Daniel Brothers is an accomplished and in-demand cinematographer who has traveled around the world shooting projects for companies like Vice Media, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Facebook and more. Daniel serves as Director of Photography for the popular Facebook interview series RED TABLE TALK with Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith and continues to consistently shoot documentaries, feature films, and TV series. He also teaches the art of the camera in schools and works to mentor and support budding cinematographers and is prepared to bring his lessons and perspective to the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
The script might tell the story, but it’s the camera that captures it. Without a camera, there is no film to make, no story to tell. Cinematography is the language of filmmaking and understanding how to speak that language, whether you’re a cinematographer, director, producer, actor, or anything else, can make all the difference. Whether you’re shooting on a Red Dragon, a DSLR, or an iPhone, the fundamentals are the same and understanding these fundamentals can inform every aspect of production and give you new and informed ideas on how to best capture your story and create a fantastic film or series. This can seem overwhelming or overly complicated—terms like “f-stop”, “shutter speed”, “depth of field”, and “motivated lighting” might sound confusing, but it’s more possible to pick up than you might think.
It’s common for filmmakers to not worry about how cameras work and leave it to the Director of Photography to understand, but this is at the director’s own peril. Having a fundamental understanding of how exactly the machine you are holding is capturing images to create your project is crucial, even if you have a trusted DP on your side. Understanding at least the basics will help make sure you can speak the same language as your DP, can give you new ideas as you plan out your shot list and production, and can help you discover new approaches that you might not have even known were possible otherwise. But you don’t need to go to an expensive film school to learn the fundamentals. Cinematographer Daniel Brothers can give you the rundown much more quickly and for a lot less money.
Daniel Brothers is an accomplished and in-demand cinematographer who has traveled around the world shooting projects for companies like Vice Media, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Facebook and more. Daniel serves as Director of Photography for the popular Facebook interview series RED TABLE TALK with Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith and continues to consistently shoot documentaries, feature films, and TV series. He also teaches the art of the camera in schools and works to mentor and support budding cinematographers and is prepared to bring his lessons and perspective to the Stage 32 community.
Daniel will lay out the basics and important terms and concepts any filmmaker, cinematographer, producer, or actor needs to know about cinematography and cameras. He’ll walk you through the basics of photography, including exposure, focus and composition, before going deep into the most important elements of cinematography. He’ll explain scene structure and coverage, lighting basics, camera movement and even spend some time on the science of color. Finally, Daniel will give you tips on how to choose the right camera for your project, as well as how to choose the right lenses. He’ll even show examples of his past work on different cameras to give you an idea of what each looks like.
Make sure you know what you’re talking about and have a sense of what each camera is doing before you start your next project. Whether you’re a director, actor, producer, or anything else, Daniel will give you the tools and knowledge you need.
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!
It’s no secret that being an actor is one of the hardest jobs there is. Facing frequent rejection, navigating high levels of competition, constantly looking for new opportunities, all while honing your craft and remaining open and vulnerable in what can be a difficult and cold industry—pursuing this career is not for the weak of heart. There are countless challenges to building an acting career, but when we put undue pressure on ourselves we may not even realize that the biggest obstacle to overcome may just be our own psyches and self-destructive strategies. It's time to change course. There’s so much information out there for actors about improving your craft, changing your auditioning chops, working with your agent, staying on top of trends, making connections, and more. It’s easy to forget that a big part of the craft simply comes down to mindset and confidence. Taking away the doubt that so often comes with performing and replacing it with swagger and confidence will help you not only win over every room, but also make smart, strategic decisions that will lead to a long and prosperous acting career. This, of course, is easier said than done, but a good first step is to learn the best tips, tricks, and traits of the most successful working actors. Jack Plotnick has been a working actor for over 20 years and has amassed over 100 IMDB acting credits in the process including SILICON VALLEY, MEET THE FOCKERS, THE MENTALIST, RENO 911 and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. He's also parlayed this success into a directing career with SPACE STATION 76 for Sony Pictures Worldwide. He has used his experience to serve as the go-to teacher for many successful film, television and voice actors including Zachary Quinto, Liv Tyler, Alyson Hannigan, and Ryan Potter to name a few. Jack has built a successful acting career for himself by adopting a mindset that has allowed him to win over the room and consistently get parts. In 10 simple and applicable steps you can return to again and again, Jack will show you how to eliminate fear, doubt, negativity and how to cut out all those detrimental voices so damaging to an actor's psyche. He will give you the tools that will provide a persistent positive mindset that will have you brimming with confidence. He will teach you how to crush every audition and put yourself in position to win every room. He will show you how to be a better actor and why you