It’s hard to fully encapsulate how massive of an undertaking it is to create a film. The amount of hours, money, people, and passion that go into every project can be staggering. And for independent productions that don’t have the stability or backing of a large, flush studio, all of these different elements fit together tenuously at best. With so many plates to spin, it takes the work of a capable producer to bring everything together and keep everything on track. Murphy’s Law dictates whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and any independent filmmaker or producer will attest that this is indeed the case. No amount of planning or foresight can keep everything running seamlessly. Money might fall through, equipment might malfunction, actors might bail, hired talent might prove to be difficult to work with. It’s impossible to keep all chaos at bay when managing a project as massive and messy as an independent film. That said, a great producer, especially in the indie space, can put out fires, keep the chaos at bay, and keep that movie on track. It boils down to working smartly, being as prepared as possible, and being light on your feet. Some of this comes with time and experience, but there’s a lot a producers can do, even on their very first project, to better rise to the occasion and manage their film successfully. Luke Daniels is the Executive in Charge of Production for Tunnel. In his career in entertainment, which has spanned nearly two decades, Luke has produced over 60 feature films (8 in 2019 alone), including the Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto International Film Festival Official Selections. He has worked on films with directors like Kevin Smith and James Franco and talent like Riley Keough, Jean Claude Van Damme, Luke Wilson, Topher Grace and more. Through it all, he's learned countless tricks as an independent producer that can help keep your production on track, and he’s bringing his experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Luke will go over the things he's learned through the years to help you with your own productions, from the beginning of pre-production, all the way through production. He’ll begin by giving you strategies on creative ways to creatively put financing together when starting out a project. He’ll then teach you the basic steps to take to put together a project smartly. Next Luke will then discuss how to hold key elements in place while prepping for a film and what you can do if you lose an actor or director. He will also give you tips on what to do if you lose a location before production starts. Luke will then focus on the producer’s role during production. He will show you how to manage high-level talent and go over ways to deal with difficult talent during the shoot. He will then delve into the producer-director relationship and how to respect their vision while still being able to collaborate creatively during the process. Luke will discuss what to do if you go over budget, especially if you’re not bonded, and will teach you how to navigate if you’re hit with unexpected fines. Praise for Luke’s Webinar: “I loved hearing Luke’s perspective and past experiences” -Sandra T. “So many great tips and lessons that I can bring with me on my next project” -Brian F. “Luke was great! Really helpful” -Joe V. “I liked how specific and practical Luke got with his advice. Thank you!” -Miranda C.
During the December Pitch Tank, Director of Script Services Jason Mirch welcomes Literary Manager Jon Hersh of Housefire Management, a company that represents writers and directors in film, television, and digital content. They specialize in deep development, strong client relationships, and incendiary material that stands out like a house on fire. Jon's client list includes writers and filmmakers for film and TV including emerging writers with projects at Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate, Atlas Entertainment, and Gidden Media! Prior to forming Housefire, Jon was at CAA and Broad Green Pictures. He is a graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Jon and Jason listen to pitches from 4 members and offer their thoughts and feedback!
Many of us are familiar with the tropes made popular by screenplay gurus like Syd Field and Blake Snyder. Yes, it's true that many great films can be broken down into three clean acts or thirteen story beats. But the same can be said for many unwatchable films too. What are the elements that differentiate the great screenplays from the purely mediocre? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, creative executive from Zucker Productions (director Jerry Zucker's production company), Farrell Ingle will define the importance of the ever imposing first act of a feature screenplay. He will show you how much of the groundwork for your story needs to be laid in the first act of your screenplay. If those early pages aren't up to snuff, the rest of your story will suffer, no matter how fantastic the ending is. Your host, Farrell will lay out the many pitfalls writers stumble into without necessarily realizing it while they craft the set-up of their story. Using examples of classic films, you will understand how top notch writing creates multitudes of subtext, character development, and plot advancement with each scene. We will also discuss what constitutes an "act" and why it's so very dangerous to hold yourself within the box of a rigid structure. By the end of this lecture, you should be able to go back through your own writing and break down each scene in your script to ensure that you're putting yourself in a position to succeed. After all, the first act is the most important act for readers and executives when evaluating your ability as a screenwriter. Plus, you will break down the first acts beats of well-known movie scripts as Farrell leads you through an in-depth analysis of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Professional, Die Hard and more!
