Your Panelists: Martin Reese, Screenwriter & Stage 32 "Writers' Room" Member Martin Reese hails from Cleveland, Ohio. The son of parents who introduced him to comic books, science fiction, and classic films he loved telling stories. In 2004 he wrote, produced and directed his first film, a horror short called SOUL POSSESSION. He published the storybook MULOGO AND HIS QUINTUPLE OF TROUBLE (Amazon), about a boy who accidentally conjures a five-headed dragon while under the tutelage of a wizard, based on his short screenplay of the same name. The short screenplay was a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Bluecat Screenplay Competition. He co-produced a short film based on his award-winning short horror screenplay THE SNEEZE (2018 Wildsound Festival Best Short Screenplay and the 2020 Madwerkz VFX Award). It was shot in LA and is currently in post production. He is the founder and administrator of the Facebook group PEOPLE OF COLOR SCI-FI FILMMAKERS COLLABORATIVE, an inclusive networking and learning space that encourages the creation of film projects in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy and horror that feature People of Color.His feature length horror script THE EYE OF OWUO was named a Winner in the Micro-Budget Horror Script Competition (2020). Martin lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio with his wife of 24 years Stephanie. Chaun Lee, Screenwriter & Stage 32 "Writers' Room" Member Chaun Lee is an Atlanta-based screenwriter with a sincere love of great stories. She has a complex background, having lived all over the world, from Alaska to Iraq. Her military and bi-racial beginnings have given her a unique perspective, which is both broad and non-ethnocentric. The projects she completed include pieces from multiple genres: romantic comedy; family, fantasy, and Sci-fi. She has a few projects underway which have a dedicated daily spot on her schedule, and, she has seen a little traction with her work over the past year. She is looking forward to and expecting great things ahead. Chris Torres, Screenwriter & Stage 32 "Writers' Room" Member Chris was run over by a train, had her head chopped off by an axe, and fed to countless vampires. This was all in service of her brother's backyard Super 8 movies. Thus, began a lifelong love affair with all things film. Born in New York, Chris spent her formative years relocating to a new locale every few years. Furthering her education in Film Studies, Chris watch classic Hollywood films and she spent countless hours fascinated by black and white screwball comedies which formed her groan worthy sense of humor and sparked her desire to share it with the world, one conversation at a time. This passion for snappy, clever dialogue (and sarcasm) carried through to College where she studied theater until her mother suggested she get a real major - philosophy. Chris paid her way through college by working as a production assistant in New York on such renowned productions as Awakenings, The Fisher King, and The Freshman. She attended law school at Washington and Lee University and graduated with her Juris Doctor. Christine joined the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office as a Prosecutor for the next six years.Never staying too far from the drama, Chris continued her education by taking classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts under the auspices of improving her trial skills. After all, courtroom trials are like a production - with a lot more improv.After an epiphany, and succumbing to peer pressure while volunteering at the Sundance Film Festival, Chris made the career decision to move to Los Angeles and become a filmmaker. She's never looked back. Christi Corbett, Author/Screenwriter & Stage 32 "Writers' Room" Member Christi Corbett an award-winning author of four novels. In 2019, she signed an option agreement with Higher Purpose Entertainment for her first script, an adaptation of her third novel. She will be the official screenwriter for the project as well. Christi graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Communications, and a minor in video production. She then got a job as evening news editor for a CBS affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After a while, she moved back home to the Seattle area to get married. She then worked on a few indie films, but ultimately decided to take a job as a TV commercial writer/producer in the Creative Services Department for a CBS affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota. She is the winner of the 2014 RONE Award for Best American Historical novel and the 2014 Laramie Award, lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. Your Moderators: Richard "RB" Botto, Stage 32 CEO Richard “RB” Botto is a producer whose films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award-winning feature, Another Happy Day, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore and Kate Bosworth and written & directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, What Lies Ahead, starring Rumer Willis & Emma Dumont, the documentary Crutch and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, RB works on active writing assignments and has two features and a TV pilot in development. