Liz Manashil was the manager of Sundance Institute's groundbreaking Creative Distribution Initiative and worked in impact distribution for many content creators during her time at Picture Motion. Prior to Sundance and Picture Motion, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the Hulu series JUST SEEN IT, which she also helped produce and direct. As a filmmaker, her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere. Her second feature, SPEED OF LIFE, was released by Giant Pictures, can be seen on Showtime. Liz spends her time advocating for filmmakers to have healthy and productive relationships with their distribution partners. Full Bio »
The barrier of entry into filmmaking has never been lower, and the opportunities for distribution have never been higher. While the channels of distribution have never been more diverse and accessible, the education for filmmakers of how to best utilize those channels is often hard to navigate. Is theatrical or VOD your best bet? Will the film festival circuit help you? What can a distributor do for you? And how much money are indie films even making these days?
With so many different opportunities and new platforms arising constantly, how do you choose the best path for YOUR film?
Content still over-saturates the marketplace and standing out has become particularly difficult. Independent films that find success in this landscape do so by being creative, by approaching distribution in unconventional ways, and by uncovering platforms and strategies that others might not have considered. Creative distribution takes a good amount of work and forethought, but it’s also fully possible for any filmmaker who’s up for thinking outside the box. First, it will be important to have a better understanding of the free and paid opportunities to market your film, connect with distributors, build audiences, and team up with collaborators who will help amplify your efforts. Let us give you the tools you need.
Liz Manashil was the manager of Sundance Institute's groundbreaking Creative Distribution Initiative and worked in impact distribution for many content creators during her time at Picture Motion. Prior to Sundance and Picture Motion, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the Hulu series JUST SEEN IT, which she also helped produce and direct. As a filmmaker, her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere. Her second feature, SPEED OF LIFE, was released by Giant Pictures, can be seen on Showtime. Liz spends her time advocating for filmmakers to have healthy and productive relationships with their distribution partners.
Liz will walk you the options you have to creatively distribute your film and strategies you can implement to build your audience and optimize your film’s release. She’ll begin by outlining the state of distribution today, how it’s changed in recent years, what success looks like now and what’s realistic or normal for independent films. She’ll then go into what ‘creative distribution’ means and how it can benefit you as an artist. She’ll teach you about film aggregators as an option for distribution, including how to find good ones, and red flags to watch out for. She’ll then discuss tips for finding traditional distributors. She’ll go over different types of distribution rights you might not have considered before and explain how to determine which distributors could be the right fit for your film. Liz will also talk about how to navigate distribution contracts and the main clauses and sections to look for. She’ll then teach you ways to market your distributed film to build your audience, with both free and paid strategies. Next, she’ll delve into impact distribution as an option for releasing your film. She’ll go over what it is and how to use this method to run a successful screening tour. Finally Liz will talk about how you should be adjusting your distribution goals post-COVID and use this time to your advantage.
With the lessons and strategies Liz lays out, you’ll be armed with an large array of ideas and practices you can apply to your own independent film to give it a release and audience you might not have thought possible
Distribution is constantly changing. Whether you are a first time filmmaker or a seasoned veteran, the landscape and the market are both constantly in flux. I'm so excited for you to join me in our session about alternative forms of distribution. I'll give you a bird's eye view of how to get your film out, how to build audiences, and how to make a difference with your movies.
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.
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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.
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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!
