Developing & Financing Family and Faith Based Projects

Hosted by Anne Marie Gillen and Nikki Hevesy

$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

Satisfaction Rate:

Anne Marie Gillen and Nikki Hevesy

Webinar hosted by: Anne Marie Gillen and Nikki Hevesy

Producers with over 20 years of experience

With a background in both Judaism and Christianity, Nikki views things in the faith community from a broad vantage point, doing development and consulting with artists and projects seeking to integrate faith-based elements into mainstream media and content. She has also worked in film marketing as campaign, strategy and project manager on feature film and TV movie releases with Motive Marketing, a Los Angeles based marketing company that has spear-headed the success as such blockbusters as Son of God, The Passion of the Christ, Chronicles of Narnia, United 93, and Rocky Balboa, among others. In addition to shorts, docs, multi-camera projects, promos, music videos and theatre, Nikki has also produced & directed media projects with number of religious organizations and ministries, including Wycliffe Bible Translators, Open Door Church of San Francisco, Foursquare International, Chosen People Ministries and others. For 6 years, Nikki partnered with BEACON (Bel Air Entertainment and Arts Community), serving on their leadership team. During her tenure, she tracked the emergence of the faith-based market boom as they hosted dozens of above the line talent, who examined integrating faith into their work in Hollywood film and TV. Over the years, Nikki has also directed and / or produced over 50 stage plays, musicals & numerous original works, including writing and directing a one person musical for the National Theatre of Uganda. As Founding Artistic Director of City Light Performing Arts Company in San Francisco, her company produced large scale musicals engaging over 150+ Bay Area Churches in both production and outreach. Nikki has spoken or presented in over 250 churches and community groups across the country. Nikki holds a degree in Theology and Biblical Literature from Simpson College and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Southern California. She has lectured and taught both privately and at several colleges and universities, including Pepperdine, LA Valley College, Azusa Pacific, and others. She has been a contributing member to the think tank at the global Visual Story Network, a member of the Biola Studio Task Force (15 years), sat on the Hollywood Entertainment Ministries leadership council (11 years) and currently serves on the executive alum board of Harvey Fellows (a philanthropic scholarly and arts academic fellowship tapping into culture shapers and influencers across the world). She is currently developing and consulting on TV, & Film projects under her company Through the Glass Productions and has been in production on A Violence Disrupted, a TV doc special for PBS SoCal, on Gang Intervention. Her dramatic series on this same topic was recently selected for development through the PGA diversity program. Anne Marie Gillen: Anne Marie is a consultant and executive coach to independent producers and equity investors advising on script evaluation, business plans, financing, worldwide distribution and single film and/or film company cash flow projections – her motto is "Fusing Business & Creativity." Clients in the faith and family genre have been Mission Pictures International and Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment. As a producer, she has produced films ranging from studio fare (Fried Green Tomatoes), to passion projects (Under Suspicion starring Morgan Freeman & Gene Hackman) and low-budget indies (Into Temptation starring Jeremy Sisto & Kristin Chenoweth). Her films have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, and been nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Independent SpiritAwardsand DGAAwards. Anne Marie is a lecturer and panelist and gives workshop seminars for such organizations as: AFM; Bloomberg BNA, Puerto Rico Film Commission, California Lawyers for the Arts, NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), Pratt University, UCLA Film School, USC Film School and Chapman University. Prior to launching her own company, Anne Marie was the Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Freeman’s company, Revelations Entertainment. She led the company in the strategic financing and distribution of Revelations’ projects. Anne Marie is the co-author of the 3rd edition of The Producer’s Business Handbook – published by Focal Press and co-branded by Variety. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learn directly from Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen, Producers with over 20 years of experience each in developing and financing media projects. Nikki is a director, producer and media strategist with an expertise in integrating faith-based content into mainstream media, and Anne Marie is an expert on film finance, having successfully raised over $100M for projects worldwide.

With the recent successes of films like Heaven Is For Real, Son Of God, God Is Not Dead, and all of the faith oriented films coming down the pike like Mark Burnett’s Ben Hur, Mary Mother Of Christ and The Shack, Faith and Family based projects have grown from a niche market to a box office phenomenon.TV has also jumped on the bandwagon with the recent Red Tent, Preachers of LA and Mark Burnett’s The Bible and A.D.

However, alongside these successes are huge controversies in the faith community, such as those surrounding Paramount's Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus. Faith and Family based material is like a soufflé – if you get even the smallest ingredient wrong, the entire soufflé collapses.

