The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine have changed the film and television industry profoundly. Like it or not, we’re thinking about movies differently now, we’re making them differently, we’re selling them differently, and we’re watching them differently. Studios, buyers, and producers are keenly aware of this shift and are applying this to how they are choosing their next projects. As a writer, understanding how the industry is changing and what people are now looking for can make all the difference in being able to take the next steps in your career. With so many new obstacles and challenges now involved in making a film, producers have to weigh a lot more factors when choosing their next projects, including which movies will be safest to put together. Small details in scripts—scenes or moments that might have been no big deal to include as recently as a year ago—might now be all it takes for a producer or financier to reject. So how does production during COVID look like and how can you make your script work and come across as more attractive within these constraints? Let’s take a closer look. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, including the action thriller BREAK EVEN and action comedy DOUBLE THREAT, currently in production. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce films during COVID and is well versed on what it takes to put a film together in this unique time. Shane will dive deep into how producers are operating in the time of COVID-19 and how you can make your script “COVID-friendly” and more attractive for producers to work on. He will begin by outlining how production has changed since COVID, including the biggest new hurdles, new guild requirements, and what’s keeping talent from signing on. He’ll explain what’s making movies more expensive to produce and what locations are now ideal or no longer easy to shoot in. He will next delve into what a COVID-friendly script looks like to a producer. He’ll talk about what kind of stories producers and buyers are seeking out, what red flags in your script will keep producers from signing on and how many characters are too many now. He will also discuss locations as well as the genres and themes that buyers are now gravitating towards. Shane will then discuss how to adjust your script to fit this new era, including deciding whether it’s worth adjusting or saving until things are safer and how to find compromise and middle ground when making changes. Finally, Shane will give you tips on how to get a producer on board during this time. This is a tricky time for everyone, but Shane will give you the lowdown to be smarter and more strategic in finding opportunities and success.
It might not be the most glamorous, but pre-production is arguably the most important aspect of putting together a film. The crucial decisions you make and the team you build during this phase will determine the success of your production and ultimately, your film. But no matter what experience level you are at, pre-production can quickly become an overwhelming process. From hiring to budgeting to location scouting to scheduling there are always going to be a lot of plates you have to keep spinning. Yet approaching pre-production with a plan, with discipline, and with the appropriate knowledge will keep your film on track and even elevate it to a level you might not have previously thought possible. Whether you're filming a project for $1 million or $1,000, pre-production is the foundation to make sure your production goes smoothly. But with so many I’s to dot and T’s to cross, there are A LOT of traps and pitfalls you can fall into as a producer. That’s why it’s imperative you have a clear understanding of the work and challenges you have ahead of you and what you need to be aware of to ensure you can ultimately get your film made. So what exactly do you need to ensure gets done during this critical phase of your project? How can you build the best team possible and put together the resources you need without going over budget? Let’s dig in. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN. Over the countless films he has produced, Shane has gotten pre-production down to a science and knows what it takes to prepare a film of any level. Shane will dig into his deep producing knowledge to break down the pre-production process and outline how you can best prepare for your own project. Shane will explain how to define your budget, including where you should put most of your money towards and will dive into crewing up, focusing on the five most important members of your team and how to find the right fits for your project. He will next discuss the challenge of finding locations, how to do so for cheap, and how to best communicate with property owners and take care of permits. Then Shane will give tips on how to schedule, how many shooting days you should plan for and how to adjust when things inevitably change. Lastly, he will talk about the final steps producers should take before moving to production and when you should feel ready. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought film production to a standstill last year. The risk of holding close gatherings required everyone to profoundly change how a film is produced in order to keep everyone safe. Yet we’ve luckily found a way to create new projects, on both a major studio and independent level. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. The preparation and process for producing a film have changed drastically, as have the rules and guidelines a crew needs to follow. There are ways to safely put your own film together even under these extreme circumstances, but doing so will require a new understanding of how to move forward. As a producer or filmmaker of any level, it’s your job not just to make sure a film comes together, but that the team you assembled stays safe in the process. This is extra difficult due to the pandemic, but it’s not impossible. In fact, independent productions have been finding a ways to do this successfully for a while now and you can as well. But this won’t be accomplished through business-as-usual approaches. Every aspect of the filmmaking process needs to be examined, altered, or even turned on its head in order to comply with new regulations, make the team feel comfortable, and most importantly to keep everyone virus-free. This is a big undertaking, but other independent outfits have figured this out, and learning how they did it can be instrumental in you finding success for your own project. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen.. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN, which was safely shot over December and January during the peak of COVID-19. Shane learned how to find success in the midst of a pandemic and is ready to share the lessons he picked up. Shane will teach you what you need to do to successfully and safely plan and produce a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll delve into the new rules you need to follow, issued by guilds, government agencies and film/permit offices. He’ll also discuss how location scouting works now and what sort of locations can be safely shot in. He’ll go through the changes in production insurance and how to hire and work with a COVID Compliance Officer during production. Shane will also discuss how to conduct COVID tests with your crew and how to work with guilds along the way. He will then go over how to work with actors during this time and will share with you the biggest tips and must-dos he learned to keep your crew safe. Finally, Shane will share the details of how he produced his own recent film DOUBLE THREAT and wrapped his 6 week production without a single COVID positive test. Even in times as tough as this, there’s a way forward and a way to create your art, and Shane will show you how to do so smartly, effectively, and while keeping yourself and everyone on your team safe. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R. "I loved the inside look from someone in the industry that is dealing with Covid restrictions on a daily basis." -Marven L.
