They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass On My Material?

Hosted by Dan Wiedenhaupt


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Dan Wiedenhaupt

Webinar hosted by: Dan Wiedenhaupt

Creative Executive at formerly at Atlas Entertainment (AMERICAN HUSTLE, SEASON OF THE WITCH)

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 »

Webinar Summary

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!"

-Marla O.


"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.


What You'll Learn

  • Approaching the Pitch
    • The First Impression
    • How to Introduce Yourself
    • How to Introduce Your Project
    • Phrasing
    • Occam’s Razor
  • Red Flags In a Presentation
    • Organization
    • Clarity
    • Efficiency
    • Originality
    • What Does Your Presentation Say About You?
    • Story
    • Personality
  • 4 Mistakes We All Make
  • Know Who You’re Pitching
  • The Culture of "No" (and giving them a reason to say "YES")
  • Original Ideas vs. IP (True Stories)
  • Examples of Pitches I’ve Passed on
  • Examples of Pitches I’ve Loved
  • Conclusion/Inspiration
  • Q&A with Dan






About Your Instructor

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. 


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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.


If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • This was a huge eye-opener. For me, it was more about the demeanor and mentality of the round-one script reader than the actual content on the webinar. I didn't learn much from what the host had to say, but his mannerisms, attitude, and demeanor were a huge insight as to how does one get past these "executives" to get to the share holders. Dan did a great job!
  • Straight forward and concise.
  • This is what Writing Horror to Scare Up the Big Bucks SHOULD have been like. This was well presented with great information, especially the section on pitching. Still have to keep in mind that this is one person's opinion, and might not reflect every company or individual in the industry. Different people and different companies like different approaches. However, pretty on the nose. The information provided is invaluable.

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