Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
There is A LOT that goes into making a film. Countless roles, countless facets, countless obstacles. And while all aspects are important and necessary to put together a successful film, there are few components more crucial than casting. The cast is not only the key component in delivering your screenplay to an audience but it also determines whether or not you actually get your film made. Funding is often contingent on casting and on recognizable talent being attached, as is distribution deals which will allow your film to ultimately be seen. Actors have a huge influence on how the finished film will be received so how do you approach them and secure their services?
Many independent filmmakers quickly write off the idea of including name talent in their project, believing it’s a fool’s errand or something you can’t actually accomplish without deep pockets and deeper connections. This isn’t necessarily true, though. What is essential is a complete understanding of how the casting system works and how to successfully navigate it as an independent filmmaker. Perhaps the most important aspect of this process is the actor meeting, where you pitch your film and convince the actor or their reps to join the project. So much hinges on this meeting, and nailing it can make all the difference. So how exactly can you pitch a bigger actor to star in your project? With so many film projects to choose from, why should they choose yours?
Piotr Szkopiak is an experienced director whose latest film THE LAST WITNESS starring Alex Pettyfer (I AM NUMBER FOUR) was released in cinemas nationwide in Poland on 156 screens and in theaters and on digital and DVD in the UK and US. The film also won 33 awards and was selected to screen at film festivals around the world, including in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto & Sydney. His first feature film, SMALL TIME OBSESSION was released theatrically in the UK with both Variety and The Guardian describing him as “a director to watch”. Piotr has also directed countless episodes of television, including episodes of the BBC series CASUALTY, FATHER BROWN, DOCTORS, EASTENDERS, and SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY-PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS. Through his career, Piotr has found success in attaching in-demand actors like Alex Pettyfer and is prepared to share his strategies and techniques exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Piotr will teach you how to successfully navigate and execute a key actor meeting in order to bring on a high level actor for your independent project. He will begin by going over how to build your wish list of the actors you’d like for your film, including how to choose who should go on the list, how to navigate creative vs. business choices, setting expectations early and being realistic, and dealing with budget. He will then explain how to approach your desired actor. He’ll explain how to navigate the catch 22 of attaching actors, which is the fact that you need money to go to actors, but you need actors to get money. He’ll talk about when in the process of your project to make contact, who to contact first and how, and how best to work with agents. Piotr will delve into how best to prep for the actor meeting. He’ll talk about the difference between a video conference meeting and a face-to-face one and go over what you should know going in. He’ll walk you through the research you should do ahead of time and where you should choose to meet and why. He’ll also give you a rundown of what your appearance should be for a good first impression and what the proper etiquette is. He’ll give you an idea of the key questions to ask your actor and how best to communicate your vision and prepare your look book to make a convincing case. Piotr will also give you tips of what to do if you’re facing a creative disconnect and how to overcome it. He’ll also go over how best to take criticism if it comes up during the meeting and how to ultimately know if you found the right fit for your actor. He will next teach you best practices for the meeting follow up, including the next steps to take care of right after the meeting, what the do’s and don’ts are, and how to deal with production delays that may come up in the process. Finally, Piotr will go through a case study of his own film THE LAST WITNESS and explain how he ultimately landed the actors Alex Pettyfer and Robert Wieckiewicz to play his lead roles. He’ll discuss the early development of the film, how he attached his producer, and when the key actors became part of the plan. Piotr will even share the look book he created to convince the actors to join. Key actor meetings are scary things, but Piotr will give you the tools you need to navigate them with more confidence and develop the skills to nab your dream actor.
"In my experience the choice of lead actors for your film is hugely important and in most cases the difference between whether your film is made or not. For the smaller independent production, this can not only feel daunting and nigh on impossible as this is what I felt myself but I am proof that it is possible. I'm excited to share how I managed to secure the actors for my feature film in the hope it can help you to nail down the perfect actor for your own project."
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.
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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.
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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!
