Most people have a general idea of what a director does, but that idea usually pertains more to feature films. Directing television can be a separate beast altogether. Successful TV directors need to be adept at navigating inherent contradictions associated with this role. Unlike in films, TV directors have to both have a vision and still fit in with the overall feel of the series. And they need to be in charge despite often only coming in for an episode or two. These are tough lines to straddle, but doing so and honing your craft can lead to a successful and exciting career. Pursuing a career in directing in any medium is rife with challenges: there is no set path to success and finding insight into the inner workings of directing is challenging. Television directing is an even more specific specialty within the world of directing. Several ways of working and behaviors that would be ideal for a feature director are not compatible with the way television is produced. In addition, the path to breaking in as a television director is quite different from that of a feature director. If your goal is to direct television, it’s vital to understand the way television is produced and the role that the director plays within that specific production environment. Heath Cullens is an accomplished television director who has directed episodes of TV shows like 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 the art of TV directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Heath will dig into the specifics and craft of directing for television and will reveal how to pursue it and how best to do the job once you get it. Heath will first explain how best to pursue work in TV directing, including discovering the type of TV is the best fit, how to find your ‘in’, developing a reel, shadowing, and working with established creators. Next he will delve into the vital relationships you’ll need to maintain as a TV director, including with the EP/showrunner, the crew, the cast, and the network or studio. Finally Heath will go through the major challenges you should expect in this role and tips on how to navigate. Along the way, Heath will share challenges and experiences from his own career. The role of a TV director can be enigmatic and often eclipsed by feature films, but Heath will give you the rundown so you can be equipped with the knowledge and advice to pursue this route on your own.
Animation is one of the few types of productions that hasn’t slowed down or halted due to the pandemic. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work of animated films and television to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. With these ongoing changes in animated film and television production and financing, it’s now more important than ever to develop solid relationships to get into animation, and especially with overseas animation studios to successfully produce your own animated project. The truth is you’ll be hard-pressed to find many animated projects that are fully financed and produced in America. In fact, well over half of the work of most animated projects is done overseas, and that number is only rising as the industry continues to change. Working with overseas company is the norm and something that might be necessary if you are working towards producing your own animated project. Yet there’s more to gain in working with companies overseas than simply avoiding being left behind. Working with other countries opens the door for better tax breaks and lower cost and overhead. Going global might be the best step you can take in making your animated project a reality, but it requires a deep understanding of how this pipeline works and how to get your foot in the door. Mike Disa is the director of the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike has directed and produced movies and television with over a dozen overseas partners and wants to tell you how it's done. Mike Disa will walk you through the why and how of producing your animated project with an overseas company to best position it for success. He’ll begin by explaining the three basic models of animation production and how each works within a global pipeline. He’ll then explain why you should work with an overseas animation company and will outline both the benefits and negatives of doing this. He’ll then give you tools in how to best start a relationship with an overseas company and explain the difference between an overseas company, an overseas company with American offices and an American company with overseas offices. Next, Mike will explain how financing works with overseas companies and what these companies are looking for in an American partner. He’ll then delve into how the crash of movie theaters has affected the overseas markets and partnerships. Next he will focus on the impact Netflix animation has had on the industry as a whole and address the question “is everything bad Netflix’s fault?” Mike will teach you about how ownerships and participation work when working with overseas animation companies and will delve into why Chinese and Indian money is different than other money. Finally he will spend time explaining the problems Brexit is causing and how you can navigate these issues. Through covering these topics, Mike will give you a thorough blueprint of how to think and work globally and give your animated project success. Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar It was really advanced stuff, and great advice. I appreciate that he was willing to stick around as long as he did to answer questions. -Shari E. I loved the wealth of content and Mike's humor. -Prema R. "Amazing" - Nilfredith S. Loved the host and the webinar! Mike’s knowledge is sound and extensive. His vision for what’s happening now and what we are to expect in the future is brilliant. I could listen to him forever. -Jane D.
Join literary manager Spencer Robinson from Art/Work Entertainment as he talks about the state of the comedy writing industry for film & TV and answers questions exclusively for the Stage 32 community!
Learn directly from Liz Profumo, Managing Attorney of the Immigration Firm D'Alessio Law Group! "Lots of info provided and all questions were answered. Thank you so much, you've made the first step much easier! So glad this webinar came up as I was feeling pretty lost and confused on how to go about it. I'm trying not to 'self-diagnose' as you said, but it has made me realise I need to get more professional experience and put myself out there more, to give myself the best shot at getting the visa." – Jessamie K. "[They were] very informative and gave great advice…All in all, I left the webinar very pleased and more informed!" – Herschel A. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Managing Attorney Liz Profumo and her team at DLG Immigration will walk you through the O-1 ‘Artist of Extraordinary Ability' Visa. Liz will deconstruct the issues that foreign nationals encounter when crossing the border, applying for visas, finding employment in a new country and relocating. You will leave the webinar knowing: Exactly what the O-1 visa entails. How to construct the resume of the visa. How to getting letters of support. What other visa options exsit if the O-1 isn’t a good fit for you. What to do - and not to do - at the border. How to identify and avoid immigration scams. Your host Liz Profumo has been practicing immigration law exclusively since 2007. Her practice is limited to immigration and nationality law and concentrates on temporary and permanent business and employment related visas for investors, artists, and entertainers, and she has assisted hundreds of artists, performers, and other industry professionals to realize their dreams of living in the United States. The associates at DLG Immigration have personal experience in the immigration process and the entertainment industry, and understand your logistical requirements as well as your legal requirements. They understand the types of documentation you will have and what to ask you for and are here exclusively for Stage 32 to help our members around the world pursue their dreams of working in the U.S.