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival. RB is also the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). Stage 32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Launched in 2011, the Stage 32 community has grown to over 500,000 creatives and features an educational library of over 1,000 hours of webinars and classes taught by over 500 industry executives. Stage 32 is recognized throughout the industry as an incubator of talent and is the official film education & networking platform of the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film and AFM. Additionally, RB’s book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and quickly became one of their best-selling titles. It has hit #1 in 6 different film and business related categories on Amazon and Audible. The book can be found at the Focal Press/Routledge booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon and Audible, where it has garnered over 90 5-star reviews. A sought after speaker, teacher and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Sundance, Raindance, Hamburg, SXSW, Cinequest, ITVFest, Portugal FEST, Trinidad and Tobago and Winston Baker. He has also taught at institutions such as Harvard, USC and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business. Jason Mirch, Director of Script Services & Host of "The Writers' Room" Jason Mirch is a feature film and television producer and executive with over 15 years of experience. Jason also serves as the Director of Script Services at Stage 32 where he works directly with screenwriters, filmmakers, and leading industry executives. In addition to his work with Stage 32, Jason runs production and development for a company which produced low-budget genre pictures for an international audience, as well as serves as a business advisor to a successful post production vfx company which contributed to The Peanut Butter Falcon, Crawl, Martin Scorsese's Silence, Arctic, and Let them Talk for Steven Soderbergh and HBO. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Emmy-winner Christopher Lloyd, Oscar-winner Mel Brooks, Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson, and Emmy-winner Carol Kane. Mirch was the Head of Feature and Television Development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of Flight, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion, Careful What You Wish For, Ghost Rider 2, and 100 Foot Journey. Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Storyline Entertainment (Oscar-winning Chicago, Footloose, The Bucket List) where he developed a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. He has lectured on all areas of filmmaking, speaking on panels at the Producers Guild of America, Austin Film Festival, the Harvard Screenwriting Group, American Film Market, University of Southern California Film School, Chapman University School of Film & Television, NYU, as well as several international film festivals and markets. In addition, he has consulted brands, including Burberry and Creative Artists Agency. Full Bio »
The Stage 32 Writers’ Room has just surpassed a milestone achievement - 100 webcasts! For the last year and a half it has been the honor of Director of Script Services Jason Mirch to act as the humble host, guiding webcasts that include script and screenwriting breakdowns, virtual pitch sessions to industry professionals, one-on-one conversations with some of the biggest names in the business, and writing exercises that challenge our imaginations and sharpen our skills.
The goal of the Writers’ Room has always been to give writers all over the world the support, access, and education to thrive in their craft and career. Our recent Writers' Room guests have included Oscar-nominated Pixar writer Meg LeFauve, Billion Dollar Producer Amy Baer, AKEELAH AND THE BEE Filmmaker Doug Atchison, Universal Pictures Executive Ken Korba, A QUIET PLACE development executive Linsday Schwartz, GREEN HORNET producer Bradley Gallo, and many more - all of whom spoke and interacted directly with our members.
Several of our members have connected with each other and have swapped scripts, collaborated on projects, produced projects they have written, and writers have even been optioned by producers largely because of the Writers’ Room!
The Writers' Room is strong because of the incredible members who are serious about their craft and advancing their careers. So we are turning the spotlight over to some of our talented Writers' Room members who will tell us how they broke out in a highly competitive industry and achieved success during this Stage 32 Writers' Room Member Success Spotlight webcast!
During this webcast, Writer, Producer, Actor & Stage 32 CEO Rich "RB" Botto and Writer, Producer, and Director of Script Services Jason Mirch shine some light on members who have utilized the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to achieve tremendous success in the industry and learn the secrets they have discovered for breaking out!
During this webcast the panel includes:
Screenwriter, Martin Reese, who received a $5,000 option agreement from Glass House Distribution and Trick Candle Productions for a script he developed with the help of the Writers' Room!
Screenwriter, Chris Torres, who landed representation with Manager Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment after being a part of the Writers' Room and being connected for a meeting by Stage 32!
Author and Screenwriter, Christi Corbett, who developed one of her novels into a screenplay which was then optioned by producer Brad Wilson of Higher Purpose Entertainment!
Screenwriter and Filmmaker, Chaun Lee, who used the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to develop a short film which she then produced using local crew and cast in Atlanta just prior to lockdown!
Writers' Room 100th Webcast Celebration Panelist & Moderators
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!
