Advice for Screenwriters from an Award-Winning Producer & Repped Screenwriter
8 min readJun 7, 2022

My name is Shaun. I am a Stage 32 Exec, Gotham Award-winning independent film producer, member of the Producers Guild of America, Repped Screenwriter, Script Consultant and educator.

I’ve been in the film and television industry for 28 years and producing for 14 of those years. In that time I have been privileged to work with and learn from some of the greatest filmmakers and performers in our industry — from James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and Judd Apatow to Joe Wright and Peter Hedges. From Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken and Ben Stiller to Courteney Cox and Jack Black.

As a writer, I have pitched everyone from Imagine Entertainment, Chernin and Temple Hill to Macro, Scrap Paper Pics, Keshet and Warner Brothers.

Just wanted to provide a few of my bonafides before I share what I’m going to share… and I should say up front, if you don’t like what you read here, “don’t @ me.” I’m trying to help… in my typical, brutally honest style. As a writer, I know the value of a straight-forward, honest assessment.

After a number of interactions recently with writers both through my consulting page on my personal website and through Stage 32 I thought I would offer some free advice here to get you started off on the right foot.

So here goes:

You have to think of the interactions here on Stage 32 (and out in the world) as more than just a one-off consult on your material. It’s like with actors and casting sessions… You’re never just auditioning for the role you’ve been brought in on. The session is an opportunity for an actor to display some personality for the casting director or assistant so that, if you’re not right for that particular role, you might be brought in for something else in the future.

So too with Stage 32 and writers. It’s not merely a conversation about your script or pitch deck. It’s a sample the Exec can keep in mind for the future. And booking a consult gives the Exec a sense of not just your writing, but of you as a person. Are you receptive to notes and feedback or is it all kind of litigating your “why this, why that”?

I get it, as a new writer it can be hard to take a note… it can all feel very…

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