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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…

My Filmmaking Journey from Africa to Scandinavia

Writing about oneself is sometimes challenging because you feel like writing your whole life on a piece of paper, at the same time you see limitations in writing. You want to write only what is necessary to fit the platform or your desired audience. My name is Michael Asonganyi and this is how I became a filmmaker in the African film industry. I was born and raised in Cameroon and at the age of 23, I moved to study in Sweden where I met my wife, a Norwegian national studying at the same…

Branded In L.A.

The Stage 32 member base is diverse in both ambition and experience. Many of our members are still looking for their first break. Many, like Bill Oberst Jr., have been working for years. For either group, one thing remains the same: It's always a challenge. You can never rest on your laurels. In this Stage 32 Blog guest post, Bill speaks about the actor as a product and how branding that product can lead to success. Enjoy. -- RB Check out Bill's Stage 32 profile and his IMDb page.

The Silent Majority

What makes a classic film? Ask a hundred people, you'd likely get a hundred answers. For me, it's a movie that is near perfect in every technical aspect - from the writing to the casting to the directing to the editing - and rewards you with every viewing. A movie that no matter when you come upon it, you can't help but be sucked into its vortex. "Groundhog Day" is one of those films, a perfect marriage of high concept, brilliant casting, superior acting and precision execution. It's a …

Go Play. Go Shed. Go Create. Go Book. GO BE.

Alysia Reiner is just one of those people. You know the kind. They illuminate the room and leave a vapor trail of positive energy in their wake. Their indomitable spirit infuses all who come in contact. Some people just have "it" ... Alysia has "it" in spades. Alysia is an award winning actress, producer, mother, humanitarian, and outspoken environmentalist. She tackles each of these endeavors with passion, intelligence, determination, and a whole lotta heart. As an actress, Alysia has…

Just Finish The Book!

For the last 30 years I have been writing poetry, lyrics and songs, yielding some great achievements along the way, mostly with my songs, but I have had two poems published in the past and have continued to write for the sheer joy and love of writing. I've always enjoyed poetry and it's a shame that over the centuries, it has dwindled as a definitive form of communication, but people do still enjoy writing it as a way of expressing feelings and events that maybe are difficult to express…

When Your Work Becomes Mastery: Understanding Yūgen

When I was a little boy about eight or nine, I happened to be playing in front of the TV in our Chicago apartment one day, when an old black and white English movie came on. I knew nothing about acting, though I had once played a tree in a skit. But there was one actor on the screen who I could see was doing something remarkable. He was just different, unlike any of the other actors, though I couldn’t say how, but I could see that 'something' right there on the screen.   …