A Cinematographer's Guide to Making your Indie Film Look Like a Million Dollars

Taught by Matthew Boyd

$399

On Demand Class - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$399.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

Projects:

Class hosted by: Matthew Boyd

Award-Winning Cinematographer

Matthew Boyd is an award-winning cinematographer, credited with over 30 short films and 12 features. Early in his career, he teamed up with writer-director Colin Trevorrow (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, JURASSIC WORLD) on several projects, including BLACK DRAGON with Xin Wuku and Jake Johnson. Boyd's recent work includes the dramatic thriller MINE 9, SPACEMAN (starring Sterlin K. Brown, Josh Duhamel, and Ernie Hudson; streaming on Netflix), IN-LAWFULLY YOURS, THE MENTOR, and BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING. Critically acclaimed films include THE FIRST SESSION, STRAPPED, and PASS THE SALT, PLEASE, and acting as a contributing cinematographer on HBO's THE WEIGHT OF GOLD. In 2021 Boyd teamed with writer-director Aidan Stone on YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING. Boyd is currently in pre-production with writer-director Edward Mensore on the opioid epidemic thriller, HAZARD, set to film in January 2022. Full Bio »

Summary

Thinking on your feet is critical to any production. Time is money, but you don't want a low-budget or tight production schedule to cost you quality. The best way to get the most out of your budget is to work with a cinematographer who knows the secret tips only experts have and ensure your film looks like a film worth watching. You can have this expert information with help from an award-winning cinematographer who's worked with big names like Colin Trevorrow (JURASSIC WORLD) and Netflix.

Don't view your low budget as a boundary but an opportunity to get creative! In this interactive four session class, Matthew will show you how to get fantastic production value without the cost by using real-life examples, including how his crew pulled off one seemingly impossible location for a recent feature on Netflix.

The higher the perceived value of your film, the higher the price buyers will pay. Your goal is to make your film look several times over what the actual budget was, and your team can achieve this by getting creative and resourceful. You will break down scripts scene-by-scene, how to make the most of location scouting to maximize production value on shoot days, how to use practical and in-camera effects, and more.

You'll have time to ask questions from Matthew, get feedback, and reach out with questions in between classes. You'll know how to get creative under pressure to make your film look like millions without breaking the bank by collaborating with your cinematographer.

Plus! Matthew will also provide you exclusive, confidential, and helpful documents for you to download and use, including:

  • Sample workflow and cheatsheet
  • Helpful equipment
  • Moving camera choices
  • Resource list
  • and more!

And even if you watch this class on-demand, we recommend you do the assignments to get the most out of Stage 32's world-class education. 

What You'll Learn

Session 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 1 of 2)

  • Make decisions at the script phase to get the most out of your budget in pre-production
  • Breaking down the script from a DP perspective, one scene at a time
  • Creating the shot list with your DP
  • What/whom do you already have access to?
    • Scaling your script to your budget and resources by adapting it for what you have vs. what you don’t (i.e. locations, vehicles, props, and people)
  • How to use your DP and camera to save you money
  • Communicating your vision, look books, references, and other tools to get your team on the same page to save time and money
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 2: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 2 of 2)

  • Planning your shoot schedule with your DP based on some important and potentially costly factors
  • Time of day for the best use of natural light
  • Interiors vs. exteriors
  • Company Moves
  • Multi-purpose locations
  • Make the most of location scouting to maximize production value on shoot days
  • Time management
  • Which scenes should you devote the most time and resources
  • When to move along and not waste time you will want for “money shots”
  • Ensuring you have moments to breathe for the “surprise shots”
  • Shooting for the edit
  • Planning your workflow in prep to ensure your footage is usable
  • You can’t just “fix it in post”
  • How to get shots right the first time to eliminate pickup shots and ensure a happy editor
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 3: How to Achieve High Production Values Without the Cost

  • Moving the camera
    • How you choose to move the camera (or not)
    • The value it can add
  • The different looks and value
  • Dolly, steadi-cam, handheld, cranes etc.
  • How to create the look of high-cost toys without the cost
  • Low-cost substitutions for gimbals, helicopters, cranes, dollies, jib, and more
  • How to build your own substitutions to cheat the look
  • “Make it rain!”: Ways to use practical (non CGI) and in-camera effects
  • Shooting on Location vs. Sound Stages
  • Equipment: Affordable lighting and camera equipment that still looks amazing.
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 4: DIY Tips and Tricks to Getting Seemingly Cost or Logistically-Prohibitive Shots

  • Scene case studies to see how the pros hack their way to excellent results
  • Using stock footage and real-life events to cheat your epic locations
  • Filming car scenes on a budget
  • Using documentary-style filming to save money
  • Free set design, extras, and loads of production value
  • Teaming with a VFX partner for added options
  • What scenes in YOUR movie have you worried?
    • Matt will offer some creative solutions and work through
  • Q & A

About Your Instructor

Matthew Boyd is an award-winning cinematographer, credited with over 30 short films and 12 features. Early in his career, he teamed up with writer-director Colin Trevorrow (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, JURASSIC WORLD) on several projects, including BLACK DRAGON with Xin Wuku and Jake Johnson.

