Producer Jim Young’s first production was the award-winning football documentary “Year of the Bull” for Showtime Networks. On the film side, Young produced the thriller, “Homecoming.” Paramount Pictures released the film. Young then produced the dark comedy, “Don McKay,” starring Academy Awardnominees Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue, and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Image Entertainment. Young’s next film, "The Words,” starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, JK Simmons, and Zoë Saldana was the Closing Night Film at the Sundance Film Festival. CBS Films released the film. “Lovelace,” starring an all-star cast including Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, and James Franco, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently screened at Berlinale. Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman directed the drama. The film was distributed by The Weinstein Company. Young then produced the film, “Life of a King,” which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, and LisaGay Hamilton. The drama is based on the true story of Eugene Brown, founder of the Big Chair Chess House in Washington, DC. The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was released theatrically by Millennium Entertainment. The film received an NAACP Image Award nomination. Young produced the historical drama “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry, based on the New York Times’ bestseller of the same name by Robert Kanigel. The film was part of Film Independent’s Producer’s Lab and received a grant from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Sloan Foundation. The film premiered in the Toronto Film Festival and was released by IFC Films. Young produced "The Catcher Was a Spy," starting Paul Rudd, directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat, based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Dawidoff. Young is currently developing "The People vs. Vegas Dave" based on the real life of the controversial gambler Vegas Dave, as well as many other film and television projects with independent companies including Lynda Obst Productions, Ruby Films, Tollin Productions, Tribeca Productions, Underground Films, and Pressman Films. Young was a fellow in the Film Independent Producer's Lab and received the Alfred P. Sloan Producer's Grant for The Man Who Knew Infinity. Previously, Young was a Creative Executive at actor Bill Paxton's American Entertainment Company. He is a member of the Producer's Guild of America and attended New York University, where he majored in Dramatic Literature. Full Bio »
Some of the most well regarded recent feature films and television shows were based on books, including the Oscar-nominated Little Women, JoJo Rabbit, The Two Popes, The Irishman and the Emmy-nominated Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects and many more. Authors spend months, if not years, formulating characters and worlds that make it onto the printed page. This creativity serves as great source material that would translate greatly to the big or small screen. If you're an author who's written a novel and are looking to get it adapted, a screenwriter that's written a script based off a book you have (or would like to obtain) the rights to, or a producer or financier who has the rights or are circling securing the rights to a property you believe would make a great film or TV show, you need to understand the steps to take to obtain the rights, protect yourself legally, and make the development process a smooth and enjoyable ride.
Discovering an adaptation-worthy story can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting book or article at a bookstore, library or newsstand. Understanding how to obtain the rights and develop that material effectively is the harder part. It takes meticulous planning and approach to be able to get the rights to the desired intellectual property and successfully adapt and develop the material. Many factors go into getting an adaptation to the screen including negotiations, legal hurdles and making sure you're staying authentic to the source material. Once misstep and it could derail an amazing project. You need to be prepared.
Jim Young has produced films adapted off of books and intellectual property such as The Catcher Was a Spy (starring Paul Rudd), Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and Life of King (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.). He's had his films premiere at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and has earned himself a reputation of being an expert in adaptations. Through years of working with authors, publishers, talent, financiers and distributors Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish.
Jim will teach you how to acquire the rights to a book you're interested and go over where to look for title, how to approach the author and publisher and how to close the deal. He'll give advice on the story development process and how to engage the author during that time, as well as tips on how to avoid liability. You'll learn two essential people you must have in your pre-production phase and how to work with the cast, crew and author on set. You will get insider tips on what to do before your film or TV show hits the screen to gain momentum for your project. And, finally, Jim will give you six legal elements to have in place prior to your project's release. This is must-know information coming from someone who's prolific in producing films based off of books.
Animus Films (The Catcher Was a Spy, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Words)
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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!