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, hosts Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen will walk you through the development and financing phases of creating a successful faith and/or family based project. Drawing from their 20 years of experience, Nikki and Anne Marie will teach you how faith and family based projects get funded and who the financiers, studios and distributors are that specialize in this genre so you know who to target. They will also teach you how to easily find and reach your desired audience and what type of marketing is successful for this genre. Whether you’re a producer, filmmaker or writer, knowing what goes into a faith and family project in the development stage, team building stage and financing and distribution stage is key to your project’s success in the marketplace!

What You'll Learn

  • What makes a faith and family based film successful in the marketplace.
  • How the integration of the faith elements impact the final product's success.
    • Creatively and commercially.
  • How to create authentic content for this market.
    • Small inaccuracies make a huge impact.
    • How to stick to the facts while staying commercial and appealing.
  • Red flags to avoid in putting together the creative team.
    • How to set yourself up for success from day 1 of the development process.
  • How to find out where your audience is and how to reach them.
    • Why you should get churches and communities involved.
    • What sub-genres provide the most opportunity.
  • How these projects are getting funded.
  • Who are the financiers and studios targeting this market and what are they looking for?
  • Who are the distributors and marketers targeting this audience?
  • Q&A with Nikki and Anne Marie

About Your Instructor

With a background in both Judaism and Christianity, Nikki views things in the faith community from a broad vantage point, doing development and consulting with artists and projects seeking to integrate faith-based elements into mainstream media and content.

She has also worked in film marketing as campaign, strategy and project manager on feature film and TV movie releases with Motive Marketing, a Los Angeles based marketing company that has spear-headed the success as such blockbusters as Son of God, The Passion of the Christ, Chronicles of Narnia, United 93, and Rocky Balboa, among others.

In addition to shorts, docs, multi-camera projects, promos, music videos and theatre, Nikki has also produced & directed media projects with number of religious organizations and ministries, including Wycliffe Bible Translators, Open Door Church of San Francisco, Foursquare International, Chosen People Ministries and others.

For 6 years, Nikki partnered with BEACON (Bel Air Entertainment and Arts Community), serving on their leadership team. During her tenure, she tracked the emergence of the faith-based market boom as they hosted dozens of above the line talent, who examined integrating faith into their work in Hollywood film and TV.

Over the years, Nikki has also directed and / or produced over 50 stage plays, musicals & numerous original works, including writing and directing a one person musical for the National Theatre of Uganda. As Founding Artistic Director of City Light Performing Arts Company in San Francisco, her company produced large scale musicals engaging over 150+ Bay Area Churches in both production and outreach. Nikki has spoken or presented in over 250 churches and community groups across the country.

Nikki holds a degree in Theology and Biblical Literature from Simpson College and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Southern California. She has lectured and taught both privately and at several colleges and universities, including Pepperdine, LA Valley College, Azusa Pacific, and others. She has been a contributing member to the think tank at the global Visual Story Network, a member of the Biola Studio Task Force (15 years), sat on the Hollywood Entertainment Ministries leadership council (11 years) and currently serves on the executive alum board of Harvey Fellows (a philanthropic scholarly and arts academic fellowship tapping into culture shapers and influencers across the world).

She is currently developing and consulting on TV, & Film projects under her company Through the Glass Productions and has been in production on A Violence Disrupted, a TV doc special for PBS SoCal, on Gang Intervention. Her dramatic series on this same topic was recently selected for development through the PGA diversity program.

Anne Marie Gillen:

Anne Marie is a consultant and executive coach to independent producers and equity investors advising on script evaluation, business plans, financing, worldwide distribution and single film and/or film company cash flow projections – her motto is "Fusing Business & Creativity." Clients in the faith and family genre have been Mission Pictures International and Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment.

As a producer, she has produced films ranging from studio fare (Fried Green Tomatoes), to passion projects (Under Suspicion starring Morgan Freeman & Gene Hackman) and low-budget indies (Into Temptation starring Jeremy Sisto & Kristin Chenoweth).

Her films have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, and been nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Independent SpiritAwardsand DGAAwards.

Anne Marie is a lecturer and panelist and gives workshop seminars for such organizations as: AFM; Bloomberg BNA, Puerto Rico Film Commission, California Lawyers for the Arts, NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), Pratt University, UCLA Film School, USC Film School and Chapman University.

Prior to launching her own company, Anne Marie was the Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Freeman’s company, Revelations Entertainment. She led the company in the strategic financing and distribution of Revelations’ projects.

