David Weddle is a prime time Producer and Writer with an impressive career spanning over two decades on award winning shows. David is currently a Co-Executive Producer and Writer for the Apple TV hit For All Mankind. Prior to this new Apple show, David was a Co-Executive Producer and writer on The Strain – a primetime television series created by the acclaimed writer/director Guillermo del Toro, based on his series of best selling novels, co-written with Chuck Hogan and showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost) who served at the helm. He was also co-executive producer and writer on USA's Falling Water. David began his career working on shows such Falling Skies, CSI, and Peabody Award-winning Battlestar Galactica. He has also written and produced for such series as Alphas, Defiance, The Fearing Mind, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is the author of two books: the critically acclaimed "If They Move... Kill 'Em!" The Life and Times of Sam Peckinpah, and the best seller, Among the Mansions of Eden. As a journalist, he has written for such publications as:Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, L.A. Weekly, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, and Variety. Full Bio »
It's an undeniable fact, there is no hotter market right now than television. Over the last year, over 600 shows were broadcast on TV networks, basic cable, premium cable, and the streaming platforms. And this isn't even counting limited series, docu-series and other short form content. And with new platforms like Disney+, Apple, Facebook TV and others diving into original content, there is no peak in sight or end to this gold rush on the horizon. If anything, we may just be getting started. In fact, most streaming platforms like Netflix have made a pledge to have their entire libraries consist of over 50% original content in just a few years. Think about that! So how can you take advantage of this incredible buying and producing spree, get in a writers room, work your way up to an executive producing/showrunning position and run your own show? We're glad you asked.
David Weddle has been at the television game for over 20 years. Over a prolific and well documented career, David has worked on some of the most highly acclaimed and longest running shows of all time including Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Guillermo del Toro's award winning and ground-breaking series, The Strain. David has worked side-by-side with some of the top showrunners in the business including Cartlon Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, Jack Ryan). Currently, David is a co-executive producer/showrunner and writer for the Apple TV hit For All Mankind.
In this exclusive special event Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar, David will take you to what it takes to build a career from writer to showrunner. He will explain the entire landscape and give you a full understanding of who does what and why. He will explain how to get into a writer's room and what to do (and not to do) once you get in. He will show you how to play the political game, climb the ladder, and earn respect. He will teach you how to think and work like an EP until you become one.
As if that wasn't enough, David will then take you through the world of showrunning. He will explain how writer's rooms are staffed. How seasons are laid out, how arcs are created and how episodes are broken down. He will explain budgets and scheduling, using real world examples from The Strain, Battlestar Galactica and CSI. He will talk hiring directors, getting your cast and making sure your show runs like a Swiss watch. And he will take you through the days and nights of being an EP and showrunner, so you know exactly what to expect and how to navigate the playing field.
Joining David to moderate this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar is our very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself with a television pilot in development.
The world of breaking in and staying in television doesn't need to be complicated.
David will show you the tricks, tips and, most importantly, the facts you need to shorten your path to success.
"I was in a writer's room for 9 weeks and then our show got cancelled. I learned more today than I did being in that room for those 9 weeks."
David will begin by discussing the evolution of the television industry over the last 2 decades and how he’s seen it change and evolve.
The Hierarchy of the Roles in the TV Landscape:
How To Ascend To The Top Spot - Paths to Becoming A Writer/Executive Producer For Television
Overview Of Expected Responsibilities Of An Executive Producer On Primetime Television:
1) Staffing and Running The Writers Room:
4) Getting The Directors And Crew Set For The Show:
7) Bringing It All Together: The Life Of An Executive Producer:
Plus, exclusively for Stage 32 David will open the floor to answer any questions you have!
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"This truly was a masterclass. I learned so much."
- Rebecca C.
"I was in a writer's room for 9 weeks and then our show got cancelled. I learned more today than I did being in that room for those 9 weeks."
"David, you're a rock star."
- Pam J.
"Rewatching. Rewatching. Rewatching. Thank you, David and Stage 32."
- Annette F.
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.