So you’ve been writing and practicing your craft for a while. Maybe you’ve placed in some notable writing contests or have gotten great feedback from your peers, or maybe even some producers or executives. You’re ready to take the next big step in your writing career, but you’re not quite sure how to break in. You don’t have the right relationships to get your material in front of those who can bring it to fruition, or maybe you need some guidance as to what will get you noticed by network and studio executives who are staffing the shows you love. What you need is representation in the entertainment industry, specifically a manager who can help open those doors for you. But how do you go about finding and securing the right manager for your team? The barrier to entry in the entertainment industry has never been higher. Legal policies often prohibit network and studio executives from reading material or listening to pitches from unrepresented writers. And managers are inundated with material from potential clients, queries getting lost in endless stacks of scripts, and that’s if they even accept queries at all! It’s a situation that often puts emerging writers in a tailspin - how do you gain entry to your dream industry when that first step feels impossible? The answer lies in being strategic in how you mobilize your network (which is probably bigger than you think it is); focusing on finding the right fit for your career, rather than taking a scattershot, any manager will do approach; and most importantly, keeping the train running regardless of if you have a manager or not - if you build it, they will come! Krista is a manager and producer at First Friday Entertainment, a literary management and production company founded by Krista and Devon Byers and dedicated to showcasing fresh and unique voices. Their client, Victoria Rose, was recently featured in the 2018 YOUNG & HUNGRY list. Their client’s credits include ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SENSE8, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, TRANSPARENT, PRECIOUS, HOUSE OF PAYNE, and many more titles. Prior to founding First Friday Entertainment Krista was with Circle of Confusion, New Wave Entertainment and Authentic Talent & Literary Management. Krista has built her career around finding and elevating unrecognized voices and will share what she has learned from her side of the table. Krista will walk through how literary managers operate and what you should be doing to ensure you can get the representation you need to get your writing career to the next level. She will begin by giving a rundown of what exactly lit managers do and how they differ from agents and attorneys. She’ll explain why managers are often the first type of representation for emerging writers and how you should know if you’re ready for a manager of your own. Then she will explain what managers generally look for in potential clients, including the type of material they’re searching for, the relationships they’re hoping for what a strong vision looks like. Next Krista will explain how managers go about finding new clients. She will teach you how to find and approach a potential manager for representation. To do this she will go through the tools that are available to you in finding a manger and how you should research potential managers and what kind of information you should look for to make sure they’re the right fit for you. She’ll then give you tips on how to mobilize your own personal network to attract a manager and then will lay out how to best write a query, including what you should also include and what you should never include. Krista will then talk about what you should do if a manager asks to read your material. She’ll explain when and how to best follow up, how to handle rejection if the manager decides to pass, how to handle requests for more material, and how to prepare for a signing meeting, or perhaps multiple meetings. Finally Krista will delve into the process of deciding to work with a lit manager. She will outline what to look for in a signing meeting, how to follow up after a meeting, and what to expect after agreeing to work together. She’ll talk about how to best manage the manager/client relationship and what to do if that relationship isn’t ultimately working. Finding and working with a lit manager can be challenging, but also incredibly important. Krista will give you the tools to navigate the process better and hopefully put the right actions into place to find a great manager for your career. Praise for Krista's Stage 32 Webinar "I thought Ms. Sipp was informative and very detailed. I appreciated her time very much afterwards for taking so many Q&As. I learned quite a bit." -Betty E. "I thought it was quite informative and she gave us advice that was straight from the source. I loved it" -Nadia C. "Very informative!" -LaKesa C. ""Krista laid everything out so clearly and made me feel a lot more comfortable and confident in finding representation for myself" -Stella G.
Let's face it, executives, producers, managers, agents, financiers, and gatekeepers in general are busy. Between meetings, reviewing content and business plans, and working with their clients and colleagues, time is at a premium. But, that doesn't mean they're not on the lookout for new material and talent. In fact, that's their job! Still, to sort through all the people and content that they confront and are presented on a daily basis can be a daunting task. They want those people and material that stands out immediately. And that's where a killer query letter or a memorable and meaningful cold call can make a huge difference and set you apart from the crowd. Talk to any executive and they'll tell you that they receive dozens if not hundreds of query letters a day. Because most of them don't have an attention grabbing subject line or little to no personalization, almost all end up in the trash. But, any executive will also tell you that if a subject line grabs them, or if the query letter shows the recipient that this was a personal, non-mass, attempt to get their attention, you have a very real shot of doing just that. The same holds true for cold calls. Having a solid, wise approach and knowing exactly what to say will give you the best chance of breaking the ice and securing the conversation you were hoping for. It's all about creating intrigue, interest, and value while approaching your subject from a place of selflessness and thoughtfulness Wendy Kram has over 20 years of experience as an entertainment industry executive, consultant, and producer, developing and producing projects for Disney, Universal and Sony Studios, HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, NBC, ABC, CBS and USA Networks. Her credits include Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries Sally Hemings: An American Scandal for CBS with Sam Neil, and current projects she's producing with Anonymous Content (the company responsible for True