Sara Elizabeth Timmins established Life Out Lout Films to create quality, inspiring impact films that champion women. Her films have been seen theatrically as well as HBO, Hallmark Channel, Starz, Showtime and internationally. She has worked with talented actors like Jane Seymour, Ellen Burstyn, Chris Cooper, Josh Lucas and Mackenzie Foy and writers like NY Times Best Selling Author David Baldacci. Most recently, she produced McMillions, an HBO docu series for Mark Wahlberg’s company which premiered at Sundance 2020 and is in development on several feature films and series. She also works as a consultant for both films and filmmakers and has produced national campaigns for companies like Meyer Natural Foods & Laura's Lean. She believes she has a responsibility through film to spark conversations, that spark action, that spark change and remains dedicated to encouraging the work of talented writers and championing female leaders behind the camera while providing strong female roles on camera. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, SAG and both DGA & PGA eligible and was a Qualified Independent Producer for NBCUniversal/IFTA. Full Bio »
Low budget filmmaking is all the rage these days. But unfortunately, many people equate low budget with low quality. And if we're being honest, that's because most producers and filmmakers don't understand how and where to spend their money to stretch their dollar and make sure the quality is up there on the screen. In short, you don't have to compromise on your vision if you have a smaller budget to work with. Even though you may not be playing with studio level money, you still have the ability to make a high quality film without skimping on spending for what matters. If you are clever in your planning, approach and execution of minimizing costs your will walk away with a movie you will be proud of and that will play much larger than the budget. And this will allow you to stand out in every way, from festival submissions to attracting sales agents, distributors and more.
Thinking smart about your indie film must begin at the script stage. There are many tips and tricks successful producers and filmmakers use to ensure that a project will not run amok financially once you start developing and shooting it. You must think outside of the box to be able to find cost-effective ways to assure you get everything you need to make your production go smoothly and on schedule while keeping you in line on your budget. Once you master a few tips and tricks of the trade, you'll assuredly have money left over to spend on what really counts and make your film look and sound like you had money to burn. So, how can you evaluate your script, avoid the common pitfalls, and assure that you avoid the myriad issues that can stall a production or push it over budget? We have the answers.
Sara Elizabeth Timmins was a field producer on the hit HBO series McMillions, which was produced by Mark Wahlberg and premiered at Sundance 2020. Her films have been seen in theaters, the Hallmark Channel, Starz, Showtime and internationally. She has worked with talented actors like Jane Seymour, Ellen Burstyn, Chris Cooper, Josh Lucas and Mackenzie Foy and writers like NY Times Best Selling Author David Baldacci. Throughout her career she has learned how to attach award-winning talent and turn a profit on every single one of her films.
Sara Elizabeth will teach you the 3 key elements you must not skimp on in order to get your film to come out looking the best possible way. She'll share how she's been able to secure and manage professional talent and crew on a low budget. She'll take you step by step with great examples of where you can minimize costs in the script and development phase, as well as once you're in production. She'll even share things to think about when it comes to transportation, lodging, craft services, locations and more. She'll also give you 9 common production dangers that can sabotage your budget - you'll want to know each one of these before you even say "action!" This is information you'll want to come back to time and time again and can help you for every single production regardless of your working budget.
"What clever information Sara Elizabeth. Thank you a million for your insights into your process producing. You gave me so many things to think about that I never would have considered. I'm excited to put this into practice on the film I'm doing next year!"
- Robin M.
"Brilliant. Just brilliant. I feel like I just got the secret sauce."
- Timothy K.
Sara Elizabeth Timmins
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!
