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:

Pre-Production: The Film Director's Process of Discovery

Pre-production is the most important time for a director because it's where you go through a "process of discovery." It's also during this time that all departments discover a director's work style, vision and expectations as to how to do their jobs and make the production run smoothly and efficiently. In most cases, if a movie doesn't turn out as expected or runs over budget, it's a failure of execution during pre-production that can be pointed to as the cause. Many directors are simply too dependent on their producers and are way too anxious to get filming. This mentality is a huge mistake. So how can you assure that you handle the pre-production process effectively and in a manner where your cast and crew want to run into fire for you? How can you know which variables are most important and where you can delegate? We're here to help. Much is expected of the director during the pre-production process. You are in charge of making crucial decisions that can either make or break any production. It can all seem very overwhelming no matter how many times you've done it. But in reality, taken step by step, it could be a fun and rewarding part of the process of making a film. All this takes time - and the more time you have in prep, the more you will discover and sort out before you go to camera. It's the planning, the patience and the perseverance that wins the day and ultimately makes for a winning project for all involved. Peter D. Marshall has worked in the film industry for over 40 years as a film director, television producer, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, and screenwriter. Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch. As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards. Peter has worked with directors such as John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Peter will guide you through pre-production, the most important phase for a director. He will help you navigate the business and politics with a step by step guide. He will teach you how to break down your script, how to effectively put together your shot lists, storyboards, and access the budget. He will explain how to set the tone you want to have on the set early and in a non-threatening manner. He will show you how you should conduct meetings with your producers, writer, 1st AD, and other department heads. He will explain how to work with your cast during pre-production so they are confident in their roles and in your vision so they're ready to go on the first day of shooting. He will take you through production meetings, wardrobe fittings, camera tests, script read throughs and rehearsals. He will provide you with a complete overview of a director's role in the pre-production process to assure that everything goes exactly as you wish and that your vision is served.   "I have taken several directing courses and Peter's course by far, takes the gold star. This impressive, condensed seminar saturates years of experience and learning and presents it in an easy to use package. A definite recommendation." - Trevor M.   "I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing." - Brad L.   "I'll be shooting my first film in the next 30 days. This course came as a surprise birthday present. It was a godsend. I would have been fracked if I hadn't taken the workshop. There were so many essential elements that I would have missed. Peter's course is helping me hit the ground running and as a result, I feel much more confident and sure. Thanks Peter." - Fredrick H.

Actors: Make Instagram Work For You - Get In front of Casting Directors & Make Money as an Influencer

Learn how to make Instagram work for you - get in front of casting directors and make income as an influencer!  Exclusive 3 HOUR ONLINE CLASS with Rachel Paulson    It's no secret that one of social media's most visual mediums, Instagram, is where actors and casting directors hang out. Yet, with thousands of profiles in a casting director's scroll, how do you stand out? Instagram is a powerful tool for you as an actor, one, that if harnessed correctly, can land you in front of the right casting directors plus give you opportunities to earn extra income from brand deals.  So, where do you even start to build your brand on social media and how do you leverage it to start getting seen by the right people and start making money while doing it? We can help you get there. Rachel Paulson has grown up in a family of Hollywood royalty. She and her sisters, Emmy-winner Sarah Paulson (AMERICAN CRIME STORY, OCEAN'S 8) and Liz Paulson (SVP of Casting for FOX) have worked together for decades to learn every aspect of acting and casting and how to put yourself in the best position to stand out and book the job. Over her career, Rachel has worked on both sides of acting - both as a casting director as well as talent. In addition, she has been certified in social media and how you can use it to put yourself in a position to win. She is currently making a living through her social media endorsement deals and is the star of the Go Magazine series DATING ZOE, the host of the video series Drink Responsibly with Rachel Paulson, and the co-host of the podcast Gay vs. Straight Bitches with One Tree Hill alum, Lindsey McKeon. She also stars as the lead in the LGBTQ drama film GOOD KISSER on Hulu. Rachel is working exclusively with the Stage 32 acting community to mentor you and help you learn how to use Instagram to help your career. You will have the opportunity to work in an intimate setting with Rachel in an extended 3 HOUR ONLINE CLASS.  You will walk away from this class with all the tools you need to work the Instagram algorithms and get seen on Casting Director's feeds, PLUS you will learn how to work with brands to supplement your income as an actor. Volunteers will be given sides and information on a product and Rachel will help coach you on how to secure a deal with the brand.   Whether you’re new to acting and looking for your foot in the door, or an experienced actor who has had trouble navigating social media and building an online presence, Rachel will give you the tools and strategies you’ve been looking for and an avenue for finding acting opportunities you might have not even considered before.     "I have been in the industry for over ten years, I’ve worked as an actor in commercials, as a casting director and run sessions. I have also worked IN social media, running the pages of several brands. I have started to realize why brands and companies are heading towards social media for all the new advertising tools, and what that means for you as actors." -Rachel Paulson

