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.
2 part class taught by Jessica Sitomer, writer, producer and entertainment career coach! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! They say, “It’s all about who you know”. When you are an introvert, though, networking can sometimes be a challenge. The problem lies in that the less you network, the more challenging it can become, which leads to you networking less, and the viscous cycle takes over. Even in today's world where networking is accessible both on and offline, both ways can still be daunting. How do you start a conversation? How do you know you're saying the right thing? If this sounds familiar - don't worry because you're in luck! Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 2 part class: Networking for Introverts taught by Jessica Sitomer. Learn the ideal strategies for various networking situations as well as a clear follow up plan so your networking pays off. TESTOMONIALS ABOUT JESSICA'S CLASS "I thought that she was wonderfully engaging and answered all the questions fully with great insight. I also feel more confident because of how confident she is. I will be recommending her to all my friends!" – J. Gaffney"Great to know HOW to network. Loved the personal stories and hadn't thought of that. Gave me the courage to contact a producer that I'd worked with before and in the conversation he told me he had some story ideas that were right up my alley. We'll see if it works out. Thanks much!" – D. Meyer"Great personality! Made us feel like you were really there to help! Thanks so much!" – D. Levy"I really appreciated all of the advice and the passion in the delivery. I hope to take it to heart and use it to help me succeed". – T. Scharf Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Jessica is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success. When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life? Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for. Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project. Praise for Jim's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Jim is one of my favorite Stage 32 teachers. He is in the thick of putting together independent films and has answers to any possible question that comes up." - Aaron B. "Thanks Jim your insight was invaluable." - Michelle E. "With all of his success, Jim is very approachable. And, he is incredibly thorough answering questions the right way." - Mark M. "Bring Jim back! He is so detailed and is no bs." - Paul H.
Whether you’re leading the creative charge as a screenwriter, in the trenches a director or cinematographer, behind the scenes as a crew member, or in front of the camera as an actor being great at what you do is only part of your job. We at Stage 32 preach that 50% of your job is excelling at your craft, the other 50% is networking and understanding how the industry works. It's simply undeniable, those who commit to treating their networking and relationship building as their job and keep on top of what's happening in the industry land more meetings with decision makers who can make an impact on their career. But the goal is not just to get into the room, it's to stay in the room. And that means you need to know how to be good in the room. And with more and more meetings going virtual and online, you must know how to prepare and have the skills ready for those situations as well. General meetings are the first line of offense and defense for decision makers. As you know, most people in this industry - whether working in film, television or digital - want to find creatives and professionals they can go to war with time and time again. Their tribe. To become part of someone's tribe (and eventually form one of your own), you have to know how to nail the general meeting. It is crucial that you understand how to prepare. You must know who you're meeting with, what to wear, proper etiquette, the story of your project, the story of your personal brand (such an overlooked art), and know your pitch inside and out. Ultimately, you want to turn this general meeting into something much greater or assure that you're receiving a callback meeting. Their are many tried and true tricks for getting this done and we're going to bring them to you. Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Management is one of the most revered managers working in the industry today. Jeff was recently named been named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Management. Prior to joining Bellevue, Jeff worked at Creative Artists Agency, The Gotham Group, Resolution Talent Agency and Heretic Literary Management. Along the way he has sold and set up projects to New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, FOX, Screen Gems, Warner Bros. and more. Jeff has been on both sides of the table for hundreds of general meetings and has learned exactly what makes a meeting successful and where many go south – and he’s here to share the do's and don'ts with you, the Stage 32 community Jeff will teach you how to assure that you perform in your general meeting in a manner that makes you memorable. He will discuss everything from attire to how to carry yourself to how to make eye contact. He'll teach you how to prepare your pitch and convey it with the right amount of passion, charisma and energy. He’ll give you important guidelines on how and when you should talk in the conversation and help you understand if you’re talking too much or sending the wrong message. You’ll learn how to get notes from the other side of the table and how you should receive and respond to them. You will know the best way to pitch “you” and your brand so you stand out from other people taking general meetings with the same party. Jeff will teach you how to do research on the people and the company you are meeting with and how to use that information to your advantage (and not be creepy about it!) He will make you understand why the assistant and support staff can ultimately be your best ally. Finally, Jeff will go over the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in your career – from studios, production companies, managers, agents and networks and explain the differences so you’ll be fully prepared. "A wealth of information. Gave me a lot of things to think about - especially with the tips on reading the room. Your description of how to pitch myself and my story were game-changers. Off to practice now." - Sonia H. "What fabulous advice, Jeff, thank you!" - Greg M. "Yep, now I know why I haven't been securing a second meeting. I have seen the light and the err of my ways." - Veronica G "The dress code discussion was very helpful, I never knew what I should wear and now I do!" - John S.