Detective, Mr. Robot, The Revenant, and Spotlight). As the founder of L.A. FOR HIRE, an international consulting firm, clients come to Wendy for her expertise in script development and the ability to connect projects with Hollywood A-list talent and decision-makers. With longstanding industry relationships, Wendy understands buyer and creative talent needs, and has direct access to principals at the major studios, networks, streaming providers and agencies. Creative Screenwriting Magazine ranks Wendy and L.A. FOR HIRE as one of the industry’s premiere script consulting firms. Wendy will teach you all the tips and trade secrets she's learned pitching projects and dealing directly with executives. She will show you how to craft a logline, pitch, and powerful statements for just about any situation. She will show you how to deliver your message with power and control while being engaging and confident. She will instruct you how to not only get by the gatekeepers, but to get them to remember you - to become an ally. She will show you how to avoid novice mistakes that will lead to dead ends. She will teach you how to develop leads and then how to create and nurture these relationships. Wendy will show you how query letters and cold calling can become powerful tools in your arsenal. Wonderful class - simplified and helpful information that can be applied immediately for better results. The examples at the end are totally worth it. - Cate C. One of the most generous presenters imaginable; outstanding! - Virginia Y. Wendy was really excited to be involved which was great! - Brent B. Very interesting and engaging. I loved it. - Jason A. Wendy was terrific, on point, and insightful. The Q&A was incredible. Thanks again. - Maria L.
All actors want representation. It’s often the first step actors take in their careers. After all, agents and managers are the ones that are connected to the industry. They know who is casting and where the auditions are, and they’re positioned to help you succeed—at least in theory. Many reps are incredible allies and partners for actors and transform careers for the better, but not all are created equal. Some reps unfortunately don’t carry their weight and fail to champion a client—sometimes they’re not as connected and in-the-know as they suggest, sometimes they might not be as invested in you as they should be. It can be common for actors in this position to blame themselves for lack of opportunities, even if the fault lies out of their control. But having a bad rep doesn’t mean you’re untalented and it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the industry; it just means it’s time to recognize where the problem lies and to take back your own power. And, if you've decided to go without a rep, it's important to know that you have the power to move the needle on your career. Many actors will sign with an agent or manager immediately because they feel it is better to be represented than have no rep at all. However, it’s important to make sure you and your rep have the same goals for your career and that you both will do what needs to be done to get those goals accomplished. If that’s not in the cards, it’s time to make a change. Every actor should first and foremost consider themselves their own representative—managers and agents will inevitably come and go throughout your career, but you will always need to be your best advocate. It’s therefore critical to understand, as your own representative, when the people in your corner are really in your corner, and when perhaps there is more you can do as an actor to find more success. When making these difficult decisions, remember that an actor’s world doesn’t start and stop with their rep; there is so much you can do before signing, after, and in between. It’s time to understand how to take control of your own career and hold both yourself and your representative accountable (if you have one). Elizabeth Guest is an actor, writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles and has appeared on Netflix's REAL ROB, the Emmy-winning CALIFORNICATION, NBC'S A.P. BIO, CBS's THE MENTALIST and more. She attended USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has spent the past few years writing and performing her own material. She has put up numerous plays at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of which, called NICE GIRLS, was eventually turned into a digital series by Funny or Die. She also wrote/directed/produced and starred in the digital series GUEST APPEARANCES which won the Best Scripted Digital Series Jury Award at Austin Film Festival and the Best Short Form Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival. She was named by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the "25 Screenwriters to Watch." Season one and season two of GUEST APPEARANCES will soon be streaming on FICTO. She has two feature films that are currently in post production. Elizabeth is a big believer in creating her own opportunities and is ready to inspire actors in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Elizabeth will draw from her own experience to teach you how to find your own power as an actor and how to know when to leave a rep that isn’t doing their job. She’ll begin by going over the roles and expectations of both managers and agents, what the differences are between the two, what an ideal agent and manager look like, and what a beneficial relationship between a rep and an actor should feel like. She’ll also discuss the separation of responsibilities that are standard between reps and actors. She’ll then talk about what to how to know when your rep isn’t doing their job. She’ll give you 6 red flags to keep a lookout for with your rep to determine if they might not be holding their end of the bargain. She’ll also share five things you should be asking yourself as a self check-in to make sure you’re doing all you can before blaming your rep. Elizabeth will teach you strategies you should try with your rep to repair the relationship and will give you tips on when to know it’s finally time to leave. Next, she will discuss the proper way to end your relationship with a manager and how to understand the legal aspects to avoid complications. Elizabeth will give you the tools and wherewithal to move forward with your career after leaving your manager or agent, including creating your own opportunities and finding ways to get yourself discovered without outside help. Finally, Elizabeth will explain what it means to take back your own power, how to craft the career you want and focus on the work to achieve your goals independently. It’s so important for actors in this industry to feel empowered and know their worth, and Elizabeth will give you the tools to do just that. Praise for Elizabeth's Stage 32 Webinar "Liz was informative and inspirational! Great ideas about content creation!" -Bill H. "Elizabeth is terrific, and inspiring. Plus she is experienced and knowledgeable" -Dede R.
