How to Develop and Pitch a Film or TV Screenplay That Production Companies Want

Hosted by Rachel Crouch

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

This Next Level Education webinar has a 100% user satisfaction rate.

Projects:

Rachel Crouch

Webinar hosted by: Rachel Crouch

Director of Development at Cold Iron Pictures

Cold Iron Pictures is a film financing and production company that embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking. Cold Iron Pictures looks for innovative scripts, auteur directors, and cast-driven projects. Rachel is looking for TV and film projects with a unique perspective or point of view. While at Cold Iron, Rachel Crouch has worked on such films as the Spirit Award-winning THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, SWISS ARMY MAN starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, TIME OF MIND starring Richard Gere, and Mike Birbiglia's latest DON'T THINK TWICE and YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY, starring Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, and Logan Miller. Cold Iron Pictures produced: NORMAN (Richard Gere, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi) DON'T THINK TWICE (Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci, Mike Birbiglia) SWISS ARMY MAN (Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano, Mary Elizabeth Winstead) WONDERFUL WORLD SUPER (James Gunn, Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson) THE OH IN OHIO EVERY DAY THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård) TIME OF OF MIND (Richard Gere, Jena Malone, Steve Buscemi) ANSWERS TO NOTHING UNEARTHED   As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue, TVGuide.com, EveryGeek.net, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

You have an idea for a screenplay. Something burning inside of you to get on the page. Or perhaps you have a screenplay (or 20) sitting in your desk draw in need of a home. Of course you know to make sure that material is primed, ready, and locked and loaded to give yourself the best chance of being read from FADE IN to FADE OUT. But you also need to make sure it's market ready. And further still, you'll want to identify where the best home is for this material and how to pitch them in a manner in which gives you the best shot to be optioned or sold.

Most writers understand that taking your idea from a good concept to an excellent screenplay takes many rewrites and much polishing. In today's ultra-competitive landscape, it's more important than ever to fully flesh out your characters, locales, and plot. But thinking about the business side of things as it relates to your screenplay - understanding budget constraints, for example - is something that can give you power in a room. But first you need to get in that room. And to do that, you need to identify the proper (and realistic) homes for your material and understand what they are looking for. Further, you'll need to craft an effective pitch which may just change from one production company (or producer, financier or rep) to another.

Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development for Cold Iron Pictures, Miranda Bailey's financing and production company. She's worked on films such as Sundance's Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, the Independent Spirt Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice starring Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs, Norma staring Richard Gere and Steve Buscemi and many more. Prior to Cold Iron Pictures she worked as a producer's assistant raising film financing and helping bring films into production. Rachel will take her experience on over a dozen films and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what production companies look for when considering material.

Rachel will teach you how to develop your idea from a good concept to a strong story that will grab the attention of financiers and production companies. She'll help you break down your story to figure out your project's main audience and lead you through the tropes you'll want to exploit in order to leave that audience satisfied. You'll find out how to determine your story's budget range and see how letting go of those HBO dreams might help you find a better home for your project. She'll teach you how to hone your pitch including information you must include when pitching production companies. She'll even discuss rejection and finding the power within so that your next pitch is even better and more productive than the last. In short, Rachel will put you in a position to get the read, get in the room, and get the sale or job!

 

 

 

"I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us."

- Susan S.

 

"Very practical advice that I can apply right away."

- Brian G.

 

"I thought it was very professional and informative."

- Chris R.

 

What You'll Learn

  • Finding Material You Can Elevate
    • Original material vs Adapted material
    • What makes this project different? 
    • Understand the difference between a concept and an idea. You may think you know, but you may be wrong!
    • How to test if your idea works best on TV or as a film
  • Develop and Brainstorm Your Idea to Completion
    • All about the outline
    • How to improve and breakdown your character worksheets to create icons.
    • Breaking down the logline for your project.
    • Creating a dynamic synopsis of your story (pilot for TV show)
  • Identifying the Best Home For Your Idea
    • For TV – What is the best network for your show and why? Almost everyone says HBO and often they’re wrong. 
    • For Film – Who should produce your movie and why?
      • We'll go over where to do your research, how to identify the best home, how to be prepared and what you need to complete.
  • Tips For Successfully Pitching to Production Companies
    • How to focus the arc of your pitch - we'll break down the most effective pitch. 
    • How to prepare basic questions
    • Where to start your pitch
    • Information you must hit on in your pitch to a production company
    • How to deal with rejection of your project. 
  • Q&A with Rachel!

About Your Instructor

Cold Iron Pictures is a film financing and production company that embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking. Cold Iron Pictures looks for innovative scripts, auteur directors, and cast-driven projects. Rachel is looking for TV and film projects with a unique perspective or point of view.

While at Cold Iron, Rachel Crouch has worked on such films as the Spirit Award-winning THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, SWISS ARMY MAN starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, TIME OF MIND starring Richard Gere, and Mike Birbiglia's latest DON'T THINK TWICE and YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY, starring Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, and Logan Miller.

