It's Introduce Yourself Weekend at Stage 32! Head over to the Introduce Yourself section of the Stage 32 Lounge and let everyone know who you are, what you're working on, your dreams and aspirations. And be sure to peruse other member's threads. You never know when you're going to make a connection that changes your life!
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.
With more and more content being created and more avenues for films to be seen, the overall distribution market is changing at a rapid pace. But, the classic in-theater experience is still alive and well – if you have the right type of film and you understand how tailor your approach to the market. Don't think for a second that your film is not a fit for theatrical distribution or that all theaters and screens are controlled by the studios. There still IS an opportunity for a film to be distributed to the US market in theaters. Independent film acquisitions with the intent to distribute in the US theatrical market still make up a profitable part of today’s film business. Unfortunately, many filmmakers aren’t aware of the elements a film must have to be considered for theatrical distribution. Understanding everything from where your content fits to how to put your film in the best position to be acquired is absolutely necessary in order for you to give your project the best chance to attract a buyer and give you the opportunity to have your masterpiece, the film you worked so hard to make, seen in a theater. Jason Resnick is the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures and has had decades of experience in theatrical distribution on films of all budget levels. He Jason was formerly the GM of Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group and in charge of all acquisitions for Universal, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, he'll go over what the current US theatrical market looks like for film acquisitions. And, it's more accessible than you think! To fully understand how the market has shifted and how the old thinking has become obsolete, Jason will break down the last 10 years of theatrical distribution to show you what's still working and what has dramatically changed. This information alone will give you a competitive advantage in the space and make you more attractive to buyers. He will also make you understand limited, wide, and day-and-date releases and identify the key players in each. He will show you the proper way to approach these reps and buyers so you stand out in a competitive market. Most importantly you will learn how a film is acquired for US theatrical release and what can hurt and help your chances of getting acquired. You will walk away knowing exactly makes your film look attractive for an acquisition for the US theatrical market. "I learned a lot. Really appreciate Jason's experience and expertise. Jason's presentation was considered, articulate, to the point and very informative. Was well worth the class fee." - Rebecca D.
To kick off your directing career with Roger Ebert calling your film "One of the best films of the year" you can pretty much be assured you're on a path to success. We are proud to present to you the director who has done just that - Michael Polish. After his Sundance darling Twin Falls Idaho garnered Roger Ebert's critical acclaim he has gone on to direct over 10 feature films including: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival) Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle) 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders Michael will be teaching the 2nd installment of our Stage 32 Masters of Craft series - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits. In this online event Michael will share with you how a professional director approaches a film from inception and carries it through to post-production including a discussion of available distribution options. The goal is to give you the agency to make your films without the necessity of the Hollywood studio system (though this information will be handy if that's your path as well). He will go in-depth about the director’s process from finding superior scripts and setting your priorities in pre-production to the challenges of running your set, leading your crew and balancing the demands of your producers. He’ll explain how to interact with everyone vital to your film’s success from producers and film executives to actors, cinematographers, and editors to get the best version of your film. Finally, Michael will share insider knowledge on effective methods to market and distribute your film that will give you the power to maximize your profits. From his experience writing and directing 10 feature films, he’ll share his war stories (like losing vital funding in the middle of a shoot) and his strategies for dealing with any obstacle that arises. You’ll be better equipped to deal with mishaps and avoid filmmaking pain points. If you want to make your film and you want to know where to start, how to proceed and how to ensure you walkaway with a masterpiece, this is the webinar for you! You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of what is necessary to succeed as an indie director and gain control over the direction of your career.
Learn directly from Steve Desmond, a filmmaker and screenwriter who completed a successful crowdfunding campaign and nearly doubled his initial raise! Steve has also worked on projects with Imagine Entertainment, Dreamworks Animation, The Disney Chanel, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV and The Walt Becker Company! You have a great idea for a feature film, documentary, or short film. You’re tired of just writing stuff and want to make your dream project into a reality. But you don’t have the money to do it… Yet. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, filmmaker and screenwriter Steve Desmond will help you build a killer crowdfunding plan so that you can raise the funds to get your dream project off the ground. Steve recently ran his own campaign to fund his short film on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $16K. He not only hit his goal, but blew by it raising a total of nearly $30K and his film is now in post-production! From his own experience, he’ll teach you how to craft a compelling pitch, build an online audience, and maximize your project’s potential. He’ll also go over the pros and cons of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other major crowdfunding sites, so that you can pick the one that’s best for you. From making your pitch video to writing the perfect funding email to marketing your project across all social networks, this will be a one-stop shop for how to successfully crowdfund your film.
The post-production phase is the most critical one throughout the entire film production process… and editing, in particular, is a pivotal moment where as a filmmaker you should be able to understand that you are writing the final version and destiny of your movie. Some of the greatest, most iconic filmmakers of all times (like Scorsese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino, Coppola, Lynch, Fellini, Gilliam and many others) used to spend hours, days and sometimes months into the dark secrecy of the editing room, sitting next to their faithful editor, enjoying the guilty pleasure of reshaping – over and over again – a world of their own. Editing is not just a simple matter of pace, rhythm, and mere image composition: editing pertains to the core of storytelling itself. Every professional filmmaker knows that a closeup placed in the right place, at the right moment, can definitely chance the course of a narrative process. Editing includes re-defining the story, reconstructing the characters, reshaping the very structure to the point of even changing and re-dubbing the dialogue in a totally different way from the original script… all for the sake of beauty. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, international director/editor, Max Leonida will use his years of experience to give you a more profound knowledge of the artistic nature of the editing process, together with a clear, up-to-date and technical expertise about the most important digital editing systems on the market. Max will use clips as case studies from some of his most recent films. This webinar will give you all these necessary tools to truly understand your process when going in to edit your film. “I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit.” -Stanley Kubrick “Without question Max Leonida’s work has been met with audience approval, critical praise and media exposure – all of which serve to substantiate his amazing ability. He has truly emerged as one of the field’s most influential filmmakers." - Jamie Weissenborn, Senior Vice President Sony Picture Television)
It is clear that this is the golden age of television with one incredible series after another coming out on cable, streaming and network. If you're interested in breaking into the world of television, there is one key position that you must know the ins and outs of in order to understand the set - a TV Executive. An TV Executive plays a huge role in a television production, serving as more than a key developer of story, but also a liaison between various departments on set. We've brought in veteran executive Stuart Arbury from Ramo Law (Ramo Law has worked on Netflix's Altered Carbon & Chef's Table, ABC's This Isn't Working, Hulu's Battleground and more). Stuart himself began his career at Captivate Entertainment, Dimension Films and Canvas Media Studios. Arbury was the on-set TV executive for MTV's Scream TV series for two seasons, which was based on the classic horror film franchise. In this webinar, Stuart will walk you through an explanation of the television eco-system and share war stories of his time during Scream. Having worked with various department heads, Stuart will also share tips on getting started in Hollywood on a television production. You will walk away with a clear understanding of a TV executive's role and how it relates to your part of the business, whether you're a writer, producer, director, actor or crew.