Dan Wiedenhaupt is a former Creative Executive at Atlas Entertainment. Wiedenhaupt began his career with the company in 2010 under William Green, the head of Atlas Independent, assisting him with Atlas Independent's full slate of projects from development through production including working on location in NYC for Atlas Independent's first film, REVENGE FOR JOLLY! which premiered at Tribeca in, as well as working on GET LUCKY and KNIFE FIGHT. Dan also associate produced the Atlas Independent feature OPEN GRAVE that was released by Tribeca Film, spending 2 months on location in Hungary for the shoot. During this time, Dan also worked with William Green on over 40 different commercials and music videos for clients that included Lenny Kravitz, Bud Light, Dr. Pepper, Heineken, AXE, Verizon, Smirnoff Vodka, JEEP, Jaguar, Microsoft, Dodge RAM, Footlocker, Jack Daniel's, Panasonic, Svedka, Target, Diesel, Burger King, and Old Navy. His commercial work has taken him all over the world, including shoots in Prague, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, working for award-winning directors such as Paul Hunter and Melina Matsoukas. In June of 2012, Dan was promoted to Creative Executive, working on a wide variety of films - both high budget blockbusters for Atlas Entertainment and the grittier, genre films for Atlas Independent. Full Bio »
Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to exclusively present They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass on My Material taught by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive of Atlas Entertainment (WONDER WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUICIDE SQUAD, AMERICAN HUSTLE, THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY)
Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material?
Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran.
I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process."
Dan will teach you why you are not receiving the response you are looking for from your film or screenplay pitch and how to fix those issues immediately. He will show you the do's and don'ts related to introductions and openings of a pitch or submission. He will teach you the red flags within your pitch including your story, presentation and personality. He will dive into what execs are looking for, how to assure you're tailoring your pitch to who you're pitching and navigating the "Culture of No" (and giving them a reason to say "Yes".) Dan will even show you examples of pitches he's passed on and pitches that had him begging for more. That's just some of what Dan will tackle, and rest assured, he'll leave you not only with a wealth of actionable information, but a ton of inspiration as well! Please note Dan elected to not to not be on camera, but you will see his full presentation.
Dan will explain to you exactly what it looks (and sounds) like from an executive's side of the table. He'll give you the tips and tricks to assure that your film or screenplay pitch is on point and attractive to representation, buyers, producers, financiers and development execs.
Praise for Dan
"There's nothing like learning at the feet of an expert in their field. I was inspired from the beginning to the end!"
"There's nothing worse than being rejected. Except now understanding WHY I've been rejected. Thank you, Dan, for making me see the error of my ways and helping me course correct."
- Terry G.
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"Worth 10 times the price. Gold."
- Thom P.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but thanks to Dan, I can't wait to pitch. What was pure horror in my mind has now turned to an abundance of hope."
- Tasha P.
It’s no secret that being an actor is one of the hardest jobs there is. Facing frequent rejection, navigating high levels of competition, constantly looking for new opportunities, all while honing your craft and remaining open and vulnerable in what can be a difficult and cold industry—pursuing this career is not for the weak of heart. There are countless challenges to building an acting career, but when we put undue pressure on ourselves we may not even realize that the biggest obstacle to overcome may just be our own psyches and self-destructive strategies. It's time to change course. There’s so much information out there for actors about improving your craft, changing your auditioning chops, working with your agent, staying on top of trends, making connections, and more. It’s easy to forget that a big part of the craft simply comes down to mindset and confidence. Taking away the doubt that so often comes with performing and replacing it with swagger and confidence will help you not only win over every room, but also make smart, strategic decisions that will lead to a long and prosperous acting career. This, of course, is easier said than done, but a good first step is to learn the best tips, tricks, and traits of the most successful working actors. Jack Plotnick has been a working actor for over 20 years and has amassed over 100 IMDB acting credits in the process including SILICON VALLEY, MEET THE FOCKERS, THE MENTALIST, RENO 911 and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. He's also parlayed this success into a directing career with SPACE STATION 76 for Sony Pictures Worldwide. He has used his experience to serve as the go-to teacher for many successful film, television and voice actors including Zachary Quinto, Liv Tyler, Alyson Hannigan, and Ryan Potter to name a few. Jack has built a successful acting career for himself by adopting a mindset that has allowed him to win over the room and consistently get parts. In 10 simple and applicable steps you can return to again and again, Jack will show you how to eliminate fear, doubt, negativity and how to cut out all those detrimental voices so damaging to an actor's psyche. He will give you the tools that will provide a persistent positive mindset that will have you brimming with confidence. He will teach you how to crush every audition and put yourself in position to win every room. He will show you how to be a better actor and why you are versatile enough to handle comedy and drama roles. He will teach you how to keep your mind and spirit healthy and book more work. Expect to leave this webinar with a newfound confidence, enthusiasm, and a set of tools to take with you to start landing more roles and improving your craft. What Some of the Most Successful Actors are Saying About Jack: "Jack has an innate ability to communicate a sense of freedom. Our work together has allowed me to more reliably get out of my own way and connect to the material and situation at hand." - Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes, American Horror Story) "(Jack) taught me things that were so fucking brilliant. They are things that have stuck with me and helped me as a human being in this world." - Liv Tyler (The Leftovers, The Strangers, The Lord of the Rings) "I seriously couldn’t have done it without him. His words of wisdom are always with me." - Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Pie) "I've printed out every page of Jack Plotnick's website and made an "acting Bible" for myself." - Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs, Bridesmaids) "Right now I'm working mainly with Jack Plotnick, who's just the best acting coach ever." - Ryan Potter (voice of Hiro in Big Hero 6)
