Matt Ember is a writer/producer who has worked on over 20 feature films and television shows including THE CONNERS on ABC, THE WAR WITH GRANDPA with Robert Deniro, GET SMART with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway and FAILURE TO LAUNCH with Matthew McConaghey and Sarah Jessica Parker and many more. Full Bio »
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be churning out fresh stories. But when you’re writing feature spec scripts, you’re the boss of the story and no studio executive is there to tell you what they need from a marketing and sales perspective. So how do you know if you’re writing a script that will sell?
There are a million ways to tell one story, but how do you tell your stories without spending hours of your precious creative juices only to be told that “It’s good, but I can’t do anything with it”?
Don’t worry. We have an incredibly successful writer/producer who is going to bring his years of experience writing hits to teach you what this common mistake is and how to make sure you never hear the words “It's not for me.”
Matt Ember is a writer/producer who has worked on over 20 feature films and television shows including THE CONNERS on ABC, THE WAR WITH GRANDPA with Robert Deniro, GET SMART with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway and FAILURE TO LAUNCH with Matthew McConaghey and Sarah Jessica Parker and many more. Matt has been involved with spec scripts over his storied career and he will be bringing his knowledge exclusively to Stage 32!
Matt will be teaching you the functions of a feature spec script, the pros and cons of being a “hired gun” vs. writing your own spec script, PLUS the 5 reasons you should write a spec script. Based on your reasons for choosing to write a spec script, he’ll talk to you about how you should write your script. He’ll also go over the 5 things a spec script is NOT, the spec script as a personal statement, thinking like a professional, and understanding the marketplace. He’ll use three successful spec scripts as examples to give you specific writing tips on character, structure, format, and the things you need to know before you start writing.
This is an exciting opportunity to learn from and ask a successful writer/producer all your questions and get direct guidance so you can deliver your best feature spec scripts!
PLUS! Matt will provide script downloads of 3 spec scripts you can learn from!
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!
Learn how to write a great horror script or improve one you've already written with the support and guidance of horror expert David Ian McKendry who's worked with Blumhouse, Universal, Fangoria and More! This class will fill up so register now! **Payment plans available - contact email@example.com for more info** From classics like PSYCHO and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, to newer and highly acclaimed films like A QUIET PLACE, GET OUT, and US, there is a worldwide audience that loves a good scare! Horror is consistently one of the most popular and sellable genres. This is an exciting space to be in for a writer, because there are endless possibilities for storytelling and production. Yet not just any horror script is going to find success. Writing a great horror screenplay is surprisingly hard and requires the writer have a handle on many important elements. David Ian McKendry is a professional screenwriter and filmmaker who has worked for Blumhouse, Universal, Lifetime Networks, and The Hallmark Channel as well as numerous independent production companies. He began working in the entertainment industry for Fangoria Entertainment before later putting together his own horror films, including the recent ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, starring Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS). He also produced the Nerdist's BLOOD AND GUTS with Scott Ian. Through his vast experience in the industry as well as writing, producing and directing horror films, David has a keen sense of what makes a script successful in the horror genre and will be sharing what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David is going to take you through the elements of any good horror screenplay and walk you through how to improve your own by focusing on characters, setting, and each act. In this exclusive 4-week virtual class you will: Have a virtual writers group that you will interact with under the guidance of David. Have David available on email in between classes to help you with any questions you have about your own projects. Learn all about story and building your iconic protagonist and villain. Learn to build a strong foundation in Act One and hook audiences in within the first few minutes. Learn Act Two and building out the story and your protagonist’s journey. Learn how to keep audiences guessing at your ending throughout Act Three and write mind-blowing endings. At the end of this class, you’ll be able to deliver a fresh scare with unforgettable characters. Case Studies & Script Downloads for This Class Include: HELLRAISER AMERICAN PSYCHO BLACK SWAN JENNIFER'S BODY SCREAM Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Excellent presentation, easy to follow examples, real advice, and I felt hope after listening and participating." -John M. "Such a fantastic deconstruction of the way to construct a horror story." -Shrader T. "David was really great and well-versed. He confirmed I was on the right path for some of my storytelling methods and I became aware of areas I need to work on." -John R. "David was extremely knowledgeable, well prepared, articulate and enthusiastic. His answered during the Q&A were honest and not sugar-coated yet supportive." -Margaret M.