Quick, name your 5 favorite movies of all time. Chances are they are all encompass different genres and various worlds and journeys. But likely, they all have one thing in common: A memorable and multi-dimensional protagonist. Writing lead characters can be tricky. They're usually the first character that comes to mind when we're crafting our story. As such, we tend to have definitive, even strict, ideas of how that character will dress, how he or she will behave, and even what happens to them along the way. As such, many writers end up crafting their leads as rigid and one-dimensional. As a result, their lead character becomes passive and the supporting characters end up being much more proactive and interesting. Writing a truly memorable lead character takes a full understanding of your character's wants, needs, obstacles, flaws and much more. It means digging into the psychology of your lead before you begin writing so that you can make wonderful, informed discoveries throughout the writing process. With a constant parade of franchise sequels, remakes, and reboots, it’s become harder than ever to create a unique and nuanced lead that audiences feel they haven’t seen before. And in a marketplace crowded with more of the same, it’s never been more essential (and potentially lucrative) for screenwriters to set their work apart. In addition, with the explosion of content being created for the streaming platforms, it's more important than ever, no matter whether you're writing features or TV, that you be able to create lead characters that development execs, producers, showrunners, and financiers can't deny and want to follow into fire. That uniqueness in voice and vision is getting writers signed, sold, staffed, and more and more work than ever before. So how can writers create characters that appeal to a wide audience without sacrificing the very qualities that make them singular? Tyler Ruggeri is a writer with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His original screenplay The Making Of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright, Bernie) and Trudie Styler (Moon) of Maven Pictures. He is currently adapting a critically acclaimed non-fiction book and writing an original action drama. Prior to his writing career, Tyler was a talent manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors while developing the company’s slate of projects. He signed emerging filmmakers including Lee Patterson (Nicholl Fellowship winner for Snatched) and Damien Chazelle, whose film Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards (including Best Adapted Screenplay) and won three, as well as the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to Whiplash, scripts he developed with clients have sold to A-list producers/financiers and garnered industry attention and assignments from major studios. Tyler has read thousands of screenplays and knows first hand what makes a memorable and multi-dimensional protagonist. And now for the 2nd time, exclusively for Stage 32, Tyler is back to teach you how to write interesting and complicated characters that audiences can root for without sacrificing depth. Tyler will focus on studying (and deconstructing) the building blocks of movie protagonists in a straightforward, fun, and easy to digest format. He’ll discuss character in a macro-level approach while zeroing in on recent examples from popular films. He will teach you about making meaningful choices for your characters and how you can't be afraid to make the tough choice. He will delve into your characters wants, needs, and goals. He will discuss whether you lead character needs to be likable. He will teach you all the rules of writing characters and show you how you can break those rules to stand out from the crowd and make an exec turn pages. He will teach you all the tips and tricks of character building that he's learned over the last 10+ years of working with writers and reading scripts. He'll even discuss writer's block - if there is such a thing - and how to get beyond it all and keep writing. In short, he will teach you everything to have your lead characters jumping from the page and pulling the reader along for his or her journey. "Tyler is an extremely articulate presenter. It really helped to have such specific information about how a character can be multi-dimensional. I already see the issues with my protagonist and can't wait to get it all fixed!" - Becca B. "I took pages and pages of notes, thank you! Very well delivered, Tyler clearly had a vast knowledge of the subject. I really enjoyed it!" - Natalie E. "Thank you for bringing Tyler back. One of my favorite Stage 32 educators! This seemed like a week's worth of material delivered concisely and deliberately. I'm so grateful! - Bob K.
Writing a film for television has a ‘unique set of skills’ which are different from writing a traditional screenplay. If you never learn how to write for the BOOM!, act break structure, number of locations, and characters, you’ll get stuck in re-writing hell or worse yet, never have your script read. Understanding script structure, outlining, and deliverables for television films prior to writing will give you a leg up on the competition. Additionally, each network has its own set of rules and you want to ask the right questions prior to typing ‘Fade In’. With more television networks producing their own content and films, the need for content is higher than ever. However, TV films have their own structure and layout, especially when dealing with networks that have commercial breaks. Additionally, working with producers and executives is a different animal than working with producers and executives in the independent world. Courtney Miller Jr. is a 5-time award winning director who has worked with the biggest names in entertainment including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, and Britney Spears. He's a staff writer for the hit show Saints & Sinners on Bounce TV and recently completed his first feature film A Stone Cold Christmas for Bounce TV, where he served as the co-writer and director. Courtney has development deals with TBS, Lionsgate, MGM, Legendary, Weed Road, Viola Davis' company Juvee, Bounce TV, and Will Packer. His award winning short film REPAIRations! - The Musical, received the Director's Choice Diversity in Cannes Best Musical. He has directed commercials for Nike, Apple & Hewlett Packard. He knows the television writing and directing landscape inside and out and he's ready to share his knowledge with you. Courtney will dive in by explaining all the differences between writing a TV and a traditional film screenplay. He will discuss how to format acts, how to be sensitive to the shooting schedule, what you can expect regarding deadlines and delivery dates and how to navigate dealing with the network. From there, Courtney will take you to the greenlit phase where you'll need to know what deliverables you are responsible for, how much time you'll be given to deliver your rewrite, and how to handle network notes (there will be plenty). Courtney will then jump into the writing process including how to write for the BOOM!, how many acts you need to have in your script (and if that varies) and the importance of writing a compelling and attention grabbing Act 1. Going even deeper, Courtney will discuss beat sheets, how many beats you need to add, and what your overall beat sheet should look like. And finally, Courtney will explain how to write an outline that keeps the execs happy and off your back so you can go do what you do best...write! "Another winner for Stage 32. I have many scripts I thought would be a better fit for television and now I know how to get it done!" - Fiona C. "I'm ready to write for the BOOM! Thanks, Courtney!" - Miguel P. "It's always been a dream of mine to have something on the Hallmark channel. Now I have the framework and I'm ready to start writing." Melissa H. "Couldn't have been any better. Great detail!" - Ida W.