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.
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 audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
You’ve heard the phrase “the content gold rush” get bandied about much these days, but as it relates to TV, it’s never been more true. Drama television is at it's peak with such iconic shows like OZARK, KILLING EVE, BETTER CALL SAUL, THIS IS US, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, MR. ROBOT, STRANGER THINGS, BLACK MIRROR, BIG LITTLE LIES and so much more. With the influx of networks and streaming platforms either moving into or expanding their original content libraries, the demand for dramatic TV ideas and pilots has never been greater. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. But not only is the quantity increasing, so is the quality, as companies are funneling an unprecedented amount of money, resources, marketing and talent into their shows. And the impact of COVID-19 is even having an impact that could benefit writers all over the world as many shows are planning to implement virtual writer’s rooms. In short, there has never been a better time to write for TV. Now it’s just a matter of breaking in. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but if you want to write dramatic television you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sensibility. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. The intention of this lab is to help you create that piece of material that stands out, gets you the right meetings, and, ultimately, gets you representation, meetings with decision-makers, and/or a coveted seat in a writer’s room. Spencer Robinson is a literary and talent manager at Art/Work Entertainment who's been in the industry for over twenty years. His clients have been in films with directors 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, and TBS, to name a few. His writing clients work in both features and television on broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms. He currently has a client writing on two Netflix series, and another client who just sold a show to Amazon. He also reps a writer who currently has a project at Aggregate Films, which has a deal at Netflix. Spencer has taught numerous webinars, classes and writing labs for Stage 32 and remains one of our most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, he will be working directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions with the goal of helping you write a fantastic, market-ready pilot. To do so, Spencer will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing your pilot. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Spencer will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a completed drama television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Skype meetings with Spencer. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 10 people ***only 1 spot remains*** This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot. Praise from Spencer's previous Stage 32 webinars: "Spencer will get those who are ready on their way to a kickass first draft that you can send for coverage, which is what I did. 2 Considers and I'm in rewrites now to move that needle. This was my first ever TV pilot!" - Erika N. "Spencer was amazing!" - Summer K. "Enjoyed the class. Spencer was a good teacher and I appreciated his insight!" - Stephen C. "Had a great time learning and progressing my knowledge of the craft of writing and working directly with a mentor who is a professional in the industry. Spencer was fantastic to be taught by! Thank you!" - Natalie A. "Spencer's teaching style is the best! His patience and easygoing approach is ideal and unique to him. Kudos to Stage 32 and to Spencer!" - Armando O.
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you likely start working on a new endeavor for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet this is of course not the only element of filmmaking. Like it or not, your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. In this way you’re not just a making a piece of art; you’re also running a business. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur and understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's doable. In fact, there’s a bit of a sweet spot for independent films in the $1MM range and a viable path to profitability for films of this level. The key is to intimately understand how money—both hard money and soft money—flows in and out of the project. Getting a handle on this flow puts you in a powerful position, because not only can you make your current film profitable; but you will also create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. This entrepreneurial approach might not be second nature to creatives, but it’s something you can learn and something that will aid you tremendously. David Zannoni is consultant for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. He serves as the company's representative for the Americas. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Europe. As an international film business specialist David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David is intimately familiar with how independent films are financed and made profitable all over the world and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the US market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, $1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a $1MM or under budget looks like, whether it’s considered a small film or microbudget, and how it compares in the larger worldwide film market. He’ll delve into how to see your film as an asset and how to use this viewpoint to work with investors and provide profit. David will give you the tools to think like an entrepreneur and explain the relationship between financing, distribution, and recoupment of investment. David will then teach you how to take a business approach to a $1MM and under film project. He will discuss debt and equity financing and compare it to soft money, demonstrating both of their impacts on your recoupment. He’ll then go over how to finance your film through bank loans, tax credits, private lenders, equity investors, and family and friends. In doing so, he’ll demonstrate the differences between lenders and investors and demonstrate how to make—and keep—all of your investors happy. He’ll also go over ways to mitigate risks for yourself and your investors. Plus, David will show a case study of a real $1MM US film to illustrate how a film of this level can be profitable and exactly how the money flows through from beginning to end. He’ll show financing documents and spreadsheets to illustrate the financing structure, the role of the sales agent, and how he navigated the film’s distribution agreement. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own $1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
For most writers and directors, securing representation represents a huge step forward in legitimizing the pursuit of their dreams. The right rep can help you make a living doing what you love - whether it's seeing actors speak your words on screen or managing a cast and crew and yelling "Action!" on set. It's a step that can get you one step closer to quitting your day job and concentrating on your creative career full time. Finding the right manager and/or agent will help you give you a member of your team responsible for helping you develop your creative voice or your distinguished eye, get you in the right doors to connect with the right opportunities, and to help you begin to get paid for your talent and effort. So, how and where do you find the right managers and agents? And, what makes you stand out among the thousands of creatives reaching out and vying for the attention of these representatives on a daily basis? For starters, there are many questions you need to ask yourself to make sure that you're prepared to be representation ready. Further, beyond putting the work into your craft, you need to do your research to assure you have the right knowledge to give you the best shot to stand out in an effort to secure a rep meeting. There's much work that needs to go into being a professional creative before you get your foot in the door. And, once you bust that door open and get the attention of a quality rep, there's an art to making sure that you are asking the right questions to assure that this rep is right for you and your career so that you can start working and keep working. Antonio D'Intinio is one of the hardest working managers in the industry that represents screenwriters and directors at Circle of Confusion. He began his career at the agency APA before joining Jeremy Platt at Plattform, where you helped manage Plattform's first look deal with Amazon Studios. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW. He strives for excellence in his clients, and that is mutually reciprocated making it a successful client-manager relationship. Antonio will teach you the best strategies to obtain representation as a screenwriter or director. You will learn what you need before you approach representation, how best to reach out to representation and most importantly what to do once you’ve obtained representation. Antonio will get down in the weeds to teach you what you must look for in terms of communication from your rep. What questions to ask to make sure you're making the right decision. What expectations your rep will likely put on you from time management to deadlines to the ability to receive and apply notes. You will learn how to achieve the ultimate goal with your rep, mutual respect and expectations. Antonio will demystify the representation landscape and give you the tools to have the confidence to approach potential reps with a clear understanding of what you're looking for, while understanding fully what they want in a client. No matter what stage of your career you're in - whether you're unrepped or looking to change representation - you will benefit from the INSIDER INSIGHTS Antionio shares in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level webinar! "Antonio really took us behind the curtain with a no B.S. approach. A straight shooter that tells it like it is. Eyes wide open for me now." -Michael K. My goal was always to be repped. And I got my wish. And it went terrible. We weren't on the same page. I didn't know what to do. After watching Antonio's presentation, my last rep and I parted ways and I was able to secure a new manager. The change has been night and day. We work together for a common goal. Thank you, Antonio! - Steven L.
Ever heard an exec say something like: "I'm looking for a grounded, high-concept genre film"? Join Stage 32's Allen Roughton and learn to decipher what execs are actually saying when they tell you what they're looking for! As the Stage 32 Writing Services Coordinator, I spend most of my time talking to execs about the kind of material they want, specialize in, or think is the next big thing. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I need a translator. High-concept? Grounded? Smart? Supernatural... but not horror? A Ten-by-ten? What the heck are these people talking about? Luckily, I've googled my hear out, asked a ton of questions, immersed myself in the script development world, and learned their language so you don't have to! Now I'm here to put it all together in a FREE Webinar breaking down the lingo of Screenwriting Development! Live Wednesday, May 2nd at 1pm PST, I'll become your translator and help you understand the world of development as I break down the lingo so you can make sure you're sending the right project to the right exec. Have a question for Allen? Join Allen live and participate in the Q&A at the end of the webinar! or
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.
