thanks to Heath -Angela R. "This was a phenomenal class. Thank you for providing a class of this caliber. Heath was informative and engaging." -Angel M. Heath was extremely knowledgeable and a great teacher. He had a perfect combination of facts and passion. He invested a lot of energy into, not only, teaching the class, but he also went above and beyond to inspire the class. Very grateful. -Rainy K. I found this course so relevant. The content and the presentation were amazing. I especially liked that Heath gave us the ability to look for the big ideas when directing not taking just one or two nuggets. Thank you for always bringing the best instructors and relevant content. -Susan L.
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!
It’s no secret that television is a hot commodity right now. The “golden age of television” that began ten or so years ago has since exploded, and with new networks and streamers like Quibi, HBO Max, and Disney Plus coming into the fold, the volume of TV content has hit unprecedented levels. In fact over 500 scripted shows were broadcast or streamed in 2019 alone, more than any other year prior. And with more shows, there are more paths for writers to break in. After all, virtually all of these 500+ shows have their own writers' room. Yet even with this influx of opportunities, it’s still not exactly easy for new writers to land a job in this industry. Everyone’s path is different, but a tried and true route is to enter in as a writer’s room assistant and work your way up. Yet this, too, requires some wherewithal, skill and strategy. Being an assistant affords you the opportunity to learn first-hand how a writers' room works without the pressure of having to contribute to the same level as staff writers. It can be an incredibly valuable and educational step in your career. In fact, as your career advances, this experience will allow you to contribute more than just stories and ideas; you’ll now know how rooms operate, how things run smoothly, and how to keep workflow productive. Yet this journey is easier said than done. Getting into the room as an assistant is one thing, but holding your own, standing out, demonstrating your value, and carving a place for yourself and your future can be even more challenging. So how do people actually get the gig as an assistant in a writer’s room, and how do they find success and further opportunities in the process? Marcelena Campos Mayhorn is a former television assistant turned WGA writer, most recently staffed on the Netflix show SELENA: THE SERIES. The best part? Marcelena got her start outside of a major entertainment hub, working for the Austin Film Festival, before transitioning to working in television full time. She began her career as a line producer's assistant for Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: CYBER on CBS, and went on to assist the writing for CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS, FOX's APB, and finally serving as the Writers' Room Assistant for Shonda Rhimes' STATION 19 on ABC. By moving up the ranks, Marcelena has gained a comprehensive understanding of the television writing landscape and how to be successful within it, and she’s excited to share what she knows with the Stage 32 community. Marcelena will give you the lowdown of how writers’ room assistants work, how to navigate these jobs, and ways to use them to get ahead in your own writing career. She will begin by explaining the four main types of TV assistants, including the Writer’s Production Assistant, the Script Coordinator, the Showrunner’s Assistant, and the Writers’ Room Assistant. She will illustrate what these roles do and what they look like day to day, including primary responsibilities and general expectations. She will then teach you about writers’ room etiquette, including unspoken rules, how the four main assistant roles work within the ecosystem, who is actually in the room when and when to speak up and when to blend in. She will go over what the standard rates are for these positions and go over the main benefits of each position, including some you might not have thought of before. Next, Marcelena will explain how to find and apply for these assistant roles, including tried and true routes, and other strategies that are always worth a try. She will teach you how best to shine in each of these four roles and will also propose two additional positions—researcher and personal assistant to a writer—you could also consider in working to break in. Marcelena will detail what the future of TV writing looks like post-pandemic, specifically for assistants, and go over whether it’s important to live in LA for these roles. Finally Marcelena will talk about how assistants have used these positions to take next steps in their careers and become staff writers in their own right. Breaking into television is always going to be hard, but Marcelena will provide you what you need to know to approach it through a tried and true path that may just give you a step up you’re looking for. Praise for Marcelena's Stage 32 Webinar "Marcelena was very informative and organized. She was also very thorough and informative when answering questions. One of the best hosts in a Stage 32 webinar that I have seen." -Eric Z. "Marcelena did such an excellent job describing the four roles and talking about the writer's room in general. Really enjoyed it and appreciate all of the information she shared." -Patricia W. "Marcelena was a great host, very informative without holding anything back." -Rebecca M. "Marcelena was a fantastic person to learn from. Thank you so much for having her lead this topic. I have so many notes. She's so gracious and I didn't realize how similar our life situations would be before joining this webinar, so it was a treat. She's wonderful." -Amelia S.
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.
