One of the most important career skills a screenwriter should learn is how to take a meeting. New screenwriters may dread these meetings, but preparation and knowledge of the development process can help even the most reticent writers express their visions clearly to people with the power to turn their screenplays into film and television. Thanks to the 20th Austin Film Festival and Conference, we heard from a panel of development executives spanning film, television and animation who offered their advice to screenwriters on how to take meetings and explained exactly what the development process looks like from their perspectives.
Moderated by script consultant Danny Manus, the panel “How to Take a Meeting & the Development Process” at the 20th Austin Film Festival and Conference featured the following development executives:
- Carrie Gillogly: Director of Scripted Programming at AMC; previously, Feature Development executive for Gerber Pictures at Warner Brothers (Gran Torino, Grudge Match)
- Erika Weinstein: Manager of Scripted Programming at AMC; previously worked in development at Darren Star Productions and Josephson Entertainment
- Diana Alvarez: Creative Executive, Gary Ross’ Larger Than Life Productions, Co-Producer, The Hunger Games, also worked on The Tale of Despereaux, Seabiscuit
- Maggie Malone: Director of Creative Development at Disney Animation Studios (Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, The Princess and The Frog); previously Director of Development for Gary Ross’s Larger Than Life Productions (The Tale of Despereaux,Seabiscuit)
Where Development Executives Find Scripts
New screenwriters tend to wonder how they can get their scripts in front of development executives. Not surprisingly, agents and managers are the gatekeepers. At AMC, Gillogly looks for scripts specifically from agents and managers to avoid being sued. Also, AMC will look for intellectual property (I.P.) to adapt. Weinstein elaborated that she works to create relationships with agents and managers to understand their tastes and their clients’ work. Weinstein typically reads anywhere from 5 to 50 scripts a week…
Read the rest of Learn About Taking Meetings & the Development Process from the Austin Film Festival, originally found on nofilmschool.