Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management. Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL. Full Bio »
The horror genre is one of the only genres that still can open big theatrically. In fact, over the last 5 years or so, the horror genre has provided the industry with some of its most profitable films. And that trend shows no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, the trend is accelerating. Horror still lends itself to a shared experience of being scared with a group in the dark. The jump scares, soundtrack and sound effects really play well in theaters, but also lends itself to that adrenaline we all love when sitting home alone streaming a great horror film. Horror can also be produced on a much lower budget than most other genres, so the opportunity for higher margins of profit are always in play. And you don’t need big movie stars as the concept is the star. Additionally, tons of new directors are able to break in through the horror genre and they're all looking for that perfect script with that killer concept.
The challenge for most writers is coming up with either a totally new concept (THE CONJURING), or coming up with a new twist on what has already worked in the past (INVISIBLE MAN). But once you have fleshed out the concept, you need to make sure the writing is on point. That includes a perfect opening, a cadre of memorable characters, a plot that keeps those pages turning, and a close that makes a manager want to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting.
Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management. Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL.
Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Jake will teach writers of horror screenplays what managers look for in a spec screenplay. As one of the leading sellers of horror specs in the market today, Jake will tell you the common mistakes horror writers make and how to avoid them. To start, Jake will take you through the types of horror scripts attracting financing and producing interest in the market right now and he will explain why certain feature scripts stand out above the rest. Then, Jake will dive into the writing and the reading habits and needs of a manager. He will dive into what your first 10 pages tell a manager and how you can not only make them shine, but how to do so in a manner that keeps a manager turning pages. He will discuss the importance of your first act, the introduction and nuances of your characters, how to make sure your plot is not only interesting, but clear, and how to stick the landing. And, as a bonus, Jake will take you through 10 case studies of some of the most successful horror feature and short film projects of recent years including A Quiet Place, No Good Deed, Meet Jimmy and more.
"Too often I hear and see scripts that are derivative of other movies and don’t bring anything new to the table. Let me show you what makes a horror script attractive to me and other literary mangers and that will draw attention in the marketplace right now."
- Jake Wagner
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 audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
A hot topic of conversation in our current COVID-19 world is how film, television and new media productions will resume production safely and effectively. The entire entertainment legal landscape has changed as a result of the world’s pandemic. Producers, filmmakers, directors and crew need to think about protection before you can ever step on set to say “action.” It’s important to take a deeper look at the legal agreements that tie parties together on a project as we contemplate the future. Contract provisions that parties wrote off as “boring” or “boiler plate” will significantly change moving forward. It’s important you understand how this affects your project. You don’t want to get stuck with a production or financial nightmare if you’re not protected legally to move forward on your film, TV or new media project. There are five basic provisions in a legal contract that many dismissed as “boring boiler plate” that now will have significance moving forward. It’s important that you know the basic purpose of these provisions, why they are drafted and what purpose they serve for all parties. With each provision, you will need to know the impact and implications as it relates to COVID-19 and how these provisions will continue to change to comply with government and guilds, insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties. You need to make sure to contemplate unlikely scenarios so that contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Elsa Ramo is one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and the managing partner of Ramo Law. Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa has her finger on the pulse of the legal side of the entertainment law and works non-stop to protect her clients in all deals. Elsa will go through the nuts and bolts of contractual provisions in the entertainment industry and a walk through of how these should and will change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsa will start by offering a basic understanding of five contractual provisions that are now much more important in the wake of the pandemic: Force majeure, suspension/termination provisions, assumption of risk and related indemnification provisions, medical releases and disclosures, and scheduling and payment provisions. She’ll discuss why they are drafted and what purpose they serve among the parties. Then, with each provision, she will discuss the impact and implications as it relates to Covid-19 and how these provisions are and will continue to change to comply with government compliance, guild compliance insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties as they contract during a pandemic. Elsa will distill what we can learn from changing these ‘boring provisions’ that we can apply to better prepare ourselves for future unlikely scenarios and ensure contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Finally, Elsa will teach you how to flag and ensure that the modifications placed on these contracts comply with government legislation, union compliance, and other worst-case scenarios.You will be fully prepared to understand how “boring boiler plate” provisions can affect your project and how to best protect yourself. Praise for Elsa’s Stage 32 Webinar: "This was one of the best webinars I have taken so far. Thank you again. I look forward to the next one!" -Romina S. "Awesome presentation - great speaker, made complicated issues much clearer, lots of great info! Great info for anyone in the industry in all positions. Thanks!!" -Ron H. "This webinar was absolutely brilliant! Elsa is clearly a pro, but her manner was so calm and approachable. She didn't talk down to us and explained all these intricacies so that I believe everyone was able to understand them. Bravo! More Elsa Please!" -Becca G. "Elsa is always amazing and legal is always a fantastic topic, now more than ever!" -Lisa G.
