For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Film festivals are indeed often the next desired destination for a filmmaker, but it’s not always easy to get in, even with a great film.
It can be disheartening after finishing a film and investing so much money and resources into it to realize there is still more money to be spent in going the festival route. The act of submitting to festivals can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars simply through festivals’ submission fees. It’s probably going to add up no matter what, but it can set way pricier without a plan in place. It’s common for filmmakers ready with a film to more or less blindly submit to festivals: “Sundance? Check. Tribeca? Check. Cinequest? I heard that one was good, let’s do it.” Yet just because you’ve heard of a festival, just because it’s a legitimately great festival, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your project, and it doesn’t your film is the right fit for them. Successfully navigating the festival landscape requires a lot more effort and a lot more time than just pressing that submit button. Yet doing the research, understanding your goals, and carefully building your strategy will not only yield more positive results, but will also save you money on unneeded submission fees in the long run.
For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Harrison will walk you through how best to develop your film festival strategy and choose the right festivals for your film, well before you start submitting. He will begin with the basics of why you should or shouldn’t be submitting to festivals in the first place, and how to best think of festivals as a tool. He’ll then lay out what the festival landscape looks like, including what makes up the “Festival Circuit”, what Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 festivals are, and the lowdown on both niche festivals and destination festivals. Next he will delve into the importance of having your own specific festival goal and how to find it. He’ll provide six examples of valid and common festival goals and how best to adjust your submission strategy for each. Harrison will go deep into how to research festivals before submitting and what you should be looking for before you should feel comfortable paying their submission fee. He’ll also offer various strategies to choose the right festival and giving yourself the best advantage in getting accepted, including considering niche festivals, finding your ‘in’ and developing your network. He’ll spend some time explaining how scam festivals work and what you can do to spot them and stay away from them. He will offer some tips and context of what you should do if you film is ultimately rejected from one of your top choices, and also what to do if your film is ultimately accepted. You will leave with a slew of strategies to tackle your festival run more strategically and more effectively.
Praise for Harrison's Previous Stage 32 Webinar:
"This was great. Very comprehensive about festival strategy and works for shorts and features. Probably the best content about this topic I've seen"
"The teacher really knew his subject. He was also friendly & warm and made the students feel relaxed. A well spent event and I learned so much."
"Appreciated the way Harrison did not gloss over any point — he spoke thoroughly about everything."
"Very knowledgeable, open, easy to follow"
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Yet despite festivals serving as a lifeblood of the film industry and a launching pad for so many, it’s still a relatively enigmatic and opaque landscape and a difficult one for even the savviest of filmmakers to navigate. Perhaps because festivals can feel so enigmatic, it’s common for filmmakers not to consider the workings of a festival or the rules and goals they operate under before submitting. After all, you already spent a huge chunk of time learning the rules and goals of filmmaking. You put in time, money and resources to make something good and that you’re proud of. Shouldn’t that be enough for a festival? Can’t they just say ‘yes’? Unfortunately, like with any aspect of this industry, there’s more to it. Programmers do a lot more than “find the best films” and they have to balance a lot more than simply choosing things because they’re “good”. To set yourself up for success, it’s time to better understand how festivals tick and what you can do while submitting, or even while making your film, to be better positioned for success and to hopefully get that long awaited acceptance letter. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will pull back the curtains on how film festivals are organized and how they select films, and will give you tips and strategies to better position your film for success once it’s time to submit. He’ll begin by going over at the most basic level who festival programmers are and what drives them. He’ll then offer a bird’s eye view of how a festival’s selection process normally works, including who watches your film, how many times it’s usually watched, and whether it’s watched in its entirety. He’ll also give you a sense of how films are declined, shortlisted, or accepted. Next he will spend time discussing what programmers look for when evaluating films. He’ll go over what appropriate runtimes for both shorts and features are how programmers may react to specific themes and topics. He’ll also talk about festivals’ identities and audiences, premiere status requirements, and other content issues they consider. He’ll bring up copyright issues that sometimes come up as well as how to navigate submitting your film as a work-in-progress. Then Harrison will teach you tips for submitting your film, including how to navigate deadlines, how to work with FilmFreeway and other services, and what you need to have ready beyond just the film when submitting. He’ll also touch on press kits and cover letters. Harrison will delve into how to best communicate with festival programmers. He’ll talk about best practices, appropriate circumstances to reach out and situations when you should refrain from contacting them. He’ll also discuss what to do when you need to change your submission's Vimeo password and how to navigate updating your submitted cut. Finally, Harrison will explore the complicated, notorious world of fee waivers. Expect to leave with a comprehensive lay of the land of how festivals operate and a toolkit to better position your own projects for success on the festival circuit. Praise for Harrison's Stage 32 Webinar "Very informative and honest. Good coverage and great to hear form someone who knows." -Paula M. "Absolutely Great! It was really helpful to hear Harrison's insights & wisdom after having gone through the 2019 International Festival Season. I will definitely take all this with me into my next journey into the festival circuit!" -Becca G. "Excellent and insightful." -Elease P. "Super helpful in a LOT of ways! I will be sharing these insights with the production team of the short film I recently directed. We'll take many of these suggestions into account when we start hitting the submission circuit." -Peter M.
