Mark has been working in the agency business for the past four years. Over that time he has worked at two different “Big 6” agencies, with experience working with senior partners in both the literary/packaging and talent departments. Today he is an agent trainee and executive assistant to a talent partner. A law school graduate, he has worked closely with foreign clients in helping them establish a U.S. visa and garner work in the States. Mark is conversant in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Italian and Hindi. Full Bio »
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will learn how you can increase your chances of finding an agent as a foreign actor new to the U.S. market. Using his experience working in the talent department at one of the "Big Six" Hollywood agencies, Mark Allan will guide you through what it takes to secure representation if you're hoping to make the jump. First, he'll cover what you should currently be focused on before arriving in the U.S. and building your career. He'll examine why agents prefer talent that is already established elsewhere over new foreign unknown actors and how you can use your old representation to get U.S. agency attention. Mark also plans to give an overview of the visa process, including the challenges of doing it alone, getting a sponsor or hiring an attorney.
Mark will then give you an overview of what to your agency will expect from you. He'll tackle the issue of working on improving your accent to appeal to wider audiences and why this is so important to your chances of securing representation. As well as how you can use your accent to your advantage and how the growing need for diversity can improve your chances as a foreign actor.
You will walk away knowing how to approach building your career as a foreign actor seeking to establish yourself in the U.S. marketplace.
Plus, a live and interactive Q&A with Mark!
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Includes a case study of a real lookbook Yen created for his film 1985! Before you can even take a seat in that director’s chair, you must be able to convince decision makers to give you the job or support our project in the first place. To do this effectively, it’s crucial you can share your vision through a director’s lookbook. A common hurdle directors face early in their careers is the realization that having what it takes to be a director and being able to convince others that you have what it takes to be a director are wholly separate skills. You could be able to create stunning works of cinema, but if you convince producers you have this capability, it’s not going to amount to much. A great lookbook can get decision makers excited about you and your ideas in a way a simple pitch can’t. But what does a great lookbook look like and how do directors go about making them? And how can you use this tool stand out and find the opportunities you are after? Yen Tan is an award-winning Malaysian-born writer and director who has helmed multiple projects that have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, and others. His critically acclaimed feature PIT STOP premiered at Sundance and was nominated for a John Cassavetes Awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Yen also co-directed UNTIL WE COULD, an Addy-winning PSA for Freedom to Marry narrated by Robin Wright and Ben Foster. His film 1985 premiered at South by Southwest and became a New York Times Critic’s Pick Feature. Yen has been a fellow of Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive, IFP’s Film Week, and Film Independent’s Fast Track and was named one of Out Magazine's OUT100 of 2018. His celebrated work as both a director and graphic designer has given him deep knowledge and ability to create effective lookbooks for his own projects and others. Yen will walk you through how exactly to put together a director’s lookbook that will catch a decisionmaker’s eye and help you land opportunities or find support for your own projects. He’ll begin by going through the basics of a lookbook, outlining their purpose, when you should make one, who you’re making them for and in which scenarios they’re helpful. He’ll also explain different types of lookbooks you can create, including general lookbooks and character breakdowns, and will show examples of past look books he designed to help illustrate. Yen will next delve into what a lookbook should look like, focusing on appropriate length, visual vs. text balance, typography, and how to split up page-by-page. He will also discuss how to find add images. Next he will talk about different software options—both free and paid—that you can use to make your own lookbook. Yen will even offer a live demonstration, putting together a page of a hypothetical lookbook using free online software and resources. Finally, Yen will share the lookbook he created for his feature film 1985 and discuss why he made the decisions he did in putting it together.
