Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays)! You hear it again and again: “We’re looking for character driven drama/comedy/action/name your genre.” You may have a great plot, amazing action sequences, or the most hilarious idea for a comedy set piece but without great characters, you’ll be dead in the water. Why? Because everything should be motivated by your characters. What would The Godfather be without Michael’s change from the good man who served his country to a vengeful and tyrannical ruler? What would Star Wars be without the father son drama? Creating memorable characters is such an essential aspect of creating a compelling, sellable story, yet so many writers struggle with doing it correctly and fail to avoid the trap of stock characters that leave their scripts lifeless and weak. The Stage 32 Happy Writers is thrilled to bring you a 3-week online course Avoid Stock Characters: How To Create Memorable, Compelling Characters so you can learn how to create the memorable characters your story deserves. This class is taught by Melissa Daykin Cassill, VP of Development and Production at State Street Pictures, a production company with a first look deal at Fox 2000 Pictures. What Melissa loves most about her job is working with writers and developing exciting, compelling projects and she’s excited to be here teaching with Stage 32 to help you develop compelling characters in your story! In this class, you will learn how to set up a character arc so the character’s change is compelling, how to develop supporting characters who support the story and compliment your protagonists, how to avoid stock characters and scenes and how to adjust what you already have to make your work better. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared toward strengthening your characters, you will leave this class knowing exactly how to create memorable characters for your stories.
Filmmakers, producers, and financiers can really be held back by distribution contracts. If they don’t understand the language or terms, are passive or held hostage by a feeling that they may be getting ripped off, or simply do not have the support system to advise them or the knowledge to know what to fight for, they can find themselves at an extreme disadvantage. In many cases, the excitement of the "someone likes my movie/let's get it out there" mentality supersedes common sense. And that alone can lead you into giving away your rights, accepting horrendous percentages or agreeing to terms that lock you and your project up. Don't fall into these traps! You worked hard on your film. You sacrificed time and likely money to get to this point. While most might think this is time to hit the gas pedal, it's actually time to tap the brakes. You want to be sure you're doing everything humanly possible to not only protect yourself, your investors and your team, but maximizing your film's potential in the marketplace. Anna Darrah is an experienced film buyer, negotiating with and licensing over 800 films in her 12 years working for Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle. She has been an active player on the festival circuit and currently advises filmmakers on custom distribution strategies. Anna is also a filmmaker who produced two documentaries that aired on The Sundance Channel, and directed a music video and the short film THE MATTER OF MAGIC. She also produced a feature-length documentary about Helen Schreider (www.THEHELENMOVIE.com) while also making short films for the ZILLOW.COM series, HOMEMAKERS. Anna has enjoyed jurying and participating in film festival panels and workshops here and abroad and is currently offering a Film Distribution Workshop co-taught with Jilann Spitzmiller. Now Anna brings her knowledge and teaching prowess to Stage 32. Anna will begin by breaking down theatrical and broadcast rights as well as exclusive and non-exclusive deals. She'll dive into breaking down deal points including term, territory, rights and compensation. She'll discuss standard terms and point out red flags within and speak to what you should negotiate to assure you get the best, and most fair, deal. She will even look at the negotiation process from the other side of the table so you can understand what a distributor truly wants out of a deal. Thinking outside the box, Anna will even discuss going the DIY distribution route or a hybrid DIY/traditional distribution path. All this and much more. It’s incredible how each contract is like a snowflake -- totally unique and yet similar in some very important ways. I will help you understand the entire distribution arena so you can sleep well knowing you've made the best deal for you, your partners and, most importantly, your film. - Anna Darrah Praise for Anna "Excellent overview of terms to be aware of when negotiating or reviewing a distribution agreement." - Valerie N. "Anna was great, the information she shared was so very useful!" - Christian C. "For a complex subject, Anna made it all so simple and easy to follow. Excellent webinar!" - Drea P. "A knockout." - Mana W.
We kicking off a brand new month this week with the Breakdown Webcast: Writing Compelling Characters! In this webcast, we talk about how to create compelling characters, how to infuse those characters with a specific point of view and a sense of purpose, and how these traits then affect how the character speaks, acts, and even thinks.
Jason got his start with Evolution Entertainment, moved into Studio Development, and now independently producers and writes. We discuss what makes a project marketable, how to push your career forward industry trends, & more, plus a live Q&A!