are versatile enough to handle comedy and drama roles. He will teach you how to keep your mind and spirit healthy and book more work. Expect to leave this webinar with a newfound confidence, enthusiasm, and a set of tools to take with you to start landing more roles and improving your craft. What Some of the Most Successful Actors are Saying About Jack: "Jack has an innate ability to communicate a sense of freedom. Our work together has allowed me to more reliably get out of my own way and connect to the material and situation at hand." - Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes, American Horror Story) "(Jack) taught me things that were so fucking brilliant. They are things that have stuck with me and helped me as a human being in this world." - Liv Tyler (The Leftovers, The Strangers, The Lord of the Rings) "I seriously couldn’t have done it without him. His words of wisdom are always with me." - Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Pie) "I've printed out every page of Jack Plotnick's website and made an "acting Bible" for myself." - Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs, Bridesmaids) "Right now I'm working mainly with Jack Plotnick, who's just the best acting coach ever." - Ryan Potter (voice of Hiro in Big Hero 6)
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects. Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D. "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F
Exclusive to Stage 32, Chris Lockhart, one of the most legendary and revered agency story editors in the business teaches for the community. Chris has read over 60,000 scripts in his career for WME and has the database to prove it! A logline is the way your screenplay is introduced to the world. It’s rare that anyone will read your script without knowing something about it first. A-List Actors, producers, directors, managers, agents, financiers and development execs will often lean on hearing a logline before ever asking for or agreeing to read a screenplay. If your logline doesn't sing, the script doesn't get opened. Even more important, if the logline doesn't work, it's a signal to those who read screenplays for a living that the script probably doesn't either. Delving into a logline can help you identify problematic elements of a screenplay, enabling solutions to fix them. Simply put, there is no one better to help teach this subject than Chris Lockhart. As Story Editor at William Morris Endeavor (WME), the world's largest diversified talent agency, Chris has curated projects for A-list actors such as Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Matt Damon, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and countless others over the last 20+ years. He's accomplished this reading and exploring through piles of screenplays, magazines, books, old movies, TV shows, and pitches in search of potential film projects. If you've seen one of these actors in just about anything, chances are Chris was the first stop for the screenplay (of which he's read over 60,000), but only after he heard the logline and deemed it worth of a read! Chris began his career at International Creative Management (ICM), where he worked as script consultant to legendary talent agent Ed Limato, who represented industry giants such as Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Liam Neeson, and Robert Downey, Jr. Chris later moved to the venerable William Morris Agency, which eventually merged with Endeavor to form WME. Chris is the Story Editor for A-list talent such as Denzel Washington, Michelle Williams, Richard Gere and more! As an educator and consultant, Chris has lectured around the world on the craft and business of screenwriting, and he has advised on countless feature films. Chris graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dramatic writing and was awarded the school's Public Service Prize for his dedication to public education. He is an adjunct professor at National University's Professional Screenwriting Program. He has also taught at LA Valley College and UCLA. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was filmed for Los Angeles television, earning him an Emmy Award nomination. Chris's creative counsel has been used on hundreds of hit films Chris is a member of the Writers Guild, the Producers Guild, and the Television Academy. In a jammed packed and often hilarious webinar (trust us, Chris is a character and a half), Chris will not only teach you how to write a logline, but how to tailor it in such a way that it is appealing to talent, representation and the money. He'll break down the mechanics of a logline to determine what makes one work. He'll show you what aspects A-List actors, directors, managers, agents, producers, financiers and development execs look for in a logline that makes them want to take the next step and read your script. Chris will then take you on a broader discussion of the elements of successful screenwriting and how your logline can betray what you've written or reveal the shortcomings in your script. As a bonus, Chris will then play a recording of an interactive logline pitch shop he recently held where he broke down several loglines to show what worked and what didn't. All this followed by a fun and informative Q&A filled with even more actionable information. "Chris, without question, is not only one of my favorite people in the industry, but one of my favorite people on the planet. His knowledge of screenwriting is beyond compare and his ability to break down every aspect of the writing process beginning with the logline is something to behold. He's smart, engaging, and funny as hell. And he's right about everything...Just ask him!" - Richard Botto, CEO (and screenwriter), Stage 32 "Amazing seminar loved it. It was the best I have ever watched or ordered!" - Robert M. "Chris was clear, concise, helpful, and focused. Loved his enthusiasm and humor." - Lori H. "Oh my god, I was laughing all the way through. In between writing about 10 pages of notes. SO much fun and a wealth of knowledge." - Denise G. "I went into this thinking it was going to be yet another of those dry logline classes. I was upended. This wasn't just the best thing ever regarding loglines, but the best screenwriting class I've ever taken." - Robert S. "Excellent! Very practical and useful!" - Kathi W.