All actors want representation. It’s often the first step actors take in their careers. After all, agents and managers are the ones that are connected to the industry. They know who is casting and where the auditions are, and they’re positioned to help you succeed—at least in theory. Many reps are incredible allies and partners for actors and transform careers for the better, but not all are created equal. Some reps unfortunately don’t carry their weight and fail to champion a client—sometimes they’re not as connected and in-the-know as they suggest, sometimes they might not be as invested in you as they should be. It can be common for actors in this position to blame themselves for lack of opportunities, even if the fault lies out of their control. But having a bad rep doesn’t mean you’re untalented and it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the industry; it just means it’s time to recognize where the problem lies and to take back your own power. And, if you've decided to go without a rep, it's important to know that you have the power to move the needle on your career. Many actors will sign with an agent or manager immediately because they feel it is better to be represented than have no rep at all. However, it’s important to make sure you and your rep have the same goals for your career and that you both will do what needs to be done to get those goals accomplished. If that’s not in the cards, it’s time to make a change. Every actor should first and foremost consider themselves their own representative—managers and agents will inevitably come and go throughout your career, but you will always need to be your best advocate. It’s therefore critical to understand, as your own representative, when the people in your corner are really in your corner, and when perhaps there is more you can do as an actor to find more success. When making these difficult decisions, remember that an actor’s world doesn’t start and stop with their rep; there is so much you can do before signing, after, and in between. It’s time to understand how to take control of your own career and hold both yourself and your representative accountable (if you have one). Elizabeth Guest is an actor, writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles and has appeared on Netflix's REAL ROB, the Emmy-winning CALIFORNICATION, NBC'S A.P. BIO, CBS's THE MENTALIST and more. She attended USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has spent the past few years writing and performing her own material. She has put up numerous plays at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of which, called NICE GIRLS, was eventually turned into a digital series by Funny or Die. She also wrote/directed/produced and starred in the digital series GUEST APPEARANCES which won the Best Scripted Digital Series Jury Award at Austin Film Festival and the Best Short Form Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival. She was named by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the "25 Screenwriters to Watch." Season one and season two of GUEST APPEARANCES will soon be streaming on FICTO. She has two feature films that are currently in post production. Elizabeth is a big believer in creating her own opportunities and is ready to inspire actors in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Elizabeth will draw from her own experience to teach you how to find your own power as an actor and how to know when to leave a rep that isn’t doing their job. She’ll begin by going over the roles and expectations of both managers and agents, what the differences are between the two, what an ideal agent and manager look like, and what a beneficial relationship between a rep and an actor should feel like. She’ll also discuss the separation of responsibilities that are standard between reps and actors. She’ll then talk about what to how to know when your rep isn’t doing their job. She’ll give you 6 red flags to keep a lookout for with your rep to determine if they might not be holding their end of the bargain. She’ll also share five things you should be asking yourself as a self check-in to make sure you’re doing all you can before blaming your rep. Elizabeth will teach you strategies you should try with your rep to repair the relationship and will give you tips on when to know it’s finally time to leave. Next, she will discuss the proper way to end your relationship with a manager and how to understand the legal aspects to avoid complications. Elizabeth will give you the tools and wherewithal to move forward with your career after leaving your manager or agent, including creating your own opportunities and finding ways to get yourself discovered without outside help. Finally, Elizabeth will explain what it means to take back your own power, how to craft the career you want and focus on the work to achieve your goals independently. It’s so important for actors in this industry to feel empowered and know their worth, and Elizabeth will give you the tools to do just that. Praise for Elizabeth's Stage 32 Webinar "Liz was informative and inspirational! Great ideas about content creation!" -Bill H. "Elizabeth is terrific, and inspiring. Plus she is experienced and knowledgeable" -Dede R.
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out. The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve. Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry. Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar "This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!" -Allie R. "This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!" -Taylor D. "I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!" -Gail B. "This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects." -Irene C.
The backbone of the entertainment industry was shaken to the core after the trades announced one of the major festivals - SXSW was going to cancel its in-person festival. Shortly after festival after festival had to adapt to a new way of doing things - should they present their festival live and take a chance of it being cancelled? Or, should they present their festival virtually bringing on a new slew of challenges? Navigating this "new normal" has rocked the industry and has left many filmmakers scratching their heads about what it all means. Should you release your film in this new format? Or should you hold onto it and wait it out, with the fear of another year going by without it seeing the light of day? Despite the ongoing shift to a virtual, watch-from-home and hybrid model, film festivals continue to serve as an important platform for your film to make its debut. Your film can continue to find attention, distribution and other successes from participating, yet there are new questions and considerations you should factor into evaluating which festivals to submit to. The current spirit of cooperation and collaboration between festivals during the pandemic has radically changed, creating lots of new and exciting ways you can benefit from the circuit. But, with the excitement, there is also a lot of confusion about premiere status, virtual screenings vs online screenings, and more. Outside of getting your film into a festival, there are things you can learn from what the successful festival films are seeing that you can apply