Jacob Matthew works with directors, producers, and brands out of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, and has a passion and expertise for leading creatives and producing film. In early 2019, Jacob joined Booklight, a global production company and film agency, to help expand global reach and execution by utilizing his expertise in international film production. Jacob believes that when creatives are given permission to work in an environment that is as healthy and encouraging as it is disciplined and detailed, their creative ceiling can have no bounds. Booklight’s explosive growth is due, not only, to its co-founder Chris Newhard’s obsession for quality, but also to Jacob's own unwavering pursuit of organizational health and clarity. Jacob is going to take his vast experience and insights, and show you how you can actually make money and be profitable as an independent artist. Full Bio »
As independent creatives, most of us have probably accepted our fates as “struggling artists” until we “get our break.” Still, even getting our break isn’t a guarantee for success and financial stability. There’s so much hustle and wait in this industry, but what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could take control of opening the golden door to success? This is an industry full of opportunities for those who are willing to engage in the entrepreneurial grind of building a profitable entity within the film industry. If you’re willing to bet on yourself, you can no doubt lead a fulfilling life as an independent artist.
The two greatest challenges preventing people from fulfilling their dreams though, are often undervaluing themselves and quitting early. It’s important to learn and own your value and what you bring to the table if you want to set yourself up for success. There are strategic steps you can take towards monetizing your skills and creative ways to find revenue (trust us, it is out there!), but you have to be honest with yourself, be willing to put in the work and stand by your worth. Through iteration, practice, and time, you can even scale your skill(s) into your own business. With the right tools, resources, and motivation, you too can set yourself up for success as an independent artist.
Jacob Matthew is the producer of the hit Netflix film LESS IS NOW. He is also the co-owner of the global production company and film agency Booklight. At Booklight he has expanded the agency's global reach in international film production by working with creatives and brands such as Netflix, Open Table, Comedy Central and Twilio. Jacob believes that when creatives are given permission to work in an environment that is as healthy and encouraging as it is disciplined and detailed, their creative ceiling can have no bounds. Booklight’s explosive growth is due, not only, to its co-founder Chris Newhard’s obsession for quality, but also to Jacob's own unwavering pursuit of organizational health and clarity.
In this unique webinar, Jacob will share his story of success as an independent producer, and teach you how to find your value while accepting some brutal truths. He’ll also give you a realistic look at the industry today, and guide you on establishing your brand, what and how to charge clients based on your value, and train you on how to build your wealth while managing risk and growing your client list. This course will give you the basic, high level tools to propel you on your journey to leaving your day job and carving out a space for yourself in this industry.
PRAISE FOR JACOB'S TEACHINGS:
"We all make the mistake of thinking that the term “filmmaker” is a noun, a title to be achieved. We are wrong. A filmmaker is a verb. We film-make everyday that we wake up and decide to do something that moves our film forward. We film-make everyday we look in the mirror and tell ourselves we are on the right path. We film-make every time we encounter an obstacle in our way and choose to get creative. I look forward to teaching you how you can get creative and make a profitable career for yourself."
- Jacob Matthew
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We've got another fantastic Pitch Tank Webcast with special guest, Senior Coordinator Janean Jeffries of ViacomCBS! Janean works directly with the Executive Vice President Head of Production for MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount TV, Logo, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Studios, TVLand, Pluto TV, Comedy Central, and Pop. Janean has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, giving her a broad knowledge of what executives want and need on their screens. Previously, Janean worked for Love Life Entertainment & CBS Films. During the webcast we heard excellent pitches across the spectrum, from Action Adventure and Sci-Fi to Character-driven Drama and even TV-series.
Learn how to make your characters stand out from an executive who has worked with Paramount Classics, The Orchard, Showtime, CNN Films, Netflix, IFC, and Samuel Goldwyn Films! Creating authentic and memorable characters is the key to your next success. And Stage 32 is going to give you the tools and knowledge you need to get the most out of your characters in this in-depth 4-part on-demand class. You’ll learn what executives are looking for in great characters as you're guided by Sarah J. Cornelius, a production and development executive at Whitewater Films. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, The Orchard, Showtime, CNN Films, Netflix, IFC, and Samuel Goldwyn Films, and received numerous film awards, including Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, and audience awards at SXSW and Tribeca Film Festivals. Whether you have a written screenplay or are setting out to develop your ideas, this in-depth class will show you character-building skills to enrich your story, paying particular attention to what makes a compelling protagonist. When you put in the work to create authentic characters, you create a story with greater odds of nabbing A-list actors and directors who want to tell that story and ensure that your script gets made. In each session of this course, you’ll receive comprehensive information on how you can develop strong, believable characters. You’ll cover: The foundation of a character The relationship between characters and the world Writing authentic dialogue Understanding motivation vs. wants vs. desires Knowing internal vs. external barriers How to show your character’s physicality and actions Getting clear on how character fits within an arc And so much more You will work on all of this across four on-demand sessions in this exclusive Stage 32 course as you immerse yourself in character creation and hone your skills. Don’t underestimate the power of believable, dynamic, and complex characters. ***Although this class is offered on-demand and homework isn't required, we strongly suggest doing the exercises and assignments throughout to get the most out of this course. Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Teaching "Just a ton of information from someone that is clearly on the 'inside' of the industry." --Kerry B. "Sarah was spot on about structure, It aligns with everything else i have learned, seen, experienced." -- David G. "She was informative and great." -- Lauren F.
