Alex Darke sparked an interest in film the same way many people have in the past - in his backyard. From a young age, Alex was creating films for school projects and using basic effects to create narratives and animations. After high school, Alex ventured out to California where he attended the University of Southern California's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. He honed in on the craft of filmmaking and made a number of films and television series along the way. After graduating, he was quickly snagged by the theatrical distribution company 41 Inc. where he went on to become the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions (one of the youngest executives in Hollywood at the time). After leaving 41 Inc. he decided to consult other distribution companies in marketing, acquisitions, and fulfillment - including the highly successful international sales agency Highland Film Group. Missing the action of the set, Alex left the distribution world and moved into television as Cinematographer for Larry King's company Ora Media. There he has produced, directed, shot, edited and worn every hat possible as an original key crew member for the company. Since then, Alex has been creating projects with his business partner Trevor L. Nelson and his company Gilded Cinema. The company is devoted to the production of independent cinema and reigniting the spark of creative vision in the world of narrative video and film. Full Bio »
Some of what Alex teaches in this webinar includes:
YouTube & Digital and Social Video as a Business
Cinematography: Back to the Basics
Why DSLRs are a great tool to learn cinematography
Graduating from DSLR to Cinema Camera
Faces are the cornerstone of cinematography
3-point lighting is not a rule
There is no darkness, but ignorance. It doesn’t matter what fixture it comes from, it is your task as a cinematographer to mold and shape it into the quality of light that you want.
Wrapping Up. The be-all and the end-all.
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Learn how to make your unique voice shine in your writing from a Creative and Production Executive at a top production company! We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar: "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B.
Exclusive opportunity only available on Stage 32! Stage 32 Masters of Craft Series Presents: Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Animation is one of the most in-demand genres of film and television with a wide audience appeal. Whether it's billion dollar box office hits like THE LION KING, ZOOTOPIA, MINIONS or FROZEN or Emmy-winning television like THE SIMPSONS, BOB'S BURGERS or RICK AND MORTY, there is always a need for fun, fantastic and unique storytelling through animation. Animation as a medium is much different than its live action counterpart and requires a unique series of skills. One of the most important among them is pitching. A good pitch stands between you and your greenlight. Pitching animation is unlike any other storytelling. First, you are in charge of not only nailing a perfect pitch complete with character and story arcs, but you are also in charge of helping your audience visualize something that doesn't exist yet. Being able to do both and succeed can be challenging. You have to know how to map out your story, how to lay out your storyboards and how to verbally hone in on a perfect pitch. Missing a key element can mean you will get a pass. To make sure you put your best foot forward, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring you an exclusive Masters of Craft webinar with Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Paul Watling has orbited the animation industry for the past two decades, honing his skills as a director, story artist and designer, joining Nickelodeon. He was head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s Academy award winning feature, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER VERSE and contributed to numerous television and feature productions most recently, as a director on Craig McCracken's Netflix series KID COSMIC. He served as a story artist on several other Sony Pictures Animation films, including SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, along with a multitude of feature development projects. Paul relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a storyboard artist, designer and director on a variety of television productions, such as GROJBAND, SIDEKICK, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, YIN YANG YO, ATOMIC BETTY and ED, EDD N EDDY. Conrad Vernon is an American director, writer, storyboard artist and voice over artist best known for his work on the DreamWorks Oscar-Nominated animated film series SHREK as well as other films such as MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED AND PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. He also co-directed the adult animated film SAUSAGE PARTY and the newest release of the animated movie THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Conrad is now tapped to direct an animated movie version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar Paul and Conrad will go over what a story pitch is for animation and how it can affect your story board. They will teach you how to prepare for a story pitch and how to plan a pitch story board. They will share from their decades of experience things that work well and things that do NOT work well in a pitch. And, exclusively to Stage 32, you will see video of the actual in-room pitch Conrad did for SHREK 2 - complete with the live pitch, the story boards and the final product! Paul will even do a live pitch to the class. You will get to see how the top pros pitch! Join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how two of the top people in animation today pitch - you'll walk away with creative ideas on how to apply it to your future pitches! PRAISE FOR CONRAD'S TEACHINGS: "Conrad teaching is like a master class in animation." - Miguel V. "Wit, wisdom and no bull-sh*t. Conrad was clear in what it takes to work in animation. Bring him back please!" - Tiffany F. "Conrad is a terrific instructor who I learned a tremendous amount from. I especially like how thorough he is in explaining technical details." - Paul I.
