Learn directly from Marty Lang, award winning producer of over 20 films! Making an independent film is hard, no matter where you're doing it. But there's great news – no matter where you film, there are treasure troves of resources available to you, if you know where to look. In any community, there are people, government agencies, and organizations that are looking to help people just like you. The smart filmmaker will find them, engage them, and work with them to create a much better film than they had, at first, imagined. This type of filmmaking is called place-based filmmaking, and it can be done in any big city, small town, county or state. If you think about how to engage your local community from the moment you start thinking about your film, you will be able to better capture the authenticity of where you are in your work, as well as open yourself up to resources you may not have had before. Marty Lang is a an award winning producer of over 20 films, best known for his feature romantic dramedy, Rising Star, in which he implemented place-based filmmaking and engaged his community’s resources from production to distribution. This film went on to win awards at various film festivals and was featured in Filmmaker Magazine, Film Threat and Film Courage. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Marty will teach you how to create a successful place-based film. Using examples of place-based filmmaking from his own resume, Marty will show you how place-based filmmaking will help you develop your story more organically, and how it will help you solve many problems before you even get into production.
The entertainment industry is constantly shifting and adapting, but perhaps no aspect of Hollywood is more volatile than that of film distribution. Over the past twenty years, the methods and processes of releasing films have changed drastically and continue to be difficult to pin down or predict. From theatrical to video and DVD, television to VOD, the industry continues to not only adjust but wholly reinvent itself. Now, of course, one of the bigger, if not the biggest, avenues of distribution has become online streaming platforms. Massive players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu and newcomers like HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ have been making and picking up a very large number of films, and the viewership numbers for these titles can be staggering. There might not be a better place for your film to find a home than a streamer, but that’s easier said than done. There is perhaps no company with more reach globally than Amazon, and their streaming platform, already a juggernaut, is only growing in size and subscription base. Now with a global audience of around 150 million people, it’s one of the biggest platforms in the world to host films. Getting your film into Amazon’s content library can be a boon like no other. Yet Amazon is a tough one to understand. As a model, it differs greatly from its competitors like Netflix and Hulu since it’s just one piece of Amazon’s overall corporate puzzle. For many reasons, Amazon is playing a different game than other streaming platforms, which means you’ll need to play a different game as well if you want your film to be part of their library. This is why it’s critical you gain a deeper understanding of how Amazon works, what they’re looking for, and how you can break through the noise. Steff Monsalve Reed is the Director of Content and Distribution at Quiver Distribution, where she discovers and releases titles from emerging voices and helps independent filmmakers get their projects on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Redbox, DirecTV, and more. Recently, Steff has distributed films such as THE LOST HUSBAND, starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb, BECKY, starring Kevin James and Joel McHale, and THE SUNLIT NIGHT with Zach Galifianiakis, Jenny Slate, and Gillian Anderson. She will be distributing CHICK FIGHT, starring Malin Akermin and Alec Baldwin, a feature film which was incubated through Stage 32. Before Quiver, Steff worked as a distribution consultant for AMBI Distribution and Raven Capital Management, and served as the Manager of Acquisitions and Exhibitor relations for Entertainment One, a major independent distribution company releasing films in North America as well as several major territories around the world. Through her extensive distribution background, Steff has become very familiar with what it takes to get a film on various platforms. Steff will walk you through how Amazon finds and picks up films and what content creators can do to better get their own projects on Amazon’s radar. Steff will begin by going through a primer of what film distribution for streamers looks like, including the basic life cycle of a film and important terms to know. Then she will give a rundown of Amazon as a whole. She’ll explain how it works and how you should categorize it. She’ll also go over who Amazon’s competitors are and what Amazon’s subscription base looks like. Then she’ll outline the three distinct services Amazon provides—Transactional, SVOD, and IMDB.tv—and explain how you should think about each. Next Steff will go over what kind of content Amazon goes for. She’ll go over genres, styles and more aspects that are most successful on the platform and will delve into the film titles that have performed best in the past, as well as presently. Steff will talk about how to pitch your film to Amazon. She’ll teach you who is able to pitch to Amazon in the first place, what makes a pitch there successful, and how to make your content stand out to peak their executives’ interests. She’ll even offer a case study of a real pitch deck that she used to get them to pick up a film. After this, Steff will talk about how to best prepare and maximize deliverables to fit Amazon’s requirements. She’ll give you a rundown of what exactly Amazon requires and talk about the steps you should be taking well in advance to ensure you have what you need for Amazon if they pick up your film. She’ll also provide strategies to make your marketing materials stand out and for your film to perform better. Then Steff will talk about revenue expectations with Amazon. She’ll explain how Amazon’s payment structure works and will give a general sense of how much you can expect to make from an Amazon distribution deal. She’ll also talk about how to create a budget with this in mind for a realistic return on investment. Next she’ll explain what she believes might be next for Amazon, what the current trends are pointing to and how the “streaming war” might affect things moving forward. Finally, she’ll leave with closing thoughts for filmmakers to consider, including additional challenges to prepare for and unique opportunities at Amazon you can take advantage of. Expect to leave with a much clearer understanding of how Amazon works and how you can better position your film for success at this streaming platform. Praise for Steff's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "One of the best presentations I have seen." -John S. "Great info. Great presentation. Really explained the topic well. " -Martin R. "Steff was excellent in explaining the distribution process and especially how it pertains to Netflix." -Michael W.
