Mike Sammaciccia is the founder and producer at Afterglow Pictures, which specializes in family friendly content and has over 15 projects in development, including a documentary and tv series with Will Smith's Westbrook Studios. Mike also produced the action thriller SURVIVE for Jeffrey Katzenberg, which starred GAME OF THRONE’s Sophie Turner and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON’S Corey Hawkins. Before creating Afterglow Pictures, Mike served as Walden Media’s first creative executive, bringing in the book HOLES and serving as the executive in charge of production for the hit family film starring Shia Labeouf and Sigourney Weaver. He also served as Senior Vice President of live-action movies and series for Nickelodeon for many years, producing 4-5 live action and animated movies per year. This content consistently broke audience benchmarks and propelled the careers of many young stars. Mike has been at the forefront of family content—both film and television—for almost 20 years and knows better than most what it takes right now to get a family project off the ground. Full Bio »
Long-time family film and TV executives will teach you how to make your family project market-ready and get it sold.
Comes with a case study of a real pitch deck for a produced family film
If you’re interested in creating family friendly content for film or TV, you have come across a fantastic time to make something happen. Recent family films like THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, A DOG’S JOURNEY and OVER THE MOON have been hugely popular, and often produced at a lower budget than their more adult competitors, whetting the appetite of studios to create more like these. And on the TV side, family series continue to be wildly successful as streamers and networks continue to seek out and new content and add to their slate. More studios, networks, streamers and production companies than ever before are looking for this type of all ages content, meaning the opportunities are plentiful if you understand how to best put together, pitch, and sell your project.
The opportunity is certainly prevalent for new family films and series to be sold and produced, but it will still be difficult to get your own project off the ground if you don’t understand how exactly your project can fit in. Perhaps more than other genres, family content comes with strict mandates as well as very specific audience demos, each with their own unique profiles and specifications. Projects that can’t easily align or fit into these already defined sections have a much harder to time to sell. Additionally, each studio and network looks for something a little different when putting together their own slate. In order to put your best foot forward and get executives to notice your family-friendly film or series, you first need to understand how the industry works and how best to adjust your project and your pitch.
Mike Sammaciccia is the founder and producer at Afterglow Pictures, which specializes in family friendly content and has over 15 projects in development, including a documentary and tv series with Will Smith's Westbrook Studios. Mike also produced the action thriller SURVIVE for Jeffrey Katzenberg, which starred GAME OF THRONE’s Sophie Turner and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON’S Corey Hawkins. Before creating Afterglow Pictures, Mike served as Walden Media’s first creative executive, bringing in the book HOLES and serving as the executive in charge of production for the hit family film starring Shia Labeouf and Sigourney Weaver. He also served as Senior Vice President of live-action movies and series for Nickelodeon for many years, producing 4-5 live action and animated movies per year. This content consistently broke audience benchmarks and propelled the careers of many young stars. Mike has been at the forefront of family content—both film and television—for almost 20 years and knows better than most what it takes right now to get a family project off the ground.
Exclusively for Stage 32, Mike will walk you through how to approach developing, pitching and selling your own family friendly series or film. He’ll explain what the state of family content looks like today, laying out the different demos and what kind of content studios, networks and streamers are embracing. He’ll also point to where family content may be headed in the future. Mike will then teach you how to get your own family film or series market ready by defining your own demo, deciding if it’s better as a film or series, making your characters family-friendly, and developing necessary partnerships along the way. Next he will discuss how to get your project in front of the right studio, network or production company and how to determine which one is the right fit for your project. He’ll also speak to whether you need a manager or agent. Mike will then go through how to best pitch your family project, going through the documents you should have, how to pitch and what should go into your pitch deck.
Mike will even share a real pitch deck for a family film he went out to pitch and explain why he made the choices he did in assembling it.
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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
If you're thinking about attending some of the major film markets - including Cannes, TIFF, AFM or EFM - it's important to understand how to navigate the commerce of the markets. We're bringing in international producer Alexia Melocchi, who has over a decade of experience at the markets to go over each of the markets and how you can get the most out of attending!
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.