A hot topic of conversation in our current COVID-19 world is how film, television and new media productions will resume production safely and effectively. The entire entertainment legal landscape has changed as a result of the world’s pandemic. Producers, filmmakers, directors and crew need to think about protection before you can ever step on set to say “action.” It’s important to take a deeper look at the legal agreements that tie parties together on a project as we contemplate the future. Contract provisions that parties wrote off as “boring” or “boiler plate” will significantly change moving forward. It’s important you understand how this affects your project. You don’t want to get stuck with a production or financial nightmare if you’re not protected legally to move forward on your film, TV or new media project. There are five basic provisions in a legal contract that many dismissed as “boring boiler plate” that now will have significance moving forward. It’s important that you know the basic purpose of these provisions, why they are drafted and what purpose they serve for all parties. With each provision, you will need to know the impact and implications as it relates to COVID-19 and how these provisions will continue to change to comply with government and guilds, insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties. You need to make sure to contemplate unlikely scenarios so that contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Elsa Ramo is one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and the managing partner of Ramo Law. Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa has her finger on the pulse of the legal side of the entertainment law and works non-stop to protect her clients in all deals. Elsa will go through the nuts and bolts of contractual provisions in the entertainment industry and a walk through of how these should and will change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsa will start by offering a basic understanding of five contractual provisions that are now much more important in the wake of the pandemic: Force majeure, suspension/termination provisions, assumption of risk and related indemnification provisions, medical releases and disclosures, and scheduling and payment provisions. She’ll discuss why they are drafted and what purpose they serve among the parties. Then, with each provision, she will discuss the impact and implications as it relates to Covid-19 and how these provisions are and will continue to change to comply with government compliance, guild compliance insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties as they contract during a pandemic. Elsa will distill what we can learn from changing these ‘boring provisions’ that we can apply to better prepare ourselves for future unlikely scenarios and ensure contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Finally, Elsa will teach you how to flag and ensure that the modifications placed on these contracts comply with government legislation, union compliance, and other worst-case scenarios.You will be fully prepared to understand how “boring boiler plate” provisions can affect your project and how to best protect yourself. Praise for Elsa’s Stage 32 Webinar: "This was one of the best webinars I have taken so far. Thank you again. I look forward to the next one!" -Romina S. "Awesome presentation - great speaker, made complicated issues much clearer, lots of great info! Great info for anyone in the industry in all positions. Thanks!!" -Ron H. "This webinar was absolutely brilliant! Elsa is clearly a pro, but her manner was so calm and approachable. She didn't talk down to us and explained all these intricacies so that I believe everyone was able to understand them. Bravo! More Elsa Please!" -Becca G. "Elsa is always amazing and legal is always a fantastic topic, now more than ever!" -Lisa G.
It’s hard to fully appreciate just how much work goes into getting a film or TV production going. The volume of moving parts and number of i’s to dot and t’s to cross can feel staggering. It takes someone with wicked organizational skills, resourcefulness and the ability to work long hours and handle a multitude of tasks simultaneously under high-pressure situations. Whether you are a director, producer, production assistant or production coordinator, knowing how to discover your crew members’ skill sets, delegate effectively and execute tasks with extreme precision is a must for cultivating a successful career. While organizational skills and drive are certainly important in coordinating a production, it takes more than this to be a successful production coordinator or producer; it also takes a good amount of knowledge and wherewithal that doesn’t simply come naturally. Navigating union rules, building time sheets, filling out permits, working with stunt performers, building your electrical and grip departments, the list goes on. These aspects are all crucial, but if you’ve never carried out these tasks before, you’ll need guidance and education to make sure you’re doing it right and not missing any important steps. Well we have you covered! Carol Kravetz is a veteran and highly sought-after production coordinator who has worked on projects for over 30 years and set up productions for notable series like BREAKING BAD and IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, as well as various features for MGM, Warner Brothers, HBO and USA Network. Very few people know more about production coordination that Carol, and she has built a passion of giving back by teaching others her trade and giving students, career-transitioning adults and veterans of the Armed Forces a good sense of the business end of making movies. In this 4-part previously recorded class, Carol provides a fully comprehensive guide on how to be prepared to prepare, prepared to shoot and prepared to wrap. You will learn Carol’s personal list of Production Coordinator best practices, from the various tasks you will be expected to perform and how to execute them with precision, to how to recognize each document you will need in a mound of paperwork, to how to transition the office from pre-production to shoot to wrap. You’ll learn how everything is paid for, how to facilitate rentals and purchases for on-set departments, and the common pitfalls and traps that happen during production so you can avoid them. Carol then teaches you her networking, resume and follow up tips to help you find work and keep working past the wrap party. With interactive lectures and homework assignments directly geared toward making you a stronger and more competent Production Coordinator, you will leave this class with a comprehensive understanding of how to be an effective Production Coordinator and be a valuable asset to any set you work on! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Carol is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate. Praise for Carol’s Stage 32 Class "Taking Carol's Production Coordinator Class was full of detailed information to get someone up and running in the position of Production Coordinator. Carol also has some great tales from the entertainment industry to make it entertaining along the way. If you want to know the ins and outs of the production office and how it relates to the production overall, this is a great class to take." - Laura D. "Carol is a wonderful source of information. Perhaps best at her department. I'd like to thank Carol for her fantastic contribution to my professional career and private learning. You have been unique and very resourceful!" - Willem V.
As filmmakers, having your film stand out amidst the throng of weekly releases is no easy task. Oftentimes, you find yourself competing against studio releases and the multitude of small-to-mid-level distributors dropping a plethora of titles. This creates an influx of news that can make it feel impossible for an indie film to be noticed. Since a film’s success hinges so vitally upon a good marketing campaign, there has to be a plan from day one. In order to stand out, there are three things that you need to think about from the very beginning of your project: the assets you can create, the timeline of how you unroll those assets, and how to keep the publicity train chugging along up to and well after your film’s release. Writers and editors of genre and horror websites receive anywhere between 100-400 emails a day. A lot of messages that hit their inbox are automatically deleted because they look like every other press release that they simply don’t care about, don’t have the time for, or they know that their audiences aren’t going to be interested in. Yet with proper planning, you can figure out how to offer websites content on your film that they will be eager to write about, as well as create a lasting relationship for future projects from then on forward. Jonathan Barkan served as the Editor-in-Chief of Dread Central, one of the internet’s leading horror websites, where he spotlighted and championed countless independent horror films. He also served as acquisitions ambassador for DREAD Presents, a genre-centric distribution label under the banner of Epic Pictures Group. Before Dread Central, Jonathan served as the Managing Editor of Bloody Disgusting, another leading horror website. More recently, Jonathan joined forces with Epic Pictures’ Shaked Berenson to form the Horror Collective, where he serves as Vice President of Acquisitions and Distribution and finds and acquires genre titles for North American distribution as well as foreign sales. An internet personality, he has appeared on multiple podcasts and news segments to discuss the social and cultural significance of horror and his writing has been featured on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, WatchMojo, Atom Tickets, Phantastiqa, ComingSoon.Net, and Shudder’s weekly newsletter The Bite. Through his extensive background, Jonathan has become a bona fide expert on the horror film industry and how independent genre filmmakers find success. Jonathan will teach you how to operate the horror and genre website landscape in order to get your genre film featured and form relationships critical to the marketing and ultimate success of your project. First, Jonathan will walk you through the assets you need to have leading up to your marketing campaign. He’ll show you what content you can create cheaply and efficiently during all stages of production, how to make it look good, how to think outside the box, and what the dreaded “curse of knowledge” is. Next Jonathan will explain how to unroll these assets, including working with your distributor (or yourself) to create a marketing plan, what to unveil and when, who to offer exclusives to, and how to get your cast and crew involved. He will give you tips of what to consider when submitting to film festivals, what to use to promote your premieres when you get accepted and what to hold onto, and how to use festivals as further promotion of your film. Then Jonathan will delve into how to get onto major outlets. He will teach you how to find contact information for writers, how to write emails for the greatest chance of success, and how to maintain a relationship that you can always rely upon. Finally, he will walk you through what to do after your movie has been released. He’ll teach you how to keep interest high moving forward and how you can keep on unveiling content. Standing out and getting your film noticed is always hard, especially in the world of horror, but Jonathan will give you practical and actionable tools to find success and your project the attention it needs. Praise for Jonathan's Stage 32 Webinar "Really valuable and interesting content and told very clearly, concisely and just very open and down to earth, really enjoyed this webinar 5 stars!" -Jaye A. "Excellent and thorough presentation." -Christopher B. "Great host, very insightful webinar." -Matt D. "The webinar and host were both great - lots of useful info" -Matthew L.