As the world of independent television and film continues to shift, international co-productions are becoming more common. That’s because crossing borders is often an effective way to find better funding, better locations, and ultimately a wider audience. But international co-productions are not always a slam dunk. Partnering with other countries is a complicated endeavor and brings with it challenges and hurdles you wouldn’t have to face otherwise. Potential pitfalls are plentiful, but then again, so are opportunities. It comes down to putting in the work ahead of time, covering your bases, and making sure you know what you’re doing before diving in head first. Working across countries is hard enough when you’re part of a studio or large corporation. There are still contracts to hash out, politics to navigate, and differences in cultures to understand. But when you’re an independent producer or filmmaker looking to cross country lines, it can feel impossible, an overwhelming prospect where you don’t even know where to start. After all, you don’t have the backing of a legal department and you don’t have experts on payroll. You just have you. So where do you start? Is an international co-production worth it for you? What steps should you take to get the ball rolling and how can do you protect yourself along the way? With more than twenty years in the industry, Alexia Melocchi has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. Alexia is currently a producer at Little Studio Films, a representation and production company with more than 25 films and series credits. She serves as Partner and Producer, involved in all aspects of company operations, including distribution and co-production deals, managing production activities, and film and television marketing. Alexia is well versed in the art of international co-productions and will share the secrets, tips, and lessons she’s learned over her two decades in the industry exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Alexia will walk you through the nitty gritty of starting international co-productions and the things you need to know before jumping in. She will begin by going over the pros and cons of producing overseas, both for film projects and television, and when to determine if an international co-production is the right call. She’ll tell you the four aspects of your project you should focus on before making this call. She’ll then discuss what makes a story international and how to use this to your advantage. Alexia will then go over the advantages of having international settings in your script. Next she will focus on tax subsidies and credits in different countries, how these can be targeted, the challenges that come with claiming them, and the rules and requirements you’ll generally need to meet to qualify for them. She’ll also discuss the prospect of working with international broadcasters or producers. Then, Alexia will give an in-depth and detailed rundown of the benefits and challenges of producing in six major countries: Italy, Spain, Canada, UK, and Australia. She’ll offer a breakdown of the specific costs that go into overseas productions, as well as the legal ramifications of these projects, including how international cooperation might affect ownership of your IP and rights. Alexia will discuss what an effective timeline of a successful co-production deal might look like and will finally give you tips on how to work international markets like Cannes to find the partnerships you need. This webinar is useful to producers considering an international co-production as well as writers, actors and directors who feel their talent or material might work well on an international scale Like what you heard from Alexia during this webinar? Send your script to Alexia and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Alexia’s Webinar “Alexia had so much specific and helpful information that I’m going to be able to use moving forward” -Karen H. “Alexia is the best! I’m so glad I got to see this webinar” -Hannah E. “I was impressed with how much the instructor knew about this topic. I have a lot of ideas and tools I can take with me for my own projects now” -Jerry B.
With the gap between independent films and studio films constantly growing, it has become quite a challenge for independent producers to finance their films. As a result, more and more producers are looking outside of their home territories for additional sources of finance. Europe, in particular, is very attractive for international producers: not only does it have diverse landscapes and excellent crews, but the different European countries offer fantastic funding and tax incentive schemes that can be accessed by foreign producers to finance their films. More and more filmmakers, producers, and even screenwriters are expanding their worldview by tailoring their projects and stories to make them more attractive for a potential European production and co-production. The fact of the matter is there is gold to be mined in this approach. Over the last few years, co-productions with European countries have not only become more common and successful, but the financial incentives have grown tremendously. Finding the right partners and understanding the landscape is not as difficult as one might thing. In fact, the information is readily available for those willing to put in a little legwork. Anouk van Ghemen is a freelance financial consultant with an emphasis on film funding and tax incentive schemes in Germany and the rest of Europe. With her company ONE FOUR FILMS she works for both national as well as international clients, such as Sony Pictures Releasing, Radical Media and Wild Bunch Germany. Overall, Anouk has been involved in more than 40 film and media projects. Anouk holds a B.Sc. in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan. She began her career in the film industry working as Assistant to Producer in Berlin and Paris and later became responsible for the funding and financing of a Berlin-based company‘s international films. Notable projects include the Indian-German co-production Don 2, the French-Canadian TV series Transporter, and the Korean thriller The Berlin File. Anouk will take you into the world of European co-productions with great detail and flair. She will start by explaining European vs. international co-productions, bilateral vs. multilateral co-productions, co-production treaties and cultural tests. She will discuss the pros and cons of co-productions and how to identify whether your project fits with the upside potential for a European co-production. She will dive into the important aspects of your script and overall budgetary needs including story, locations, crew, overall costs and more. Then she will get into the most important questions: How do you get the money, how much money can you get, and what will make your application for funding and incentives get approved above all others. Anouk will also teach you how to find, approach and close the right partners to assure your European co-production is a winning one! "A complete eye opener. I had no idea these options were available to me. It's like moving from a room where the walls are closing in to an open field. The possibilities are endless." - Steven C. "Invaluable information." - Valerie L. "I have 3 projects in various stages of development that have all but stalled. All 3 could certainly be rewritten or tweaked to fit a European co-production model. We'll be starting on doing just that tomorrow." - Ricardo C. "My job as a producer just got easier." - Patricia M.
