Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over nine years of legal experience assisting clients with transactional and intellectual property matters. She regularly counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing. Ms. Thomas is an adjunct instructor at UCLA, where she teaches a course titled, “Copyright Law in the Entertainment Industries.” The course provides students with an overview of copyright protection and how it affects the television, film, fashion and new media industries. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Ms. Thomas was an adjunct instructor at American University, where she taught graduate producing students about production company formation. She provided students with the tools necessary to launch and sustain their own television and film production companies. Ms. Thomas is a regular legal contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine, where she regularly writes about the intersection of entrepreneurship, entertainment and intellectual property law. Jaia Thomas is a graduate of Colgate University (BA) and The George Washington University Law School (JD). She also holds a Certificate in Television, Film and New Media Production from University of California, Los Angeles Full Bio »
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution!
Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. Whether you’re a screenwriter, an actor, comedian, or anything, creating content for platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and Instagram can be a powerful way to be discovered, find fans, and give yourself the chance for bigger opportunities. Yet despite the positives, the internet isn’t exactly the safest place, and having your work stolen or plagiarized is unfortunately far too common. Keeping your content protected on online platforms can be complicated but if you put your own work online, it’s crucial you first understand how to best legally protect yourself.
Just because your work is posted and widely accessible on platforms like Twitter or Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to have it protected. The internet can be tricky, but it’s not the wild west it once was. Understanding how to be safe and what happens to your ideas when they’re posted can make all the difference. For instance are your YouTube videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Who owns your tweet or snap? And what steps can you take from the outset to dissuade people from stealing your work? Better understanding the legal side of this world and being aware of the steps you can (and should) take is incredibly important if you’re interested in building your online presence and putting your own ideas out there for everyone to see.
Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their work safe, and is going to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Jaia will equip you with the tools necessary to protect your work and ideas in an increasingly online world. She will first outline the copyright registration process and how it applies to online content She’ll even go through step-by-step how to get your online work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next she will delve into specific online sites and platforms, discuss their terms and conditions and give you tips on how to protect your work on each. This includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Faceboook. Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
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 in about 48 hours after the live session. Your purchases are located in your My Education folder on the left-hand panel.
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!
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects. Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D. "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F
One of the common complaints with scripts is on-the-nose writing. This month, we're challenging you to convey a series of emotions without using the actual words (or synonyms - no cheating!).
In this challenge, members were asked to pick their favorite antagonist or villain from film, television or literature and in - ONLY ONE PAGE - write a monologue from his or her point of view. The participants could frame this as an interrogation, a negotiation, a confession, or a conspiratorial conversation. Most importantly, writers has to make sure the scene had conflict, and the character's point of view in his or her voice. During the webcast we heard from some of our favorite protagonists, including Loki from the Marvel Universe, Terence Fletcher of Whiplash, Commodus from Gladiator, Jack Bynes of Meet the Parents, and Lex Luther of Superman among many others.
Stage 32 + Netflix join forces to bring you an exclusive television pitch workshop Learn best practices to make your pitch work and what your pitching document should look like You do NOT want to miss this! For many, the holy grail of television has become Netflix. It’s a titan in the industry, and with over 200 million subscribers worldwide, no one can put out content quite like them. Just look at the recent hit show BRIDGERTON, which has already been seen by a massive 80 million households (!!) since its release. If you’re a writer or creator, getting your series onto Netflix’s platform can spell success in a big way. But first there’s the matter of getting your series in front of them and pitching it effectively. It should be a comfort to know that you’re not the only one who wants your series on Netflix. Netflix wants that too! Netflix execs are constantly on the lookout for exciting new voices and new series to fill their slate. Yet it takes more than just a good series or a good pilot script to get on Netflix’s radar; you need to be able to communicate it well and pitch it in a way that will get their team excited. This certainly takes some work, but it’s absolutely achievable. If you’re interested in getting your show on Netflix, it’s time to learn directly from the source what it will take to make that happen. In an effort to reach more writers and find more content, Netflix has joined forces with Stage 32 to present a FREE and invaluable workshop on what it is that they’re looking for in new shows and how you can best pitch your series to their executives. In Stage 32's continued effort to help level the playing field for content creators worldwide, we felt it's important that we help you get tools you need to be able to make sure that you can pitch effectively. Kicking off the workshop will be Stage 32 CEO, Richard "RB" Botto (@rbwalksintoabar), and hosting this presentation will be Stage 32's Managing Director Amanda Toney with Netflix’s Director of Creative Talent Investment and Development for International Originals Christopher Mack. Christopher was previously Senior Vice President of Scripted Content for Stage 13, overseeing all of the brand’s original scripted series and development slates across multiple genres, including Emmy nominated Netflix series’ SPECIAL and IT'S BRUNO. Before Stage 13, Chris headed the Warner Bros. Workshop, the writing and directing program for professionals looking to start and/or further their careers in television. Over a period of 10 years in this role, Chris curated a roster of close to 100 writers and 50 directors representing the breakthrough emerging voices working on high-profile television shows today. In addition to these responsibilities, Chris has covered hit shows such as TWO AND A HALF MEN and SMALLVILLE for the Current Programs department. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Chris spent seven years writing on various one-hour dramas including ER, THE PRACTICE and THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE. After graduating from Loyola Law School, Chris got his start in television at NBC Studios as an associate and he quickly rose to becoming an executive. During his time at the newly created NBC Studios, he oversaw a varied list of shows including: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR and IN THE HOUSE, among others. In this exclusive Stage 32 workshop, Christopher will delve into what exactly makes a television pitch work at Netflix. He’ll discuss the essentials you’ll need to catch Netflix’s eye and will zero in on how to write an effective pitch document. He’ll pose questions you be able to answer and communicate for your series and give you ideas on how best to communicate your show’s overview, world, tone, and characters. Christopher will then discuss how season summaries should be built and give you ideas on how to think about and present potential episodes. Finally, you will have the invaluable opportunity to ask Christopher your own questions. You will leave this presentation with the understanding of how to structure and present your series, not in theory, but directly from the source.
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.
Work closely with Viviana Zarragoitia, the VP of Three Point Capital, as she explains how exactly to take advantage of tax incentives for your own project With a walkthrough of an online application PLUS! a special guest - Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN incentive program It’s important to understand how various tax incentives work, because a lot goes into deciding where to shoot and how to piece together projects based on these incentives. They’re a big part of funding projects. Understanding the criteria, how to properly fill out applications, working with local film funds and associations, knowing what is due when, and knowing when money flows back to you are just some of the pieces that go into putting together a film or series as it relates to tax incentives. If your head is spinning a little, don’t worry. With the right guidance, this will all make sense to you and you’ll be on your way to making sure you make the most out of the appropriate tax incentives for your next projects. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how to take advantage of domestic and international tax incentives. In this extended class and workshop, Viviana is going to walk you through types of incentives and how to access them, domestic and international tax credits, and how to monetize incentives. She’ll also discuss the effects of tax incentives in the entertainment industry and locally, as well as how to decide on a jurisdiction based on creative and financial elements. Plus! Viviana is going to give a live workshop and go over an online application for a tax credit in real time. Viviana is even bringing in a special guest- Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN Incentive Program--to take part in an exclusive Q&A to answer your questions on making tax incentives work for your own project. Praise for Viviana's Past Stage 32 Financing Classes: "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" -Patricia C. "Viviana was personable, professional, interesting, interested, and a wealth of knowledge and useful information. I will take every opportunity to learn from her. She was patient and polite with every question and always clear with what she knew, what she thought, what she believed, and what she didn't know. She painted pictures and delivered facts, outlining the paths she has seen successful producers take while still encouraging all to pursue their art with a greater knowledge of the business and understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls." -Randy G. "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." -Sean R.