Jim Uhls is the screenwriter behind FIGHT CLUB (directed by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, based off of the critically acclaimed Chuck Palahniuk novel) as well as the Doug Liman film JUMPER, which has grossed over $222 million worldwide. Next up, Jim is the screenwriter for the new Shane Black film, THE DESTROYER, and THE LEVIATHAN at 20th Century FOX. Full Bio »
Just some of what Jim will be teaching you includes:
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Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution! Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. Whether you’re a screenwriter, an actor, comedian, or anything, creating content for platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and Instagram can be a powerful way to be discovered, find fans, and give yourself the chance for bigger opportunities. Yet despite the positives, the internet isn’t exactly the safest place, and having your work stolen or plagiarized is unfortunately far too common. Keeping your content protected on online platforms can be complicated but if you put your own work online, it’s crucial you first understand how to best legally protect yourself. Just because your work is posted and widely accessible on platforms like Twitter or Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to have it protected. The internet can be tricky, but it’s not the wild west it once was. Understanding how to be safe and what happens to your ideas when they’re posted can make all the difference. For instance are your YouTube videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Who owns your tweet or snap? And what steps can you take from the outset to dissuade people from stealing your work? Better understanding the legal side of this world and being aware of the steps you can (and should) take is incredibly important if you’re interested in building your online presence and putting your own ideas out there for everyone to see. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their work safe, and is going to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jaia will equip you with the tools necessary to protect your work and ideas in an increasingly online world. She will first outline the copyright registration process and how it applies to online content She’ll even go through step-by-step how to get your online work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next she will delve into specific online sites and platforms, discuss their terms and conditions and give you tips on how to protect your work on each. This includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Faceboook. Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
In this challenge, members were asked to write one side of a phone conversation. The challenge is to give us the full idea of the story, the conflict, the relationship between the characters, and the ultimate resolution. The key to this exercise is to make the stakes high! Can the writer phrase their character’s dialogue so that the phone call still makes sense - and give us the exposition we need? During this webcast we received a number of fantastic entries that spanned genres, including Rom Com, Thriller, Drama, and Comedy, and more!
With the runaway success of breakout international television shows like HBO Max’s GOMORRAH and Netflix’s MONEY HEIST and LUPIN, US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. Whether in the guise of formats (established foreign shows adapted to air domestically) or direct buys from writers and producers, companies have finally realized that importing talent is good creative business. This means there has never been a better opportunity for writers outside of America to find success and interested buyers stateside, especially if you can write something that fits American sensibilities. It’s clear that writers from abroad bring fresh ideas and unique perspectives that reinvigorate the film and television. Yet they still need to adapt their sensibilities to make them successful across the pond—NBC’s adaptation of BBC’s THE OFFICE, for instance, didn’t find its footing until it took the core of its uniquely British perspective and polished it to reflect the unique politics of the American workplace. This same adjustment can be made for your own project, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like. So what are American sensibilities? What makes a show more relatable to American viewers and what can you do as a writer to make sure American decisionmakers will see value in your film or series? James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold. James will teach you how to make your series idea salable in the US market. This doesn’t mean selling out, but rather translating your unique voice so that it’s better heard by American producers and development executives. Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received? As we answer these, you will better understand how to adapt the cultural issues that are important in your home country and make them resonate abroad. Praise for James's Previous Stage 32 Webinars James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B. “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C. Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W. “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.
As independent creatives, most of us have probably accepted our fates as “struggling artists” until we “get our break.” Still, even getting our break isn’t a guarantee for success and financial stability. There’s so much hustle and wait in this industry, but what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could take control of opening the golden door to success? This is an industry full of opportunities for those who are willing to engage in the entrepreneurial grind of building a profitable entity within the film industry. If you’re willing to bet on yourself, you can no doubt lead a fulfilling life as an independent artist. The two greatest challenges preventing people from fulfilling their dreams though, are often undervaluing themselves and quitting early. It’s important to learn and own your value and what you bring to the table if you want to set yourself up for success. There are strategic steps you can take towards monetizing your skills and creative ways to find revenue (trust us, it is out there!), but you have to be honest with yourself, be willing to put in the work and stand by your worth. Through iteration, practice, and time, you can even scale your skill(s) into your own business. With the right tools, resources, and motivation, you too can set yourself up for success as an independent artist. Jacob Matthew is the producer of the hit Netflix film LESS IS NOW. He is also the co-owner of the global production company and film agency Booklight. At Booklight he has expanded the agency's global reach in international film production by working with creatives and brands such as Netflix, Open Table, Comedy Central and Twilio. Jacob believes that when creatives are given permission to work in an environment that is as healthy and encouraging as it is disciplined and detailed, their creative ceiling can have no bounds. Booklight’s explosive growth is due, not only, to its co-founder Chris Newhard’s obsession for quality, but also to Jacob's own unwavering pursuit of organizational health and clarity. In this unique webinar, Jacob will share his story of success as an independent producer, and teach you how to find your value while accepting some brutal truths. He’ll also give you a realistic look at the industry today, and guide you on establishing your brand, what and how to charge clients based on your value, and train you on how to build your wealth while managing risk and growing your client list. This course will give you the basic, high level tools to propel you on your journey to leaving your day job and carving out a space for yourself in this industry. "We all make the mistake of thinking that the term “filmmaker” is a noun, a title to be achieved. We are wrong. A filmmaker is a verb. We film-make everyday that we wake up and decide to do something that moves our film forward. We film-make everyday we look in the mirror and tell ourselves we are on the right path. We film-make every time we encounter an obstacle in our way and choose to get creative. I look forward to teaching you how you can get creative and make a profitable career for yourself." - Jacob Matthew
Writing action isn't easy! It takes nuance and skill. We’ll break down the action on the page for the heavy-hitting JOHN WICK, the action-comedy THE NICE GUYS, and the slow-building action of HELL OR HIGH WATER.
Producer Tiegen Kosiak joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.