The surge of television platforms, networks, and streamers in recent years has drastically opened up the world of television content production, spelling good news for aspiring content creators around the world. We’re not just talking Netflix and Amazon; countless other channels and streamers like Tubi, Roku, Snap, and many more are actively building their slates and looking for new content to buy outright. With these opportunities, it’s more than possible to create, sell and be profitable on your own independent TV series. Yet this does not mean it’s easy. Financing and recouping costs for independent television production requires a firm understanding of the constantly changing TV landscape and opportunities available to secure funding. With the rules and trends of television changing so frequently, it is difficult to be on top of where opportunities lie. Standard and subscription networks are losing revenue to streamers, and their acquisition budgets are decreasing. At the same time, streamers prefer buying all rights, and spend much less money on digital rights only, which disrupts the financial model. And many investors who are more used to funding films are resistant to TV shows without the splashy premiere and red carpets that they’re used to. These challenges and more stand in the way of fully financing your own television project, but they can all be overcome with the right approach and understanding. Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Recently, Jeanette has focused on the development, financing, and production of television series. She co-created, co-financed and executive produced the beauty competition series GLOBAL BEAUTY MASTERS on TLC and its spin-off series THE LOOK ALL-STARS on The CW. She further managed the renowned dog series TV series and brand DOG WHISPERER WITH CESAR MILLAN, which aired for 9 seasons on the National Geographic Channel and sold in over 180 countries. In 2020 Jeanette co-created, financed, and produced two seasons for the new series DOG MASTERS, starring Laura Nativo and Alex Rossi, which is being represented by The Gersh Agency for the U.S. and international distribution. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the TV industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance television content and get it sold. Jeanette will lay out step-by-step how you can successfully finance your own content for television in today’s ever-changing ecosystem. She’ll begin by taking a look at the independent TV space today, what’s being produced, what’s selling and what opportunities are out there aside from Netflix. She will identify available funding sources and go through the rules of financing you need to understand. She’ll then go into what effective TV pitch documents need to include for investors and how to make your stand out. Next, Jeanette will give you tips on how to secure “free money” for your project by leaning into things like co-productions, subsidies, and tax incentives. She’ll explain how you can mitigate risks for yourself and your team and teach you how to create your own IP to attract audiences and therefore investors and distributors. Jeanette will explain distribution deals that are available today and help you understand how to determine which deal is right for you and your project. Finally, Jeanette will identify the biggest potential pitfalls for producers and investors that you need to avoid. It’s more possible than ever before to fund, produce, and sell your own independent TV content, especially if you can understand the rules to follow and the traps to avoid that Jeanette will thoroughly lay out.
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you probably start working on a new project for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments so you and your investors can both leave with a profit. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's actually more possible than you think. No matter how big or small your film is, there are multiple ways you can find funding and multiple ways you can ultimately create profitability. And while it might not be second nature for creatives, once you get a handle on how to make this process work for you, you will also be able to create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which lead to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit. Exclusively for Stage 32, Jeanette will give a realistic, accessible, and straightforward presentation of the best way to actually finance your film and make a profit in today’s market. She’ll go over the differences between the studio finance model and independent finance model and then delve into how distribution can work best for you and how you can take advantage of more options than you think. Jeanette will also lay out how you can establish profitability for your film by explaining the essential ingredients necessary for a profit, going over how to create a budget and teaching you how you can best align your interests with the investor’s. Jeanette will break down the financial sources available today and give you tips on how you should be balancing multiple sources and mitigate risks for investors at the same time. She’ll even walk you through the complicated “waterfall” process of recoupment. Financing your film is more possible than you might think, even if you’re just getting started, and Jeanette will give you the tools and confidence to be able to take the necessary steps for your own project. PLUS: Jeanette will provide exclusive and helpful documents to take home with you after, including: Collection Account Management Agreement Example Pay or Play Offer Draft Finance Plan Template for Microsoft Excel Praise for Jeanette's Stage 32 Webinar “This was an excellent overview of all that is involved, and a great encouragement to reach out to people who do this kind of thing for a living, instead of trying to do it by myself for the first time.” - Sarah D. “Jeanette was so detailed about the how to's and why you need to take and research every step. I love getting the details that really feel behind the curtain.” - Melissa B. “I liked it. Specifically, the content. Jeanette was very informative and clearly knows her stuff.” - Crystal B. “Explanation of pre-sales and budget breakdown was very informative.” - Roc R.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought film production to a standstill last year. The risk of holding close gatherings required everyone to profoundly change how a film is produced in order to keep everyone safe. Yet we’ve luckily found a way to create new projects, on both a major studio and independent level. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. The preparation and process for producing a film have changed drastically, as have the rules and guidelines a crew needs to follow. There are ways to safely put your own film together even under these extreme circumstances, but doing so will require a new understanding of how to move forward. As a producer or filmmaker of any level, it’s your job not just to make sure a film comes together, but that the team you assembled stays safe in the process. This is extra difficult due to the pandemic, but it’s not impossible. In fact, independent productions have been finding a ways to do this successfully for a while now and you can as well. But this won’t be accomplished through business-as-usual approaches. Every aspect of the filmmaking process needs to be examined, altered, or even turned on its head in order to comply with new regulations, make the team feel comfortable, and most importantly to keep everyone virus-free. This is a big undertaking, but other independent outfits have figured this out, and learning how they did it can be instrumental in you finding success for your own project. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen.. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN, which was safely shot over December and January during the peak of COVID-19. Shane learned how to find success in the midst of a pandemic and is ready to share the lessons he picked up. Shane will teach you what you need to do to successfully and safely plan and produce a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll delve into the new rules you need to follow, issued by guilds, government agencies and film/permit offices. He’ll also discuss how location scouting works now and what sort of locations can be safely shot in. He’ll go through the changes in production insurance and how to hire and work with a COVID Compliance Officer during production. Shane will also discuss how to conduct COVID tests with your crew and how to work with guilds along the way. He will then go over how to work with actors during this time and will share with you the biggest tips and must-dos he learned to keep your crew safe. Finally, Shane will share the details of how he produced his own recent film DOUBLE THREAT and wrapped his 6 week production without a single COVID positive test. Even in times as tough as this, there’s a way forward and a way to create your art, and Shane will show you how to do so smartly, effectively, and while keeping yourself and everyone on your team safe. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R. "I loved the inside look from someone in the industry that is dealing with Covid restrictions on a daily basis." -Marven L.