Looking to develop your first pitch? Want to improve the pitch you already have? Join Stage 32's Nick & Allen and learn what turns a pitch into a request or meeting! We see over 200 projects pitched on Stage 32 each week and review the feedback execs give on all of them. We see the good, the bad, and everything in between. We see what gets read and what gets the dreaded pass. What lands on the top of the pile and what gets buried under everything else. And we see the questions about pitching that get asked week in and week out. So we at Stage 32 have decided to put our experience together in a FREE Webinar on Pitching through Stage 32! On Monday, March 12th at 1PM Pacific, Stage 32 Writing Service's Allen James Roughton and Nick Assunto will take a deep dive into sharing what they’ve learned over hundreds of pitch sessions and thousands of pitches. Have a question about pitching you've always wanted to ask us? Join us live and participate in the Q&A!
Animation offers screenwriters one of the most flexible mediums for the imagination. Animated stories have been capturing our minds ever since media hit the screen through characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny to what we see today in The Simpsons, American Dad, Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty, Spider-man, Incredibles and (so many) more. Writing animation feature or television requires a special skill - not one that can be taught through traditional feature & TV writing resources. The tools you need to succeed in animation are quite unique and once honed can offer you a long career creatively animating the stories in your mind. But, where do you begin? There are all different types of animated writing - including pre-school, children's comedy and adult animation. Further, how do you find your niche? There are many different animation genres (and styles) in features and television today. Is the writing universal for all genres? It takes a seasoned professional to understand the nuances of all types of animated writing and being able to write efficiently for the story and the project. Educating yourself in all aspects of how animation writing works for features and television will assist you greatly in achieving your goal whether it's attracting representation, trying to sell an original concept, pushing an animated feature or TV pilot, or finding work in an television animation writer's room. Mike Disa, director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD has been working in animation for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success at studios such as Dreamworks, Disney Feature, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. Mike will cover everything you need to know about writing animation for features & TV. He'll start with formatting and script length (two aspects surprisingly ignored or misunderstood by most writers). He'll discuss writing low budget vs. high budget and how to write within the scope of each. He will dive into how to write around special effects and other post production implementations. He will discuss reading and production drafts and how to collaborate with your writing and producing teams. He will talk premises, outlines, first draft strategies and how to go about pitching your idea. He will get into writer's room expectations, strategies in working the room, and the steps to take from being a show writer to a showrunner. Mike will use real world examples to show you the entire landscape of writing animated features and TV. And this is just some of what you'll learn! This is 3 HOURS of comprehensive education from a director of a top animated Netflix show on how to write, sell, and build a career in writing feature AND television animation! Praise for Mike: "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H. "Mike was very informative. He was friendly and open very easy to listen to. I learned some valuable lessons.." - Lind J. "The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S.
The Cartel Manager Corey Ackerman 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.
So you want to direct. You've been bitten by the filmmaking bug and now all you can think about is making a film. You've got a script (or the concept for one) and have envisioned exactly how you want to see it on the screen. And, now more than ever, with equipment more accessible, the costs of shooting affordable, the barrier of entry lower than it's every been, and the options for distribution growing seemingly by the minute, you know the path from script to screen has never been more viable. We get it. As a director you are the lynchpin of a production and the commander of a creative army in service of your vision. But, in order to truly realize that vision, you have to know everything there is about development, pre-production, physical production, and post production. Even though you can clearly see the film in your mind that's only a small part of the process of being a director. It takes hard work, discipline, and wearing many hats to be able to execute every aspect of developing and filming a movie - and to do it in a way that holds the entire production together. What you do (or don't do) in pre-production will set the tone for the entire shoot, good or bad. How you command the set on the first day will determine whether your cast and crew put forth their best effort or zone out. You have to be cognizant of shooting time/days, your budget, and assuring that your are delivering on every promise. But you're not done when you shout "That's a wrap!" There's still more to do when you get to post-production, working hand in hand with your editor, colorist, sound designer and more. It sounds overwhelming, but we're here to tell you it's not only a manageable environment, but one you can thrive in. Stacia Crawford started as an actress, but had the overwhelming desire to manage and film projects. So, she moved into producing and directing. Last year alone, she had two feature films that premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. With the success of those films, she has been hired to direct two more features this year. Stacia has worked with NBC, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike and more, and has used her experience to make sure she runs a tight and efficient set. She's a pro at managing a project from the script phase through seeing her work on screen and beyond. Stacia will guide you through the entire directing process so you can understand what your responsibilities will be through pre-production, physical production and post-production. She will help you understand what to look for in your contract before you even get hired. She will teach you best casting strategies, how to find and enlist the help of your creative departments, and how to choose the right DP and AD (beyond important!) You'll also learn how to prepare your shot list and how to confidently run your set by learning how to work with actors, producers and your crew and keep them all happy. She'll teach you about your dailies and picking up scenes if the schedule shifts. Finally, she'll take you through post-production and how to work seamlessly and diplomatically with your editor, composer and your color and audio team. You'll be well-armed with all the pertinent and vital information you need to manage every aspect of being a film director. Stacia will remove your anxiety and fears by giving you the tools to succeed, thrive and have your cast and crew looking to work with you again and again. "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. I'm a screenwriter and always wanted to direct, but found the idea of it daunting. Stacia not only lifted my fears, but gave me so many "I can do that!" moments that I'm already kicking myself for not doing it sooner. She's a marvel. - Monica R.
CCO Bradley Gallo and Story Editor Nat Topping from Amasia Entertainment join 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.