Anne Marie is the co-author of the 3rd edition of The Producer’s Business Handbook – published by Focal Press and co-branded by Variety.

FAQs

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! 

Testimonials

Amazing! …I’ve taken many webinars on the subject, but none really compares to this. …I have the right tools to move forward into producing my project. Thank you so much!” – Diane M.

Invaluable... packed with information … The explosion that's happening with these types of films is just the tip of the iceberg... this workshop was one of the smartest things I've ever done!“ – Suzanne L.

Unparalleled insights, information, and resources … a comprehensive program to jump start your project.” – Denene C.

Although I have extensive experience as a Line Producer on studio films, Anne Marie Gillen gave me the map of how to successfully negotiate the strange land of independent film production. She showed me which doors to knock on and how to get them to open. In three months, I went from being a clueless indie neophyte to negotiating with foreign sales agents bolstered by the confidence that comes with knowledge.” - Robert B.

Your insight cleared up my eyesight... What a great seminar! The information you provide on the business principles and practices of the entertainment industry is an invaluable tool for producers.” – Karen B.

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: 4.5 out of 5

  • Good information from the two presenters. So much - that I'm rewriting my series to meet a suggestion that was given by the presenters. Thank you.
  • There is a lot of good information.The material was comprehensive and useful.
  • Informative. Clear. Thorough.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Write and Produce a Film Festival Darling

It seems like every day another film festival launches or expands. Specialty festivals are becoming all the rage and major, established festivals have been expanding to accept shorts, digital shorts, documentaries, television pilots, specialty genre content and content focused on diversity. With the market growing, so are the number of submissions to any given festival, especially those which are producing results for the connections of the accepted films. You want to make sure your screenplay is on point, that the story is a fit for the style of the festival you are entering and that the film grabs a judge's attention from the get go. Part of assuring you have a festival darling film is understanding the festival landscape, knowing the right players and making connections that assure your film is being viewed by the decision makers. But this all starts, as it always does, with the script. A majority of screenwriters do not write big budget tentpole blockbusters. They tell more intimate, character driven stories. And these are the kind of stories that most festivals adore. But why do some of these scripts attract financing, producers, and, ultimately, the attention of festival directors while others fall through the cracks? As a writer and/or producer, how can you identify the aspects of your screenplay that might be killing your chances of festival success and fix them before filming begins? And how can filmmakers and producers assure, even if they have a winning film based on a fantastic script in place, that they are entering the right festivals and navigating the circuit correctly? There is a chemistry to all of it. A mixture of the creative and the business side of things. It's imperative that you have an understanding of both. Maren Olson has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes, festival favorites such as An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Natural Selection and Red Flag, and Sundance Audience Award winners This is Martin Bonner, Valley of Saints and Kinyarwanda. As a producer, she was responsible for critically lauded Short Term 12, which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. The film went on to win 19 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Maren currently works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerly the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. To say she understands all the ins and outs of the festival circuit, what festivals look for and how they operate would be a massive understatement. Maren will teach you what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. She will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. She will teach you the 3 components of a festival-friendly story idea and why you must answer yes to each. She will talk budget, shooting locations and when the proper time is to bring on a producer. She will explain the mistakes people make and demystify the myths people believe when navigating the festival circuit. She will go over common pitfalls screenwriters, filmmakers and producers make that can be fatal when submitting to festivals.   Maren will give you the tools to get traction on your project. She will lay out, in clear, precise terms, how to assure your project is given the best opportunity to become a "Festival Darling."     "Excellent - informative. Maren brought facts and experience to a very nuanced subject about "Film Festival Darlings - offering an extremely in-depth analysis to the elements of what a writer or producer should consider when moving forward in the Indie film world. My fav Stage 32 webinar so far. Thanks." - Robert G.   "Fantastic seminar. Like a good filmmaker, you kept us engaged from opening to close. Thanks again!" - Bob B.   "Maren had a lot of practical information and road trap warning for indies. I appreciated the components of a festival face, comps, and specific advice that is useful." - Betty S.

