Panel 3: SATURDAY OCTOBER 22, 2016 – 3pm – 5:30pm
Independent Pitching Panel and Pitch Fest: Learn what you need to know to sell your film or idea
Venue: London West Hollywood 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood 90069 (screening room)
We explore the avenues available for independent filmmakers to get their films made through the pitching process. We will have a panel of expert managers, producers, writers, and development executives who will give pointers and reveal the process of pitching in Hollywood. We will have a Q&A with the expert panelists and then you will get a chance to pitch your idea or script in front of our panel – and get direct feedback on your idea, style, and presentation. Don’t want to pitch? Just come sit, listen, and learn. Q&A to follow.
Moderating the panel is Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein.
Moderator: Devorah (“Devo”) Cutler-Rubenstein
Devorah (“Devo”) Cutler-Rubenstein’s passion for storytelling and art brought her to Cal Arts where she earned her BFA in Film/Art from California Institute of the Arts. Most recently she completed her Masters in Professional Writing at USC, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. Over the years, Devo’s done everything from helping writers of short films on the way to production to editing novels and non fiction books for the publishing markets.
As a dramaturge, she founded New Play Productions with RADA’s Gillian Eaton to develop, produce and co-direct domestic and world premieres for the stage. She then partnered with producer/actor Mary Saxon for four domestic premiers, which garnered several Drama-Logue Critic Awards and made the LA Times Top Ten list. Several of her projects were optioned and adapted for the screen.
Simultaneously, Devo launched a career in the executive movie ranks, and became Director of Literary Affairs at Columbia Pictures TV, and spearheaded Columbia Pictures’ NY Playwright’s Workshop. As Director of the Story Department at Marble Arch Productions, she worked on such TV projects as the Emmy award-winning FRIENDLY FIRE and features, including MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL and ZORRO THE GAY BLADE. She then lent her talent to help launch major re-releases of foreign and domestic Kurosawa and Capra classics as VP of Marketing for Connoisseur Video. She made her filmic directing debut after winning the prestigious DISCOVERY PROGRAM AWARD (others who won that year were Griffin Dunne, Christine Lathi and Rob Lowe). She co-wrote the critically acclaimed PEACOCK BLUES, starring Poppy Montgomery and Bill Forsythe, which aired on Showtime’s STORIES FROM THE EDGE. The 35MM featurette was a selection for a number of festivals, including DEVORAH CUTLER-RUBENSTEIN Educator / Writer’s Coach-Editor / Screenwriter the NY Film Festival, winning Audience Favorite and Best Short Film at the Moondance International Film Festival.
Most recently, she is revisiting NOT AFRAID TO LAUGH – 16 years later. It’s a reprisal of an original documentary about using humor to heal. Formerly the doc was nominated for a Peabody Award, won a Communicator Award and is archived in The Museum of Broadcasting for “excellence, historical significance, and social impact.” Academy Award nominee Ross Spears tapped Cutler to adapt and direct multiple narrative sequences for the PBS documentary TELL ABOUT THE SOUTH. The independent film, focusing on literary giants of Southern fiction, was shot in North Carolina and Virginia.
For the last fifteen years Devo has been focusing on helping writers and screenwriters craft fiction, non-fiction and cross-platform media projects, with an emphasis on short films as an adjunct professor at various universities. She has written creatively for the literary scene with published poems, articles on the craft of writing, and she is a featured writer in NOW WRITE! SCREENPLAYS and NOW WRITE! SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND HORROR for Tarcher/Penguin, published in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Now at USC for the last ten years, she continues to help coach students from around the world write and direct short films through USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program. As a working writer, she is a member of the WGA. Prior to starting her teaching career, Devo wrote for television and the movie business. Screenplays for film and TV episodic included work-for-hire at ABC, Columbia Pictures, Fries Entertainment, Interscope Entertainment, among others. Hoping to inspire the craft-career conversation for writers, she travels the world speaking at conferences, film festivals, and at pitch fests. Her articles, mentoring and seminars led her to be chosen Best Pitching Coach 2012 by Hollywood & Vine Magazine.
