Rachel Crouch began her career with a rather unconventional start working a variety of jobs all over Los Angeles. After interning with Miranda Bailey's former company Ambush Entertainment, she landed a job as a producer's assistant at the film financing and production company Cold Iron Pictures. While at Cold Iron, she has worked on such films as the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Sundance award-winning Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Time out of Mind starring Richard Gere, and Mike Birbiglia's latest Don't Think Twice, as well as produced a series of short YouTube videos in her "off" time. As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue, TVGuide.com, EveryGeek.net, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods. Full Bio »
Pre-production is the most important time for filmmakers. How you plan and the crucial decisions you make will determine the success of your production and ultimately, your film. No matter what experience level you are at, pre-production can quickly become an overwhelming process. To make the most of this valuable time to prep you'll want to take it step by step to ensure no loose ends come back to derail you while you're on set.
Whether you're filming a project for $1 million or a $1,000, pre-production is the foundation to make sure your production goes smoothly. If you're making a digital series, as short or a feature length film it's imperative that you have a clear understanding of your cast and crew and their roles. You need to understand the key hires you need and the obstacles you may face as a filmmaker before you you can ever put together your call sheet for day one.
Rachel Crouch will use her experience as the Director of Development from Cold Iron Pictures to help ensure your pre-production process runs smoothly. Rachel has worked on $1M+ films such as Swiss Army Man, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice, Time out of Mind, I Do...Until I Don't (among many more!), and in her off time has produced a digital series in the $1k+ range. Through each of these project Rachel has learned the highs and lows filmmakers face during pre-production.
Rachel will help you define your film's budget range and go over pros and cons, as well as similarities and differences in a $1M+ production and a $1K production. You will learn the key department heads to hire, how to meet with them to ensure your budget, shooting days, schedule and casting go smoothly. You'll know what to do for your location scout and how to put all the pieces together and avoid any obstacles. You'll get the all important list of resources to help you through pre-production and a checklist to make sure that you've thought through everything. And, as a bonus, Rachel will take you behind the scenes of pre-production on Swiss Army Man, Don't Think Twice and the digital series she produced to give you a real life look at how, with the right planning, these projects got started on the right foot.
This is the ultimate guide for you to plan your pre-production, no matter your budget!
"Rachel is so knowledgable and approachable about pre-production. You can tell she's seen it all on her productions. The checklists and resources are extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Rachel!"
How to Define Your Budget & Your Production Days
Hiring Your Key Department Heads
Meeting With Your Department Heads
Putting All the Pieces Together
Avoiding Getting Burned
Pre-Production Case Studies:
Q&A with Rachel
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 have an idea for a screenplay. Something burning inside of you to get on the page. Or perhaps you have a screenplay (or 20) sitting in your desk draw in need of a home. Of course you know to make sure that material is primed, ready, and locked and loaded to give yourself the best chance of being read from FADE IN to FADE OUT. But you also need to make sure it's market ready. And further still, you'll want to identify where the best home is for this material and how to pitch them in a manner in which gives you the best shot to be optioned or sold. Most writers understand that taking your idea from a good concept to an excellent screenplay takes many rewrites and much polishing. In today's ultra-competitive landscape, it's more important than ever to fully flesh out your characters, locales, and plot. But thinking about the business side of things as it relates to your screenplay - understanding budget constraints, for example - is something that can give you power in a room. But first you need to get in that room. And to do that, you need to identify the proper (and realistic) homes for your material and understand what they are looking for. Further, you'll need to craft an effective pitch which may just change from one production company (or producer, financier or rep) to another. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development for Cold Iron Pictures, Miranda Bailey's financing and production company. She's worked on films such as Sundance's Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, the Independent Spirt Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice starring Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs, Norma staring Richard Gere and Steve Buscemi and many more. Prior to Cold Iron Pictures she worked as a producer's assistant raising film financing and helping bring films into production. Rachel will take her experience on over a dozen films and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what production companies look for when considering material. Rachel will teach you how to develop your idea from a good concept to a strong story that will grab the attention of financiers and production companies. She'll help you break down your story to figure out your project's main audience and lead you through the tropes you'll want to exploit in order to leave that audience satisfied. You'll find out how to determine your story's budget range and see how letting go of those HBO dreams might help you find a better home for your project. She'll teach you how to hone your pitch including information you must include when pitching production companies. She'll even discuss rejection and finding the power within so that your next pitch is even better and more productive than the last. In short, Rachel will put you in a position to get the read, get in the room, and get the sale or job! "I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us." - Susan S. "Very practical advice that I can apply right away." - Brian G. "I thought it was very professional and informative." - Chris R.
