As lead producer at Third, Samm has eight feature credits to his name, these include coproductions with Sweden, Germany and Australia. These have premiered in Cannes, Venice, Sundance and SXSW and have featured at London, AFI, MoMA Docs as well as countless others. Recently, in 2018, his feature Island of the Hungry Ghosts won best Feature documentary at Tribeca. He is a member of BAFTA, EAVE and ACE. He sat on the Short Film Jury in Berlin 2010 to award the Golden Bear. He is a group leader for EAVE, Feature expanded and the Venice College Cinema. He also delivers training for Creative England, Film London, Arts Council England and FACT. Samm has been a patron or board member at several film festivals and is also a film academic. Full Bio »
The script is finally ready…now, how do you prepare for your first day on set? There are a lot of factors that go into preparing for your film shoot. We’ve brought in producer, Samm Haillay, to talk about the process from script to set.
Samm is an eight-time feature film producer, whose films have premiered at Cannes, Venice, Sundance, SXSW and who’s film Island of the Hungry Ghosts won best Feature documentary at 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. He’ll be going over everything from schedule, budget, casting, locations and more to get you prepared for day one. He’ll be sharing his decades of experience and helping you avoid common mistakes made, as you get ready to shoot your film.
Q&A with Samm!
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A Tribeca-winning producer breaks down the specific pitch elements and approach you need to secure funding for your project! How do I get financing? How can I win over a financier? How can I stand out from other projects looking for funding? How can I create a pitch that blows financiers away? These are the questions on everyone filmmakers mind. And we have the answers here for you. As you no doubt know, the competition for raising financing is fierce. With so much content being created, investors have more projects to choose from than ever before. It's not enough to say "I have a great project!" You must be able to show and convey why your project is worthy of those investment dollars and the interest of producers who can get a film made quickly and efficiently. One of our favorite educators, Tribeca-winning producer Samm Haillay, is back again exclusively at Stage 32 and this time he's bringing the goods to help you design the best pitch possible for your film. In this 2-part class, Samm will be showing you the 15 minute pitch which helped raise ALL the funding for the feature length film, BYPASS, which went on to be nominated for Best Film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival (among others) and continued Samm's incredible stretch of raising funds and winning awards. The film was written, directed and produced by Duane Hopkins, who's experience prior to this was primarily in short films. In this 2-part Stage 32 on-demand class, Samm will break down what it takes for any filmmaker, producer, screenwriter or other creative looking to raise funds and get their projects into development! We know raising money can be hard; Samm Haillay has been there time and time again. And he is sharing his methods and knowledge to give you the competitive advantage you need to make your pitch worthy, relevant, and memorable. If you are a filmmaker looking to get financing for your next project, this class is a must! Praise For Samm's Teaching: "No wonder Samm has made a career out of raising money for his films, he's a pro at it and I feel so fortunate to have learned from him!" -- Nicholas B. "There's an art and a science to raising money for film and Samm helped me understand that better than anyone else has before." - Meg W.
When we write scripts there are so many elements to consider in order to create a great story. There’s world building, introducing a vast ensemble of characters, interweaving conflict, creating stakes, and so much more, all while having to hook your audience in a short amount of time. It’s very easy to go overboard and try to cram all of these elements into your story where it gets to a point of oversaturation. This is why it's common for first drafts to be overcomplicated and hard for others to read or get through. Of course, we want to include all the aspects that make the formula of our script a success, but it’s important to do it in a way that is clear, concise, and effective. Making your script clear and not overcomplicated isn’t necessarily always the easiest thing to do. Learning how to trim our stories is difficult and cutting out things that we love is challenging as writers, especially when we’ve spent so much time investing in our projects. However, there are useful strategies and tools you can use to simplify the complexity of your script and create a product that gatekeepers will want to read and executives will want to produce. Screenwriting is all about telling a lot in a short amount of time. Being concise is a skill every writer should master. Samm Haillay is an award-winning producer and BAFTA member whose films have premiered at Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto and London Film Festivals and have collected 35 international awards and nominations worldwide. Samm is also the founder of the BFI Vision Award and MEDIA Slate Funding Award-winning production company Third Films and his short films have collected over 50 international awards and nominations including at BAFTA, Berlin, Venice, Edinburgh and Chicago. Samm has picked up much talent and expertise from the filmmaking industry and shares his experience with the Stage 32 community. Samm will give you invaluable tips, strategies, and exercises that you can use to simplify your own complex script. He will discuss all the vital components of what scripts should include - and then help you boil down everything from what you want to keep in your story to what it actually needs. Samm will share the practice] he developed called “The Story Rainbow”, which examines the relationship and interconnectivity between Story, Narrative and Plot and can be used to further develop your own project.. He will be focusing on how to keep your script simple - yet complex - rather than confusing and complex. Samm's unique understanding of how to simplify complex script has greatly elevated his own career and he is beyond ecstatic to help members of the Stage 32 community to achieve the same.
