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.
Praise for Piotr's Stage 32 Webinar
"The presentation was very personable and straight forward. Thank you for the great advice and guidance"
"I learned some great tips on how to approach talent and work with them. Nothing is impossible. You just really need to be prepared and know what you are doing. This is especially helpful for first time directors or writer-directors."
"It was great hearing about all of this from someone like Piotr. It made me feel like I could do it too. Such great advice. Thank you, Piotr!"
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.
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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!
In order to be successful, building your brand is something that you should ALWAYS be doing. There is never an on & off switch for opportunity. You never know who you are going to meet and where in the film industry. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, entertainment marketing and branding expert Jennifer Winberg (Marketing Strategist for mini and major studios - Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures) will teach you how to network in order to build your brand. Your host, Jennifer will use her 10 years of experience to walk you through setting up your film brand online, the tools and resources needed, finding community, and even how to navigate those industry meetups and happy hours.
Stage 32 + Netflix join forces to bring you an exclusive television pitch workshop Learn best practices to make your pitch work and what your pitching document should look like You do NOT want to miss this! For many, the holy grail of television has become Netflix. It’s a titan in the industry, and with over 200 million subscribers worldwide, no one can put out content quite like them. Just look at the recent hit show BRIDGERTON, which has already been seen by a massive 80 million households (!!) since its release. If you’re a writer or creator, getting your series onto Netflix’s platform can spell success in a big way. But first there’s the matter of getting your series in front of them and pitching it effectively. It should be a comfort to know that you’re not the only one who wants your series on Netflix. Netflix wants that too! Netflix execs are constantly on the lookout for exciting new voices and new series to fill their slate. Yet it takes more than just a good series or a good pilot script to get on Netflix’s radar; you need to be able to communicate it well and pitch it in a way that will get their team excited. This certainly takes some work, but it’s absolutely achievable. If you’re interested in getting your show on Netflix, it’s time to learn directly from the source what it will take to make that happen. In an effort to reach more writers and find more content, Netflix has joined forces with Stage 32 to present a FREE and invaluable workshop on what it is that they’re looking for in new shows and how you can best pitch your series to their executives. In Stage 32's continued effort to help level the playing field for content creators worldwide, we felt it's important that we help you get tools you need to be able to make sure that you can pitch effectively. Kicking off the workshop will be Stage 32 CEO, Richard "RB" Botto (@rbwalksintoabar), and hosting this presentation will be Stage 32's Managing Director Amanda Toney with Netflix’s Director of Creative Talent Investment and Development for International Originals Christopher Mack. Christopher was previously Senior Vice President of Scripted Content for Stage 13, overseeing all of the brand’s original scripted series and development slates across multiple genres, including Emmy nominated Netflix series’ SPECIAL and IT'S BRUNO. Before Stage 13, Chris headed the Warner Bros. Workshop, the writing and directing program for professionals looking to start and/or further their careers in television. Over a period of 10 years in this role, Chris curated a roster of close to 100 writers and 50 directors representing the breakthrough emerging voices working on high-profile television shows today. In addition to these responsibilities, Chris has covered hit shows such as TWO AND A HALF MEN and SMALLVILLE for the Current Programs department. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Chris spent seven years writing on various one-hour dramas including ER, THE PRACTICE and THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE. After graduating from Loyola Law School, Chris got his start in television at NBC Studios as an associate and he quickly rose to becoming an executive. During his time at the newly created NBC Studios, he oversaw a varied list of shows including: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR and IN THE HOUSE, among others. In this exclusive Stage 32 workshop, Christopher will delve into what exactly makes a television pitch work at Netflix. He’ll discuss the essentials you’ll need to catch Netflix’s eye and will zero in on how to write an effective pitch document. He’ll pose questions you be able to answer and communicate for your series and give you ideas on how best to communicate your show’s overview, world, tone, and characters. Christopher will then discuss how season summaries should be built and give you ideas on how to think about and present potential episodes. Finally, you will have the invaluable opportunity to ask Christopher your own questions. You will leave this presentation with the understanding of how to structure and present your series, not in theory, but directly from the source.
