pitchfest notes – How to Get, Keep and Manage Your Agent or Manager, moderated by Chad Gervich

here are notes from the panel – “How to Get, Keep & Manage Your Agent or Manager” moderated by chad gervich. chad wrote a book called Small Screen, Big Picture that is required reading for those trying to break into television writing.

difference between agent and manager?

agent can legally procure employment.

if you’re just trying to be a writer, having an agent might be enough.

if you’re trying for a multi-faceted career, like writing and also directing or acting, a manager might be helpful.

a manager can act as a producer. if the script doesn’t sell, then the manager can try to act as producer to give it a second life.

agents get you a better deal.
managers make you a better writer.

managers act as a creative partner.
help you figure out which projects to write.

when breaking in, often a writer will get a manager first, then after they get a job, get an agent.

it helps agents and managers if you have a clear vision of what you want to do. if you want to do multiple things, like write comedy AND drama, pick one first.


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i have my cast!

i already knew tw leshner and was familiar with his work, so i was thrilled when i asked him to be in my movie and he agreed. it was such a relief to start preproduction knowing you have a solid actor! check out tw’s site: http://www.twleshner.com

i still needed to find 2 actresses for the roles of jen and sonia. i posted an ad on la casting and got around 1500 submissions!


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short film update – camera, crew, location, callbacks

i’m getting closer to making my movie, and there are only 2 weeks left for my indiegogo campaign! i have some cool perks including consultations, script reviews, and artwork, so please check it out and donate if you can.



we’re shooting on the RED epic!

a few movies shot on this camera:

  • prometheus
  • amazing spider man
  • hobbit

my DP is going to do a great job and it’s going to look amazing.


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notes from carole kirschner’s class – 5 secrets of a killer pitch

here are notes from “Five Secrets of a Killer Pitch” with Carole Kirschner, from the free GAPF class this past weekend. carole runs the cbs writers mentoring program, and wrote a book Hollywood Game Plan which i haven’t read but have heard good things about.

the notes were taken by fellow writer beau henry, who won the austin film festival sitcom teleplay category with his office spec in 2008. you can follow him on twitter @BeauHenry. thanks for sharing your notes beau!

– – –

The awesome trailer you can’t stop talking about.
The tantalizing appetizer.
An artfully structured and well-rehearsed performance.


  1. Make a personal connection.
  2. Introduce your project.
  3. Deliver your creative pitch.
  4. Strategic close.

SECRET #1 – Personal Connection

Carole says making a personal connection with the person you’re pitching to will double your chances of a sale.

The person your pitching to is “looking for someone I like and want to work with.”  You have to be that person.

Start off your meeting with either a compliment or a question.
– “I’m a huge fan of your work on ________.”   OR
– “How did you come to be active in such-and-such charity organization?”

And you may want to consider saying, “I’m not here to sell you anything, I just want your feedback.” –reserved for Pitch Fest-type situations, obviously you don’t want to say that in a meeting.

Come up with a Personal Logline (you can find more info about this at parkonthelot.com).


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notes from jen grisanti’s tv pilot class at the pitchfest

i went to pitchfest (GAPF) this weekend and attended some of their free classes. here are my notes from “Writing The TV Pilot Script” with Jen Grisanti. i haven’t read her book, but people said she basically went over what was in her book.

jen thinks a logline should contain these elements:

  • setup of who
  • create empathy
  • dilemma
  • action
  • goal
  • twist of irony

add fiction to your truth to find your voice.
your life is the well of your story.

think of some pivotal moments in your life.


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auditions for my short film

here are a few headshots of some of the actresses that came in to audition for jen. i was looking for a girl next door sort of look, but beyond that, i didn’t really have any preconceived notions as far as appearance goes.


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update on my short film – you will meet a sexy stranger

i’m in the thick of pre-production on my short film, you will meet a sexy stranger.

this isn’t quite a movie poster, but it’s the cover photo for my movie’s facebook page.


i found a great co-producer to help me make my movie, leila ciszewski. she has experience as a producer, director, AD, and is also a photographer. www.leilacphotography.com


after looking through over a hundred reels, i found my DP! matt valentine worked as DP and camera operator on parks and rec, the office, dollhouse, and entourage, along with a bunch of other work including shorts, features, docs, and unscripted tv shows. he’s very experienced and very talented, and i’m thrilled to be working with him! here are some screenshots you might recognize:


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i’m making a new short film – you will meet a sexy stranger

i’m really excited to have started preproduction on my 6th short film! i was too busy last year because of the workload from the nick fellowship, but now i’m not working and so i wanted to make good use of this time.

you will meet a sexy stranger

a comedy about a guy, a girl, and a psychic.

here are the nuts and bolts:

  • 6 page script
  • 3 characters
  • 1 location
  • 1 day shoot.


i want to work with SAG actors, so i have to become a SAG signatory. there’s a lot of paperwork involved, but working with SAG gives me a much bigger pool of talent to draw from.

luckily, i already have an actor for my movie, tw leshner. he’s been in a bunch of commercials, including this one for tmobile (i will keep him right side up in my movie.)


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i started a pilot writers’ group

i finished revising my sitcom pilot a few months ago, and settled on the concept for my next pilot. that first pilot took months to write, though, and i wanted my second one to go much quicker.

i thought about taking a writing class, but i’m unemployed and money is tight. more importantly, classes are so dependent on the talent and work ethic of the other students. instead, i decided to start a writers’ group specifically to work on tv comedy pilots. this way, i get to hand pick who i work with.

most writers’ groups are run in a workshop format, where you send your work before you meet, then you get notes when you meet up. or sometimes, you read your work out loud at the meeting, and then get notes right after. those formats are fine, but i wanted this group to be run like a tv writers’ room.


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