James Crawford is an ink-to-screen producer and development executive working in southern California, with expertise working with international creative professionals. He is currently the Head of Development for Fireside Pictures, a full-service production company with offices in Ottawa, Canada and Los Angeles. Prior to joining Fireside Pictures, James was the Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, where he developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over the three years, including The Rooftop Christmas Tree (UPTV), Sleigh Bells Ring and A December Bride (Hallmark). In addition to his feature production experience, James developed several 1-hour television series at Engage, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions. James worked as the Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches to Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James produced the animated short series A Brief History of Dick Moves, which won Best Web Series at the 2018 Glendale International Film Festival, and has worked as a producer on the independent documentaries Code Blue: Resuscitating Rural Surgery (2019) and You See Me (2015). In the fall of 2018, James was an adjunct faculty member at Loyola Marymount University, where he taught the undergraduate film history course 1960s and 1970s American Cinema. He has been a panelist at several pitch fests, including USC’s First Pitch and The Great American Pitchfest. For the past two years, James has taught screenwriting and project pitching at the Rocaberti Writers’ Retreat at Chateau Marouatte near Angoulême, France. James is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and the Television Academy. Full Bio »
Being able to bring in a film or TV script on time and on budget is paramount to a successful project. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar your host, James Crawford, Producer and Head of Development at Fireside Pictures, will break down your projects and help you think like a producer.
It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your narrative in service of the bottom line. Instead, you will meld your creativity with some financial savvy, and learn how to think about how story, character, and structure translate into dollars on the page. You will come away from this Webinar with an understanding of the unforeseen costs that go into producing a script. You will also learn how to make changes that will bring your project back under budget when costs run too high. James will even give you a real-world example, and break down a scene from a shooting script from the ground up.
Money on the Screen: Breaking Down Genres and What They Cost a Production
How to Think Like a (Line) Producer
Features and Television Episodes - Breaking Down Where Your Costs Are
10 things to do if you’re over budget
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!
State of the industry Why the majority of TV/Film comes from pre-existing IP "The Executive Bias" Pre-existing Fan Base/Fleshed Out World Adapting Books/Articles Where to Go! How To Choose Material Who To Contact For Film/TV Rights How To Close The Deal Case Study: Game of Thrones, Sex and The City Case Study: The Wedding Sting in the Atlantic, now going to be a film at Paramount Adapting Comic Books / Video Games Where to Go! How To Choose Material Who To Contact For Film/TV Rights How To Close The Deal Case Study (Comics): Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel/Disney, lesser known/less successful comic became a blockbuster) Case Study: Jessica Jones (Marvel / Netflix) Case Study (Video Games): Assassin's Creed (FOX, to be released this December) Making it your own Most say DO NOT adapt your own material (leads to being too protective of your work/not as open to change) Fun thing about IP, when you build a world, it can keep being adapted into other mediums (Example: Orphan Black the comic book was one of the best-selling comics last year, adapted from TV show. Goes in both directions) The heart of this, however, is making sure the new versions are different enough from the old, AND have your voice in them. LIVE Q&A with Maggie!
PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pilot outline and start work on your bible. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As a television writer, staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. You not only need to show your chops with your writing talent, but you also need to show what you will be like in a writing room. Many writers are vying for the same spots, so how do you stand out? How do you make an impression in front of the executives and producers hiring? We've brought in Marla White, the former development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment who has sat in on hundreds of writer meetings from the executive side of the table. She's worked with writers who have sold pitches to Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and have been staffed on premium cable dramas. Marla will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll walk you through the difference between a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" for each case. Plus, she'll also talk about "do's and don'ts" and how you can get invited back for the all important pitch meeting. This webinar will be useful for every level of writer, whether you’re just starting out in your writing career as preparation to talk to agents or managers, or if you are a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game. You don't want to miss out on learning from one of the industry's top executives!
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.
We’ve brought in the CEO of Bondit Media Captial, Matthew Helderman, one of the leaders in film financing today with over 200 financed films over the last couple of years. He will be sharing the basics of film finance all the way through high level packaging tips, plus going over case studies on projects he’s financed and best practices to learn. As today’s film financing structures continue to be a labyrinth-like maze of confusion for most producers, this webinar will help break down that barrier through understanding how best to put a film together you can avoid pitfalls that plague the financing process.