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.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is making a living doing what you love and telling stories in a visual medium. You may have great ideas, a knack for working with others, and an eye for cinematic beauty, but it can still be very hard to break in. One path you might not have considered yet to find work as a commercial director. Commercial directing can give you opportunities to put your skills to use, to create a product that people will be able to see, and to actually tell stories. And more so, this job will allow you to do this WHILE GETTING PAID –often very well. This does not mean the world of commercial directing is easy, and you’ll find that it’s also highly competitive and tight-knit, but understanding the marketplace and landscape can very well give you the ability to break through and find work doing what you love. The industry of advertising is turning upside down right now; socially, culturally, and politically. Everyone is trying to grasp this ever-changing industry, but it’s important to remember that the more things change the more they stay the same. No matter what else is going on in the world, finding success and opportunities as a commercial director comes down to being personable to clients, communicative with your crew, knowing when to be firm or flexible in your creative approach, and understanding how to push your creative spirit out of its comfort zone. So how does the commercial filming industry actually work? What will make brands and agencies want to hire you to direct their project? And how can you apply your skills and your background to break into this lucrative field and even use it to find further opportunities in narrative film? Keith Rivers is an award-winning commercial director who has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Delta Airlines, Unlimited Tomorrow, Porsche, McDonald’s, and Soundcloud to name a few. He has written, produced, and directed several global ad campaigns including Internet Explorer 9, where a music synchronization deal for Alex Clare begot him triple-platinum record sales and a BRIT award. Rivers also created the instantly viral Microsoft Surface launch video, which received 9 million views within the first week on YouTube and won a Gold ADDY award. Keith continues to direct large scale advertising campaigns for large and notable companies and his years of experience in this field has allowed him to become a bona fide expert in how to find success telling stories for brands and agencies. Keith will break down what the landscape of commercial directing looks like and how you as a director can break in, stay in, and even use your success to transition to narrative film directing. He’ll break down what the life of a commercial director looks like, including how much you could expect to make and what the ecosystem is between production companies, agencies, and brands. Keith will also give you tips into how to find opportunities and break into commercial directing. He will teach you how to make yourself better and more hirable with tools like your reel and spec work, and will go through how to pitch well to get a commercial directing gig. Keith will next explain how to get the directing gig and do it right by doing your best work and aligning with creatives and will finally outline how to build your career and using your work as a stepping stone to long form narrative directing. Keith will also provide a slew of examples and resources like storyboards, lists of production companies and agencies, example treatments and more that you'll be able to take with you afterwards.
Advanced and in-depth 2-part interactive directing class with award-winning SXSW and Sundance director Clay Liford Learn how to handle shot coverage, scheduling, and time management on set! Perhaps the biggest challenge for any director, new or experienced, big budget or small, film or TV, is making your day, and ensuring you're efficiently getting the footage and performances you need so you don't go over schedule and over budget. This is difficult, but there’s a proven method to keep you on track, while still allowing for inspiration and experimentation on set. It also happens to be the industry standard, and applies to any level of filmmaking - from student short to studio feature. It comes down to identifying what to plan and what to improvise. The truth is the more you plan, the more you’re free to experiment while filming - provided you optimize your time and focus on the right elements. Let's go deep into how exactly to plan your day so you can do your job on set, stay in control, stay creative, and leave with the best possible film you can make. Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. In this intensive and interactive 2-part class, Clay will work closely with you and show you how you can save time and money as a filmmaker by employing strategies and practices to make your day and keep your project moving. Focusing on both pre-production and production, Clay will walk you through how exactly to plan your days on set, address where to place emphasis in your pre-production process, and lay out a specific method for planning shots and scenes, which includes shot lists and top-down lighting plots. Along the way, Clay will provide invaluable handouts and case studies. Praise for Clay's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "Excellent - granular and practical, not just theoretical." -Peter C. "Clay was amazing. Would love to take more classes from him" -Jacqueline A. "I was impressed with Clay. He has what feels like a natural gift for teaching from a comfortable and personal level" -Maeve T.
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you probably start working on a new project for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments so you and your investors can both leave with a profit. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's actually more possible than you think. No matter how big or small your film is, there are multiple ways you can find funding and multiple ways you can ultimately create profitability. And while it might not be second nature for creatives, once you get a handle on how to make this process work for you, you will also be able to create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. Over twenty-five years and working across three continents, Jeanette Milio has been involved in the production of over 500 hours of content for film and television, with a total production value of over $250 million, and including Academy Award® winning talent in front of and behind the camera. Throughout her career, Jeanette was involved in financing over 45 film and television projects for HBO, Showtime, ABC, USA Network, Disney, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and others. Jeanette also managed a media fund for Far East National Bank, which funded 40 film and television projects, which lead to her structuring her own media fund that financed theatrical features with a production volume of $60 million. Jeanette’s decades working and finding success in the film industry has given her a unique and unrivaled perspective of how to finance film content and make a profit. Exclusively for Stage 32, Jeanette will give a realistic, accessible, and straightforward presentation of the best way to actually finance your film and make a profit in today’s market. She’ll go over the differences between the studio finance model and independent finance model and then delve into how distribution can work best for you and how you can take advantage of more options than you think. Jeanette will also lay out how you can establish profitability for your film by explaining the essential ingredients necessary for a profit, going over how to create a budget and teaching you how you can best align your interests with the investor’s. Jeanette will break down the financial sources available today and give you tips on how you should be balancing multiple sources and mitigate risks for investors at the same time. She’ll even walk you through the complicated “waterfall” process of recoupment. Financing your film is more possible than you might think, even if you’re just getting started, and Jeanette will give you the tools and confidence to be able to take the necessary steps for your own project. PLUS: Jeanette will provide exclusive and helpful documents to take home with you after, including: Collection Account Management Agreement Example Pay or Play Offer Draft Finance Plan Template for Microsoft Excel Praise for Jeanette's Stage 32 Webinar “This was an excellent overview of all that is involved, and a great encouragement to reach out to people who do this kind of thing for a living, instead of trying to do it by myself for the first time.” - Sarah D. “Jeanette was so detailed about the how to's and why you need to take and research every step. I love getting the details that really feel behind the curtain.” - Melissa B. “I liked it. Specifically, the content. Jeanette was very informative and clearly knows her stuff.” - Crystal B. “Explanation of pre-sales and budget breakdown was very informative.” - Roc R.
