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.
The director and actors may get the lion’s share of the credit, and the writer might be the one who thought up the story in the first place, but it’s the producer who actually puts a film together and who turns ideas into reality, all the way from conception through distribution and beyond. The role of a producer can be enigmatic, though. It’s not as straightforward of a job as, say, an actor or a DP, and with so many different types of producers (Line producer? Associate producer? Executive producer? Co-Executive Producer?) it’s a hard concept for people to wrap their heads around. But if you’re interested in being a producer yourself and in leading the charge in creating great content that people want to watch, it’s important you better understand the role and find ways you can separate yourself from the pack and excel. There are a lot of producers out there, a lot of people working to create content. However there are a lot fewer who are prolific, who have multiple projects under their belt and have the know-how to make any project they have their sights set on a success. So what makes these power producers stand out? How do they choose what to produce and how do they operate within the industry to make things happen? And how can you join their ranks? A good step might be to learn directly from a power producer herself. Luckly, successful producer Aimee Schoof will lend her experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and has produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Aimee has had more than 25 years’ experience working as a hands-on producer on projects of all shapes and sizes and knows what I takes to thrive in this role. She’s excited to share that with you. Aimee will give you a soup-to-nuts overview of what it takes to produce a film of any level and how to position yourself for success not only on your current project, but for your career moving forward. She will begin by teaching you the different types of producers on a film and what each person’s responsibility is. She’ll then give you strategies of how to choose your own path as a producer, including what it means to be an independent producer. She’ll walk you through how to find partners, collaborators, and mentors in this industry and will discuss the crucial but tricky task of finding and selecting material to produce. She’ll also break down whether a producer should focus on just one project at a time or multi-task. Aimee will illustrate what exactly a day in the life of a producer actually looks like. Aimee will then focus on relationship building, one of the biggest parts of a producer’s job. She’ll break down how to form and maintain relationships with agents and managers, actors, casting directors, and fellow producers, among others. She’ll then discuss the best practices for networking to build your connections, including how to work film festivals and markets to meet new and exciting potential partners or friends. Next, Aimee will delve into how best to source IP as opposed to working with original stories. She’ll go over the balance between holding your relationships close and expanding your network and how a good producer budgets their time when working on multiple projects. Aimee will also give you tips on how you can produce a science fiction film, even on a budget. Then, Aimee will give an honest and realistic breakdown of what a film’s timeline actually looks like—how long it actually takes to make a film and how you can stay motivated along the way. Aimee will use examples and case studies from her own past films, including projects made from existing IP, to further break down the role of a producer. Like what you heard from Aimee during this webinar? Send your script to Aimee and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Aimee’s Webinar “I loved this! Aimee knows so much about the subject. I really learned a lot” -Cheryl B. “Aimee was able to take these big ideas and make them feel totally accessible and easy to understand. I really enjoyed hearing from her” -Howard F. “This was great! Thank you!” -Joanne D. “I feel ready and inspired to set out on my own and make some great movies after listening to Aimee!” -Hannah W.
For the last 5 years, audiobooks have outpaced print media in sales. As traditional publishing becomes harder to crack, and less lucrative for that matter, more and more writers are turning to audiobooks to get their work out to as big an audience as possible. Audible alone has over 250,000 titles and that number is expected to rise tremendously over the next few years. And the number of people downloading audiobooks continues to soar. Of course, with rising demand comes a rising need. And the biggest need in the audiobook space at the moment is for distinctive, engaging and professional voice actors and narrators. Audiobook narration has become a goldmine for many. If you have worked as an actor, done voice over work, been told you have a great voice or believe you have a fantastic one yourself, you owe it to yourself to learn about the space. This is a job where you can often apply by home or simply by submitting a homemade demo. In fact, in many cases, you can narrate the book from home by setting up an inexpensive, yet professional sounding home studio. In fact, getting yourself set up and ready to audition is much simpler than you think. James Patrick Cronin and Julie McKay have narrated more than 300 audiobooks in the space of just over 4 years. They have worked together and individually with most of the major publishers in the field, in addition to having collaborated with numerous independent publishers and authors. Their work spans a wide array of genres, from Children’s Lit to Sci-Fi, Memoir to Historical Non-Fiction, and they have voiced numerous New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling authors and one National Book Award finalist. James and Julie will give you the blueprint and the building blocks toward making money narrating audiobooks. They will teach you how to set up an affordable home studio, discussing in detail what you truly need and what can be left out of the shopping cart. They will dive into performance, the narrator's prerogative, how to maintain vocal health, and how to fully prepare so you deliver your best performance. You will learn how to set your rate (and not undersell yourself), explain time management and give you clear instructions on how to act as your own agent. Most importantly, they will teach you how to find available jobs and put yourself in a position to get hired again and again. "I found the content, insight and knowledge from this webinar to be absolutely fascinating." - Ebs A. "Great primer toward getting into this particular type of VO work." - J. Nissel "Many thanks to Stage 32 for getting talented working professionals like this to give us insights to their professions." - Shaun S. "Voice over work is something that has always intrigued me. I've always been told I had a voice for this kind of thing. Now I'm ready to take the leap! So easy to understand and apply. Thank you!" Rashida C. "Ordering my equipment and getting started tomorrow!" - Angela R.
