Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
It’s no secret how profoundly the visual effects industry has taken over Hollywood. What was once relegated to only the biggest summer blockbusters and studio tentpoles has spread to virtually every wide release film, scores of TV shows, even web series and short form content. And with more avenues for VFX to be incorporated into projects, there is also a need for more VFX artists. A LOT more. As VFX continues to grow, innovate, and evolve, there hasn’t been a better time to venture into this field. Even still, this doesn’t mean breaking into VFX is ever easy.
The truth is it has always been a challenge to break into VFX as a career. Being successful in this industry requires both artistic and technical wizardry, a combination that is hard for anyone to master. Not to mention the ever-present and ever-difficult obstacle of 'getting noticed.' With today's entertainment landscape so severely altered, there are additional challenges, but also new opportunities. Understanding how the VFX industry works today and how best to put yourself out there in a way that will make people take notice will aid you in taking the first step into this exciting, explosive field.
Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.
Using his deep knowledge and wealth of experience on this topic, Geoffrey will walk you through the pitfalls and opportunities that exist in the VFX industry today and give you tips and ideas on how to position yourself for success and make your dream of working in visual effects a reality. He will begin with a brief overview of VFX in film and television today and will give you a rundown of the two main branches within the industry. He’ll then break down the skills you need to begin a career in this field. Since it’s such a big and diverse field, Geoffrey will spend time outlining the many sub-fields and specialties within the VFX landscape and will give you strategies to help you figure out which of these will be the best fit for you. He will give you tips on how to find free education to continue learning and honing your craft and will show you how tutorials can sometimes be helpful, and at other times insufficient. Next Geoffrey will explain how to create your own reel as a tool to get noticed and hired in the industry. He’ll walk through how long the reel should be, what kind of content stands out the most, what content you should never include and how best to incorporate music. He’ll also give you tips on updating your reel as you go and how to alter your reel to better fit different job opportunities. He will also talk about how to actually get your reel out there once it’s complete, where the opportunities and listings can be found and the best ways to approach employers. He will then walk you through how to actually get the VFX job you’re after, including how to come across as hirable in a job interview. He’ll explain the three generally accepted skill levels employers are looking for and will show you how to determine which level you are currently at. Finally, Geoffrey will delve into how to actually deliver when you get the job. He’ll walk you through the overall landscape and pipeline, how to best work with the schedules you’re given, and strategies to work most successfully with both your lead and your supervisor. Through this webinar, you will gain a clear understanding of what the journey looks like to become successful in the field of VFX and learn strategies to better get you to that point.
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Having a known or in-demand actor in your independent film can make all the difference in whether it succeeds or not. A name actor gives your film a sense of legitimacy, which attracts new investors and more interested distributors. It also gives your film more opportunities for press and buzz, and will convince more people to watch it once it is released. That famous actor is very likely what you need to clinch your film, actually get it made, and have it ultimately find an audience and a home. But there’s a big, glaring problem with this truth: You need a name actor to get funding, but you need that funding in order to get the name actor. It ends up being a vicious circle, a catch-22 that can come across as frustratingly insurmountable, a barrier for entry that no independent filmmaker can get beyond. Let’s not mince words. Landing high level talent for your film is HARD, especially if your funding hinges on that actor saying yes. But at the same time, this isn’t the unsolvable puzzle it may at first seem. It comes down to finding the right investors and giving them what they need to say yes. This means pulling out all of the stops, preparing correctly, and doing the hard work. You’ll never be the only filmmaker going after top level talent, but you might be one of the few who’s able to do it the right way. First, it’s vital to understand what the “right way” actually is and what you need to know to do this right. Acquiring a talent is always going to be a hustle, but knowing what it takes and how to navigate this world can give you a serious edge. Independent feature film producer Franco Sama has produced an impressive array of over twenty independent feature films including cult favorite GUNS, GIRLS AND GAMBLING starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook, which was released theatrically acquired by Universal Pictures. Other films Franco has produced include; BLACK LIMOUSINE starring David Arquette, Vivica A. Fox and Bijou Phillips, TOOTH AND NAIL starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, THE PENITENT MAN, starring Lance Henriksen and Andrew Keegan and PAID, starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti. Franco’s