With all the recent success for true story dramas including Harriet, Bombshell, Judy, Ford v. Ferrari, The Irishman (among many others), it’s an exciting time in the marketplace for non-fiction. If you have found a story that truly inspires you and know it will make a great film, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to make that happen. The easy part is finding the right story, the hard part is knowing what to do with it. Whether it’s a book, a newspaper or magazine article, a documentary subject, or even if it’s the story of someone you’ve met or are related to, understanding how to get the rights and put the project into motion is paramount. To cover all your bases from the legal aspects to development to filming to distribution, you need someone who has been in the trenches time and time again. And we've got just the person, one of the most experienced independent film producers working today, to help you make sense of it all. Jim Young of Animus Films has created a successful career working in the true story space with films such as The Catcher Was a Spy (Paul Rudd) based off of the life of Moe Berg, Life of a King (Cuba Gooding Jr.) based off of the life of Eugene Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity (Dev Patel) based off of the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, Lovelace (Amanda Siefried) based off of the life of Linda Lovelace and the upcoming The People vs. Vegas Dave based off of controversial gambler Vegas Dave. Jim is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. And now he's bringing his extensive knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Jim will take you through the steps of acquiring the rights to a particular article, book or other printed material about, or the life rights of, a given person (or persons). From there he will cover writing and developing the script, getting buttoned up legally to avoid pitfalls in the pre-production and production phases, and help you navigate the process of releasing and distributing the film. He will provide real life case studies using some of his own films as examples to help you gain real world experience and make the process painless. "Jim was an excellent educator. He really broke down the process of getting life rights in an easy to understand way and opened my eyes to some huge pitfalls I need to avoid along the way. Great examples from someone who's actually doing it right now, which is important. Thanks Jim!" -Jonathan R.
There is A LOT that goes into making a film. Countless roles, countless facets, countless obstacles. And while all aspects are important and necessary to put together a successful film, there are few components more crucial than casting. The cast is not only the key component in delivering your screenplay to an audience but it also determines whether or not you actually get your film made. Funding is often contingent on casting and on recognizable talent being attached, as is distribution deals which will allow your film to ultimately be seen. Actors have a huge influence on how the finished film will be received so how do you approach them and secure their services? Many independent filmmakers quickly write off the idea of including name talent in their project, believing it’s a fool’s errand or something you can’t actually accomplish without deep pockets and deeper connections. This isn’t necessarily true, though. What is essential is a complete understanding of how the casting system works and how to successfully navigate it as an independent filmmaker. Perhaps the most important aspect of this process is the actor meeting, where you pitch your film and convince the actor or their reps to join the project. So much hinges on this meeting, and nailing it can make all the difference. So how exactly can you pitch a bigger actor to star in your project? With so many film projects to choose from, why should they choose yours? Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Piotr will teach you how to successfully navigate and execute a key actor meeting in order to bring on a high level actor for your independent project. He will begin by going over how to build your wish list of the actors you’d like for your film, including how to choose who should go on the list, how to navigate creative vs. business choices, setting expectations early and being realistic, and dealing with budget. He will then explain how to approach your desired actor. He’ll explain how to navigate the catch 22 of attaching actors, which is the fact that you need money to go to actors, but you need actors to get money. He’ll talk about when in the process of your project to make contact, who to contact first and how, and how best to work with agents. Piotr will delve into how best to prep for the actor meeting. He’ll talk about the difference between a video conference meeting and a face-to-face one and go over what you should know going in. He’ll walk you through the research you should do ahead of time and where you should choose to meet and why. He’ll also give you a rundown of what your appearance should be for a good first impression and what the proper etiquette is. He’ll give you an idea of the key questions to ask your actor and how best to communicate your vision and prepare your look book to make a convincing case. Piotr will also give you tips of what to do if you’re facing a creative disconnect and how to overcome it. He’ll also go over how best to take criticism if it comes up during the meeting and how to ultimately know if you found the right fit for your actor. He will next teach you best practices for the meeting follow up, including