Over the past few decades as the media landscape has changed, so have methods for reporting and information gathering. Your Stage 32 Next Level educator, award-winning director, James Kicklighter, has personally learned this while directing his new documentary film, Digital Edition, profiling the digital tools changing media as we know it. In “Deconstructing Oscar-Winning Films: Spotlight, Network & All The President’s Men,” we will evaluate and deconstruct common methods deployed in these three groundbreaking films to tell stories about journalism and media. Through this process, we will identify the successful techniques from these masterpieces for directing and writing movies about the media we consume. While filmmaking isn’t typically thought about as “investigative,” to create a film about journalism and media, it requires extended research that goes beyond writing the fictional screenplay. We will evaluate the preparation process of interviewing industry professionals, utilizing research to inform the written narrative, and how to visually manifest the themes on screen. You will walk away learning techniques to help your directing, writing, acting and producing to help you improve your projects! As an added bonus - ***Get 3 FREE Oscar-Winning Scripts: Spotlight, All The President's Men & Network***
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.
Do you suffer from writer’s block? Do you ever get stuck on a scene — at odds with how to proceed, what your character should do or say — for hours, days, sometimes weeks? Do you ever read a scene and think, something’s just not working? Join the illustrious club of every writer ever. Luckily, this very common problem has a simple solution. In this webinar, you will dig down to the building blocks of excellent scene work, those elements which are fundamental to establishing character, advancing plot, capturing tone, and planting memorable moments. By using iconic scenes from landmark film and TV and by citing examples from his 5+ years of TV writing and producing experience, Charlie will offer an array of tools and skills that will harden any writer against the obstacles and pitfalls that come with attacking any scene. Perhaps more importantly, participants will come away with some vital ways to overcome the feared writer’s block that plagues us all.
Learn directly from Morgan Long, TV Literary Department for a “Big Six” Agency This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea. With the TV market exploding right now, one of the most in demand formats is the 1-hour TV drama pilot. Many, if not all, managers and agents are looking for writers that can write in this space, and with more and more production companies heading into TV, knowing how to write a strong 1-hour TV drama pilot will give you a competitive advantage and help you find success as a TV writer! Due to popular demand, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring back our 8 Week Intensive TV Drama Pilot Writing Lab taught by Morgan Long, a TV development coordinator at a “Big Six” Agency! This hands-on intensive lab will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, structuring and outlining your pilot and writing the first draft! The main objective of this 8-week lab will be to have a first draft of your script. You will meet online with Morgan for 2 hours a week in a class setting, plus have phone consultations during some of the weeks when you don't have an online class. This will be accompanied by weekly homework assignments to guide you on your way to creating a marketable, unique pilot that will grab the industry's attention. Payment plans are available - please contact email@example.com for more information. This Lab is Limited to 20 People. Please Note: Participating in this lab does not mean you are writing for or pitching to Morgan or her company. PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch.
This month, Jason is excited to welcome producer Regina Lee into the Writers' Room Pitch Tank! Regina's resume is very impressive! She has sold pilots to HBO, Starz, FOX, BET, as well as multiple TV pilots at 20th Century Fox TV Studios. She produced two TV movie thrillers that aired on Lifetime. As a production company executive with a deal at CBS Network, she was on the team that sold multiple projects to CBS and The CW, getting a show on the air at CBS. She began her executive career at Universal Pictures, where she was the primary executive in charge of American Wedding and Curious George. She was a studio executive in charge of movies such as The Good Shepherd (Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Robert DeNiro), The Fast & the Furious 3, Bridget Jones 2, The Cat in the Hat, Seabiscuit, and Red Dragon. Over an hour and a half, Regina and Jason listen and critique pitches from Writers' Room members and offer advice on how to help your pitch break out in a crowded market!
The ultimate goal for every filmmaker is to ensure that audiences see your film. You may want recognition, notoriety, or maybe as many “likes” as possible however, from a practical business perspective, you also want to make your investor's money back – or, even better, to make a profit. The path to reaching this sometimes-elusive-outcome is through the distribution process. And, in today's changing distribution landscape there are many different types of offers that can be presented to you as a filmmaker. Truthfully, understanding what you're signing up for with your film's distribution can be downright confusing. Getting a distribution deal for your film is exciting for you as a filmmaker. You've reached the holy grail and a distributor is interested in releasing your film so you can finally reach an audience. But, before you sign on the dotted line there are many factors you need to think of. Distribution contracts can show varying types of clauses that could potentially harm your film's chance at making a profit. And, let's face it, if you can show your investors a profit on their investment, they'll likely want to invest in more films with you at the healm. So, how do you know what clauses to look out for and what you can negotiate so you give yourself the best chance of not only gaining an audience, but also getting pad? For the last 15 years Bryce C. Campbell is one of the leading distribution and marketing executives in the industry who's overseen the distribution of several Oscar-winning films. Bryce got his start working at Miramax Films and Open Road Films and has worked on hundreds of independent films securing distribution and negotiating contracts. He especially excels in the digital distribution arena. Bryce is heavily involved in the post production aspect of filmmaking working collaboratively with the marketing team to provide data-driven insights on a wide range of marketing components such as one-sheets, trailers, and special events. One of his key interests is negotiating distribution deals with filmmakers and leveraging industry analytics to provide insight into box office potential for each project. And, he's bringing all these years of knowledge to Stage 32. Bryce will help you understand the different types of distribution options available to you in terms of theatrical, SVOD, Day and Date, Foreign and Digital. He'll help you manage realistic expectations when considering the potential for each of these with your film. You will learn how to design your budget and casting in harmony with distribution goals. Then will take you through the anatomy a distribution contract and analyze contract clauses for optimal benefit and to avoid pitfalls. You will learn how to apply this knowledge to negotiate the best possible distribution contract for your film. And, most importantly, Bryce will give you 2 real distribution deal contracts to review so you can understand what to look for and how to apply that to your own deal! "Mind blown. The examples are extremely helpful. I had no idea that recognizing some of the clever way things are written in the contract could potentially harm my chance to make money back on my film." - Mike S.