One of the hardest parts of being an artist is understanding the business part of the “film business”. You very likely have the “art” part down--you have a script; you’re an actor; you learned how to direct, etc--but as you set out to make the magnum opus that is your film, you quickly realize that you are spending way more time talking about legal documents, business prospectus, waterfalls, and returns on investment. It’s not what anyone signed up for when they set out to be artists, but it’s still absolutely part of the job. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing, though. Understanding the business side of your craft and learning how to work within this world will give you the ability to ultimately create the art you want to make. Unless you already have a personal fortune at hand to put towards creating your project, you’re going to need to work with non-artists, executives, and financiers to find the funding to turn your vision into a reality. This means you’ll need to convince them that your project is worth investing in. A solid business plan can help you achieve this goal. A great business plan will get investors excited, it will tell them who you are as a filmmaker, and most importantly, it will translate your project from a creative language to the business language that investors more readily understand. This is no small feat, but it’s a critical step in getting your film made. If you can learn to speak investors’ language, they will help you speak yours. So what does a great business plan look like and how can you make your own to position your project for optimal success? With over thirteen years of experience in film distribution, Bryce C. Campbell is one of the leading distribution and marketing executives in the industry. Bryce got his start working at Miramax Films and later began working with Open Road Films as the Vice President of Operations for Distribution and Marketing. In this role, he oversaw vendor relations, finance and film budgets, as well as handling sales with a concentration in the US and Caribbean territories. One of his key interests is negotiating distribution deals with filmmakers and leveraging industry analytics to provide insight into box office potential for each project. Bryce’s heavy experience with the business side of filmmaking has given him a wealth of knowledge of how best filmmakers can get buyers on their side, and he’s sharing what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Bryce will show you how to talk business and present business materials that “non-artists” can appreciate. Specifically he will walk you through building a strong and convincing business plan. He’ll explain how to make a strong opening statement, with examples, and he’ll show you what needs to be broken down at the beginning. He’ll delve into what should be included in your bio and what can be taken out for buyers to be interested in working with you. He’ll go over the 4 key things that need to be in your business plan when discussing your project and will demonstrate what you need to get an investor to trust you. He’ll spend time talking about research and comps and how to use these for films and talent. He’ll then teach you how to show an investor they will make money back on your film. Finally Bryce will explain how to create a strong closing summary and leave investors with a good impression. Through Bryce’s lecture, even the least business-savvy artist can gain valuable skills to better present their project to buyers and find the money and business partners needed to find success.
"Jason was and is wonderfully inspiring!" Watch for FREE here: Want to join Jason's 2-part AD class April 8 & April 15? Register here!
“What’s your story about?” Having a perfect logline ready to answer that question can help give you the best chance of seizing the opportunity when you are asked. Your logline is your most important asset. It's invaluable for keeping you focused on what makes your story unique and for always making sure that you nail the first impression when someone asks you about your work. Having the perfect elevator pitch ready to go can make or break you when the opportunity presents itself. Why do so many creatives struggle with coming up with that one-sentence? How do you get better at honing your logline? Stage 32 is here to help you. We have brought in Emmy-award winning producer Lane Shefter Bishop who has sold over 30 PROPERTIES in the last 6 years - all from pitching just a logline. Touted as “The Logline Whisperer”, Lane Shefter Bishop has the specific tools you need to help you know how to sell what you write! In this exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, Lane will give you insider information on how you can best position your project to sell your work to agents, editors, publishers and producers. Lane has successfully sold projects to various networks and studios, including NBC/Universal, ABC/Disney, CBS, Lifetime, Sony and 20th Century Fox. All of these projects have one thing in common – they began with a single sentence, a top-notch logline. After all, you can have the best material in the world but, if you get on the phone or in a room, you need to know how to sell it with your logline! Praise For Lane "Lane made loglines so simple. I'll be able to take the 3 tenents with me for every one of my projects moving forward. I struggled with loglines and this really helped clarify things for me." - Alan B.
As a writer, receiving notes on your material may be a difficult part of the process but, ultimately, it's part of your job. And understanding how to deal with and apply those notes to your writing may be your most important job of all. Make no mistake, all writers are precious about their work, and taking notes is never easy, but the sooner you open yourself to receiving and understanding your notes, and the note behind the note, the more likely your work will become tighter and you'll signal that you're a writer that people want to hire and/or pay for your work. Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have a contribution to make. The work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. The bottom line is you need to understand what these notes mean and how to execute them when you agree and what to do when you don't. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America and more. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as a Producer. Anna has been on the giving and receiving end of script notes of literally hundreds of scripts throughout her career. She has developed a strong understanding on the "lingo" of script notes and what the note behind the note means when it comes to your script. Now, you will learn how to dissect the feedback you get on your script from an executive's perspective. Anna will take you through the entire process of receiving notes. She will take away the anxiety of the entire process and teach you how to accept notes with professionalism and grace. She will explain to you who you should be getting notes from and how listening to the wrong voices can set you back. She will teach you what notes you should think about and when you should take a note as gospel. She will explain what notes are worth challenging and which you should absolutely adapt. She will help guide you through what it means when you get notes that go over structure, plot, stakes, character and exposition. She will take you through logic and clarity, cuts, action lines, dialogue and scene notes. And, she'll even go over what you should do if you get vague notes, nit picky notes and when you get suggestions and alternatives. Anna will remove all the fear and apprehension one feels when asking for and receiving notes, giving you a comprehensive guide to reference every time you get notes on your work. You will learn how apply them to tighten your work and put yourself in a position to sell your material and/or get hired!
This is the 2nd installment of the Stage 32 + Bondit Media Capital Masterclass featuring Matthew Helderman (CEO of Bondit Media Capital) and Jordan Yale Levine (President, Yale Productions).Please note this webinar is audio only.