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.
If there's one subject that seems to confound and confuse filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, financiers and even set designers more than any other, it's the world of product placement. Can you raise meaningful money through product placement? What products can I put in my film or screenplay and which should be avoided? What are the legalities when dealing with product placement? These are all very valid and important questions. Those who understand the way the product placement industry (and it is an industry unto itself) works use this aspect of the production process to raise significant funds and stay on the north side of any potential legal issues. Those who fail to understand often have difficulties with clearances (and by virtue, issues securing sales and distribution) and may find themselves on the south side of some major lawsuits that include claims copyright infringement, misuse, and other serious charges. While the world of product placement was once considered to be an unregulated wild west of backroom deals and shady characters, it is now developed into an extremely controlled and accessible industry. Choosing a partner in this arena can lead to monetary deals that can help you close the rest of your financing. It can also help you fund parts of your pre-production phase. But most of all, it can lead to creative flexibility for your screenwriter, your director, your producer, your set designer, and even your crew. Over a 20+ year career in the film industry, David Patterson has worked as a writer, director and producer on dozens of projects. His films have played at Sundance and other prestigious film festivals which have garnered him sales to distribution outlets and various networks including Sundance Channel, Starz Channel and Warner Bros. David's work attracted the attention of Disney and his Bridge To Terabithia, was a huge studio release and box office success for the studio. More recently, David’s film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Kathy Bates and Julia Stiles opened theatrically to rave reviews. Throughout this journey he has always used product placement to help with the success of each of his films. David will demystify and clearly explain the world of product placement and how you can best utilize a product placement strategy for your project. He will start by defining product placement - it may surprise you to know there are over 12 answers! He will then dive into how you can use just about everything to help you with product placement from your script, to your cast and crew to your producers to locations to utilizing your actors. He will teach you how to secure product placement - where to look, how to approach, how to close a deal. He will show you how the legalities of product placement for film festivals and commercial release differ and what you need to have buttoned up. He will explain E & O insurance and if you truly need it at all. He will also go into all the mistakes filmmakers make along the way and share some horror stories from filmmaker/producer friends and how you can avoid making the same mistakes - mistakes that can cost you money, time, endorsements and put you into legal peril. Additionally, David will teach you all the tips and tricks he's learned along the way to get the most out of your product placement strategies and build relationships with the right companies and brands so you can go back to the well time and time again! "Brilliant." - Jonathan C. "I was so unfamiliar with this world. Incredible breakdown of what and what not to do. This one truly opened my eyes. Can't recommend it enough." - Heather P. "David, where have you been my entire producing life?" - Priya R. "I don't throw this word around often, but this webinar was genius." - Alan L.
It’s undeniable that we’re witnessing a new era of unscripted television. The staggering, cultural success of shows like TIGER KING, CHEER, I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, and LAST CHANCE U signify in no uncertain terms that the appetite is huge for premium docuseries and will likely continue to be for at least the near future. The water is warm for premium docuseries, but that doesn’t mean someone can just put together their own unscripted series willy nilly. Finding a subject and crafting a format that will resonate with audiences and find success with a network is no small feat and requires a lot of hard work and an understanding of what makes this type of content successful. In today’s rapidly evolving television landscape, one of the greatest challenges that producers face is how to develop series that will actually resonate in such an increasingly crowded space. Gone are the days of having an idea, putting a 3-page deck together and pitching it to 30 different networks in the hopes that several of them will make offers to further develop the series. Instead, the most effective way to produce a docu-series in today’s world is to secure many more parts of the package when bringing a new project to market. In a world of talent, access, format and projected story arc, the development of different types of shows require us to ask different questions of ourselves early on and throughout the development process. Doing this and working to stay ahead of the curve can very well situate you for success and put you on your way to produce your own premium docuseries. Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors, including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple Emmy wins and nominations (including six nominations and three wins for breakout Netflix hit CHEER just this year), Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now in its 7th season, received 8 Emmy nominations, won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in its 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT. Andrew will give you the tools to put together, pitch, and hopefully sell your own docuseries to a streamer or network. He will begin by giving you a general overview of unscripted programming, including the different types, where we see these shows, who potential buyers are and how the industry has grown and evolved recently. Next he will delve more closely into the different types of docuseries that people are currently watching. This includes anthology vs. arced stories, format vs. a documentary approach, and how this landscape will continue to evolve through time. Andrew will then use his own Circus Analogy to explain how we find story versus create story, and how that informs both casting and access. He will teach you how to create material that will sell. He’ll go over how to develop a deck and how to create a sizzle reel to better communicate your vision. He’ll even give you tips on how to put all of this together without breaking the bank. He will also show you how to avoid over-developing your idea while being sure not to under-develop it either. Next, Andrew will give you tips on navigating the “Hollywood” of it all. He’ll explain when celebrity attachments can help, how to package your project without cutting yourself out, and will outline the elements you need to actually get a green light. Andrew will then delve into how docuseries are developed and cast, and how these steps work. He’ll walk you through what a show bible looks like for a docuseries and when you actually get to make the thing. He will finally discuss the process in the field and in post to put everything together. By revealing how the industry works behind popular docuseries and walking you through the entire timeline of what putting together content like this looks like, Andrew will give you clear tools and a practical roadmap you can use to make your own docuseries a reality. Praise for Andrew's Stage 32 Webinar "Really really great info. As someone who has had success in pitching docuseries before Andrews's information was spot on and I still got new info and ideas out of it!" -Matt R. "Great presentation. One of my top 2 favorite Stage 32 webinars I have attended. -Heather L. "Truly a great overview on pitching and selling docuseries." -Michael G. "Clear, well organized and a pleasant approachable personality." -Amita S.
