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 Domestic and Foreign Distribution Market: How Filmmakers and Producers Can Navigate

The landscape of distribution has shifted dramatically, forcing filmmakers, producers and foreign sales agents to adapt to those changes. With the rise of streaming, there are more ways than ever to get your project out to the viewing public, whether in theaters or right in their home. In the time of quarantine, more distributors are looking to acquire films to put in the marketplace, but how does the pricing look and how will that shift over time? We will examine the current distribution marketplace and how to best take advantage of the multiple avenues of distribution both domestically and internationally. While there are more places than ever to go to for distribution, there’s also more competition for your project to be noticed by distributors and, once distributed, for viewers to decide to watch your film over the other thousands at their fingertips. It can be difficult for filmmakers and producers to know what different distributors and paths of distribution are best for each project, and which deals are more likely to garner a profit. But with a working knowledge of both the domestic and the foreign distribution market, you can find the best home for your feature. Tiffany Boyle is the President of Packaging and Sales for Ramo Law. Tiffany has helped hundreds of films, TV shows and documentaries come to fruition. Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will go over different distribution avenues - theatrical, VOD, DVD, etc. and what distributors are looking for in general. She'll break down the difference between distributors and sales agents and what types of projects will fit their slate. You'll get a complete overview of the marketplace - both domestic and foreign and understand what it will take to get your film to the right distributor. You'll learn to harness the power of festival screenings, social media and other campaigns to put your film in the best position. You'll also learn how to make the deal in terms of territory, term, delivery, fees, rights, licensing vs. reserved and more. You'll also get insight into recoupment and profit. This is the most up-to-date guide on today's film and TV domestic and foreign distribution marketplace jammed packed with actionable information you can utilize right now.   Praise for Tiffany's previous Stage 32 webinars: "Excellent discussion by Tiffany! It shows that she's right in the middle of the film business and understands what's happening now. Refreshing not to hear the same old basic information you hear everywhere. This was detailed and very much of the now." - Michael H.    "Excellent presentation by a clearly passionate expert. More, more, more." - Alexis D.   "Very clear and helpful - so much detail!" - Sil V.   "Tiffany was gracious and helpful with good energy. Plus she offered so much encouragement, practical advice and incredible energy." - Cynthia D.  

Ask Me Anything with Stage 32 CEO Richard "RB" Botto

Hello Creative Army!   Over the last few months, the entire team here at Stage 32 has been working tirelessly to help you stay connected, creative, motivated, and informed. As always, we are committed to bringing you networking opportunities, education and mentoring from top-level industry executives and professionals, and access to decision-makers around the globe all from the safety of your own home.   Since the beginning of the quarantine mandates brought about by the spread of COVID-19, I've promised you free education designed not only to keep you inspired and entertained, bit to provide up-to-date, no BS information regarding how the industry is handling business during the better at home orders and give you a glance into what lies ahead. We have brought in top executives in television and animation for state of the industry roundtables, partnered with film festivals to bring you top of the line virtual panels, and even hosted a virtual happy hour and table read, to name just some of our COVID-19 free education initiatives.   Every day, the Stage 32 team is on the phone and communicating with industry professionals. Our goal is to have our finger on the pulse of what's happening in the moment. Additionally, since launching Stage 32 Screenings I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of entertainment industry creatives and professionals including festival directors, distributors, sales agents, financiers and other executives to get their take on how they're navigating these challenging times. I can think of no better time to host another free AMA (Ask Me Anything) so I can share what I've been hearing and experiencing in my personal creative pursuits and to take your questions on all things craft and business.   In June I hosted a new AMA. You brought your questions and energy and I provided a couple of hours of no-holds-barred shop talk. All creatives were welcome to join no matter their profession(s), skill level, or geographical location. We came together for some inspiration, motivation, and community. I had fun spending quality time with you all.   As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative friends and peers to watch. Should any of your contacts not be members of Stage 32 already, you can send them an invite here!   If you missed my last few AMA's, you can view them here!   Cheers!   RB

Understanding the UK Film and Television Marketplace and How You Can Succeed Within It

The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry. The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain. Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19.     Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar   "It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much." Marisé S.   I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped. -Jonathan H.   I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future. -Carolyn K.   Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk -Stephen P.

Navigating a Film's Financials: Budget, Cash Flows & Cost Reports

Part 1 - Budgets & Cash Flows Maura teaches you how to create a realistic plan for your film and make sure there is always money in the bank for what you need. You'll learn how to figure how much money you really need, and how to put together a proper film budget. Part 2 - Cost Reports, Film Infrastructure, & Tax Incentives Maura discusses setting up a film's infrastructure (from setting up an LLC to finding a lawyer) and various accounting options. She details cost reports, and how to analyze what you've spent and what you need to spend. Lastly, she discusses tax incentives before hosting a Q&A session. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Maura is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all filmmakers to participate.  

The Casting Process: How To Create A Great Ensemble Cast For Your Film

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.

How to Handle Guild Residual Payments For Your Film Production

If a film production is going to use talent that belongs to a guild, you will need to adhere to labor related matters when it comes to residuals. Residuals are how you pay your guild talent and a key component of any production. These payments have a strict way in which they need to be handled in order to make sure that your talent is being compensated properly - whether it's payment upfront or payment on the backend. Conversely, if you are in a guild you need to ensure that your contract lays out the correct components with residuals to make sure that you are paid properly.  Whether you are the person paying or the person receiving, we're talking about money here and you don't want to get it wrong. Understanding residual payments in some of the world's key film markets (US, UK and Canada) is vital to your production. As you are putting together your budget and ensuring that your production comes in at or under your budget you have to know how residuals work. Working with guilds can be tricky, but as long as you are clear upfront on how to pay their members and how that flows into your budget you can ensure success. And, if you're talent that belongs to a guild you want to ensure that you are getting every payment that is owed to you for your service on a project.  David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories. Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management globally on hundreds of productions. David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David will teach you what exactly residuals are and go over a comparison of them in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. He will go into a deep dive example on a US example where he will discuss options for payments of residuals and how the calculation works. You will understand how the payment for residuals is secured in security interest, the collection account or the payroll house. He will even go over the agreements you should know that are related to residual payments. He will even dive into residual and media allocation and the recoupment schedule. You will leave with a clear understanding of how residuals work and how to best protect yourself on both sides when dealing with them.     Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars   "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P.   "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O.   "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K.   "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In