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 your 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
Because every filmmaker, producer and crew members needs to know how action sequences are created, prepared and executed, Stage 32 brought in a bona fide expert to show you how it's done.
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.
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Over the course of an extended two-and-a-half hour webinar, learn drama pilot story structure from one of Stage 32's most popular and requested instructors Includes case studies, story maps and free script downloads of the pilot episodes of: SUCCESSION LUPIN* THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL THE EXPANSE It almost sounds cliché at this point, but we’re living in the Golden Age of Television, an era where TV dramas as diverse, ambitious, and creative as BETTER CALL SAUL, BRIDGERTON, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, I WILL DESTROY YOU, and MRS. AMERICA are not only put on air, but find an audience and gain serious popularity. This is in turn an era where networks and streamers are actually looking for new voices and new stories. More than ever before, there is a path for your own television drama to be discovered. Yet no matter how great your concept is, how strong your characters are, how diverse, clever or unique your world is, your drama series will not be effective and will not be successful unless you can nail your script’s structure. Nailing your TV drama’s story structure—specifically your pilot—is no easy task. In the span of just 40-60 pages, you have to introduce your world, your characters, your central plot and conflict, and your inciting incident, all while keeping your pacing consistent, finding some resolution for that episode, and allowing your audience to want to watch more. This is a complicated, and delicate game and ultimately comes down to how you structure and map out your script before you start writing. No matter what genre you’re writing in, understanding how to structure your pilot is vital. Gaining a clear grasp on how successful drama pilots are arranged and the rules they all follow is a necessary step if you want to have a show that will get picked up and ultimately connect with an audience. Anna Henry 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, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. One of Stage 32’s most popular instructors of all time, Anna has projects currently in development around the world and is incredibly familiar with what goes into a great television pilot. Anna will go in-depth on how to properly structure your drama TV series pilot and will use real past pilot scripts as examples as she breaks down, act by act, the elements necessary to turn your series pilot into stand-out script. Anna will go over the main types of one-hour pilots and will outline the elements for pilot development, including story engine, world, characters, themes and tone. She’ll discuss how to select and map your own template show as well as incorporating multiple plotlines. Anna will then delve into the function and elements of your pilot’s teaser and Acts 1 through 5, as well as your pilot launch, pilot climax, and series launch. She will finally lay out the most common structure problems that you should avoid. Don’t even think about starting to write your own drama pilot until you gain the tools Anna will provide. Examples will be used from notable past one-hour drama pilots on network, cable, and streaming platforms. PLUS! you will receive pilot scripts and Anna's own story maps for each after the webinar: LUPIN* (Netflix) THE EXPANSE (Syfy) THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL (Amazon) SUCCESSION (HBO) *Pilot script not available for LUPIN Praise for Anna's Previous Stage 32 Webinar: This was my first Stage 32 webinar, and it exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. The slide deck was helpful, and her overall presentation hit all the key topics. Anna and Stage32 delivered the goods. - John R. What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring webinar. It's clear that Anna Henry put an enormous amount of work into this presentation. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. I feel educated and inspired to go back to my own work and do better than what I thought was my best. What could possibly be better than that! Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity. - Crispin L. "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. "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.