Her forthcoming book “DATING YOUR CHARACTER… a Sexy Guide to Screenwriting for Movies and TV,” is due from Stairway Press, Spring 2016. As CEO of The Script (& Novel) Broker ®, she helps writers get their material ready to market. Devo lives in a house in West Hollywood, California with her husband, Scott, her dog Jumper-Jaxson, a cat Tsunami, two birds, Delilah and Samson, and two teenaged koi fish, Homer and Odyssey.
Dr. Beverly J. Graf
Dr. Beverly J. Graf lives and works in Los Angeles wearing three hats as writer, adjunct professor and story consultant.
She teaches film studies at UCLA, UCLA Extension and Pepperdine University. Before teaching and working as a writer and story consultant, Beverly sat on the other side of the desk, working for many years as Vice President of Development and Associate Producer for director Gregory Hoblit at Abilene Pictures. During her tenure at Abilene they produced five movies: Primal Fear, Fallen, Frequency, Hart’s War, Fracture, and Untraceable. They also shot a few t.v. pilots including one for a futuristic police show titled NYPD 2069, and Wanted and sold two more t.v. pilots to CBS and Paramount respectively. Abilene is also known for television megahits NYPD Blues and L.A. Law.
Last summer marked the publication of her first short story, Shikata Ga Nai, in the Sisters-in-Crime anthology, Last Exit to Murder. She is currently at work on a rewrite of her first sci-fi mystery novel featuring the same detectives. Beverly has also done one script doctor rewrite for Buena Vista, and optioned another story.
On the academic side her article: Arya, Katniss & Merida: Empowering Girls Through the Amazonian Archetype was published this fall in Classical Myth on Screen, edited by Monica Cyrino and Meredith Safran. (Palgrave/Macmillan 2015). She has worked all manner of jobs in the film industry including costume assistant, story analyst, subtitle translator, line producer, and corporate vice president for German director Percy Adlon. Her Ph.D. and M.A., both in Classics, are from Princeton University. My B.A. is from Dartmouth College.
David Kohner Zuckerman
David Kohner Zuckerman is a Hollywood Producer whose feature, “The Fourth Noble Truth,” was released earlier this year, while his “Strictly Sexual” is the #1 most watched movie of all-time on Hulu. David’s other producing credits include “All I Want for Christmas” (Hallmark), “Chump Change” (Miramax) & “Caught in the Act” (Lifetime). Before heading DKZ Films, David ran Development for Silver Lion Films, where he worked on “Man on Fire” & “Crocodile Dundee in L.A.” David’s also a licensed psychotherapist, and the owner of the popular website for writers, Virtual Pitch Fest.
The Barnes Sisters: Sheila & Mary Ann
The Barnes sisters were raised by their dad in a tavern in Southern Illinois, a region famous for two things – the world’s biggest lump of coal and its supermax prison. With their dating pool limited to convicts and having zero talent for coal mining, the sisters packed up their stories and headed to California.
They began their career writing for Richard Jeni’s sit-com PLATYPUS MAN, then sold their comedy feature AS YOU WISH to Bill Mechanic’s Pandemonium. Passionate about features and television, the sisters were Staff Writers on ABC’s LAST MAN STANDING, then landed feature assignment WIDOWS’ WORKSHOP. They’ve served as script doctors on indie thriller ABBEY GRACE and on EVERMOOR, the Disney Channel Worldwide’s first live-action series which premiered in 160 countries last fall. The Barnes sisters’ drafts got both projects greenlit. Most recently, they’ve been adapting the popular Italian show Alex & Company for the Disney Channel Worldwide. In addition to winning coveted fellowships including ABC/Disney Native American, and Fox, where their sci-fi pilot was optioned, Sheila and Mary Ann were selected by the prestigious Humanitas New Voices Program. The Barnes sisters live together with their husbands and brother, all in the same house near the Hollywood sign. Yes, it’s weird. They’ve written a comedy pilot about it. The sisters are repped by David McIlvain at Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Brad Rosenfeld at Abrams Artists Agency.
Beginning his career at Warner Brothers as an intern and moving up to the mailroom at William Morris, David Warden has always believed in the mantra of a good story makes a good movie.Having been involved in the sales of everything from Witness to Sleepless in Seattle 2 Pac Man and Journey to the Center of the Earth, David was instrumental in getting the highest price ever paid for a single screenplay, Deja Vu. Characterizing himself as a cynical optimist, he still believes that everything begins with a story and is always excited to hear new ideas.