company Samaco Films continues to fund and develop independent films from burgeoning filmmakers. After nearly two decades of experience in film finance, distribution and packaging, Franco has come to understand how to crack the code and attract top level talent to independent films. He’s ready to share what he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Franco will go in-depth on how exactly an independent filmmaker can find both cast and funding for their project. He will begin by explaining what budget range you should be aiming for to allow you to acquire the talent you’re looking for. He’ll then teach you the steps you must take before reaching out to either talent or investors. He will explain how to tap into an investor’s mindset and use it to your advantage, including why it might be easier for you to raise $5 million than $500,000, and how you should frame your project as an opportunity for investors. He’ll explain what development funding is, how it works, and why it’s now necessary in today’s landscape. Next, he will delve into how you should be building a strong team for your project before you start approaching talent. He’ll lay out the seven critical people you will need to bring on from the beginning, why you need an executive producer, how to choose the “right” director and casting director, and whether you can attract major talent as a first time director. Franco will explain the importance of acquiring international sales estimates and will lay out what your presentation deck to investors should look like to find funding and gain the cast you’re looking for. He will also talk about how pre-sales work and how many you need to be seen as successful. He’ll then start talking about the actual casting process, including how to create a realistic actor’s wish list, deciding between “A-List” and “B-List” actors and whether or not they pass Franco’s “Parentheses Test”. He’ll explain casting with an eye towards sales and then explain the difference between letters of intent, letters of commitment, and phone verification when going after talent. He’ll also break down contingency investments and how to know when to employ deferment and back-end offers with actors. Franco will explain how to make legitimate offers to actors and agents and how to ensure they’re never empty offers. He’ll go into how “pay or play” works in this world and why going out too early to actors can destroy your casting choices. Finally Franco will explain how you can use tax incentives to help with casting. Expect to leave with a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the steps you need to take to bring on your dream actor. Praise for Franco's Stage 32 Webinar "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. “Head & shoulders above the usual webinars on film distribution and finance. Franco actually knows his stuff and has a track record to back it up. Really good presentation.” – Scott B. This was incredibly illuminating and really entertaining at the same time. I'm so glad I watched this" -Glenda T. Wow. I cannot believe how much I learned from this webinar. Franco is the best. -Terrence R.
Learn the essential skills to enter the lucrative career of line producing from an accomplished line producer with over 25 years experience producing blockbuster films. The job of a line producer certainly involves its fair share of number crunching and pre-planning, but it doesn’t end there. A large part of the job is to understand the ‘path of compromise’, which is especially necessary in the independent film and indie streaming worlds. The director will often have may have a vision or demands that exceed the resources and funding available, and it’s up to the line producer to find the middle line and retain the artistic vision without going outside of the project’s financial means. This is no easy task, and excelling in this area is what separates the great line producers from the rest. But how do you develop this skill? And how can you break into the field of line producing in the first place? For over 25 years, Michael Mandaville has worked as a line producer on countless projects, ranging from shorts and independent features to large blockbusters like the TAKEN, TAKEN 2 and TAKEN 3 starring Liam Neeson. His other producing credits include HAVOC with Anne Hathaway, THE KISS with Terence Stamp and Billy Zane and AMERICAN HISTORY X with Edward Norton. In addition to producing, Michael has directed commercials, shorts, a documentary and industrial films. He has also worked on MANAHI, an Arabic language comedy which was the first film shown in Saudi Arabia in 35 years. Michael’s long history in the world of line production makes him the perfect person to speak to this industry, and he’s keen to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Michael will walk you through the role of line producer, how to find opportunities and how to best to succeed in this position. He will begin by explaining the reason for the line producer position and how it differs from the role of unit production manager. He’ll go through common challenges of the line producer and how best to overcome, including mastering the “Line Producer Mindset”. Next Michael will explain what the career pathway looks like for aspiring producers and how you can find opportunities in the microbudget, independent and studio worlds. Michael will dive deep into the line producing process, going into scheduling, budgeting, and dealing with rates. Finally he’ll provide tips on how to find work as a line producer. Through Michael’s rundown, you’ll leave with a much clearer idea not only to how to find work as a line producer, but how to succeed and build a career for yourself once you do.
