In this syllabus, you will find class dates & times, join links, assignments, and other instructions. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
ASSIGNMENT #1 - Material Submission for Coverage
**Material due no later than Tues 9/1**
ASSIGNMENT: CLICK HERE to submit the original feature or TV pilot screenplay of your choice.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Written Coverage will be provided back to you in time for your Interpreting Coverage session at the end of the month.
FORMAT: These 90-Min. Webinars take place on Sunday afternoons usually @ 4:00pm PT. They consist of a 30-60-min. lecture followed by 30-60-min. of Q&A (so come with questions!) There are at least 3x Sunday Webinars per month and all are included in your program. You’ll receive the topics, dates, & join links at the start of the month prior to the first Webinar. CLICK HERE to check out the upcoming Sunday Webinar schedule.
FORMAT: It's time to put your carefully crafted pitch to the test! This month, you have a $175 credit to book 5x Open Pitch Sessions of your choice (instructions were sent separately via email - let Nita know if you don’t have it). Come in with any questions you have!
Your host will walk you through…
ASSIGNMENT: Submit a one-pager directly to Briana including your writer bio, loglines, any traction you've gotten so far, and any questions you know you have about where to go from here. Due no later than 24 hrs prior to the session.
Below are your time slots:
*Please note as these calls are private, you will be held in a Waiting Room until your turn.
FORMAT: Knowing how to pitch is just half the battle - now it's time for some tools & tricks for figuring out the best potential matches to whom to pitch your projects! The art of researching target homes is luckily one that can be taught - in this session, your host will walk you through the process of researching target homes for your project on the internet.
ASSIGNMENT: Please submit directly to Joey a 1 paragraph bio written in the 3rd person. Your bio should include: where you're from, your brand, accolades/awards in the past 5 years, any experience that directly ties into your brand (i.e. working in the medical field and you have a couple of projects set in a hospital), anything that you consider unique about you as a human and writer. Due no later than 24 hrs prior to the session.
FORMAT: Joey will cover several more elements that are instrumental in helping writers find success in Top Tier. In the Top Tier Program, writers have been given the tools to properly research target homes that are potentially right for their projects. We also put together a marketing email to send out to execs including the writer's bio. This is a snapshot of who the writer is and what makes that writer unique. During the session, Joey will critique & edit your bio and help you identify the strongest elements about you to be sure to highlight at the beginning of your pitches. We will also use that bio to help you personalize your pitch and put a memorable button on it.
FORMAT: You will deliver your 5-7 min. verbal pitch & your host will take on a different exec "personality" for each pitch to help give you the skills to handle any type.
ASSIGNMENT: Please submit the screenplay in PDF format for ONE project directly to your assigned exec. In the body of the email, please include: Title, Format, Genre, Logline, Comps, & your Writer Bio. Due no later than 72 hrs. prior to the session.
FORMAT: Your host will give your script the real-world treatment as though it were an official submission. And, just like in the real world, she will stop reading the script as soon as she’s no longer engaged with the material. During the session, each writer will verbally pitch your brand as a writer followed by a discussion of where your host stopped reading the script - and why. Learn from the feedback given to you and the feedback given to your peers.
ABOUT YOUR HOST: Janet Jeffries has been an executive for Lawrence Bender Productions for 12+ years working in both features and television. LBP is an independent feature film company in Los Angeles, working with several independent financiers and sales companies. Next up, LBP has FONZO starring Tom Hardy in post-production and the Netflix feature THE HARDER THEY FALL is slated to shoot in 2020. It’s a period spaghetti western with an all-black cast and a hip hop soundtrack to star Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors. Bender/Brown is LBP's television company with projects in development with various streaming and premium cable networks. Credits include the Netflix limited series SEVEN SECONDS, Starz limited series FLESH AND BONE, and the CW series ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO. Lawrence Bender has produced projects including GOOD WILL HUNTING, PULP FICTION, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, HACKSAW RIDGE, and GRETA. Janet is an adjunct professor for the MFA in Screenwriting program at National University.