As animators we pour our heart and soul into creating content we can be proud of. What most people don't realize is how many hours, days, months and even years it takes to create even the shortest form animation content to showcase your skills. Often you aspire to be noticed, not only by a viewing audience, but also by professionals who can help move the needle on your career. So how can you be assured that all your time and effort will pay off by not only reaching the widest audience possible, but by those who can help you get to the next level? Writing, boarding and creating animation content takes immense discipline. It takes the distinguished voice of a storyteller, the skillful eye of a director and the polished chops of an artist to make your vision come to life on screen. Once you've decided to embark on the path of creating content, how do you go about getting noticed? Animation is difficult to break into, but it's certainly not impossible and you CAN be seen by people that matter if you take the right steps to creating your content and getting it out there online. You have powerful tools in your hands and at your disposal through platforms like Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram and more - if you know how to use them to your advantage. Mike Disa knows a thing or two about animation. He's been working in the industry for over two decades and is currently the lead director on Netflix's hit show Paradise PD. He's worked with companies such as Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others on feature films, television shows and digital series. Before he got his start, he knew no one in animation or entertainment and used his own methods to get noticed and sustain a nearly twenty five year career, which he will share with you. Mike will teach you what type of content you can create that will help you stand out online to those working in animation. You will learn how online platforms can be best utilized to show your content and learn to set clear goals of what you are trying to get out of creating content and reach your target audience. You will know what to expect if you embark on the path for the genre of animation you work in. Mike will walk you through the development process to make sure your time is worth it before you start investing your time creating content. And, Mike will even walk you through how to promote yourself to get noticed! Remember, it just takes one champion of you and your work to kick start your career and Mike will help you know what type of content you can create and how you can get it out there in the right places to capture the right person's eye! We're thrilled to welcome Mike back exclusively to Stage 32. Here are testimonials from Mike's previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The webinar was excellent and very well paced. I truly appreciated the honesty and straightforwardness of the presenter. I learned a lot and look forward to the next one." - Jerry M. "Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H. "I believe such given information was highly inspirational, utterly legit and true regarding the industry and show business. I've always wanted to learn what it takes to write an idea for an animated series, and how to put it on screen, and this webinar truly answered these vital questions. Conclusively, I would really take these tips into consideration during the writing of my ideas, and would highly recommend them to those who are ambitious to spread their stories world-wide." - Mohammed H.
In this Stage 32 Next Level webinar, Simon Graham-Clare will discuss 10 business steps for giving your project momentum and creating a viable package that feels right to investors. Having been involved in the production and/or financing of over 200 projects, Simon will discuss how a filmmaker can benefit by teaming up with a producer who understands this world, and he looks at all projects from an international point of view to give you a full spectrum idea of film financing. The last two films The Future Film Group produced were both first time directors, so Simon knows exactly what it takes to get your project in production, no matter if it is your first film or one of many. Simon Graham-Clare is a Producer at The Future Film Group, established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principles in both the entertainment and business worlds. It quickly established itself on the UK scene through its involvement in films such as Bend It Like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins). The company quickly formed a production division to work alongside its financing arm and, through an ever-expanding structure, has since been involved in the production and/or financing of nearly 200 films and television shows. Some of The Future Film Group’s notable productions include Transsiberian (starring Woody Harrelson and Sir Ben Kingsley), 50 Dead Men Walking (starring Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley) and Flawless (starring Sir Michael Caine and Demi Moore).
At times, the complications that can arise in the pre-production and production processes seem to come out of nowhere. This is especially true when the best laid, most regimented plans concerning budget, cast, and the creative process are upended. Filmmakers are often left wondering about the root of these issues, and whether or not they could have been prevented. This webinar will address how to tackle common hurdles in pre-production and production when identified early on…and how to roll with the punches when you’re blindsided. Some of the most common issues that can plague productions result from a lack of planning. To this end, the importance of having a top-notch line producer for your project, thoroughly researching the professional reputations of your cast and financiers, and maintaining open lines of communication with your director and writer cannot be overstated. Entering into a project blindly, being unrealistic about shooting schedules and financial constraints, or a disconnect between you and a filmmaker will only bog down (or shut down) production. Bottom line: preparation and research will save you money and aggravation. And on the occasion that you’re faced with an issue out of your control (be it inclement weather on set or an MIA actor), an ability to adapt, problem-solve, and then move on is key. Bradley Gallo is the Chief Creative Officer for Amasia Entertainment, and a guest blogger in the Stage 32 community. Helmed by the former president and COO of Marvel Studios, Michael Helfant, Amasia has emerged as one of the top production companies in the industry today. Bradley and Gerard Butler are the producers behind the 2019 Official Sundance Selection THEM THAT FOLLOW, which was acquired by SONY, as well as films like THE CALL (Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin), and MR. RIGHT (Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell). Amasia Entertainment is a production, finance and management company based in Los Angeles. Amasia is currently in pre-production on FATE, written by Gary Whitta (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, BOOK OF ELI). Through Bradley's career, he has seen it all and knows how to navigate all hurdles on set. Bradley will take you through the common pre-production hurdles you will go through when making a film including when you lose key elements like money, talent, your director or a location. He'll talk about how to communicate with representation for talent. In addition, he will go over on-set production hurdles you'll face, as well, including when a director loses control of a set, when an actor goes missing or dealing with difficult talent. He'll go over what happens when you run out of money while filmmaking, what happens when you get hit with unexpected fines and how to work with multiple producers and financiers on set. And, he'll even help you understand how to deal with issues out of your control like weather, injuries, and more. This is an immersive deep dive into how to prevent problems not before they arise, but so they never arise so that your production stays on track, on time, on budget and with the entire cast and crew focused on the job at hand. Praise for Bradley's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "Bradley is no bullsh*t. He is real, down to earth and tells it like it is. He is proof that anything is possible if you put the work into it" - Stan S. "Bradley is creative in his approach and that's refreshing!" - Samantha R. "Keep bringing Bradley back, please. He's one of the most honest voices I've come across in my 10+ years in the business." - Martin C. "I could listen to Bradley teach all day. He's straight to the point, fun, and inspiring. He makes me believe anything is possible." Melanie L.