Stage 32 is dedicated to diversity and toward seeing that the imbalance of female creatives finding work changes permanently. That is why we are proud to present our Women In The Room series and the first installment Breaking In As a TV Writer! You can join this live webinar for FREE! It continues to be Stage 32's mission to give you access to this incredible information and talent working in the industry. Hosted by the Script Coordinator for FOX's Shots Fired, Courtney Smith, Women In The Room - is designed to show you how to break in and get paid as a television writer. Joining Courtney will be Sonia Kharkar, Showrunner's Assistant of such acclaimed programs as FOX's The Mindy Project and NBC's The Blacklist, Nicole Ranadive, Staff Writer for TNT's The Librarians and Script Coordinator for FOX's Sleepy Hollow, Solange Morales, a Writer's Assistant on FOX's Shots Fired, and Nicole Brides Ockman, a Script Coordinator for FOX's Blindspot If you’re interested in taking the first step toward landing a job in a TV writer’s room these ladies will give you advice on breaking in, breaking story and navigating the politics and personalities. We’ll go over what to expect once you’re in an assistant or script coordinator role – the good, the bad and the sleepless – straight from the dynamic ladies who help keep the train on the tracks. Plus, we’ll open up the floor so you can ask questions during a Q&A session at the end. With more television being created just about everywhere, this is actionable information for everyone, no matter where you live in the world! Your accomplished instructors are: Sonia Kharkar - Showrunner's Assistant - FOX's The Mindy Project - NBC's The Blacklist Sonia began her career at WME and moved on to be a showrunner's assistant for ABC's The Blacklist and now is a showrunner's assistant for Mindy Kalig on The Mindy Project. Nicole Ranadive - Staff Writer - TNT's The Librarians, Script Coordinator - FOX's Sleepy Hollow Nicole has been active in the TV industry for years having worked in various writing positions on 24, Everybody Loves Raymond, Hawaii Five-O, Smallville and Dawson's Creek. Solange Morales - Writer's Assistant - FOX's Shots Fired Solange is currently a writer's assistant on FOX's Shots Fired. She started at Fox Searchlight Pictures as an assistant to screenwriters, producers and directors for the feature films Notorious and The Secret Life of Bees. Her next stop was the world of documentaries, casting her as associate producer of ESPN’s One Night in Vegas, a doc chronicling the parallel lives of undisputed heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson and iconic rapper, Tupac Shakur. Melissa Brides Ockman - Script Coordinator - NBC's Blindspot Melissa is currently the Script Coordinator for NBC's Blindspot. From New York, Melissa graduated from City University of New York-Hunter College with a Bachelor's degree in Film, Cinema and Video Studies.
Becoming a working film and TV composer is a very competitive industry and it takes talent, persistence and patience in order to break in and work consistently. Here's your opportunity to learn the craft AND how to navigate the business from an Oscar nominated, multiple Grammy winning composer, exclusively on Stage 32. For over 30 years, Spike Lee's go to composer to score and provide the perfect music for his films has been Terrence Blanchard. From Jungle Fever to 25th Hour to Inside Man to the Oscar Nominated score for BlacKkKlansman, Terrence has created numerous memorable and essential scores. Further, Terrence has been the lead composer and provided exquisite music for more than 50 films working with some of the industry's top producers and directors including George Lucas and many more. Starting with his remarkable 5-step process to composing music for film to his ground-breaking "If I Could Tell You I Would Technique to helping you overcome fear and to teaching you what he's learned about navigating the business and building a long lasting career, Terence will have you full of confidence and ready to compose and present your best work. Further, Terence will show you in depth how he composed his Oscar nominated BlacKkKlansman and Harriet scores and take you behind the scenes in his studio to show you his set up and equipment. In short, you'll be learning at the feet of a master technician. What better way to get a leg up?! This Masters of Craft Webinar is exclusive to Stage 32 and is available to be viewed immediately.
