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!
Learn directly from Patrick Raymond, a development executive at Mandalay Pictures which sold biopic Birth Of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record-breaking $17.5 million! Stage 32's "Deconstructing the Script" series has emerged as one of the most helpful ways to learn and improve your own screenwriting skills. By breaking down some of the top scripts in the marketplace, this exclusive series shows you choices screenwriters make in plot, dialogue, pacing, tone, world and description that will help inform your own writing. Even better - Stage 32 brings in working creative and development executives to break down each script - from their own perspective - so you can better understand how executives see writing and develop projects. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Deconstructing The Script: Oscar-Nominated Straight Outta Compton, we have brought in Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures, as your host to break down the script for this Oscar-nominated biopic. Recently Patrick's production company sold biopic Birth of a Nation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for a record breaking $17.5 million! Even though Straight Outta Compton is a biopic, the structure, themes and world-building is applicable to any narrative feature screenwriting. In this 90-minute online webinar Patrick will work through the script, identifying the key elements, characters, and plot points that make this more than just a biopic but also a statement, keeping the tone and voice consistent throughout as it relates to the subject matter. He will identify specific scenes that support the themes and identify not just specific plot points, but also highlight relevancy for the modern audience/culture. You will be able to see margin notes and specific script examples from Straight Outta Compton to learn how and why choices were made. As a development executive in Hollywood, Patrick has a plethora of experience reading and developing various musical biopics. Straight Outta Compton is one of Patrick's favorite scripts from 2015 and "...from a story and script level, stands as one of the best." Find out why by registering for this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar.
Pre-production is the most important time for a director because it's where you go through a "process of discovery." It's also during this time that all departments discover a director's work style, vision and expectations as to how to do their jobs and make the production run smoothly and efficiently. In most cases, if a movie doesn't turn out as expected or runs over budget, it's a failure of execution during pre-production that can be pointed to as the cause. Many directors are simply too dependent on their producers and are way too anxious to get filming. This mentality is a huge mistake. So how can you assure that you handle the pre-production process effectively and in a manner where your cast and crew want to run into fire for you? How can you know which variables are most important and where you can delegate? We're here to help. Much is expected of the director during the pre-production process. You are in charge of making crucial decisions that can either make or break any production. It can all seem very overwhelming no matter how many times you've done it. But in reality, taken step by step, it could be a fun and rewarding part of the process of making a film. All this takes time - and the more time you have in prep, the more you will discover and sort out before you go to camera. It's the planning, the patience and the perseverance that wins the day and ultimately makes for a winning project for all involved. Peter D. Marshall has worked in the film industry for over 40 years as a film director, television producer, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, and screenwriter. Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch. As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards. Peter has worked with directors such as John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Peter will guide you through pre-production, the most important phase for a director. He will help you navigate the business and politics with a step by step guide. He will teach you how to break down your script, how to effectively put together your shot lists, storyboards, and access the budget. He will explain how to set the tone you want to have on the set early and in a non-threatening manner. He will show you how you should conduct meetings with your producers, writer, 1st AD, and other department heads. He will explain how to work with your cast during pre-production so they are confident in their roles and in your vision so they're ready to go on the first day of shooting. He will take you through production meetings, wardrobe fittings, camera tests, script read throughs and rehearsals. He will provide you with a complete overview of a director's role in the pre-production process to assure that everything goes exactly as you wish and that your vision is served. "I have taken several directing courses and Peter's course by far, takes the gold star. This impressive, condensed seminar saturates years of experience and learning and presents it in an easy to use package. A definite recommendation." - Trevor M. "I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing." - Brad L. "I'll be shooting my first film in the next 30 days. This course came as a surprise birthday present. It was a godsend. I would have been fracked if I hadn't taken the workshop. There were so many essential elements that I would have missed. Peter's course is helping me hit the ground running and as a result, I feel much more confident and sure. Thanks Peter." - Fredrick H.