Lab Full! If you are still interested in joining, contact firstname.lastname@example.org By popular demand, we're bringing in TV executive Anna Henry (who has 100% satisfaction with her webinars!) to teach a one-on-one TV pitch document writing lab! Need help with writing your TV series pitch document? Look no further! Anna's here to help. "I thought it was a great course and really helped me understand the format. Anna is knowledgeable and quickly cuts through to what can help your story better. Her notes on my script were insightful and really demonstrated her thorough experience." - Lee L. "Anna’s class was by far the most thorough, well put together, and organized screenwriting class I’ve ever taken. I have an MFA in filmmaking and, after graduating, I still felt as if I didn’t fully understand the structure of pilot writing. Anna’s class laid it out step by step and she went through every piece in detail. She was also extremely available to her students. During our one-on-one sessions, I expected to have a quick 15 minute call with her but she ended up speaking extensively with me about my story from outline through script stages. She really, truly cares for her students and is there to answer any questions, which, given her abundant experience in the industry, is a priceless piece of her labs. Thank you, Anna!" - Jacqueline D. "Anna was concise, and detailed. I've been working on log-lines/treatments/synopsis for 2 years for my scripts and never had it nailed like Anna was able to do. She rocks!" - Cheryl Lynn S. This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does everyone network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it for years and years, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch document (aka bible, aka treatment) comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, this document carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? How do you organize your ideas? What should be in a pitch? How detailed should you get? Should you start with a summary of the pilot? Should you have ideas for future episodes? What should you say about your characters? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. I have spent my career developing television projects with writers and selling those show ideas as a development executive, manager and producer. What I have found is that most screenwriters have taken classes that helped them learn about story structure, writing scenes, dialogue, etc. but writing a pitch is entirely different. Most writers need help with switching gears and selling their story in addition to telling it - which is the purpose of this lab. Payment plans are available - contact email@example.com for more details
To kick off your directing career with Roger Ebert calling your film "One of the best films of the year" you can pretty much be assured you're on a path to success. We are proud to present to you the director who has done just that - Michael Polish. After his Sundance darling Twin Falls Idaho garnered Roger Ebert's critical acclaim he has gone on to direct over 10 feature films including: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival) Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle) 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders Michael will be teaching the 2nd installment of our Stage 32 Masters of Craft series - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits. In this online event Michael will share with you how a professional director approaches a film from inception and carries it through to post-production including a discussion of available distribution options. The goal is to give you the agency to make your films without the necessity of the Hollywood studio system (though this information will be handy if that's your path as well). He will go in-depth about the director’s process from finding superior scripts and setting your priorities in pre-production to the challenges of running your set, leading your crew and balancing the demands of your producers. He’ll explain how to interact with everyone vital to your film’s success from producers and film executives to actors, cinematographers, and editors to get the best version of your film. Finally, Michael will share insider knowledge on effective methods to market and distribute your film that will give you the power to maximize your profits. From his experience writing and directing 10 feature films, he’ll share his war stories (like losing vital funding in the middle of a shoot) and his strategies for dealing with any obstacle that arises. You’ll be better equipped to deal with mishaps and avoid filmmaking pain points. If you want to make your film and you want to know where to start, how to proceed and how to ensure you walkaway with a masterpiece, this is the webinar for you! You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of what is necessary to succeed as an indie director and gain control over the direction of your career.