It seems like every day another film festival launches or expands. Specialty festivals are becoming all the rage and major, established festivals have been expanding to accept shorts, digital shorts, documentaries, television pilots, specialty genre content and content focused on diversity. With the market growing, so are the number of submissions to any given festival, especially those which are producing results for the connections of the accepted films. You want to make sure your screenplay is on point, that the story is a fit for the style of the festival you are entering and that the film grabs a judge's attention from the get go. Part of assuring you have a festival darling film is understanding the festival landscape, knowing the right players and making connections that assure your film is being viewed by the decision makers. But this all starts, as it always does, with the script. A majority of screenwriters do not write big budget tentpole blockbusters. They tell more intimate, character driven stories. And these are the kind of stories that most festivals adore. But why do some of these scripts attract financing, producers, and, ultimately, the attention of festival directors while others fall through the cracks? As a writer and/or producer, how can you identify the aspects of your screenplay that might be killing your chances of festival success and fix them before filming begins? And how can filmmakers and producers assure, even if they have a winning film based on a fantastic script in place, that they are entering the right festivals and navigating the circuit correctly? There is a chemistry to all of it. A mixture of the creative and the business side of things. It's imperative that you have an understanding of both. Maren Olson has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes, festival favorites such as An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Natural Selection and Red Flag, and Sundance Audience Award winners This is Martin Bonner, Valley of Saints and Kinyarwanda. As a producer, she was responsible for critically lauded Short Term 12, which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. The film went on to win 19 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Maren currently works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerly the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. To say she understands all the ins and outs of the festival circuit, what festivals look for and how they operate would be a massive understatement. Maren will teach you what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. She will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. She will teach you the 3 components of a festival-friendly story idea and why you must answer yes to each. She will talk budget, shooting locations and when the proper time is to bring on a producer. She will explain the mistakes people make and demystify the myths people believe when navigating the festival circuit. She will go over common pitfalls screenwriters, filmmakers and producers make that can be fatal when submitting to festivals. Maren will give you the tools to get traction on your project. She will lay out, in clear, precise terms, how to assure your project is given the best opportunity to become a "Festival Darling." PRAISE FOR MAREN'S TEACHINGS: "Excellent - informative. Maren brought facts and experience to a very nuanced subject about "Film Festival Darlings - offering an extremely in-depth analysis to the elements of what a writer or producer should consider when moving forward in the Indie film world. My fav Stage 32 webinar so far. Thanks." - Robert G. "Fantastic seminar. Like a good filmmaker, you kept us engaged from opening to close. Thanks again!" - Bob B. "Maren had a lot of practical information and road trap warning for indies. I appreciated the components of a festival face, comps, and specific advice that is useful." - Betty S.
Learn how to make your pitch deck attractive to investors and top talent from a producer who has worked on over 25 films! PLUS! Michelle will provide you with an exclusive pitch deck template for you to use on your own projects! Your film investor pitch deck, sometimes called your business plan, is the most important tool in your initial stage of obtaining financing for your script. Your deck provides an overview of your script and provides the first impression of your film so the investor can become familiar with your project and determine if this is an opportunity for them. A pitch deck is also used as an aid to attach an actor or director you are interested in. Your pitch deck allows investors, companies, and talent to become familiar with your before reading your script so your pitch deck must really stand out in order to garner meaningful consideration and interest. Your deck must not only tell the story of your project, why it is attractive to talent, and what the true potential audience may be, but, most importantly, it needs to show a true and realistic path to profitability. And this is where so many decks fail. Filmmakers tend to make visual heavy look-books without any indication of financials for the project and call it a business plan. Also, novice filmmakers often inflate potential or unrealistic elements of the budget and profitability, causing companies, investors, and producers to see the lack of experience in the filmmaker behind the project. Investors will know if you are overshooting your numbers, whether your film comparables are not realistic, or if you are exaggerating the size of your potential audience. These pitfalls are easily avoidable if you have the knowledge of what companies and investors are really looking for. A professional business plan is filled with equal parts optimism and reality. Of course, any company or investor dreams of major success, but what truly makes them consider participating in a project is believing in the team, the project, and being presented with a realistic overview of the potential return on their investment. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar, seasoned producer and distributor Michelle Alexandria will take you through a step-by-step process to build your successful pitch deck. She will give you examples of successful pitch decks that helped her secure financing to make her movies and equip you with the necessary tools to secure funding for your film. PLUS! You will receive an exclusive pitch deck template to use on your next project! You will walk away from this webinar with the necessary tools to build your pitch deck for your project to get investors, producers, and cast interested! Praise For Michelle Alexandria's Teaching "Michelle Alexandria proves to be an excellent guide cutting away at the barriers, self or industry created. Stellar webinar, she provides selflessly a deep knowledge, her experiences towards acquiring interest from the least expected sources, helps streamline efforts towards gaining the optimal financial support and guiding products towards audiences. Going to “throw clay onto the wheel” with confidence. Kudos, highly recommend!" -Jen K “I learned so much from Michelle about how to break into the film/tv industry. There's so much to learn about the craft and business of working in this industry and I'm grateful to have Michelle's expertise in guiding me through it.” -- Nick S. "I can't say enough good things about Michelle! Talk about a woman who knows her stuff. I highly recommend all writers, producers, and directors take a course with her to hone their craft and propel their careers." -- Kaitlin L.
Christian Sander is The Director of Development for Pensé Productions - we have a fun hour long conversation with Christian about the craft and business.
We take a look at how writers use cutaways to drive home punchlines in Family Guy and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, explain big ideas in The Big Short, give historical context in Narcos, and frame stories in The Princess Bride.