Keith Rivers is an award-winning commercial director who has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Delta Airlines, Unlimited Tomorrow, Porsche, McDonald’s, and Soundcloud to name a few. He has written, produced, and directed several global ad campaigns including Internet Explorer 9, where a music synchronization deal for Alex Clare begot him triple-platinum record sales and a BRIT award. Rivers also created the instantly viral Microsoft Surface launch video, which received 9 million views within the first week on YouTube and won a Gold ADDY award. Keith continues to direct large scale advertising campaigns for large and notable companies and his years of experience in this field has allowed him to become a bona fide expert in how to find success telling stories for brands and agencies. Full Bio »
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is making a living doing what you love and telling stories in a visual medium. You may have great ideas, a knack for working with others, and an eye for cinematic beauty, but it can still be very hard to break in. One path you might not have considered yet to find work as a commercial director. Commercial directing can give you opportunities to put your skills to use, to create a product that people will be able to see, and to actually tell stories. And more so, this job will allow you to do this WHILE GETTING PAID –often very well. This does not mean the world of commercial directing is easy, and you’ll find that it’s also highly competitive and tight-knit, but understanding the marketplace and landscape can very well give you the ability to break through and find work doing what you love.
The industry of advertising is turning upside down right now; socially, culturally, and politically. Everyone is trying to grasp this ever-changing industry, but it’s important to remember that the more things change the more they stay the same. No matter what else is going on in the world, finding success and opportunities as a commercial director comes down to being personable to clients, communicative with your crew, knowing when to be firm or flexible in your creative approach, and understanding how to push your creative spirit out of its comfort zone. So how does the commercial filming industry actually work? What will make brands and agencies want to hire you to direct their project? And how can you apply your skills and your background to break into this lucrative field and even use it to find further opportunities in narrative film?
Keith Rivers is an award-winning commercial director who has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Delta Airlines, Unlimited Tomorrow, Porsche, McDonald’s, and Soundcloud to name a few. He has written, produced, and directed several global ad campaigns including Internet Explorer 9, where a music synchronization deal for Alex Clare begot him triple-platinum record sales and a BRIT award. Rivers also created the instantly viral Microsoft Surface launch video, which received 9 million views within the first week on YouTube and won a Gold ADDY award. Keith continues to direct large scale advertising campaigns for large and notable companies and his years of experience in this field has allowed him to become a bona fide expert in how to find success telling stories for brands and agencies.
Keith will break down what the landscape of commercial directing looks like and how you as a director can break in, stay in, and even use your success to transition to narrative film directing. He’ll break down what the life of a commercial director looks like, including how much you could expect to make and what the ecosystem is between production companies, agencies, and brands. Keith will also give you tips into how to find opportunities and break into commercial directing. He will teach you how to make yourself better and more hirable with tools like your reel and spec work, and will go through how to pitch well to get a commercial directing gig. Keith will next explain how to get the directing gig and do it right by doing your best work and aligning with creatives and will finally outline how to build your career and using your work as a stepping stone to long form narrative directing.
Keith will also provide a slew of examples and resources like storyboards, lists of production companies and agencies, example treatments and more that you'll be able to take with you afterwards.
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.
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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.
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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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
Learn directly from Jordan Bass, Casting Director and partner in bass/casting, a bicoastal casting company with feature film and television credits including New Line Cinema's Annabelle, Starz' Spartacus pilot, Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism, and HBO's newest Project Greenlight among others! For many independent films, the filmmaker also wears the hat of casting director. How do you go about the casting process? How do you choose one actor over another when they both had a good audition? What should you be looking for to create your ensemble cast? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Bass will breakdown the steps in the general casting process so you have a full comprehension of casting, from script to screen. He will focus primarily on the approach to independent film, and will share his advice on how to best tackle the "puzzle" that is creating a great ensemble cast. You will leave this webinar knowing: A general understanding of the basic casting process from first read to final locked class. How to dissect a script. The most effective tips to writing a character breakdown. A general understanding of the audition process. The most common pitfalls actors make during auditions Tips for creating a great working ensemble. Jordan Bass is a well-respected casting director, as well as partner in bass/casting, a bi-costal casting company run by brother-sister team Jordan and Lauren Bass. Recent theatrical films include the New Line thriller Annabelle, Lionsgate's Summer Camp, Chris Sparling's The Atticus Institute, and Friedberg & Seltzer's hilarious send-up of the Fast & Furious franchise Superfast. Upcoming releases include HBO's new Project Greenlight feature The Leisure Class, Blumhouse'sMartyrsdirected by The Goetz Bros, Sean Nalaboff's Hard Sell and Ryan Schwartz's Still Life.