Mentoring in a private class setting with top financier Viviana Zarragoitia, VP of Three Point Capital - exclusively through Stage 32! Get access to exclusive handouts including sample budgets, packages and collection account management statement, sales sheets, sales agent contracts and distribution agreements Over recent years, the independent producing model has shown that films budgeted between $1-$3 Million have become a "sweet spot" for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand the ins and outs of what goes into financing a film with this budget level so you can ultimately find success. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects with budgets between $1MM-$3MM can be your calling card toward making a life working in independent film. Simply put, if you understand the strategies and methods to help your investors see a return, you get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring more investors with them if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, it's not impossible, and in fact can be well within your grasp, especially with the right guidance and education. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how films in the $1-3MM range can find success. In this advanced level and intensive 4-session class, Viviana will comprehensively teach you how you can finance your own film in the $1-3 million budget range. In Session 1 she will provide an overview of the different types of film financing available to you. In Session 2 she will focus on using tax credits, soft money, and grants to help fund your project. Session 3 will delve into equity, pre-sales, gap, and sales agents. Finally Session 4 will look at waterfalls, recoupment and navigating collection accounts. Along the way, Viviana will provide exclusive and valuable handouts that you can take with you for your own projects, including: Sample Budgets and Packages Sales Sheets Sales Agent Contracts Sample Collection Account Statement Example Distribution Agreements WHAT TO EXPECT **Viviana will be available on email during the 4 class sessions to answer any questions you have about your project.** This class is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced students looking to learn the ins and outs of film financing at the $1-3MM level. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Viviana will be walking you through various elements of film financing, you will have the opportunity to ask her questions during each session. ***Only 20 Spots Available.** Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full budgeting class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".
Your host David H. Lawrence XVII received an overwhelming 100% satisfaction rate from Voicing Commercials - Part 1 and we are thrilled to have him back exclusively for Stage 32 to continue your education with Voicing Commercials - Part 2! Learn directly from David H. Lawrence XVII, VO and screen actor with over 50 film and TV credits, including Heroes, Lost, CSI, How I Met Your Mother, Men In Black III, Iron Man and more! "He certainly knows the business very well, I likes the way he breaks things down , it makes it easy to remember and therefore to apply to our work". - Nicolette M. "This was such an awesome webinar, especially for the price point - I learned a lot that I can take directly to my next auditions." - Stephanie M."Excellent info! Very clearly presented!" - Brad V. "This is information I am in need of and believe it or not, it's not taught by all coaches I have met. Please do more!" - Steve L. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will continue your education on the most common category of voice over auditions and performance: radio and TV (and now web!) commercial copy. Using what you learned in Voicing Commercials - Part 1 about auditions, equipment and slating, you will dive into the structure of copy, looking at lists, setups, payoffs, dialogue reads, and endings. This webinar will round out your education on how to connect with a listening and viewing audience on a visceral level, taking your execution of commercial VO to a deeper and more satisfying level! You Will Leave This Webinar Knowing: How to keep your sentences tightly woven. How to perform excellent dialogue and couple reads. What are voicing lists and how to use them? Setups and payoffs in commercial VO. When to start acting and when to stop. Endings - conclusions, questions and wistfulness Plus much, much more! After a 30 year career in radio, your host David H. Lawrence XVII moved to television, and has been seen (and heard) on ABC's epic series Lost, CBS' legendary CSI, How I Met Your Mother, The Mentalist and military thriller The Unit, NBC's spy comedy Chuck, Good Luck Charlie and ANT Farm on Disney, Bella and the Bulldogs on Nickelodeon, Touch and The Finder on FOX, and is best known as the creepy evil puppet master Eric Doyle on NBC's smash hit Heroes. His film career includes on-camera and VO work on Men in Black III, Pizza Man, The Changeling, The Hulk, Iron Man, Percy Jackson, Unstoppable, Too Big to Fail, A Special Relationship and countless others. Lawrence has also voiced over 100 audiobooks. He is one of the top VO actors and instructors in the business, and we are thrilled to have him back to teach with Stage 32!
We are well into the digital revolution in filmmaking. The least known and least understood aspect, but arguably the most important, of the digital revolution is the digital master of your film via a Digital Cinema Package. More than cameras or editing or access to great equipment, the one factor that allows the indie filmmaker to truly be on a level playing field is the ability to screen your film at festivals and any theater in the world via DCP. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, experienced filmmaker, Stephen van Vuuren, will teach you all secrets, tips, and best practices that everyone involved in film productions must know to end up with a quality digital master of your film. The information in this webinar is not available all together in one place anywhere on the internet until now! Many film festivals, large and small, now require DCP screeners and nearly all theaters in the world require your film on DCP. A DCP is the single most important master of your film that you will ever make. However, many indie filmmakers have limited experience and understanding of how they must plan from the very beginning stages of a film to insure their film – short, feature, documentary – is ready for DCP. You only have one chance with your audiences to make a great impression – and today that chance depends on your DCP.