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.
In this 5-session online master class, learn from leading producer Jason Mirch, and his special industry guests on how to take an idea for a short film from concept all the way to post-production. Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. You are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 5 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, you should have a screenplay ready for production! Every week your host, Jason Mirch, will be bringing in special guests to help teach you, including: Christina Snider - Casting Associate, Susan Edelman Casting (Melrose Place, Malcolm in the Middle, Drop Dead Diva, Wonder Years) Michael Carney - Director (Same Kind of Different As Me) Brian Swanson - editor and sound designer Abeer Abu Schmeiss - Marketing Director, Image Nation (He Named Me Malala, Flight,The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Like it or not, the film and television industry is and will always be a business. It may produce stunning works of art and lead to social and cultural impacts, but it still comes down to the bottom line. That means that as a writer, unless your name is Christopher Nolan, you’re going to have to deal with more constraints that just the words on a page in order to make your vision a reality. You’ll need to convince a producer that the script can be made and can be made with the money available. And, if you’re a filmmaker or producer, you’ll need to understand how much of the budget is going to each page in order to make your film profitable. In order to do this, it’s important to understand how to read scripts from a cost perspective and what stands out to them as red flags or unnecessary challenges. Considering this throughout the writing and development process rather than being caught off guard after a script is fully written can be invaluable. It can be frustrating to have limitations get in the way of your creative expression, to be told that the world and story in your head can’t be made because of financial constraints. It can feel like selling out to alter your script in order to fit a financier’s budget. This doesn’t have to be the case, though—you don’t have to sacrifice your narrative in service of the bottom line. Instead, there are ways to meld your creativity with some financial savvy and learn to think about how story, character, and structure translate into dollars on the page. So before you write that ambitious live action space opera, the one on the rain planet with children and exotic animals, join producer James Crawford and learn how a producer thinks and breaks down pages.This will give you a leg up on the competition when trying to get your script made. James Crawford is the Head of Development for Fireside Pictures. Prior to joining Fireside Pictures, James was the Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, where he developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series at Engage, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment,James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced film or series. James will provide you with an understanding of the unforeseen costs that go into producing a script. He’ll begin by going over what it generally means to think like a producer in the first place. He’ll then delve into the specific financial challenges that come with genre and ‘genre-ish’ projects and how you can prepare yourself for these issues. James will break down the seven main types of producers on a project and what each one does. James will focus on the relationship between the producer and the line producer, a critical partnership for finding the resources to keeping your vision. James will then give you a full breakdown of what costs could go into every single page of your script, from above-the-line and below-the-line talent to locations, production design, and small things you might not have ever considered before that can seriously add up. To illustrate this, James will provide you with a case study of a real scene of a real shooting script, illustrating line-by-line where the costs lie in the script. Finally, James will teach you 10 strategies you can use if you’re starting to go over-budget. You will leave with a firmer understanding of how your script will translate to costs, and clear strategies to keep your vision while going easier on the budget. Praise for James’s Webinar: James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B. “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C. Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W. “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.
State of the industry Why the majority of TV/Film comes from pre-existing IP "The Executive Bias" Pre-existing Fan Base/Fleshed Out World Adapting Books/Articles Where to Go! How To Choose Material Who To Contact For Film/TV Rights How To Close The Deal Case Study: Game of Thrones, Sex and The City Case Study: The Wedding Sting in the Atlantic, now going to be a film at Paramount Adapting Comic Books / Video Games Where to Go! How To Choose Material Who To Contact For Film/TV Rights How To Close The Deal Case Study (Comics): Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel/Disney, lesser known/less successful comic became a blockbuster) Case Study: Jessica Jones (Marvel / Netflix) Case Study (Video Games): Assassin's Creed (FOX, to be released this December) Making it your own Most say DO NOT adapt your own material (leads to being too protective of your work/not as open to change) Fun thing about IP, when you build a world, it can keep being adapted into other mediums (Example: Orphan Black the comic book was one of the best-selling comics last year, adapted from TV show. Goes in both directions) The heart of this, however, is making sure the new versions are different enough from the old, AND have your voice in them. LIVE Q&A with Maggie!
