If you're planning to shoot an ultra-low budget feature film you need the right resources to maximize your budget From pre-production, on set and post-production. We've brought in Spirit Award winning producer Jim Wareck, who produced Shaka King's directorial debut and Sundance hit, NEWLYWEEDS, to teach you how you can stretch each dollar to make sure that the quality shows up on screen. Jim certainly knows how to do this. After he produced NEWLYWEEDS, his director Shaka King went on to direct JEDUS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, which won 2 oscars and was nominated for 6! Like it or not, producing a film of any level or any size is a giant investment—not just of time and passion, but of MONEY. Hiring a crew, negotiating talent, locking down equipment, locations, costumes, props, even film festival submission fees—costs add up quickly. And if you’re an independent filmmaker with limited resources, it’s almost too easy to exceed your budget or not even find the money you think you need in the first place. This is why, as an independent filmmaker, you need to be smart about where you spend money and how. Understanding how to navigate this can make all the difference and determine whether you’ll ultimately be able to produce your project or not. You’ll never be able to make your film for free, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend millions. On the contrary, you’ll find that most film productions spend more than they need to, investing in equipment they don’t need or otherwise wasting money on unnecessary steps. Experienced independent filmmakers are adept at understanding where to cut costs, where to find shortcuts, where to ask for favors, and where you should REALLY be devoting the bulk of your money towards. With the right strategies and approach, you’ll be surprised by how frugally you can make your movie without sacrificing quality. Jim will walk through the process of producing your own ultra low budget feature from pre-production through post and give you strategies to spend your money efficiently and stretch every dollar every step of the way when you have limited resources available. He will break down where money is normally wasted in a production and teach you how to create and stick to a realistic budget in all its complexities. Jim will help you identify opportunities to save money in pre production, including working with your writer to write for your budget level, targeting and attracting the right cast and crew, identifying who you actually need, and how to negotiate rates. You’ll learn the pitfalls of budget drains on set, how to build an actionable shoot schedule, and how to remain as EFFICIENT as possible each shooting day. You’ll even gain tips on how to save money in post production so you can fully understand how and where to find shortcuts in your project and what aspects should never be skimped on. Through this invaluable webinar, Jim will arm you with the understanding of how much you really need, of money AND yourself, to produce your film.
SORRY, THIS WRITER'S LAB IS FULL - PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE WRITER'S LABS! Stage 32 believes in evolving and transforming to continuously put our writers ahead of the competition. Now, no matter where you live in the world, we are giving you the opportunity to work directly with a TV literary manger on a one-on-one basis to help shape your writing through our Stage 32 TV Writing Lab. All classes are taught online and at the end of this 8-week intensive, you will have a completed original TV drama pilot and pitch bible. To teach this TV Drama Pilot & Bible lab, we brought back literary manager Spencer Robinson of Art/Work Entertainment, who represents some of the most critically acclaimed and successful writers of the last few years including writers on Cloak and Dagger, Punisher, Arrow, The Last Ship, Chuck, Justified, as well as feature writers like Eric Heisserer who's films include Lights Out, which has grossed over $150 million and was Oscar-nominated for his Best Adapted Screenplay Arrival starring Amy Adams. Why Spencer? We'll let his last lab students tell you why... TESTIMONIALS FROM SPENCER'S PAST LAB STUDENTS: “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. “It was a great lab. Spencer’s feedback really helpful!” - A.Z. O. “Enjoyed the lab and Spencer was a good teacher. Appreciate his insight!” - Stephen C. “I wanted the accountability of having assignments due. That combined with the class cost was motivation to write and stay on schedule. This is a lab about story structure, getting words on the page, making strong act breaks. Spencer was great at pointed but useful notes. He doesn't sugarcoat anything. I went from an idea he wasn't on board with developing to a pilot he truly enjoyed reading -- and that was thanks to his pointed notes that got me back on track. Spencer will get those who are ready on their way to a kickass first draft.“ - Erika N. “Spencer was amazing!!” - Summer K. “Spencer Robinson is the perfect person to teach this type of class. His patience and easygoing approach is ideal and unique to him. Kudos to Stage 32 and to Spencer. Spencer's teaching style is the best! Thanks Stage 32!” - George P. WHAT TO EXPECT This lab will be very intensive and you will have ongoing executive guidance from Spencer. You will meet once a week with Spencer through an interactive online class or one-on-one meetings and be assigned weekly assignments to further your growth as a writer. We have created this lab so it will be the most hands on, professional atmosphere out there. By the end of this 8-week lab you will have a completed first draft of your TV drama pilot & pitch bible that will grab the industry's attention. This lab is designed for intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea. Past lab participants formed supportive writing groups to help one another through the process.