ABOUT YOUR HOST: Audrey Knox worked her way up from Receptionist to Manager at the Cartel. She has experience in both scripted and unscripted television, on set, in production, and in writers’ rooms, and she has a BFA in Screenwriting from Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Company clients' credits include ROYAL PAINS, CHARMED, BOJACK HORSEMAN, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, and HAPPY! to name a few.
PREP WORK: CLICK HERE to download the script, BLONDE AMBITION.
ASSIGNMENT: Please read the screenplay and write two pages of notes on what worked and what could be improved (no synopsis, just notes) utilizing the template found HERE. Send your notes in PDF format directly to Chris. Due no later than 72 hrs. prior to the session.
FORMAT: Chris will lecture on coverage, how executives use it, and how you can begin thinking about your own projects like an executive does.
ASSIGNMENT: Submit the Coverage you received on your script directly to Terra. Due no later than 48 hrs prior to the session.
FORMAT: Terra will read your Coverage and help you interpret the notes, how to apply them, and how to formulate goals moving into Step 3: Portfolio Polishing.
PREP WORK: CLICK HERE to download your Prep Work document.
ASSIGNMENT: Send your writer bio in PDF format directly to your Exec. Include a nice (short!) greeting in the body of the email. Due no later than 72 hrs. prior to the session.
FORMAT: You will have 30 mins with the exec to practice your general meeting skills. You can talk about yourself/your projects, ask questions/for advice, etc… Click the join link 10 min prior to your appointment (preliminary schedule below). You’ll be put in a waiting room until it's your turn. Each writer gets a private 30-min session. If you're the first person, just be on time!
ADVICE: The biggest piece of advice for your session (and for any general meeting you go on) is to make sure you come in with questions. Don't rely on the exec to solely lead the conversation. That can drive the exec crazy and make it feel like the time is dragging. Be conversational. Ask them questions. Let them take a moment to escape their work and have some fun. Talk about something not related to screenwriting at all.
Schedule - Corey:
ABOUT YOUR HOST: Corey Trent Ackerman joined the Cartel in the fall of 2016 as a manager. Prior to joining, he was the driving force behind FreshMaker Media, a literary management and production company, representing TV writers, screenwriters, and filmmakers in all media. Ackerman previously held the position of Vice President of Development and Production for Inferno Entertainment. Prior to joining Inferno, he spearheaded development for Southpaw Entertainment, producers of AUGUST RUSH and THE SPACE BETWEEN US. His first executive position was Creative Executive at Red Wagon Productions. Prior to that, he was assistant to Dede Gardner, then Vice President of Production at Paramount Pictures. Ackerman attended Townsend Harris High School at New York’s Queens College and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Schedule - Devon:
ABOUT YOUR HOST: Devon Byers is currently a Literary Manager/Producer with First Friday Entertainment, a company he co-founded. He was formerly a Creative Executive at production company Ideate Media, and before that, an award-winning freelance producer working on a variety of content. Devon realized the importance of fresh and unique voices that should be pushed to diversify the entertainment landscape and began this new venture. He hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, and received his MFA from the American Film Institute.
ASSIGNMENT: Submit to Dorian directly: (1) a document containing the feedback reports you received for all of your Open Pitch Sessions for the month. Make sure to note the exec name, company, and whether it was a verbal or written pitch for each. (2) The most recent draft of your 2-pg. written pitch in Word format. Due no later than 12 hrs prior to the session.
FORMAT: Interpreting and implementing the notes given to you by execs on your pitch can be confusing and sometimes even seem contradictory. We'll help you analyze the feedback reports you received from execs following your Open Pitch Sessions for the month to help you cut through the noise and get to the "note behind the note"!
ASSIGNMENT: Send your screenplay in PDF format to Joey. Due no later than 12 hrs prior to the session. *Not all submitted scripts will be utilized for the session.
FORMAT: Joey will give several volunteer writers from the Marketing Intensive (Step 2 of the Career Writer Program) specific feedback on their opening 3 pages. The pages will be shared on-screen with the rest of the group so everybody can learn from the feedback. The Opening Pages Analysis will start with a lecture on some of the immediate reasons an executive might pass on your work… and you might not even know you're doing one of these things! Remember, most execs won't read past page 5 if they aren't hooked from the start.
*This session is open to all members of the Career Writer Program.