Learn directly from top key grip from Amazon's THE BOYS and Netflix's LOCKE & KEY & THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY! It truly does take a village to put together a production, and while the actors and directors often get the lion’s share of the credit, there many other players that are absolutely critical to a film’s ultimate success. Key among these are the grip, electric, and camera departments. Including the key grip, best boy, gaffer, ACs and other positions, these folks are the ones who actually get the film made. They manage equipment, set up and operate the camera and dollies, rig the lighting, and more. It’s not as widely considered as other departments, but the camera, grip and electrical fields are a fantastic way to break into the film industry, pick up skills on set, contribute to exciting projects, and build a reputation for yourself. For aspiring filmmakers looking to get in the middle of the action, there are very few opportunities as entrenched and as involved as the camera, grip, and electrical team. But how do you break in? You might see roles like “key grip”, “2nd AC”, “gaffer”, and “best boy” in the credits, but what does each do, and which roles could you be the best fit for? And once you’re in, how can these roles lead you to new opportunities like cinematographer or director? Richard Teodorczyk has been working in the camera and grip department for over 35 years, most recently serving as key grip for the second season of Netflix’s LOCKE & KEY. Richard has recently served on other notable shows including Amazon’s THE BOYS, Netflix’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, and FX’s WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and films like SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, and THE VOW. Although his experience mainly comes from a grip’s point of view, his years of experience allow him to share knowledge, tips and helpful tricks for those wishing to join the industry in a grip, electric or camera capacity. Richard will teach you how you can begin a career in film and television by working on the shooting floor. He will walk you through all the possible jobs within the camera, grip, and electrical fields, what skills you need to be successful, and how COVID-19 has changed the film landscape. He will provide valuable tips on how to find your place and keep it, and how to maintain your sanity through what sometimes seems like a daily grind. He will also discuss the path from the camera department to other roles like cinematographer and director. Richard’s presentation will help you decide which direction is right for you and how to avoid the many potential pitfalls of the biz that always seem to be lurking in the background. Working in film and television provides an individual the incredible opportunity to work day in and day out with creative people in interesting situations. It can also create tense and difficult scenarios when so many voices collide. I hope my years of experience can offer some insight into how to navigate this beautiful and crazy minefield we call the shooting floor, and teach people what to expect in a world that is continually evolving. -Richard Teodorczyk
The barrier of entry into filmmaking has never been lower, and the opportunities for distribution have never been higher. While the channels of distribution have never been more diverse and accessible, the education for filmmakers of how to best utilize those channels is often hard to navigate. Is theatrical or VOD your best bet? Will the film festival circuit help you? What can a distributor do for you? And how much money are indie films even making these days? With so many different opportunities and new platforms arising constantly, how do you choose the best path for YOUR film? Content still over-saturates the marketplace and standing out has become particularly difficult. Independent films that find success in this landscape do so by being creative, by approaching distribution in unconventional ways, and by uncovering platforms and strategies that others might not have considered. Creative distribution takes a good amount of work and forethought, but it’s also fully possible for any filmmaker who’s up for thinking outside the box. First, it will be important to have a better understanding of the free and paid opportunities to market your film, connect with distributors, build audiences, and team up with collaborators who will help amplify your efforts. Let us give you the tools you need. Liz Manashil was the manager of Sundance Institute's groundbreaking Creative Distribution Initiative and worked in impact distribution for many content creators during her time at Picture Motion. Prior to Sundance and Picture Motion, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the Hulu series JUST SEEN IT, which she also helped produce and direct. As a filmmaker, her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere. Her second feature, SPEED OF LIFE, was released by Giant Pictures, can be seen on Showtime. Liz spends her time advocating for filmmakers to have healthy and productive relationships with their distribution partners. Liz will walk you the options you have to creatively distribute your film and strategies you can implement to build your audience and optimize your film’s release. She’ll begin by outlining the state of distribution today, how it’s changed in recent years, what success looks like now and what’s realistic or normal for independent films. She’ll then go into what ‘creative distribution’ means and how it can benefit you as an artist. She’ll teach you about film aggregators as an option for distribution, including how to find good ones, and red flags to watch out for. She’ll then discuss tips for finding traditional distributors. She’ll go over different