How to Build Your Online Brand As an Actor (Examples of Actor Profiles and Social Media Profiles that Stand Out to Casting Directors)

Let's face it. We spend a good portion of our days on social media. Be it Stage 32, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we're constantly checking in. For many, social media serves as a fun distraction. But for those in the know, social media is a powerful tool to build your presence, brand, and portfolio as an actor. It's an absolute and undeniable fact that casting directors, managers and agents search social media platforms every day to help them with their ultimate goal - to find new, exceptional talent that they can book on open projects. Yet, so many actors misuse or ignore social medial altogether. That has to change. Your online presence can help you get noticed, get in front of the right people, get you in rooms, and, ultimately, accelerate your path to success. Being an actor today is more than just being talented at delivering lines. You have to approach acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur. That means taking advantage of all online opportunities for branding and exposure. You're in full control of taking time to carefully craft your online presence. You have to make sure your actor profiles and resume have the information and media decision makers want to see. You have to understand how to use social media the right way to capture the attention of people that can hire you. Actors who are taking the time to do this correctly have a competitive advantage.  Wendy Alane Wright is the CEO of WAW Entertainment, a leading talent management firm in Los Angeles. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, HBO, Comedy Central, BIO, SyFy, Lifetime, and more. Some of the projects her clients have booked are TV shows including Modern Family, Black-ish, American Horror Story, Sharp Objects as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Universal Studios, Homegoods, Walmart, Justice, Target, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. After decades in the business Wendy uses the internet now more than ever to help her find talent and decide on talent when sending her clients on auditions.  Wendy will teach you how your online presence can help you get more auditions (or lose them!). She'll help you zone in on what your brand is as an actor and how you can best portray that online. You'll learn what is needed on your online profiles such as Actors Access to be competitive, stand out, and be considered for more roles. Wendy will show you examples of actor profiles, resumes, social media accounts and talk through what about them stands out to casting directors, managers and agents. She'll teach you five things to up your game immediately on social media and how to approach networking to get noticed. And, she'll answer the question on every actor's mind: does your follower count matter? One of the industry's top talent agents will walk you through all of this step-by-step so you are crystal clear on what goes on in their mind when they're looking at you online.    "Wendy, thank you for sharing your time, energy and insight. Seeing the profile examples and hearing you describe what casting directors and agents look for was extremely helpful. I hope to work with you one day!"  - Jack S.   "This is a fantastic webinar!! Wendy's straightforward approach answered so many questions that I kept asking myself about social media." - Amber F.

How To Hook Your Reader In The First 5 Pages

As you break into writing professionally, the one thing you’ll always need to do is hook your reader from the get-go, specifically within the first 5 pages. Whether you’re submitting your script to a screenwriting contest, a manager, an agent, a non-writing producer, a series showrunner/producer, a financier, a star, or a director, you have to get through your reader’s initial skepticism and earn every single page that is read. And that goes for all scripts, whether you’re a beginner trying to place in your first contest, or you’re a professional, with scripts sold to major studios and networks. It’s a challenge that never goes away. That’s why it’s critical that you truly understand how to make the first five pages of all your scripts sing. When you break it down, it’s incredible just how much needs to go into your script’s first five pages and how many cylinders it needs to operate on for it to break through. In a very short amount of time you need to achieve A LOT, including setting up your protagonist, conveying your world and establishing your tone, all while keeping the pacing up and making the reader excited to read more. This isn’t easy, especially when that reader might be reading your script among tens of others that day alone. Let’s spend some serious time breaking down how to make the most of those critical first few pages of your script. Regina Lee is a film and TV series producer and former studio executive who has worked with writers and talent of all levels to get their projects sold to studios and networks like HBO, FOX, BET, Lifetime, Starz, Universal Pictures, The CW, CBS and more. She recently teamed up with showrunner Rob Thomas (creator of iZOMBIE, VERONICA MARS, PARTY DOWN), Owen Wilson, and Emmy winners of This American Life to sell a pilot to HBO. She began her executive career at Universal Pictures, where she was the primary executive in charge of movies like THE FAST & THE FURIOUS 3, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, AMERICAN WEDDING, SEABISCUIT and more. Regina has a deep and accomplished history of elevating projects and helping them find success and understands what it takes for scripts to break through. Over the course of three jam-packed sessions, Regina goes in depth on what NEEDS to happen in your script’s first five pages, what executives are looking for, the typical paradigms for a script’s opening, and how you can give executives what they want to see. You will leave this class with a solid understanding of how to get your reader hooked in only 5 pages or less!   Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Regina is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.     Praise for Regina’s Stage 32 Class   "I just re-wrote my first five pages based on this class and Regina's incredibly insightful feedback, and wow! What a difference it made. This class is a "must take" Stage 32'ers!" - Shari F.   "Regina offers great insight. This class instantly made me a better writer.” - David L.   "Thanks for a wonderful class! Your efforts have been amazing." -Heather F.   "Great class, very helpful and useful information." -John R.