As animators we pour our heart and soul into creating content we can be proud of. What most people don't realize is how many hours, days, months and even years it takes to create even the shortest form animation content to showcase your skills. Often you aspire to be noticed, not only by a viewing audience, but also by professionals who can help move the needle on your career. So how can you be assured that all your time and effort will pay off by not only reaching the widest audience possible, but by those who can help you get to the next level? Writing, boarding and creating animation content takes immense discipline. It takes the distinguished voice of a storyteller, the skillful eye of a director and the polished chops of an artist to make your vision come to life on screen. Once you've decided to embark on the path of creating content, how do you go about getting noticed? Animation is difficult to break into, but it's certainly not impossible and you CAN be seen by people that matter if you take the right steps to creating your content and getting it out there online. You have powerful tools in your hands and at your disposal through platforms like Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram and more - if you know how to use them to your advantage. Mike Disa knows a thing or two about animation. He's been working in the industry for over two decades and is currently the lead director on Netflix's hit show Paradise PD. He's worked with companies such as Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others on feature films, television shows and digital series. Before he got his start, he knew no one in animation or entertainment and used his own methods to get noticed and sustain a nearly twenty five year career, which he will share with you. Mike will teach you what type of content you can create that will help you stand out online to those working in animation. You will learn how online platforms can be best utilized to show your content and learn to set clear goals of what you are trying to get out of creating content and reach your target audience. You will know what to expect if you embark on the path for the genre of animation you work in. Mike will walk you through the development process to make sure your time is worth it before you start investing your time creating content. And, Mike will even walk you through how to promote yourself to get noticed! Remember, it just takes one champion of you and your work to kick start your career and Mike will help you know what type of content you can create and how you can get it out there in the right places to capture the right person's eye! We're thrilled to welcome Mike back exclusively to Stage 32. Here are testimonials from Mike's previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The webinar was excellent and very well paced. I truly appreciated the honesty and straightforwardness of the presenter. I learned a lot and look forward to the next one." - Jerry M. "Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H. "I believe such given information was highly inspirational, utterly legit and true regarding the industry and show business. I've always wanted to learn what it takes to write an idea for an animated series, and how to put it on screen, and this webinar truly answered these vital questions. Conclusively, I would really take these tips into consideration during the writing of my ideas, and would highly recommend them to those who are ambitious to spread their stories world-wide." - Mohammed H.
