In his current position Simon Graham-Clare assesses film and television projects that Future Films might board to finance or produce. Simon then works with producers and filmmakers to build a viable package and finance plan, attach a sales agent and raise any remaining finance. Recent examples include Walter starring Virginia Madsen, William H. Macy and Jim Gaffigan, directed by Anna Mastro, and the Dougray Scott thriller Last Passenger, which was shot in the UK and directed by Omid Nooshin. Simon began his professional career at Cinema Completions International, an American completion bond firm, based at Pinewood Studios in England. He soon segued into physical production, working up to becoming a 2nd assistant director on feature film projects. Broadening his experience to include marketing and public relations, he transitioned into a unit publicity position for Warner Bros. Pictures’ productions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Simon relocated to Los Angeles in 2003 for a post in the LA office of the UK Film Council. In that role, he helped US-based studios and producers navigate the British tax incentive system and worked closely with emerging and established British filmmaking and acting talent, to raise their profiles within the Hollywood community. Currently packaging a diverse slate of projects for Future Films, Simon is a proud member of BAFTA/LA, Film Independent and Australians in Film, and is often asked to speak on film finance panels. Full Bio »
In this Stage 32 Next Level webinar, Simon Graham-Clare will discuss 10 business steps for giving your project momentum and creating a viable package that feels right to investors. Having been involved in the production and/or financing of over 200 projects, Simon will discuss how a filmmaker can benefit by teaming up with a producer who understands this world, and he looks at all projects from an international point of view to give you a full spectrum idea of film financing. The last two films The Future Film Group produced were both first time directors, so Simon knows exactly what it takes to get your project in production, no matter if it is your first film or one of many.
Simon Graham-Clare is a Producer at The Future Film Group, established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principles in both the entertainment and business worlds. It quickly established itself on the UK scene through its involvement in films such as Bend It Like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins).
The company quickly formed a production division to work alongside its financing arm and, through an ever-expanding structure, has since been involved in the production and/or financing of nearly 200 films and television shows. Some of The Future Film Group’s notable productions include Transsiberian (starring Woody Harrelson and Sir Ben Kingsley), 50 Dead Men Walking (starring Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley) and Flawless (starring Sir Michael Caine and Demi Moore).
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
The world of podcasts has been exploding over recent years. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis, and individual shows can have tens of millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. Forebearers like HOMECOMING, LIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS, and WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE have opened the door for a cavalcade of new, exciting, innovative, and truly great audio storytelling. And as the number of fiction podcasts increases, so does this medium’s fan base as millions of people consistently tune in to their favorite fiction programs. Even as film and television production has slowed down or come to a halt, the doors are still wide open for recording podcasts since they can easily be produced remotely and from the comfort of one’s own home. The water’s warm when it comes to creating your own podcast and joining this vibrant community, but it’s still important you make something that’s not only written well but sounds great. The prospect of sound design and audio quality can be daunting for those considering venturing into podcasts. It’s not unusual to believe that you’ll be unable to make a high quality and sharp sounding podcast without expensive equipment and a state-of-the-art recording studio. How good can a podcast sound if it’s being recorded in your closet or kitchen, after all? As it turns out, it can sound pretty good, and it can sound good without you needing to break the bank. But it’s not something you can just put together willy nilly. There’s a delicate, precise science to sound design and it’s something that requires a good amount of wherewithal, and forethought. Yet with this understanding in place, it is absolutely possible to create a professional sounding podcast wherever you are and under any budget. Mischa Stanton is an award-winning and sought after podcast sound designer & producer who has created immersive soundscapes for some of the biggest and most popular podcasts of all time, including LEVAR BURTON READS, Marvel Entertainment’s blockbuster podcast MARVELS, and celebrated science fiction podcast cult hit THE BRIGHT SESSIONS, which is currently in development to be adapted as a television show. Their work has been featured by Wired, Vox, Polygon, Popular Science, The AV Club, and The New York Times, and has garnered 10 Audio Verse Awards for Podcast Sound Design in just 4 years. Mischa has quickly become one of the foremost experts on podcast audio and is prepared to share what they know exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mischa will walk you through what you need to know to make your own podcast sound professional on a limited budget, from preparation all the way through editing and finalizing. They will begin with a quick introduction of the human ear and a rundown of what psychoacoustics is and why you should consider it moving forward. They will teach you how to build your own home studio, including finding the right place in your home, the inexpensive but effective ways to sound proof your space, and additional purchases you can make to improve acoustics. Next Mischa will give you a rundown of the recording equipment you will need and smart purchases that can work with your budget. This will include