An Indie Producer’s Guide to Working with VFX and Special Effects

Hosted by Micah Gallo

$49

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

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

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Micah Gallo

Webinar hosted by: Micah Gallo

Award-Winning Genre Filmmaker (ITSY BITSY)

Micah Gallo is an award-winning writer, director, cinematographer, producer and post-production expert who has been making films for over ten years and has worked on effects and post-production for over 40 feature films. A filmmaker from an early age, Micah’s fascination with visual composition and technology inspired him to cofound the award winning post-production facility Lit Post where he built the company up and collaborated with other top artists to design new cutting-edge effects previously unavailable for independent films. As a filmmaker, Micah has earned several Best Director and Best Cinematography awards as well as the Emerging Cinematography award for Achievement in Cinematography from the International Cinematographers Guild. Micah most recently served as writer, director, producer and post production supervisor on the celebrated cult creature feature ITSY BITSY, starring Bruce Davison (X-MEN) and Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Micah’s excited to bring his experience both as a writer/director and as a post-production expert to the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

In today’s climate, independent filmmakers and producers are expected to make their movies on lower and lower budgets. This is hard enough for a simple or grounded drama, but what if your film includes supernatural elements or other aspects that require effects? How can you keep the budget low while still including the monsters, explosions, illusions, and other that can only be made possible special and visual effects? As it turns out, it’s more possible than you might think, especially with the right preparation.

Whether you need to work with practical special effects or include visual effects in post, the key is always careful planning ahead of time. There are many pitfalls that producers and filmmakers can run into when working with effects, including going over budget and not getting the result your film needs, but these can always be overcome with the appropriate preparation, research and understanding ahead of time. So how exactly do experienced indie producers prep for effects? What can be done in early pre-production and throughout? And how can you make sure that, even on a low budget, your effects are, well, effective? Let’s explore.

Micah Gallo is an award-winning writer, director, cinematographer, producer and post-production expert who has been making films for over ten years and has worked on effects and post-production for over 40 feature films. A filmmaker from an early age, Micah’s fascination with visual composition and technology inspired him to cofound the award winning post-production facility Lit Post where he built the company up and collaborated with other top artists to design new cutting-edge effects previously unavailable for independent films. As a filmmaker, Micah has earned several Best Director and Best Cinematography awards as well as the Emerging Cinematography award for Achievement in Cinematography from the International Cinematographers Guild. Micah most recently served as writer, director, producer and post production supervisor on the celebrated cult creature feature ITSY BITSY, starring Bruce Davison (X-MEN) and Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Micah’s excited to bring his experience both as a writer/director and as a post-production expert to the Stage 32 community.

Using his experience both as a filmmaker and an effects guru, Micah will walk you through the steps you need to take as an independent filmmaker to include visual effects and special effects into your film at any budget. He’ll go through the process of analyzing your script with an eye for effects, how to research and get bids from vendors, and incorporating effects into both your shot lists and storyboards. Micah will also give you tips on how to handle the critical lighting and video testing phase of effects and how you can work with your DP, AD, and production designer to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Micah will also lay out how to handle effects while on set and how you should be shooting for VFX. He will also teach you how to navigate effects shots in post-production.

Throughout, Micah will be providing specific examples from his own award-winning film ITSY BITSY, which heavily used both special effects and VFX, and using this as a case study you can take back to your own project.

What You'll Learn

  • The Need for Effects
    • What’s the difference between visual effects and special effects, and when do you need each?
  • The First Steps in Planning for Effects
    • Reworking your script
    • How to do an effective effects breakdown
    • The storyboarding process
    • How many effects shots are you looking at?
  • Bringing in Outside Help
    • Can you handle the effects on your own or do you need help?
    • How to find effects vendors
    • Which are the right fit for your project?
    • Red flags to look out for
    • Approaching vendors and getting bids
    • What makes a good contract with a vendor?
  • Using Pre-production to Prep for Your Effects
    • Creating a not-to-exceed budget
    • The critical testing phase,
      • Video tests
      • Lighting tests
    • Schedule of creation of elements
    • Working with your DP, AD and production designer
    • Making your shooting schedule
  • Implementing Special Effects On Set
    • Stage is preferable, have control of environment
    • Safety to humans
    • Practice Makes Perfect
    • Clarity to Cast and Crew
  • Shooting for VFX
    • Building your VFX plan
    • Data you need to capture for VFX additions
    • Clean Plates
    • 360 lighting view
    • Green or blue screen elements
  • Effects in Post Production
    • Handling missing shots
    • Shot labeling system for VFX
    • The critical VFX tracking excel document
    • Exporting from Editing System and Importing Drafts
    • Management
  • Q&A with Micah

