[PPL] Syllabus - September 2020

Welcome to Pitch Prep LITE!

In this syllabus, you will find class dates & times, join links, assignments, and other instructions. Questions? Email terra@roadmapwriters.com 


1. Watch these Webinars: 

2. Review all of the materials in the Resources Folder, which contains: 

  1. A Hitchhiker's Guide to Pitching
  2. General Written Pitch Guidelines of what should be included in a written pitch 
  3. ScriptMag article on Common Logline Mistakes
  4. Exec Activities Tracker Template Excel sheet - we’ll talk about this @ Orientation
  5. Example Feature synopses for a few well-known (and 1 random) films
  6. Example pitches for Features and TV (both 1-Hr & 30-Min.)
  7. How to Write a One-Page Synopsis + 11-Point Synopsis Exercise*
  8. Notes on TV Structure + 8-Point Synopsis Exercise*

*Please complete one of these exercises to compose your initial synopsis for Assignment #1.

3x Sundays @ 4:00pm - 5:30pm PT
Sunday Webinars
Moderator: Briana Hansen (Roadmap’s Director of Writer Outreach) 
Contact: briana@roadmapwriters.com
JOIN LINKS: will be distributed at the start of the month, prior to each Webinar

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.

Sunday 8/30 @ 6:00pm - 9:30pm PT
Orientation & Logline/Comps Lecture
Hosted by: Dorian Connelley (Roadmap’s COO) 
Contact: dorian@roadmapwriters.com
JOIN LINK: https://roadmapwriters.zoom.us/j/535730604
(Meeting ID: 535 730 604 | Password: RMrocks!)

FORMAT: We will cover the ZOOM video conferencing interface that will be used for the program, Career Writer Program advice & orientation topics, and begin the Written Pitch Clinic Lecture. We’ll cover the Title, Format, Genre, Logline, and Comps sections. You’ll then have 10-15 min. to compose your logline after which we’ll workshop each writer’s logline together.

Logline Workshop
Hosted by: Terra Joy (Roadmap’s Director of Consultations & Marketing)
Contact: terra@roadmapwriters.com 
JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 854 282 759 82 | Password: RMrocks!)

FORMAT: You’ll have 10-15 min. to compose your logline based on the lecture. Then you’ll workshop each writer’s logline together with Terra as a group.

Wednesday 9/2 @ 6:30pm - 9:00pm PT
Verbal Pitch Prep Lecture
Moderator: Dorian Connelley (Roadmap’s COO) | dorian@roadmapwriters.com 
Hosted by: Chris Deckard (Literary Manager, Fictional Entity) 
Contact: deckardroadmap@gmail.com
JOIN LINK: https://roadmapwriters.zoom.us/j/109914601
(Meeting ID: 109 914 601 | Password: RMrocks!)

This lecture and Q&A will cover:

Sunday 9/6 @ 6:00pm - 9:30pm PT
Written Pitch Prep Lecture
Hosted by: Dorian Connelley (Roadmap’s COO)
Contact: dorian@roadmapwriters.com
JOIN LINK: https://roadmapwriters.zoom.us/j/747697990
(Meeting ID: 747 697 990 | Password: RMrocks!)

FORMAT: We’ll continue the rest of the Written Pitch Clinic Lecture including Setting/World, About Me, Characters, Synopsis, Season One, and Series sections. Following the lecture, we’ll look through the notes on the marked-up pitch documents (which you will have submitted prior - see page 1 for the ASSIGNMENT) for anyone who wants to stay. You will receive a Word and/or Google Docs copy of your marked-up pitch document to use to complete your revision for the following week.

ASSIGNMENT #1: First Draft of Your 2-Pg. Pitch

**DUE no later than Friday 9/11 @ 9:00am PT**

Submit to Terra (terra@roadmapwriters.com) as a WORD or Google Docs file: 

A draft of your 2-pg. pitch including all sections outlined in the General Written Pitch Guidelines in the Resources Folder

  1. Read all the materials in the Resources Folder to help you get an idea of how to present your project.
  2. Don’t worry if you don’t quite know what to put in all of the sections. Complete as many sections as you can. Focus on your Synopsis. 
  3. For TV, don’t forget to include a Season One arc + Series blurb. 

Sunday 9/13 @ 5:00pm - 8:30pm PT
Written Pitch Prep Clinic
Hosted by: Terra Joy (Roadmap’s Director of Consultations & Marketing) 
Contact: terra@roadmapwriters.com 

JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 835 930 022 56 | Password: RMrocks!)

FORMAT: Terra will have marked up your revised pitch documents ahead of time and during the session we will read through each writer’s pitch together in its entirety, fixing any last issues & areas of confusion along the way.

Wednesday 9/16 @ 5:00pm - 7:00pm PT
Verbal Pitch Prep Clinic
Hosted by: Alexandra Davies (Roadmap’s Director of Education) 
Contact: alex@roadmapwriters.com 
JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 861 688 867 47 | Password: RMrocks!)

PREP WORK: Start thinking about how you translate your written pitch into a 5-7 min. verbal pitch. Practice it in the shower, with your dog, or to your kids!