Boyd's recent work includes the dramatic thriller MINE 9, SPACEMAN (starring Sterlin K. Brown, Josh Duhamel, and Ernie Hudson; streaming on Netflix), IN-LAWFULLY YOURS, THE MENTOR, and BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING. Critically acclaimed films include THE FIRST SESSION, STRAPPED, and PASS THE SALT, PLEASE, and acting as a contributing cinematographer on HBO's THE WEIGHT OF GOLD. In 2021 Boyd teamed with writer-director Aidan Stone on YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING. Boyd is currently in pre-production with writer-director Edward Mensore on the opioid epidemic thriller, HAZARD, set to film in January 2022.

Schedule

SESSION 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 1 of 2) - Wednesday, December 1st – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 2: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 2 of 2) - Wednesday, December 8th – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 3: How to Achieve High Production Values Without the Cost - Wednesday, December 15th – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 4: DIY Tips and Tricks to Getting Seemingly Cost or Logistically-Prohibitive Shots - Wednesday, December 29th – 4pm-6pm PST

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a lab?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live lab class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class. If you cannot attend a live class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. Plus, your instructor will be available via email throughout the lab.

Q: Will I have access to the lab afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of the lab, you will have on-demand access to the video recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like!

 

 

 

 

 

31

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Great class. Matt is a very comprehensive teacher who provides real-world, on-set practical knowledge.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Stage 32 Workshop: How to Find and Work with Tax Incentives – with a Walkthrough of an Online Application

Viviana Zarragoitia, the VP of Three Point Capital, explains how exactly to take advantage of tax incentives for your own project With a walkthrough of an online application PLUS! a special guest - Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN incentive program   It’s important for you to understand how various tax incentives work, because a lot goes into deciding where to shoot and how to piece together projects based on these incentives. They’re a big part of funding projects. Understanding the criteria, how to properly fill out applications, working with local film funds and associations, knowing what is due when, and knowing when money flows back to you are just some of the pieces that go into putting together a film or series as it relates to tax incentives. If your head is spinning a little, don’t worry. With the right guidance, this will all make sense to you and you’ll be on your way to making sure you make the most out of the appropriate tax incentives for your next projects. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how to take advantage of domestic and international tax incentives. In this extended class and workshop, Viviana walks you through the types of incentives and how to access them, domestic and international tax credits, and how to monetize incentives. She also discusses the effects of tax incentives in the entertainment industry and locally, as well as how to decide on a jurisdiction based on creative and financial elements. Plus! Viviana gives a workshop and goes over an online application for a tax credit. Viviana even brings in a special guest- Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN Incentive Program--to take part in a Q&A that answer questions on making tax incentives work for your projects.   Praise for Viviana's Past Stage 32 Financing Classes:   "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" -Patricia C.   "Viviana was personable, professional, interesting, interested, and a wealth of knowledge and useful information. I will take every opportunity to learn from her. She was patient and polite with every question and always clear with what she knew, what she thought, what she believed, and what she didn't know. She painted pictures and delivered facts, outlining the paths she has seen successful producers take while still encouraging all to pursue their art with a greater knowledge of the business and understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls." -Randy G.   "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." -Sean R.    

A Filmmaker’s Guide To Making Your Independent Movie A Success

A New Exclusive Webinar Learn the keys to making a successful independent film that launches your career in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar with the Co-Chairman of the Producer's Guild of America's International Committee and Founder of Producers Without Borders We know that you are serious about your filmmaking career so we've brought in a successful filmmaker to teach you the most important things that you need to know to make your independent film a success and something that can take your career to the next level. No matter what your skill set or experience, there are key lessons that you need to know before stepping on set for the first time to make your movie.  Having the guidance of a professional filmmaker will help you sidestep common obstacles and be best prepared for your creative journey and Stage 32 has you covered. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you’ll be guided by Kayvan Mashayekh, a professional filmmaker, Co-Chair of the PGA's International Committee and the Founder of Producers Without Borders. Kayvan launched his career by writing, producing, and directing the epic independent feature THE KEEPER: THE LEGEND OF OMAR KHAYYAM. After winning the Relativity Media Special Prize for his writing, Kayvan was mentored by GLADIATOR and SCHINDLER’S LIST Oscar-winning producer Branko Lustig as they developed a slate of international, studio-level projects. Kayvan understands the importance of mentoring up-and-coming storytellers. Now, Kayvan is sharing his well earned knowledge directly with you. Through this webinar, Kayvan will show you the crucial steps you need to prep before your film, the importance of your budget, and where to invest your time and money to have the most successful independent film production. He’ll also show you how to use test audiences to your advantage so you can ultimately produce and release the best version of your film. From prep to physical production through post-production and marketing, Kayvan has the guidance, tips and tricks you need to successfully make your own film. You walk away from this webinar with tons of knowledge that you can immediately apply to your project. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn from a world-renowned producer and independent filmmaker.