types of distribution rights you might not have considered before and explain how to determine which distributors could be the right fit for your film. Liz will also talk about how to navigate distribution contracts and the main clauses and sections to look for. She’ll then teach you ways to market your distributed film to build your audience, with both free and paid strategies. Next, she’ll delve into impact distribution as an option for releasing your film. She’ll go over what it is and how to use this method to run a successful screening tour. Finally Liz will talk about how you should be adjusting your distribution goals post-COVID and use this time to your advantage. With the lessons and strategies Liz lays out, you’ll be armed with an large array of ideas and practices you can apply to your own independent film to give it a release and audience you might not have thought possible Distribution is constantly changing. Whether you are a first time filmmaker or a seasoned veteran, the landscape and the market are both constantly in flux. I'm so excited for you to join me in our session about alternative forms of distribution. I'll give you a bird's eye view of how to get your film out, how to build audiences, and how to make a difference with your movies. -Liz Manashil
The most significant aspect of any actor’s career is securing work, but with overwhelming competition, roles are scare and difficult to come by, which can make this task incredibly tough. Yet in the end, acting careers are built on the work and honing your skills as a performer. Every actor knows that work begets work. This is because as we expand our experiences and circle of connections, more doors open with opportunities for more work. It’s great to have an agent, to make those connections, to develop strategies to become more marketable, but more important than all of that is becoming the best actor you can possibly be. Ultimately, producers want to hire the right performer for the role, and putting yourself in a position to get that role is less complicated than others might have you believe. Whether you are preparing for an audition or a performance for a role you are already cast in, your main tool and blueprint before you even get on set or in that audition room is likely going to be the script, and any practiced actor will tell you there’s a lot more to a script than just your character’s dialogue. If you’re simply going through the script to highlight your lines, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of information that will lend itself to you finding the character and giving your best possible performance. An experienced actor is able to fully break down any written scene to internalize not just the dialogue, but the beats, the context, the elements that are unwritten but still very present. Knowing how to analyze a script and glean from it all of its information and clues will allow you to more fully inhabit your role and make you a better and more cast-able actor. Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24, Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more. In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219. Taylor brings to Stage 32 more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and is ready to share with the community the skills and lessons he’s developed throughout his career. Taylor will lay out how to break down a script as an actor and develop the techniques needed for characterization and emotional depth to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances”. Taylor will begin by teaching you what an actor should do as soon as they get the script, including what to focus on during your first read through and how you should be marking it up. He will give you the tools to zero in on a specific scene’s theme and will then delve into determining your character’s objective, both in the scene and in the story as a whole. He’ll talk about how and where you should place dramatic beats by finding the scene’s shape and creating and feeding into the flow. He’ll go into what makes beats and pauses feel natural and honest and when they feel put on and will also outline how you can use your beats as a tool for line memorization. Taylor will then go over how to define your character’s obstacles while reading the script and how you should create your own honest actions in the scene. He will also explain how these actions can successfully interact with both beats and objectives. Next he will explain what “givens” are in a script and how you can find the givens of your character. He will also teach you the difference between naturalism and honesty when giving a performance and explain why honesty is always what an actor should be working towards. Taylor will also lead a live, interactive acting workshop to illustrate the strategies he has taught and show how to use the written scene to define the characters. Taylor will break down down a scene of a script in real time and will bring up students to perform these role based on this breakdown. Through his lesson and workshop, Taylor will give you invaluable tools to help hone your craft and better prepare you for any future auditions or performances. Praise for Taylor's Stage 32 Webinar "Wonderful job on all counts. Taylor was very informative and ever so likable." -Jody F. "I really loved the webinar - Taylor gave a really useful and inspiring presentation, which felt genuinely rooted in the love of acting and the respect for the craft of it. I found both the teaching and the workshopping aspect of it very informative and really gave us as actors clear examples of how to up-level our work." -Rowen B. "Taylor was great and very helpful." -Martin B. "Taylor was great! I thoroughly enjoyed Taylor's class & will be re-visiting it through the on-demand option." -Laurka L.