A Director’s Guide to Post-Production: Your Film is Wrapped, Now What?

The more production savvy we are, the better filmmakers we become. As directors, it is our job to know every heartbeat of our story; the preparation needed for executing our vision; and the intricacies of bringing it to its final conclusion, in a way that will illicit an emotional response from our audience. That means that we must not take our foot off the pedal once we wrap. Being present, aware, in control, and maintaining our focus during post-production is vital.   Sometimes our film is made (or lost) in the edit. The technical steps of post production can seem overwhelming, especially coming off the heights (or lows) of wrapping a picture. But if we don’t have a good understanding of the post production steps, it could be challenging to bring our vision to a strong finish, and ultimately to a wider audience.   Stacia Crawford is a Director/Producer/Writer/Actress who, last year alone, directed two feature films which premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. As a producer she has helmed five feature films with Mar Vista Entertainment (premieres on Hallmark, Lifetime, CMT), in addition to several independent feature films. In television, Stacia co-directed/produced various unscripted series for NBC/Esquire, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike, Logo, Pivot, Blaze TV, MTV. She also produced several web content shows, most notably for My Space. Prior to directing/producing, Stacia started her career as an actress/writer and can be seen in several feature films, including cameo roles in films that she’s directed. As a writer, she has written two novels (KIT TEN, THE SPACE BETWEEN) and co-created four original dramatic television series, (DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, WILDCATTERS, AMERICAN CAESAR, and SENESCENT) all currently in development.   In a clear, expansive, yet easy to digest presentation, Stacia will help all filmmakers understand exactly how to handle and navigate the post-production process. She will begin by teaching you what to look for when hiring your entire post-production team. From there, she'll discuss the difference between all the post production positions - some sound quite similar, but do completely different jobs - and...do you need them all? Stacia will then dive into scheduling including the level of cuts for the film, and how long each part of the process (sound, coloring, etc) should take. She will discuss pick up shoots, fixing lighting and audio mistakes, and how to protect for footage errors. She'll even get into key art and what to include in your trailer!   This is a comprehensive webinar designed to keep you deeply immersed in the post-production process carrying with you the knowledge that will keep your team on board with finalizing your vision.   Praise for Stacia from her previous Stage 32 Next Level Webinar:   She explained what is the Director's job was very very well and broke it down step by step! -Sharlene R. Stacia did a great job. She was great! -Tracey A If you are thinking of going into the industry it was amazing, hit all the points, and she went above and beyond when she expanded on a lot of her points...like making sure you get your insert shots (which I've been a victim of.). Overall she was great, clear and to the point. -Ryan H. Stacia was great. A lot of good information in a clear and concise manner. -Angel N. Great information! -Liz H. It was interesting to hear from other filmmakers' perspective. I learned a lot about the Director's position, as it relates to Film & TV. I came into this webinar because of my interest in knowing more about the producing/directing side of the industry, and man Stacia really did go in and cover a lot. My mind was soaking up information left and right. Another great webinar! -Shayne W.

The Evolution of Story: How to Create Responsible & Compelling Content for a Global Audience