About Your Instructor

Micah Gallo is an award-winning writer, director, cinematographer, producer and post-production expert who has been making films for over ten years and has worked on effects and post-production for over 40 feature films. A filmmaker from an early age, Micah’s fascination with visual composition and technology inspired him to cofound the award winning post-production facility Lit Post where he built the company up and collaborated with other top artists to design new cutting-edge effects previously unavailable for independent films. As a filmmaker, Micah has earned several Best Director and Best Cinematography awards as well as the Emerging Cinematography award for Achievement in Cinematography from the International Cinematographers Guild. Micah most recently served as writer, director, producer and post production supervisor on the celebrated cult creature feature ITSY BITSY, starring Bruce Davison (X-MEN) and Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Micah’s excited to bring his experience both as a writer/director and as a post-production expert to the Stage 32 community.

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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

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.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Special Global Edition of the Stage 32 Writers' Room Pitch Tank

In Stage 32's commitment to bringing you free educational virtual events we are excited to bring you a special global edition of the Stage 32 Writers' Room Pitch Tank. We brought in the President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, and 3 industry leading literary managers from Circle of Confusion, The Cartel, and Art/Work Entertainment to hear pitches directly from writers across the globe!   In this exciting 90 minute webcast four different screenwriters from the US, UK and Scotland step into the Stage 32 Pitch Tank to pitch their script to a panel of some of Hollywood's power players. The hopeful end result? That their script is requested!    And...as an exciting surprise, we have brought in a special industry pro to come in and pitch to the panelists! Pete Goldfinger, who is the scribe behind the SAW franchise's JIGSAW, Piranha 3D and Sorority Row steps into the tank to pitch his new screenplay idea.   You'll be able to see up close and personal on what different types of pitches and learn how the decision makers on the other side of the table feel about the process. And...best of all there were several requests in the tank. Want to find out which ones they were and why? You have to watch to find out!  

How to Build a Global Career: Bridging the US and EU Film Industry for Actors and Filmmakers

Rich and diverse talent exists all over the world. We see it in stories like Netflix hits THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT and UNORTHODOX, both produced in Germany, and LUPIN, the hit Netflix series that originated in France and has exploded to the global audience. Or even SUBURRA, the Netflix hit which launched Italian lead actor Alessandro Borghi into the global series DEVILS.  It is no surprise that multi-cultural, multi-national stories are here to stay. And, now with film and television productions taking place in every country, more and more filmmakers and actors have opportunity to work. The exciting part about this global storytelling is that it opens the door for creatives all over the world to work internationally - as long as you do the research and put in the work to find opportunities.  It's time to stop thinking locally and start thinking globally for your career. Who you are, where you've lived, your heritage, your background makes you unique in the global industry. There are key differences between the US and EU film and television markets, and at the same time there are unique needs within both. By educating yourself on the different type of structures in each region you will open up the possibility to understand how your own personal background can play a key role in an international production's need. Whether you have a strong family heritage that allows you to speak multiple languages, or you are German or Portuguese and moved around to different countries, or a Texan that now lives in the Netherlands, or Emily who lives in Paris ;) - all of that is valuable in today's global filmmaking industry. How can you take these unique characteristics that you have and apply them to help you get more work?  Alex Surer is a producer and manager who leads the Berlin division of the global talent management company Bohemia Group. Through this position, Alex links multi-lingual actors, writers and filmmakers from Europe with the US film and TV industries. Born in San Francisco to Swiss parents, Alex grew up in Vancouver and Basel, Switzerland, and was shipped off to Houston as an exchange student, returning to graduate in Zurich, adding proper German, French and Latin to her native Swiss-German and English. Alex has used her deep multilingual, multicultural and multinational background to help actors bridge these gaps and has helped countless performers find roles and long-lasting careers in other countries. Alex will teach you how European creatives can find success in America and how American creatives can find success in Europe. She’ll first go through the differences between European and US acting communities, how opportunities are found on stage and on screen for each region and how unions work. She’ll then compare how European filmmakers work compared to US filmmakers, and how this informs casting. She will also explain how film festival can be the key to expanding your sights and the resources you can be using aside from just IMDB.  Alex will even bring in a few special guests--actors and filmmakers who have found success by moving to different countries--to dive into their journeys. ***And, even if you are based outside of the US or EU, there are key things you can learn from this webinar which you can apply to your own region.   If you’ve been contained to your own region or country in looking for creative opportunities, prepare to have your mind permanently expanded by Alex’s deep experience and global perspective