This is an interactive virtual 2-part class with Jeff and a small group of sketch comedy writers 10 spots available - 6 spots remain! Short form comedy sketch content has helped propel the careers of some of the top creatives we see in film and TV today like Amy Poehler, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrel and many more. A quick laugh is one of the best ways for you to endear yourself to a fellow creative or a decision maker looking to produce or buy your work. Having a quick-wit shows that you have the comedic chops to entertain an audience in long form, which is why you see so many people trying their hand at sketch comedy on You Tube, Instagram, Tik Tok, in comedy troops and more. The opportunities are plentiful! But, how do you know if a sketch you write is funny? How do you know if the joke you envision will hit the right mark? It takes a lot of practice - and within that practice there will be some good and some bad sketches. Not every joke is going to hit, but the more you get the hang of how to write sketches the funnier they will become. And, as you know, sometimes writing can be insular so it's important that you get feedback from fellow comedy lovers to help you improve your work and get it to hit. We are here to help you with that support. We are giving you the opportunity to work directly with one of the top sketch comedy artists in the game right now, Jeff Galante. Jeff is an actor/comedian/writer is based out of the Groundlings Theater where he is a senior performer and teacher. He has sold pilots to NBC, A&E and has worked with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, WARNER BROS., WANDA SYKES', NATIONAL LAMPOON, 2 BROKE GIRLS and many more. In an exclusive 2-part interactive class Jeff will teach you all the fundamentals about writing sketch comedy. After your first class you will be assigned to write your own sketch based off of what you've learned. Then, in the next class, Jeff and your group will table read each other's sketches and you will get invaluable insight on how you can continually improve your sketch! You will not find access like this anywhere else except through Stage 32! This class is limited so make sure to sign up today! Some Praise About Jeff's Previous Class "Great host, great info, long time interest in the topic with no practical knowledge so this was so much fun!"- Jeremy S. "I loved everything about it. I wish it was longer." - Gayle R. "Excellent information, excellent presenter - authentic and hard-working" -Scott T. "I liked the specificity and the real world, scenarios and brutally honest information about the business." - Roger C.
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. For many, the holy grail of film distribution has become Netflix. It’s a titan in the industry, and with over 180 million subscribers worldwide, no one can release a film quite like them. Yet for as prominent and omnipresent as they might be, Netflix is enigmatic and confusing from the outside. They hold a lot of secrets close to their chest and their inner-workings and processes are a mystery to many. They’re not a complete unknown, though, and there is a lot you can learn as a filmmaker and content creator to better approach this media giant, get your film on their radar, and maybe even get that distribution deal you’ve been after. First it’s critical you learn some context surrounding how they work, what they are 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 Netflix finds and picks up films and what content creators can do to better get their own projects on Netflix’s radar. Steff will begin by giving you a rundown of Netflix and how they’re working right now. She’ll explain how you should be thinking about and categorizing the company, who their main competitors are, what their subscriber base looks like and how it compares to their competitors’ bases. Next she will talk about how Netflix picks up content. She’ll go over who gets to pitch to Netflix in the first place and how that process works and will then do a deep dive of Netflix’s curation model. Steff will explain what types of content are currently the most successful on Netflix and how their new “Top 10” feature might be changing things. She will also break down the three main divisions that review content within Netflix and the common deal structures filmmakers should expect from each. Then she will go into how Netflix actually works with content creators and handles both revenue and delivery. She will teach you about Netflix’s payment structure and how content aggregators or distributors can sometimes “buy out” the Netflix window. Steff will even offer a case study of her own film THE LOST HUSBAND and demonstrate how this process worked. She will then explain how to determine a film’s budget for an expected ROI and how you can recoup your investment and where that money will come from. She’ll also go over the process of getting your film picked up by Netflix after they pass on it as an Original, including how to help your chances in this regard and what you can do to make your work stand out more and break through the clutter. Steff will then offer some final pieces of advice on Netflix opportunities and deal negotiations, including looking at contract terms, territories, and hidden fees. She’ll explain how to understand the specific cost of distribution and offer the key piece of advice on budgeting moving forward. Finally she will give you a peek at the distribution industry itself, the changes that are coming, and what you should expect to come next. Expect to leave with a much clearer understanding of how Netflix works and how you can better position your film for success at this streaming platform. This webinar comes with a free handout that details distribution terms and Netflix's specific deliverable requirements Praise for Steff's 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.