THE STAGE 32 BLOG

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Submitting Your Written Pitch

This past week, a professional executive with impressive credits responded to a written pitch I submitted via Happy Writers. The proposal was for my new whimsical comedy/action screenplay that was born from an idea out of the Stage 32 Screenwriting Forum. Though a seemingly absurd concept, the executive was intrigued by it and requested the script. Here is his paragraph of written feedback:   “It’s hard to tell exactly how serious this pitch is, as the idea is too ridi…

Shoot Your Short Film at Warner Bros. Studios - AT&T Create-a-thon

As we all know, short form content is exploding and is more popular than ever. Whether it's a proof of concept for a larger feature film idea or just a way to show off your creative chops, short form content can absolutely serve as a calling card for you. We've started working with AT&T who is providing a unique opportunity to a selected group of filmmakers to make your short form dreams a reality! If you're interested in the opportunity to get $20,000 to shoot part of your shor…

Maximize Viewer Engagement In Your Film: Resolving Filmmakers' Blind Spots

Filmmakers have been creating engaging stories for over 100 years using traditional storytelling conventions. However, some of these storytelling conventions are based on creative intuition, rather than an evidence-based model of viewer engagement. Although this may seem to filmmakers as an unconventional way of creating engaging stories, traditional cinematic storytelling is becoming problematic in the digital age. This is due to film no longer being confined to the cinema, as more peo…

Looking for Your Next Location? Stage 32 Joins Forces With Peerspace!

During a podcast interview a few years ago, I was asked what the future held for Stage 32.  My response was that we hoped to steer the platform in the direction of becoming the Home Depot for film creatives.  To accomplish this, we would have to align ourselves and partner with companies and organizations who shared our values and the spirit of our mission while complimenting our services.  Since then, we've been proud to partner with such amazing brands as AFM, Cannes Fil…

Do You Need a Writing Coach? 5 Reasons To Help You Decide

If you read the title of this post and scoffed as you begin reading this very sentence thinking, “Pfft. A writing coach. DUMB. Why on earth would I waste my time with a writing coach?” I get it. I used to think the same thing. I mean, why, when there are so many resources out there (books, webinars, online classes, masterminds, workshops), would you need to fork over a couple grand for a writing coach? For the record, I’m not here to convince you that working with a…

Kickstart Your Creativity – 30 Tips!

A recent poll of creatives found that 37% experience the greatest dip in their creativity on Saturday. But not you, right? You’re going to use today to start, continue or shore up that creative project. Even if that’s not the case, or if you’ve lately found yourself in a creative lull, courtesy of our friends at lifehack.org, here are 30 inspiring and motivational tips to kickstart your creativity. Enjoy!   Surround yourself with creative people.Hang out wit…

Filmmakers: Your Payroll & Production Accountant Guide

What is payroll? Payroll is a list of a company’s employees and the amount of money they are to be paid. In the entertainment industry, most productions rely on the services of a payroll company. The payroll company is typically listed as the employer of record.  What are the responsibilities of a payroll company? Takes care of both above-the-line and below-the-line employee payments. Provides Workers’Compensation Insurance. Pay all appropriate payroll taxes and u…

7 Things I Learned on How to Build an Audience as Indie Filmmaker in the Midwest

After 10 years in Hollywood, writing and producing sitcom pilots and full length features, my friend Ted Trent asked me to fly to his hometown of Belleville, IL to write a fictional movie in which he could star. I didn’t know a Belleville from a Bellevue, but I did welcome the chance to write and direct a film in the Midwest, since I had grown up in Michigan. I remembered my people to be kind and helpful, and whenever you met another Midwesterner in Los Angeles (which is daily) you…

Should I Take a Dollar Option on a Screenplay?

You get the phone call and it goes something like this: Friend: Hey, are you sitting down? (Smile in his voice).You: Yeah, what’s up?Friend: I have a producer who wants to option your script!You: (heart flutters) Oh my god …Friend: Yeah, he’s an indie producer I know—really talented, really connected.You: How much for the option?Friend: (long beat) Well, he wants a dollar option because you haven’t been produced yet. But he’s really connected, and he…

Filmmaking - Follow Your Heart

For some time now I thought it would be great to do a series of blogs, which follows my journey as a filmmaker. The experiences I have encountered have been so varied, some good, some bad, some tragic! I thought it would be nice to start with how I got into filmmaking. I call this first blog ‘Follow Your Heart’. I’ve been passionate about filmmaking since I was nine years old, that’s almost 29 years ago now. I grew up on a rural apple orchard in the countryside. …

9 Tips for Surviving an Independent Film Shoot

Through my experience of working on low budget and independent films for the past 15 years, I have learned a few crucial and important rules that can help you survive the jungle of what is the independent film world, or better known as Guerrilla Film making. Working on independent films where the budgets are small, the sets are grueling and sometimes in extreme conditions, it’s important to take control where you can. When you find yourself on a challenging set, remind yourself t…

Crowdfunding for Filmmakers - A Career for Breakthrough

Fundraising for a movie is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I am an Emmy-award winning director and member of the Directors Guild of America. My films have screened at Cannes and I made a feature film in 35mm, yet, even with all I have accomplished, there has been nothing more difficult and, at the same time, more helpful for a director then a Kickstarter. Because it's not just about the money, it's all the PR packaging that a fundraise can give you. I knew abo…