Danny Manus is an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting (www.nobullscript.net), and was ranked in the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” Script Consultants by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. He is the author of No BS for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective and has taught seminars and workshops across the country at events and venues including Austin Film Festival, Great American Pitchfest, Screenwriting Expo, ShowBiz Expo, Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference, Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Las Vegas Writers Conference, The Writers Store, Writers League of Texas in Austin, Vancouver Pitchmart, Scriptwriters Network, Sherwood Oaks College, etc., and to groups in LA, NY, Chicago, Dallas, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, etc. He’s appeared on the Film Courage radio show, Triggerstreet’s Script Reporter podcast and the On the Page podcast. Danny was the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (A CINDERELLA STORY) where he sold the family adventure project “To Oz” to United Artists, and was instrumental in developing numerous projects including SYDNEY WHITE starring Amanda Bynes and the dark comedy JUST ADD WATER, starring Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Melissa McCarthy and Danny DeVito. He continues to work with the company as a producer on several projects. Before launching No BullScript, Danny also worked as a script analyst for companies such as ScriptShark and Script Coach. Previously, Daniel was a Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (LOVELACE), which has a deal with Millennium Films, and the Director of Development for Sandstorm Films, run by writer/director J.S. Cardone, which had a first look deal at Sony Screen Gems and a development deal with Top Cow Comics. He was instrumental in developing a number of films for the company including THE COVENANT, 8MM2 and SNIPER 3. Danny also interned at Columbia Tri-Star in the Television Development department and at 20th Century Fox in Feature Casting. Danny has taken over 3000 pitches, written over 230 articles on screenwriting for numerous websites and publications including Business of Show Institute and Script Magazine, and has been a judge for the PAGE Awards four years running. He is currently working on his next book. Raised on Long Island, NY, in an amusingly dysfunctional household, Danny holds a B.S. degree in Television with a concentration in Screenwriting from Ithaca College. You can follow him on Twitter @Dannymanus. Full Bio »
Learn directly from Danny Manus, an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting. He will cover the 10 lessons you can learn from one of the best films of 2014.
Everyone wants to write that Academy Award-winning original screenplay, right?
The best ways to learn how to write great scripts of that caliber is to READ great scripts of that caliber, study those movies, and learn the lessons these projects can teach.
Nominated for 5 Oscars, one of the most acclaimed films of 2013 is HER, written and directed by Spike Jonze, who has already won the Golden Globe and WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay, and is a frontrunner for the Academy Award.
In this Webinar, we will go deeper into many different aspects of the film and I will break down the script and go through 10 lessons you can learn from one of the best, most original films of the year that will help you improve your own writing and scripts, no matter what genre you write.
Note: If you haven’t seen the movie already, there will be spoilers throughout the class.
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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.
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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!
"The presentation today by Danny Manus was excellent and very valuable!!! Glad to see this info will continue to be available and all the rest that you do is fantastic for all of us working on all levels." - Stevanne Auerbach
"I’ve been to a lot of script doctors with a lot of scripts and by far, Danny Manus is the best! He has a real command of the requirements of the craft and the needs of a script, regardless of genre, without injecting sophomoric, antiquated or clichéd opinions. You can’t go wrong with him!" - Kevin Grevioux, Screenwriter of I, Frankenstein and Underworld
"Danny was an invaluable asset and collaborator in both the production and creative elements of the films we produced. His knowledge was critical to the development of our scripts and his original ideas and approaches were a major factor in our development and decision making process. I have only the greatest respect for his talents, which is why I continue you to work with him on my own material." - J.S. Cardone, Screenwriter/Director (Prom Night, The Covenant, Stepfather, The Forsaken, etc)
"Danny’s got some of the best story instincts around and the enviable ability to enhance every script he works on. As an exec, he knows the business, the players and the marketplace and is able to bring this knowledge to his work as a script consultant. We’ve worked on many projects together and he’s still the person I ask for story and casting input." - Clifford Werber, Producer (Cinderella Story, Sydney White, Just Add Water)
"Danny’s worked with studios and independents and knows how to handle writers at every level. He loves discovering and working with new writers and making their material shine as best it can… He cuts through the crap and at the end of the day, any writer or producer would be lucky to have him in their corner." - Scott Einbinder, Producer, (Killer Joe, Bad Country, The Covenant, Sniper 2 & 3)
"My comedy spec was a perennial quarter finalist screenplay until it landed with Danny Manus. Over several drafts and pages of notes, he managed to turn it into a true contender. His knowledge of the craft, experience in the industry, and attention to details can ready any screenplay for today’s market. I’m proud to say that my script is now making its rounds through Hollywood’s elite!" - Richard Dane Scott, Screenwriter (My Dog the Champion, My BFF)
"Wow, GREAT notes! Absolutely everything you say makes sense. This is literally my first draft and normally I wouldn’t let anyone see anything at this early stage, but I know there’s potential, and coming to you was the smartest thing I could have done – a huge help. THANK YOU!!!" - Margaret Riseley, Optioned Screenwriter of "Kissing Dynamite" and ScreenwritingU 2013 Most Recommend Writers
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.