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects. Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D. "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F
Learn directly from Development & Production Executive Jake Detharidge, a feature film executive that has recently made a splash into the mini-series space with projects set up at History Channel, Spike, and MGM! "Jake's feedback is so valuable. I enjoy every webinar and class Jake does. He's always informative and always presents information in a very smart and succinct way. Great webinars/classes..." - R. Canty "Seldom have I met execs in LA who know what they're talking about but don't throw around their ego. Jake loves the process, nice perspective with a positive spin." N. Kellis "This was one of the more beneficial seminars with current relative information in the industry. Really enjoyed it." - M. McLinn In this Stage 32 Webinar, host Jake Detharidge will first take you through a brief history of the ‘Mini Series’ in the US, along with analyzing the current television marketplace (Event Series vs. Limited Series vs. Mini Series), and why this platform is experiencing resurgence. After, Jake will break down the creative and development process for several different, current projects, to help you understand and identify the right stories, IP and general concepts that are viable right now. This will make up the bulk of the webinar, breaking down the creative/development/packaging process, in hopes that any and all who attend will leave with a formidable understanding of how they might create their very own compelling Mini-Series project. Don’t get confined to one narrative structure, feature or TV series, look for bold new ways to tell stories – the possibilities are endless! You Will Leave The Webinar Knowing: What exactly is a Mini-Series, versus a Limited Series and Event Series and why each is unique? Why did the ‘Mini-Series’ disappear for the most part from US television and why is it now making a strong comeback? What is the current landscape for this platform – the nuts and bolts. The major companies and players around town currently looking for these types of projects and what moves the needle for them. Narrative Basics – what and why certain stories, ideas and concepts are better suited for a mini-series versus the traditional feature film or scripted television series. What types of IP you should be looking for and how you can obtain the rights to potentially develop it. Developing – what goes into this step and exactly how much…or how little…do you need before trying to sell, and where to sell. Packaging – what the process is for a mini-series, and what elements you can attach to add value that are obtainable. Outside the box ideas!' Your host Jake Detharidge will take you through the realities and pitfalls of navigating the exciting resurgence of a classic narrative platform. Jakes comes primarily from a feature film background, but he recognized – along with the rest of the industry – the creative domination currently taking place in television and forged a way to put his skill sets to work. He has developed, packaged and set up half a dozen mini-series projects with more on the way. Through his unique viewpoint on narrative structure and current audience viewing trends, Jake believes the Mini-Series resurgence is only just beginning.
Whether you’re a writer, an actor, a cinematographer, an editor, sound designer, a colorist, a VFX artist or an animator, every project you work on is going to have to pass through post production on the way to fulfilling its creative promise. Post-production is an intricate, sometimes lengthy and always critical process necessary to turn a bunch of shots, moments, and ideas into a singular and polished product. This is no easy task, and doing it well can lead to strong and ongoing career as a post producer. And if you’re a filmmaker or creator in your own right, peeling back some of the mystery of post can help inform your own art and allow you to better create. Despite how vital post-production is to any project, it’s often enigmatic and not fully understood. When most people think of production, they only think of a film set and are less able to visualize what comes after the film set is over. The concept of a dark room where so many decisions are made that determine a show’s eventual success is foreign to most. A successful Post Production process requires an elaborate choreographed dance between creativity, technology, time and money. Understanding what that Post Production process entails, and how your skills can best fit into it, is critical towards making whatever you do creatively more successful in the end. Let’s explore how post production works in scripted episodic TV, one of the most prolific art forms in today’s broadening media landscape. Brad Carpenter is an Emmy nominated producer who for over fifteen years has built a stalwart reputation as one of television’s most sought after and effective producers specializing in post-production. Brad has overseen a