Filmmaker Stephen van Vuuren has written, directed, photographed and/or edited several feature films, over two dozen short films and many commercials, music video and other media projects. He currently is in final post-production on “In Saturn’s Rings”, a film for IMAX theaters and planetariums that will be globally released late next year. He runs SV2 Studios & SV2 DCP that provide digital production and post-production services to clients around the world. He has created over 150 DCPs – trailers, shorts and features in 2D and 3D including DCPs for IMAX theater playback over the past 6 years. He has also worked on many productions as a director of photography, Visual FX and Post Production Supervisor, editor, sound mixer, visual FX artist and sound designer. He lives and works in Greensboro, NC with his artist wife, Marie Stone van Vuuren and three cats. Full Bio »
We are well into the digital revolution in filmmaking. The least known and least understood aspect, but arguably the most important, of the digital revolution is the digital master of your film via a Digital Cinema Package. More than cameras or editing or access to great equipment, the one factor that allows the indie filmmaker to truly be on a level playing field is the ability to screen your film at festivals and any theater in the world via DCP.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, experienced filmmaker, Stephen van Vuuren, will teach you all secrets, tips, and best practices that everyone involved in film productions must know to end up with a quality digital master of your film. The information in this webinar is not available all together in one place anywhere on the internet until now!
Many film festivals, large and small, now require DCP screeners and nearly all theaters in the world require your film on DCP. A DCP is the single most important master of your film that you will ever make. However, many indie filmmakers have limited experience and understanding of how they must plan from the very beginning stages of a film to insure their film – short, feature, documentary – is ready for DCP.
You only have one chance with your audiences to make a great impression – and today that chance depends on your DCP.
Stephen van Vuuren
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It is an honor and a privilege to bring you the worldwide premiere of the 5th Annual Stage 32 Short Film Program on Stage 32! Our seven winning filmmakers hail from all over the world, and we could not be more excited to share their undeniable talents with you. We were proud to screen these films in the 2020 Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival in London. And, we're even more proud to showcase the international premiere to all of the development executives, agents, managers and agents that work with us. Since 2016, the Stage 32 Short Film Contest has served as an unparalleled incubator for finding talented filmmakers and helping them forge connections that make their careers blossom. Our past finalists have gone on to be signed by Paradigm, APA, Gersh, Verve, Echo Lake, Circle of Confusion and more! Congratulations to all the 5th Annual Short Film Contest winners, we cannot wait to see where your talents take you.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be churning out fresh stories. But when you’re writing feature spec scripts, you’re the boss of the story and no studio executive is there to tell you what they need from a marketing and sales perspective. So how do you know if you’re writing a script that will sell? There are a million ways to tell one story, but how do you tell your stories without spending hours of your precious creative juices only to be told that “It’s good, but I can’t do anything with it”? Don’t worry. We have an incredibly successful writer/producer who is going to bring his years of experience writing hits to teach you what this common mistake is and how to make sure you never hear the words “It's not for me.” Matt Ember is a writer/producer who has worked on over 20 feature films and television shows including THE CONNERS on ABC, THE WAR WITH GRANDPA with Robert Deniro, GET SMART with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway and FAILURE TO LAUNCH with Matthew McConaghey and Sarah Jessica Parker and many more. Matt has been involved with spec scripts over his storied career and he will be bringing his knowledge exclusively to Stage 32! Matt will be teaching you the functions of a feature spec script, the pros and cons of being a “hired gun” vs. writing your own spec script, PLUS the 5 reasons you should write a spec script. Based on your reasons for choosing to write a spec script, he’ll talk to you about how you should write your script. He’ll also go over the 5 things a spec script is NOT, the spec script as a personal statement, thinking like a professional, and understanding the marketplace. He’ll use three successful spec scripts as examples to give you specific writing tips on character, structure, format, and the things you need to know before you start writing. This is an exciting opportunity to learn from and ask a successful writer/producer all your questions and get direct guidance so you can deliver your best feature spec scripts! PLUS! Matt will provide script downloads of 3 spec scripts you can learn from!
