Breaking Down a Script Page from a Producer’s Perspective –Financing, Budgeting, Casting & More

Hosted by James Crawford

$39.20 $49
Black Friday Sale
Sale ends Nov 30 - 3:00 AM PST

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 -

$39.20
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

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

James Crawford

Webinar hosted by: James Crawford

Global Producer and Development Executive

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

Like it or not, the film and television industry is and will always be a business. It may produce stunning works of art and lead to social and cultural impacts, but it still comes down to the bottom line. That means that as a writer, unless your name is Christopher Nolan, you’re going to have to deal with more constraints that just the words on a page in order to make your vision a reality. You’ll need to convince a producer that the script can be made and can be made with the money available. And, if you’re a filmmaker or producer, you’ll need to understand how much of the budget is going to each page in order to make your film profitable. In order to do this, it’s important to understand how to read scripts from a cost perspective and what stands out to them as red flags or unnecessary challenges. Considering this throughout the writing and development process rather than being caught off guard after a script is fully written can be invaluable.

It can be frustrating to have limitations get in the way of your creative expression, to be told that the world and story in your head can’t be made because of financial constraints. It can feel like selling out to alter your script in order to fit a financier’s budget. This doesn’t have to be the case, though—you don’t have to sacrifice your narrative in service of the bottom line. Instead, there are ways to meld your creativity with some financial savvy and learn to think about how story, character, and structure translate into dollars on the page. So before you write that ambitious live action space opera, the one on the rain planet with children and exotic animals, join producer James Crawford and learn how a producer thinks and breaks down pages.This will give you a leg up on the competition when trying to get your script made.

James Crawford is the Head of Development for Fireside Pictures. 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 three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series at Engage, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as 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 for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced film or series.

James will provide you with an understanding of the unforeseen costs that go into producing a script. He’ll begin by going over what it generally means to think like a producer in the first place. He’ll then delve into the specific financial challenges that come with genre and ‘genre-ish’ projects and how you can prepare yourself for these issues. James will break down the seven main types of producers on a project and what each one does. James will focus on the relationship between the producer and the line producer, a critical partnership for finding the resources to keeping your vision. James will then give you a full breakdown of what costs could go into every single page of your script, from above-the-line and below-the-line talent to locations, production design, and small things you might not have ever considered before that can seriously add up. To illustrate this, James will provide you with a case study of a real scene of a real shooting script, illustrating line-by-line where the costs lie in the script. Finally, James will teach you 10 strategies you can use if you’re starting to go over-budget. You will leave with a firmer understanding of how your script will translate to costs, and clear strategies to keep your vision while going easier on the budget.

 

Praise for James’s Webinar:

 

James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable.

-Stephen B.

 

“James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2”

-Imo C.

 

Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching.

-Helena W.

 

“It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!”

-Dave M.

 

What You'll Learn

  • How You Can Think Like a Producer?
  • Strategies to Find the Right Producing Partner for Your Project
  • Why Genre Is Expensive
  • A Breakdown of Different Producers and their Roles
    • What do they do?
    • What are they looking for?
    • The importance of the Line Producer
  • Where The Money Goes Per Page
    • Above the line costs vs. below the line costs
    • When to compromise and when not to
    • A comprehensive breakdown of production costs
  • Case Study: Breaking Down the Costs of a Real Page of a Real Script
  • 10 Things to Do If You’re Over Budget
  • Q&A with James

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!

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:

Stage 32 Screenwriting Lab: Make Your Script Sellable in the US Market

**Work one-on-one with a top producer with deep experience with international writers** Only 10 Spots Available   Success of recent international shows like Netflix's LUPIN and MONEY HEIST demonstrate that US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. This is such an exciting time for international writers to find traction and opportunities in America. Yet even with this opportunity, you still need to adapt your script's sensibilities to make them successful stateside. This is something you can absolutely do as a writer, no matter your genre or format or story, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like.  Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received? These are complicated questions to answer, especially if you're not currently living or selling content in the US. This is why it's critical to work with someone who understand the US market, someone who can serve as an asset for you and make sure you're presenting a film or series that can actually find a home in America. Someone like producer James Crawford. James is a Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. Over his career, James has worked with international writers in developing their television series and working on pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James is very familiar with working with foreign writers and over 8 weeks, he will work closely with you and a small group of other international writers to adjust your film or series script to make it work in the US market. He will also help you with your project's pitch, pitch documents and outline to better sell it to American companies. While walking you through the different aspects of a successful American script and pitch, James will also work one-on-one with you to make sure your specific project can translate successfully in America.   If you have a project you want to sell in America, you're going to want to work with James before sending it out.     WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a deeper understanding of the US TV and film market and an updated TV or film script and pitch that fits better into American sensibilities, ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with James. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. 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 writing 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 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a producer 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 This lab is limited to 10 people This lab is designed for screenwriters of all levels looking to update their existing film or TV scripts to better fit the US market