Learn directly from Jordan Bass, Casting Director and partner in bass/casting, a bicoastal casting company with feature film and television credits including New Line Cinema's Annabelle, Starz' Spartacus pilot, Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism, and HBO's newest Project Greenlight among others! For many independent films, the filmmaker also wears the hat of casting director. How do you go about the casting process? How do you choose one actor over another when they both had a good audition? What should you be looking for to create your ensemble cast? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Bass will breakdown the steps in the general casting process so you have a full comprehension of casting, from script to screen. He will focus primarily on the approach to independent film, and will share his advice on how to best tackle the "puzzle" that is creating a great ensemble cast. You will leave this webinar knowing: A general understanding of the basic casting process from first read to final locked class. How to dissect a script. The most effective tips to writing a character breakdown. A general understanding of the audition process. The most common pitfalls actors make during auditions Tips for creating a great working ensemble. Jordan Bass is a well-respected casting director, as well as partner in bass/casting, a bi-costal casting company run by brother-sister team Jordan and Lauren Bass. Recent theatrical films include the New Line thriller Annabelle, Lionsgate's Summer Camp, Chris Sparling's The Atticus Institute, and Friedberg & Seltzer's hilarious send-up of the Fast & Furious franchise Superfast. Upcoming releases include HBO's new Project Greenlight feature The Leisure Class, Blumhouse'sMartyrsdirected by The Goetz Bros, Sean Nalaboff's Hard Sell and Ryan Schwartz's Still Life.
Faith based and faith friendly films have been a steady, popular, and profitable industry and one of the hottest genres for success. It could be considered a niche audience, but it’s a powerful and dependable niche audience that has helped catapult films and filmmakers to success. Recent films like I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, GOD’S NOT DEAD, and THE SHACK have found popularity and impressive box office numbers by tapping into this audience and bringing out church-goers and other faith-friendly communities that might not be as eager to seek out films outside of this genre. And it makes sense that faith-based films are doing well. In challenging or negative times, people will more actively seek out positivity and inspiration, two ingredients almost guaranteed to be featured in a faith-based film. Considering how challenging and negative our current world can be, there might not be a better time to break into the world of faith-based films and write a script that can shine in this market. Writing a faith based or faith friendly script can be tricky, as you don't want to fall into cliches and lose your audience. You might have a great idea for a script with an uplifting message and inspirational ending, but when does it cross the line from a traditional genre script to faith-friendly? What does that audience actually look for and what do faith-based production companies seek out when considering a script? What elements in your story are off-limits and which will help you sell your script? There’s no crystal ball that can tell us 100% what works and what doesn’t in this genre, but there are patterns and constants that can be gleaned and applied to your own script. With a proper lay of the land, you’ll be able to better tackle this genre and write a script that can not only get on the screen, but inspire and uplift viewers at the same time. Brad Wilson is the Co-founder of Higher Purpose Entertainment (HPE), a production company dedicated to telling stories in film and TV that encompass truth of character and strive to embrace inspirationally redeeming qualities. While at HPE he's produced a number of films including THREE BLIND SAINTS, CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET, MY MANY SONS, THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, and THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, which was released last year in 1,100 theaters across the country. Brad is well-versed in the business of faith based films and has a keen sense of how projects thrive in this genre. He’s ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Brad will walk you through how to create a faith based script that can both sell and have a positive impact within this specific community. Brad will begin with an overview of the faith based/faith friendly landscape and will give you a rundown of how this genre works both at a studio and in the independent space. He’ll then break down major screenwriting points of an effective faith based scripts, including average page count, characters, and plot structure. He’ll outline what makes a script faith based or faith friendly and at what point a drama script would be considered by a faith based production company. He will delve into what the faith based audience looks like and the best ways to reach them. Brad will teach you the elements that work best for a faith based script, including employing romance and a specific message. He will also go over elements to stay away from and how to balance a cross over script with “preaching to the choir”. He will