With the influx of social media, new media, professional YouTube videos, webseries, digital shorts and digital television, the need for cinematographers has never been higher. But to get hired and stay hired, you need to know how to light quickly and efficiently! The truth is, you don't need fancy equipment and years of know-how to land jobs in this growing arena of content creation. However, with smaller budgets to work with, producers and filmmakers are looking for cinematographers that can move fast and not cost the production time and money. Veteran cinematographer Alex Darke, owner of Gilded Cinema and cinematographer for Larry King's Ora Media, is one of the most in demand DP's in the new media space. When he isn't working, which is rare, Alex is teaching cinematographers how to land jobs by understanding how digital cinematography has evolved in this new era. And now you can share in his knowledge in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar. This is a comprehensive class, so dig in. Alex will teach you how to navigate the business, how his tried and true techniques work with any equipment, how to light any set quickly, how to create striking lighting for wide shots and closeups, how to land jobs and keep getting jobs and much more. All skill levels are welcome to view this webinar and, again, you do not need special equipment. All you need is a desire to learn and get paid for your craft!
Learn directly from leading creative executive at Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! Every screenwriter has a goal they set out to accomplish. The mark of a great screenplay usually depends on whether or not this goal was achieved. Aside from being a visually arresting film, 'Ex Machina' stands apart as one of the great recent screenplays and finds its success in bringing forth engaging ideas, strong characterization and lofty goals. What is it about this intriguing and unsettling piece that resonates with audiences across the globe? What makes this ambitious screenplay cinematic as opposed to something we can watch on television or other formats? We are going to dig deep into the pages to identify the mechanisms and components that are utilized by Writer/Director Alex Garland the really bring the pages to life. I'm excited to take this journey with you and look forward to our discussion.
There are a lot of reasons why the surge in popularity of podcasts is so exciting right now. It makes that rush hour commute to work much more enjoyable for millions of people every day. It opens up avenues for more stories to be discovered and more storytellers to create. And it’s a format that can be a lot easier and more affordable for independent artists to produce. You don’t need cameras, you don’t need a set; you just need a quiet room and a couple of microphones. And unlike visual media, podcasts provide a format where high concept, traditionally expensive genres like fantasy, action, and science fiction are just as achievable as more contained styles—if you want an alien in your podcast, for instance, you don’t need to invest in CGI; you just need an actor to say “Look! There’s an alien!” The art form of podcasts can be an equalizer in a way film and television have never been. It gives independent voices the ability to create something great and display their abilities, all without having to take out a mortgage. Plus, it gives you the ability to create IP that you control - all while helping you build a loyal following to serve as champions to help you carry your message. That’s not to say producing podcasts is a walk in the park. There is a whole lot that goes into it, and there is a lot you need to do as a podcast producer to ensure your project sounds good, feels professional, and holds its own against the big guns. It might be less expensive, but making the foray into audio fiction can be a daunting prospect if you’ve only worked in film and television (or have never produced before). There are some questions where you might not even know where to start: How do you find and cast voice actors? What kind of microphone should you use? How do you edit audio? What about sound effects? Do you make them yourself or can you source them from somewhere? What aspects of production should you be investing most of your money in? And once you have a finished product, where do you even put it so people can start listening? Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked 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. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned producing his adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through everything you need to know to produce your own successful podcast. He’ll begin by discussing pre-production and how to know when your script is podcast-ready. He’ll give you tips on finding and setting up your recording and delve into the audio equipment you’ll need to invest in, including how to find the right microphone that’s also affordable. Mike will also discuss the process of casting, finding the right voice actors for your parts and how to navigate read-throughs and rehearsals. Next Mike will teach you how to actually produce your podcast, including how exactly to record, recording pitfalls you should avoid, and what the directing process looks like. Then he will discuss podcast post-production and how to use your recordings to paint a full audio picture. He’ll tell you which editing software to use and how to find music and sound effects to compliment you project. He’ll also discuss where to take your project for post-effects. Finally, Mike will go over how to distribute your finished podcast. He’ll outline hosting services that are available and how to upload your episodes online. He will give you tips on how to create your own website for the podcast and how to publicize it. He’ll also explain why you don’t want to charge money for the final podcast. Throughout, Mike will illustrate the process by using anecdotes and lessons learned from his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN. Expect to walk away with a full picture of the steps you need to take to produce, record and distribute your own successful podcast. Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar: It was outstanding. Mike was thorough and generous with his own experiences. Very very well done. -Rebecca R. The webinar was well structured with clear and informative slides. Mike gave so much information in a way anyone could understand even with out any industry knowledge. -Justine W. I thought Mike as a great teacher. I loved the content and his ability to share his knowledge and experience in a very upbeat way. -Rama R. I have been curious about Podcasting so joined this Webinar. Mike was meticulously detailed about the ins and outs of it from beginning to end. I took copious notes; I was fascinated by everything he said and he said every thing that needed to be said about the entire process. He was so detailed, stressed what NOT to do as well as HOW to do it. He is a superb instructor. It could not have been presented in a more succinct manner. -Marietta K.