A Note From Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard Botto: This exclusive Stage 32 Master Class comes from one of my favorite people on the planet, Stephen Follows. Stephen is not only a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and educator, but also a master statistician. In fact, I first became aware of Stephen when I discovered (and found myself lost for hours in) his incredible blog where he chronicles the results of his extensive research into data and statistics related to the film industry. So taken was I by Stephen's work that I sought him out prior to my trip to London for the Raindance Film Festival and requested a meeting. Not only did Stephen accept, but he kept our meeting in spite of a horrible cold, ultimately spending 2 more hours than planned. That's the kind of guy Stephen is. But his mind, as you are about to discover, is another story entirely. I'm thrilled and honored to announce that not only will Stephen be contributing a number of columns for the Stage 32 Blog, but he will be teaching the first ever Stage 32 Master Class. Stephen's Master Class will be on crowdfunding, and I promise you it will be the most inclusive, insightful and factual (backed by more stats than you could imagine) class ever taught on the subject. Stephen has analyzed over 50,000 film crowdfunding campaigns -- yes, you read that right -- and is bringing his findings to the Stage 32 community EXCLUSIVELY. Never before has this extensive of research and discovery been taught on crowdfunding for filmmakers. It's an honor to welcome and introduce to you, the incredible Stage 32 community, my friend, Stephen Follows. About the Stage 32 Next Level Master Class - Advanced Crowdfunding For Filmmakers: Launching a crowdfunding campaign is easy – ensuring you actually reach your goal is not. Especially if you need to raise a large amount or you’re competing in a crowded marketplace. Rather than leaving it up to chance, or learning on-the-job, let film data expert Stephen Follows take you through the inside scoop on what works and what doesn’t. Stephen brings his experience of teaching at some of the world’s best film schools, running a leading online video agency and as a film industry data expert. He has crunched the numbers on over 50,000 crowdfunding film campaigns from platforms including Kickstarter and Indiegogo, studied the videos on the top 5,200 film projects, interviewed over 50 filmmakers and people who work at the major crowdfunding companies. Notes: This is an advanced course and we expect all students to have a basic knowledge of crowdfunding. Please also note that the free course Stephen discusses in the recording is no longer available and only available to students who took his course live.
Short films are all the rage. Not only are more and more film festivals accepting short films, but festivals dedicated to nothing but short films have become more popular than ever. Additionally, more managers, agents, and producers are looking to short films to find untapped talent and new ideas. So many successful filmmakers today, from Christopher Nolan to Damien Chazelle, have used short films as a calling card to showcase their skills and show the world that they were ready for the big time. But shooting a quality short film means raising some financing. And for many, this can be challenging. Allow us to help you out by showing you everything you need to know so that you can attract investors looking to get behind you, your unique vision and your work. One thing that many creatives avoid when putting together a short film is everything that goes into the business end. From determining and compiling a true and realistic budget to being able to tell their creative and financial story within a pitch deck to thinking about a distribution strategy and recoupment plan well before shooting, there is so much to think about toward getting investors in your corner beyond the creative. JT Molner knows a thing or two about raising funds for shorts and feature films. Although JT is a writer and director, he's been deep in the trenches in raising funds for his projects leaving no stoned unturned and nothing to chance. After raising financing for many successful shorts which caught the eyes of producers and talent, JT rolled up his sleeves and helped his producers raise financing for his first feature film, Outlaws and Angels, which was originally shot as a short film as proof of concept. The feature became an Official Selection at Sundance and was sold to Orion Films. JT will teach you everything he's learned from his decade of raising financing for his short films and other projects. He will dive into how you can determine your budget and how you can include that information and other pertinent material in a pitch deck that stands out from the norm and attracts investors. He'll talk about the benefits of private funding vs. crowdfunding (he's done both) and how you can gain support from individuals and the crowd. And he'll dive into distribution strategies and recoupment planning so that you can clearly and concisely explain to your investors your grand vision of how they are not only going to make their money back, but turn a profit! Added Bonus! You'll receive a pitch deck from JT's film OUTLAWS AND ANGELS which started as a short film proof of concept, and went on to be made as a feature, being selected as an Official Selection at Sundance and selling to Orion films! Holy clarity! I've made so many mistakes along the way. Every short film has seemed like a struggle not worth reliving and now I understand why. These wounds were self inflicted. Thank you, JT, for not only (kindly) setting things straight, but for opening my eyes. I can't wait to get started on my next project. - Manford C.