10 Important Lessons Low Budget Filmmakers Should Learn From Reality TV

Strategies, Techniques, and Workflows To Take Low Budget Filmmakers to Higher Levels of Success!
Hosted by Mike Stivala

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

This Next Level Education webinar has a 93% user satisfaction rate.

Mike Stivala

Webinar hosted by: Mike Stivala

Reality Show Producer, Director, and Editor

Mike is a three-time Emmy winning producer, director and editor. For the last ten years, much of Mike’s professional experience has been in reality/ docu television. Mike has produced, directed and edited reality projects for Esquire Network, Lifetime, Travel Channel, nuvoTV, VH1, HBO, History Channel, ABC, ESPN and many others. In addition, Mike is an award winning filmmaker. His feature film, Rat Bastard, a film shot on 35mm for a budget of under $20,000, won several film festival awards and was picked up for distribution. More recently his self-produced television project, Hillers (starring Henry Winkler) was in the development pipeline at Showtime for a year. Currently Mike has partnered with Shepard Films to develop two feature projects and is also developing two television projects on his own including the animated series, Life at the Bottom. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Mike Stivala, 3 Time Emmy Award-winning Reality Show Producer, Director, and Editor (Friday Night Tykes, My Crazy Obsession, Best Week Ever, Ghost Stories)!

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Mike Stivala will reveal the strategies, techniques and workflows that reality/docu TV producers use every day that low/no budget / DIY filmmakers should be using to take their projects to higher levels of success. Filmmakers: stop complaining about reality TV and start learning from it!

You will leave the webinar knowing:

  • How to stretch your budget while making your film look and feel more professional.
  • How to get a better cast on a small budget.
  • How to generate buzz around your project.
  • How to make the most of a small crew.
  • How to make scenes look 'spontaneous'.
  • How to use the reality TV shooting style to save you money.
  • How to adopt a 'post-centric' workflow.

Your host Mike Stivala is a three-time Emmy winning producer, director and editor. For the last ten years, much of Mike’s professional experience has been in reality/ docu television. Mike has produced, directed and edited reality projects for Esquire Network, Lifetime, Travel Channel, nuvoTV, VH1, HBO, History Channel, ABC, ESPN and many others. In addition, Mike is an award winning filmmaker, and his feature film, Rat Bastard, a film shot on 35mm for a budget of under $20,000, won several film festival awards and was picked up for distribution. Mike knows how reality TV producers create drama, comedy and narratives that are entertaining, at times compelling, while working with small budgets and tight time constraints, and is here exclusively for Stage 32 to pass on that knowledge to you

What You'll Learn

  • Why thinking of yourself as an “independent filmmaker” is a huge mistake.
  • Why good reality TV producers NEVER develop a project by themselves.
    • Why you shouldn’t either!
  • Why the ultra-pragmatic workflow reality producers take to every project (Where? What? How?) is what every no budget filmmaker should be adapting to their projects.
  • What are the tricks and strategies that reality producers use to make scenes look ‘spontaneous’?
    • What lessons should you take from them?
  • Why the approach reality TV takes to casting is so beneficial.
    • It’s not just about finding talent!
  • The reality TV approach to promoting your project and why it’s (almost) never too early to start.
  • Why where you shoot is just as important that what you shoot.
    • Why there’s a reality show called Edge Of Alaska and not one called Edge Of Newark.
  • The reality TV shooting style.
    • Why adapting it to your project will save you tons of money.
    • Why the camera you shoot with DOES NOT MATTER!
    • The most important thing to think about before you shoot.
  • How to make the most of a small crew.
    • What you as the director should – and should never – do!
  • Why reality TV’s “Post-Centric” workflow will work so well for low budget projects.
    • The notes process – what is it and why you need it?
    • The real work starts after the first cut is done!
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Mike!

About Your Instructor

Mike is a three-time Emmy winning producer, director and editor. For the last ten years, much of Mike’s professional experience has been in reality/ docu television. Mike has produced, directed and edited reality projects for Esquire Network, Lifetime, Travel Channel, nuvoTV, VH1, HBO, History Channel, ABC, ESPN and many others.

In addition, Mike is an award winning filmmaker. His feature film, Rat Bastard, a film shot on 35mm for a budget of under $20,000, won several film festival awards and was picked up for distribution. More recently his self-produced television project, Hillers (starring Henry Winkler) was in the development pipeline at Showtime for a year.