As actors, we're living in a whole new world. Self-audition tapes, online auditions, virtual acting classes...Things have changed tremendously over the last few years and those ahead of the curve are doing everything possible online to win more champions of their work and land more jobs. Many actors have embraced a "control what you can control" mindset. This includes creating short form content as a way to control and film their own material, build up a library of acting samples, and showcase their versatility and talents. The idea of creating and filming your own content, especially for actors accustomed to only being in front of the camera, can be daunting. But seriously, it doesn't have to be. In fact, if you can knock down the mental walls associated with taking the step toward controlling your own content, and thereby your brand and the course of your career, you will find yourself with more freedom and creative inspiration than ever before. And we're here to help you take a sledgehammer to those mental walls and get you moving. Elisha has guest starred on the Emmy nominated/winning shows Better Call Saul, The Newsroom, Mad Men, Southland, Up All Night, The New Normal and CSI:NY and voiced the character of Jimmy Olsen and B'dg on DC Nation Shorts's Tales of Metropolis and Super-Pets. He was also in the highly acclaimed Sundance feature Frank & Lola starring Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots. Elisha is no stranger to creating content to help accelerate his acting career. He got his start writing web-series with his friends from Emerson College, including Downers Grove, which was picked up by Warner Brothers Studio 2.0. Aside from all the roles mentioned above, Elisha's content creation strategy helped him land commercials for Mike's Hard Lemonade, Time Warner Cable, Samsung, Wendy's, McDonald's, Nintendo 3DS and Hanes. In this comprehensive and detail filled webinar, Elisha will teach you how to create short form content to launch, accelerate, and expand your acting career. He will teach you how to identify your career blueprint by asking 2 simple, but important questions. From there, he'll ask you to get real and talk through your true goals so that you know exactly what kind of short form content you'll need to make. He will show you 7 examples of short form content to open your mind, spark your creativity and help you identify the direction you want to take with your content. He will teach you the 3 boxes you need to check to make sure your idea is a great one. He will then dive into how to make cost-efficient content and how not to overthink the process. He'll tell you how to build your team - again, on the quick and cheap. And of great importance, Elisha will teach you where to release your content, assuring that you get not only the biggest audience, but the most concentrated one based on your overall goals. "Brilliant. In every way, brilliant." - Kim G. "So f****** inspiring." - Laura P. "Yes, yes, yes. So tired of giving away my power. Elisha, you're my hero" Samantha K. "This is a step I've always wanted to take. I've seen my acting friends create content to great success. I just didn't know if I could create content that mattered. Now I do." - Joshua W. "I'm inspired and ready to rock." - Montell S.
Stage 32 is proud to continue our partnership with Raindance Film Festival for the 5th year in a row, and while we may not be able to all come together in London to celebrate so many amazing and talented filmmakers, we're thrilled to partner with Raindance to highlight global talent virtually and from the comfort and safety of our own homes. Even in its virtual format, Raindance continues to showcase and champion the best new films from all over the world, and included in this year's incredible program is a collection of remarkable short films. Stage 32 is bringing together some of the world's top up and coming short filmmakers whose most recent films are playing Raindance. Included in this conversation will be Arjan Brentjes, whose animated short film SAD BEAUTY is playing at Raindance, along with almost 30 other film festivals this year alone. Also featured will be London-based director and cinematographer Molly Manning Walker whose debut short film GOOD THANKS, YOU? will be playing this year's Raindance in addition BFI London, Bilbao, and Palm Springs Film Festivals. Rounding out the panel, is Will Niava, an Ivorian-Ghanaian film director based in Montréal, Canada, whose film ZOO won Stage 32's 5th Annual Short Film Contest and is currently selected at over 40 international film festivals. In this FREE Stage 32 webinar, Arjan, Molly, and Will will take part in an exclusive Q&A moderated by our very own Stage 32 Managing Director Amanda Toney to discuss the state of short filmmaking today and how they put together their most recent projects.
