Town Hall: What Producers Actually Want

A producer can be a screenwriter's best friend. You just need one great conversation and a project that fits the bill for what they're looking for.

How hard can it be?

Okay, yes, it may feel like the stars have to magically align for a project to gain momentum, but finding an advocate who is passionate about your work is a huge leap forward.

In this panel discussion, producers Beth Bruckner O'Brien and Sandra Leviton will give a behind-the-curtain perspective on what it takes to find, acquire, steam-roll, and eventually produce a great project—also some tips on what you can do to get your work into the proper hands (aka: producers). Leave no rock unturned …

[Recorded October 19, 2022]


Beth is a writer, producer and entertainment executive who has worked on 36 films during her career. Currently, Beth is developing and packaging a slate of films as an independent producer, including THE NEST, a domestic violence thriller Beth wrote, with Natalia Leite (MFA, The Handmaid’s Tale) attached to direct, and Halle Berry on board to produce with her production company run by Holly Jeter.  She is also producing the film adaptation of the bestselling book ON A QUIET STREET by Seraphina Nova Glass.

Previously, as the SVP of development and production at Solstice Studios between 2018-2021, Beth executive produced Robert Rodriguez’s HYPNOTIC, starring Ben Affleck (now in post production), as well as co-produced the film, UNHINGED, starring Russell Crowe. She previously executive produced BULLET HEAD, starring Adrien Brody, John Malkovich, Kieran Culkin, and Antonio Banderas, and LEATHERFACE, a prequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. She also worked as a development executive on THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD franchise, the OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN franchise, the EXPENDABLES franchise, the MECHANIC franchise, and the following films: BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, THE ICEMAN, HOMEFRONT, LOVELACE, THE PAPERBOY, STONEHEARST ASYLUM, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3D, SURVIVOR, and more. 

Prior to that, Beth served as a development executive at Peter Block’s company, A Bigger Boat.  At A Bigger Boat and its umbrella company, GreeneStreet Films, Beth worked in development for 3 years, most notably on HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET starring Jennifer Lawrence, SAW 6, SAW 3D, John Carpenter’s THE WARD, and Adam Green’s FROZEN. Beth started her career at ICM.

Beth also teaches the business of screenwriting and producing at UCLA and USC’s Cinematic School of Arts.


A Tribeca Film Institute alum, Sandra Leviton is a Los Angeles based producer and writer for Under the Stars Entertainment. On February 8, 2022, “Student Body”, a coming-of-age horror film written & directed by Lee Ann Kurr, starring Christian Camargo (“See”, “The Hurt Locker”, “Dexter”) and Harley Quinn Smith (“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, “Cruel Summer”, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”), and Montse Hernandez (“Lowriders”, “Jane The Virgin”), will be released via 1091 Pictures. Motion Pictures Exchange is handling worldwide sales. Her previous film, “ZONE 2”, stars Anne Ramsay (“A League of Their Own”, “Mad About You”). After playing top genre festivals, including Screamfest, and going on a world tour with Etheria, ZONE 2 is now available on Shudder and Amazon in season 2 of the "Etheria" series. Prior to starting Under The Stairs Entertainment, Sandra spent five years working in Development & Current Programming at FX, working on over 20 original series, including “American Horror Story”, “Sons of Anarchy”, “Justified”, “The Shield”, “Archer”, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Previously, she worked in the TV Literary department at the Paradigm Talent and Literary Agency, was a production coordinator in reality TV, a music video producer, and story analyst for the AMC Network and Walden Media. In addition to writing and producing, Sandra is a mentor and educator for colleges, writing conferences, film festivals, and non-profit organizations. Highlights include: #StartWith8Hollywood, WOCUnite/JTC List, UCLA MFA Screenwriters Showcase, the JT3 Art Foundation, Harvardwood, Emerson College, the Savannah Film Festival, The Script Lab 360, and aTVFest in Atlanta.

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