There are a wide array of audition classes, books, and online resources that provide important actor insight and audition technique and etiquette. However, very few actors or industry professionals have an understanding of how the entire casting process works. If you're an actor, you may focused on winning the room. If you're a filmmaker, you may be focused on finding the best performance the quickest way possible. If you're a producer you may be focused on getting the best talent to bring audition to your package. Either way, every person involved with the project controls an important piece of the overall puzzle. If you're an actor it's important that you understand how the entire casting process works so you can build champions, win the room and book more work. If you're a filmmaker or producer, it's important that you understand the casting timeline to prepare for pre-production. Have you ever wondered what happens behind closed casting office doors, both before and after an audition? This is crucial information that helps you determine how you can best contribute to the overall casting puzzle. You need to understand project breakdowns, actor submissions, audition scheduling and director callbacks. You will need insight as to why one actor may be selected to audition over another and you’ll also need to know about the many factors that determine which actors advance in the casting process and ultimately book the role. Marin Hope, CSA is a Los Angeles native and LA-based casting director, who won the 2020 Artios Award for Casting. Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, KINGS, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY, starring Joan Allen and Adrien Brody, and most recently MOLLY, Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Marin has cast hundreds of actors in film, TV, theatre and commercial projects and is back exclusively on Stage 32 to detail the casting director’s process, beginning to end. Marin will walk through the entire casting process from her perspective as an accomplished casting director. She’ll begin by discussing project and character breakdowns, how they’re composed, what details are included, and the various forums and databases these breakdowns are posted. She’ll go over what details actors should not before submitting to a role and how to know ahead of time if you’re right for the role. She’ll teach you how to submit yourself for a role or how to get your agent or manager to do so. Marin will give you an inside look into how casting directors sort through actor submissions to choose who to audition and what elements will help a casting director notice and choose you. Next, Marin will discuss how casting directors schedule actor auditions, how many actors are generally schedule in a single day and what you should do as an actor if you’re unavailable for your audition date or time. She will delve into the process of 1st call auditions, who is typically in the room, what you should expect, how you should prepare, and what the casting director’s process is after a day of 1st call auditions. She will also give you a peek into who views your 1st call audition tapes. Marin will then similarly outline callback auditions, how they work, how they differ from 1st call auditions, and how decisions are made at this stage. Next she will talk about 2nd callbacks, chemistry reads, and test shoots, including how best to prepare for these, how decisions are made at this stage, and what to expect for a test shoot. She’ll delve into what it means to be “put on avail” and how to navigate when you’re “on avail” and when to know if you are “released” or have been booked for the job. Finally Marin will discuss the ultimate step of booking talent, including how you will know if you booked the job, what the process looks like from the casting director’s perspective after getting the green light to book talent, and how you should communicate with the casting office throughout. You’ll learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective, which will give you a unique and valuable understanding of how projects are cast. Praise for Marin’s Past Stage 32 Webinar: Well, done. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions. Thanks so much, Marin. -Joseph H. I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know, but Marin brought forth valuable new information. -Michele C. Clear, professional, informative presentation. Thank you!! -Pamela F. I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away. -Sondra C.
Over recent years, the independent producing model has shown that films budgeted between $1-$3 Million have become a "sweet spot" for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand some tried and true principles that will help you find investors, present your project in the proper fashion and lock them down for an investment. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects with budgets between $1MM-$3MM can be your calling card toward making a life working in independent film. Simply put, those who understand the formula to the strategies and methods that can help your investors see a return get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring more investors if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, there are smart ways to find money that you may not have thought of, and there are also ways you can expand your dollars once you start raising funds for your project. In addition, there is a well-known group of professionals and creatives that have been working on films between $1-$3MM for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what expectations are once you do. Brad Hibbs Wyman has produced over 40 feature films in all budget ranges, including Monster starring Charlize Theron in her Oscar-winning role, Freeway starring Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon and actor Steve Buscemi's directorial debut, Trees Lounge. Brad has learned all aspects of financing and the elements that are needed for a successful raise and he's going to bring his years of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Brad will teach the basic principles of motion picture financing for under $3 million dollar features which include: Rule #1 - “GET THE MONEY" Rule #2 - Always remember to “GET THE MONEY” Rule #3 - Never forget to always remember to “GET THE MONEY" If that gives you the insight into Brad's fun personality, then you're in for a treat with this webinar. Brad will teach you the common obstacles that get in the way of raising financing. He'll go over all the various types of financing: equity, private equity, pre-sales, GAP, tax incentives, deferred and crowdfunding. In addition, he'll go in depth on guidelines for your financial package and what you'll need for tax incentives, pre-sales, debt and domestic MG. He'll even go over your plan of execution including your investment proposal and what it looks like, completion and guarantor bonds and pitching your project. You will not only know the basics of how to smartly raise up to $3MM, but you'll also walk away with knowing the names of the players and the companies that are in this landscape, giving you an instant advantage to becoming an insider. And if that doesn't make you feel great enough, Brad’s proceeds from this exclusive Stage 32 webinar will be donated to his favorite arts charity! "Brad was great. I loved his style and how frank he was. Really appreciate his demeanor." - Robert G. "It was one of the most amazing experiences. The most entertaining and true presenter I have ever come across." - Ranadeep B. "Awesome experience - great learning opportunity and very well organized. I look forward to more." - Brien Gorham "Brad brought the goods and the funny. And he removed my initimidation factor when it comes to approaching investors. Great webinar!" - Alyssa K.