Chris Moore has done and seen it all. During a career spanning over 30 years, Chris has produced films that have had multiple Oscar nominations and wins such as Good Will Hunting and Manchester by the Sea, to studio blockbusters like American Pie and The Adjustment Bureau, to independent darlings such as Waiting, to creating and starring in the critically acclaimed industry television shows Project Greenlight alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and The Chair. One of the secrets of Chris' longevity in the business is a full understanding of the business. He's as plugged in as they come and he knows how to adjust quickly, swiftly, and successfully as the landscape changes - which seems to happen on a daily basis these days. Most importantly, Chris is known in the industry as a take-no-prisoners, no bullshit guy. He tells it like it is and pulls no punches, which, in this business, is welcome and refreshing. And now he's here exclusively for Stage 32 to teach you how to build a lasting career in today's entertainment industry. With the evolution of the industry causing dramatic shifts in the way you create and consume content (film, television, digital) and more content being created, bought, sold, screened, broadcast and streamed than ever before, there are more and more opportunities are being presented for a creative career. But you have to know where to look, how to position yourself, how to best present yourself and show that you have a complete understanding of where the industry is headed and how you can add significant value. Chris will discuss the current state and the shifts in the market to help you make educated decisions on the path you should take with your career in the industry to not only assure success, but satisfy the lifestyle you desire. He will also discuss where he believes the future is headed so you can be ahead of the curve in making the right decisions for you and your career. Then, Chris will make the proceedings interactive, workshopping with select attendees and discussing primary and alternative paths for their wants and goals. Some examples: For filmmakers having trouble gaining traction, Chris will go over alternative ways you can break in and gain your footing. For screenwriters who have been at it a long time and haven’t gotten their break, Chris will discuss alternatives and lifestyle choices for the current industry. For cinematographers (or other creatives) looking to move from digital shorts to streaming TV, Chris will present a path and strategies to make it happen? This is a no nonsense, detailed filled, strategy packed session designed to help ALL creatives and professionals! "Undoubtably, my favorite Stage 32 webinar yet, and that's saying something. Wow, was this a welcome kick in the ass. I love Chris' style, passion, and energy. Obviously, his experience and success speaks for itself, but as a teacher, he's a master. This was a huge land for Stage 32. I hope you bring him back again!" - Ronnie W. "I like the way Chris organized all the changes in entertainment so it was easy to understand. It's overwhelming trying to figure it out and I appreciated Chris taking the time to explain it. I also appreciated the workshopping advice. Thank you Chris." - Marisa S. "The brutal truth how Hollywood operates was eye opening, but it's best that I'm aware as I try to find my place." - Wolf O. "Chris Moore is a hero. He saved me from my doubts." - Julia C.
Part 1 - Playing the Field Steve discusses the kinds of 1 hour TV pilots networks are looking for, and more importantly, what kinds they are not. He talks about the differences between cable, network, and online (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) as well as the differences between procedurals and serialized series. Part 2 - Character and Structure Steve leads a discussion on characterization. He runs through some of his favorite TV characters and explores the development process most networks go through to amp up the characterization in scripts. He also explores supporting cast, archetypes, structure and act breaks. Part 3 - Creating an Engine to Your Show Steve discusses the engine of a TV show. He runs through the importance of a clear week-to-week and explores series longevity and how to craft story lines that can stretch out for 3-8 years.