Throughout every phase of making a film or series, it’s vital to have a vision, but it’s paramount to make sure your books are in order make sure that you are running your project as a business and making money back for your investors. Losing either of these aspects will spell disaster for your project. Vision likely comes more easily to creatives—it’s why you set out on this venture in the first place—but if it’s not accompanied by strong financial records and a wherewithal of what to do, both to spend money and to earn it, you’re going to find yourself in a heap of trouble that no amount of vision can get you out of. In the previous webinar in this series, Introduction to Film & Television Accounting, we discussed the things you need to know in order to responsibly get your project off the ground, including navigating tax incentives, finding and approaching investors, and working with loan-out companies. However your dealings with accounting don’t end here; they continue well through production. You might have wrapped your film, but there are still some serious i’s to dot and t’s to cross. How do you report your earnings and your spending? How do you handle payroll in accordance with the different guilds and unions? How do you prepare your taxes and how do you make sure you actually get those credits and incentives you’re owed? There’s no time to sit on your laurels. It’s more vital now than ever to ensure that your accounting is, well, accounted for. John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh are Atlanta-based CPAs that specialize in providing services to the film & entertainment industries both abroad and in the US. Kristy also serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. Together they have worked on hundreds of film and television projects assisting clients in all stages of project implementation from investor relations, entity structuring, waterfall projections, budgeting, pre-production and development, production accounting to post-production. John and Kristy will continue on from their first accounting webinar to share with you more advanced but equally vital aspects of handling the accounting on your film project. They’ll go over financial reporting requirements for any project, specifically your balance sheet and your income statement and teach you how to reflect your project as an asset, how to report investor obligations, both as loan payable and equity interest, and when and where the revenue hits. Next they’ll delve into the importance of quality production accounting and go over the guild and union rules you need to know while doing payroll. John and Kristy will walk you through cost reports and how they compare with the budget. Then they’ll teach you the nuts and bolts of tax preparation, which includes both federal filings like elections and K1s, and state filings, like resident/non-resident filings tax incentive and credit declarations. Praise for John and Kristy’s Webinar Both presenters really knew their stuff and presented it with clarity. -Clint A. This advanced class was so helpful. John and Kristy got into the nuts and bolts of accounting in a serious way and gave me a lot more confidence in being able to handle accounting on my own project” -Cassie G. Really thorough but also easy to understand -Gerry T. John and Kristy are the best! -Rodolfo B.
Creating a realistic budget can make or break a film before it ever makes it into production. Where should you spend? Where can you cut? How do you stretch your dollar? In short, how can you assure you're creating the highest quality film for the lowest price? Listen, not everyone can afford a line producer. And even if you can, you want to make sure he or she is protecting your vision and your money! Understanding this aspect of the business and how a film can be put together is everything! Let's make this complex aspect of filmmaking easier, shall we? Michael Madaville (Taken, Taken 2, Taken 3 to name a very few) is one of the most respected line producers in the business. Michael has created budgets from some of the most successful indie darlings, mid-majors and studio films in the business. And now, exclusively for Stage 32, he will take you by the hand, help you problem solve just about every issue that may arise, and help you toward financial success no matter what your budget may be. Using examples from his decades in the business, Michael will walk you through examples of micro to major budget films and discuss how to reduce costs for crew, locations, materials and more and how to apply that information to get your schedule tight and your budget to where it needs to be. No more chasing funds or getting caught short during filming! Michael will show you how to get on the path to a smooth shoot well before yelling "Action!"
We've brought in producer Bradley Gallo, who's the CCO of Amasia Entertainment. Helmed by the former president of Marvel Studios, Michael Helfant, Amasia has emerged as one of the top production companies in the industry today. Bradley's recent film, Them That Follow, which he produced with Gerard Butler, is an official selection at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, he's worked on successful films such as Mr. Right (starring Anna Kendrick & Sam Rockwell) and The Call (starring Halle Berry). Over the last decade in the industry Bradley has mastered best practices to get a key director and cast attached to your film and he's going to be sharing his tips exclusively with the Stage 32 community!