Stage 32: Breaking Down the Lingo of Screenwriting Development

Ever heard an exec say something like: "I'm looking for a grounded, high-concept genre film"? Join Stage 32's Allen Roughton and learn to decipher what execs are actually saying when they tell you what they're looking for!   As the Stage 32 Writing Services Coordinator, I spend most of my time talking to execs about the kind of material they want, specialize in, or think is the next big thing. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I need a translator. High-concept? Grounded? Smart? Supernatural... but not horror? A Ten-by-ten? What the heck are these people talking about? Luckily, I've googled my hear out, asked a ton of questions, immersed myself in the script development world, and learned their language so you don't have to! Now I'm here to put it all together in a FREE Webinar breaking down the lingo of Screenwriting Development! Live Wednesday, May 2nd at 1pm PST, I'll become your translator and help you understand the world of development as I break down the lingo so you can make sure you're sending the right project to the right exec.   Have a question for Allen?   Join Allen live and participate in the Q&A at the end of the webinar! or    

How to Produce, Record and Distribute Your Own Successful Narrative Podcast

There are a lot of reasons why the surge in popularity of podcasts is so exciting right now. It makes that rush hour commute to work much more enjoyable for millions of people every day. It opens up avenues for more stories to be discovered and more storytellers to create. And it’s a format that can be a lot easier and more affordable for independent artists to produce. You don’t need cameras, you don’t need a set; you just need a quiet room and a couple of microphones. And unlike visual media, podcasts provide a format where high concept, traditionally expensive genres like fantasy, action, and science fiction are just as achievable as more contained styles—if you want an alien in your podcast, for instance, you don’t need to invest in CGI; you just need an actor to say “Look! There’s an alien!” The art form of podcasts can be an equalizer in a way film and television have never been. It gives independent voices the ability to create something great and display their abilities, all without having to take out a mortgage. Plus, it gives you the ability to create IP that you control - all while helping you build a loyal following to serve as champions to help you carry your message.  That’s not to say producing podcasts is a walk in the park. There is a whole lot that goes into it, and there is a lot you need to do as a podcast producer to ensure your project sounds good, feels professional, and holds its own against the big guns. It might be less expensive, but making the foray into audio fiction can be a daunting prospect if you’ve only worked in film and television (or have never produced before). There are some questions where you might not even know where to start: How do you find and cast voice actors? What kind of microphone should you use? How do you edit audio? What about sound effects? Do you make them yourself or can you source them from somewhere? What aspects of production should you be investing most of your money in? And once you have a finished product, where do you even put it so people can start listening? Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned producing his adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through everything you need to know to produce your own successful podcast. He’ll begin by discussing pre-production and how to know when your script is podcast-ready. He’ll give you tips on finding and setting up your recording and delve into the audio equipment you’ll need to invest in, including how to find the right microphone that’s also affordable. Mike will also discuss the process of casting, finding the right voice actors for your parts and how to navigate read-throughs and rehearsals. Next Mike will teach you how to actually produce your podcast, including how exactly to record, recording pitfalls you should avoid, and what the directing process looks like. Then he will discuss podcast post-production and how to use your recordings to paint a full audio picture. He’ll tell you which editing software to use and how to find music and sound effects to compliment you project. He’ll also discuss where to take your project for post-effects. Finally, Mike will go over how to distribute your finished podcast. He’ll outline hosting services that are available and how to upload your episodes online. He will give you tips on how to create your own website for the podcast and how to publicize it. He’ll also explain why you don’t want to charge money for the final podcast. Throughout, Mike will illustrate the process by using anecdotes and lessons learned from his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN. Expect to walk away with a full picture of the steps you need to take to produce, record and distribute your own successful podcast.     Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar:   It was outstanding. Mike was thorough and generous with his own experiences. Very very well done. -Rebecca R.   The webinar was well structured with clear and informative slides. Mike gave so much information in a way anyone could understand even with out any industry knowledge. -Justine W.   I thought Mike as a great teacher. I loved the content and his ability to share his knowledge and experience in a very upbeat way. -Rama R.   I have been curious about Podcasting so joined this Webinar. Mike was meticulously detailed about the ins and outs of it from beginning to end. I took copious notes; I was fascinated by everything he said and he said every thing that needed to be said about the entire process. He was so detailed, stressed what NOT to do as well as HOW to do it. He is a superb instructor. It could not have been presented in a more succinct manner. -Marietta K.    