to your own film and its release. Whether you are a feature filmmaker or a short filmmaker you need to understand and embrace the new practices emerging among festivals presenting virtual and hybrid events. It’s time you take stock of the situation. Kimberley Browning is an independent filmmaker, the Associate Short Film Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and the founder of the long-running short film screening series Hollywood Shorts. Kimberley is also the Executive Producer of HBO ACCESS Directors Fellowship, the network's program developing and launching underrepresented voices into episodic television. Formerly a short film programmer for both the Los Angeles Film Festival and Guadalajara International Film Festival Los Angeles, Kimberley has a long history of working with film festivals and continues to serve as a festival consultant for many independent filmmakers. Kimberley has built her storied career around elevating new voices and empowering them to get their projects out into the world. Kimberley will delve into how filmmakers are finding success with their new films during the pandemic and how you can use film festivals as well as other practices to successfully release your own short or feature film. She’ll begin by explaining how you should be setting your gals and building your strategies to get your film out there. She’ll talk about new practices to build an audience, strategy essentials—with or without COVID—and how you should now be defining success and whether it needs to evolve due to the pandemic. Next Kimberley will focus on film festivals and show you what the new festival landscape and vocabulary looks like. She’ll explain what the best digital platforms festivals are utilizing and which to avoid. She’ll also teach you what ‘geocaching’ is and how to determine your geofencing options. She will go over DRM protections and how to keep your film safe when screening virtually and will talk about the difference between virtual screenings and online screenings. Next Kimberley will delve into the new film festival calendar, how the overall festival circuit is shifting due to date changes and postponements. She’ll give you the rundown of how to read small print before submitting to festivals to make sure you know what you need to know ahead of time. She’ll walk through how you should revamp your festival strategy to better navigate COVID and how you should now be communicating with a festival team. Kimberley will also talk about how to now navigate premiere status with festivals and explain how virtual festivals impact your film’s status and its ability to get distributor attention. She’ll also talk about how media and distributors are now navigating new rules in 2020 to find work with films. Next she will teach you how to navigate a virtual festival if your film is accepted, including how to promote your film to a virtual audience and how to build relationships and make connections without in-person events. Beyond festivals, Kimberley will give you strategies to promote and market your film to a general audience for its virtual release including if and how to work with publicists and new social media strategies to start employing. Kimberley will talk about other release strategies for your film beyond film festivals. She’ll give you tips on how to host your own independent online premiere. She’ll also give you a rundown of how to find distributors in a distanced world and how to operate long-standing marketplaces like AFM that are now turning virtual. Finally Kimberley will go over ways to self-distribute your film during quarantine, including if and how to work with aggregators to maximize your release. This is a tough time to release your film—rules and practices have changed across the board—but it’s still possible to find success and Kimberley will show you how to achieve this with your own film. Praise for Kimberley's Stage 32 Webinar "Kimberley was very engaging which isn't easy when there is no audience interaction. Her presentation hit the middle ground between newbies and more seasoned festival goers which was very helpful because we are all newbies in this virtual festival world...both presenters and filmmakers alike." -Laurie C. "Good perspective, useful advice." -Mick H. "It was great!" -Daniel G. "I loved how knowledgeable Kimberley was. She gave me so many ideas of how to move forward with my film" -Karen B.
Almost everyone is at least vaguely familiar with Bollywood, but the Indian film and TV industry is more than just Bollywood, and it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that just keeps growing. With over 1.3 billion people living in India, it’s no wonder. However, the popularity of Indian movies and TV is not confined to India alone. Thanks to growing accessibility through streaming platforms, popular series like MADE IN HEAVEN and PUSHPAVALLI on Amazon, and movies like GARBAGE and RAJMA CHAWAL on Netflix, plus many many more are gaining wider audiences worldwide. As the world becomes flatter and network and streaming giants are investing more and more into generating country-specific content, this is an incredibly exciting time to find opportunities in the Indian film and TV space. The challenges of breaking into new territory, are knowing what buyers and sellers are looking for, and who all the players are. India may be one country, but it’s made up of 28 states with different languages, cultures, and people. Therefore, there are also many different film and TV industries within India. So, you need to know what Indian buyers are looking for as well as what streamers here will be looking for, which may be different from other content they buy. Knowing all these differences is important for setting yourself up for success in India. With the right guidance, you can be sure you’ll set up a good foundation for your future film and TV endeavors in India. Katharina Suckale is a long-time producer and creator with deep experience creating content for the Indian film and TV industry, including creating the Indian series, BETWEEN WORLDS, which has been picked up by Disney+. She has also directed documentaries, shorts, and experimental films. With a career spanning twenty-four years in the film industry, and experience in both distribution and production, she has a deep knowledge for the landscape of the industry in India, Europe, and the US. In 2003, she founded Suckale Film Produktion, producing projects in Germany, Africa, and India. Producing in India led her to discover her love for India and its rich storytelling culture. She has consulted on and overseen European-Indian co-productions and handled worldwide sales for Yash Raj Films India. Katharina is here to share her love for filmmaking in India and how you can break your way into this bustling industry. She’ll walk you through the main differences between the Indian Market and the European/American markets, including everything you need to know about the difference between film, series, and streaming platforms in India. She’ll also share her insights on how new talent can break into the Indian entertainment industry, and the importance of genre conventions. This is your chance to get to know the billion-dollar industry and find out what it takes to bring your projects there.