How do you best package and sell your projects in this ever changing industry? In this exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, we will teach your to push your projects and connect with industry executives to package and sell your projects from the development stage to distribution. Since joining Ramo Law in 2009, Tiffany Boyle has leveraged her business-oriented sales and packaging skills to bring hundreds of films and documentaries to fruition. Tiffany connects filmmakers with producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-finance partners, distributors, agencies and other industry representatives. Through her critical review of content and strategic use of Ramo Law resources, Tiffany creates successful content packaging that bridges the needs of both client and industry demands. In addition to all these skills, Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will provide you with the pertinent and actionable information you need to package a project in the current environment. She will begin by discussing the packaging and sales world before COVID-19, what is happening right now and what can be expected once we're in the clear. She will discuss packaging and selling of all budget levels and dive deep into the world of attachments including landing valuable producers, directors, actors, and even financiers. From there, Tiffany will tell you how to build your relationships to help enhance and accelerate your path to getting your project packaged and sold. She will discuss sales and the current state of the marketplace. And finally, Tiffany will even include some outside the box methods and resources toward packaging and selling your project outside the traditional model. "Let's do a deep dive into everything happening right now and what to expect down the road so you can take action. We will focus on who to approach first for attachments and how to build the project from there in order to make it the most sellable and attractive package it can be." - Tiffany Boyle
Only 10 Spots Available (3 spots remain!) Exclusive TV Lab including One-on-One Mentoring with a Veteran TV Executive Develop a Polished TV Pitch Document for Your Own Project in 8 Weeks This is the golden age of television and the appetite for content has never been greater. What does every network and streamer want? Fresh, unique, authentic voices with never-been-told stories. While the door is open to new writers, the competition is fierce. Of course you need a very strong finished script, but before that will be read, you need to be able to communicate what makes your show stand out from the crowd, what will make people want to watch it, and why you are passionate about writing it. You need a blueprint of what the series will be beyond one episode. That's where a pitch deck comes in. Whether you are selling your show verbally, sending the pitch to a potential producer, or applying for a fellowship, a pitch deck carries the weight of your imagined world with all its inhabitants and stories. That's a tall order! So where do you begin? In this lab we will delve deep into writing an effective pitch deck for your scripted television idea - one that will clearly communicate your intentions, excite the reader, and convey your voice and your passion. World class pitch deck creator Ewan Dunbar from Disrupting Influence, who has developed scripts and pitch decks with writers and creators that have gone on to secure development deals at various broadcast partners, distributors, and streamers, including Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon, will take you on this journey. In this lab, you will be working directly with Ewan in a virtual class setting and also during one-on-one online sessions to put together a great TV pitch deck to help you communicate your show and get execs and buyers interested. Whether you have a comedy or drama series, 30 minute or 60 minute, Ewan is here to help. Ewan will walk you through communicating your show's world, creating your characters, and how best to convey your story within the bounds of a TV pitch deck. After two months of intense work on your pitch deck, you’ll have the vital pitch materials you need to take your project to the next level and the skills to market any new project you put your passion behind with a pitch deck. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Ewan as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your pitch deck. "Ewan’s presentation was excellent I learned so much from him and now feel 100% confident in creating a pitch deck. He is truly an expert." -Margaret M. "I've taken many years of webinars, gone to many conferences, and taken many courses on feature script writing... Ewan Dunbar's webinar was one of the best I have ever taken! Organized, filled with useful information, he sounded like he really cared about helping the audience be better at what they want to do." -Roberta P.
It’s the dream of many to have a career as a writer for TV or film, to be able to make a living creating worlds and telling stories. Just ask almost anyone at any coffee shop. However the life of a writer, even the most successful, isn’t always easy. The career path is fraught, unpredictable, and inconsistent. Every writer breaks in (or doesn’t) in different ways, and as a result, there isn’t a singular roadmap for aspiring writers to find the success they’re looking for. That said, having a keen understanding of the industry you’re trying to break into and a wherewithal of potentially helpful steps on your journey is vital in finding your place and advancing in your career. The truth is there’s so much more that goes into being a writer than just writing. Creative chops alone won’t save you. You are creating art for a market and therefore need to understand how the market operates in order to work within it. And while every writer’s career is unique, there are still commonalities and patterns among them and mistakes many have made that you can avoid by learning from them. Lee Sternthal is a screenwriter, director and photographer who has written screenplays for every major studio, including TRON: LEGACY for Disney, as well as scripts for Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and many others. His film, THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons was an Official Sundance Film Festival selection and was later bought by CBS Films. Lee is a Sundance Institute Fellow, and his work has appeared on The Black List. Through his journey in this industry he has seen it all - the good, the bad and the ugly - and has come to Stage 32 exclusively to tell you about it. Lee will reflect on his own career as a writer, the mistakes he’s made and the successes he’s found, both in the indie space and the studio system, to give you the perspective, lessons learned, and strategies to better navigate your own writing career. He’ll begin by focusing on writers just starting out and will discuss whether new writers need a manager and whether they need an agent. He’ll then talk about the pros and cons of having a writing partner and what to expect if you join forces with someone else. He will discuss Sundance Film Festival and reveal what actually happens if your film gets accepted. Lee will also discuss the insider Hollywood script survey the Black List from and illustrate what happens when your script appears on this list. He’ll then delve into screenwriting services, how they can be helpful, and how they can be harmful. Next Lee will then share his own experiences, both writing for a studio for the Disney film TRON: LEGACY as well as writing for the independent project THE WORDS to give you a sense of what those experiences are like from the inside. He’ll discuss how to know how much you’re able to take on and how to grapple with the doubt and Imposters Syndrome that is incredibly common among writers starting to find success. He’ll then go over the best ways to continue to pay the bills as a new screenwriter. Finally, Lee will give you his insider knowledge of the industry, including how to understand who “The Players” are and how to navigate them, what “The Venues” are and how they operate and how to work different rooms. Praise for Lee’s Webinar: “It was great to hear about all of Lee’s different experiences. I feel like I have a better sense of what to expect and what to do moving forward to keep on writing!” -Dennis G. “Lee was great! This was such an interesting webinar!” -Betty H. “I’m so glad I saw this! Lee has so much knowledge to share.” -Terry C. “Lee definitely answered a lot of big questions I’ve been asking myself about getting into writing, and now I’m excited to take some next steps. Thanks!” -Gwen D.