Cold Iron Pictures produced:

  • NORMAN (Richard Gere, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi)
  • DON'T THINK TWICE (Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci, Mike Birbiglia)
  • SWISS ARMY MAN (Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano, Mary Elizabeth Winstead)
  • WONDERFUL WORLD
  • SUPER (James Gunn, Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson)
  • THE OH IN OHIO
  • EVERY DAY
  • THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård)
  • TIME OF OF MIND (Richard Gere, Jena Malone, Steve Buscemi)
  • ANSWERS TO NOTHING
  • UNEARTHED
 
As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue, TVGuide.com, EveryGeek.net, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods.

FAQs

Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.

If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email support@stage32.com.

Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.

YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:

  1. Log into your Stage 32 profile
  2. Click "Settings" in the top right-hand corner (gear icon)
  3. Click "Purchase History"
  4. Choose this webinar and click the link to view
If You Do Not Have a Stage 32 Profile:
  1. Go to www.stage32.com
  2. Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar. The email addresses must match in order to watch the webinar.
  3. Once you have your profile set up, you can view the webinar by clicking "Settings" in the top right hand corner (gear icon)
  4. Click "Purchase History"
  5. Choose this webinar and click the link to view

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.

Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.

Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.

Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email support@stage32.com to request accommodations.

Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at support@stage32.com.

Testimonials

"I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us." - Susan S.

"Very practical advice that I can apply right away." - Brien G.

"I thought it was very professional and informative." - Chris R.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

Other education that may be of interest to you:

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Film Pre-Production Guide

Pre-production is the most important time for filmmakers. How you plan and the crucial decisions you make will determine the success of your production and ultimately, your film. No matter what experience level you are at, pre-production can quickly become an overwhelming process. To make the most of this valuable time to prep you'll want to take it step by step to ensure no loose ends come back to derail you while you're on set. Whether you're filming a project for $1 million or a $1,000, pre-production is the foundation to make sure your production goes smoothly. If you're making a digital series, as short or a feature length film it's imperative that you have a clear understanding of your cast and crew and their roles. You need to understand the key hires you need and the obstacles you may face as a filmmaker before you you can ever put together your call sheet for day one.  Rachel Crouch will use her experience as the Director of Development from Cold Iron Pictures to help ensure your pre-production process runs smoothly. Rachel has worked on $1M+ films such as Swiss Army Man, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice, Time out of Mind, I Do...Until I Don't (among many more!), and in her off time has produced a digital series in the $1k+ range. Through each of these project Rachel has learned the highs and lows filmmakers face during pre-production. Rachel will help you define your film's budget range and go over pros and cons, as well as similarities and differences in a $1M+ production and a $1K production. You will learn the key department heads to hire, how to meet with them to ensure your budget, shooting days, schedule and casting go smoothly. You'll know what to do for your location scout and how to put all the pieces together and avoid any obstacles. You'll get the all important  list of resources to help you through pre-production and a checklist to make sure that you've thought through everything. And, as a bonus, Rachel will take you behind the scenes of pre-production on Swiss Army Man, Don't Think Twice and the digital series she produced to give you a real life look at how, with the right planning, these projects got started on the right foot.    This is the ultimate guide for you to plan your pre-production, no matter your budget!   "Rachel is so knowledgable and approachable about pre-production. You can tell she's seen it all on her productions. The checklists and resources are extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Rachel!" -Tony P.    

Basic Principles of Financing a Film Between $1-$3 Million

BONUS! Brad will give you a handout with a list of companies that are funding $3MM movies. Over recent years, the independent producing model has shown that films budgeted between $1-$3 Million have become a "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 with budgets between $1MM-$3MM can be your calling card toward making a life working in independent film. Simply put, those who understand the formula to 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 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 between $1-$3MM for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what expectations are once you do.  Brad Hibbs Wyman has produced over 40 feature films in all budget ranges, including Monster starring Charlize Theron in her Oscar-winning role, Freeway starring Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon and actor Steve Buscemi's directorial debut, Trees Lounge. Brad has learned all aspects of financing and the elements that are needed for a successful raise and he's going to bring his years of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community.  In Brad's real and humorous style, he will teach the basic principles of motion picture financing for under $3 million dollar features which include: Rule #1 - “GET THE MONEY" Rule #2 - Always remember to “GET THE MONEY” Rule #3 - Never forget to always remember to “GET THE MONEY" If that gives you the insight into Brad's fun personality, then you're in for a treat with this webinar. Brad will teach you the common obstacles that get in the way of raising financing. He'll go over all the various types of financing: equity, private equity, pre-sales, GAP, tax incentives, deferred and crowdfunding. In addition, he'll go in depth on guidelines for your financial package and what you'll need for tax incentives, pre-sales, debt and domestic MG. He'll even go over your plan of execution including your investment proposal and what it looks like, completion and guarantor bonds and pitching your project. You will not only know the basics of how to smartly raise up to $3MM, but you'll also walk away with knowing the names of the players and the companies that are in this landscape, giving you an instant advantage to becoming an insider.  And if that doesn't make you feel great enough, Brad’s proceeds from this exclusive Stage 32 webinar will be donated to his favorite arts charity!   "Brad was great. I loved his style and how frank he was. Really appreciate his demeanor." - Robert G.   "It was one of the most amazing experiences. The most entertaining and true presenter I have ever come across." - Ranadeep B.   "Awesome experience - great learning opportunity and very well organized. I look forward to more." - Brien Gorham   "Brad brought the goods and the funny. And he removed my initimidation factor when it comes to approaching investors. Great webinar!" - Alyssa K.  

