Film Development Process: Defining The Producer-Writer Relationship

Taught by Shaun O'Banion

$129

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Who Should Attend:

Who Should Attend: 

  • Writers trying to get their material seen and, hopefully, produced.
  • New and first-time producers seeking to better understand how to navigate the process of development.
  • Actors looking to make the leap to producing in order to take control of their careers.
  • Directors who wish to understand the process that has occurred before they’re on a project.
  • Writer-Directors looking to expand their knowledge base and understand the process from the producers side as well as how to construct a script that’s production ready.
  • Anyone who is interested in understanding the relationships and personal dynamics that are created during the development phase.

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Class hosted by: Shaun O'Banion

Producer at Ravenwood Films

Shaun O’Banion was drawn to the film business from an early age and got his first film industry job as a set P.A. on the Steven Spielberg series “SeaQuest DSV” after sneaking onto the Universal lot for three months and asking for jobs. From there, he segued to features (again after sneaking onto a set - this time a James Cameron production) and began to work his way up – first as a Production Assistant, Assistant Director and later, as an assistant to actors such as Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken, Ben Stiller, Courteney Cox and David Arquette and acclaimed filmmakers Joe Wright, Judd Apatow and Academy Award Nominee Peter Hedges. His first film as a producer was released in 2008 by E1 Entertainment. That film, DAKOTA SKYE, remained in the Top 100 on Netflix for 5 years and has become a cult hit among teens, a regular topic on social networking sites like Twitter and Tumblr and has aired on Showtime, The Movie Channel, ComCast, Time Warner Cable and Hulu. His second film, GIRLFRIEND, stars Shannon Woodward (HBO's upcoming series Westworld, Fox TV’s Raising Hope), Jackson Rathbone (THE TWILIGHT SAGA) and Golden Globe Nominee Amanda Plummer (THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, PULP FICTION) and newcomer Evan Sneider. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was one of 13 films to sell to a distributor in the first week of the Festival. In 2011, Shaun and his fellow producers won an IFP Gotham Award for the film as well as a host of other awards both internationally and here in the U.S. His latest film, THE AUTOMATIC HATE, stars Joseph Cross (LINCOLN, MILK), Adelaide Clemens (GATSBY, Sundance Channel series Rectify), Richard Schiff (HBO’s Ballers, MAN OF STEEL), Deborah Ann Woll (Netlfix Original's Daredevil, HBO's True Blood) and Ricky Jay (HEIST, BOOGIE NIGHTS). The film made it's World Premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, won the Jury Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival, played at Busan in S. Korea and at the Seattle International Film Festival as well. The film will be released in N. America by Film Movement later this year. A member of the Producers Guild of America, O’Banion has also produced national commercials for clients such as EA Sports, Pepsi, HIVE Lighting and Chevrolet. He has also produced two episodes of Day Off with Noah Abrams (featuring celebrity chef Tyler Florence and Skate legend Tony Hawk) for the Planes, Traines & Automobiles Network which airs on the web and on Delta Airlines with 200 million unique views a year, and a live event in Los Angeles for The White House, Office of First Lady Michelle Obama along with J.J. Abrams. Shaun is also an accomplished public speaker and teacher, having taught filmmaking courses at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, California, SUNY Oneonta, New York, Metro-Arts High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and South Bay Adult School in Los Angeles, California. He has served on panels at the Firstglance Film Festival, Hollywood and as both panelist and moderator at Hells Half Mile Film and Music Festival in Bay City, Michigan. He was also recently a speaker on an accomplished panel of independent producers at SAG-AFTRA in Los Angeles. With several projects in various stages solely under the Ravenwood Films banner encompassing the worlds of reality television, narrative tv and features as well as others he'll produce with partners like Broad Reach Films, he expects the next few years to be extremely busy. Full Bio »

Summary

Session 1:

  • Initial Contact:
    1. Where do producers look for material?
    2. If you’re a producer, selecting the right writer for your story.
  • Should you really sign up for those websites that claim to get your stuff read?
  • What makes a producer decide to read your material?
  • How to get past the measures designed to keep you on the outside.
  • Repped vs unrepped.
  • How many projects is a producer developing at any one time?
    1. How To Write To Get Read. What hooks a producer, development exec or reader and are those things different at different budget levels?
    2. Should you go ahead and write your $100 million dollar summer blockbuster?
    3. Writing to get it made now.
    4. Pre-existing material. Where you find it, how to get it.
    5. Coverage. Who’s reading? What are they looking for? How do they judge?
  • Recorded Q&A with Shaun!

