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

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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.

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