2 part class taught by Jessica Sitomer, writer, producer and entertainment career coach! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! They say, “It’s all about who you know”. When you are an introvert, though, networking can sometimes be a challenge. The problem lies in that the less you network, the more challenging it can become, which leads to you networking less, and the viscous cycle takes over. Even in today's world where networking is accessible both on and offline, both ways can still be daunting. How do you start a conversation? How do you know you're saying the right thing? If this sounds familiar - don't worry because you're in luck! Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 2 part class: Networking for Introverts taught by Jessica Sitomer. Learn the ideal strategies for various networking situations as well as a clear follow up plan so your networking pays off. TESTOMONIALS ABOUT JESSICA'S CLASS "I thought that she was wonderfully engaging and answered all the questions fully with great insight. I also feel more confident because of how confident she is. I will be recommending her to all my friends!" – J. Gaffney"Great to know HOW to network. Loved the personal stories and hadn't thought of that. Gave me the courage to contact a producer that I'd worked with before and in the conversation he told me he had some story ideas that were right up my alley. We'll see if it works out. Thanks much!" – D. Meyer"Great personality! Made us feel like you were really there to help! Thanks so much!" – D. Levy"I really appreciated all of the advice and the passion in the delivery. I hope to take it to heart and use it to help me succeed". – T. Scharf Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Jessica is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
If you’re an independent filmmaker or producer working to put together a film or TV project, you are likely going to have multiple producers, investors, financiers, sales agents, and talent that are will be looking to recoup profits on the completed project. This can get tricky. Not only do you have to keep your numbers and figures straight to properly reallocate your revenues, you also likely have to handle guild residuals, navigate liability issues and ensure every party is happy and trusting in the process. This can ultimately be a very messy process, and one that you should not handle on your own as the film’s producer. Instead, it’s probably time you have a collection account. A collection account is an account in the name of a neutral third party who receives revenues generated by an independent film or TV project on behalf of the multiple beneficiaries from local distributors. This process is called collection account management and is an effective tool to guarantee that the beneficiaries receive their share of the revenues. Collection account management is a massive time saver and a way to lower the chances of errors or improper payments. But it’s also the industry standard and something most parties and investors are going to expect you to have if they are considering moving forward. So how exactly does collection account management work and how can you best use this process to your advantage as an independent filmmaker? David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories. Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management globally on hundreds of productions. 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 will teach you how to navigate collection account management. He’ll begin by going into what exactly collection account management is and the different elements that go into it. He will also explain when to know if your production will need collection account management and delve into how this process affects your job as a producer, including liabilities, your relationship with your sales agent, and the rights and obligations with financiers, guilds, and talent. Next, David will demonstrate how collection account management works from a legal framework and the paperwork and contracts that go along with it, including the CAM Agreement. Finally, David will outline the benefits you will see as a producer when working with a collection account. He’ll even give specific tips for producers related to the CAM agreements, financiers, residuals, sales agents, and more. Collection account management can be a tricky process, but it’s also one that’s crucial to get right. David will show you how. 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.
In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter. In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show. "Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started." - Mia L. "Demystification complete." Lorraine R. "Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years." - Regina K. "There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo." Angelo D.