microphones, interfaces, mixers, and headphones. Then they will delve into actual techniques to use while recording your podcast, including near/far and mono/binaural techniques and how to effectively record your podcast remotely. They will provide tips on directing your podcast from an audio perspective, including how to properly cast to ensure everyone sounds different and finding the balance between stage and screen styles. They will then walk you through actually running a recording session, how to make the most of your rehearsals, and documents and spreadsheets you should follow. Mischa will also explain how to edit pacing and feel the flow while directing your sessions. Next they will teach you about sound design, including where to get sounds and effects and how to actually lay out a session. They will run down specific techniques you can use to improve your podcast’s soundscape, including EQ, reverb sends, and accessibility. They will also explain the best and worst editing software to use. With Mischa’s knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to create your own podcast with a sound quality that can stand toe-to-toe with the best of them. “I’ve staked my entire career many times over on the fact that you can make a brilliant, moving, polished story from your own home without going broke. The audience is hungry for new stories from new voices, especially right now! But so many podcasts fail to reach a larger audience due to simple audio mistakes anyone can avoid with the right tools. It is my pleasure to share what I know with the Stage 32 community, and I hope it leads to my next favorite podcast!” -Mischa Stanton
A professional budget is essential to every film, TV, and digital production. It's important that you get your financials in check in order to avoid any surprises once you yell "Action!" This will help avoid overages, delays, and frustration on the set. Putting together a professional budget is not as difficult as you think! Even if Excel and Movie Magic aren't your specialty, that's OK. You can still learn what you need to do to in order to make sure your budget looks professional. For starters, you must make sure that you have all the pertinent production details and supporting information. You need to proofread your work before it's submitted for the production. In short, before you can create a budget that will keep your production on track, you need to understand all the elements that will make is so. It's not as intimidating as you think, and we're here to help. Rosi Acosta is a Unit Production Manager, DGA, who has worked on over 75 TV and Film projects and over 100 commercials. She is a valued name in Hollywood as a top UPM who's worked on films such as DRIVEN, SPEED KILLS, IMPRISONED and many more. She's committed to helping you understand the basics of creating a professional film budget. You'll examine all the pertinent elements of a film budget so you have a clear understanding of what is considered industry standard. You will learn the basics of Movie Magic software and what support documents you will need to help you prepare a professional budget. Rosi will take away the anxiety and simplify the process of creating your film budget! This presentation will give you confidence to move forward with a professional level budget to ensure your production goes off without a hitch! "Rosi Acosta is, in a word, awesome. She is a treasure of knowledge and easy to understand! Incredibly detailed." - Lawrence W.
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.
How To Build Your Suspense From The Ground Up And Craft A Thriller With Earned Twists, Turns and Thrills If you're paying attention to the trades and seeing which screenplays and projects are being sold and produced, you know that psychological thrillers are highly in demand. With films like Joker, Ma, Escape Room, Glass, Ex Machina, The Invitation, Get Out, Happy Death Day, The First Purge and many more, companies like Blumhouse have propelled the production of thrillers for an audience hungry for suspense and thrills, making creepy, crawly movie-going experiences all the rage. With box office receipts in the billions it's clear that the appetite for psychological stories is raging. And, it's a more exciting time than ever to be able to a screenwriter or filmmaker who has a suspenseful thriller you want to tell. But the art of writing a psychological thriller is one of vulnerable characters, deep secondary characters, memorable set pieces, set ups, reversals, and earned twists and turns. There's a formula to it all, and those who master these skills win the day. Writing a psychological thriller and creating and maintaining suspense and high stakes throughout takes an immense understanding of the history of the genre. It's a genre based in Hitchcockian roots. One that needs to have certain elements in order to be effective to keep the audience involved, engaged and on the edge of their seat. While most psychological thrillers start off with a well thought out premise, that's all they have. The action starts quickly and then falls flat. In many other cases, the premise is in place, but the writer or filmmaker doesn't know how to get past the jumping off point. You must get your hook in place quickly - within your first five pages - and that takes skill. You need to truly create compelling characters, especially protagonist and your villain, and make them layered in order to support your theme and plot and to assure the audience always knows and is invested in the stakes. To be truly successful at getting your reader's attention, keep those pages turning and set yourself up for an offer of representation, an option, a sale, or financing, you need to understand all of the nuances that make a great suspenseful story before you type (or read) FADE IN. Steve Desmond is one of the best in the industry today writing suspense and psychological thrillers. His most recent feature screenplay, Harry's All Night Hamburgers, was adapted from a Hugo award winning short story and was one of the highest priced spec sales of the last 5 years, selling to Warner Bros. in a bidding war worth 7 figures. The film now has Oscar Nominated Producer Andrew Lazar (American Sniper) producing via his Mad Chance production banner and Ted Melfi directing. He has recently been tapped by Film Nation to adapt