The Write Now Challenge: 4 Moments. 1 Story. 1 Page

In this challenge, members were asked to tell an entire story, in one page of script, using precisely four scenes. Far too many screenwriters waste pages. Good screenwriting is about making every single sentence count. There shouldn’t be any moment of a movie or television series which isn’t important on some level. The  scenes can have dialogue - or no dialogue - depending on what you choose. What is important is that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. When you are done watching the webcast, head on over to the Private Lounge and discuss your favorite submissions!

Ask Me Anything: with Stage 32's Richard 'RB' Botto

What's going on, Creative Army?   It's been a moment since we last had the time to interact in a live setting. Let's remedy that with another AMA (Ask Me Anything), pre-Cannes style.   We got together for another inspiring, motivating and energy-packed question and answer session.  For 2 hours I left you with tips, tricks and actionable information to help you move forward with your 2019 (and beyond) goals.   Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA is for ALL!   As always, registering for my AMA is completely free.  Spreading some positive vibes.   Cheers!   RB  

Crash Course: High Concept Writing

Learn directly from acclaimed author and screenwriter Max Adams who has worked with companies such as Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures and Max’s students have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Award and more! We continuously hear from the executives that we work with that concept is the most common mistake in spec scripts today. Readers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it bigger, badder, better and more enticing to the world. How can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you acclaimed screenwriter and writing coach Max Adams to teach you how to create compelling concepts and re-craft existing concepts so that they garner instant attention through one sentence descriptions alone. Dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday, she will teach you how to pull a story out of the “been there seen that no thanks” file and into the “I have got to read that” file. You’ll learn how to break your story into individual components to find its strengths and weaknesses, which gives you tools to analyze your future writing projects and raise stories’ impact. This will be your complete crash course in high concept writing, and you will leave this webinar knowing how to make your stories more interesting and enticing for readers, buyers, producers, editors, representatives, cast and industry players!

Tools for Financing Your Under-$3MM or Microbudget Film - 4 Class Intensive with Handouts

Mentoring in a private class setting with top financier Viviana Zarragoitia, VP of Three Point Capital - exclusively through Stage 32! Get access to exclusive handouts including sample budgets, packages and collection account management statement, sales sheets, sales agent contracts and distribution agreements   One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is finding financiers and raising funds for your film. You may have a great script, a great cast and crew, but at the end of the day no money means no project. Yet you don’t need 10 million dollars to get your film off the ground. With the right strategies and approach you can successfully finance a film for $3MM or less. Sometimes MUCH less, as microbudget films and films financed for under $500,000 continue to find success and still allow financiers to recoup their investments. This is all within your grasp, but first you must understand the ins and outs of what goes into financing a film for less than $3 million so you can ultimately find success. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects with budgets under $3MM can be your calling card toward making a life working in independent film. Simply put, if you understand the strategies and methods to help your investors see a return, you get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring more investors with them if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, it's not impossible, and in fact can be well within your grasp, especially with the right guidance and education. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how films find success at all budget levels. In this advanced level and intensive 4-session class, Viviana will comprehensively teach you how you can finance your own film for $3MM or less. In Session 1 she will provide an overview of the different types of film financing available to you. In Session 2 she will focus on microbudget films specifically and dig in to how films with these budgets can find success. Session 3 will delve into equity, pre-sales, gap, and sales agents. Finally Session 4 will look at waterfalls, recoupment and navigating collection accounts. Along the way, Viviana will provide exclusive and valuable handouts that you can take with you for your own projects, including: Sample Budgets and Packages Sales Sheets Sales Agent Contracts Sample Collection Account Statement Example Distribution Agreements   Praise for Viviana's Past Stage 32 Financing Classes:   "Viviana inspired me to learn more about the business side of filmmaking. I had an idea of how to finance a movie, but after our first class, I realized I had a lot to learn. I'm learning more to this day! I highly recommend her class to any film creative with little, to no understanding on how to finance an independent film. What she has to say is priceless!" -Steven K.   "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" -Patricia C.   "Viviana was personable, professional, interesting, interested, and a wealth of knowledge and useful information. I will take every opportunity to learn from her. She was patient and polite with every question and always clear with what she knew, what she thought, what she believed, and what she didn't know. She painted pictures and delivered facts, outlining the paths she has seen successful producers take while still encouraging all to pursue their art with a greater knowledge of the business and understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls." -Randy G.   "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." -Sean R.   "Viviana has a tremendous depth and range of knowledge about film financing and she was happy to share everything she knew. Thanks to her loose, attentive style for the class, it ranged far and wide, and she answered a lot of people’s questions whether they were general or specific to their own projects. And I feel like there was value for all of us in even the most project-specific questions." -Randy V.  

register for stage 32 Register / Log In