When we write scripts there are so many elements to consider in order to create a great story. There’s world building, introducing a vast ensemble of characters, interweaving conflict, creating stakes, and so much more, all while having to hook your audience in a short amount of time. It’s very easy to go overboard and try to cram all of these elements into your story where it gets to a point of oversaturation. This is why it's common for first drafts to be overcomplicated and hard for others to read or get through. Of course, we want to include all the aspects that make the formula of our script a success, but it’s important to do it in a way that is clear, concise, and effective. Making your script clear and not overcomplicated isn’t necessarily always the easiest thing to do. Learning how to trim our stories is difficult and cutting out things that we love is challenging as writers, especially when we’ve spent so much time investing in our projects. However, there are useful strategies and tools you can use to simplify the complexity of your script and create a product that gatekeepers will want to read and executives will want to produce. Screenwriting is all about telling a lot in a short amount of time. Being concise is a skill every writer should master. Samm Haillay is an award-winning producer and BAFTA member whose films have premiered at Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto and London Film Festivals and have collected 35 international awards and nominations worldwide. Samm is also the founder of the BFI Vision Award and MEDIA Slate Funding Award-winning production company Third Films and his short films have collected over 50 international awards and nominations including at BAFTA, Berlin, Venice, Edinburgh and Chicago. Samm has picked up much talent and expertise from the filmmaking industry and shares his experience with the Stage 32 community. Samm will give you invaluable tips, strategies, and exercises that you can use to simplify your own complex script. He will discuss all the vital components of what scripts should include - and then help you boil down everything from what you want to keep in your story to what it actually needs. Samm will share the practice] he developed called “The Story Rainbow”, which examines the relationship and interconnectivity between Story, Narrative and Plot and can be used to further develop your own project.. He will be focusing on how to keep your script simple - yet complex - rather than confusing and complex. Samm's unique understanding of how to simplify complex script has greatly elevated his own career and he is beyond ecstatic to help members of the Stage 32 community to achieve the same.
2 part class taught by Jessica Sitomer, writer, producer and entertainment career coach! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! Everyone says, “It’s all about who you know”. But when you're an introvert, this is A LOT easier said than done. If meeting new people isn't your forte, and if the idea of approaching someone you don't know gives you anxiety, you can feel at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding opportunities. The problem is, though, the less you network, the more challenging it can become, which leads to you networking less, and the vicious cycle takes over. Even in today's world where networking has turned virtual, this can still be incredibly daunting for anyone who isn't extroverted. In reality, no one likes networking, but it is a necessity in this industry. If you are going to get ahead you need to connect with people. The best resume and cover letter in the world can't compete with good old-fashioned human connection, and you will be hard-pressed to find anyone successful in the film and television industry who didn't find a break by meeting and getting to know the right people. But how do you start a conversation? And how do you know you're saying the right thing?? It can seem scary, but it's absolutely achievable, and even for the most introverted among us, there are strategies and exercises to help take away the fear and allow you to network. Let us help. Industry veteran Jessica Sitomer has over 20 years in the industry as a development executive, producer, writer and career coach for the Cinematographers Guild. Through the years she has perfected the art of relationship building - helping creatives grow their networks from one to two people to hundreds to thousands. When she moved to Los Angeles, she knew two people and one of them moved the day after she got to LA. She made it her mission to learn how to survive and thrive in the creative industry. And survive and thrive she has. Not only is Jessica's network huge, but she has also written three best-selling books on the subject of networking and relationship building, And… Action! Powerful, Proven, and Proactive Strategies to Achieve Success in the Entertainment Industry, The Greenlight Coach and You Got This: For Those Who Work Hard and Play Hard - How to go From Burnout to Bliss. In this exclusive two-part class, Jessica will teach you ideal strategies for various networking situations, both physical and virtual, as well as how to develop a clear follow up plan so your networking pays off. Jessica has geared her presentation specifically to introverts and those of us who face anxiety and fear when meeting new people. In the first class, Jessica will discuss the obstacles of networking and how to overcome them. She will cover the do's and don'ts for introverts, how to network when you “don't like people”, how to network when you don't have the time and more. In the second session, Jessica will run through actual conversation and icebreaking scripts to help you craft conversations that will make you look great. She will also cover how to turn those conversations into relationships that you can maintain and how to follow up in your networking to make sure it pays off. Lastly, she will teach you how to maximize a networking opportunity when you're an introvert, and how to read non-verbal clues in social interactions. Praise for Jessica's Stage 32 Class "I thought that Jessica was wonderfully engaging and answered all the questions fully with great insight. I also feel more confident because of how confident she is. I will be recommending her to all my friends!" – J. Gaffney "Great to know HOW to network. Loved the personal stories and hadn't thought of that. Gave me the courage to contact a producer that I'd worked with