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out. The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve. Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry. Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar "This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!" -Allie R. "This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!" -Taylor D. "I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!" -Gail B. "This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects." -Irene C.
It's no secret that television is a red hot medium right now. Over the last few years, the average number of shows broadcast has been well over 500. With the advent of even more streaming options (HBO Now, Disney+, and more), some experts expect that number to double or even possibly triple over the next 2-4 years. That doesn't even account for the number of television projects that get sold or brought to pilot that never get picked up! In short, the amount of television pitches being greenlit in the room and the amount of television scripts being optioned and sold has never been higher. But, as is the case with just about anything, the bigger the gold rush, the more people seeking the gold. The content is one thing, how you pitch the content to networks, development execs, financiers, producers, managers, agents and other decision makers is quite another. Experienced professionals can spot an amateur pitcher within the first 30 seconds, if not sooner. You have to be able to stand out. And we're here to help you do just that. So, you have a great idea for a show, now what? How do you get it to the right people? What to do/how to present it to them? What most people don’t understand, is that once they’re in the door they need to think about the other side of the table. Who they’re pitching to, how many pitches that person reads/hears and how best to position themselves to stand out. Busy producers and executives get pitched all the time - honestly...All. Day. Long. Whether oral, written or Skype, you basically have 30 seconds or the first paragraph to keep them interested. And for both, the format matters! Don’t let your great idea fall on deaf ears or eyes! If you’re a writer or someone who works with writers, you need to know how to orchestrate a good pitch. Bret Slater has worked as a producer on such acclaimed shows as the multi Emmy nominated Boardwalk Empire and Ballers for HBO. Bret has worked alongside such talent as Steve Buscemi, Mark Whalberg, Russel Crowe, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Steven Levinson (Entourage), Catherine Zeta Jones, Ryan Phillippe and many more. Bret has been reading and listening to television pitches all day and just about every day since he broke into the business over a decade ago. He's seen every style, heard every idea, and knows as well as anyone what makes a television pitch a winner. Bret will teach you the entire landscape regarding pitching a television pilot or idea. In what is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the pitching process, Bret will take you inside the mind of the pitchee, the person hearing the pitch. What are they looking for in the first 30 seconds? What are you portraying when you walk in the room? What details matter and which make the person you are pitching to zone out? How do you craft your pitch to producers, managers and agents? He will teach you the 3 basic, yet much overlooked, rules that must be in every pitch along with the #1 rule on how to deliver your pitch. Bret will break down written, oral and online/Skype pitches and the do's and don'ts for each. He will teach you how to open, and more importantly, close your pitch so that you leave the person or people you are pitching to wanting more. Bret will even show you the proper etiquette for following up after a pitch. Bret will provide all the tools that will help lift the anxiety and doubt of pitching for television and give you the confidence to deliver your pitch in a mannered, informed and professional way. "Yet another winner from Stage 32." - Patricia C. "So much quality information. There were at least 3 things I was absolutely doing wrong with my approach when pitching. This clarified the mistakes I was making. Thank you, Bret." Marty T. "Having spent nearly 10 years in the feature world, I recently wrote a pilot and quickly realized the landscape is much different. My old tricks for pitching features didn't apply for TV. It's a different animal. Now I'm ready to get back on the attack." Milos S.
Can you believe this is the last Writers' Room Pitch Tank of 2020? And we couldn't have asked for a better guest than Producer, Actress, and Writer, Rachel Paulson! Rachel is a multi-hyphenate who is the younger sister of Sarah Paulson of “AMERICAN HORROR STORY”and Liz Paulson, the SVP of casting at Fox. Rachel is the star of the series "DATING ZOE", the host of the video series Drink Responsibly with Rachel Paulson, and the co-host of the podcast Gay vs. Straight Bitches with "ONE TREE HILL" alum, Lindsey McKeon. Rachel currently has a YA television series in development based on a true story, with Sarah Paulson attached to produce. During the webcast, Rachel and Jason critiqued pitches including epic Sci-Fi features and series, Drama, Comedy, Family, and more! Listen to their feedback and be sure to take their suggestions in for your own pitches!