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is finding financiers and raising funds for your film. You may have a great script, a great cast and crew, but at the end of the day no money means no project. It seems like everywhere you turn these days there are thousands of films getting made, so where are all these filmmakers finding their financing? And what makes these projects so special and attractive that financiers are ready, willing and able to write a big check? The answers are simpler than you think. The key that separates a successful producer, filmmaker, director or actor or screenwriter looking to control their own content from those still struggling is the ability to raise and close the money necessary to make the project a reality. For many, the belief is that a great script is all you need to attract investors. Although story is still king, it's not the only factor that goes into a financier making separating your project from all others that are presented to him or her. To set yourself up requires work, research, and a targeted plan of attack. It requires a full understanding of the financial prospects of your project, the marketplace, and potential distribution and recoupment strategies. And most of all, and this may surprise some people, it requires you to be personable, collaborative, and to have an ability to listen and adjust where necessary. Tom Malloy has raised over $25M in funding for films. He co-owns the distribution/foreign sales company Glass House Distribution, and two production companies - Trick Candle Productions and Blood House Productions. Over the years Tom has produced almost two dozen feature films and has worked with Dakota and Elle Fanning, Elisabeth Moss, Amy Smart, Billy Zane, Eliza Dushku and many more. Throughout all these projects he's mastered the art of raising capital to greenlight a project. And, he's going to share with you how you can find money for your own project! Tom will focus in on how to identify, attract and sell investors who are a fit for your project. He'll introduce the HNI (High Net Worth Individual) and how you can find and approach them. You will learn how to tailor and perfect your financing pitch so that it's personal, professional and stands out from the pack, and learn to be prepared for any responses, feedback, or kickback you might receive. As important, you'll learn the three mistakes commonly made when approaching and pitching an investor. Tom will show you how to research investors, and give you an actual list making technique that works. Then, once you have your plan, he'll teach you how to get and win meetings. He'll teach you which markets are worth attending and how to put a plan of attack in place once you get there. Finally, Tom will teach you 5 tips on how to close your investor. This is proven advice from someone who has a track record of over a decade being successful and finding financing. "Solid gold Tom! Thanks for all the handy tips to put into place. You made the process seem so much easier to find people to actually invest in my film!" - Steven R. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the projects I put in front of investors. What I've learned is I don't have the right strategy or message to make them understand why I have such confidence. This webinar changed all that for me. I realize now that I had much of it backwards and was missing many key components that made my pitch, and frankly, my follow up methods lacking. I'm grateful." - David W.
Learn directly from Jake Detharidge, Head of Development and Production at 3311 Productions (In A World... starring Lake Bell, Eva Longoria and Big Sur starring Kate Bosworth) In times of financial crisis, people will still go and see movies - it will always be an affordable luxury. Most scholars and critics will say the golden age of the studios was in the late 20’s through early 30’s, some say it was post WW2 through the 50’s…but the real ‘Golden Age’ was circa 1998 – 2008. Studios were spending at an all-time high and had a strangle hold on domestic theatrical distribution. Meaning: you either made a movie through a studio, or your movie wasn’t ever seeing the light of day in the states. There were the few small (literally, small) exceptions, but for the most part it was working with a Big Major - or nothing. Now, however, we’re in this new frontier of feature films. There are literally dozens upon dozens of film financiers and sales agents all over the world with more money looking to invest in film than there are actual, legitimate film projects to be made. With more financiers then ever before, how do you navigate the roaring waters of getting your ‘independent’ movie made? What are the budget levels you should realistically be considering, and how does that directly relate to the finished product that you hope to achieve? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jake Detharidge will go into detail describing the current market place of independent film financing, how it is shifting, and how to apply that to your specific project. You will learn how and why independent financing, investing, packaging and distribution are the future of feature films in the US, and the world.