Stage 32 TV Horror Lab: Develop Your Horror Series and Build an Season and Pilot Outline With a Veteran TV Horror Exec

Horror genre television series are now in demand in a BIG way. Many production companies and buyers are actively looking for stories that provide thrills, chills and scares. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in developing and producing popular shows for cable, steamers and network television. Shows like AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, A&E’s BATES MOTEL, Netflix’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and BLY MANOR, FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and HBO’s LOVECRAFT COUNTY have been paving the way for a new era of high quality, diverse, and ambitious horror series unlike anything that’s ever been created before. And according to the ratings, the appetite for this TV genre only continues to grow. If you have ever thought about writing, producing or selling your own horror television series, now is the time. You want to capitalize on this hot genre if you have a horror project you're thinking about creating or if you're interested in going to market with one you already have. But even with this opportunity, you still need to have a dynamite show to present if you want to be noticed. That’s why it’s critical you have a clear understanding of your series, your story, your world and your characters to draw from. Building a strong foundation for your horror series is not easy, but if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to make your horror series as good as it can be and help you springboard your writing career. Kevin Nicklaus is a veteran development executive with a long tenure with the The Wolper Organization, which has a first-look deal with Warner Bros., including HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros. features, and more. He has been integral to the early development and sales of BATES MOTEL for A&E, the Emmy-nominated ROOTS for History, STEPHEN KING'S SALEM'S LOT for TNT, THE MISTS OF AVALON for TNT, HELTER SKELTER for CBS, THE BAD SEED for Lifetime and more. Kevin has been active in the world of horror television for years now and knows better than most what it takes to get a scary series off the ground. Over the course of five weeks, you will work closely with Kevin in a virtual class setting to develop your horror series and build your pilot and series outlines in order to work towards a market-ready and standout show. Kevin will guide you through teasing out in on your idea based on the marketplace, sharpening your logline, breaking down your characters, outlining your first season and pilot and working in effective beginnings and endings. If you already have a concept, or even a completed pilot, Kevin will use the same tools to help you hone your material. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Kevin as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your horror series. Students who sign up for this lab with Kevin will be eligible to participate in a Level 2 Lab where Kevin will work with you on putting together your pitch documents and developing your pitch!   WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for writers and creators of all levels looking to get their horror TV project ready to put together. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. By the end of this 5-week writing lab, you will have a sharpened, more market-ready and clearly developed television series along with a working outline. This lab will consist of five weekly sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the lessons where Kevin teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with her directly about your specific project. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the development process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 15 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a working executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at h.glaser@stage32.com for more information    

How to Shoot Your Project Safely During COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic brought film production to a standstill last year. The risk of holding close gatherings required everyone to profoundly change how a film is produced in order to keep everyone safe. Yet we’ve luckily found a way to create new projects, on both a major studio and independent level. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. The preparation and process for producing a film have changed drastically, as have the rules and guidelines a crew needs to follow. There are ways to safely put your own film together even under these extreme circumstances, but doing so will require a new understanding of how to move forward. As a producer or filmmaker of any level, it’s your job not just to make sure a film comes together, but that the team you assembled stays safe in the process. This is extra difficult due to the pandemic, but it’s not impossible. In fact, independent productions have been finding a ways to do this successfully for a while now and you can as well. But this won’t be accomplished through business-as-usual approaches. Every aspect of the filmmaking process needs to be examined, altered, or even turned on its head in order to comply with new regulations, make the team feel comfortable, and most importantly to keep everyone virus-free. This is a big undertaking, but other independent outfits have figured this out, and learning how they did it can be instrumental in you finding success for your own project. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen.. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN, which was safely shot over December and January during the peak of COVID-19. Shane learned how to find success in the midst of a pandemic and is ready to share the lessons he picked up. Shane will teach you what you need to do to successfully and safely plan and produce a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll delve into the new rules you need to follow, issued by guilds, government agencies and film/permit offices. He’ll also discuss how location scouting works now and what sort of locations can be safely shot in. He’ll go through the changes in production insurance and how to hire and work with a COVID Compliance Officer during production. Shane will also discuss how to conduct COVID tests with your crew and how to work with guilds along the way. He will then go over how to work with actors during this time and will share with you the biggest tips and must-dos he learned to keep your crew safe. Finally, Shane will share the details of how he produced his own recent film DOUBLE THREAT and wrapped his 6 week production without a single COVID positive test. Even in times as tough as this, there’s a way forward and a way to create your art, and Shane will show you how to do so smartly, effectively, and while keeping yourself and everyone on your team safe.   Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar    "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K.   Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R.   "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R.   "I loved the inside look from someone in the industry that is dealing with Covid restrictions on a daily basis." -Marven L.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In