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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…

Avoid These Crowdfunding Mistakes on Social Media!

One of the more popular requests we get here at Stage 32 is information on best practices for promoting a crowdfunding campaign on social media. Recently, spurred on by the sheer amount of crowdfunding spam he was receiving on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, our CEO, RB, republished his popular Medium article: 5 Ways You Are Incorrectly Using Twitter to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign. Although the article singles out Twitter, these mistakes and ill advised practices are common …

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. …

4 Lucky Winners Chosen for Jason Roberts' Assistant Director Class This Weekend

A note from 30 year veteran of over 80 film and television shows, Jason Roberts. Jason will be teaching a 2-part class, The Mechanics and Art of Being an Assistant Director, beginning this weekend & has given away 4 FREE spots to some lucky Stage 32 members (more below!) Thank you so much Stage32 community for the overwhelming survey responses to join my class this weekend. Everyone picked such varied, interesting movies and stories to back up their choices. In fact, I have a new li…

Quarter-Finalists Announced: 2nd Annual Comedy Writing Contest

The 2nd Annual Stage 32 Happy Writers Comedy Writing Contest was filled with some of the best comedy writing we've ever seen. Our judges consistently said how tough the competition was!Our feature writers had us laughing for (literally) hours! Our TV writers poured out some really creative and clever original pilots and wrote hilariously great specs for hit shows such as MODERN FAMILY, IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, FAMILY GUY and more. Needless to say, the judges have been smiling f…

13 Pearls of Wisdom From Writer/Director Alexander Payne

Yesterday, I was speaking with a producer friend of mine and he mentioned that the buzz around Alexander Payne’s upcoming film Downsizing was quite strong. (A huge shout out to our teacher Jason Roberts who AD'd the film.) That got us talking about our favorite Payne movies and his estimable skills as not only a writer, but as an actor’s director. At one point, I recalled an article I read in MovieMaker where Payne laid down some knowledge. Through the power of Google, I fou…

Stage 32 Happy Writers Progress Report: 100 Scripts Requested, 24 Meetings, 11 Companies

Hello friends and fellow creatives! Allen here with Stage 32 Happy Writers. We haven’t delivered you all a progress report in a hot minute, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share the amazing successes you all have had since February! For anyone who doesn’t know, Stage 32 Happy Writers offers script consulting and coverage, pitch sessions, and mentorships with some of the top managers, agents, producers and development executives around the world. ALL of our premium s…

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…

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

Prepared to be inspired. To get you motivated and keep your creativity flowing this weekend, I'm sharing a terrific video from the good people at the Blender Foundation (Blender Guru). Entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists, this well designed talk will inspire thought and introspection. Here are the 7 habits discussed: 1 - Daily Work 2 - Volume Not Perfection 3 - Steal 4 - Conscious Learning 5 - Rest 6 - Get Feedback 7 - Create What You Love Chances are you're alread…

Winners Announced: 2nd Annual TV Writing Contest

Wow...What a contest. And what a difference a year makes. Our 1st Annual TV Writing Contest saw some incredible scripts, but this year, the ante was raised. So many of our feature writers decided to try their hands at TV writing both with original scripts or specs based on existing material. The results were overwhelming and the competition was as fierce as we've seen it for any contest. In the end, however, there can be only one Grand Prize Winner and this year the honor goes to Danny …

How to Build a 30-Year Career in the Industry

This past Saturday, we were proud to welcome 30-year film industry veteran, Jason Roberts, DGA AD, as he hosted a free 60-minute Q&A webinar for hundreds of members of the Stage 32 community.  In his over 3 decades in he business, Jason has amassed 70 credits as an Assistant Director or Second Unit Director. Just some of the big budget blockbusters, indiefilm darlings and well respected television shows Jason has worked on include Jurassic World, Batman v Superman: Dawn of…

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