Now that the barrier to entry is lower than ever to start creating your own content, it's imperative to learn how to capitalize shooting on digital. Whether it's understanding the needs of digital services like Netflix, or platforms like YouTube, there is a spot in the market for you to make it a career. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar your host Stephen Balsley will be going over the technology side of the Industry, with a specific focus on the shift from Film to Digital. We will also be learning to look at Media as a whole, from how each piece is interconnected, to how technology is affecting extraordinary change in every area of Media. We will go over specific examples of Filmmakers who have successfully capitalized on the shift to Digital, and will provide useful steps to ensure your projects are taking full advantage of the available Technology to give you the best possible chance at creative success. The Technical side can be one of the most difficult and daunting areas of any Industry (like opening up the hood of a car), but Stephen's goal for this webcast is to inspire an overall curiosity into all of the change that is currently happening, and to begin to gain a firm understanding of how the Industry works around, and is very often driven by, the Digital Age in which we live. Stephen Balsley began his career at a RED Digital Cinema nearly 9 years ago, and has watched it grow from a small startup company into one of the leading Cinema brands in the world. During that time, the RED One camera was largely credited with driving the shift from Film to Digital, with RED cameras now being used in a large number of films and other projects across the Industry. Although Stephen’s expertise is in RED, he is well experienced in all types of cameras, including Arri, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic, and more.
Learn how you can write an Oscar caliber screenplay based on a true story from the two time Academy Award winning writer of GREEN BOOK! PLUS! Get a copy of the script for GREEN BOOK! You’ve heard the phrase “write what you know.” Well, it might just win you an Oscar. For writer/actor Nick Vallelonga, his screenplay for the 2018 film GREEN BOOK is much more than a creative expression. It is a testament to his father, Tony Lip Vallelonga, whose life Nick based the screenplay on. And it led to Nick winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Nick wrote the film to highlight his father’s relationship and friendship with African-American pianist Don Shirley as they encountered staggering racism in segregation-era America. The film became a huge hit and went on to receive wide critical and audience acclaim (winning both Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture at the Academy Awards). In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you will learn directly from Nick Vallelonga about his writing process and production journey on GREEN BOOK and how he was able to take a true life story about his father and turn it into an award-winning film. While writing what you know often leads to creating compelling and nuanced stories, it is not easy to discern which elements of the true story should be part of the script. Nick will walk you through how he effectively chose particular elements of his father’s story to create a compelling Hollywood movie and give you the tools you need to create your engaging screenplay based off real world events. Through a case study of the script of GREEN BOOK, Nick will teach you how to break down a scene and create interesting dialogue for your characters so your audience is always emotionally involved in the story. In addition to writing GREEN BOOK, Nick has worked on dozens of films and television series for major studios, networks, and streamers including Universal, NBC, Fox, Lionsgate, and more. Nick is an avid educator and is excited to share his wealth of knowledge with the Stage 32 community. Don’t miss this chance to learn from and engage with a TWO TIME ACADEMY-AWARD WINNING WRITER in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar! PLUS! Nick will provide you with a copy of the script for the GREEN BOOK to keep! Praise For Nick's Webinar: "Nick was very inspirational, especially to someone like myself, who is writing a screenplay based on a true story. I loved hearing more about the real life characters of GREEN BOOK, which is one of my favorite movies. His script breakdown and discussion of his process helps me see why it was so successful." -Martha C. "I grew up in New York City so I'm a little biased but I think Nick V is the real deal. The webinar felt like I was a guest in his home as he gets to chatting about his work and his life over some delicious lasagna. It great to hear the true story behind the true story, especially when he admits that he doesn't really follow the rules or process we are have all learned. Five stars." -Jim M.
