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.
Pre-production is the most important time for a director because it's where you go through a "process of discovery." It's also during this time that all departments discover a director's work style, vision and expectations as to how to do their jobs and make the production run smoothly and efficiently. In most cases, if a movie doesn't turn out as expected or runs over budget, it's a failure of execution during pre-production that can be pointed to as the cause. Many directors are simply too dependent on their producers and are way too anxious to get filming. This mentality is a huge mistake. So how can you assure that you handle the pre-production process effectively and in a manner where your cast and crew want to run into fire for you? How can you know which variables are most important and where you can delegate? We're here to help. Much is expected of the director during the pre-production process. You are in charge of making crucial decisions that can either make or break any production. It can all seem very overwhelming no matter how many times you've done it. But in reality, taken step by step, it could be a fun and rewarding part of the process of making a film. All this takes time - and the more time you have in prep, the more you will discover and sort out before you go to camera. It's the planning, the patience and the perseverance that wins the day and ultimately makes for a winning project for all involved. Peter D. Marshall has worked in the film industry for over 40 years as a film director, television producer, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, and screenwriter. Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch. As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards. Peter has worked with directors such as John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Peter will guide you through pre-production, the most important phase for a director. He will help you navigate the business and politics with a step by step guide. He will teach you how to break down your script, how to effectively put together your shot lists, storyboards, and access the budget. He will explain how to set the tone you want to have on the set early and in a non-threatening manner. He will show you how you should conduct meetings with your producers, writer, 1st AD, and other department heads. He will explain how to work with your cast during pre-production so they are confident in their roles and in your vision so they're ready to go on the first day of shooting. He will take you through production meetings, wardrobe fittings, camera tests, script read throughs and rehearsals. He will provide you with a complete overview of a director's role in the pre-production process to assure that everything goes exactly as you wish and that your vision is served. "I have taken several directing courses and Peter's course by far, takes the gold star. This impressive, condensed seminar saturates years of experience and learning and presents it in an easy to use package. A definite recommendation." - Trevor M. "I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing." - Brad L. "I'll be shooting my first film in the next 30 days. This course came as a surprise birthday present. It was a godsend. I would have been fracked if I hadn't taken the workshop. There were so many essential elements that I would have missed. Peter's course is helping me hit the ground running and as a result, I feel much more confident and sure. Thanks Peter." - Fredrick H.
Free webcast exclusively for Stage 32 members with Ivory Coast/American actor Bambadjan Bamba (BLACK PANTHER, SUICIDE SQUAD, THE GOOD PLACE) - bring your questions! No matter who you are or where you’re from, the journey to becoming a full-time and successful actor in America is a difficult one. Yet if you’re from a different country and are contemplating moving to America, or if you’ve already moved here and are dealing with one of a variety of immigration statuses, your path is that much harder. You have to figure out how to legally live in America with this profession and work with studios and networks when payment might be more complicated than for actors that are American citizens. And that’s on top of the everyday struggle of finding and landing roles, which can also be harder if you do not have an American accent. There is no question that there are serious obstacles to overcome as an immigrant actor, but it’s still a path that can be achieved, and has been achieved many times before. For as much emphasis that is often put on the sheer luck of breaking through as an actor and finding success, there is another element that is often underemphasized, which is the strategy and planning necessary for actors to build their career. Luck certainly can play a part, but these lucky breaks are much more likely to come to actors who do the work ahead of time to have a game plan and can better put themselves in the right place and the right time Whether fair or not, this goes double for immigrant actors and actors planning on moving to America. There is a large amount of strategy and planning necessary to find success, including how to get a visa, find sponsorship, get representation, use support networks and initiatives available to you and building your career piece by piece. It can be overwhelming, but the good news is you never have to be alone in this journey. There are communities and organizations that offer support as well as fellow immigrant actors who have gone down the path you’re on and can give you tips and strategies to help you achieve your dreams. Bambadjan Bamba is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and activist from the Ivory Coast who has worked in prominent roles on numerous hit television shows like THE GOOD PLACE and GREY’S ANATOMY, and in blockbuster films like BLACK PANTHER and SUICIDE SQUAD. He was recently featured in Will Smith’s Netflix series AMEND: THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA. His writing has been published in Variety, the Washington Post, NBC, and CNN to name a few, and he is a contributor in the New York Times bestseller "American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures" by award winning actress America Ferrera. In 2017 Bambadjan publicly disclosed that he was a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that is in danger of being terminated. Ever since, Bambadjan has used his inspirational story to advocate for immigrant rights. Bambadjan is also the recipient of the Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU and the Courageous Luminary award from the National Immigration Law Center. In this free Stage 32 webcast, Bambadjan will give you some insight of how to strategically prepare for your move, maneuver around common obstacles that international actors face, and find your community and representation to give yourself the best shot to be successful. He’ll first explain the pros and cons of moving to America to pursue acting as well as when the right time to move is. He’ll then go through the legal roads you can pursue and how to navigate different immigration statuses you may have. Bambadjan will lay out different organizations and initiatives that you can take advantage of as you get started and will give you advice on how to find representation and sponsors from abroad and how to work legally as an undocumented immigrant. He will also lay out how to work even if you do not have an American accent, as well as how to work on improving your American accent. Finally, Bambadjan will give you tips and strategies on dealing with the emotional challenges associated with being an immigrant.