Hello Creative Army! Over the last few months, the entire team here at Stage 32 has been working tirelessly to help you stay connected, creative, motivated, and informed. As always, we are committed to bringing you networking opportunities, education and mentoring from top-level industry executives and professionals, and access to decision-makers around the globe all from the safety of your own home. Since the beginning of the quarantine mandates brought about by the spread of COVID-19, I've promised you free education designed not only to keep you inspired and entertained, bit to provide up-to-date, no BS information regarding how the industry is handling business during the better at home orders and give you a glance into what lies ahead. We have brought in top executives in television and animation for state of the industry roundtables, partnered with film festivals to bring you top of the line virtual panels, and even hosted a virtual happy hour and table read, to name just some of our COVID-19 free education initiatives. Every day, the Stage 32 team is on the phone and communicating with industry professionals. Our goal is to have our finger on the pulse of what's happening in the moment. Additionally, since launching Stage 32 Screenings I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of entertainment industry creatives and professionals including festival directors, distributors, sales agents, financiers and other executives to get their take on how they're navigating these challenging times. I can think of no better time to host another free AMA (Ask Me Anything) so I can share what I've been hearing and experiencing in my personal creative pursuits and to take your questions on all things craft and business. In June I hosted a new AMA. You brought your questions and energy and I provided a couple of hours of no-holds-barred shop talk. All creatives were welcome to join no matter their profession(s), skill level, or geographical location. We came together for some inspiration, motivation, and community. I had fun spending quality time with you all. As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative friends and peers to watch. Should any of your contacts not be members of Stage 32 already, you can send them an invite here! If you missed my last few AMA's, you can view them here! Cheers! RB
Exclusive opportunity only available on Stage 32! Stage 32 Masters of Craft Series Presents: Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Animation is one of the most in-demand genres of film and television with a wide audience appeal. Whether it's billion dollar box office hits like THE LION KING, ZOOTOPIA, MINIONS or FROZEN or Emmy-winning television like THE SIMPSONS, BOB'S BURGERS or RICK AND MORTY, there is always a need for fun, fantastic and unique storytelling through animation. Animation as a medium is much different than its live action counterpart and requires a unique series of skills. One of the most important among them is pitching. A good pitch stands between you and your greenlight. Pitching animation is unlike any other storytelling. First, you are in charge of not only nailing a perfect pitch complete with character and story arcs, but you are also in charge of helping your audience visualize something that doesn't exist yet. Being able to do both and succeed can be challenging. You have to know how to map out your story, how to lay out your storyboards and how to verbally hone in on a perfect pitch. Missing a key element can mean you will get a pass. To make sure you put your best foot forward, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring you an exclusive Masters of Craft webinar with Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Paul Watling has orbited the animation industry for the past two decades, honing his skills as a director, story artist and designer, joining Nickelodeon. He was head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s Academy award winning feature, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER VERSE and contributed to numerous television and feature productions most recently, as a director on Craig McCracken's Netflix series KID COSMIC. He served as a story artist on several other Sony Pictures Animation films, including SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, along with a multitude of feature development projects. Paul relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a storyboard artist, designer and director on a variety of television productions, such as GROJBAND, SIDEKICK, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, YIN YANG YO, ATOMIC BETTY and ED, EDD N EDDY. Conrad Vernon is an American director, writer, storyboard artist and voice over artist best known for his work on the DreamWorks Oscar-Nominated animated film series SHREK as well as other films such as MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED AND PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. He also co-directed the adult animated film SAUSAGE PARTY and the newest release of the animated movie THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Conrad is now tapped to direct an animated movie version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar Paul and Conrad will go over what a story pitch is for animation and how it can affect your story board. They will teach you how to prepare for a story pitch and how to plan a pitch story board. They will share from their decades of experience things that work well and things that do NOT work well in a pitch. And, exclusively to Stage 32, you will see video of the actual in-room pitch Conrad did for SHREK 2 - complete with the live pitch, the story boards and the final product! Paul will even do a live pitch to the class. You will get to see how the top pros pitch! Join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how two of the top people in animation today pitch - you'll walk away with creative ideas on how to apply it to your future pitches! "Conrad teaching is like a master class in animation." - Miguel V. "Wit, wisdom and no bull-sh*t. Conrad was clear in what it takes to work in animation. Bring him back please!" - Tiffany F. "Conrad is a terrific instructor who I learned a tremendous amount from. I especially like how thorough he is in explaining technical details." - Paul I.
Part 1 - Budgets & Cash Flows Maura teaches you how to create a realistic plan for your film and make sure there is always money in the bank for what you need. You'll learn how to figure how much money you really need, and how to put together a proper film budget. Part 2 - Cost Reports, Film Infrastructure, & Tax Incentives Maura discusses setting up a film's infrastructure (from setting up an LLC to finding a lawyer) and various accounting options. She details cost reports, and how to analyze what you've spent and what you need to spend. Lastly, she discusses tax incentives before hosting a Q&A session. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Maura is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all filmmakers to participate.
