Breaking Down the Script Page—How to Think Like a Producer (A Practical Guide)

Hosted by James Crawford

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James Crawford

Webinar hosted by: James Crawford

Head of Development at Fireside Pictures

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

What You'll Learn

Money on the Screen: Breaking Down Genres and What They Cost a Production

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Horror
  • Period pieces
    • Past and Future
    • Deep period vs. Near Period
  • Costume Dramas

How to Think Like a (Line) Producer

  • Confusing credits: different types of producers
    • What do they do?
    • What are they looking for?
  • Above the line vs. Below the line
  • $$$ per page
    • Where do I spend my money?
    • Does it make the show/film?
    • Where can I compromise?
  • Different drafts
    • Development drafts
    • The Director’s pass
    • The Producer’s pass
  • Be savvy, not mercenary

Features and Television Episodes - Breaking Down Where Your Costs Are

  • Union vs. Non-Union
  • Actors
    • #1 and #2 on the Call Sheet
    • Stunt Casting
    • Day players
    • Bit parts (i.e., everyone else)
  • Locations
    • Security/Police
  • Seasons
  • Production Design
  • Specialty Camera Work
  • Visual Effects
  • Costumes
  • Special Effects Makeup
  • Children
  • Animals
  • Stunts
  • Vehicles
  • Background Performers
    • Skilled vs. “Unskilled”
  • Insurance

Case Study

  • Putting it into Practice: Breaking Down The Ice-Skating Scene - We'll go over an actual scene from a script and break down the costs associated with it.

10 things to do if you’re over budget

Q&A Session

About Your Instructor

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.

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!

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