before and in the conversation he told me he had some story ideas that were right up my alley. We'll see if it works out. Thanks much!" – D. Meyer "Great personality! Made us feel like you were really there to help! Thanks so much!" – D. Levy "I really appreciated all of the advice and the passion in the delivery. I hope to take it to heart and use it to help me succeed". – T. Scharf Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Jessica is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Payment plans are available - contact email@example.com for details 4 Spots Left! If you have to miss a class, don't worry. Each class is recorded and you can watch on-demand PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your comedy pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. Class #1 – Introduction, Character, World This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of comedy pilots and how they differ from network to network. This will include a discussion about Single-Camera and Multi-Camera comedies. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. Also knowing the world your show takes place in. You will have a writing assignment this week. Class #2 – Pilot Outline, Pitch Document This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of comedy pilot (single-camera or multi-camera) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your pitch document. This will include incorporating your character descriptions as well as the pilot storyline, and arc of your show. You will have a writing assignment this week. One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Outline Review (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding your pitch document. Each writer will send in their pitch document in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the pitch document before proceeding with next week’s class. Class #3– Structure, Scenes, Dialogue. Time to Write your Pilot! We will discuss both the Single-Camera and Multi-Camera structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. We will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, dialogue, and jokes. We will also go over all the necessary story beats that exist in a comedy pilot, including traditional page count, act breaks, tags, etc. After this class, you will have 3-4 weeks to complete the first draft of your pilot. Spencer will be available during this time with any questions you have during the process. One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Notes (No Online Class) The assignment this week will be to incorporate any notes given on the pilot before proceeding with next week’s class. Class #4– After You Write Your Pilot Last online class. We will discuss what happens when you take meetings with managers, agents, and showrunners, and how to pitch a comedy pilot. We will also discuss other kinds of TV comedy writing (late-night talk shows, sketch, political comedy talk shows, etc.)
Virtual Reality: The Next Frontier of Filmmaking - You've probably heard this mantra from anyone who's ever picked up a VR headset and they aren't necessarily wrong. New forms of media come along once every couple of decades and VR is the latest form to take shape since the advent of online video. If you're interested in learning what goes into the production of a spherical capture and VR you're in the right place! In this Stage 32 Webinar, Zeke Thomas, an executive producer at Ego 360 (clients include: Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV, and Paramount Pictures) will provide an overview of best practices for shooting a 360 video and spherical capture from concept to execution. He will cover the importance of storytelling in immersive environments, how your location will inform your production workflow, and the best way for consumers to interact with your content. Virtual Reality/spherical capture is a relatively new form of media that is being adopted by consumers at an incredible rate. If you're interested in throwing your hat in the ring, take advantage of Zeke's knowledge to learn about what works and what doesn't for immersive experiences. As an executive producer at Ego 360 and VR your host, Zeke has guided, budgeted, and executed a multitude of projects in immersive storytelling as well as managed client/studio relationships. He has been a filmmaker and storyteller in the digital space since 2007 and continues to produce in both framed and immersive environments.
Learn directly from Heather Hale, an Independent Film and Television Producer, Director and Screenwriter! The entertainment industry is changing dramatically all over the globe. Now, more than ever, there are major opportunities for people who work behind the scenes on set on all types of crew positions. Below-the-line positions are crucial to the success of any film or television. This includes everything from camera operators to gaffers, craft services to costume designers, composers to editors, production assistants to script supervisors – and everything in between! No matter where you live or where you are at in your career, this webinar will help you strategize how to find the best opportunities and points of entry for you to break into the crew business; shift horizontally into new locales or formats; or move up laterally into the higher echelons of professional caliber, marquis value and budgets. Discover an empowered approach to networking to help you get on the right people’s radars, get noticed, gain momentum - and get hired. Learn time-proven techniques and new resources to proactively brainstorm where the opportunities of the moment – and future - might be, who’s doing the hiring – and trace any connections you might have to the decision makers or key players. Learn how to identify, research and prioritize a finely honed hit list of Producers Line Producers, Department Heads, Directors and Below-the-Line Agents who might be accessible to you. Figure out how to track them down, strategize the best approaches to communicate with them and how to develop the kind of track record, resume and interview skills they would most likely respond to. Learn the key words you should be using in your profiles in the online communities that might be worth your time. Below-the-line team members are the lifeblood of any production and an exciting way to work in film and television. Heather uses in-the-trenches humor, candor and real world examples to illuminate the many paths to getting hired - again and again!