Advanced Crowdfunding For Filmmakers Master Class

A Note From Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard Botto: This exclusive Stage 32 Master Class comes from one of my favorite people on the planet, Stephen Follows. Stephen is not only a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and educator, but also a master statistician. In fact, I first became aware of Stephen when I discovered (and found myself lost for hours in) his incredible blog where he chronicles the results of his extensive research into data and statistics related to the film industry. So taken was I by Stephen's work that I sought him out prior to my trip to London for the Raindance Film Festival and requested a meeting. Not only did Stephen accept, but he kept our meeting in spite of a horrible cold, ultimately spending 2 more hours than planned. That's the kind of guy Stephen is. But his mind, as you are about to discover, is another story entirely. I'm thrilled and honored to announce that not only will Stephen be contributing a number of columns for the Stage 32 Blog, but he will be teaching the first ever Stage 32 Master Class. Stephen's Master Class will be on crowdfunding, and I promise you it will be the most inclusive, insightful and factual (backed by more stats than you could imagine) class ever taught on the subject. Stephen has analyzed over 50,000 film crowdfunding campaigns -- yes, you read that right -- and is bringing his findings to the Stage 32 community EXCLUSIVELY. Never before has this extensive of research and discovery been taught on crowdfunding for filmmakers. It's an honor to welcome and introduce to you, the incredible Stage 32 community, my friend, Stephen Follows. About the Stage 32 Next Level Master Class - Advanced Crowdfunding For Filmmakers: Launching a crowdfunding campaign is easy – ensuring you actually reach your goal is not. Especially if you need to raise a large amount or you’re competing in a crowded marketplace. Rather than leaving it up to chance, or learning on-the-job, let film data expert Stephen Follows take you through the inside scoop on what works and what doesn’t. Stephen brings his experience of teaching at some of the world’s best film schools, running a leading online video agency and as a film industry data expert. He has crunched the numbers on over 50,000 crowdfunding film campaigns from platforms including Kickstarter and Indiegogo, studied the videos on the top 5,200 film projects, interviewed over 50 filmmakers and people who work at the major crowdfunding companies. Notes: This is an advanced course and we expect all students to have a basic knowledge of crowdfunding. Please also note that the free course Stephen discusses in the recording is no longer available and only available to students who took his course live. 