Session 2:

  • What is “development” really and how long can it take?
    1. From big budget films to indies, the time period can vary wildly. What are the factors? Is there a way to “beat the system” and ensure your film gets going?
    2. Building your relationship: Working with a producer or development exec. can be a stressful process. Learn how to navigate this so that you end up with the best version of your project.
    3. Fighting/Making up/Moving on. So you’ve hit a wall. They want more changes and you’re not willing to go there. How to move past the inevitable speed bumps and get going again.
    4. Is being replaced inevitable?
  • You’ve been optioned/hired… Now what?
    1. Beginning to understand the dynamics of your new relationship.
    2. If you’re a writer, how to work with your new producer/partner to create the best result. If you’re a producer, how to navigate the process with your screenwriter.
    3. Differences between indie/big budget in terms of development
    4. Thinking in terms of production: While certainly not a “must” for writers, having some sense of what may go into crafting a single scene from a practical perspective can be of enormous value.
  • Recorded Q&A with Shaun!
 

What You'll Learn

Learn directly from Gotham Award-winning Producer Shaun O’Banion who's worked with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow. Shaun’s first feature was one of an early group of independent films picked up for Netflix, and remained in the Top 100 for 5 years before airing on such networks as Showtime, The Movie Channel, ComCast On Demand, Time Warner Cable On Demand and Hulu.

"Loved the up-front examples of how long it took to develop different films and whys behind it. Super informative." - Gina Gladwell

"For people trying to break into the business, these kind of webinar chats where the info and experience rolls off the cuff is important and very effective for me. If you can't be around the industry and executives, having the opportunity to 'be in the room' and hear about process and how things are done is really important." - Diana Lanham 

“Working with Shaun O'Banion has been nothing short of extraordinary on every level. I have collaborated with him, as his editor, on three award-winning feature films and dozens of other projects... Shaun's vast experience and knowledge in the business coupled with his storytelling sensibilities, people skills and communication skills make him a huge asset to any project of any size. Not only can I not imagine having the career I've had without him, I also couldn't imagine my life without him as a great and true friend.” - Jeff Castelluccio, Film Editor (Gotti, Another Time, Hot Summer Nights)

 

  

Navigating the maze of getting a screenplay read by people who can make it a reality is one thing, but moving into the realm of getting material financed and produced by those people is another game altogether. In this Next Level Class, you will learn from an award-winning producer's perspective what producers look for, how doing your research matters, and how collaboration with your new partner is the key to it all. Plus, learn the differences between setting up a short and setting up a feature.

Some of the common questions asked during the development process are: where do producers look for material? How do you get someone to read your material? What are the differences between the indie film landscape and higher budget film production? Should you shoot a proof-of-concept short for your film? How can you build a collaborative relationship that will allow the best version of the script to end up on film? Should you shoot for the moon and write a $100 million dollar blockbuster or a down and dirty indie that, in a pinch, you could pull off with friends?

In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Class, award-winning producer Shaun O’Banion will take you through all of this and more! Over the course of 2 online sessions you will learn about the process of getting material produced from the producer's perspective. You will also learn about the development process from the mind of an established indie producer who will give you a new set of tools to get your material in top form!

 

About Your Instructor

Shaun O’Banion was drawn to the film business from an early age and got his first film industry job as a set P.A. on the Steven Spielberg series “SeaQuest DSV” after sneaking onto the Universal lot for three months and asking for jobs.

From there, he segued to features (again after sneaking onto a set - this time a James Cameron production) and began to work his way up – first as a Production Assistant, Assistant Director and later, as an assistant to actors such as Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken, Ben Stiller, Courteney Cox and David Arquette and acclaimed filmmakers Joe Wright, Judd Apatow and Academy Award Nominee Peter Hedges.