slew of massively successful series including HBO behemoths BOARDWALK EMPIRE and SEX AND THE CITY, Showtime’s hit NURSE JACKIE, USA Network’s critically acclaimed THE SINNER, FX’s Emmy-winning FOSSE/VERDON and most recently LITTLE VOICE for Apple TV with executive producers J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles. Brad continues to produce upcoming TV shows, including the new TV fantasy drama INK MAN, currently in development. Few producers out there are as practiced and knowledgeable about the intricacies of TV post-production as Brad, and as a long-time member of Stage 32’s community, he’s thrilled to share what he knows. Brad will offer a comprehensive deep dive into the process of delivering television series for post-production and will share a bevy of tips and strategies of how to maximize success and bring your team together. Included in his exhaustive deep dive will be tips on how to work with your showrunner, navigating the relationship between the studio and network, building and breaking down your post production schedule, navigating the edit and finishing process, building your post-production team, working with actors and a straightforward discussion of what a day in the life of post actually looks like. Along the way, Brad will offer stories and case studies from his experience with well-known shows like SEX AND THE CITY, NURSE JACKIE and FOSSE/VERDON. Brad will leave no stone unturned in this all-encompassing rundown of TV post-production, so expect to leave with a full picture of how this field works and how best you can approach it yourself.
Networking is the key to success in any industry, but in the entertainment business, it is a NECESSITY if you want to break in. And now in this increasingly online and virtual world, a large part of networking takes place in virtual settings, namely on apps and online platforms. This landscape is constantly changing, and while it can be hard to keep up with, it can also be incredibly lucrative. It is not uncommon now for writers to be discovered because of a viral post on Twitter, for friendships to be formed on Clubhouse, or for a script to be optioned right here on Stage 32. All of this just while sitting at home on your computer or phone. It’s clear that these tools are too powerful of a tool to ignore, but it’s important you know how to use these tools correctly. The world of virtual networking can seem overwhelming and foreign, especially when you’re more accustomed to traditional networking and in-person events. Yet success on these platforms is not just reserved for Gen-Z and “influencers”; creatives of all ages and background are finding success and getting discovered through these tools. Yet the key is knowing how to use these apps the right way. Just like for in-person events and old-school networking, you can use these opportunities to build your connections, or you can leave others with a bad impression. It often just comes down to understanding the rules and expectations on each platform, and understanding how to contribute and make yourself part of the community. So what are the apps where the real opportunities are forged? How can you stand out (in a good way)? With the right strategies and approach, you’ll be able to build your network and meet people who can be your cheerleaders along the way. Kristen Lucas and Tara Gore are powerhouse networkers in the entertainment industry. Kristen Lucas is a talent manager at Bohemia Group, specializing in actors and filmmakers in film and television. Her clients have appeared in films such as Netflix's I CARE A LOT and THE HONEST THIEF alongside Liam Neeson, and on television such as Netflix's THE GOOD COP and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Hulu's CASTLE ROCK, AMC's BETTER CALL SAUL and many others. Tara Gore has produced over 300 live shows and original content for MLB including Avicii, Billy Joel, Demi Lovato, Zac Brown Band, One Republic, Elton John, John Legend, Jason Aldean, Ziggy Marley and many more. Kristen and Tara attribute their success to hustling to find opportunity where others find dead ends. Their long history of creative networking has built them a vast network of contacts across all areas of entertainment and business and allowed them to ensure the success of their clients and projects. Working together, Kristen and Tara will outline the six main apps and platforms they use to network and find connections and clients: Clubhouse, Instagram, Twitter, Stage 32, IMDB, and LinkedIn. For each they will lay out how the app works, how you can best operate within it, and the mistakes to avoid. Along the way they'll dive into success stories each platform has provided and why they worked, as well as horror stories and how you can avoid similar fates. Online networking doesn’t need to be scary and it's something you can master no matter what your background is. Expect to leave this with a bunch of ideas, real world examples, and inspiration to master these apps, continue meeting new people online, and finding your place in this industry.