NYWIFT Blog

6 Tips for Hooking a Reader in the First Pages of Your Pilot

The first pages of your pilot need to be solid — as in, a representation of your very best work — and they need to establish us in the world succinctly. Last year, NYWIFT Member and WWFC Co-Founder Katrina Medoff read hundreds of pilot scripts submitted for Women’s Weekend Film Challenge’s inaugural pilot accelerator, and she saw some general themes emerge for how to make the opening of your pilot stand out. Read on for her six tips, and learn how to apply to the next WWFC pilot accelerator.

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5 Exercises for Strengthening Your Pilot Script’s Cold Open

The first scenes of your pilot need to capture the reader’s attention, because you never know how far a busy Hollywood exec (or their assistant) will read before losing interest. You need to introduce your characters and story, show off your writing skills, and give the reader something they haven’t seen before — it’s a lot of pressure! Women’s Weekend Film Challenge Co-Founder NYWIFT Member Katrina Medoff offers some exercises to make those crucial first pages shine.

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WIFT Around the World: Postcard from MIPCOM Cannes

NYWIFT member Panayiota Pagoulatos returned to Cannes a second time this year to attend MIPCOM, where she was pleased to find celebrations of women and diversity in entertainment, and to preview several exciting new TV series.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Fay Gartenberg

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Fay Gartenberg! Gartenberg is an Assistant Editor and a member of the Motion Picture Editor's Guild (IATSE Local 700). Their projects span across narrative film, documentary film, scripted television, and finishing. Prior to working in the film industry, they provided video therapy for patients and families at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital. Gartenberg talked to us about their favorite projects, latest binge-watch recommendations, and approach to work/life balance.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Board Member: Kia Brooks

NYWIFT is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season! We sat down with new NYWIFT Board Member Kia Brooks who, as Deputy Director of longtime NYWIFT partner The Gotham Film and Media Institute (formerly IFP), is no stranger to the NYWIFT community! Brooks created The Gotham’s Owning It program that supports women and non-binary media makers and entrepreneurs who break boundaries in the media and entertainment industry, and developed the Expanding Communities program, which provides resources, community space, and industry access to individuals with Disabilities and BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creators.

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Highlights from the 2022 AMC Networks Summit 

The AMC Networks Summit held at 74Wythe in Brooklyn, NY on September 28, 2022 brought together talent and network executives for moderated discussions centered around the company’s content and legacy from the past, present, and future — and to dissect the new and epic worlds coming to AMCN’s platforms, and introduce the next seminal characters that will capture the hearts and minds of viewers.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Isi Laborde

We are thrilled to welcome new NYWIFT member Isi Laborde! Isi is a Brooklyn-based actor (AEA, SAG/AFTRA). Her film roles include Return to Montauk, directed by Academy Award-winner Volker Schlöndorff, and Jay-Z’s music video “Smile,” directed by Grammy-winner Miles Jay. She has had TV appearances in Facebook TV's Strangers and Paramount's Younger. Theater credits include The Bacchae at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club and Skip to My Lou at Theater for the New City. Isi spoke to us about her craft, how she kept up her creativity during COVID, and her dream role!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Kelly Reagan

Welcome, new NYWIFT member Kelly Reagan! We are so happy to introduce Kelly, who has so much to offer our community. She is a four-time Emmy-nominated producer and writer who has a deep history with major networks like Nickelodeon and Oprah's OWN. She has worked on many projects as a senior writer and producer, including one featuring great names like Michelle Obama (and she even received a letter from the First Family after filming together). We’re thrilled to have her join New York Women in Film & Television and can't wait to see what she does next.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Grace-Mary Burega

Welcome to the NYWIFT community, Grace-Mary Burega! Grace-Mary is a composer for film, TV, and video games as well as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist on saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Her compositions have been on TV PSAs and in short and feature films, and she has scored over 30 films to date. Grace Notes is her media composing company, specializing in custom music for a variety of projects such as documentary, horror, comedy, animation, and more. Grace-Mary is a recent Masters in Film Scoring graduate of Berklee Online. She is the Secretary of Women in Film and Video of New England and Secretary of the Female Composer Safety League. Grace-Mary spoke to us about her favorite projects, latest game obsessions, and how Women in Film organizations have shaped her career.

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Kathryn O’Kane on the Emmys, Jeff Goldblum, and the Challenges of Pandemic Productions

When NYWIFT Board Member Kathryn O’Kane headed off to direct season two of The World According to Jeff Goldblum for Disney+ it was, in her words, “the worst of times” – the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccines were available and film production felt particularly dangerous and fraught. But the difficult work paid off, and has led to the best of times! Season two of the docuseries, which follows the beloved quirky actor as he pulls on the thread of a familiar topic to unravel a world of fascinating secrets, has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special. 

We checked in with Kathryn to offer our congratulations, learn more about the filming process, and discuss what’s next for her.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Producer Su Kim

The 2022 Tribeca premiere "Sansón and Me" traces a young immigrant’s path from coastal Mexico to a life sentence for murder in California. The harrowing tale does not unfold in a traditional documentary format, but instead uses evocative recreations – many of them featuring members of Sansón’s own family as actors – to explore the meaning of a life fragmented by poverty, borders, and incarceration. We spoke to producer Su Kim about the team’s unusual, wildly creative, and ultimately deeply powerful approach to sharing Sansón’s story.

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Snapshots from the 2022 Tribeca Festival

Judith Davis recounts her experience volunteering at, and later covering, the Tribeca Festival over the last 20 years, and shares highlights and photos from the star-studded 2022 event.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Producer Steffie van Rhee

Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Violet Du Feng

Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Festival Director Cara Cusumano

We kick off our Tribeca coverage with a conversation with Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and VP of Programming! Cara previews exciting changes to this year's festival - including a new name! - as well as some special appearances and events.

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What’s in Your Toolkit: Naomi Wolff Lachter

NYWIFT and USA Local 829 member Naomi Wolff Lachter has designed the costumes for feature films, dozens of plays and musicals, and assistant designed on several major TV series. Every day she is on the job, Naomi posts a motivational saying from her whiteboard on her Instagram account, @wolffie78. She offered us insight into her philosophy – and why good vibes are contagious.

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Misha Calvert’s New Comedy “Strut” Centering on Female Sexuality Premieres on Revry TV June 18

Revry TV’s new original series Strut slashes through taboos at every level, from its relatable, sex working ensemble to the female creative team, queer creator, and LGTBQ-heavy crew. From award-winning creator NYWIFT Member Misha Calvert (writer, star), Strut explores the complexities of sex work from the female gaze

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S. Casper Wong on Her Filmmaking Journey: Global Peace Film Festival

NYWIFT Board Member S. Casper Wong is an award-winning New York-based filmmaker, technology lawyer, social entrepreneur, activist, and Founder of OO Media. She is also the founding chair of Asian American Women Media Makers and is on the board of directors at NYWIFT, leading the innovation initiative. She recently spoke to Global Peace Film Festival about her 20-year journey in filmmaking.

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