Currently Mike has partnered with Shepard Films to develop two feature projects and is also developing two television projects on his own including the animated series, Life at the Bottom.

FAQs

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! 

Relevant Tags

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other education that may be of interest to you:

The Quibi Revolution - How to Write, Pitch and Sell a Project to a Short Form Streaming Platform

For many years in the industry, there were only three types of scripts that a working film or TV writer would ever be asked to write: a feature-length script, an hour-long TV script or a half-hour TV script. But with the addition of Quibi as a major driver of content and a serious player in the entertainment space, more and more writers are finding themselves working in a newer, short-format style of writing. In this webinar, Tripper Clancy, who has sold two shows to Quibi, will discuss how a Quibi show is made: from conception, to pitch, to writing, and ultimately to production. It’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely unlike anything else in the TV landscape right now and it's something you should learn to have another tool to be armed with. If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a working screenwriter in the industry, you may already know exactly what you want to write. Perhaps you want to be staffed on a particular HBO show. Or you have the perfect pitch for Netflix. Or you wrote a feature script that Blumhouse would love. Well, one of the things you’ll learn is that the secret to making a living as a writer is being open-minded about who pays your bills. And in TV, that means that a pitch that you knew was perfect for Amazon may actually end up at Quibi. And suddenly you’ll find yourself wondering how the hell you’re go tell a story that you imagined in one format in an entirely different, much shorter manner. When that moment happens, you need to understand how to be flexible with your story, and how you can adapt it to Quibi’s format. Tripper Clancy is a screenwriter who dabbles in TV and film, comedy and drama. His credits include STUBER for 20th Century Fox, I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS for Netflix, and two new shows for Quibi: DIE HART, an action-comedy starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta, as well as VARSITY BLUES, a modern day reimagining of the original movie. Tripper has carved out a successful career as a writer and has entered into short form storytelling with Quibi as a medium. Exclusively for Stage 32 Tripper will give you insight on how to write for a short streamer like Quibi. Tripper will go over a general overview of writing the the film and TV industry, including how to break in and the roles managers, agents and attorneys play in your journey. You'll get an understanding of specs vs. OWA (open writing assignments), how to pitch and how to get staffed. After you have a clear understanding of the general landscape, Tripper will dive into the similarities and differences between Quibi and traditional TV. You will know the length of time per episode, number of episodes and how they roll the episodes to the public. You'll get to learn the SVOD model and the pros and cons of writing for a streamer like Quibi vs. broadcast/streamers. Tripper will teach you how to approach pitching a Quibi show, how to develop the concept and what to pitch in the meeting. Finally, Tripper will teach you how to write for a Quibi show using case studies of his two Quibi shows: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and DIE HART with Kevin Hart. You will walk away with a clear understanding of the short form storytelling eco-system for a short streamer like Quibi.    Praise for Tripper's Stage 32 Webinar   "Tripper Clancy was an awesome presenter who cut to the chase in a clear, understandable webinar. I am writing a lot of short form, and until now, nobody was sponsoring presentations on anything but Quibi's business prospects until now. Thank you for getting ahead of the curve." -Mark D.   "Tripper's webinar was terrific - he's a great conversationalist and his open, candid, honest, accessible and very knowledgeable presentation & Q&A were very empowering." -Fran B.   "Tripper was really engaging. The conversational tone was enjoyable. Sometimes a seminar can feel like a stranger reading me their powerpoint, just slower than I would read it myself. That wasn't the case here." -Nicholas G.   "Tripper was phenomenal. Within 1 hour he gave us a whole course in something I knew nothing about before, but feel I have the tools to apply to write for Quibi. Another Stage 32 phenomenal webinar." -Ricki L.  

