Michael Nankin has been a working writer, director, producer, and showrunner for 40 years and has directed action-packed episodes of popular television shows like the Peabody award-winning BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, TAKEN, VAN HELSING, HELL ON WHEELS, CSI, and more. Michael started as a writer/director at Walt Disney Studios at age 22 and his first independent film, THE GATE, was the highest-grossing Canadian-produced film ever at the time of its release. His first series, LIFE GOES ON, was the first series that presented a continuing character with Down Syndrome as well as the first HIV-positive continuing character. Michael’s other directing credits include Showtime’s THE GOOD LORD BIRD, ALPHAS, TURN, DEFIANCE, and the upcoming Stephen King horror series CHAPELWAITE starring Adrien Brody. A Humanitas Prize and Leo Award winner, Michael is an incredibly successful and sought-after director, in part due to his ability to inject action and energy into the projects he takes on. Full Bio »
Action sequences are no longer solely confined to big budget features. Movies and series of every size demand them. And while they can boost the status and popularity of a project, they are also complex and difficult to shoot and require special treatment and knowledge from the director. They are, in some way, mini silent movies, relying on image rather than dialogue to tell the story. To be a successful director today, whether you’re focused on film, television, or anything else, it’s important to have the necessary tools so you can tackle these demanding sequences
An action sequence can eat up your budget and schedule if you’re not prepared. They are cinematically dense and require many more shots, more planning, more time on the set, and more collaboration between departments. Every department will need extra time to prepare and execute and you don’t want anyone to have to be waiting for you. However you don’t need to be Michael Bay or James Cameron to pull this off; any director big or small, experienced or not, can helm an effective action sequence, provided they understand how to tell the story through action, fully prepare ahead of time, and run the set during production.
And we’ve brought in a bona fide expert to show you how to do just that.
Michael Nankin has been a working writer, director, producer, and showrunner for 40 years and has directed action-packed episodes of popular television shows like the Peabody award-winning BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, TAKEN, VAN HELSING, HELL ON WHEELS, CSI, and more. Michael started as a writer/director at Walt Disney Studios at age 22 and his first independent film, THE GATE, was the highest-grossing Canadian-produced film ever at the time of its release. His first series, LIFE GOES ON, was the first series that presented a continuing character with Down Syndrome as well as the first HIV-positive continuing character. Michael’s other directing credits include Showtime’s THE GOOD LORD BIRD, ALPHAS, TURN, DEFIANCE, and the upcoming Stephen King horror series CHAPELWAITE starring Adrien Brody. A Humanitas Prize and Leo Award winner, Michael is an incredibly successful and sought-after director, in part due to his ability to inject action and energy into the projects he takes on.
Exclusively for Stage 32, Michael will lay out how exactly to lay out a fantastic action sequence for your own project. He’ll do this by first explaining how to find the story and character development within the scene and use this as a guide to forming your plan. He’ll then go in-depth on how exactly to prepare for your action scene before you even go on set, including collaborating with the other departments, storyboarding and shotlisting, and the critical wounds and kills meeting. Michael will then teach you how to actually direct the scene on set, detailing camerawork, working with the stunt team, and shooting for visual effects and more.
Along the way, we will examine two specific action sequences from projects directed by Michael Nankin – one from his film RED FACTION: ORIGINS and another from an episode of the celebrated AMC series HELL ON WHEELS. Michael will walk through the choices he made in putting these scenes together.
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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
Learn directly from Producer Mitchell Peck, who has produced 3 studio movies with worldwide distribution! Hollywood is a global aspiration. This year, 80+ countries submitted films for Academy Awards consideration. And the number of aspiring screenwriters is growing every year thanks to websites like Stage 32, and others. Tech and resource barriers to entry for filmmakers are being lowered, with DSLR's, iPhones, online distribution, social media, etc. Financing is easier than ever before, thanks to options like Slated, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, etc. Filmmaking is finally a democratic medium. Yet, at the same time, Hollywood remains largely impenetrable -- and opaque -- to outsiders. Literary agencies, production companies and movie studios will not read "unsolicited submissions." Hollywood is an inefficient system; good material falls through the cracks all the time. For 20 years in Hollywood as a movie producer, Producer Mitchell Peck has specialized in identifying material (scripts, books, articles, life-rights, etc.) and aspiring screenwriters from outside the Hollywood system -- and successfully guiding them into Hollywood's best literary agencies, top management-production companies, and major movie studios. (Check out some of Mitchell’s success stories on his website below). Few producers can boast the same track-record of success as Mitchell on behalf of aspiring screenwriters. In this webinar, "Anatomy of a Hollywood Movie Deal: 7 Case Studies of Success with Producer Mitchell Peck” Mitchell will shed light on -- and hopefully demystify -- the process of successfully navigating the Hollywood marketplace by sharing highlights from seven (7) Hollywood movie deals in which he successfully guided aspiring screenwriters to top agency representation, script development deals, and-or produced studio movies with worldwide distribution.