His first film as a producer was released in 2008 by E1 Entertainment. That film, DAKOTA SKYE, remained in the Top 100 on Netflix for 5 years and has become a cult hit among teens, a regular topic on social networking sites like Twitter and Tumblr and has aired on Showtime, The Movie Channel, ComCast, Time Warner Cable and Hulu.

His second film, GIRLFRIEND, stars Shannon Woodward (HBO's upcoming series Westworld, Fox TV’s Raising Hope), Jackson Rathbone (THE TWILIGHT SAGA) and Golden Globe Nominee Amanda Plummer (THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, PULP FICTION) and newcomer Evan Sneider. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was one of 13 films to sell to a distributor in the first week of the Festival. In 2011, Shaun and his fellow producers won an IFP Gotham Award for the film as well as a host of other awards both internationally and here in the U.S.

His latest film, THE AUTOMATIC HATE, stars Joseph Cross (LINCOLN, MILK), Adelaide Clemens (GATSBY, Sundance Channel series Rectify), Richard Schiff (HBO’s Ballers, MAN OF STEEL), Deborah Ann Woll (Netlfix Original's Daredevil, HBO's True Blood) and Ricky Jay (HEIST, BOOGIE NIGHTS). The film made it's World Premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, won the Jury Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival, played at Busan in S. Korea and at the Seattle International Film Festival as well. The film will be released in N. America by Film Movement later this year.

A member of the Producers Guild of America, O’Banion has also produced national commercials for clients such as EA Sports, Pepsi, HIVE Lighting and Chevrolet. He has also produced two episodes of Day Off with Noah Abrams (featuring celebrity chef Tyler Florence and Skate legend Tony Hawk) for the Planes, Traines & Automobiles Network which airs on the web and on Delta Airlines with 200 million unique views a year, and a live event in Los Angeles for The White House, Office of First Lady Michelle Obama along with J.J. Abrams.

Shaun is also an accomplished public speaker and teacher, having taught filmmaking courses at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, California, SUNY Oneonta, New York, Metro-Arts High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and South Bay Adult School in Los Angeles, California. He has served on panels at the Firstglance Film Festival, Hollywood and as both panelist and moderator at Hells Half Mile Film and Music Festival in Bay City, Michigan. He was also recently a speaker on an accomplished panel of independent producers at SAG-AFTRA in Los Angeles.

With several projects in various stages solely under the Ravenwood Films banner encompassing the worlds of reality television, narrative tv and features as well as others he'll produce with partners like Broad Reach Films, he expects the next few years to be extremely busy.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 2 to 4 week ongoing broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to 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 class, 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 class 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 class 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 class?
A: If you cannot attend a live class and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the class afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Testimonials

Testimonials:

"Great class!" - Ron Heaps

"Loved the up-front examples of how long it took to develop different films and whys behind it. Super informative." - Gina Gladwell

"For people trying to break into the business, these kind of webinar chats where the info and experience rolls off the cuff is important and very effective for me. If you can't be around the industry and executives, having the opportunity to 'be in the room' and hear about process and how things are done is really important." - Diana Lanham

“As a writer, it's nice to work with someone who is as enthusiastic and dedicated about a project as you are. From the fun stuff, like brainstorming and generating storylines, to the more difficult tasks, like fact research or scene structure, Shaun O'Banion will put in the time and the energy." - Scott Kirkley, Screenwriter

“Shaun is the kind of producer you want on set. He's not afraid to listen to crew needs and address them as soon as possible. He's an active problem solver on set, and without his help I would have never gotten the camera package, crew or gear to shoot GIRLFRIEND.” - Quyen Tran, Director of Photography

“Working with Shaun O'Banion has been nothing short of extraordinary on every level. Shaun had been a seasoned production assistant when we first met back in 2002. At the time, he was responsible for getting me my first break as a PA when he took me under his wing. Flash forward fourteen years later and I have collaborated with him, as his editor, on three award-winning feature films and dozens of other projects, so he’s also responsible for getting me my first break as a storyteller... See a pattern here? Shaun's vast experience and knowledge in the business coupled with his storytelling sensibilities, people skills and communication skills make him a huge asset to any project of any size. Not only can I not imagine having the career I've had without him, I also couldn't imagine my life without him as a great and true friend.” - Jeff Castelluccio, Film Editor

Shaun's Social Media:

Twitter: @shaun_obanion
Twitter: @ravenwoodfilms
http://www.ravenwoodfilms.com

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: 4.5 out of 5

  • Excellent. Looks at the issues from both sides of the table. Very transparent about what the relationships between producers & writers need to know.
  • Helpful, practical advice from someone who's walking the talk.