"My film was shot under $1MM, premiered at Sundance, sold to a major distributor and had a theatrical release. I will impart the wisdom I acquired along the way." - Writer/Director JT Mollner Testimonials "I loved it!" - Romina Schwedler "It was great to hear many sides of a situation and how to make the most difficult scenarios work. Thanks!" - Sindy Jeffrey "This webinar was a GREAT way to prep me for what's ahead. I have no delusions about the tough road on which I embark, but knowing some of the pitfalls will certainly help avoid them. Thank you for taking the time to share what you've learned." -Arial Burnz
3 part class taught by Tatiana Kelly and Jim Young, Award Winning Independent Producers (The Catcher was a Spy, The Words, Lovelace, Wristcutters: A Love Story)! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! Are you interested in gaining a deeper understanding of what the indie producer role entails and how to improve your own producing skills? What does the independent producer do, exactly? Some producers shepherd the production from start to finish, others jump on later in the process once the script has been developed, and others can just help with raising financing. Oftentimes the producer starts at the beginning and develops an idea or script with a writer, helping to secure the necessary rights for the script, and in some instances the underlying material, such as a book or magazine article. Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 3 part class: The Art of Indie Producing taught by Tatiana Kelly and Jim Young, award winning independent producers of films such as Wristcutters: A Love Story, Lovelace, and The Words. Tatiana and Jim will take you behind the scenes, step-by-step, to learn what an indie Producer really does, beginning with the development stage all the way to packaging a film. You'll learn everything from raising financing to crewing up, including how to attach solid talent. Tatiana and Jim will teach you how to navigate film festivals and markets, and the many pitfalls of a film shoot. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Tatiana and Jim are no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Action sequences are no longer solely confined to big budget features. Movies and series of every size demand them. And while they can boost the status and popularity of a project, they are also complex and difficult to shoot and require special treatment and knowledge from the director. They are, in some way, mini silent movies, relying on image rather than dialogue to tell the story. To be a successful director today, whether you’re focused on film, television, or anything else, it’s important to have the necessary tools so you can tackle these demanding sequences An action sequence can eat up your budget and schedule if you’re not prepared. They are cinematically dense and require many more shots, more planning, more time on the set, and more collaboration between departments. Every department will need extra time to prepare and execute and you don’t want anyone to have to be waiting for you. However you don’t need to be Michael Bay or James Cameron to pull this off; any director big or small, experienced or not, can helm an effective action sequence, provided they understand how to tell the story through action, fully prepare ahead of time, and run the set during production. And we’ve brought in a bona fide expert to show you how to do just that. Michael Nankin has been a working writer, director, producer, and showrunner for 40 years and has directed action-packed episodes of popular television shows like the Peabody award-winning BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, TAKEN, VAN HELSING, HELL ON WHEELS, CSI, and more. Michael started as a writer/director at Walt Disney Studios at age 22 and his first independent film, THE GATE, was the highest-grossing Canadian-produced film ever at the time of its release. His first series, LIFE GOES ON, was the first series that presented a continuing character with Down Syndrome as well as the first HIV-positive continuing character. Michael’s other directing credits include Showtime’s THE GOOD LORD BIRD, ALPHAS, TURN, DEFIANCE, and the upcoming Stephen King horror series CHAPELWAITE starring Adrien Brody. A Humanitas Prize and Leo Award winner, Michael is an incredibly successful and sought-after director, in part due to his ability to inject action and energy into the projects he takes on. Exclusively for Stage 32, Michael will lay out how exactly to lay out a fantastic action sequence for your own project. He’ll do this by first explaining how to find the story and character development within the scene and use this as a guide to forming your plan. He’ll then go in-depth on how exactly to prepare for your action scene before you even go on set, including collaborating with the other departments, storyboarding and shotlisting, and the critical wounds and kills meeting. Michael will then teach you how to actually direct the scene on set, detailing camerawork, working with the stunt team, and shooting for visual effects and more. Along the way, we will examine two specific action sequences from projects directed by Michael Nankin – one from his film RED FACTION: ORIGINS and another from an episode of the celebrated AMC series HELL ON WHEELS. Michael will walk through the choices he made in putting these scenes together.
Producer Tiegen Kosiak 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.
Part 1 - Overview of the Staffing Process Amanda discusses the strategy and steps of the staffing process from the studio, network and production company perspective. You will gain incite into what producers are looking for from a staffing sample and how to improve your chances of standing out in crowd. Part 2 - Tips for Writing an Original Pilot A discussion on the creation of a strong, unique and memorable original pilot; Choosing the right concept to display your original voice, crafting characters who can last for seasons and improving dialogue skills. Part 3 - Pilot Format, Structure and Plotting Amanda details structure and formatting techniques, for drama and comedy, as well as the importance of a strong, steady plot and why you need to keep the reader engaged with big plot moments every few pages in a staffing sample. Part 4 - Spec Scripts & Next Career Steps Amanda answers why it’s important to have a spec script to send as a follow up to your original pilot, and how to write a spec script through copying an existing show’s voices and format. She also covers reaching out to agents, managers, and studio training initiatives with your writing samples. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Amanda is no longer handing out or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
In this Pitch Tank we welcome screenwriter Sam Alper from FX's "Better Things" and the new AMC series, "Kevin Can F*** Himself" to critique television pitches from Writers' Room members. Sam gives excellent insights from the perspective of a working screenwriter who has worked in professional writing rooms with some of the industry's leading show runners and writers.