Understanding Global Tax Incentives

Learn directly from Simon Graham-Clare (Producer) and Ricky Margolis (VP) at Future Films USA (Over 200 films & TV shows financed and produced)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis will demystify global tax incentives and highlight some of the many other factors to take into consideration when looking at different locations. They will look at current example incentives from around the world and also enlighten you on ways these incentives can trigger additional investment into your project. Filmmakers will learn more about international independent film financing and how tax incentives are a key element to the business plan and can open doors to a slew of potential partners, helping to plot a ‘road map’ to production. Writers will learn why they need to be thinking about the locations in which they set their stories, and how it affects the attractiveness of their scripts to producers and financiers. Having a clear understanding of today’s global tax incentives will leave your project looking more professional and further advanced, hopefully increasing your chances to move the project into production. Your hosts Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis are Producers at Future Films USA, having financed and produced over 200 films and TV shows! The Future Film Group was established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principals in both the entertainment and business worlds. They quickly established themselves on the UK scene through their 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). At Future Films USA, Simon works as a producer, assessing film and television projects that Future Films might board to finance or produce. Ricky works in the role of Development Executive, continuing his work on the financing side whilst also becoming a more integrated part of the Future Film Group’s production activities.

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

Learn directly from Rachel Chervin, former Development Department at Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman), Gersh Agency and Imagine Entertainment! A screenwriting journey of a thousand miles begins with a single page, to paraphrase an old saying. Well, more accurately, ten pages - that's the amount of space a typical writer has to grab the attention of the anonymous, overworked reader that picked their script off a pile for evaluation. If a writer's sample script is excellent enough, the pieces start to fall into place: an entire script read, the writer recommended, the agent's decision to represent, the long and fruitful thousand-mile career. None of it happens, though, if the script never makes it to the agent's desk. But who are these mysterious readers? Who decides which scripts go on to consideration or representation - and maybe one day fame and fortune - while others get a stone-cold pass? It's not exactly who you might think: while the agents and managers of Hollywood excel at their jobs, they only have so much time in the day and most of it is not spent seeking out new talent. That job falls to the Gatekeepers, the assistants and pro readers who tackle stacks of scripts every week hoping to find the diamond in the rough: a script they can confidently recommend. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Rachel Chervin will bring you an insider's perspective on agency submissions and what you can do to maximize the impact of your writing on the unsung decision makers of Hollywood. Rachel will discuss fun and informative strategies for giving yourself the best chance possible to make a lasting impression on everyone who reads your script. There are so many ways that writers can take themselves out of the running with easily avoidable mistakes, but fortunately, there are just as many ways to stand out from the pack and deliver a calling card script that demands recognition. The key, besides great writing, is knowing the Gatekeepers' game plan - and then blowing it out of the water. Rachel Chervin has been on both the buying and selling sides of the business and has extensive experience with what industry executives are really looking for and the language they use to talk about scripts under consideration. She has worked in development for Broadway Video  (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, Man Seeking Woman) in both features and television, working to find and promote up-and-coming comedic voices in the industry. She has previously worked for several years at Imagine Entertainment and the Gersh Agency on several feature films including The Rite (2011) and Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012).

Stage 32 Budgeting Class: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Television Show Budget

As a television maker, one of the most difficult aspects of your job is creating and managing the budget for your project. Budgeting a feature or a short can be complicated enough, but at least you have all of the information at your fingertips. You have a script, schedule, rates—all of these things are at your disposal. However what happens when you need to budget a TV show? You don’t have all the scripts, there’s seemingly no way to create a schedule and, on the surface, no way to generate a budget. And once that budget is established, how do you handle decision making and cost tracking over a many, many months long process? These seemingly unsolved issues do have answers, and ones that may be simpler than you think. Successfully producing a TV show to get on screen requires that you understand not just how to build a TV budget, but also how to operate it. Knowing the ins and outs of Movie Magic and the various tools within as it relates to television is key. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and drown in the details of creating and managing the budget of a series. Through thorough research of the software, what it does and how it affects your project, you will be able to create TV budgets with ease. Presenting a solid TV budget will help you gain the confidence of those who can ultimately invite you into the inner circle of TV producing and allow you to advance your career to new heights. Rami Rank is a producer with credits on shows including Amazon's GOLIATH, DEXTER for Showtime, SWINGTOWN for CBS, HELP ME and HELP YOU for ABC, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Rami began his career working on indie features as a Production Coordinator, Production Manager and Line Producer. After joining the union and coordinating the third season of DEXTER, Rami joined Universal Studios where in addition to helping manage the Backlot and Stage Operations he also ran UVS-1, Universal’s Virtual Production business until 2013, when he came back to production. Through his storied career, Rami has produced and budgeted for all types of television shows, including some of the biggest ones out there. He knows intimately what goes into the vital aspect of creating a budget for these projects and is ready to share all he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. In this 3-session class, Rami will offer detailed, practical, and exhaustive guide to creating and managing a successful TV budget. In session one he will review the basic starting point of a TV budget: where the information comes from and how to utilize it. He will review some basic concepts like Budgeting and Scheduling Software, Rate Guides and the two types of budgets you’ll be creating – Patterns and Amorts. Session 2 will be a deep dive into the Amort budget. Students will receive a copy of an Amort budget to use as reference as we walk through all of the departments, positions and costs to consider in preparing the Amort. In the final session you will receive copies of a pattern budget to use as reference as he teaches how this budget is transformed into an episodic budget and then tracked using hot costs and cost reports. You will leave these three classes with the knowledge base and confidence to tackle any TV budget. WHAT TO EXPECT This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of creating a budget for a television show. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more than a standard 90-minute webinar. You will be given guides and walk throughs of software and procedures and will receive handouts and resources that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the class ends. This class will consist of three sessions, each roughly 90 minutes in duration and spaced one week apart from one another. In addition to the lessons where Rami will be sharing his screen and walking you through section by section of television budgeting software, you will have the opportunity to ask Rami 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 budgeting process. To see the full budgeting class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   "As a long time producer, I know how important a solid budget is for any television show, and I know just how challenging it is to create one successfully—much harder than for features and shorts. I’m excited to empower producers and creatives in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Get ready to learn more about TV budgets than you ever have before!" -Rami Rank