International Writers: How to Make Your Series Succeed in the US

With the runaway success of breakout international television shows like HBO Max’s GOMORRAH and Netflix’s MONEY HEIST and LUPIN, US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. Whether in the guise of formats (established foreign shows adapted to air domestically) or direct buys from writers and producers, companies have finally realized that importing talent is good creative business. This means there has never been a better opportunity for writers outside of America to find success and interested buyers stateside, especially if you can write something that fits American sensibilities. It’s clear that writers from abroad bring fresh ideas and unique perspectives that reinvigorate the film and television. Yet they still need to adapt their sensibilities to make them successful across the pond—NBC’s adaptation of BBC’s THE OFFICE, for instance, didn’t find its footing until it took the core of its uniquely British perspective and polished it to reflect the unique politics of the American workplace. This same adjustment can be made for your own project, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like. So what are American sensibilities? What makes a show more relatable to American viewers and what can you do as a writer to make sure American decisionmakers will see value in your film or series? James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as 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 for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold. James will teach you how to make your series idea salable in the US market. This doesn’t mean selling out, but rather translating your unique voice so that it’s better heard by American producers and development executives. Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received? As we answer these, you will better understand how to adapt the cultural issues that are important in your home country and make them resonate abroad.     Praise for James's Previous Stage 32 Webinars   James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B.   “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C.   Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W.   “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.

How to Write & Produce a Successful Christmas TV Movie

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with mistletoe, tinsel, sleigh rides, and, of course, a boatload of new Christmas movies. Indeed, for millions of families across America and the world, appetite is high for new Christmas-themed content. Hallmark alone is premiering 40 (!!) new Christmas movies this holiday season. That’s on top of the 40 they produced in 2019. And Hallmark isn’t the only player in the Christmas movie game. Many other networks and streamers have entered this space like Netflix, Hulu, Lifetime, Freeform, Ion, OWN, and BET, to name a few. With so many networks and streaming platforms hungry for Christmas content, there has never been a better time for writers and producers to bring their own Christmas story to the screen. If you want to write or produce your own Christmas film, there are a lot of opportunities available to you, but you first need to understand what this space is currently looking like and how you can best fit in. Who’s buying and selling? What makes a Christmas themed script successful and how can you best produce and assemble your film to make it marketable, unique, and exciting? Better understanding the context and current landscape can give your own Yule tide project the success you’re looking for. James Crawford is a producer and development executive currently at Fireside Pictures with several holiday titles—and several dozen other pitched projects—under his belt. While at Engage Entertainment, James developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as 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 for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced holiday film. James will teach you how to write and produce a successful Christmas movie in today’s industry. He’ll begin by going over the market and explaining who is buying and selling. He’ll also outline what stories are popular right now. He’ll then delve into tips for writing an effective Christmas movie, both TV movies and films. He’ll discuss aspects like screenplay format, plotting and structure, themes to lean into and avoid, diversity, characters, and what the holiday film essentials are. Next James will go over how to produce a Christmas movie. He’ll talk about what a successful budget range should be and when to start pitching. He’ll explain how to cast your movie for success and where to spend your money in production. Finally he will go over distribution options for your holiday film and whether it can sell outside of the US. If you’ve always wanted to make your own Christmas movie or have a story that you think could work within the holiday market, let James give you the lowdown you need to take the next steps toward holly jolly success.   Praise for James's Past Stage 32 Webinar   James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B.   “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C.   Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W.   “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.  

