The most significant aspect of any actor’s career is securing work, but with overwhelming competition, roles are scare and difficult to come by, which can make this task incredibly tough. Yet in the end, acting careers are built on the work and honing your skills as a performer. Every actor knows that work begets work. This is because as we expand our experiences and circle of connections, more doors open with opportunities for more work. It’s great to have an agent, to make those connections, to develop strategies to become more marketable, but more important than all of that is becoming the best actor you can possibly be. Ultimately, producers want to hire the right performer for the role, and putting yourself in a position to get that role is less complicated than others might have you believe. Whether you are preparing for an audition or a performance for a role you are already cast in, your main tool and blueprint before you even get on set or in that audition room is likely going to be the script, and any practiced actor will tell you there’s a lot more to a script than just your character’s dialogue. If you’re simply going through the script to highlight your lines, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of information that will lend itself to you finding the character and giving your best possible performance. An experienced actor is able to fully break down any written scene to internalize not just the dialogue, but the beats, the context, the elements that are unwritten but still very present. Knowing how to analyze a script and glean from it all of its information and clues will allow you to more fully inhabit your role and make you a better and more cast-able actor. Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24, Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more. In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219. Taylor brings to Stage 32 more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and is ready to share with the community the skills and lessons he’s developed throughout his career. In the first part of Taylor’s “The Work Leads to the Work” webinar series, Taylor will lay out how to break down a script as an actor and develop the techniques needed for characterization and emotional depth to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances”. Taylor will begin by teaching you what an actor should do as soon as they get the script, including what to focus on during your first read through and how you should be marking it up. He will give you the tools to zero in on a specific scene’s theme and will then delve into determining your character’s objective, both in the scene and in the story as a whole. He’ll talk about how and where you should place dramatic beats by finding the scene’s shape and creating and feeding into the flow. He’ll go into what makes beats and pauses feel natural and honest and when they feel put on and will also outline how you can use your beats as a tool for line memorization. Taylor will then go over how to define your character’s obstacles while reading the script and how you should create your own honest actions in the scene. He will also explain how these actions can successfully interact with both beats and objectives. Next he will explain what “givens” are in a script and how you can find the givens of your character. He will also teach you the difference between naturalism and honesty when giving a performance and explain why honesty is always what an actor should be working towards. Taylor will also lead a live, interactive acting workshop to illustrate the strategies he has taught and show how to use the written scene to define the characters. Taylor will break down down a scene of a script in real time and will bring up students to perform these role based on this breakdown. Through his lesson and workshop, Taylor will give you invaluable tools to help hone your craft and better prepare you for any future auditions or performances. "Through my career I always hear actors talk about navigating Hollywood and 'working the system' to get ahead, and while that's important, I truly believe there's nothing more valuable in an actor's career than actually doing the work and honing their craft to become the best artist they can be. I love working with actors and giving them the tools to grow. I'm so excited to delve into this particular topic with the Stage 32 community, because I believe it's absolutely critical for any actor looking to find success." -Taylor Nichols
Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success. When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life? Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for. Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project. Like what you heard from Jim from during this webcast? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Jim's Stage 32 Webinars: "This was my first webinar and I learned so much. I thought Jim was thorough in his descriptions of what each medium has to offer regarding IP" -Marietta K. "Jim opened up new avenues for our IP that I didn't realize existed. He was a great presenter and shared his own experience with relevant info. It was really motivating." -Ricki L. "Thoughtful way of exploring options. Using podcasts was inspirational." -JoAnne E. "Tons of new information. Thanks!" -Jacqueline L.
Since announcing our new screenings initiative, thousands of new members have joined the Stage 32 community, and there was no better time than to come together to connect, learn, and grow in our digital universe. So with that, I wanted to welcome our new members to the party by hosting one of my AMAs (Ask Me Anything): Quarantine Edition. Damn, you guys were on fire! The entertainment industry is rapidly changing as we all navigate this evolving landscape. In the last few weeks, in addition to talking with over 800 filmmakers from canceled festivals, I've had countless conversations with executives and industry professionals how creatives can keep hustling and put themselves in position to succeed in this new and ever-changing landscape. With everything going on, I can say without hesitation that I had a LOT to share! And I know you all had questions! In this over 2 hour AMA webcast we got together for inspiring, motivating, and brutally honest craft and industry talk. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA will be helpful for ALL! You all brought your questions and the energy and I handled the rest. Amidst this global crisis that has forced so many of us indoors, we are excited to give film, tv, and digital creatives a safe place to stay creative and build relationships with their fellow entertainment industry folks from all over the world. Let's continue to come together for some inspiration, motivation and community love. And if you know any other creative who is not a member of Stage 32 that could use a lift, please invite them as well by sharing the on demand link to download. I enjoyed spending quality time with you all.