**Only 10 Spots Available - 1 Spot Remains** Comedy is hot right now. Considering the unprecedented 9 Emmy Award sweep from PopTV's SCHITT'S CREEK, 30 minute comedies are here to stay. We're also seeing growing popularity of all kinds of diverse comedic storytelling and perspectives, like HBO's INSECURE, ABC's BLACK-ISH, FX's WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, Hulu's RAMY, and Amazon's FLEABAG. It seems like every day a new comedy series is announced in the trades, and the signs point to this trend only continuing. So are you ready to write the next show that's going to keep us all laughing? The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but if you want to write for comedy TV you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sense of humor. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to make your comedy pilot as good as it can be and help you springboard your writing career. Spencer Robinson is a literary manager at Art/Work Entertainment who has been selling and staffing his comedy clients on the industry's leading series for years, including shows on Amazon, HBO Max and Jason Bateman's production company Aggregate just this year. He's also had clients work for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, and TBS, to name a few. Spencer is one of the most sought-after literary managers in the business for nearly two decades and is one of Stage 32's most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, you will be working directly with Spencer in a virtual class setting and also during one-on-one online sessions to create a fantastic, market-ready comedy pilot. No matter if you want to write a single-cam or multi-cam pilot or want to write for late night TV, Spencer is here to help you. He will guide you through creating engaging characters, building your world, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing the three acts of your pilot. If you already have a concept, or even a completed pilot, Spencer will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Spencer as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you write your pilot. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 6-week writing lab, you will have a completed comedy television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Skype meetings with Spencer. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 10 people - 1 Spot Remains This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot. Praise for Spencer's previous Stage 32 Writing Labs: "Spencer will get those who are ready on their way to a kickass first draft that you can send for coverage, which is what I did. 2 Considers and I'm in rewrites now to move that needle. This was my first ever TV pilot!" - Erika N. (now signed to Fineprint Literary Management after crafting her pilot with Spencer) "Spencer was amazing!" - Summer K. "I had a great time learning and progressing my knowledge of the craft of writing and working directly with a mentor who is a professional in the industry. Spencer was fantastic to be taught by! Thank you!" - Natalie A. "Spencer's teaching style is the best! His patience and easygoing approach is ideal and unique to him. Kudos to Stage 32 and to Spencer!" - Armando O.
In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, TV or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily. But finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to understand how to properly use the tool and work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. The truth is, for as often as drone camerawork is used in film, television and new media today, you can still stand out as a cinematographer in a big way by using drones smartly, artfully, and effectively. But what turns drone photography from mediocre to great? And how can you use this tool to stand out and not only enhance your current project but also help you get more work in the future? Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy and has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will continue his drone cinematography education by expanding into the more intermediate and advanced elements of creating a great drone shot and using your work to help you get work. He will begin by going over the nuts and bolts of operating a drone, including preparation and safety checks, proper thumb and finger placement, and what the 180 degree shutter rule is. He’ll also explain how to maintain the shutter rule with ND and PL filters and teach you how to properly take off and land. He will also give you tips of how to eliminate variables and trip points when planning your flight and will show you how to continue to improve. Next Chris will break down the anatomy of a good drone shot. He will explain when drones are useful and when they should actually replace a jib or dolly shot. He’ll talk about the importance of getting the shot you’re after and how to tell if you’re overshooting. Next Chris will discuss different types of cinematic drone shots, including landscape shots, dolly shots, and lift shots. Then he’ll go more in depth of when you SHOULD use a drone and when you SHOULDN’T, including questions you should ask yourself before using the drone, how best to plan your shot, and what situations are most effective for drones. Finally, Chris will go over how drones work in the industry and how this particular skill set fits in. He’ll teach you the best ways to show off your talent and get noticed and give you tips on pathways to find work, including networks and communities, forums and drones for hire databases, and how that intersects with representation. Chris will leave you with a lot more context, skills, strategies, and knowledge to start using drones for your project and stand out from the pack while doing it. This is Part 2 of Chris Tangey's Drone Cinematography Webinar Series. To check out Part 1, now available on demand, click here. "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey