For over ten years, Phil has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell. Full Bio »
Learn what it takes to get your true crime series sold from a long-time true crime producer with over 100 episodes of true crime TV under his belt.
Includes a Case Study of a Real Pitch Deck for a True Crime Show
For whatever the reason, there is no denying that true crime has become HUGE presence in the television landscape. From TIGER KING, THE JINX and MAKING A MURDERER to more recent limited series like HEAVEN’S GATE and MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS, true crime docuseries have become wildly popular and show no sign of slowing down. Even beyond the banner networks and streamers like Netflix, HBO and Hulu, many smaller networks like Investigation Discovery, Reelz, Oxygen and True Crime Network devote a large portion—if not all—of their slate to unscripted, true crime series and specials. This has led to a very recent explosion in true crime content and an incredible opportunity for content creators interested in this space to find opportunities and get their content sold.
The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to do your homework and understand the true crime docuseries space and what networks are looking for if you want to be noticed. As callous as it may seem, not all murders are created equal, and while some stories are ripe to be uncovered and explored, others might not break through the noise or spark executives’ attention. To find a place in the true crime space, you not only have to find and have access to a great story, but also build a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch to get buyers on board. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is true crime TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad.
For over ten years, Phil Claroni has worked deep in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell.
Phil will lay out how to best develop your own true crime docuseries and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first explain what kind of story sells today and how you should tailor your pitch to reflect the current market you’re selling to. He’ll give you tips on how to research your story, what info is most important, how to obtain talent, and the legal elements to be aware of. Next, Phil will explain how to build the perfect pitch deck to sell your true crime series and go through one-pagers, treatments and sizzles. He will then explain how to find a production partner for your series, including who’s currently buying and how to know which partners would make t host sense for you. He’ll also tell you what materials can aid a sale and how you can take a meaningful meeting. Finally Phil will explain how to close, including initiating a bidding war and what to do to follow through.
Phil will even share a real pitch deck he put together and explain why he made the choices he made in assembling it.
“No one goes to college and majors in true crime production. It’s something you have to learn from others, but it’s one of the most attainable genres to produce in show business, and I’ll show you how.”
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If you’re an independent filmmaker or producer working to put together a film or TV project, you are likely going to have multiple producers, investors, financiers, sales agents, and talent that are will be looking to recoup profits on the completed project. This can get tricky. Not only do you have to keep your numbers and figures straight to properly reallocate your revenues, you also likely have to handle guild residuals, navigate liability issues and ensure every party is happy and trusting in the process. This can ultimately be a very messy process, and one that you should not handle on your own as the film’s producer. Instead, it’s probably time you have a collection account. A collection account is an account in the name of a neutral third party who receives revenues generated by an independent film or TV project on behalf of the multiple beneficiaries from local distributors. This process is called collection account management and is an effective tool to guarantee that the beneficiaries receive their share of the revenues. Collection account management is a massive time saver and a way to lower the chances of errors or improper payments. But it’s also the industry standard and something most parties and investors are going to expect you to have if they are considering moving forward. So how exactly does collection account management work and how can you best use this process to your advantage as an independent filmmaker? David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories. Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management globally on hundreds of productions. David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David will teach you how to navigate collection account management. He’ll begin by going into what exactly collection account management is and the different elements that go into it. He will also explain when to know if your production will need collection account management and delve into how this process affects your job as a producer, including liabilities, your relationship with your sales agent, and the rights and obligations with financiers, guilds, and talent. Next, David will demonstrate how collection account management works from a legal framework and the paperwork and contracts that go along with it, including the CAM Agreement. Finally, David will outline the benefits you will see as a producer when working with a collection account. He’ll even give specific tips for producers related to the CAM agreements, financiers, residuals, sales agents, and more. Collection account management can be a tricky process, but it’s also one that’s crucial to get right. David will show you how. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
Crowdfunding has completely revolutionized the way film, video, and other creative projects from graphic novels to albums and art exhibits are financed by taking the power from the corporations and putting it back into the hands of the creators and their audiences. The days of setting up a “standard definition” campaign on platforms like Indiegogo are all but extinct. Now more than ever, creators must run crowdfunding experiences that are as exciting as the projects they’re looking to get funded. We've brought in author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers and Indiegogo’s Film/Creative Campaign Strategist John T. Trigonis who has worked on thousands of film crowdfunding campaigns ranging from micro-budget to over $1MM. In this webinar John will teach his Tao (Way) of crowdfunding to encompass the ever-changing landscape of online fundraising for film and creative projects. You will be provided with the basics of running a successful and memorable campaign and learn from case studies of those who have had successful crowdfunding campaigns. You will walk away with some advanced tactics to raise even more than your goal. This is all gently infused by the philosophy that makes Trigonis’s advice work wonders –– Taoism. True success in crowdfunding comes not from a short-lived stint with crowdfunding, but commitment to crafting a memorable community experience.