To kick off your directing career with Roger Ebert calling your film "One of the best films of the year" you can pretty much be assured you're on a path to success. We are proud to present to you the director who has done just that - Michael Polish. After his Sundance darling Twin Falls Idaho garnered Roger Ebert's critical acclaim he has gone on to direct over 10 feature films including: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival) Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle) 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders Michael will be teaching the 2nd installment of our Stage 32 Masters of Craft series - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits. In this online event Michael will share with you how a professional director approaches a film from inception and carries it through to post-production including a discussion of available distribution options. The goal is to give you the agency to make your films without the necessity of the Hollywood studio system (though this information will be handy if that's your path as well). He will go in-depth about the director’s process from finding superior scripts and setting your priorities in pre-production to the challenges of running your set, leading your crew and balancing the demands of your producers. He’ll explain how to interact with everyone vital to your film’s success from producers and film executives to actors, cinematographers, and editors to get the best version of your film. Finally, Michael will share insider knowledge on effective methods to market and distribute your film that will give you the power to maximize your profits. From his experience writing and directing 10 feature films, he’ll share his war stories (like losing vital funding in the middle of a shoot) and his strategies for dealing with any obstacle that arises. You’ll be better equipped to deal with mishaps and avoid filmmaking pain points. If you want to make your film and you want to know where to start, how to proceed and how to ensure you walkaway with a masterpiece, this is the webinar for you! You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of what is necessary to succeed as an indie director and gain control over the direction of your career.
Being an actor means constantly evolving. It means being open to new ideas. It's realizing that to be the best, as perfect as one can be, one must pay attention and learn from those who keep landing roles. The goal is not only to do the best work, but to have that work recognized in a way that brings longevity to your career. Ron Marasco has had that kind of career. Ron has been making his name in film and TV for over 25 years appearing in successful films and television shows such as The 40 Year Old Virgin, Entourage, Lost and Bones. As if that wasn't enough, Ron has a Ph.D in Theater and teaches acting at prestigious Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. His book Notes for an Actor, has become a bible for many. In short, the man knows acting inside and out. The secret to Ron's success? Well, it's his 9 secrets to getting your best performance. And they're a secret no longer. Right here, exclusively for Stage 32, Ron shares all the information that has led to his massive success. Ron’s approach is not so much a “method” as it is “tool-kit” of tricks that provide fast-fixes to an actor’s work, doable techniques that quickly increase an actor’s on-stage/on-screen command, and gems meant to spark an actor’s inspiration. This webinar will be what Ron calls “shop-talk,” just one actor talking to other actors about the “secrets” he’s learned that are the base-work of every good performance. “This is the stuff,” Ron says, “they don’t tell you in acting classes." So settle in, let your guard down, open your mind, and let Ron's techniques sink in. Here's to better auditions and more jobs! "All I can say is, wow. I'm rewatching tomorrow and the next day and the next." - Angela Z. (Note: webinar is visuals only, not webcam)
A hot topic of conversation in our current COVID-19 world is how film, television and new media productions will resume production safely and effectively. The entire entertainment legal landscape has changed as a result of the world’s pandemic. Producers, filmmakers, directors and crew need to think about protection before you can ever step on set to say “action.” It’s important to take a deeper look at the legal agreements that tie parties together on a project as we contemplate the future. Contract provisions that parties wrote off as “boring” or “boiler plate” will significantly change moving forward. It’s important you understand how this affects your project. You don’t want to get stuck with a production or financial nightmare if you’re not protected legally to move forward on your film, TV or new media project. There are five basic provisions in a legal contract that many dismissed as “boring boiler plate” that now will have significance moving forward. It’s important that you know the basic purpose of these provisions, why they are drafted and what purpose they serve for all parties. With each provision, you will need to know the impact and implications as it relates to COVID-19 and how these provisions will continue to change to comply with government and guilds, insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties. You need to make sure to contemplate unlikely scenarios so that contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Elsa Ramo is one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and the managing partner of Ramo Law. Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa has her finger on the pulse of the legal side of the entertainment law and works non-stop to protect her clients in all deals. Elsa will go through the nuts and bolts of contractual provisions in the entertainment industry and a walk through of how these should and will change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsa will start by offering a basic understanding of five contractual provisions that are now much more important in the wake of the pandemic: Force majeure, suspension/termination provisions, assumption of risk and related indemnification provisions, medical releases and disclosures, and scheduling and payment provisions. She’ll discuss why they are drafted and what purpose they serve among the parties. Then, with each provision, she will discuss the impact and implications as it relates to Covid-19 and how these provisions are and will continue to change to comply with government compliance, guild compliance insurance coverage and mitigation of risk for both parties as they contract during a pandemic. Elsa will distill what we can learn from changing these ‘boring provisions’ that we can apply to better prepare ourselves for future unlikely scenarios and ensure contracts are comprehensive to whatever may occur. Finally, Elsa will teach you how to flag and ensure that the modifications placed on these contracts comply with government legislation, union compliance, and other worst-case scenarios.You will be fully prepared to understand how “boring boiler plate” provisions can affect your project and how to best protect yourself. Praise for Elsa’s Stage 32 Webinar: "This was one of the best webinars I have taken so far. Thank you again. I look forward to the next one!" -Romina S. "Awesome presentation - great speaker, made complicated issues much clearer, lots of great info! Great info for anyone in the industry in all positions. Thanks!!" -Ron H. "This webinar was absolutely brilliant! Elsa is clearly a pro, but her manner was so calm and approachable. She didn't talk down to us and explained all these intricacies so that I believe everyone was able to understand them. Bravo! More Elsa Please!" -Becca G. "Elsa is always amazing and legal is always a fantastic topic, now more than ever!" -Lisa G.