Taught by 25+ year producer (GOOD WILL HUNTING, AMERICAN PIE, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), director (KILL THEORY, THE PEOPLE SPEAK) and Project Greenlight Co-Founder, Chris Moore. Want to see a free Q&A with Chris & Stage 32 Founder & CEO Richard Botto? Click here. "I chose to teach at Stage 32 over Masterclass because I believe in their mission. Their education isn't storytelling hour or dated material, it's exclusively about offering practical, actionable, and motivational information on what's happening in the industry right now. This is going to be a fun, but honest 2-part class that will help you navigate the business today." - Chris Moore With so many variables in today’s entertainment industry how do you know the steps to not only give yourself the best chance of breaking in, but also the guidelines on how to sustain a high profile and highly successful career? What if you were able to have a legendary industry veteran look at your current trajectory and give you advice? Stage 32 is going to give you just that. Chris Moore has asked and answered these questions over a remarkable and diverse 25+ year career in entertainment. As an award winning director and producer of over 30 projects such as Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, American Pie and Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea Chris has seen and experienced just about everything. And as the co-creator of the wildly successful Project Greenlight, Live Planet (both with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Sean Bailey) and The Chair, Chris has made mentoring and teaching creatives serious about a life in entertainment his mission. Chris is here exclusively on Stage 32 to shed a light on the big picture questions that you should be focusing on including: How to manage a career over time What truly matters from a professional and personal standpoint How to take the long view in your approach How to cut out the noise and listen to the “right” voices How to navigate the industry today! Session 1 How to Learn from Your Successes and Failures & Stay Focused on the Career you Desire - Chris will walk through tangible, actionable advice you can walk away with and apply to your own projects and/or jobs. He will provide an overview of the different paths and the resources that can help you reach your goals. ***In this on demand class, Chris will no longer be reviewing loglines and synopsis from students. Session 2 Evaluating & Learning Why and How You Choose the Next Move to Make - Chris will go over a select number of submissions that students have submitted from the first session. He’ll go over, in detail, an analysis of the situation and provide real-time, actionable information to help you better understand how to navigate your next steps. We’ll do our best to chose examples that apply to multiple levels in the industry so you can apply it to your own career.
As you know, independent film is enjoying a resurgence. Whereas a few years back, it seemed as if getting a low budget indie off the ground was a Herculean task, now, especially with the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and other streaming platforms not only purchasing indie fare, but producing it on their own, lower budget independent films are back in high demand. However, to take advantage of the current gold rush, you must understand what makes an independent script attractive to managers, agents, producers, development execs, financiers and others in a position to greenlight your screenplay. For most writers focused strictly on the craft, the disconnect between a script that gets high marks for the writing, yet still has a problem drawing attention of managers and agents or finding a buyer, is a lack of knowledge as to the current marketplace. It is vital that you understand the creative and commercial realities of the business. Everything else streams from there including all the aspects that you will need in your screenplay to make it a no brainer for the aforementioned gatekeepers and decision makers to want to get involved with the project. With so many screenplays flooding the market, reps, producers, filmmakers, financiers want to choose those screenplays that already have the heavy lifting toward getting the script into production already figured out. James Kicklighter is a multi-award winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by the world’s press, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India, Film Courage and FilmInk Australia. James began his career raising funds for numerous small budget short films, which allowed him to move into award-winning feature films. Most recently he directed The Sound of Identity about the first transgender woman ever to perform as Don Giovanni in a professional opera. The film is produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Russ Kirkpatrick & Andy Kinslow and executive producer Josh Bachove (Lizzie, Yoga Hosers, The Little Hours). James will teach you the ins and outs of writing a producible, low budget independent feature that will draw the right attention. He'll start by diving into the marketplace and how you can research, review, and understand the current landscape. He will then discuss how to choose material, create compelling, deep, and unique characters, and how to write using accessible locations. He will teach you how to optimize the screenplay for production, including some tips and tricks to help a filmmaker and/or producer understand how they can schedule efficiently just by reading the script. If you are looking to control your own material, James will even dive into how to attach talent and modify the script while in production. "James has style and class to spare. I've taken over 20 Stage 32 webinars and this was one of my favorites." - Theo K. "So much detail and so much information. Makes me look at my scripts in a whole new light." - Amanda D. "I've had so many screenplays that have received Consider or Recommend coverage from executives in this business, but I've never been able to get one of these screenplays launched and I could never understand why. Now I do. The writing is there, but the awareness to a producer's needs can be better. I'm on it. Thanks, James." - David V. "I learned something today. I want to produce my own work. Actually two things. I CAN produce my own work. This webinar was worth its weight in gold." - Martina S. "There’s nothing like listening to one who is passionate and educated on the craft of Filmmaking. James is a voice for aspiring filmmaker's ears. Thank you for the well outlined course.“ - Emeka M.