Stage 32 and Vail Film Festival have joined forces to bring you an exclusive FREE virtual Q&A with top female filmmakers from the festival! Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in! The 2020 Vail Film Festival took place online from May 15-17, and had a special focus on female filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival included filmmaker Q&A sessions, a filmmaking workshop, and a women in film panel discussion featuring leading female producers, actors, and directors. The 2020 film program will showcase narrative features, documentaries, short films, and student films. This year's lineup includes films starring Simon Pegg, Annette Bening, Juno Temple, Alexandra Daddario, Wendie Malick, Danny Trejo, Maggie Siff, Sabrina Carpenter, Natalie Zea, Jay Mohr, Jason Ritter, Kristen Vangsness, Rose McIver, and more. The lineup for the 2020 Vail Film Festival is unparalleled, and we encourage Stage 32 members to attend the virtual festival and support their fellow filmmakers. As part of our partnership, Vail Film Festival is offering Stage 32 members an exclusive 25% off discount on all-access passes to the online festival. Stage 32 members can use the code stage32 at checkout. For more info and to purchase a pass to the online Vail Film Festival please visit: www.vailfilmfestival.com
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out. The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve. Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry. Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar "This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!" -Allie R. "This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!" -Taylor D. "I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!" -Gail B. "This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects." -Irene C.
Your pitch deck is the most important tool in your initial stage of obtaining financing for your script. A pitch deck is also used as an aid to attaching an actor or director you are interested in. As a tool, your deck is the first impression of your film condensed so the investor can become familiar with your project and determine if this is an opportunity for them. To close the deal or at least garner meaningful consideration and interest, your pitch deck has to stand out. It has to not only tell the story of your project, why it should be attractive to talent, and what the true potential audience may be, but, most importantly, it needs to show a true and realistic path to profitability. And this is where so many decks fail. Sure, you want to paint a rosy picture with your investor pitch deck. But here's the thing, most investors who have put money into films before know BS from reality. They will know if you are overshooting your estimates (an extremely common tactic), whether your film comps are ridiculous (they almost always are) and if you're exaggerating who your potential audience will be (nearly always the case). A great investor pitch deck is filled with equal parts optimism and reality. Sure, every investor wants to dream of unbelievable riches and success, but what truly makes them open their wallets is believing in the team, the project, and being presented a realistic worldview as to the potential return on their investment. Michelle Alexandria knows a thing or two about raising money. As a producer and Head of International Sales and Acquisitions for Glasshouse Distribution, Michelle has raised or assisted in raising funds for dozens of films and other projects. She has personally worked on 25 feature films $6MM and under and 3 television projects in various capacities including producing, line producing and executive producing. Michelle has spoken on the topic of raising financing at the Cannes Producers Network and other prominent film festivals and markets including MipCom, Berlin, Buenos Aires, UniFrance, Sundance, and AFM. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice actionable, and now she's here to deliver the goods exclusively on Stage 32. Michelle will teach you how to create an investor pitch deck that doesn't have that same dusty feeling of so many decks and which fits the current climate of raising funds. She will show you what elements truly matter for an investor and which you can leave out of your deck entirely. She will discuss the value (or lack thereof) of artwork and posters. Additionally, she'll dive into loglines and synopsis to assure that you are giving your potential investors the true vision of the project. She will teach you how to put together a realistic cast list and film comps. She will discuss budgets, scheduling and how to incorporate those elements into your deck. She will talk to you about putting together the right team and how those team members can send the right or wrong signal. As an added bonus, Michelle will share examples of pitches decks that have helped secure millions in financing! "Clear, concise, and brilliant." - Mario D. "No BS, straight to the point information. Loved every second." - Patricia H. "I have a deck for my film. It's going in the garbage. I will be starting over tomorrow with this wealth of information flowing in my head. Remarkable job, Michelle!" - Phil M. "Sure, everyone wants Leo or George in their films. Sure, everyone thinks their film is the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding or some other independent blockbuster. Sure, everyone believes that they have THE idea that is going to get them the money. Michelle just gave me the map as to HOW to get the money by being REAL. I can't wait to get started and to bounce ideas off my team. This was so much fun. Thank you!" - Denise P.
We kicking off a brand new month this week with the Breakdown Webcast: Writing Compelling Characters! In this webcast, we talk about how to create compelling characters, how to infuse those characters with a specific point of view and a sense of purpose, and how these traits then affect how the character speaks, acts, and even thinks.