Action sequences are no longer solely confined to big budget features. Movies and series of every size demand them. And while they can boost the status and popularity of a project, they are also complex and difficult to shoot and require special treatment and knowledge from the director. They are, in some way, mini silent movies, relying on image rather than dialogue to tell the story. To be a successful director today, whether you’re focused on film, television, or anything else, it’s important to have the necessary tools so you can tackle these demanding sequences An action sequence can eat up your budget and schedule if you’re not prepared. They are cinematically dense and require many more shots, more planning, more time on the set, and more collaboration between departments. Every department will need extra time to prepare and execute and you don’t want anyone to have to be waiting for you. However you don’t need to be Michael Bay or James Cameron to pull this off; any director big or small, experienced or not, can helm an effective action sequence, provided they understand how to tell the story through action, fully prepare ahead of time, and run the set during production. And we’ve brought in a bona fide expert to show you how to do just that. Michael Nankin has been a working writer, director, producer, and showrunner for 40 years and has directed action-packed episodes of popular television shows like the Peabody award-winning BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, TAKEN, VAN HELSING, HELL ON WHEELS, CSI, and more. Michael started as a writer/director at Walt Disney Studios at age 22 and his first independent film, THE GATE, was the highest-grossing Canadian-produced film ever at the time of its release. His first series, LIFE GOES ON, was the first series that presented a continuing character with Down Syndrome as well as the first HIV-positive continuing character. Michael’s other directing credits include Showtime’s THE GOOD LORD BIRD, ALPHAS, TURN, DEFIANCE, and the upcoming Stephen King horror series CHAPELWAITE starring Adrien Brody. A Humanitas Prize and Leo Award winner, Michael is an incredibly successful and sought-after director, in part due to his ability to inject action and energy into the projects he takes on. Exclusively for Stage 32, Michael will lay out how exactly to lay out a fantastic action sequence for your own project. He’ll do this by first explaining how to find the story and character development within the scene and use this as a guide to forming your plan. He’ll then go in-depth on how exactly to prepare for your action scene before you even go on set, including collaborating with the other departments, storyboarding and shotlisting, and the critical wounds and kills meeting. Michael will then teach you how to actually direct the scene on set, detailing camerawork, working with the stunt team, and shooting for visual effects and more. Along the way, we will examine two specific action sequences from projects directed by Michael Nankin – one from his film RED FACTION: ORIGINS and another from an episode of the celebrated AMC series HELL ON WHEELS. Michael will walk through the choices he made in putting these scenes together.