How to Build a Simple Film Business Plan to Get Investors on Board

One of the hardest parts of being an artist is understanding the business part of the “film business”. You very likely have the “art” part down--you have a script; you’re an actor; you learned how to direct, etc--but as you set out to make the magnum opus that is your film, you quickly realize that you are spending way more time talking about legal documents, business prospectus, waterfalls, and returns on investment. It’s not what anyone signed up for when they set out to be artists, but it’s still absolutely part of the job. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing, though. Understanding the business side of your craft and learning how to work within this world will give you the ability to ultimately create the art you want to make. Unless you already have a personal fortune at hand to put towards creating your project, you’re going to need to work with non-artists, executives, and financiers to find the funding to turn your vision into a reality. This means you’ll need to convince them that your project is worth investing in. A solid business plan can help you achieve this goal. A great business plan will get investors excited, it will tell them who you are as a filmmaker, and most importantly, it will translate your project from a creative language to the business language that investors more readily understand. This is no small feat, but it’s a critical step in getting your film made. If you can learn to speak investors’ language, they will help you speak yours. So what does a great business plan look like and how can you make your own to position your project for optimal success? With over thirteen years of experience in film distribution, Bryce C. Campbell is one of the leading distribution and marketing executives in the industry. Bryce got his start working at Miramax Films and later began working with Open Road Films as the Vice President of Operations for Distribution and Marketing. In this role, he oversaw vendor relations, finance and film budgets, as well as handling sales with a concentration in the US and Caribbean territories. One of his key interests is negotiating distribution deals with filmmakers and leveraging industry analytics to provide insight into box office potential for each project. Bryce’s heavy experience with the business side of filmmaking has given him a wealth of knowledge of how best filmmakers can get buyers on their side, and he’s sharing what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Bryce will show you how to talk business and present business materials that “non-artists” can appreciate. Specifically he will walk you through building a strong and convincing business plan. He’ll explain how to make a strong opening statement, with examples, and he’ll show you what needs to be broken down at the beginning. He’ll delve into what should be included in your bio and what can be taken out for buyers to be interested in working with you. He’ll go over the 4 key things that need to be in your business plan when discussing your project and will demonstrate what you need to get an investor to trust you. He’ll spend time talking about research and comps and how to use these for films and talent. He’ll then teach you how to show an investor they will make money back on your film. Finally Bryce will explain how to create a strong closing summary and leave investors with a good impression. Through Bryce’s lecture, even the least business-savvy artist can gain valuable skills to better present their project to buyers and find the money and business partners needed to find success.

Stage 32: Let's Talk Pitching!

Looking to develop your first pitch? Want to improve the pitch you already have? Join Stage 32's Nick & Allen and learn what turns a pitch into a request or meeting!   We see over 200 projects pitched on Stage 32 each week and review the feedback execs give on all of them. We see the good, the bad, and everything in between. We see what gets read and what gets the dreaded pass. What lands on the top of the pile and what gets buried under everything else. And we see the questions about pitching that get asked week in and week out. So we at Stage 32 have decided to put our experience together in a FREE Webinar on Pitching through Stage 32! On Monday, March 12th at 1PM Pacific, Stage 32 Writing Service's Allen James Roughton and Nick Assunto will take a deep dive into sharing what they’ve learned over hundreds of pitch sessions and thousands of pitches. Have a question about pitching you've always wanted to ask us? Join us live and participate in the Q&A!

How to Build a Lasting Filmmaking Career and Maximize The Quality Of Your Directing Work

Starting a filmmaking career requires a knowledge of the craft and an unyielding will to succeed. Maintaining a filmmaking career requires a knowledge of how the industry works, where the landmines are buried, and how to navigate the politics like a pro. Who better to learn from than from someone who has been in the trenches and out on the battlefield again and again? Get ready to have some serious fun and to learn how to build a lasting career as a filmmaker. This is the s*** they don't teach in film school. Or for that matter, anywhere else but here on Stage 32. Michael Davis has worked with the likes of Spielberg, Lucas, Eastwood, McTiernan, and Ross, and with actors such as Giamatti and Owen to name a few. He's navigated the studio world and the challenges of independent filmmaking multiple times. The man has seen things. And he wants to share what he's learned from all his experiences, triumphs and failures with you. In this jam packed webinar, Michael will teach you about the politics of studio and independent filmmaking.  He'll tell you when to kiss the ring, kiss ass, and kick ass. He will discuss, explain, and instruct you on the strategic decisions that advanced his career as well as the huge mistakes that held him back and stalled his career for huge chunks of time. He will teach you how to run your set and how to keep pesky executives and producers off your back. As if that wasn't enough, from his wealth of experience writing and directing six feature films, Michael will reveal the mistakes he’s made so you can learn from them and avoid making these same missteps, as well as discuss the smart moves he made that led him to directing a studio feature so you can emulate them. "You will leave this webinar with a comprehensive understand of how to maximize your directing work, gain bigger and better exposure, and build a lasting career as a filmmaker." - Michael Davis

register for stage 32 Register / Log In