Since announcing our new screenings initiative, thousands of new members have joined the Stage 32 community, and there was no better time than to come together to connect, learn, and grow in our digital universe. So with that, I wanted to welcome our new members to the party by hosting one of my AMAs (Ask Me Anything): Quarantine Edition. Damn, you guys were on fire! The entertainment industry is rapidly changing as we all navigate this evolving landscape. In the last few weeks, in addition to talking with over 800 filmmakers from canceled festivals, I've had countless conversations with executives and industry professionals how creatives can keep hustling and put themselves in position to succeed in this new and ever-changing landscape. With everything going on, I can say without hesitation that I had a LOT to share! And I know you all had questions! In this over 2 hour AMA webcast we got together for inspiring, motivating, and brutally honest craft and industry talk. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA will be helpful for ALL! You all brought your questions and the energy and I handled the rest. Amidst this global crisis that has forced so many of us indoors, we are excited to give film, tv, and digital creatives a safe place to stay creative and build relationships with their fellow entertainment industry folks from all over the world. Let's continue to come together for some inspiration, motivation and community love. And if you know any other creative who is not a member of Stage 32 that could use a lift, please invite them as well by sharing the on demand link to download. I enjoyed spending quality time with you all.
What an awesome Executive Hour to kick off 2020 with Development & Production Executive Sarah J. Cornelius of Whitewater Films. Despite fighting a cold, Sarah powered through and gave us some awesome insights about the business, the inside story of how their film, Standing Up, Falling Down came together with Billy Crystal, what she looks for in a screenwriter, and the best (and worst) advice she ever received in show business!
***Lab spots filled - Join our TV writing lab next week with TV literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** You’ve heard the phrase “the content gold rush” get bandied about much these days, but as it relates to TV, it’s never been more true. Drama television is at it's peak with such iconic shows like OZARK, KILLING EVE, BETTER CALL SAUL, THIS IS US, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, MR. ROBOT, STRANGER THINGS, BLACK MIRROR, BIG LITTLE LIES and so much more. With the influx of networks and streaming platforms either moving into or expanding their original content libraries, the demand for dramatic TV ideas and pilots has never been greater. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. But not only is the quantity increasing, so is the quality, as companies are funneling an unprecedented amount of money, resources, marketing and talent into their shows. And the impact of COVID-19 is even having an impact that could benefit writers all over the world as many shows are planning to implement virtual writer’s rooms. In short, there has never been a better time to write for TV. Now it’s just a matter of breaking in. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but if you want to write dramatic television you need to prove that you have the chops, and to do that, you better come armed with a great pilot script sample. Something that shows that you have what it takes; something that shows that you understand the structure and craft that goes into a good teleplay; and something that shows off your own unique voice and sensibility. This is your calling card, your way in, the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. The intention of this lab is to help you create that piece of material that stands out, gets you the right meetings, and, ultimately, gets you representation, meetings with decision-makers, and/or a coveted seat in a writer’s room. Over the course of a 15+ year career, Anna Henry has read thousands of television scripts and worked with hundreds of writers. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as an independent producer. Anna was Head of Development at Andrea Simon Entertainment, a boutique literary management and production company representing writers and directors. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Century Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America to name just some. Anna’s client credits include Netflix's SEVEN SECONDS; Starz' VIDA; BET’s IN CONTEMPT; HBO's THE DEUCE, BIG LOVE, and VINYL; Showtime's THE CHI; NBC's THIS IS US; The CW's JANE THE VIRGIN; DirecTV's KINGDOM, AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD; PBS' MERCY STREET; and more. Anna has taught numerous webinars, classes and writing labs for Stage 32. She remains one of our most popular and in demand educators. In this lab, she will be working directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions with the goal of helping you write a fantastic, market-ready pilot. To do so, Anna will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and, finally, writing your pilot. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Anna will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a completed drama television pilot script ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Skype meetings with Anna. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an executive and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 10 people ***Lab spots filled - Join our next TV writing lab with literary manager Spencer Robinson - learn more here*** This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot. "My passion is helping writers make their work better. I’m not a screenwriter, so I don’t try to insert my voice into your work. With 20 years of experience as a development executive and literary manager, I consider myself to be your advocate and guide. I know the marketplace and know what will make your project successful. But my goal is to tell YOUR story in your voice. I don’t give vague “reviewer” notes, and I am brutally honest. If you want a cheerleader, I recommend you get notes from your friends. If you want to put in the work to elevate your writing, you’ve come to the right place." - Anna Henry Praise from Anna's previous Stage 32 writing labs: "Anna exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. Anna and Stage 32 delivered the goods." - John R. "What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring class. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity." - Crispin L. "Anna was so generous with her time, so knowledgeable, so encouraging...very grateful. It feels like there's a stronger wind at my back after that. Thank you!" - Michael L.
What's going on, Creative Army? It's been a moment since we last had the time to interact in a live setting. Let's remedy that with another AMA (Ask Me Anything), pre-Cannes style. We got together for another inspiring, motivating and energy-packed question and answer session. For 2 hours I left you with tips, tricks and actionable information to help you move forward with your 2019 (and beyond) goals. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA is for ALL! As always, registering for my AMA is completely free. Spreading some positive vibes. Cheers! RB