In today's world of independent filmmaking, the VOD, SVOD & AVOD distribution strategy becomes a stronger option for many filmmakers. We've brought in 15 year executive Chad Miller who has worked with hundreds of filmmakers on their distribution strategy through his working relationship with platforms such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and iTunes to teach for Stage 32 Next Level Education. In this exclusive webinar, Chad will break down the very important topic of how to window the release of your film. Making sure that you are going to market during the most opportune time is key to a successful distribution strategy. Chad will give you an overview of VOD, SVOD & AVOD and explain the evolution of windowing strategies and why & when it makes sense to break with the traditional windowing strategies. He'll also go over the revenue expectations, deal strategy basics and give you a comprehensive look so you are prepared when it's time to release your film.
Finding the right manager is as important as honing your craft as an actor. Your manager is an essential teammate for helping you find opportunities, get you in rooms to audition and guide your career as an artist. But, how do you know if you're representation-ready and how do you know what to expect (or what questions to ask) when you're given the opportunity to be repped? With so many actors vying for the chance to work in film, TV and digital it's harder than ever to stand out.. Assuring that you are bringing your "A" game to every audition and situation, understanding what you can do to improve, and knowing which auditions are right for you are key components toward becoming an actor who works time and time again. Attracting and securing the right manager can help you do just that. Whether you're on the search for your first manager or stuck in a manager/talent relationship that you don't think is best for your career, it's important to know what steps you can take to assure that you secure representation that works in your best interest and as a vital member of your team. Spencer Robinson has been a leading talent manager of actors for almost 2 decades. His clients have been in films directed by Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Clint Eastwood, Gore Verbinski, and more. In the TV world, his clients have been regular cast members on shows for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, TBS and more. Spencer’s clients have also recurred on series for Freeform, TNT, AMC, Showtime and many more. He reps everyone from actors who are just starting out to acting veterans with 30+ years of credits. He also represents many multi-hyphenates who are both writers and performers and understands what makes a successful talent-manager relationship. Spencer will teach you everything you need to know about securing meaningful representation. He'll cover how to identify the right manager for your career, how to approach that manager, what questions to ask, how to grow your relationship and how you can, as a team, form a plan for a long career in the business. You'll learn about the do's and don'ts of blind submissions, how to stand out in the sea of requests a manager gets daily, and how to best impress potential representation. Spencer will also provide tips on the audition process including selecting the right auditions and understanding which roles are best suited for you so that you're not wasting time, energy and your passion on dead ends. This is a blueprint for you to take control of your acting career and to help you sustain a career in the business. "I highly recommend taking a course with Spencer. He is one of the most knowledgeable and informed people I've met. His enthusiasm for artists made me feel at ease. Spencer's ability to relate with artists made the material instantly click with me. I will not hesitate to enroll in another course with Stage 32 and Spencer." - Devin H. "I loved everything about this webinar! Spencer was so helpful with everything. I was able to apply everything he said directly to my career. It was definitely a great experience and can’t wait to keep improving with everything I learned. Thank you Spencer and Stage 32!" - Krista C.