Producer Sasha Nonas-Barnes 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.
For as much information and exposure that is out there about the entertainment industry and how it works, it can still feel like a jungle. The politics are difficult to track, the gatekeepers are difficult to access, and there’s no clear blueprint for how to “make it”. Hollywood is overwhelming for everyone trying to break in. It’s hard to know where to start, how to make inroads, or how to build a reputation or career—these are universal. Yet for those trying to transition to a creative career from a different industry or later in life, these challenges can feel even steeper. It’s not uncommon to view Hollywood as a young person’s game. After all, many people who find a foothold in the industry only do so after putting in a lot of work as an underpaid assistant or PA, a trajectory that might be possible for people in their 20s but is a lot less feasible when you’re older. It can feel like there’s an expiration date for when you’re “allowed” to break into the entertainment industry, and at some point, the doors simply close. This doesn’t need to be the case, though, and there are many examples of people finding success later in life or after transitioning from a different industry altogether. In fact, there are big advantages to taking this step at this point in your life and upper hands that Hollywood lifers will never experience. Nonetheless, transitioning to a creative career later in life is not easy and presents unique challenges. But with a strong lay of the land and the proper tools under your belt, it’s a journey that is absolutely achievable. Frank Stiefel began making films at age 63 and then won an Academy Award at age 70. Formerly a TV commercial executive in New York, Frank decided later in life to pursue filmmaking. His directorial debut, the documentary short INGELORE about mother, a deaf Holocaust survivor, played in festivals around the country and was later broadcast on HBO. In 2012, Frank began shooting the artist Mindy Alper as she completed an epic sculpture of her psychiatrist. This turned into his film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405, which went on to win the Jury and Audience prizes at the Austin Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It was a nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject film at the International Documentary Association and earned Frank the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Frank has found incredible success transitioning to a creative career later in life and is excited to reveal what he’s learned on his journey exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Using his own story and path to success, Frank will discuss how he made the jump to filmmaking later in life, what he learned along the journey, and what lessons you can take along with you as you make your own transition. After giving a short history of his own career, Frank will use his first short film INGELORE as a case study to explain how to do research and take notes in the trenches. He’ll give you ideas of how to make something of your own on the cheap and resources you can draw from. He’ll explain how to form your own “band”, and find the tribe you need to break in, and will offer tips on how to run your project. Frank will then focus on preparing to make the transition to a new creative career. He’ll go over questions you should ask yourself before making the switch and how to form your plan. He will talk about how to better afford the transition and other pieces of advice you should consider before making the leap. He’ll also explain the most important thing he learned while making the transition. Next, Frank will focus on his Oscar-winning film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 and how it came to be. He’ll explain how it began without a plan and how it later transitioned to a plan. He’ll also use HEAVEN as an example to demonstrate how you can use your unique personal background to inform your project, as well as how to take criticism along the way. Frank will also discuss what he’s learned from his multiple festival runs and how he’s used it to win an Oscar, and what comes next after winning. Finally, Frank will break down how to make your own age and experience work in your favor while breaking in. Finding success in Hollywood is difficult, but Frank has done so by carving his own path. He will give you perspective, inspiration, and strategies so that you can do the same. Praise for Frank's Stage 32 Webinar "Extremely inspirational. Great words of wisdom for mature people who want to break into the business." -Karen B. "It was awesome and encouraging to have Frank Stiefel talk to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s that its never too late. Thank you Stage 32 for bringing this programming." -Ann K. "I thought the candor with which Frank spoke was amazing." -Kerry B. "Perfect seminar. I shy away from signing up for these when it's someone who is just 'in the biz.' Frank had a very real take on how to be successful in the industry and I appreciated that. Dedicated filmmaker with years of experience in other aspects of art and storytelling. It made for a very engaging and emotional webinar." -Anthony N.