While our industry is changing rapidly in response to world events, so is the conversation around STORY. As you know, regardless of the setting or the protagonists, the attraction of the most highly regarded films lies in a commonality - how people think, empathize, and react. How will story evolve and adapt to the world as it changes? And how will you write these stories in an authentic way with themes that attract and are relatable to a global audience?  This webinar will look at STORY as a cultural phenomenon and ourselves as narrative designers with a goal toward making us all better writers and filmmakers.  When we look at the research and analysis of our industry, there is great disparagement in representation, gender parity, and cultural, ethnic and international voices. In other words, we’re telling an inauthentic story about our world. How do we change this? Should we care? The trends in what is being bought, distributed produced and screened by film festivals around the world, the streaming platforms and the international marketplace says YES! You can take a more active role in creating responsible and compelling content for the global audience. Heather Rae is a film and television producer and narrative change activist. As a former programmer for Sundance, she has alos produced such films as Academy Award nominated FROZEN RIVER Netflix Originals TALLULAH with Ellen Page and Allison Janney and Dude with Lucy Hale. She was named as one of Variety's top producers to watch and for six years ran the Native Program at the Sundance Institute and was a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in post-production on BULL starring MUDBOUND'S Rob Morgan. She has also produced and directed a number of documentaries including recent film PAULETTE, executive produced by Davis Guggenheim, that tells the story of Paulette Jordan, the first Native American to win a gubernatorial primary in the country’s history. As a speaker and social critic, Rae is working to deepen the dialogue of reconciliation and responsibility in the Americas for storytelling in film. Heather will begin by making a very compelling argument the global audience for film, TV and new media is not only growing, but is hungry for more content.  She will dive into the disparagement in gender, cultural, ethnic and international representation and how we can create content that levels the playing field. Heather will then dive into a conversation centered around story and narrative design. Are we presenting a singular, authentic voice, or are we simply contributing to the collective narrative impact culture? The difference is extremely important and will help you recognize how to tell your story and not have it influenced by pre-existing material. From here, it's time to discuss how to create responsible and compelling stories for a global audience - so important in today's marketplace where regional buying has been replaced by regional stories for a worldwide audience.  And finally, Heather will discuss how to challenge ourselves to make sure that we are finding the true story during the development process. For those who are looking to tell stories of the under-represented or people and worlds unseen, misunderstood or marginalized, Heather will show you how to make those stories universal and attractive to a global audience.   Praise for Heather's Stage 32 Webinar   "Heather is amazing. Exactly what I needed!" -Sakura R.   "Heather is so genuine. It’s exhilarating to know there are people in Hollywood who think and talk about ending neo-colonialism and white privilege in such an honest, loving-of-all, brave, humane way." -Sarah B.   "Heather was engaging, relevant, and motivating concerning the topic." -Valerie O.   "I love how much Stage 32 thinks outside the box with webinars and opportunities -- Heather is a fine example of that. She is refreshingly different in her approach, her experience and her advice. She is a kindred spirit, and one with whom I would love to connect. Thank you!" -Anna E.

Creating Realistic Characters for Television and Film

Whether we’re talking about a comedy or drama, sci-fi or horror, a film or television series, animated or live action, short-form or long-form, having good characters is essential. There’s no escaping it. Even a script with everything else going for it, if it doesn’t have strong, compelling characters, it’s not going to work. Great characters connect the audience to your world and ground it in humanity. They provide stakes, bolster your plot and keep it moving. It’s therefore crucial to understand what make an effective character and how you can create that in your own project. Unfortunately there’s not a step-by-step guide to crafting the perfect character. There’s no secret formula and there’s no surefire algorithm. Good characters are complicated and hard to define because so are people. Good characters hold a mirror up to reality and let the audience see themselves or someone else they know in them. And all of that might be fine and good in theory, but what does that actually mean in practice? If you’re a writer how can you create a character who serves as a mirror, who will stick with audiences long after the movie or show ends? And if you’re a producer or director, how can you recognize a great character from a mediocre one through the written word? 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 writing career, Lee has spent more time than most considering the art of character and using that to aid his own career, as well as writers he continues to mentor and champion. Lee will walk you through the power of character and how to create great characters for your own project. He’ll begin by discussing why exactly characters are so vital to story and will teach you the key differences between a TV character and a film character. Next he will give you a brief history of character in storytelling and reveal the one fictional character from history that all other characters draw from. Lee will then discuss the difference between heroes and anti-heroes, as well as help you determine which of your characters is the driver and which are the riders. He’ll then delve into the art of a great antagonist and why an interesting adversary is so crucial to a successful story. Lee will help you frame your story through the clarity of need, both in character and in story. Next Lee will go over the classic Hero’s Journey and slightly re-imagine it for modern times. He will give you strategies and exercises to better understand and develop your own characters, including his “What’s Their God?” and “Changing A Flat Tire” games. He’ll then teach you the concept of revealing character through behavior and hiding character with words. Next Lee will delve into the idea of how your characters fit into your world, including how the environment might change your character. He’ll teach you the Shakespearean approach to character and compare it to the Balzacian approach, and will also discuss the difference between neuroticism and human comedy. Finally Lee will go over the dance between plot and character, illustrating how the two should work with and against each other to create a feedback loop that’s necessary for any great script.        Praise for Lee’s Webinar   “Great insight. Really helped me in moving forward.” -Martin R.   “I really enjoyed Lee's perspective on script writing. The examples he provided were very helpful. I'm very appreciative that he would share his knowledge, some of his techniques and be so generous with his encouragement.” -Simone L.   “Lee had a great way of explaining how to get a feel for the character and why they have the traits they do. Lee did a great job of covering a lot of character related topics which I am glad I have been exposed to.” -Karl H.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In