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Exclusive to Stage 32, Chris Lockhart, one of the most legendary and revered agency story editors in the business teaches for the community. Chris has read over 60,000 scripts in his career for WME and has the database to prove it!  A logline is the way your screenplay is introduced to the world. It’s rare that anyone will read your script without knowing something about it first. A-List Actors, producers, directors, managers, agents, financiers and development execs will often lean on hearing a logline before ever asking for or agreeing to read a screenplay. If your logline doesn't sing, the script doesn't get opened. Even more important, if the logline doesn't work, it's a signal to those who read screenplays for a living that the script probably doesn't either. Delving into a logline can help you identify problematic elements of a screenplay, enabling solutions to fix them. Simply put, there is no one better to help teach this subject than Chris Lockhart. As Story Editor at William Morris Endeavor (WME), the world's largest diversified talent agency, Chris has curated projects for A-list actors such as Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and countless others over the last 20+ years. He's accomplished this reading and exploring through piles of screenplays, magazines, books, old movies, TV shows, and pitches in search of potential film projects. If you've seen one of these actors in just about anything, chances are Chris was the first stop for the screenplay (of which he's read over 60,000), but only after he heard the logline and deemed it worth of a read! Chris began his career at International Creative Management (ICM), where he worked as script consultant to legendary talent agent Ed Limato, who represented industry giants such as Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson, and Robert Downey, Jr. Chris later moved to the venerable William Morris Agency, which eventually merged with Endeavor to form WME. Chris is the Story Editor for A-list talent such as Denzel Washington, Michelle Williams, Richard Gere and more!  As an educator and consultant, Chris has lectured around the world on the craft and business of screenwriting, and he has advised on countless feature films. Chris graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dramatic writing and was awarded the school's Public Service Prize for his dedication to public education. He is an adjunct professor at National University's Professional Screenwriting Program. He has also taught at LA Valley College and UCLA. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was filmed for Los Angeles television, earning him an Emmy Award nomination. Chris's creative counsel has been used on hundreds of hit films Chris is a member of the Writers Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Television Academy. In a jammed packed and often hilarious webinar (trust us, Chris is a character and a half), Chris will not only teach you how to write a logline, but how to tailor it in such a way that it is appealing to talent, representation and the money. He'll break down the mechanics of a logline to determine what makes one work. He'll show you what aspects A-List actors, directors, managers, agents, producers, financiers and development execs look for in a logline that makes them want to take the next step and read your script. Chris will then take you on a broader discussion of the elements of successful screenwriting and how your logline can betray what you've written or reveal the shortcomings in your script. As a bonus, Chris will then play a recording of an interactive logline pitch shop he recently held where he broke down several loglines to show what worked and what didn't. All this followed by a fun and informative Q&A filled with even more actionable information.   "Chris, without question, is not only one of my favorite people in the industry, but one of my favorite people on the planet. His knowledge of screenwriting is beyond compare and his ability to break down every aspect of the writing process beginning with the logline is something to behold. He's smart, engaging, and funny as hell. And he's right about everything...Just ask him!" - Richard Botto, CEO (and screenwriter), Stage 32   "Amazing seminar loved it. It was the best I have ever watched or ordered!" - Robert M.   "Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor." - Lori H.   "Oh my god, I was laughing all the way through. In between writing about 10 pages of notes. SO much fun and a wealth of knowledge." - Denise G.   "I went into this thinking it was going to be yet another of those dry logline classes. I was upended. This wasn't just the best thing ever regarding loglines, but the best screenwriting class I've ever taken." - Robert S.   "Excellent! Very practical and useful!" - Kathi W.

Avoid Theft: How To Legally Protect Your Script, Idea or Project

In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects.     Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar   "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D.   "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F

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