The entertainment industry is constantly shifting and adapting, but perhaps no aspect of Hollywood is more volatile than that of film distribution. Over the past twenty years, the methods and processes of releasing films have changed drastically and continue to be difficult to pin down or predict. From theatrical to video and DVD, television to VOD, the industry continues to not only adjust but wholly reinvent itself. Now, of course, one of the bigger, if not the biggest, avenues of distribution has become online streaming platforms. Massive players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu and newcomers like HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ have been making and picking up a very large number of films, and the viewership numbers for these titles can be staggering. There might not be a better place for your film to find a home than a streamer, but that’s easier said than done. There is perhaps no company with more reach globally than Amazon, and their streaming platform, already a juggernaut, is only growing in size and subscription base. Now with a global audience of around 150 million people, it’s one of the biggest platforms in the world to host films. Getting your film into Amazon’s content library can be a boon like no other. Yet Amazon is a tough one to understand. As a model, it differs greatly from its competitors like Netflix and Hulu since it’s just one piece of Amazon’s overall corporate puzzle. For many reasons, Amazon is playing a different game than other streaming platforms, which means you’ll need to play a different game as well if you want your film to be part of their library. This is why it’s critical you gain a deeper understanding of how Amazon works, what they’re looking for, and how you can break through the noise. Steff Monsalve Reed is the Director of Content and Distribution at Quiver Distribution, where she discovers and releases titles from emerging voices and helps independent filmmakers get their projects on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Redbox, DirecTV, and more. Recently, Steff has distributed films such as THE LOST HUSBAND, starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb, BECKY, starring Kevin James and Joel McHale, and THE SUNLIT NIGHT with Zach Galifianiakis, Jenny Slate, and Gillian Anderson. She will be distributing CHICK FIGHT, starring Malin Akermin and Alec Baldwin, a feature film which was incubated through Stage 32. Before Quiver, Steff worked as a distribution consultant for AMBI Distribution and Raven Capital Management, and served as the Manager of Acquisitions and Exhibitor relations for Entertainment One, a major independent distribution company releasing films in North America as well as several major territories around the world. Through her extensive distribution background, Steff has become very familiar with what it takes to get a film on various platforms. Steff will walk you through how Amazon finds and picks up films and what content creators can do to better get their own projects on Amazon’s radar. Steff will begin by going through a primer of what film distribution for streamers looks like, including the basic life cycle of a film and important terms to know. Then she will give a rundown of Amazon as a whole. She’ll explain how it works and how you should categorize it. She’ll also go over who Amazon’s competitors are and what Amazon’s subscription base looks like. Then she’ll outline the three distinct services Amazon provides—Transactional, SVOD, and IMDB.tv—and explain how you should think about each. Next Steff will go over what kind of content Amazon goes for. She’ll go over genres, styles and more aspects that are most successful on the platform and will delve into the film titles that have performed best in the past, as well as presently. Steff will talk about how to pitch your film to Amazon. She’ll teach you who is able to pitch to Amazon in the first place, what makes a pitch there successful, and how to make your content stand out to peak their executives’ interests. She’ll even offer a case study of a real pitch deck that she used to get them to pick up a film. After this, Steff will talk about how to best prepare and maximize deliverables to fit Amazon’s requirements. She’ll give you a rundown of what exactly Amazon requires and talk about the steps you should be taking well in advance to ensure you have what you need for Amazon if they pick up your film. She’ll also provide strategies to make your marketing materials stand out and for your film to perform better. Then Steff will talk about revenue expectations with Amazon. She’ll explain how Amazon’s payment structure works and will give a general sense of how much you can expect to make from an Amazon distribution deal. She’ll also talk about how to create a budget with this in mind for a realistic return on investment. Next she’ll explain what she believes might be next for Amazon, what the current trends are pointing to and how the “streaming war” might affect things moving forward. Finally, she’ll leave with closing thoughts for filmmakers to consider, including additional challenges to prepare for and unique opportunities at Amazon you can take advantage of. Expect to leave with a much clearer understanding of how Amazon works and how you can better position your film for success at this streaming platform. Praise for Steff's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "One of the best presentations I have seen." -John S. "Great info. Great presentation. Really explained the topic well. " -Martin R. "Steff was excellent in explaining the distribution process and especially how it pertains to Netflix." -Michael W.