Part 1 - Budgets & Cash Flows Maura teaches you how to create a realistic plan for your film and make sure there is always money in the bank for what you need. You'll learn how to figure how much money you really need, and how to put together a proper film budget. Part 2 - Cost Reports, Film Infrastructure, & Tax Incentives Maura discusses setting up a film's infrastructure (from setting up an LLC to finding a lawyer) and various accounting options. She details cost reports, and how to analyze what you've spent and what you need to spend. Lastly, she discusses tax incentives before hosting a Q&A session. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Maura is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all filmmakers to participate.
The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry. The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain. Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19. Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar "It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much." Marisé S. I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped. -Jonathan H. I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future. -Carolyn K. Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk -Stephen P.
In depth and comprehensive 4-session class on the craft of directing with exclusive handouts and downloads Who doesn’t want to be a director? It’s the dream job of many, and it’s easy to see why. As director you get to helm a project, command a creative army, and bring your vision to life. Yet directing is by no means an easy job; it goes way beyond just sitting in a canvas chair and yelling “action!” Whether you’re directing a big budget blockbuster, an episode of TV, or your first micro-budget independent feature, you can’t go into it blind. Being an effective director requires preparation, strategy, discipline, and an overall understanding of your responsibilities and how best to perform them. Perhaps the biggest challenge of being an effective director is the need to understand and master every step of a project’s journey. This includes developing a visual style/point of view, collaboration, text analysis, pre-production planning, working with actors, camera and actor blocking, and overseeing the post-production process. No element here is less important than the next, and if you want your project to be successful, it’s up to you as the director to make sure you can navigate each step as well as the last. While there is no one “right” way to direct a film or episode of television, there are a number of techniques and skills that make for a smoother, more creatively fulfilling process. With the right techniques and the right guidance, finding success as a director is not only possible, but entirely within your grasp. Heath Cullens is an accomplished director best known for directing IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at every step of directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. In this four session class, Heath will walk you through every step of directing a film or television episode, and delve into the skills and techniques you need to know to successfully helm your own project. In session one, he will go over the overall role of the director, how to develop your own visual style and point of view, basic terminology and how to be an effective collaborator. In session 2, Heath will teach you pre-production, including text analysis, building a shot list, camera basics, and how to effectively schedule. Session 3 will focus on production, including working with actors, making your day, knowing when you “got the shot” and how to manage your crew. Finally, Heath will spend the last session going over post-production, including working with the editor and and dealing with notes from producers, investors and the editor. You’ll leave this class with a clear idea of how to tackle every step of a director must take and the confidence to bring these skills with you to your own project. Plus! Heath will provide you with a series of exclusive and helpful handouts to take with you and use when directing your next project. Downloads include: Camera Level & Shot Size Shot lists Ground plans – hand drawings Pre-production guide Mood board Camera Bible & Camera techniques WHAT TO EXPECT: This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of directing a film or television show. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration and spaced one week apart from one another. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Heath will be walking you through various elements of the craft of directing, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". Praise for Heath's Previous Stage 32 Directing Class Sometimes one signs up for a class not really knowing what to expect. This class I could never have anticipated! Heath went above and beyond any expectations I might have harbored. This was one of the best classes I have ever taken on Stage 32 or any other platform. I walked away with so much information, confidence and respect for the role of the director. My heartfelt thanks to Heath -Angela R. "This was a phenomenal class. Thank you for providing a class of this caliber. Heath was informative and engaging." -Angel M. Heath was extremely knowledgeable and a great teacher. He had a perfect combination of facts and passion. He invested a lot of energy into, not only, teaching the class, but he also went above and beyond to inspire the class. Very grateful. -Rainy K. I found this course so relevant. The content and the presentation were amazing. I especially liked that Heath gave us the ability to look for the big ideas when directing not taking just one or two nuggets. Thank you for always bringing the best instructors and relevant content. -Susan L.