Building a Career as a Director: Surviving and Thriving in the Film Industry

There are many ways to forge a path toward a directing career in the film industry. But as almost any successful director will tell you, surviving and thriving takes much more than just talent. Packaging, the streaming platforms, and new and intriguing distribution channels have all but upended the independent film world. More and more filmmakers are embracing a DIY (Do It Yourself) mindset and educating themselves on the business - who's making what, what festivals matter, how a producer sees a project, what investors are looking for (and where to find those investors), who's the audience for my film, where can the film live and, most importantly, how can I use this information to build a long, lucrative, and successful career in the film industry. Director Qasim Basir exploded onto the Sundance scene with his film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.: Love on Election Night. The film received a massive standing ovation at its Sundance premiere which led to a bidding way, a major theatrical release, and enormous critical acclaim. The film not only takes place in once location, but is filmed in single shot. It's a masterclass, and Qasim proved that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The accolades and offers haven't stopped flowing in. Up next for Qasim is to direct the NFL Biopic ‘Hawk’ based on life of Andrew Hawkins. Prior to his Sundance debut, he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his film Mooz-Lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross & Danny Glover, and premiered at the LA Film Festival with his film Destined starring Jesse Metcalf, Cory Hardrict and Margot Bingham. Qasim has had choices for all of his films as to how they got out into the world and where they were going to live after their release. He's chosen everything from theatrical to VOD releases, and he's learned much along the way. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Qasim is bringing all his knowledge including the wealth of information he learned from the dream Sundance experience to the Stage 32 community. Qasim will dive right into the deep end of the pool to discuss how to navigate this difficult industry and how to keep yourself intact. He will teach you what you'll learn along the way as you become more successful and how to use that knowledge as fuel. He will discuss short filmmaking as a calling card or as proof of concept of something bigger. He will show you how to identify and engage financiers and production companies. Then, Qasim will delve into the filmmaking process including how casting comes down to understanding the 3 P's. He will discuss pre-production, voice, tone, story, performance & camera. He will teach you how to make decisive and confident creative choices. And he will teach you how to deal with failure and disappointment, but also how to deal with success. "People will tell you many different things in this business, but none is better than when you find what's actually right for you. Let me help get you there." - Qasim Basir   Praise for Qasim   "I saw A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. at Sundance. The movie is brilliant and watching Qasim during the Q&A it became clear that he is as well. To be able to learn from him here on Stage 32 is such a gift. Inspiration on a whole other level." - Monique T.   "Genius in every way." - Tyler K.   "Qasim is my hero." - Mikael F.   "Another home run for Stage 32. A teacher above and beyond worthy of the subject matter. More please!" - Imani L.  

How to Bring Authenticity and a Unique Voice to Your Screenwriting - With 12 Script Downloads

We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to  demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN     Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar   "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P.   "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B.   "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H.   "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B.     Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.      

register for stage 32 Register / Log In