In a short period of time, the world of podcasts has exploded and become an industry to be reckoned with. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis, and individual shows can have millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. An art form in its own right, podcasts have also become a proving ground for stories to be adapted for television or movies. Shows like HOMECOMING, DIRTY JOHN, and LIMETOWN would never have been greenlit or aired if they didn’t first find success and a fan base in podcast form. Now with many more podcast adaptations like CRIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS and ALICE ISN’T DEAD currently in development, this route is becoming much more common and achievable. There might not be a better time than now to adapt your feature screenplay to the podcast medium. If you've had difficulty gaining attention for your screenplay, turning it into a podcast and attracting an audience may provide proof of concept for your story to move it to a show or feature. This type of intellectual property is golden. Adapting your screenplay, of course, easier said than done. Writing for audio is a very different process than writing for a film or TV. Podcasts are written to be experienced as real time events, which is entirely different from a feature or TV script. A good podcast must paint a picture with only words and sounds and be paced to pull a listener in despite any distractions around them. It must also be structured into short episodes that defy traditional film or TV act structure. So, how do you turn 100 pages of a script into a multi-episode podcast? How does writing character or story arcs change when adapting your feature script to multiple episodes? Having a better understanding of what goes into a great comedy, drama, or genre podcast and the rules and expectations that come with this unique format can position you for success in telling your story and finding an audience. Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned writing the adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through the nuts and bolts of writing a fiction podcast and give you the tools you’ll need to adapt your long form script into this new medium. He’ll begin by discussing what the state of podcasts looks like today, including what kinds of podcasts are possible and the different formats of fiction podcasts that people are writing and which ones are currently popular. He’ll then delve into how to approach your podcast adaptation and which things you should decide on from the outset. This includes deciding on the format that will work best for your story, how to adapt your writing style to short form when you’re used to writing features or television, and whether you will use a narrator or go full “radio play”. He’ll also give you tips on how to plan for sound while starting to write. Mike will next go into detail on breaking your long form story into multiple short form episodes. He’ll give you tips on extending your story and show you where to put episode breaks within it. He’ll go over building tension between episodes between episodes and what goes into good cliffhangers on podcasts. He’ll also talk about how to avoid needing recaps between episodes. Next Mike will spend time talking about other writing challenges that come with this format, including how to paint a picture in audio form without creating awkward dialogue, the process of holding on to your subplots without your storytelling getting choppy, and how to use your first episode to grab your audience. He’ll also offer tips of how to give your characters separate voices. Finally, Mike will use his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN, which was originally written as a feature, to illustrate the process of adapting for podcasts. He’ll even share samples of both the feature and podcast versions of the SENTINELS script. If you’re excited about podcasts, curious about writing your own or adapting your feature script into one and don’t even know where to begin, start here. Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar FIVE STARS FOR MIKE!!! He is super-awesome! Can't wait for the next session. -Robert S. "Mike Disa is definitely one of the best. He provided advice that is actionable." -Martin R. "I loved how engaging Mike was. It felt like he was genuine and addressing each of us almost individually. I have honestly never had a better Stage32 experience!" -Elle C. "It was great to hear from Mike. What a professional and what great advice from someone who knows the business and the craft of writing for podcasts." -Mary S.