Documentary filmmaking is a very different game than narrative filmmaking, as any documentarian can tell you. Perhaps the most important difference between the two is that narrative filmmaking follows a script. The story is determined and developed before production begins. This is not the case with documentaries—it can’t be. Documentaries capture real life which is anything but predetermined. As a result the documentary filmmaking process is flipped and the story is crafted after production. Therefore perhaps the most important but least talked about stage of documentary filmmaking is the editing. Not the technical craft of editing, but storytelling, specifically finding and crafting the story from your footage. This doesn’t just make or break your documentary; it is your documentary. Yet this process of finding the story can be incredibly hard since it’s is often vastly different from the story in your head. But mastering this skill is the key to being a great documentary filmmaker and something that’s entirely within your grasp. Most documentary filmmakers reach a stage in putting together their film where they believe they’re “too close to the footage” and “need fresh eyes.” At this point, they hope an outsider will help solve the problems arising in their edit. On the contrary, this is stage where the filmmaker needs to get closer to the footage and ask themselves some very big questions. More than the interviews, more than shooting footage, more than even the assembly edit, this is the moment that makes a documentary great; it’s not the time to tap out. Knowing what makes a good documentary story, which big questions to ask, and how to get out of tough narrative jams can make all the difference in putting together your project. Eric Daniel Metzgar is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and the producer and editor of Hulu's documentary CRIME + PUNISHMENT, which won an Emmy and Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize. A two-time Sundance Documentary Lab Fellow, Eric has extensive experience directing, producing, writing, and editing award-winning documentary films. He directed, shot and edited REPORTER, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on HBO, and was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also directed, shot and edited LIFE.SUPPORT.MUSIC., which aired on PBS’s long-running documentary series POV, and THE CHANCES OF THE WORLD CHANGING, which also aired on POV and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Eric also edited GIVE UP TOMORROW and ALMOST SUNRISE, which were both nominated for Emmys and also aired on POV. Through his storied and heavily awarded history, Eric has positioned himself as a practiced and highly sought after editor and documentarian. He’s prepared to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Eric will teach you invaluable strategies to help you move through the inevitable difficult stages of your documentary editing journey and to stay on track when the going gets tough and all seems lost. He will begin by going over what makes a good documentary story in general, including beginnings, middles, and ends, arcs, stakes, and “releasing power”. He’ll then discuss how best to approach your own footage and determining if you have a story. He’ll explain differentiating between the footage and the story in your head, how to craft an outline, and create a reckoning with beats. He will also teach you what selects are and why they can make all the difference. Next Eric will give you tips on how to approach the initial assembly edit, where to start, how to stay motivated, how to avoid “the music trap” and the best way to start linking your scenes together. Then he will delve into the real editing after the assembly is completed. He’ll discuss rearranging, re-cutting, and deleting, how to fix the scenes that aren’t working and how to know when to kill your darlings. He will also give you tips on revisiting raw footage later on in the process and what to do when you hit those inevitable but painful roadblocks. Eric will focus on the two hardest parts of a documentary—beginnings and endings, and strategies to make them successful. Next Eric will go into strategies of how to be objective of your own project in order to figure out why it sucks. He will spend time giving tips and inspiration for what to do when you hit that dreaded brick wall and how to stay on track and hold on to your purpose when things get difficult. He’ll talk about getting others’ opinions and what you need to do to allow your film to be good, how to take it from good to great, shifting from the content to the form, fine tuning, working with the film as a whole, and how best to address lingering doubts. There’s nothing harder than editing a great documentary, but you will leave this webinar with a better understanding of how to be successful and a collection of strategies to help you navigate your way through. "Editing a documentary is hard, period. There's no road map and no formula. But after editing a number of documentaries, I've learned a few things that I wish I'd known at the beginning of my journey, and I hope my experience can help others who are struggling to make their film as great as it can be." -Eric Metzgar