Learn directly from Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who recently sold a pilot to CBS. Benderspink sold more spec scripts last year than any other management company and are best known for producing The Hangover franchise, The Ring franchise, We’re The Millers, Horrible Bosses 2, among many others! With the recent success of films such as It Follows, Insidious Chapter 3, Poltergeist and The Visit, it is evident that horror is becoming one of the most profitable and exciting genres in the industry. This is because horror films can be made on the cheap and still yield spectacular returns at the box office. Horror doesn’t rely on big IP, superheroes, or movie stars – all horror needs to deliver is a compelling story, told well, packed with plenty of chills and thrills. However, delivering on this is far easier said than done, and many writers miss important story elements that keep their horror scripts dead in the water. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Scott Stoops, a manager at Benderspink who is passionate about genre films, will teach you what makes a horror film successful, from developing a marketable and commercial plot, to unique and scary set pieces, to properly structuring and formatting your script to tell the best story possible. You will learn high-level story concepts, tips and tricks to help make your horror script scary and effective, and get an insider perspective on what concepts and types of horror films are currently selling in the marketplace. You will leave this webinar with an understanding of not only how to make your existing scripts stronger, but how to develop and come up with the next big horror hit film!
Any producer can tell you just how much goes into creating a budget for a film. Layer after layer, projection after projection, contingency after contingency, it’s always an incredibly difficult, incredibly fragile, and incredibly intricate document that take an immense amount of work and care to put together. And with so many elements involved, it’s just too big and specialized for a program like Excel to handle. There is a reason why nearly every studio, producer, accountant and unit production manager utilizes Movie Magic Budgeting to write budgets. If you are in the position where you have been asked to create a budget, Movie Magic is absolutely essential. It is the easiest and cleanest budgeting program and can handle anything from shorts to multi-cam and single camera series to full features. It is both simple and deeply complex as you start getting into the minutiae of everything it can do. Yet a solid understanding of how to operate Movie Magic is a powerful tool in the arsenal of those looking to move up into management on either the show or studio level and might be a requirement for those looking to find success in their producing career. Rami Rank is a leading and sought-after producer with credits on shows including Amazon's GOLIATH, Showtime’s DEXTER, SWINGTOWN on CBS, HELP ME and HELP YOU on ABC, as well as features such as the remake of APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Beginning his career working on indie features as a Production Coordinator, Production Manager and Line Producer, Rami later joined Universal Studios where in addition to helping manage the Backlot and Stage Operations he also ran UVS-1, Universal’s Virtual Production business. Since then, he returned to production and continues to put together high profile films and series. Through his storied career, Rami has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of Movie Magic Budgeting and set to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rami will give a full walkthrough of how to successfully use the Movie Magic Budgeting (MMB) software to put together a budget for your own film or series. He will begin by giving an overview of what the budget will look like on MMB, including the top sheet, the accounts, details, helpful shortcut keys, and understanding what amt, units, x, cur, and rate mean. Next he will talk you through how to set up a budget from scratch, including how to choose the right template, input budget info, and set up your header and footer. Rami will teach you how to set up and use different units and will then delve into globals, explaining what they are and how to create them. He’ll to through global groups, applying globals and changing globals. Then he will discuss fringes, explaining what they are in the context of MMB, and go over percentage fringes, flat rate fringes, applying and removing fringes, and setting the fringe account. He will also explain how groups work on MMB, why they are important, how to create them yourself, and how to turn them on and off. Next Rami will explain how to use the currency function and how to set up and build contractual fees. Finally Rami will break down additional basic functions of MMB including pagination, recalculation, and printing and PDF conversion. Movie Magic Budgeting can be an intimidating software, but Rami will give you an accessible and actionable walkthrough so you can have the tools and confidence to build your own budget with it. Rami will be operating from Movie Magic's Version 7.7, the Legacy version of its budgeting software, which is also the version that most professional producers currently use. Praise for Rami's Stage 32 Webinar "It was great, good presenter, very experienced, good communication" -Paul B. "Terrific host, valuable content." -Mark M. "Rami was great. He was entertaining, and showed he knew what he was teaching. Webinar flowed well and was engaging for the whole timeframe" -Nicholas B. "Very helpful, good overview of the software" -Angie L.
