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 »
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!
Anne Marie Gillen and Nikki Hevesy
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“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.
"No" "Pass" "It's not for me" - What do you do when your script gets passed on by every company you send it to? Screenwriting is extremely hard, especially when it comes to handling rejection. But the reality is, the "no's" are a normal and part of the game. Even professional screenwriters get rejected numerous times a year. This webinar will offer tips and best practices for how to accept rejection, learn from it, and move on. Rejection can actually be empowering, and going through its trenches will ultimately make your scripts stronger and your victories feel that much better. Many aspiring writers let rejection, or the fear of rejection, stop their career before it even starts. Far too many writers quit after one or two scripts that didn’t sell. Even worse, many would-be writers don't even finish a script because they are afraid that it will never find success. Don't let that happen to you. Unless you’re a prodigy, rejection is something you will encounter over and over and over again, even if you become a working writer. But there are ways to prepare yourself for it, and use it as a teaching device to help you become better at what you love. The reality is, you can’t control if someone doesn’t like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection, and how you choose to move forward. ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full time working screenwriter. He didn't give up and neither should you. Steve has landed on the industry Black List four times and worked with major production companies and studios including Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE), Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, and more. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and he's co-writing a project at Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) attached to direct. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards. Steve believes that going through these trenches ultimately makes your script stronger and your victories even better. In this empowering webinar he'll prepare you for it so that you become better at what you love by showing you: The different kinds of rejection, including "no," no response, and the toxic response How to use rejection to make your script better The feedback process and finding trusted readers Defeating self-rejection How to get your script out there Understanding gatekeepers and how to get past them Tracking your submission progress while celebrating the wins Juggling multiple projects so you're always moving forward And so much more! You can't control if someone doesn't like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection and use it to your advantage. "Before hearing from Steve, I would take months off between scripts if I got a really mean rejection because I couldn't handle it. Now, I'm always working on something new. If they don't want my script. No problem, someone else will or I'll make it myself!" - Emilio S.
Payment plans are available - please contact email@example.com to learn more A NEW EXCLUSIVE LAB Only 2 Spots Remain! Rewrite Your Animation Pilot Script with an Animation Professional and Veteran with 25+ Years of Experience Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix have joined FX's ARCHER, Adult Swim's RICK AND MORTY and Fox's THE SIMPSONS as juggernaut animated series and the list is only growing. The opportunities to write animation may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite pilot script to present. The old adage that writing is rewriting is especially true for animation and comedy scripts that need to be tight, punchy, and effective in every sense. And since television writing is almost always a collaborative process, a necessary step to making your project successful is to bring in different perspectives, different senses of humor, and some expertise to get the script fine-tuned and to the point where it’s truly special. We have just the person to help you with this. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who produced and directed on shows like THE SIMPSONS and the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. Mike will lead an intimate and valuable writers’ workshop with a small group of students to help rewrite and fine tune each writer’s animation pilot script, line by line. Each session, Mike will focus on 1-2 scripts and work with the group to punch up and improve each. Not only will you receive extended and personalized attention from an expert in the field to improve your own work, but you will also have the opportunity to support other writers with their own projects and learn valuable lessons from the process that you can take back to your own work. Expect to leave this unique program with a much-improved pilot script, a set of tools you can take with you to better improve and rewrite other projects, and a supportive group of like-minded writers from around the world. Note: Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Education: "Mike Disa is the most knowledgeable, helpful, and straightest shooter I've ever met. He helped improve my pilot 1,000%. If you have the opportunity to work with Mike, take it. You will not regret it." - Aimee P.
If you're planning to shoot an ultra-low budget feature film you need the right resources to maximize your budget From pre-production, on set and post-production. We've brought in Spirit Award winning producer Jim Wareck, who produced Shaka King's directorial debut and Sundance hit, NEWLYWEEDS, to teach you how you can stretch each dollar to make sure that the quality shows up on screen. Jim certainly knows how to do this. After he produced NEWLYWEEDS, his director Shaka King went on to direct JEDUS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, which won 2 oscars and was nominated for 6! Like it or not, producing a film of any level or any size is a giant investment—not just of time and passion, but of MONEY. Hiring a crew, negotiating talent, locking down equipment, locations, costumes, props, even film festival submission fees—costs add up quickly. And if you’re an independent filmmaker with limited resources, it’s almost too easy to exceed your budget or not even find the money you think you need in the first place. This is why, as an independent filmmaker, you need to be smart about where you spend money and how. Understanding how to navigate this can make all the difference and determine whether you’ll ultimately be able to produce your project or not. You’ll never be able to make your film for free, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend millions. On the contrary, you’ll find that most film productions spend more than they need to, investing in equipment they don’t need or otherwise wasting money on unnecessary steps. Experienced independent filmmakers are adept at understanding where to cut costs, where to find shortcuts, where to ask for favors, and where you should REALLY be devoting the bulk of your money towards. With the right strategies and approach, you’ll be surprised by how frugally you can make your movie without sacrificing quality. Jim will walk through the process of producing your own ultra low budget feature from pre-production through post and give you strategies to spend your money efficiently and stretch every dollar every step of the way when you have limited resources available. He will break down where money is normally wasted in a production and teach you how to create and stick to a realistic budget in all its complexities. Jim will help you identify opportunities to save money in pre production, including working with your writer to write for your budget level, targeting and attracting the right cast and crew, identifying who you actually need, and how to negotiate rates. You’ll learn the pitfalls of budget drains on set, how to build an actionable shoot schedule, and how to remain as EFFICIENT as possible each shooting day. You’ll even gain tips on how to save money in post production so you can fully understand how and where to find shortcuts in your project and what aspects should never be skimped on. Through this invaluable webinar, Jim will arm you with the understanding of how much you really need, of money AND yourself, to produce your film.