For many independent film producers and filmmakers, approaching financiers and securing financing for your project presents one of the biggest challenges in the entire filmmaking process. How do you build your team, bring in development funds, attach name talent and work with rebates, sales estimates & distribution to attract financing all while compiling a plan to mitigate your financial risk? It can be overwhelming for a producer, especially given the ever changing landscape and the increasingly competitive nature of independent film. Your goal as a filmmaker or producer is to make your project more financially attractive to investors over everyone else presenting projects to them. What many filmmakers and producers don't know is that there's a "sweet spot" in a film budget range that will help you raise funds successfully and get the ROI your investors are looking for. Setting the budget for your feature film at between $250,000 and $2 million it opens up a variety of options for you to be able to attach the talent you're looking for, the distribution you need and make your investors money. But first, you have to understand the financial blueprint to get you there. Franco Sama has produced 25+ successful independent feature films between $250,000 - $2MM. He has worked with Oscar winner Christine Lahti, Dane Cook, Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, David Arquette, Brittany Snow, Vivica Fox, Michael Madsen and many more. He's worked with first time directors and experienced directors and has seen all scenarios when it comes to putting together financing for films. Franco knows first hand every step of the financial model needed to make a movie profitable and he's bringing this knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. You will learn how to approach your film from the investor’s point of view so you can not only get the money you need for your project but, most importantly, how your investors can get that money back with profits. You will learn how to build a team around your project that will not only make investing more attractive, but also assure you don't make mistakes when you go after funding. You'll learn the type of funding that is available to you and how to approach the investors attracted to and interested in each type of financing. You'll dissect how to get agents on your side to attach talent to your project and how to work with attorneys. You'll also learn the most effective distribution options for this type of film budget. Drawing from his nearly two decades of experience, Franco will teach you how he gets his dozens of projects financed, distributed and turning a profit, and why he stays in the “sweet spot” range between $250K-$2M. Give yourself the competitive advantage to understand the types of investors you need to approach, how to approach them, how to get talent attached, and, ultimately, how to get your film made, distributed, and profitable so your investors return again and again!
Aerial images go back to when hot air balloons first went up in the 1700s, but the use of aerial images has exploded in the 21st century with the now ubiquitous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as drones. In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, tv or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily to rent the necessary equipment to get. In the same way, finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to have the eye and well-developed instincts and they need to understand how to work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. It's important to know that the term ‘drone operator’ is often used for those that use these vehicles to capture video or images, but just as cinematographers are never simply referred to as ‘tripod operators’, neither should anyone simply be seen as a ‘drone operator’. A drone is just a new way to place the camera in incredibly exciting places, a tool in a tool belt. Better understanding the steps that can take you to this point can prove exciting and promising for a cinematographer’s career. Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy. He has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will give you the knowledge and tools to get you started to becoming a successful aerial cinematographer. He’ll begin by giving a brief introduction on drone photography, offering a history and understanding of what exactly drones, as well as how they have affected the current state of helicopter-based cinematography. He’ll explain the benefits and exciting potential of drone cinematography and how that has come into play in media today. He’ll lay out how drones and drone photographers work within small and large productions and their crews. Next Chris will give a rundown of how drones work, what the main types of drones are, what the main drone manufacturers are, and what the notable parts of a drone are. He’ll explain what features are offered for different drones and what features are needed for different types of projects. He’ll also give tips on where to buy your own drone as well as how to obtain a licence to legally operate them. Chris will then outline the safety and legal aspects of operating drones. He will teach you the governmental rules and regulations in most countries, including vertical separation rules and how both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes are treated. He’ll give you tips on how to navigate these rules while still working with your clients and how to understand what your licence gives you the right to do. He’ll also provide strategies to work within the confines and limits to still get the shots you need as well as strategies to keep yourself and your crew safe. Chris will go over how to break into the industry as an aerial cinematographer. He’ll explain the current marketplace and help outline what level of the marketplace you should be targeting. He’ll give you tips on how to build a reel and display your ability to find opportunities and will teach you how to find and stick to your rate, including ways to not undercut the market, manage value-added rates, and offset licence rights against day rates. Chris will even offer case studies from his own career to demonstrate how best to work with clients and get the shots you’re after. Expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to kick start your own aerial cinematography career. "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey
4 part class taught by Stuart Arbury, Director of Development at Captivate Entertainment (Universal)!AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! The number one genre we hear most executives look for is horror. Horror written in any language can be easily enjoyed by any viewer from around the world. It's the most universally acceptable genre out there, and it's where filmmakers go to cut their teeth (Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Oliver Stone, Peter Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Zack Snyder, and Steven Spielberg all started in the horror genre). But writing a fresh, commercial, scary horror is getting harder as executives continue to see familiar tropes and generic set pieces. What a writer sees as a fresh idea, is one that an executive has probably seen in some variation many times over. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: How to Write a Unique, Commercial Horror Script taught by Stuart Arbury, Director of Development at Captivate Entertainment (Universal). From choosing a concept to picking an antagonist, from strengthening the emotional crescendo to amping up the scares in your project – Stuart covers all in this 4 part intensive class. **Plus! You'll get a copy of the HALLOWEEN script in your resources! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Stuart is no longer handing out or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all creatives to participate.
As the landscape of independent film continues to evolve, a clear funding path has developed for films budgeted between high-six figures and $10MM. Indeed, it’s become an effective “sweet spot” for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand some tried and true principles that will help you find investors, present your project in the proper fashion and lock them down for an investment. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects within this budget range can be your calling card toward a powerful career in the independent producing space. Simply put, those who understand the strategies and methods that can help your investors see a return get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring along more investors if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, there are smart ways to find money that you may not have thought of, and there are also ways you can expand your dollars once you start raising funds for your project. In addition, there is a well-known group of professionals and creatives that have been working on films in this budget range for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what the expectations are once you do. Founded by Elsa Ramo, one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,”, Ramo Law PC provides comprehensive legal services to its clients in the entertainment industry with a specialized focus in representing financiers, producers, directors, distributors, studios and production entities in all transactional aspects of film, television and digital content. The firm provides experienced legal services to optimize its clients’ financial, legal and business position in the financing, production, and exploitation of their content. Ramo Law has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa and her associates are bona fide experts when it comes to the nuts and bolts of finding financing for your independent film. Elsa and her senior associates Zen Raben and Sean Pope will join forces to demystify the film financing process so that producers, writers, directors, and financiers can understand the basic yet crucial components of how independently financed films are funded. They will begin by discussing entity formation. They will explain why you need to form an entity for your production and what type of entity you should form, as well as what state you should form it in. They will go over the information you will need to form the entity, the forms that need to be filled out with the state, and how operating agreements work. They will also teach you what a waterfall is and why you should include one in your operating agreement. Next, Elsa, Zev, and Sean will delve into important things to keep in mind specifically for your LLC formation, including the state of formation, deciding if it will be member-managed or manager-managed, who should be in control of creative decisions and who should be in control of business decisions. They will then talk about equity investment and go over who exactly provides equity investment, what investors get out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Next, Elsa and her associates will explain debt financing. They will teach you the four common types of collateral in debt financing, and four types of debt you will be dealing with. They will go over the key terms and considerations you should know, and just like equity investment, they will explain who provides debt investment, what the investor gets out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Elsa, Sean, and Zev will even stage a mock closing call between a producer and senior lender to demonstrate what it looks like to lock in funding from an investor. Finally, Elsa, Sean, and Zev will give you an invaluable closing checklist, walking you through everything you need to keep in mind when going after funding. Expect a thorough, comprehensive and undeniably helpful guide to give you the tools you need to find the funding for your next project. This is designed for all levels but particularly effective for those that are currently producing and/or packaging a feature film. Praise for Elsa's, Zen's and Sean's Stage 32 Webinar: "It was absolutely brilliant! One of the best webinars I've attended yet! Loved the mock call. That was so educational!" -Becca G. "They are all knowledgeable and had a great presentation" -Carlos B. "Great webinar financing. Will be watching again." -Martin R. "AMAZING WEBINAR!!!" -Stephanie D.
PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pilot outline and start work on your bible. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact email@example.com for more information.