Learn the impact of film editing from international director/editor Max Leonida whose films have been screened and awarded at a range of festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, the International Salerno Film Festival, the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival and the L.A. Short Films Festival, to name a few. “I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit.” (Stanley Kubrick) Some of the greatest, most iconic filmmakers of all times (like Scorsese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino, Coppola, Lynch, Fellini, Gilliam and many others) used to spend hours, days and sometimes months into the dark secrecy of the editing room, sitting next to their faithful editor, enjoying the guilty pleasure of reshaping – over and over again – a world of their own. The post-production phase is the most critical one throughout the entire film production process… and editing, in particular, is a pivotal moment where as a filmmaker you should be able to understand that you are writing the final version and destiny of your movie. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, international director/editor, Max Leonida will use his years of experience to give you a more profound knowledge of the artistic nature of the editing process, together with a clear, up-to-date and technical expertise about the most important digital editing systems on the market. Max's most recent films include Run (winner at 2013 MIFF and double winner at the 3D International Festival) and the feature film “What Separates Us”, Best Feature at the Machetanz Film Festival. Editing is not just a simple matter of pace, rhythm, and mere image composition: editing pertains to the core of storytelling itself. Every professional filmmaker knows that a closeup placed in the right place, at the right moment, can definitely chance the course of a narrative process. Editing includes re-defining the story, reconstructing the characters, reshaping the very structure to the point of even changing and re-dubbing the dialogue in a totally different way from the original script… all for the sake of beauty. And this webinar aims to give you these tools.
Learn directly from Managing Attorney of the immigration firm D'Alessio Law Group, Lorraine D’Alessio! For freelance creatives like actors, directors, writers and producers, Hollywood is probably your Mecca. However, if you don’t already live there, or are not even a US citizen, how do you get there- and work there- legally? Unfortunately, the artistic community is often the target of immigration scams. It’s hard to know what information is valid and what is not. Many people spend hours researching work visas only to end up with the wrong type of visa for a creative career. Stage 32 is here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you! The more educated you are on the subject, the more empowered you will be in your career and in your life. Knowing how to find and secure the right work visa for you will get you one step closer to living your dream. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Lorraine D'Alessio, managing attorney of the immigration firm D'Alessio Law Group, will walk you through how to live and work legally in the US as a creative. She will educate you on the different visas that exist, go step-by-step through the O-1 "person of extraordinary ability" visa, suggest ways to build your career portfolio in order to strengthen your visa petition, alert you to the dos and don'ts at the border and most importantly, dispel the many myths and misinformation that exist on US visas. Lorraine D’Alessio’ combines her unique knowledge of the entertainment industry and immigration law to assist foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States and work in entertainment and entertainment related fields. Her practice is limited to immigration and nationality law and concentrates on temporary and permanent business and employment related visas for investors, artists, entertainers, musicians, actors, directors, producers and essential technical and creative personnel in the motion picture and television industries. Ms. D’Alessio routinely gives lectures throughout Canada on entertainment and investment immigration. Prior to her work in US immigration law, Ms. D’Alessio spent several years working as a Ford Model based in Toronto, Canada. She also worked globally as both an actress and business development consultant for international commercial campaigns including Snickers, Lipton, and Volkswagen.
It’s a competitive landscape right now for film and TV writers to break in. If you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward. Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job. Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods. Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK. Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar “This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable” -Rory D. “Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say” -Candace V. “I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script” -Jerry F. “This was so helpful! Thanks!” -Carly E.