the next steps to take care of right after the meeting, what the do’s and don’ts are, and how to deal with production delays that may come up in the process. Finally, Piotr will go through a case study of his own film THE LAST WITNESS and explain how he ultimately landed the actors Alex Pettyfer and Robert Wieckiewicz to play his lead roles. He’ll discuss the early development of the film, how he attached his producer, and when the key actors became part of the plan. Piotr will even share the look book he created to convince the actors to join. Key actor meetings are scary things, but Piotr will give you the tools you need to navigate them with more confidence and develop the skills to nab your dream actor. "In my experience the choice of lead actors for your film is hugely important and in most cases the difference between whether your film is made or not. For the smaller independent production, this can not only feel daunting and nigh on impossible as this is what I felt myself but I am proof that it is possible. I'm excited to share how I managed to secure the actors for my feature film in the hope it can help you to nail down the perfect actor for your own project." -Piotr Szkopiak
Let’s face it, attaching the right actor (or actors) can make or break the success of you getting your project off the ground. Putting the right talent in the pole position will greatly increase your chances of gaining finishing funds, selling a project, securing meaningful distribution and more. But to stand out in a sea of offers that quality talent receives on an almost daily basis takes knowledge and understanding. So how do you get your project in front of the right actor and give yourself the best chance to get a “yes”? In the independent filmmaking world understanding how to formulate and put together talent offers is vital. With actors getting more offers than ever from streaming platforms, cable networks and alternative programming it’s imperative that your offer stands out from the crowd. You can push your project to the top of the decision making pile if you know how to put together the right offer. In what has been a wildly successful career, Jim Young has produced nearly 20 independent films. How did he get so many made? By attaching talent such as Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Dev Patel, Cuba Gooding Jr., Amanda Seyfried and more. Nobody understands how to attach talent better than Jim. And now he's ready to share his tried and true approaches with you so you too can attach meaningful talent to your projects. Jim will delve into the process of attracting and signing talent to your film. This will include a primer as to the roles of casting directors, talent agents, lawyers, and foreign sales agents and how each operates. He will show you what additional materials and information you need to send along with the script and the actual offer. He will also discuss elements to consider when negotiating talent deals to make sure you have a competitive advantage. Plus! As an added bonus Jim is including downloadable templates for you to work from as you put together your own deals! These invaluable documents are yours to keep.
This week we welcome playwright and TV writer who is the author of over forty plays! His television credits include Executive Story Editor on Season 2 of the Starz drama "MAGIC CITY", and serving as Executive Story Editor on two seasons of the HBO television show "HUNG". He wrote and directed the film EXILES IN New York, which played at the A.F.I Film Festival, South by South West, The Santa Barbara Film Festival and The Latin American International Film Festival in Havana, Cuba. He has also has sold his original television projects to Starz, Amazon and AMC, among others. During this incredible Executive Hour, Eduardo talks about working with Oscar-winner Al Pacino on the film SCARFACE in his early 20's, how to write compelling characters for stage and screen, what it is like being in a writers room for HBO, and offers a exercise in breaking character and story that brought one of our members to tears!
In this Executive Hour we speak with screenwriter Lorien McKenna! Lorien is a former Pixar Story Manager who worked on such features as Oscar-winning UP, Oscar-winning BRAVE, Oscar-winning INSIDE OUT, and THE GOOD DINOSAUR. She also served as a producer for Paramount Animation where she oversaw development for WONDER PARK. Lorien, along with Oscar-nominated writer Meg LeFauve, sold their romantic comedy anthology, THIS THING CALLED LOVE to Hulu with Dan Lin producing; as well as a half hour sitcom, POOG to NBC and WBTV. Lorien also wrote HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY, based on the book of the same name by Jesse Ball, for Straight Up Films. Previously, she served as the Co-EP for Hulu's CURIOUS GEORGE series, and has developed projects for Disney Jr., Funko, and Netflix. She is the co-host of the podcast The Screenwriting Life with fellow screenwriter Meg LeFauve. During the webcast, Lorien discusses her unusual career trajectory, working in the "Brain Turst" on Oscar-Winning animated films at Pixar, battling "Imposter Syndrome", tackling adaptations, writing for television vs. features, how hard it is to take notes even as an established writer, and much more!
Dark comedies intend to make light of events that would otherwise be considered too painful to discuss. The hope is that viewers will gain a cathartic experience, or simply laugh at some absurd situation. During this webcast, Jason Mirch discusses the 6 principles of how to make Dark Comedies work, while showing clips of some of the best dark comedies as examples.