There is A LOT that goes into making a film. Countless roles, countless facets, countless obstacles. And while all aspects are important and necessary to put together a successful film, there are few components more crucial than casting. The cast is not only the key component in delivering your screenplay to an audience but it also determines whether or not you actually get your film made. Funding is often contingent on casting and on recognizable talent being attached, as is distribution deals which will allow your film to ultimately be seen. Actors have a huge influence on how the finished film will be received so how do you approach them and secure their services? Many independent filmmakers quickly write off the idea of including name talent in their project, believing it’s a fool’s errand or something you can’t actually accomplish without deep pockets and deeper connections. This isn’t necessarily true, though. What is essential is a complete understanding of how the casting system works and how to successfully navigate it as an independent filmmaker. Perhaps the most important aspect of this process is the actor meeting, where you pitch your film and convince the actor or their reps to join the project. So much hinges on this meeting, and nailing it can make all the difference. So how exactly can you pitch a bigger actor to star in your project? With so many film projects to choose from, why should they choose yours? Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Piotr will teach you how to successfully navigate and execute a key actor meeting in order to bring on a high level actor for your independent project. He will begin by going over how to build your wish list of the actors you’d like for your film, including how to choose who should go on the list, how to navigate creative vs. business choices, setting expectations early and being realistic, and dealing with budget. He will then explain how to approach your desired actor. He’ll explain how to navigate the catch 22 of attaching actors, which is the fact that you need money to go to actors, but you need actors to get money. He’ll talk about when in the process of your project to make contact, who to contact first and how, and how best to work with agents. Piotr will delve into how best to prep for the actor meeting. He’ll talk about the difference between a video conference meeting and a face-to-face one and go over what you should know going in. He’ll walk you through the research you should do ahead of time and where you should choose to meet and why. He’ll also give you a rundown of what your appearance should be for a good first impression and what the proper etiquette is. He’ll give you an idea of the key questions to ask your actor and how best to communicate your vision and prepare your look book to make a convincing case. Piotr will also give you tips of what to do if you’re facing a creative disconnect and how to overcome it. He’ll also go over how best to take criticism if it comes up during the meeting and how to ultimately know if you found the right fit for your actor. He will next teach you best practices for the meeting follow up, including the next steps to take care of right after the meeting, what the do’s and don’ts are, and how to deal with production delays that may come up in the process. Finally, Piotr will go through a case study of his own film THE LAST WITNESS and explain how he ultimately landed the actors Alex Pettyfer and Robert Wieckiewicz to play his lead roles. He’ll discuss the early development of the film, how he attached his producer, and when the key actors became part of the plan. Piotr will even share the look book he created to convince the actors to join. Key actor meetings are scary things, but Piotr will give you the tools you need to navigate them with more confidence and develop the skills to nab your dream actor. Praise for Piotr's Stage 32 Webinar "The presentation was very personable and straight forward. Thank you for the great advice and guidance" -Anastasia C. "I learned some great tips on how to approach talent and work with them. Nothing is impossible. You just really need to be prepared and know what you are doing. This is especially helpful for first time directors or writer-directors." -Crystal B. "It was great hearing about all of this from someone like Piotr. It made me feel like I could do it too. Such great advice. Thank you, Piotr!" -Dennis G.
What a great time it is to be a filmmaker, producer or financier. Distribution channels have never been more plentiful or more wide open. That means more options for you to maintain a fuller degree of control for your content. And that's never a bad thing. But it also means that there are more ways to get your film or project out into the world and, most importantly, more revenue opportunities toward securing profitability. And one of the most popular and lucrative choices in today's market is Video on Demand (VOD). To take advantage of all of these opportunities, you need to not only know where to look, what platforms are best suited for your material, and how to engage with the proper people to get a deal done, but you also must know how to deliver your film. Zahida Kazar is the Director of Operations for popular independent film distributor, Gravitas Ventures. She works directly with top executives Karia Brown and Mark Lyons to help deliver Gravitas films to a variety of internet and cable platforms. Zahida’s passion for all things film-related also led her to various roles at Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox before joining the Gravitas team in the fall of 2014. Zahida helps guide indie filmmakers through the delivery process and helps to ensure the release of these movies on the ever-growing VOD space. She loves meeting new filmmakers and helping them through the final step in the movie making process. Zahida will teach you how to understand and navigate the VOD space. She will discuss various rental and VOD platforms including Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and Hulu and teach you what these platforms and distribution companies are looking for. She will also dive into deliverables expectations inclding encoding, your key art, metadata, the importance of your synopsis, and your legal deliverables (so very important). From there, Zahida will help you understand how to prep your film for release including your social media and PR campaigns. And she will prepare you for what to expect after your film is released including key things to keep in mind to help assure that your project has legs in the marketplace. All this and much, much more, including an in depth Q&A session with Zahida. "Distribution is a subject that gives me so much anxiety. Zahida took all of it away with her clear explanation of the process." - Martina L. "Grabbing a beer...Watching again." - Henderson D. "Comprehensive and first rate." - Samuel F. "Excellent. More like this please." Thora P.