Sam Sokolow is a two-time Emmy-nominated producer, perhaps best known for his work in developing and producing the Emmy nominated limited series GENIUS for National Geographic Channel, one of the first prestige limited series to find a wide audience. Previously, he co-wrote, produced, and directed the award-winning independent feature film THE DEFINITE MAYBE, starring Josh Lucas, Roy Scheider, and Bob Balaban. Over his career, Sam has executive produced 18 original TV series and set up dozens of television and film projects at major studio and distributors in Hollywood and is well-versed at finding success developing, pitching, and selling his projects. Full Bio »
The producer of NatGeo's limited series GENIUS will teach you how you can get your own limited series off the ground.
Includes a case study of a REAL pitch document that helped sell a limited series.
Over the last several years, the limited series has become one of the most exciting, competitive, and acclaimed formats in the entertainment industry. Series like THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, CHERNOBYL, and MARE OF EASTOWN have become global phenomena and greatly boosted the careers of the creatives behind them. It’s no surprise that buyers and big names on all sides of the camera are hungry for binge-worthy event programming like these limited series and are looking for the next hit to make. If you have your own idea for a limited series, there’s no better time than now to get it in front of executives and decisionmakers looking for this content. But how does one develop the material and package it together to increase the probability of a sale or production order?
Sam Sokolow is a two-time Emmy-nominated producer, perhaps best known for his work in developing and producing the Emmy nominated limited series GENIUS for National Geographic Channel, one of the first prestige limited series to find a wide audience. Over his career, Sam has executive produced 18 original TV series and set up dozens of television and film projects at major studio and distributors in Hollywood and is well-versed at finding success developing, pitching, and selling his projects.
Exclusively for Stage 32, Sam will teach you how to develop, pitch, and sell limited series to a streamer or network by first learning how to identify source material, packaging talent into your project, and identifying the buyers. He’ll also show you how to build the pitch, approach the buyers, and even share what the deals look like.
Sam will even share examples of the emails and finders fees he used to package his projects. Plus! Sam will walk you through a real pitch deck he used for a limited series he worked on, so you can see how he put all the pieces together to ultimately pitch and sell the project. You won’t want to miss out on this detailed webinar!
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!
What a great time it is to be a filmmaker, producer or financier. Distribution channels have never been more plentiful or more wide open. That means more options for you to maintain a fuller degree of control for your content. And that's never a bad thing. But it also means that there are more ways to get your film or project out into the world and, most importantly, more revenue opportunities toward securing profitability. And one of the most popular and lucrative choices in today's market is Video on Demand (VOD). To take advantage of all of these opportunities, you need to not only know where to look, what platforms are best suited for your material, and how to engage with the proper people to get a deal done, but you also must know how to deliver your film. Zahida Kazar is the Director of Operations for popular independent film distributor, Gravitas Ventures. She works directly with top executives Karia Brown and Mark Lyons to help deliver Gravitas films to a variety of internet and cable platforms. Zahida’s passion for all things film-related also led her to various roles at Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox before joining the Gravitas team in the fall of 2014. Zahida helps guide indie filmmakers through the delivery process and helps to ensure the release of these movies on the ever-growing VOD space. She loves meeting new filmmakers and helping them through the final step in the movie making process. Zahida will teach you how to understand and navigate the VOD space. She will discuss various rental and VOD platforms including Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and Hulu and teach you what these platforms and distribution companies are looking for. She will also dive into deliverables expectations inclding encoding, your key art, metadata, the importance of your synopsis, and your legal deliverables (so very important). From there, Zahida will help you understand how to prep your film for release including your social media and PR campaigns. And she will prepare you for what to expect after your film is released including key things to keep in mind to help assure that your project has legs in the marketplace. All this and much, much more, including an in depth Q&A session with Zahida. "Distribution is a subject that gives me so much anxiety. Zahida took all of it away with her clear explanation of the process." - Martina L. "Grabbing a beer...Watching again." - Henderson D. "Comprehensive and first rate." - Samuel F. "Excellent. More like this please." Thora P.
In this challenge, members were asked to tell an entire story, in one page of script, using precisely four scenes. Far too many screenwriters waste pages. Good screenwriting is about making every single sentence count. There shouldn’t be any moment of a movie or television series which isn’t important on some level. The scenes can have dialogue - or no dialogue - depending on what you choose. What is important is that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. When you are done watching the webcast, head on over to the Private Lounge and discuss your favorite submissions!