Learn directly from Tatiana Kelly who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. The barrier of entry for the micro-budget / DIY / indie filmmaker has never been lower, making the landscape of independent film more exciting than ever. With box office and VOD sales at an all time high and more distribution opportunities than ever, independent films are enjoying a resurgence. Throw into the mix that many studios and larger production companies are committed to producing numerous micro-budget films each year (see Paramount Insurge) and independent producers such as Jason Blum (Blumhouse) have made a living in the space, and the demand for films with micro-budgets has never been higher. Additionally, many creatives are taking matters into their own hands by making micro-budget films as a calling card for their talents.Some examples of micro-budget films include Napoleon Dynamite, Halloween, Clerks, The Blair Witch Project, Mad Max, Eraserhead, Open Water, Catfish, Saw, Once, Pi.Story and style win the day as a result of the passion and dedication put into micro-budget films. If you are a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker or any other creative that values control of your story and film and has decided to write, develop, shoot or distribute a film in the micro-budget space, this is the webinar for you.
Sorry, this lab is filled. Keep checking back Stage 32 Education for upcoming labs. Despite the quickly shifting landscape, and the uncertainty much of the entertainment industry is currently facing, there is still no better time to break into television than right now. Shows are continuing to get greenlit and writers are continuing to get staffed. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock, 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. We’re in the midst of a content gold rush and more people than ever are looking for and buying great ideas and great scripts for their networks and platforms. If you have a great idea for a television show, there is absolutely a path forward, especially if you know how to navigate this new landscape. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but to get your television project greenlit, there are a few things you need to have down pat. Obviously you need a great idea—not just an idea that’s interesting and unique, but one that can sell. You also need a standout script around that idea, one that reads great and will make network and streamer executives stop, take notice, and want to read more. Yet an idea and a script aren’t enough to get that TV show made. You’ll also need to be able to deliver a convincing and memorable pitch, complete with an outstanding pitch deck and documents, and you need to be able to package your project to be more sellable to your dream network. These elements don’t necessarily go hand in hand, and different skills are necessary to accomplish each, but all are fully attainable and within your grasp, especially the right knowledge and guidance to help get you there. Raquelle David is a Producer and Literary Manager who has sold shows to Netflix, Amazon, Film Nation, eOne, and many others. Her clients have credits including SICARIO, MAD MEN, OUTLANDER, DOWNTON ABBEY, HELL OR HIGH WATER, THE LIBRARIANS, SHAMELESS, and IRON MAN. Raquelle has worked across independent film and television as a producer as well. Her multiple film credits have garnered a number of accolades including nominations for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Australian Academy Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award and the Screen Producers Australia Award. Raquelle previously worked for Goalpost Pictures, Seven Network, Screen New South Wales in Australia and Rhombus Media in Toronto, Canada, under the tutelage of producer Niv Fichman (THE RED VIOLIN, ENEMY, BLINDNESS). Through her career, Raquelle has helped countless writers pitch their projects or get staffed on shows, and knows better than most what it takes to get a project off the ground and greenlit. In this advanced level and exclusive six-session lab (no more than ten students will be admitted), Raquelle will work directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions to help you get your television project off the ground and set up for success. To do so, Raquelle will guide you through selecting a concept—either an original idea or based on existing IP—and getting your TV pilot script ready. She will then help you get your pitch and pitch document ready, and will teach you how best to package your project, including finding a good producer and working with showrunners. Finally, Raquelle will go over how best to protect your IP and ownership and how to work with reps and understand the roles and revenue splits when pitching TV. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Raquelle will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. Plan to leave this lab with your TV project fleshed out and improved, an effective pitch and pitch document, a plan to properly package the show, and a slew of strategies and tools to hit the ground running and finding success. WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for intermediate writers and producers looking to get their individual television project ready to pitch and sell to networks. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 10 Spots Available. No exceptions*** You will be given exclusive and confidential handouts that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the lab ends. This lab will consist of six sessions occurring twice weekly for three weeks, each roughly 90 minutes in duration. In addition to the lessons where Raquelle teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask her questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with her directly about your specific project. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the TV project development process. To see the full TV project development 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 a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please 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 Plus! Raquelle will also provide you exclusive, confidential and helpful documents for you to download and use for your own projects including: Option Agreement Shopping Agreement TV Pitch Deck Examples TV Pitch Template TV Pilot Examples Current Network needs (current list of buyers and what they’re looking for) Current POD deals for TV Comprehensive Showrunner list