Learn directly from Nick Phillips, studio & independent film producer for nearly 20 years, who has worked with Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Sony Pictures Classics, Revolver Picture Company & more! You finally have the money to make a film. You’ve chosen a start date, you’ve found your locations. You’ve hired the crew and cast your actors. Now what? On any movie set, there are two major obstacles: time and money. They can be your friends or they can be your enemies. As a producer, it is your job to make sure that you utilize both in the most effective way possible and not go one second or one cent over. And while you do this, you must walk the tightrope between staying within that budget and schedule while simultaneously producing a film that is creatively satisfying and interesting, with production values that give the film the best chance at succeeding in a highly competitive marketplace. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Nick Phillips will walk you through the arduous, challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience of managing a film set. Having worked on sets for almost two decades, Nick has seen the process from every angle and worked with budgets and schedules that range from manageable to ambitious to completely insane. A working film set is a living, breathing thing, an eco-system with a myriad of moving parts. The days (and nights) are long, exhausting and will prey on your every last nerve. But if you’re armed with the right tools and the proper knowledge, you can sharpen your skill set to the point where producing becomes second nature and actually enjoyable! From location scouting to hiring to shooting days to the wrap party, this webinar will be all encompassing and you will leave confident and ready to manage your set!
Let's rock and roll, Creative Army. We've been well overdue to get together live. I've got just the solution. Let's hang AMA (Ask Me Anything) style. Since the last AMA in May, I've been running all over the globe fulfilling Stage 32 partnership responsibilities, conducting business, exploring creative writing/filming/producing opportunities, and mentoring in such places as Cannes, Budapest, Majorca, Paris, Dordogne, Trinidad and Tobago, London, Munich, Hamburg and, of course, right here in Los Angeles. To say there's been much going on would be the understatement of the century. I have much to share! And I know you all have questions! So let's chill together for a couple of inspiring, motivating, and brutally honest 2 hours of craft and industry talk. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA is for ALL! Bring your questions and the energy and I'll handle the rest. As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative peers to join us as well. Cheers! RB
Includes case studies and free script downloads of: PARASITE GREEN BOOK MYSTIC RIVER Writing a great feature screenplay is a gargantuan effort, and putting together something like this doesn’t just happen willy nilly. No matter how good of an idea you have, how fantastic your characters are, or how mind boggling your plot twist is at the end, none of it matters without a solid story structure. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and a deep understanding of the craft. But no other elements of your script come together unless they can rest on this crucial foundation. Whether you’re working on your very first screenplay or already have many produced and under your belt, spending time better understanding and improving how you structure your film scripts is worth its weight in gold. Ask any producer, manager, coverage reader, or gatekeeper of any kind—out of the thousands of scripts they read and the countless issues and problems they come across, no issue is more prevalent in a writer’s screenplay submission than their failure to effectively structure and plot out their story. It makes sense; implementing a tight story structure is HARD, a delicate and complex balancing process that is hard for ANYONE to nail. Yet it’s for this reason that mastering story structure is even more important—if you can present a screenplay with a rock-solid story structure, you’re instantly able to stand out and get your script noticed and considered. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Whitewater is releasing two features in 2021. The critically acclaimed festival favorite THE BOY BEHIND THE DOOR will release on AMC-owned horror streamer SHUDDER on July 29th. The second feature, SMALL ENGINE REPAIR starring Jon Bernthal and Shea Whigham has been acquired by Vertical Entertainment, release details TBA. Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering stories to delve into how you can master story structure for your own feature film screenplay will use notable past screenplays as examples as she breaks down, act by act, the elements necessary to turn your script into something special. She’ll begin by discussing three-act structure in general and explain why it’s necessary as your begin developing your script. She’ll also teach you some of the biggest elements needed for effective story development, including world building, effective characters, stakes, theme, and tone. Next, Sarah will zoom in on act one and explain how to master introductions and the inciting incident as well as spotlighting your central question. She’ll also reveal the most common pitfalls she sees in act one. Sarah will do the same for acts two and three, spending time to go over complications and escalations, transitions, subplots and turning points, effective revelations, climaxes and resolutions. Throughout, Sarah will be drawing from examples of notable past screenplays and you will receive free downloads of each script that exhibits effective story structure after the webinar: PARASITE GREEN BOOK MYSTIC RIVER Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "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. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
As the Vice President of Three Point Capital, Viviana Zarragoitia is one of the most prolific financiers who routinely lend on tax incentives, both domestically and internationally, on independent films. She is aware of the rules and regulations of tax incentives in many jurisdictions, and have spoken on numerous panels about tax credits. In this exclusive webinar, Viviana will be teaching what producers should be aware of when working with tax incentives. Although there are minor details that change within each state/country, there are some overall issues that come up in each jurisdiction that producers should be aware of when taking advantage of tax incentives for their film/TV project. These include, but are not limited to, things such as: corporate structure of the company applying for the tax incentive, making sure that costs in-state are qualified spend, working with tax incentive offices during pre-production, production and post-production, submitting final costs in a timely fashion, working with production accountants/CPAs on tracking qualified spend, working with lenders and filing tax returns to claim the incentives.