Ask any successful filmmaker how they got started and almost all will tell you that their success began with a short film. And today, more filmmakers and producers are making short films as a proof of concept for a feature length version of their story. This doesn't have to be a daunting task. And we're here to prove it by showing you how a 5-minute short made for $5,000 went on to become a feature, a Tribeca Film Festival darling, and get national distribution. Natalie Qasabian has produced movies for the Duplass Brothers and recently was a producer on one of the biggest indie box office successes of the last few years, Searching. The film, made for under $1MM, was acquired by Sony at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to gross $75MM at the domestic box office. But much of Natalie's success and her journey began with a short film. Natalie is going to take you on an educational, inspiring, and motivational ride by teaching exactly how they pulled off the short film Join the Club, the feature All About Nina, and how the two were directly connected. She will explain the path this film took, from financing to casting to filming to film festival strategies to crushing it at Tribeca to getting global distribution. But this isn't all. Natalie will discuss the importance of making your short. How you should approach the process. How you should handle rejection along the way. How to navigate all the ups and downs of pre-production and production without having it cloud your overall strategy for the film and much, much more. Like what you heard from Natalie during this webcast? Send your script to Natalie and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here. Praise for Natalie's Stage 32 Webinar "Natalie knows how to take a film to the highest of places by committing to sound and proven strategies. Her perspective is amazing" - Doug L.
There’s only one way to get your audience to sit still for the story you want to tell: create compelling characters. As human beings, we are endlessly fascinated with ourselves and our interactions. When we find a character to whom we can relate, we lock in. Constructing relatable, entertaining and realistic characters is essential to a successful screenplay, not to mention critical to our own enjoyment of the writing process. But what separates the memorable personalities on the screen from the “which-one-was-that-again” types? Understanding the answer to that question and following some tried and true strategies while outlining and then writing your screenplay will give you a better chance of producing characters who not only engage your audience, but do the heavy lifting for your story and themes. Miss out and you’ve got page after page of shoulder shrugs. We all know the goal for any screenwriter is to get reads. But the challenge doesn't end there. You have to make sure your reader keeps those pages turning! To assure that your reader is engaged from the jump and stays engaged through the final page, your characters must be compelling and relatable. Whether you are trying to score big in a screenwriting competition, land a manager or agent, sell producers on your material, or secure financing, you must remember that your script is one of dozens your target audience likely reads each week. The competition is fierce and most readers won't go beyond page 5 or 10 if your story and characters don't grab them. Most writers simply do not know how to creative quickly established, well drawn characters. Those that do have an instant leg up on the competition. Roger S. H. Schulman knows a thing or two about writing compelling, complex and memorable characters. For starters, he co-wrote the animated feature Shrek for which won him a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Prior to Shrek, Roger co-wrote the animated feature Balto for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and wrote Mulan II and The Jungle Book II for Disney. Over his 30 years in the industry, Roger has also worked extensively as a producer and writer for television. He co-created the Disney Channel series Jonas; was Executive Producer of 2 Gether for MTV and was Executive Producer for Living Single with Queen Latifah. He’s currently co-writing a pilot for HBO with Tom Hanks. And now, he's teaching exclusively for Stage 32. Roger will teach you the function of character, specifically how character, story and theme work together. To help you understand why certain characters work, he'll give you a brief, insightful, and helpful history of character including how humor plays a part in almost all character building. He will breakdown American characteristics, Likeable characteristics, and relatable characteristics. He will dive into developing characters and show you how to discover and write your characters seen and unseen character traits. He will discuss the tools of character including dialog, action and behavior. He will break down the anatomy of your cast and where mirroring, complementing and conflicting strategies can come into play. Roger will use examples from Shrek, Breaking Bad, Phillips, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Guys and Dolls, Up, and Carl Jung (yeah, the guy). In addition to all this material presented in Roger's exclusive Master's of Craft presentation, he will give you 2 downloadable handouts related to developing and analyzing characters that you can return to time and time again. This is invaluable information and material you won't find anywhere else. A Word From Roger When you’re done with my webinar, you’ll know a lot more about what makes good characters tick, what makes bad characters just sit there, and just maybe a little bit more about yourself. And you’ll come away with a tool chest from which you can pick and choose the techniques you prefer to build unique characters so remarkable that sometimes they’ll write their dialog for you. Praise for Roger "A masterclass, plain and simple." - Phil C. "No joke, the best lesson on writing characters I've ever seen (or read). Nothing has come close. - Margot G. "Now that I understand how the sausage was made, I have to watch Shrek again. This more than lived up to its "Masters of Craft" label. What a winner, Stage 32!" - Elyse A. "Too many times in my writing, I'm so wrapped up in my main character, that I do short shrift to my secondary characters. Not after watching Roger. No how, no way." - Robin W. "I am going in for a second viewing immediately. I already have 5 pages of notes written out. Incredible information." - Stephen D.