For most writers and directors, securing representation represents a huge step forward in legitimizing the pursuit of their dreams. The right rep can help you make a living doing what you love - whether it's seeing actors speak your words on screen or managing a cast and crew and yelling "Action!" on set. It's a step that can get you one step closer to quitting your day job and concentrating on your creative career full time. Finding the right manager and/or agent will help you give you a member of your team responsible for helping you develop your creative voice or your distinguished eye, get you in the right doors to connect with the right opportunities, and to help you begin to get paid for your talent and effort. So, how and where do you find the right managers and agents? And, what makes you stand out among the thousands of creatives reaching out and vying for the attention of these representatives on a daily basis? For starters, there are many questions you need to ask yourself to make sure that you're prepared to be representation ready. Further, beyond putting the work into your craft, you need to do your research to assure you have the right knowledge to give you the best shot to stand out in an effort to secure a rep meeting. There's much work that needs to go into being a professional creative before you get your foot in the door. And, once you bust that door open and get the attention of a quality rep, there's an art to making sure that you are asking the right questions to assure that this rep is right for you and your career so that you can start working and keep working. Antonio D'Intinio is one of the hardest working managers in the industry that represents screenwriters and directors at Circle of Confusion. He began his career at the agency APA before joining Jeremy Platt at Plattform, where you helped manage Plattform's first look deal with Amazon Studios. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW. He strives for excellence in his clients, and that is mutually reciprocated making it a successful client-manager relationship. Antonio will teach you the best strategies to obtain representation as a screenwriter or director. You will learn what you need before you approach representation, how best to reach out to representation and most importantly what to do once you’ve obtained representation. Antonio will get down in the weeds to teach you what you must look for in terms of communication from your rep. What questions to ask to make sure you're making the right decision. What expectations your rep will likely put on you from time management to deadlines to the ability to receive and apply notes. You will learn how to achieve the ultimate goal with your rep, mutual respect and expectations. Antonio will demystify the representation landscape and give you the tools to have the confidence to approach potential reps with a clear understanding of what you're looking for, while understanding fully what they want in a client. No matter what stage of your career you're in - whether you're unrepped or looking to change representation - you will benefit from the INSIDER INSIGHTS Antionio shares in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level webinar! "Antonio really took us behind the curtain with a no B.S. approach. A straight shooter that tells it like it is. Eyes wide open for me now." -Michael K. My goal was always to be repped. And I got my wish. And it went terrible. We weren't on the same page. I didn't know what to do. After watching Antonio's presentation, my last rep and I parted ways and I was able to secure a new manager. The change has been night and day. We work together for a common goal. Thank you, Antonio! - Steven L.
There is a myth in the television industry right now: more channels mean it’s easier to sell a show, right? WRONG! The diversification of television and the dominance of streaming services over linear cable have made it HARDER to sell unscripted programming. Why? Because there are too many places for the audience to go. In order to get a hit, networks have to become specialized and truly define their brand in order to stand out. You can no longer just pitch IDEAS to networks. IDEAS are not STORIES and they’re not SERIES. There is a lot more work (research, interviews, and writing) that has to go into a pitch before you can take it to a network. Bomb a pitch and a network might not let you in the door again. Angela Molloy is one of the original unscripted executives having been in the game since 2001, when it was just getting started. She’s also one of the only executives who has been a network buyer, a production company development executive (seller), and an Executive Producer in the field. In this webinar you’ll learn get an overall sense of the reality landscape and concrete essential tips for how to develop and pitch into it. Sign up today to make sure you don’t get caught with your pants down during a pitch!