The Cabin at the End of the World, a Harper Collins title from author Paul Tremblay. The psychological horror and suspense novel centers on a vacationing family terrorized by four strangers who claim to be either attempting to bring about or trying to avert the apocalypse. His short film, Monsters, has played in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 43 awards including Best Short Film at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego and was a finalist at Stage 32's 3rd Annual Short Film Program. Steve filmed Monsters to serve as a proof of concept for his feature script, Twisted Avenue which is now in development. Needless to say, thrillers and suspense are in Steve's blood and the focus of all his writing. And now he's bringing all he's learned along the way to you. Steve will help you build your suspense from the ground up. He'll teach you the ultimate tool you need - the Hitchcock Ticking Clock Method which will help you on your way to setting the vital groundwork for your story. You'll learn how to create a compelling protagonist and an enticing villain. Steve will give you exercises you can use to craft your own characters and give you 5 must have tips on backstory and character confessions to give depth. You'll learn how to hook your reader in the first 5 pages and what the 3 different teasers you can write for your opening. You'll explore the power of murder in your script and the art of a twist ending. He will show you how to craft your script with producers in mind to give yourself the best chance to have your material attractive to the widest audience possible. Steve will go over how you can incorporate visuals into your story and break down case studies of Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. And, finally, Steve will share some advice on how to get your script on the screen by writing it in a producible budget. You will have a fully immersive experience from a suspense expert that will leave you excited, inspired and confident to tackle your next psychological project. This webinar was AWESOME!!! I just finished a thriller and now as a result of listening to Steve Desmond, I am ready to do a re-write which I believe will be one of the best screenplays I have ever written. Let's see what happens! - Michelle C. What a thrilling and insightful webinar, excellent!! - Kathleen W. Super helpful information that you don't find in books! - Pamela C. Very useful information - well structured and clearly presented! - Sara C.
Learn directly from Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen, Producers with over 20 years of experience each in developing and financing media projects. Nikki is a director, producer and media strategist with an expertise in integrating faith-based content into mainstream media, and Anne Marie is an expert on film finance, having successfully raised over $100M for projects worldwide. With the recent successes of films like Heaven Is For Real, Son Of God, God Is Not Dead, and all of the faith oriented films coming down the pike like Mark Burnett’s Ben Hur, Mary Mother Of Christ and The Shack, Faith and Family based projects have grown from a niche market to a box office phenomenon.TV has also jumped on the bandwagon with the recent Red Tent, Preachers of LA and Mark Burnett’s The Bible and A.D. However, alongside these successes are huge controversies in the faith community, such as those surrounding Paramount's Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus. Faith and Family based material is like a soufflé – if you get even the smallest ingredient wrong, the entire soufflé collapses. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, hosts Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen will walk you through the development and financing phases of creating a successful faith and/or family based project. Drawing from their 20 years of experience, Nikki and Anne Marie will teach you how faith and family based projects get funded and who the financiers, studios and distributors are that specialize in this genre so you know who to target. They will also teach you how to easily find and reach your desired audience and what type of marketing is successful for this genre. Whether you’re a producer, filmmaker or writer, knowing what goes into a faith and family project in the development stage, team building stage and financing and distribution stage is key to your project’s success in the marketplace!
Stage 32 is committed to bringing you entertainment, education, and community from the comfort and safety of your own home. Our Script Services Coordinator, Nick Assunto, has procured an amazing slate of talented and funny actors and Stage 32 members to read his pilot The Conspiracists, a half-hour sci-fi comedy. During this exciting virtual event, you will get an exclusive look behind the scenes of a professional television table read. Watch as the actors make the script come alive for the very first time. This is a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain go behind the scenes to watch and see a script workshopped directly with professionals. Our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicked off a night of hanging out virtually. You'll get a chance to laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack. Cindy Chu - playing Helena Francois (New Girl, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) Angela Cristantello - playing Beatrix Baker (Agent Carter, 9-1-1) Nican Robinson - playing Greg Shepherd (13 Reasons Why, Thunder Road) Carolyn Deskin - playing Mee Moo and Super Professional Sue (Water's Edge, Sorrow) Rama Vallury - playing Turkey Hemingway, Sweaty Phil, Nervous Intern, Boss Man and Bus Drive (Happy Ending, AOK) Ramona Apthorp - playing Pickle Frost PLUS! after the table read we did a Q&A with the actors, writer Nick Assunto, our fearless leader Richard Botto and our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch moderated by our Managing Director Amanda Toney so you will get the perspective from everyone involved about the table read! What a great way to have fun and learn! Mark your Calendar! LIVE Online Table Read of the Comedy Pilot "The Conspiracists" Friday, March 27th at 7 pm PST Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32online , Twitter @stage32 , Facebook @stage32 , and LinkedIn @stage-32 .