Breaking Down The Process of Feature Film Animation From Script to Screen | Masters of Craft - Conrad Vernon (Director: The Addams Family, Shrek 2)

Are you a screenwriter, producer, director, storyboard artist, animator, voiceover artist or composer interested in making animated films? Then you need to join us for this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar taught by Conrad Vernon, screenwriter, voice actor, director and producer of some of the highest grossing animated films of the last 20 years including the Oscar-nominated SHREK 2 and BOSS BABY in addition to SAUSAGE PARTY, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and more!  Animation is one of the hottest sectors in film, TV and digital content right now. From major film studios to independent production companies to networks, streaming platforms and digital online streaming platforms, animation is red hot. So, how can you stake your claim in this growing area of entertainment? By learning from one of the successful and brilliant creative minds working in the animation industry today, 25-year animation film veteran, Conrad Vernon!  In what is sure to be the most comprehensive animation webinar anywhere in the world, Conrad will peel back the curtain and take you behind the scenes of his most recent film, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, to show you step-by-step how an idea went from script to storyboard to filming to screen. This is a never seen behind the scenes breakdown of Conrad's work process and includes a breakdown of how ALL departments work in bringing an animated project to the masses. If you work in animation, always wanted to work in animation, or have wondered how the sausage (party) is made, this is the webinar for you! This webinar is exclusive to Stage 32 members only.   Conrad will be sharing and teaching from his private script pages and storyboards. Here are just a few!  

8 Week Intensive TV Drama Pilot Writing Lab

Learn directly from Morgan Long, TV Literary Department for a “Big Six” Agency This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea. With the TV market exploding right now, one of the most in demand formats is the 1-hour TV drama pilot. Many, if not all, managers and agents are looking for writers that can write in this space, and with more and more production companies heading into TV, knowing how to write a strong 1-hour TV drama pilot will give you a competitive advantage and help you find success as a TV writer! Due to popular demand, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring back our 8 Week Intensive TV Drama Pilot Writing Lab taught by Morgan Long, a TV development coordinator at a “Big Six” Agency! This hands-on intensive lab will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, structuring and outlining your pilot and writing the first draft! The main objective of this 8-week lab will be to have a first draft of your script. You will meet online with Morgan for 2 hours a week in a class setting, plus have phone consultations during some of the weeks when you don't have an online class. This will be accompanied by weekly homework assignments to guide you on your way to creating a marketable, unique pilot that will grab the industry's attention. Payment plans are available - please contact julie@stage32.com for more information.  This Lab is Limited to 20 People. Please Note: Participating in this lab does not mean you are writing for or pitching to Morgan or her company.  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.

How to Develop and Pitch a Film or TV Screenplay That Production Companies Want

You have an idea for a screenplay. Something burning inside of you to get on the page. Or perhaps you have a screenplay (or 20) sitting in your desk draw in need of a home. Of course you know to make sure that material is primed, ready, and locked and loaded to give yourself the best chance of being read from FADE IN to FADE OUT. But you also need to make sure it's market ready. And further still, you'll want to identify where the best home is for this material and how to pitch them in a manner in which gives you the best shot to be optioned or sold. Most writers understand that taking your idea from a good concept to an excellent screenplay takes many rewrites and much polishing. In today's ultra-competitive landscape, it's more important than ever to fully flesh out your characters, locales, and plot. But thinking about the business side of things as it relates to your screenplay - understanding budget constraints, for example - is something that can give you power in a room. But first you need to get in that room. And to do that, you need to identify the proper (and realistic) homes for your material and understand what they are looking for. Further, you'll need to craft an effective pitch which may just change from one production company (or producer, financier or rep) to another. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development for Cold Iron Pictures, Miranda Bailey's financing and production company. She's worked on films such as Sundance's Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, the Independent Spirt Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice starring Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs, Norma staring Richard Gere and Steve Buscemi and many more. Prior to Cold Iron Pictures she worked as a producer's assistant raising film financing and helping bring films into production. Rachel will take her experience on over a dozen films and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what production companies look for when considering material. Rachel will teach you how to develop your idea from a good concept to a strong story that will grab the attention of financiers and production companies. She'll help you break down your story to figure out your project's main audience and lead you through the tropes you'll want to exploit in order to leave that audience satisfied. You'll find out how to determine your story's budget range and see how letting go of those HBO dreams might help you find a better home for your project. She'll teach you how to hone your pitch including information you must include when pitching production companies. She'll even discuss rejection and finding the power within so that your next pitch is even better and more productive than the last. In short, Rachel will put you in a position to get the read, get in the room, and get the sale or job!       "I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us." - Susan S.   "Very practical advice that I can apply right away." - Brian G.   "I thought it was very professional and informative." - Chris R.  

register for stage 32 Register / Log In