Once you finish your screenplay and decide it’s time to reach out to producers and representatives, one of the most common responses you may receive is that your idea is not ‘high concept’ enough or your logline doesn’t have a ‘high concept hook’. This term is thrown around a lot in the movie business, but what does it actually mean? ‘High concept’ might be a buzz word, but it’s also a term that carries with it significant meaning as well as some lessons and perspective you can bring back to your own project if you know how best to approach it. Readers, producers and buyers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it more enticing to the world. So how can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold. Andrew will break down what makes a script ‘high concept’ and how you can write and sell your own high-concept screenplay. He’ll nail down exactly what a high concept story is and offer examples of high concept movies in different genres, explaining what makes them successful. He’ll then break down why high concept stories are so appealing, from the perspective of producers, studios, and audiences. Next Andrew will delve into how to actually write a high concept story and whether you can adjust your existing screenplay or write one from scratch. He will go through breaking down genre walls and other writing tips you can take with you. Andrew will then teach you how to sell your high concept story. He’ll talk about the importance of your logline and title and give you tips to pitch your high concept story to execs and buyers, including how to explain your world and use comps. Finally he will go over common mistakes writers make when creating high concept stories and will reveal where not to begin and whether size and budget matter. Expect to leave this webinar with a much clearer idea of what makes something “high concept” and a series of tips and ideas you can bring back to your own project to better sell it. "Throughout my time as a literary manager, the term "high concept" has come up more times than I can count. The writers that I work with that are most successful are the ones that understand what this term really means, what buyers are looking for, and how they can adjust to fit this idea. I'm excited to share these secrets with the Stage 32 community." -Andrew Kersey
There aren’t a lot of jobs more challenging than that of an independent producer, but there also might not be any job as rewarding. It’s the producer who turns a bunch of ideas and dreams into reality and a singular product that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. What can be better than essentially creating something out of nothing? From conception and pre-production through distribution and beyond, the producer is with the film from beginning to end, builds the team, and makes the decisions that ultimately make the project a failure or success. This role is an enigmatic one, though, since it covers so much. This can also make it feel difficult or overwhelming to break into. So how does someone actually start off a career in producing in the first place? There is no one correct way to become a successful producer, especially in the indie space. However there are three main paths that most working film producers have taken to get to where they are today: the executive path, the production path, and the independent path. Each path comes with its share of obstacles, but each can also provide the education, connections, and wherewithal to spark a successful career making movies. Better understanding how to find success through these tracks can help you turn your aspirations of becoming a working independent producer into a reality. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Through years of successes and challenges, Jim has learned what it takes to be a working full-time producer and is excited to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Jim will explain what it means to be an independent producer and the three main paths you can take to become a full-time producer of your own. Jim will first talk about the main skill set and duties of an independent film producer and give you an honest explanation of what this job really looks like. Next he will explain cow you can start your career as a producer through the three most common career paths: the executive path, the physical production path, and the independent path. For each, Jim will talk about how to get your foot in the door and how best to use these opportunities to learn what you need to get yourself ready to become your own producer. Jim will then teach you how to find longevity as an independent producer and share with you some of the biggest lessons he’s learned through his career. If you’ve ever been interested in starting a career as an independent producer and making the types of films you’ve always been passionate about, Jim will give you the tools and tips you’ll need to make that actually happen. Want to work more closely with Jim? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here.
One of the great myths about the entertainment industry is that the older you are, the harder it is to break in. The truth of the matter is, there are Baby Boomers working in the industry in all capacities. In fact, with the abundance of film, television and digital content being creative, the opportunities for Baby Boomers has never been greater. Whether you're writing or filming content, looking to produce or work on the business side of the industry, or have an interest in being an actor, crew member, or other on set talent or staff, it's time to get moving and let yourself be seen and heard! Ageism is a word that gets thrown around often when people talk about the entertainment industry. But at the end of the day, those working in the industry want to hire talented, dependable, and dedicated people to help them elevate their personal and professional goals. So much of getting hired has less to do with your age and how you present and handle yourself. Jessica Sitomer has been has worked in the entertainment industry for twenty years as a writer, an independent producer, a development associate, a director, and an actress. She's produced three television shows, had her writing produced by an Emmy award winning producer, and while working in development had the pleasure of being a part of Crazy in Alabama, Antonio Banderas' directorial debut (and yes, Jessica says, he's as charming in real life as he is on screen). Simultaneously, for seventeen of those years Jessica has been a career coach for Entertainment Industry Professionals. Within that period, she served for seven years as the in-house career coach for the International Cinematographers Guild. There she coached over 1000 people one-on-one, created over 40 seminar topics, ran over 30 mastermind groups, and developed a successful mentor program. No one knows this topic better. Jessica will teach all Baby Boomers how to create a relevant career that squashes the myths and stereotypes. She will identify and explain key strategies to circumvent the occasional ageism that historically have turned older generations off to pursuing their entertainment career. You will receive “ageless” tips for making a first impression either in person, by phone or via email. Jessica will also provide marketing tips on how Boomers can market online (social media and websites) to stay current. Further she will show you the advantages you have being a boomer as well as 3 strategies for using them! She will help you identify your strengths and assets to understand what makes YOU stand out so you can parlay those traits into more work. And, through templates (which you can download), she will show you how to simplify your plan of action so you can start down your path toward success. Age does NOT need to be a factor in pursuing a career in film, television and digital. Jessica will give you the tools, the motivation, the strategies, and the confidence to build the career you wish for! "Jesica is an inspirational ball of fire. I came in with doubts and fears and left ready to knock down the intimidating gates of the industry. Can I get an Amen? Thank you Jessica!" - Roberta K. "Coming from a sales background, there are 2 things I know you need to be successful: Information and confidence. This webinar provided so much information, and it was delivered in such a clear and motivating way, I left with all the confidence in the world." - Frank I.
We will examine ways in which screenwriters tackle one of the most complex and difficult concepts in narrative storytelling, looking at projects like Edge of Tomorrow to discuss rules that are created, bent, and broken by writers.