Only 15 Spots Available! By popular demand, we're bringing in TV executive Anna Henry (who has 100% satisfaction with her webinars!) to teach a one-on-one TV pitch document writing lab! Need help with writing your TV series pitch document? Look no further! Anna's here to help. This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does everyone network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it for years and years, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch document (aka bible, aka treatment) comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, this document carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? How do you organize your ideas? What should be in a pitch? How detailed should you get? Should you start with a summary of the pilot? Should you have ideas for future episodes? What should you say about your characters? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. Most writers need help with switching gears and selling their story in addition to telling it - which is the purpose of this lab. Anna has spent her career developing television projects with writers and selling those show ideas as a development executive, manager and producer. What she has found is that most screenwriters have taken classes that helped them learn about story structure, writing scenes, dialogue, etc. but writing a pitch is entirely different. She will not on ly teach you how to write your document, but work one-on-one with you to make sure it's the best it can be to go to market. Testimonials from Anna's previous lab: "I thought it was a great course and really helped me understand the format. Anna is knowledgeable and quickly cuts through to what can help your story better. Her notes on my script were insightful and really demonstrated her thorough experience." - Lee L. "Anna’s class was by far the most thorough, well put together, and organized screenwriting class I’ve ever taken. I have an MFA in filmmaking and, after graduating, I still felt as if I didn’t fully understand the structure of pilot writing. Anna’s class laid it out step by step and she went through every piece in detail. She was also extremely available to her students. During our one-on-one sessions, I expected to have a quick 15 minute call with her but she ended up speaking extensively with me about my story from outline through script stages. She really, truly cares for her students and is there to answer any questions, which, given her abundant experience in the industry, is a priceless piece of her labs. Thank you, Anna!" - Jacqueline D. "Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks!" - Cheryl Lynn S. WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for intermediate writers and producers looking to get their individual television project pitch document ready. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 15 Spots Available. No exceptions.*** (10 Spots Remain!) You will be given exclusive and confidential handouts that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the lab ends. This lab will consist of six sessions occurring twice weekly for three weeks, each roughly 90 minutes in duration. In addition to the lessons where Raquelle teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask her questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with her directly about your specific project. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the TV project development process. To see the full TV project development lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 15 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
The more production savvy we are, the better filmmakers we become. As directors, it is our job to know every heartbeat of our story; the preparation needed for executing our vision; and the intricacies of bringing it to its final conclusion, in a way that will illicit an emotional response from our audience. That means that we must not take our foot off the pedal once we wrap. Being present, aware, in control, and maintaining our focus during post-production is vital. Sometimes our film is made (or lost) in the edit. The technical steps of post production can seem overwhelming, especially coming off the heights (or lows) of wrapping a picture. But if we don’t have a good understanding of the post production steps, it could be challenging to bring our vision to a strong finish, and ultimately to a wider audience. Stacia Crawford is a Director/Producer/Writer/Actress who, last year alone, directed two feature films which premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. As a producer she has helmed five feature films with Mar Vista Entertainment (premieres on Hallmark, Lifetime, CMT), in addition to several independent feature films. In television, Stacia co-directed/produced various unscripted series for NBC/Esquire, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike, Logo, Pivot, Blaze TV, MTV. She also produced several web content shows, most notably for My Space. Prior to directing/producing, Stacia started her career as an actress/writer and can be seen in several feature films, including cameo roles in films that she’s directed. As a writer, she has written two novels (KIT TEN, THE SPACE BETWEEN) and co-created four original dramatic television series, (DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, WILDCATTERS, AMERICAN CAESAR, and SENESCENT) all currently in development. In a clear, expansive, yet easy to digest presentation, Stacia will help all filmmakers understand exactly how to handle and navigate the post-production process. She will begin by teaching you what to look for when hiring your entire post-production team. From there, she'll discuss the difference between all the post production positions - some sound quite similar, but do completely different jobs - and...do you need them all? Stacia will then dive into scheduling including the level of cuts for the film, and how long each part of the process (sound, coloring, etc) should take. She will discuss pick up shoots, fixing lighting and audio mistakes, and how to protect for footage errors. She'll even get into key art and what to include in your trailer! This is a comprehensive webinar designed to keep you deeply immersed in the post-production process carrying with you the knowledge that will keep your team on board with finalizing your vision. Praise for Stacia from her previous Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: She explained what is the Director's job was very very well and broke it down step by step! -Sharlene R. Stacia did a great job. She was great! -Tracey A 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. Stacia was great. A lot of good information in a clear and concise manner. -Angel N. Great information! -Liz H. It was interesting to hear from other filmmakers' perspective. I learned a lot about the Director's position, as it relates to Film & TV. I came into this webinar because of my interest in knowing more about the producing/directing side of the industry, and man Stacia really did go in and cover a lot. My mind was soaking up information left and right. Another great webinar! -Shayne W.