Learn what it takes to get your true crime series sold from a long-time true crime producer with over 100 episodes of true crime TV under his belt. Includes a Case Study of a Real Pitch Deck for a True Crime Show For whatever the reason, there is no denying that true crime has become HUGE presence in the television landscape. From TIGER KING, THE JINX and MAKING A MURDERER to more recent limited series like HEAVEN’S GATE and MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS, true crime docuseries have become wildly popular and show no sign of slowing down. Even beyond the banner networks and streamers like Netflix, HBO and Hulu, many smaller networks like Investigation Discovery, Reelz, Oxygen and True Crime Network devote a large portion—if not all—of their slate to unscripted, true crime series and specials. This has led to a very recent explosion in true crime content and an incredible opportunity for content creators interested in this space to find opportunities and get their content sold. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to do your homework and understand the true crime docuseries space and what networks are looking for if you want to be noticed. As callous as it may seem, not all murders are created equal, and while some stories are ripe to be uncovered and explored, others might not break through the noise or spark executives’ attention. To find a place in the true crime space, you not only have to find and have access to a great story, but also build a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch to get buyers on board. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is true crime TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. For over ten years, Phil Claroni has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell. Phil will lay out how to best develop your own true crime docuseries and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first explain what kind of story sells today and how you should tailor your pitch to reflect the current market you’re selling to. He’ll give you tips on how to research your story, what info is most important, how to obtain talent, and the legal elements to be aware of. Next, Phil will explain how to build the perfect pitch deck to sell your true crime series and go through one-pagers, treatments and sizzles. He will then explain how to find a production partner for your series, including who’s currently buying and how to know which partners would make t host sense for you. He’ll also tell you what materials can aid a sale and how you can take a meaningful meeting. Finally Phil will explain how to close, including initiating a bidding war and what to do to follow through. Phil will even share a real pitch deck he put together and explain why he made the choices he made in assembling it. “No one goes to college and majors in true crime production. It’s something you have to learn from others, but it’s one of the most attainable genres to produce in show business, and I’ll show you how.” -Phil Claroni
The backbone of the entertainment industry was shaken to the core after the trades announced one of the major festivals - SXSW was going to cancel its in-person festival. Shortly after festival after festival had to adapt to a new way of doing things - should they present their festival live and take a chance of it being cancelled? Or, should they present their festival virtually bringing on a new slew of challenges? Navigating this "new normal" has rocked the industry and has left many filmmakers scratching their heads about what it all means. Should you release your film in this new format? Or should you hold onto it and wait it out, with the fear of another year going by without it seeing the light of day? Despite the ongoing shift to a virtual, watch-from-home and hybrid model, film festivals continue to serve as an important platform for your film to make its debut. Your film can continue to find attention, distribution and other successes from participating, yet there are new questions and considerations you should factor into evaluating which festivals to submit to. The current spirit of cooperation and collaboration between festivals during the pandemic has radically changed, creating lots of new and exciting ways you can benefit from the circuit. But, with the excitement, there is also a lot of confusion about premiere status, virtual screenings vs online screenings, and more. Outside of getting your film into a festival, there are things you can learn from what the successful festival films are seeing that you can apply to your own film and its release. Whether you are a feature filmmaker or a short filmmaker you need to understand and embrace the new practices emerging among festivals presenting virtual and hybrid events. It’s time you take stock of the situation. Kimberley Browning is an independent filmmaker, the Associate Short Film Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and the founder of the long-running short film screening series Hollywood Shorts. Kimberley is also the Executive Producer of HBO ACCESS Directors Fellowship, the network's program developing and launching underrepresented voices into episodic television. Formerly a short film programmer for both the Los Angeles Film Festival and Guadalajara International Film Festival Los Angeles, Kimberley has a long history of working with film festivals and continues to serve as a festival consultant for many independent filmmakers. Kimberley has built her storied career around elevating new voices and empowering them to get their projects out into the world. Kimberley will delve into how filmmakers are finding success with their new films during the pandemic and how you can use film festivals as well as other practices to successfully release your own short or feature film. She’ll begin by explaining how you should be setting your gals and building your strategies to get your film out there. She’ll talk about new practices to build an audience, strategy essentials—with or without COVID—and how you should now be defining success and whether it needs to evolve due to the pandemic. Next Kimberley will focus on film festivals and show you what the new festival landscape and vocabulary looks like. She’ll explain what the best digital platforms festivals are utilizing and which to avoid. She’ll also teach you what ‘geocaching’ is and how to determine your geofencing options. She will go over DRM protections and how to keep your film safe when screening virtually and will talk about the difference between virtual screenings and online screenings. Next Kimberley will delve into the new film festival calendar, how the overall festival circuit is shifting due to date changes and postponements. She’ll give you the rundown of how to read small print before submitting to festivals to make sure you know what you need to know ahead of time. She’ll walk through how you should revamp your festival strategy to better navigate COVID and how you should now be communicating with a festival team. Kimberley will also talk about how to now navigate premiere status with festivals and explain how virtual festivals impact your film’s status and its ability to get distributor attention. She’ll also talk about how media and distributors are now navigating new rules in 2020 to find work with films. Next she will teach you how to navigate a virtual festival if your film is accepted, including how to promote your film to a virtual audience and how to build relationships and make connections without in-person events. Beyond festivals, Kimberley will give you strategies to promote and market your film to a general audience for its virtual release including if and how to work with publicists and new social media strategies to start employing. Kimberley will talk about other release strategies for your film beyond film festivals. She’ll give you tips on how to host your own independent online premiere. She’ll also give you a rundown of how to find distributors in a distanced world and how to operate long-standing marketplaces like AFM that are now turning virtual. Finally Kimberley will go over ways to self-distribute your film during quarantine, including if and how to work with aggregators to maximize your release. This is a tough time to release your film—rules and practices have changed across the board—but it’s still possible to find success and Kimberley will show you how to achieve this with your own film. Praise for Kimberley's Stage 32 Webinar "Kimberley was very engaging which isn't easy when there is no audience interaction. Her presentation hit the middle ground between newbies and more seasoned festival goers which was very helpful because we are all newbies in this virtual festival world...both presenters and filmmakers alike." -Laurie C. "Good perspective, useful advice." -Mick H. "It was great!" -Daniel G. "I loved how knowledgeable Kimberley was. She gave me so many ideas of how to move forward with my film" -Karen B.