If there has been one genre that has stood the test of time throughout the history of the film industry, it's the biopic. True stories about interesting people and events are always in vogue. Studios, indie production companies and the streamers love them because they draw big audiences and awards recognition. Actors love them because it gives them something meaty to chew on and increases their odds for awards success. Many a writer has broken through by writing a screenplay based on true events. And right now, especially with the streamers upping their game, the genre has never been hotter. But to write a killer, non-rote biopic, you need to understand where to find your material, how to secure it, and then how to best tell your version of the story so that it attracts representatives, producers, financiers, and talent. The last 10 years has seen a biopic renaissance. The Social Network, Wolf of Wall Street, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody, American Sniper, The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The King's Speech, Dolemite is My Name, The Irishman and Ford Vs. Ferrari all have been nominated or won major awards. And those are just a handful of the biopics that have been distributed either theatrically or digitally over the last decade. And with the streamers going full force, the studios looking for the sure thing, and the independent community looking for smaller, unknown stories, the desire for biopic and true story screenplays is only going to grow. Even short form biopics are booming with TV series and limited series based on real people and events all the rage. Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter, story consultant, and former literary manager with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series. Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers. With his vast experience, Tyler not only knows the world of writing biopics, but how to find and secure material as well. He will teach you resources to help you find the right material and how to find the right story for you to tell. He'll show you how to secure intellectual property. He will instruct you on the benefits of wiring an original screenplay vs. an adaptation. He will dig deep into the process of how to shape your story, including how to find your way into the story before you start writing so that your opening is an attention grabber. He will teach you how to do research and how you can do the extra legwork to go deeper into the world of your story. He will dive into 4 tips to join fact with fiction and 4 tips on dramatic license and when and how to use it. Tyler will show you how to creative the best character arcs possible including character motivation, behavior, stakes, and how the characters exist in time and place. He will help you uncover themes and make sure those themes are fleshed out to attract the widest audience possible. He will then discuss the market, how to sell, how to cover yourself legally and much, much more. If you've ever had a passion to tell a story based on a real person or events, Tyler will take you through everything you need to know to secure the IP, protect yourself legally, develop the story, write the screenplay and put yourself in a position to get the material massive attention. "Legitimately one of the best classes I've ever taken. I've had a story based on a book I've been eyeing forever and didn't know how to go about it. Now I do. What an incredible blueprint to securing, writing, and selling biopics." - Amanda P. "Outstanding in every way." - Marco G. "I'm overcome with gratitude. The best." - Danny C. "I don't think I could be any more inspired." Patricia S.
You want to be a studio writer. You have a high concept screenplay. Perhaps you control some blockbuster intellectual property (IP). Or maybe you have the next big trilogy or breakthrough character idea. There are hundreds of studio films that are released each year in need of talented writers. But writing high concept screenplays requires a particular set of skills and understanding. Landing a studio job as a writer is NOT an impossibility. In fact, more and more studios are turning to writers (and directors) of smaller films to help develop and write bigger budget features. But, as you might imagine, this is a competitive arena. Learning how to write a studio style screenplay is only part of the game. You need to understand how to get from completed screenplay to into the room. And then you have to understand how to work the room. The simplest way to get all this done? You need a team. Securing a manager, perhaps an agent, and, most importantly, a qualified, killer entertainment attorney on your side can make all the difference. Sounds like a long haul? It's not. It all begins by looking at yourself as an entrepreneur. Michael Colleary has been working within the studio system for over 3 decades. He was the lead writer on Face/Off and the story creator and editor on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. And those are a couple of the movies that got made! Michael has made a career and a very lucrative living writing studio films that were purchased and never made. Even though you know some of Michael’s films, he’s made an entire career off of writing things that maybe you’ve never seen get made. Studios pay big money for screenplays, even those that don't make it to the screen. Michael will take you through everything you need to know about breaking into the studios and sustaining a career. You will learn to think like an entrepreneur and develop the skills you need to get work writing specs, rewrites, pitches and script doctoring. These are the skills that will make you an in demand writer. But that's not enough! Michael will also teach you the business side of working within the studio system. You'll understand how to build your support team and how to negotiate. This often overlooked part of the process is what will separate you from the pack and help you get in and stay in the system. “Anyone, and I mean anyone interested in becoming a screenwriter – or becoming a BETTER screenwriter has come to the right place. Michael is the best story analyst in Hollywood. Smart, insightful, thorough and creative – he will work his rear-end off on your script or story idea until it sings with commercial and artistic viability. I know this from first hand experience, having collaborated with him on numerous television and feature film projects, beginning with ‘Face/Off.’ Additionally, he has served as my personal mentor and sounding board on practically every sale I’ve ever had in my entire career. You will not be disappointed!” - Mike Werb; screenwriter “The Mask,” “Face-Off,” “Tomb Raider,” “Unnatural History” and more.