If you’re tired of your soul-sucking job or you have your own entrepreneurial venture but need to make more money now (because you’re tired of stealing your neighbors car and living off of Ramen Noodles), this webinar was built for you. During this jam-packed 90 minute teaching, you’ll learn how to find paid speaking, teaching, and writing opportunities that you didn’t even know existed. The best part is, you can start finding them right away and making more bankroll almost immediately. These opportunities not only bring in more money for you, they allow you to live your life on your terms and your timeline so that you can focus on building your career as a writer, actor, director, producer, fill in the creative blank. The fun doesn’t end there. If you sell a product or service, but find people are constantly trying to undercut you or get you to do it for mere pennies, we’re going to talk about what you can say and do to turn that around. You’re done giving yourself away. You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Aside from my time on the streets of Syracuse chasing criminals and crooked politicians (as a reporter, people, mind out of the gutter), I’ve had the pleasure of speaking on stages, hosting masterminds and workshops, and putting up live events for the past fifteen years. As a writer, I ghostwrite blog posts, books, and other content marketing pieces for other Creatives. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to find these kinds of opportunities, too. The best part? You don’t need prior writing experience. I’ve discovered that these multiple streams of income are the answer to creating a lifestyle that affords me the time and space I need to write my own scripts and take off for auditions or roles I’ve been cast in. If you’re tired of the crap job, you want to watch this. If you’re struggling to get your own small business off the ground, you want to watch this. But most of all, if you want to learn what it takes to create multiple steams of income that give you the time, money, and space you need to stay true to your talents, you really, really want to watch this.
Not only are more and more film festivals accepting short films, but festivals dedicated to nothing but short films have become more popular than ever. Additionally, more managers, agents, and producers are looking to short films to find untapped talent and new ideas. So many successful filmmakers today, from Christopher Nolan to Damien Chazelle, have used short films as a calling card to showcase their skills and show the world that they were ready for the big time. But shooting a quality short film means raising some financing. And for many, this can be challenging. One thing that many creatives avoid when putting together a short film is everything that goes into the business end. From determining and compiling a true and realistic budget, to being able to tell your creative and financial story within a pitch deck, to thinking about a distribution strategy and recoupment plan well before shooting, there is so much to think about toward getting investors in your corner beyond the creative. Allow us to help you by showing you everything you need to know so that you can attract investors looking to get behind you, your unique vision and your work. ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR JT Molner knows a thing or two about raising funds for shorts and feature films. Although JT is a writer and director, he's been deep in the trenches in raising funds for his projects leaving no stoned unturned and nothing to chance. After raising financing for many successful shorts which caught the eyes of producers and talent, JT rolled up his sleeves and helped his producers raise financing for his first feature film, Outlaws and Angels, which was originally shot as a short film as proof of concept. The feature became an Official Selection at Sundance and was sold to Orion Films. He will teach you everything he's learned from his decade of raising financing for his short films and other projects. And, as an added Bonus you'll receive a pitch deck from JT's film OUTLAWS AND ANGELS which started as a short film proof of concept, and went on to be made as a feature, being selected as an Official Selection at Sundance and selling to Orion films! Holy clarity! I've made so many mistakes along the way. Every short film has seemed like a struggle not worth reliving and now I understand why. These wounds were self inflicted. Thank you, JT, for not only (kindly) setting things straight, but for opening my eyes. I can't wait to get started on my next project. - Manford C.
It’s the dream of many to have a career as a writer for TV or film, to be able to make a living creating worlds and telling stories. However finding success as a writer is rarely easy, no matter how talented you are. Once you’re able to get your script into the hands of someone who can do something real with it, your script can speak for itself. But until then, you have to strive to get your work read and make sure it stands out from the others. This can be very tough. Without a professional, targeted approach, you could have the talent and the drive for a successful and sustained career as a writer but never get the opportunity. Once you’ve worked on your craft and put the finishing touches on a script you’re proud of, it’s important to remember your job as a writer is not yet done. You still need to get your script into the right hands and make sure you stand out from the crowd. There’s no singular blueprint to get discovered and find success as a writer. Every writer’s story is different and often involves a bit of luck and happenstance. That said, there are many paths available that working writers can take advantage of. Making use of opportunities like notes services, coverage and scores, competitions, script hosting services, festivals, networking, queries, and more, can help get you on the right track as a writer and help attract the attention of busy managers, agents, and producers. Ashley Berns is a long-time literary manager who worked at respected management company Circle of Confusion for 15 years before opening his own company, Leigh Hill Management. Ashley also serves as executive producer for the Showtime comedy series WORK IN PROGRESS. Over his career, Ashley has worked with a slew of talented writer and helped them find success and build their creative career, and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Ashley will go through the nuts and bolts and provide you with an introduction of how to build your own career in screenwriting. He will discuss what you should always have in your screenwriting “tool kit” including script formatting and other materials to have at your disposal. He’ll explain literary representation and the difference between a manager, an agent, and a lawyer and how they work together. He’ll also delve into whether you need representation in the first place. Next Ashley will talk about networking and how to come across professional when speaking with others. Finally Ashley will teach you how best to get noticed, including writing cold queries and using opportunities like festivals, competitions, script hosting, and script coverage to advance your career. Expect to leave with a much clearer idea of paths to take to better approach your writing career and strategies to better find clear success and get noticed.