This lecture will cover:

**Following the lecture, you will deliver your verbal pitch to Alex for practice and notes.

Sunday 9/20 @ 11:00am - 12:30pm PT
Branding Clinic
Hosted by: Alexandra Davies (Roadmap’s Director of Education)
Contact: alex@roadmapwriters.com 
JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 870 519 509 29 | Password: RMrocks!)


ASSIGNMENT: Prepare a personal logline based on the blueprint given in the lecture and your own analysis of your portfolio and point of view.

FORMAT: During the session, we'll re-touch on a few tentpoles of branding and then focus on an interactive dive in with each writer's personal logline, their key ideas, how they derived them, and really focus on the creation of the most effective logline for each individual.

Tuesday 9/22 @ 6:00pm - 8:30pm PT
Verbal Pitch Roundtable #1
Moderator: Terra Joy (Roadmap’s Director of Consultations & Marketing) 
Hosted by: Dan Seco (Manager, Schemers Entertainment)
Contact: secoroadmap@gmail.com 
JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 849 271 843 16 | Password: RMrocks!)


FORMAT: You'll take turns delivering your verbal pitch in a Roundtable setting and receive feedback from the exec on strengths and areas of improvement specific to your verbal pitch. Learn from notes on your own pitch and from notes given to your peers!

  • You should aim for your pitch to last 5-7 min. total, but don’t kill yourself over it.

ABOUT YOUR HOST: Daniel Seco previously served as a motion picture literary coordinator at Writ Large and an assistant for a motion picture literary agent at CAA before joining Schemers Entertainment as a literary manager in 2018. He also worked at Resolution where he started as an intern before working in the mailroom, as a floater, and in the motion picture department for a talent and literary agent. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Seco worked as a sports journalist and special education teacher. He is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Florida. Schemers Entertainment is a full-service production and management company founded by producer/manager Gavin Dorman. Schemers represents a diverse slate of writer, director, and producer clients whose award-winning works have appeared at numerous film festivals - including Sundance, TIFF, and SXSW - and have been financed, produced, and/or distributed by some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Blumhouse, Netflix, and Hulu. Schemers prides itself on molding up-and-coming talent and helping them transition into the studio world. Prior to launching Schemers, Dorman honed his craft as a development executive at Vertigo Entertainment, where he helped shape a number of the company's biggest studio hits including THE LEGO MOVIE, IT, and DEATH NOTE. Overseeing the "Dare to Scare" competition on behalf of Schemers is Daniel Seco, who joined the company as a literary manager in 2018 after cutting his teeth at several agencies, management, and production companies including CAA, Writ Large, and Netflix.

Tuesday 9/29 @ 6:00pm - 8:30pm PT
Verbal Pitch Roundtable #2
Moderator: Terra Joy (Roadmap’s Director of Consultations & Marketing) 
Hosted by: Stacey Smart Stanley (Film Finance Consultant, The Smart Stanley Group)
JOIN LINK: CLICK HERE (Meeting ID: 848 836 880 29 | Password: RMrocks!)

FORMAT: You'll take turns delivering your verbal pitch in a Roundtable setting and receive feedback from the exec on strengths and areas of improvement specific to your verbal pitch. Learn from notes on your own pitch and from notes given to your peers!

ABOUT YOUR HOST: Stacey Stanley is an industry veteran experience in Development, Production Finance, and Production Oversight. She began her entertainment career working under veteran distribution executive & Oscar winner John W. Hyde at his Producer Sales Organization in 1999 and then followed Hyde to Anchor Bay, where eventually she would be given the opportunity to head the fledgling production company’s new live-action division, NEW ARC Entertainment. Under Stacey’s direction, the company financed and produced more than 15 indie features in its first 18 months. As the new Executive in Charge of Production for the division (renamed IDT Entertainment), she led the division into its first forays in television, producing the EMMY nominated series MASTERS OF HORROR (Showtime), MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION (ABC) and PAINKILLER JANE (SyFy). In 2007 Starz Entertainment purchased IDT Entertainment and asked Stacey to stay on to run the production unit of what would become STARZ Media, the studio arm for the new company. In 2008, Stacey shifted her focus to creative development overseeing new series including the EMMY nominated STARZ Inside and Martin Lawrence’s First Amendment, as well as overall development deals with Ludacris, Martin Lawrence, and a number of showrunners and talents. In 2010, she left Starz to become the VP of Development for Indomina Media Group where she advised the International Financier on all creative development, packaging, and production decisions for the company including the overseeing development on the Sam Jackson feature adaptation AFRO SAMURAI. In 2012 Stacey became VP of International Business Development for Lantica Media the new financing and production division launched by Indomina Group’s Pinewood Dominican Republic where she worked closely advising the executive committee on production financing and domestic deals. Stacey produced two features, “Ladrones” and “Complices” for Lantica between 2014 and 2016, and was associate producer on the Emmy Award-winning web series “Acting Dead”. Currently, Stacey lives in Burbank California where, in 2020, she will launch The Smart Stanley Group, a film finance consulting firm.

Wednesday 9/30 @ 6:30pm - 8:00pm PT
Opening Pages Analysis
Hosted by: Joey Tuccio (Roadmap’s CEO)
Contact: joey@roadmapwriters.com
(Meeting ID: 144 493 212 | Password: RMrocks!)

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.