Learn directly from a studio executive, Nikki Levy, Vice President of Wedge Works at FOX! They say “write what you know” and then we sit there racking our brains for story ideas. What’s that big silver bullet, high-concept idea that will get me noticed? That will sell? That will put me on the map? STOP! There is a better saying, “If you survived childhood, you have enough stories to last for the rest of your life.” And that’s where my money is. Some of the most important screenplays and TV shows in the last two decades have come from complete TRUTH. Think of Seinfeld or the groundbreaking movie (500) Days of Summer. We don’t have to look outside ourselves for great ideas. What we have to do is look inwards, at our own life and pain and joys, to create great story ideas, comedy and dialogue. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nikky Levy, veteran feature film executive and creator of the critically-acclaimed comedy event Don’t Tell My Mother!, will teach you how to turn your life into a killer story that gets YOU noticed. She will look at ways to find the gems of struggle and victory in your life, and how to translate those into cohesive stories with an arc, a strong narrative structure and characters we love. Nikki will examine how to keep our work from becoming a therapy session, and instead crafting it into an emotional, funny, relatable story. She will examine movies that did this successfully, and why. She will also discuss how to spin your own personal history into an engaging “story” so you wow executives, agents, managers and talent.
Learn directly from Jordan Bass, Casting Director and partner in bass/casting, a bicoastal casting company with feature film and television credits including New Line Cinema's Annabelle, Starz' Spartacus pilot, Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism, and HBO's newest Project Greenlight among others! For many independent films, the filmmaker also wears the hat of casting director. How do you go about the casting process? How do you choose one actor over another when they both had a good audition? What should you be looking for to create your ensemble cast? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Bass will breakdown the steps in the general casting process so you have a full comprehension of casting, from script to screen. He will focus primarily on the approach to independent film, and will share his advice on how to best tackle the "puzzle" that is creating a great ensemble cast. You will leave this webinar knowing: A general understanding of the basic casting process from first read to final locked class. How to dissect a script. The most effective tips to writing a character breakdown. A general understanding of the audition process. The most common pitfalls actors make during auditions Tips for creating a great working ensemble. Jordan Bass is a well-respected casting director, as well as partner in bass/casting, a bi-costal casting company run by brother-sister team Jordan and Lauren Bass. Recent theatrical films include the New Line thriller Annabelle, Lionsgate's Summer Camp, Chris Sparling's The Atticus Institute, and Friedberg & Seltzer's hilarious send-up of the Fast & Furious franchise Superfast. Upcoming releases include HBO's new Project Greenlight feature The Leisure Class, Blumhouse'sMartyrsdirected by The Goetz Bros, Sean Nalaboff's Hard Sell and Ryan Schwartz's Still Life.
4 part class taught by WGA Award-nominated writer John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures. AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! The first 10 pages and the last 10 pages of a script are the most important. Making an executive walk away from a read of your script with a powerful impression is crucial to getting your script made. The last pages of a script come with their own web of problems (how to tie everything together, how to complete a character's arc, how to create a powerful final image, etc.). Sometimes a time crunched executive will read the first and last 10 pages of a script before deciding to read the whole thing. A writer has to make sure that they "stick the landing." Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: “Always Be Closing” - How to Write a Killer Final 10 Pages taught by John Shepherd, Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures (Black Swan, The Woman In Black, Ides of March). Learn how to make your last act resonate for your characters, your audience, yourself and the executive reading it. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although John is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!