Learn From A Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and more! "It was amazing, enlightening - completely. I learned soooo much - especially as a feature writer who's been asked to turn a feature script into a pilot!! Thank you soooooo much." -Kristin G. The market for historical dramas is hot. Shows like The Crown, Genius: MLK/X, The Law According To Lidia Poet, The Great, Babylon Berlin, The Empress, Call the Midwife and more are dominating with controversial plot lines and riveting characters. But to sell a historical drama, you first need to know the specifics of writing this specialized genre. You need to understand what type of intellectual property makes for a compelling story and then have the skills necessary to turn this historical piece into a modern, binge-worthy series that speaks to today's audiences. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar, industry veteran Anna Henry who has worked as a development executive and producer and has shepherded numerous projects through networks and streamers is here to show you how. Anna is a Producer and Development Executive who has worked at CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, and multiple production companies, as well as a manager at Andrea Simon Entertainment. Her clients have worked on shows such as THE DEUCE, POWER, IN CONTEMPT, TOMMY, VIDA, SEVEN SECONDS, HUNG, CHICAGO FIRE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, THIS IS US, and THE FLASH, and have set up projects at AMC, Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, and more. Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. If you are developing a historical drama or ever want to try, this information-packed webinar is a must! Praise for Anna's Stage 32 webinar: "The webinar was fantastic. I am writing my first one hour drama pilot so this webinar was packed with the exact information that I will be immediately putting to use in my rewrite. The slides were clear, concise and informative. The speaker was excellent at conveying the information I needed." -Bobby C. "It was really great information. Anna was a terrific host, very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information and tips." -Marla H. "Comprehensive, insightful. Combined a lot of material I had heard snippets of on character, world dev, etc. but artfully stitched together in one presentation." -James F.
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out. The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve. Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry. Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar: "This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!" -Allie R. "This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!" -Taylor D. "I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!" -Gail B. "This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects." -Irene C.
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.
Theater closures brought on by the global pandemic are now leading exhibition and distribution communities to work together and think outside-the-box in order to preserve the arthouse theatrical landscape. Imagine a world without arthouse theaters. It’s a bleak concept for cinephiles and filmmakers alike. In a world where landing a traditional, theatrical commitment from a distributor is like winning the golden cup, what are our options when none of those theaters are open? More so, how do we keep independent theaters, already operating on thin margins, alive to fight another day and provide filmmakers, producers and financiers viable options to make profits on their films? Thankfully, there's a new an exciting option to explore. Navigating a successful theatrical release is an enormous challenge, in and of itself, when exhibition is operating normally. Add in a global pandemic and those challenges rise even higher. What are the options? Does your distributor simply claim force majeure and rush you into the home entertainment landscape? Will the home entertainment revenues be hurt by the lack of theatrical exposure? How do theaters survive and make money when they can’t have patrons at their physical locations? In times of crisis, it’s always impressive to see innovation born of necessity. Behold the birth of the "virtual theatrical" release, which has emerged and become a key player in these virtual times. But what is that exactly? How does it work? Can you make money and are other digital platforms willing to accept theaters playing in their sandbox? It’s the new Wild West. Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. Kristin has been at the forefront of this emerging distribution option "virtual theatrical" and will bring her experience to the Stage 32 community for you to understand what it is, how you can make money for your film from it and if it's right for you. Kristin will go over the current theatrical distribution landscape which has been affected by the COVID19 pandemic and discuss current available options for your film's distribution. She will introduce a brand new type of distribution, virtual theatrical, and break down the players, how it works from a macro and micro level and how it makes money. She'll go over how to navigate this new reality and how virtual theatrical folds into traditional and non-traditional release plans, reporting and logistics. She'll go over the pros and cons of a virtual theatrical release and help you decide if it's the right thing for your film. She'll also discuss what the future holds for distribution and buying habits in the current environment. These are challenging, yet exciting times for the industry and especially for those working in independent film. Kristin will give you all the current information and guide you through all scenarios including virtual theatrical to assure that your film has the best chance at profitability. Praise for Kristin's Stage 32 Webinar: "Very informative and have learned a great deal. Will definitely put to use for our Feature Film Projects. Thank you!" -Haskell A. "The webinar was cutting edge and valuable information" -Angela G. "Very good practical information detailed enough to get the lay of the land on this topic." -James P. "Great info in a new age." -Mary M.