also give tips on how to drive the story forward within this genre. He’ll discuss when to take feedback on your script and when to trust your gut and will give you tips on how to keep your writing real, even when it’s made up. Brad will also discuss the types of budget you should keep in mind for the best chance of success with your faith based script. Brad’s valuable rundown of the faith based genre will give you the tips and tools you need to create an amazing script that will excel within the faith friendly community. Like what you heard from Brad during this webinar? Brad will read your script and speak with you for a half-hour if you click here. Praise for Brad's Stage 32 Webinar "Brad was terrific! This was an excellent real world webinar. Very helpful in reinforcing some of the trends that I have been seeing in this category, and I learned a lot from today's discussion." -Lew S. "Brad was amazing. He laid out so clearly the genre and how to write for it in a practical way. He was an awesome instructor who combined practical info, inspiration, and was so "real." Loved it." -Ricki L. "This was the best webinar I've had so far at Stage 32. Brad's very seasoned and gave wonderful tips that will help me make my faith-friendly script" more marketable." -Gayle R. "A very honest, forth right presentation from a guy whose been there and done that, and knows the pitfalls and promises of the biz." -Dennis H.
**Exclusive 4-Session Screenwriting Interactive and Online Class with Downloads and Handouts Including Scripts, Query Letter Templates, Contact Lists and More!** Comes with a free month subscription to Variety Insight It’s the dream of many to have a career as a writer for TV or film, to be able to make a living creating worlds and telling stories. However finding success as a writer is rarely easy, no matter how talented you are. Once you’re able to get your script into the hands of someone who can do something real with it, your script can speak for itself. But until then, you have to strive to get your work read and make sure it stands out from the others. This can be very tough. Without a professional, targeted approach, you could have the talent and the drive for a successful and sustained career as a writer but never get the opportunity. The truth is there’s a lot more that goes into being a full-time writer than just writing, and every successful writer working today has learned how to balance the craft with the business. And while each writer’s path to success is unique, it almost always involves building your toolkit, finding the right representation, getting noticed, and networking. These elements do not come easy and are not always self-explanatory. If you’re a writer that’s serious about building a career in this field, it’s crucial to learn how writers have achieved their goals in the past and how you can use the tools at your disposal to pave your own path to success. Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Over his career Ashley has represented writers and directors including Tony Jaswinski (THE SHALLOWS), Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY), two time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND), Nicholl Fellowship winners Alisha Brophy & Scott Miles (INSIDE JOB/Netflix), and BAFTA winner Tinge Krishnan (INDUSTRY/HBO). Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over his career, Ashley has worked with a slew of talented writers and directors and helped them find success and build their creative careers, and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Over the course of four sessions, Ashley will dive deep into the steps you should be taking to build your writing career and the strategies, tips, and advice you can use to find your place in the industry. He will work directly with you in a class setting, focusing on four major aspects of a writer’s career—building your toolkit, finding representation, getting your work and yourself noticed, and networking. In addition, Ashley will provide material to discuss and for future use including: Successful screenplays, particularly those that started as a query Management and agency lists Successful examples of queries TV pod deals, feature producer deals, film festival lists etc. Students will also receive a free month subscription to Variety Insight they can use to research, build contacts and reach out. If you are a screenwriter with the hopes of writing full time but aren't sure where to start, start here! WHAT TO EXPECT This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of screenwriting as a career 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 Ashley will be walking you through various elements of building a career in screenwriting, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. 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 class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". Praise for Ashley's Previous Stage 32 Class "Ashley was fantastic. Each session, he took more than the two hours that were scheduled. He answered all questions in detail. And mostly, I liked his realistic and honest view on the job. We learned about the upsides and the downsides. And that is the part I’m Ashley most thankful for." -Thomas D. Wonderful and insightful class. Great look inside the industry from a manager's perspective, with reference materials too. Blunt and honest but very encouraging. -Darren T.