Learn directly from Ross Putman, an award-winning producer and founder of PSH Collective! Transformers. Godzilla. Captain America. Groot...? Who knew that this summer's biggest success story would be Marvel's band of unlikely heroes, known as The Guardians of the Galaxy? With their biggest star (Bradley Cooper) playing a talking raccoon, a director whose previous film grossed just $300,000 at the box office, and with a cast of characters so unknown that an entire teaser trailer was devoted just to introducing them, the odds seemed long for Guardians to make any impact at all. And yet it's the only film to gross over $300 million at the US box office--something not even Michael Bay's fourth Transformers movie could accomplish (and that had Marky Mark Wahlberg)! It's a little known fact that Guardians was based on source material that Marvel all but buried. So why did it work? Regardless of whether a good story is based on source material or original material, Guardians would not have been a success if the script, filmmaking, casting and marketing weren't all thought out and executed perfectly. In this webinar, we'll deconstruct how Marvel "flipped the script" on... well, its own scripts. A focus on quirkiness, the establishment of a unique tone, and bringing their first female writer in the fold added up to a great finished product. Whether it's the very specific character traits (like Drax's inability to understand metaphor) to the very clear stakes (even when things go deep into sci-fi), Guardians has all the right moves to please movie-goers tired of the same-old-same-old. Yet it becomes truly revolutionary by sticking to the basics; it's a script that puts one foot in front of the other and never stumbles.
Using the principles learned in the Breakdown Webcast: Breaking the 4th Wall, this month members were challenged to write a short scene in which the character(s) break the fourth wall to drive the plot forward, reveal character and deliver exposition. As part of the webcast, Jason turns the microphone over to the writers to read their projects aloud for the other members in the group.
There are thousands of shows and films to watch on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming platforms. Now, more than ever, there is a constant stream of incredible stories being told by content creators from all over the world. It is safe to say that there is something for everyone when it comes to this new form of distribution. But that doesn't mean you can just call up a streaming service and request a meeting! So, how do you get your story on a streaming platform for all the world to see? You need to understand the hurdles that content creators face in getting their product on these important streaming platforms and how to overcome them. Understanding the business structure of these top three players is key for you to break in, get your film or series seen through this distribution option and make money by doing so. It's important that you understand the global structure of these streamers, how they choose their content and what potential revenue might be for you as a filmmaker. Chad Miller has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years and the bulk of his experience has been specifically focused on the business of on-demand entertainment. He's worked with Gravitas Ventures distribution specializing in Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and prior to that was with AT&T working with all the major studios ensuring that both their big tentpole titles were available to customers and also helped evaluate new content from new content aggregators and distributors. Now, he's bringing his extensive and specialized knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Chad will be discussing the broad differences between Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and how each of these streaming platforms select their content. You will learn the business structures of each of these platforms, what your distribution reach is and what your revenue expectations are as a content creator on these payment structures. You'll even walk away knowing international distribution options and ways you can negotiate the best deal. If you are a screenwriter, filmmaker, producer, or content creator hoping will find a home on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu this is your ultimate guide to understanding how you can make that happen!
As screenwriters, it is our job to create well-rounded stories. That means not only having a main character whose journey we follow but also including supporting characters and stories. The addition of strong supporting characters and subplots allows the audience to feel as if your story actually has a life outside of the confines of your script. This is the difference between being a professional screenwriter and someone who writes as a weekend hobby. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jordan Barel, who's worked in producing and development for over 15 years will teach how to bring your supporting characters to life. You will learn how to create characters that are integral to the main plot and the shape of your screenplay. He will walk you through using your support characters to subtly deliver key exposition and give insight into your protagonist. In addition, Jordan will show you how to use your subplots to strengthen your second act and keep the action moving along. You'll break down various film genres to show how each utilizes supporting characters and subplots so you can apply it to your projects. You will walk away with the tools necessary to deliver a fully developed script that says "professional" and not "hobbyist"! "It was absolutely excellent information." - Gerri G. "Great speaker, lots of great info. Thanks!" - Ron H.
Session 1: Initial Contact: Where do producers look for material? If you’re a producer, selecting the right writer for your story. Should you really sign up for those websites that claim to get your stuff read? What makes a producer decide to read your material? How to get past the measures designed to keep you on the outside. Repped vs unrepped. How many projects is a producer developing at any one time? How To Write To Get Read. What hooks a producer, development exec or reader and are those things different at different budget levels? Should you go ahead and write your $100 million dollar summer blockbuster? Writing to get it made now. Pre-existing material. Where you find it, how to get it. Coverage. Who’s reading? What are they looking for? How do they judge? Recorded Q&A with Shaun! Session 2: What is “development” really and how long can it take? From big budget films to indies, the time period can vary wildly. What are the factors? Is there a way to “beat the system” and ensure your film gets going? Building your relationship: Working with a producer or development exec. can be a stressful process. Learn how to navigate this so that you end up with the best version of your project. Fighting/Making up/Moving on. So you’ve hit a wall. They want more changes and you’re not willing to go there. How to move past the inevitable speed bumps and get going again. Is being replaced inevitable? You’ve been optioned/hired… Now what? Beginning to understand the dynamics of your new relationship. If you’re a writer, how to work with your new producer/partner to create the best result. If you’re a producer, how to navigate the process with your screenwriter. Differences between indie/big budget in terms of development Thinking in terms of production: While certainly not a “must” for writers, having some sense of what may go into crafting a single scene from a practical perspective can be of enormous value. Recorded Q&A with Shaun!
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Film festivals are indeed often the next desired destination for a filmmaker, but it’s not always easy to get in, even with a great film. It can be disheartening after finishing a film and investing so much money and resources into it to realize there is still more money to be spent in going the festival route. The act of submitting to festivals can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars simply through festivals’ submission fees. It’s probably going to add up no matter what, but it can set way pricier without a plan in place. It’s common for filmmakers ready with a film to more or less blindly submit to festivals: “Sundance? Check. Tribeca? Check. Cinequest? I heard that one was good, let’s do it.” Yet just because you’ve heard of a festival, just because it’s a legitimately great festival, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your project, and it doesn’t your film is the right fit for them. Successfully navigating the festival landscape requires a lot more effort and a lot more time than just pressing that submit button. Yet doing the research, understanding your goals, and carefully building your strategy will not only yield more positive results, but will also save you money on unneeded submission fees in the long run. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will walk you through how best to develop your film festival strategy and choose the right festivals for your film, well before you start submitting. He will begin with the basics of why you should or shouldn’t be submitting to festivals in the first place, and how to best think of festivals as a tool. He’ll then lay out what the festival landscape looks like, including what makes up the “Festival Circuit”, what Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 festivals are, and the lowdown on both niche festivals and destination festivals. Next he will delve into the importance of having your own specific festival goal and how to find it. He’ll provide six examples of valid and common festival goals and how best to adjust your submission strategy for each. Harrison will go deep into how to research festivals before submitting and what you should be looking for before you should feel comfortable paying their submission fee. He’ll also offer various strategies to choose the right festival and giving yourself the best advantage in getting accepted, including considering niche festivals, finding your ‘in’ and developing your network. He’ll spend some time explaining how scam festivals work and what you can do to spot them and stay away from them. He will offer some tips and context of what you should do if you film is ultimately rejected from one of your top choices, and also what to do if your film is ultimately accepted. You will leave with a slew of strategies to tackle your festival run more strategically and more effectively. Praise for Harrison's Previous Stage 32 Webinar: "This was great. Very comprehensive about festival strategy and works for shorts and features. Probably the best content about this topic I've seen" -Paige F. "The teacher really knew his subject. He was also friendly & warm and made the students feel relaxed. A well spent event and I learned so much." -Toni M. "Appreciated the way Harrison did not gloss over any point — he spoke thoroughly about everything." -Elease P. "Very knowledgeable, open, easy to follow" -Marilyn L.