Having a known or in-demand actor in your independent film can make all the difference in whether it succeeds or not. A name actor gives your film a sense of legitimacy, which attracts new investors and more interested distributors. It also gives your film more opportunities for press and buzz, and will convince more people to watch it once it is released. That famous actor is very likely what you need to clinch your film, actually get it made, and have it ultimately find an audience and a home. But there’s a big, glaring problem with this truth: You need a name actor to get funding, but you need that funding in order to get the name actor. It ends up being a vicious circle, a catch-22 that can come across as frustratingly insurmountable, a barrier for entry that no independent filmmaker can get beyond. Let’s not mince words. Landing high level talent for your film is HARD, especially if your funding hinges on that actor saying yes. But at the same time, this isn’t the unsolvable puzzle it may at first seem. It comes down to finding the right investors and giving them what they need to say yes. This means pulling out all of the stops, preparing correctly, and doing the hard work. You’ll never be the only filmmaker going after top level talent, but you might be one of the few who’s able to do it the right way. First, it’s vital to understand what the “right way” actually is and what you need to know to do this right. Acquiring a talent is always going to be a hustle, but knowing what it takes and how to navigate this world can give you a serious edge. Independent feature film producer Franco Sama has produced an impressive array of over twenty independent feature films including cult favorite GUNS, GIRLS AND GAMBLING starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook, which was released theatrically acquired by Universal Pictures. Other films Franco has produced include; BLACK LIMOUSINE starring David Arquette, Vivica A. Fox and Bijou Phillips, TOOTH AND NAIL starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, THE PENITENT MAN, starring Lance Henriksen and Andrew Keegan and PAID, starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti. Franco’s company Samaco Films continues to fund and develop independent films from burgeoning filmmakers. After nearly two decades of experience in film finance, distribution and packaging, Franco has come to understand how to crack the code and attract top level talent to independent films. He’s ready to share what he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Franco will go in-depth on how exactly an independent filmmaker can find both cast and funding for their project. He will begin by explaining what budget range you should be aiming for to allow you to acquire the talent you’re looking for. He’ll then teach you the steps you must take before reaching out to either talent or investors. He will explain how to tap into an investor’s mindset and use it to your advantage, including why it might be easier for you to raise $5 million than $500,000, and how you should frame your project as an opportunity for investors. He’ll explain what development funding is, how it works, and why it’s now necessary in today’s landscape. Next, he will delve into how you should be building a strong team for your project before you start approaching talent. He’ll lay out the seven critical people you will need to bring on from the beginning, why you need an executive producer, how to choose the “right” director and casting director, and whether you can attract major talent as a first time director. Franco will explain the importance of acquiring international sales estimates and will lay out what your presentation deck to investors should look like to find funding and gain the cast you’re looking for. He will also talk about how pre-sales work and how many you need to be seen as successful. He’ll then start talking about the actual casting process, including how to create a realistic actor’s wish list, deciding between “A-List” and “B-List” actors and whether or not they pass Franco’s “Parentheses Test”. He’ll explain casting with an eye towards sales and then explain the difference between letters of intent, letters of commitment, and phone verification when going after talent. He’ll also break down contingency investments and how to know when to employ deferment and back-end offers with actors. Franco will explain how to make legitimate offers to actors and agents and how to ensure they’re never empty offers. He’ll go into how “pay or play” works in this world and why going out too early to actors can destroy your casting choices. Finally Franco will explain how you can use tax incentives to help with casting. Expect to leave with a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the steps you need to take to bring on your dream actor. Praise for Franco's Stage 32 Webinar: "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. “Head & shoulders above the usual webinars on film distribution and finance. Franco actually knows his stuff and has a track record to back it up. Really good presentation.” – Scott B. This was incredibly illuminating and really entertaining at the same time. I'm so glad I watched this" -Glenda T. Wow. I cannot believe how much I learned from this webinar. Franco is the best. -Terrence R.
Whether for the big or small screen, every production uses a Script Supervisor. This crucial job is needed to track the director’s notes, maintain continuity, and keep everyone from production to post on the same page. However, there are significant changes depending on the kind of production you're working on. This in-depth webinar shows you the distinct differences between features, television, and commercials, so you're ready for every opportunity as a Script Supervisor. Are you interested in production jobs but unsure of if film, television, or commercials are the best direction? Are you organized, detail-oriented, and a strong communicator? If this sounds like you, then you could be a stand-out Script Supervisor, and with so much new content created every day, you have a great opportunity to build a career in a format that works best for you. In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the job and the differences between working in film, television, and commercials, all from an expert in the field. You’ll review scripts, forms, breakdowns, and storyboards to see how they’re used from pre-production through post. This role overlaps with nearly every department and works alongside the director, making you an essential crew member and an asset to any project you work on. Walking you through the role is Rachel Atkinson, a professional script supervisor with credits on Hulu’s DOPESICK, Apple+’s SWAGGER, Showtime’s HOMELAND, the films CANDYMAN and POISON IVY, and countless commercials. Rachel will cover: The specific role of a script supervisor in film, television, and commercials, and how they are distinctly different How to breakdown a script How to stay organized while adapting from pre-production to being on set Highlighting the information the editors need Keeping continuity for a single shoot vs. multiple episodes and seasons The language of script lining And more By the end of this webinar, you’ll know the essential skills and tools to work as a Script Supervisor in film, television, and commercials.