Learn directly from award-winning Line Producer and former EVP of Production for Indigenous Media, Maura Anderson (Winter’s Bone, Suit Up, Would You Rather)! Webinar will include live examples of schedules, budgets, wrap binders, etc. from films she's worked on! Every project, whether it’s a movie, a TV show or web series, or even reality TV works off the same basic blueprint. You need a script, a schedule, a budget, and lastly someone with a plan to manage all of the elements you need to shoot, from cast and crew to locations and equipment. This person is the Line Producer. Most people don’t know the scope of what a Line Producer actually does. How does one make a budget? What goes into it? How do you devise a realistic plan to shoot a movie and how do you seamlessly make it happen? Maybe you’ve managed to finish one movie, but how do you repeat that over and over? Do I really need a budget for my $100k film? (Hint: the answer is Yes!) Maura Anderson is an award winning Line Producer who has worked on films and TV series such as Academy Award nominated Winter’s Bone, Would You Rather, and Suit Up. She's the former EVP of Production for Indigenous Media, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Maura will take an in depth look at all the steps a line producer takes from script stage to years after the film is made. Using materials from actual films, she’ll discuss how a script is turned into a schedule and a budget. You’ll learn how to build out your team and how you can create long lasting relationships. You’ll also learn the basics of setting up a film’s infrastructure. Lastly she’ll look at enacting the brilliant plan that you came up with and what that looks like in terms of prep, shooting and wrap. Having filmed in many places and situations, from the Ozark Mountains to the Alaskan Tundra, and with budgets ranging from $30k to $10M, Maura discusses everything from the minuscule details to the broader strokes of making a film.
Internet TV is not “TV light”, in fact it’s not TV at all. It’s a completely different sandbox than TV and while many of the rules of the game are the same, there are distinctly different rules you must know before you break them. In this informative and entertaining seminar, Digital Strategist and Web Series Launch Expert, Brian Rodda outlines the Top 5 things to consider while in pre-production for your digital series. Items to be discussed are: Appropriate length and form specific to different video distribution platforms (Youtube vs. Vimeo vs. Netlfix, etc…) casting/working with a Digital Influencer, expanding your world with Ancillary Content, Marketing Budgets, securing social media real estate and so much more! To read the Television Academy's interview with Brian click here!
Writing a great screenplay is a gargantuan effort, and putting together something like this doesn’t just happen willy nilly. No matter how good of an idea you have, how fantastic your characters are, or how mind boggling your plot twist is at the end, none of it matters without a solid structure and clear plan. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and trial and error to get right. This is why, whether you’re a brand new writer or someone with tens of screenplays already under your belt, outlining is an essential tool. Mastering this skill can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. Yet it’s not enough just to outline; you have to outline well. At its best, an outline can show you how your story should be shaped—what to cut, what to keep, where to place your beats, and how to take your audience to the perfect ending. Yet an outline can also do the opposite if you’re not careful. It can mire down your story in unnecessary scenes or can help you justify keeping aspects that really should be cut. To have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Sophie Azran is a producer and Creative Executive at ImageMovers, Robert Zemeckis’ production company, where she has developed projects including THE WITCHES for HBO Max., BIOS with Tom Hanks, PINOCCHIO, ARES, MANIFEST and PROJECT BLUE BOOK for History Channel, and many others. Previously, Sophie worked at Warner Bros., Tom Hanks' company Playtone and Trudy Styler's company, Maven Pictures. As an independent producer and through her role at ImageMovers, Sophie works with countless writers in developing and improving their scripts and will share exclusively with the Stage 32 community the structural and organizational practices she works on for her own projects. Sophie will walk you through how to successfully create an outline for your own feature project. She’ll begin by discussing the items you’ll need in addition with your outline, including the logline, comparisons, and character descriptions. Next she will discuss how an outline should work and at what point you should start outlining. She’ll lay out tips on how to actually get an outline started, including how it could be formatted. Sophie will then do a deep dive on structure and how each step should be incorporated into your outline. She will show an example of what an effective outline looks like and will talk through common pitfalls to avoid when outlining. She will also discuss what a completed outline can teach you about your own story and how to move forward once you have a finished outline, including transitioning to index carding and how to use your outline to start writing pages. Outlining and structuring your story is never easy, but Sophie will give you a rundown and a series of strategies to make it much more possible. "Prep work isn’t just for novices—all the great professionals do it. That’s why I’m so excited to talk about outlines, which are the foundation of all screenwriting; helping you iron out structure, character, tone and more." -Sophie Azran
Learn directly from Franco Sama, 15-year expert of film financing and distribution with 25+ successful independent feature films to his name, including Guns, Girls and Gambling (Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook) and Petunia (Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti)! As a filmmaker you may find yourself at the mercy of distributors and the existing archaic, chaotic convoluted distribution system(s) that ultimately ends up costing the you profits and, more importantly, creative and financial control of your project. With many new options becoming available for your project to be seen, self-distribution is becoming an increasingly beneficial option. In this webinar we go over the self-distribution model of limited theatrical and limited platform release. We've brought in 15-year financing and producing expert Franco Sama to draw on his experience with over 25 successful indie films in which he has secured distribution. Franco will teach you step-by-step how to release your film in multiple theaters across multiple cities throughout the Unites States. Plus, he will take it a step further and show you exactly how to incorporate the release into your business plan as part of your development process so you can benefit your investors and increase your film’s international value. You will leave this webinar armed with knowledge and ready to self-distribute your film via limited theatrical or platform release.