International Women's Day: Stage 32 + Female Voices Rock Celebrate Women In Entertainment

In Stage 32's continued effort to shine the light on women in the entertainment industry we have partnered with Female Voices Rock for a thrilling virtual event. On March 8, International Women's Day, some of the industry's top leaders who are dedicated to empowering women will be coming together to host an inspiring webcast celebrating women in entertainment. The panel features five powerhouse female voices of entertainment, including: Carmen Carbana - Cinematographer, Marvel & Disney Plus Ms. Marvel; Hulu's High Fidelity; Lionsgate/Starz LatinX hit show Vida, Netflix's Narcos Robyn Watson - Director, WarnerMedia Distribution & Board President of Women in Film & Television, Atlanta (WIFTA) Kristi Shuton - Walt Disney Television, Creative Talent Development & Inclusion Amanda Toney - Stage 32, Managing Director Moderator: Catherine Delaloye - Female Voices Rock,Founder & Executive Director After our live panel, join us for an exciting networking happy hour! We will break off into smaller groups and meet and toast your fellow female filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, production designers, and entertainment creatives & professionals from all over the world.

How You Can Attach A-List Talent To Your Project

Do you have a project that needs a top-tier piece of talent attached to get the proper attention of buyers and financiers?  Actors bring your characters and story to life, but before your film is ever seen on screen, signing the right top talent can bring financing and get your project sold. So how do you as a writer, producer or filmmaker approach A-list talent to be a part of your film? In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, top casting director Dori Zuckerman, who has worked with director Garry Marshall and talent including George Clooney, Elijah Wood, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more, will give you an insider’s view on the types of projects that attract top talent, as well as strategies to position your project, break through the gatekeepers and actually sign top talent to get your project made. You'll leave this webinar with essential information and important tools to approach difference-making talent for your own projects that can help propel your work and career.  Dori has cast over 100 TV series and feature films. Dori is a member of the Casting Society of America and has twice been the recipient of their award for excellence in casting.

How to Protect Your Financiers for Your Independent Film Project

If you're an independent filmmaker, it's likely you don’t have all of the funds you need to begin or complete your production. In this scenario, you need a film financier to step in and invest equity. While the financier is often hands-off with the actual production, they do have a prominent position in the process. Their assets are your assets, and they need to be protected. Borrowing money is only one step in the process. Assuring your financier that their assets will be protected during the filmmaking and production process is another. If you’re ready to take your film to the next level but aren’t clear on what financiers expect as far as protection when you borrow, you may be at a disadvantage. Protecting money given to you by someone with a vested interest in your film is extremely important. It’s also good business practice. And going into a conversation knowing what they expect before they hand over any equity - can only work in your favor. Your future lender has expectations. Let's delve into how you can always meet those expectations. David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories. Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management globally on hundreds of productions. David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David will teach you how you can keep your financiers protected and explain the 6 different options you should take into consideration when you sit down with a financier for your own project. After explaining what the role of a financier on an independent film usually looks like, he will discuss security interests, completion bonds, escrow accounts, collection accounts, legal representation, and compliance, what each of these look like, and how you can use these to best protect your financier. There are variables for every filmmaking scenario, but David will leave you with a much clearer understanding the role of the financier and how you can keep them happy and safe so that they’ll want to work with you time and time again.     Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars   "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P.   "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O.   "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K.   "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.

Advanced Directing Class: How to Plan and Execute Your Shoot

Advanced and in-depth 2-part interactive directing class with award-winning SXSW and Sundance director Clay Liford Learn how to handle shot coverage, scheduling, and time management on set!   Perhaps the biggest challenge for any director, new or experienced, big budget or small, film or TV, is making your day, and ensuring you're efficiently getting the footage and performances you need so you don't go over schedule and over budget. This is difficult, but there’s a proven method to keep you on track, while still allowing for inspiration and experimentation on set. It also happens to be the industry standard, and applies to any level of filmmaking - from student short to studio feature. It comes down to identifying what to plan and what to improvise. The truth is the more you plan, the more you’re free to experiment while filming - provided you optimize your time and focus on the right elements. Let's go deep into how exactly to plan your day so you can do your job on set, stay in control, stay creative, and leave with the best possible film you can make. Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. In this intensive and interactive 2-part class, Clay will work closely with you and show you how you can save time and money as a filmmaker by employing strategies and practices to make your day and keep your project moving. Focusing on both pre-production and production, Clay will walk you through how exactly to plan your days on set, address where to place emphasis in your pre-production process, and lay out a specific method for planning shots and scenes, which includes shot lists and top-down lighting plots. Along the way, Clay will provide invaluable handouts and case studies.     Praise for Clay's Previous Stage 32 Webinars   "Excellent - granular and practical, not just theoretical." -Peter C.   "Clay was amazing. Would love to take more classes from him" -Jacqueline A.    "I was impressed with Clay. He has what feels like a natural gift for teaching from a comfortable and personal level" -Maeve T.    

register for stage 32 Register / Log In