Michelle Mower is an acclaimed writer, producer and director whose work has been featured on Lifetime, Apple TV, Amazon and many other platforms. Mower’s debut feature film THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), was picked up by Lifetime in 2012 and garnered the highest ratings for the network that year. This success lead Mower to write and direct three more telefilms for the network – A WOMAN BETRAYED (2013), THE PREACHER’S SIN (2015) and WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER? (Fall, 2022). In 2018, Mower produced and co-directed the political docu-series DAYNA STEELE: ROCK THE 36TH that followed a former radio DJ running for Congress as a Democrat in the “Reddest District in Texas”. The docu-series gave Mower a chance to interview her idol Joan Jett. This lead to her producing and directing political ads for the PAC Mothers Against Greg Abbott that were tweeted by some of her heroes, including Mark Hamill, Mark Ruffalo and George Takei. Mower more recently directed the dark teen comedy THE NEVER LIST, starring Fivel Stewart, Jonathan Bennett and Booboo Stewart, that was released theatrically in the U.S. in December, 2020. Mower is currently in development on the independent feature film RUNNING FROM HORSES, a coming-of-age drama about a horse racing jockey and her tempestuous relationship with her alcoholic father/trainer. In 2016, Mower acquired Imagination Worldwide, an international sales and distribution company based in Los Angeles. For 6 years, the company provided opportunities for talented female filmmakers to get their first feature films distributed both domestically and in dozens of territories worldwide. Some of the films distributed by Imagination Worldwide include Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut “Paint It Black”, starring Alia Shawkat and Janet McTeer, and the 2018 SXSW Audience Award-Winning drama “The Light of the Moon”, directed by Jessica M. Thompson (“The Invitation”) and starring Stephanie Beatriz (“Encanto”, “Brooklyn 99”). Michelle received her B.A. degree in Radio/Television from the University in Houston in 2000. In 2003, Michelle went to work for Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), a non-profit media arts organization based in Houston, where she organized monthly professional development workshops for filmmakers, after-school programs for at risk youth, independent film screenings at Rice University, monthly networking mixers and other special film-related events. Through her work with SWAMP, Michelle started Lights! Camera! Action! Summer Moviemaking Camp for teens and the annual Business of Film Conference at Rice University. She currently sits on the board of 4th Wall Theatre Company and on the advisory boards for University of Houston’s Valenti School of Communication, Texas Southern University’s School of Communication and Houston Community College Film & TV Department. Mower formerly served on the boards of Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA), Women In Film and Television Houston (WiFT-H) and Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP). Full Bio »
An Exclusive Webinar
Learn How To Sell A Made For TV Movie From An Acclaimed Writer/Producer/Director Who Has Worked WIth Lifetime, Apple TV, Amazon And More!
Many filmmakers think the only pathway to a career as a writer or director is to get their indie film into Sundance or become a TV episodic director. But there’s another pathway into the industry that filmmakers often overlook– Made for TV Movies.
Stalking. Kidnapping. Murder. These are just some of the ingredients of the Made for TV recipe.
But what sets a great TV thriller apart from not-so great ones? What’s the difference between writing movies for television vs. big screen? What budgets should you consider when writing a Made for TV movie?
All of these questions and more will be answered in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar hosted by Michelle Mower. Michelle is the acclaimed writer, producer and director whose work includes Lifetime's highly rated movie THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), A WOMAN BETRAYED, THE PREACHER’S SIN, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?, and the dark teen comedy THE NEVER LIST, starring Fivel Stewart, Jonathan Bennett and Booboo Stewart.
You'll learn the types of stories and/or genres that television networks are buying and how to pitch your TV movie or screenplay to a network and to streamers like Netflix, HULU or Tubi. You'll cover business models including selling to a U.S. broadcast network to retain international rights? How casting plays a hand in getting these movies sold. And so much more.
The market is hot for TV movies, but developing these movies can be challenging because you want to ensure your story includes all the elements that make a TV movie successful without being too paint-by-numbers formulaic.
This course will take you through the process of developing, writing and producing Made for TV movie that will sell.
Plus! You'll receive exclusive handouts including a shooting schedule and copyright/licensing deliverables list from Michelle's last movie, copies of her industry blog post and Michelle's screenplay for THE PREACHER'S SIN.
How To Develop and Write A Made For TV movie That Sells
Pitching Your Made For TV Movie
Production Requirements for Broadcast TV Movies
Beyond Broadcast TV
Q&A with Michelle
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“Michelle’s screenwriting workshop offered insights and techniques that helped me write better screenplays. Her class changed my life and gave me courage to go for my dream.” Stacy Newton
Whether you’re leading the creative charge as a screenwriter, in the trenches a director or cinematographer, behind the scenes as a crew member, or in front of the camera as an actor being great at what you do is only part of your job. We at Stage 32 preach that 50% of your job is excelling at your craft, the other 50% is networking and understanding how the industry works. It's simply undeniable, those who commit to treating their networking and relationship building as their job and keep on top of what's happening in the industry land more meetings with decision makers who can make an impact on their career. But the goal is not just to get into the room, it's to stay in the room. And that means you need to know how to be good in the room. And with more and more meetings going virtual and online, you must know how to prepare and have the skills ready for those situations as well. General meetings are the first line of offense and defense for decision makers. As you know, most people in this industry - whether working in film, television or digital - want to find creatives and professionals they can go to war with time and time again. Their tribe. To become part of someone's tribe (and eventually form one of your own), you have to know how to nail the general meeting. It is crucial that you understand how to prepare. You must know who you're meeting with, what to wear, proper etiquette, the story of your project, the story of your personal brand (such an overlooked art), and know your pitch inside and out. Ultimately, you want to turn this general meeting into something much greater or assure that you're receiving a callback meeting. Their are many tried and true tricks for getting this done and we're going to bring them to you. Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Management is one of the most revered managers working in the industry today. Jeff was recently named been named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Management. Prior to joining Bellevue, Jeff worked at Creative Artists Agency, The Gotham Group, Resolution Talent Agency and Heretic Literary Management. Along the way he has sold and set up projects to New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, FOX, Screen Gems, Warner Bros. and more. Jeff has been on both sides of the table for hundreds of general meetings and has learned exactly what makes a meeting successful and where many go south – and he’s here to share the do's and don'ts with you, the Stage 32 community Jeff will teach you how to assure that you perform in your general meeting in a manner that makes you memorable. He will discuss everything from attire to how to carry yourself to how to make eye contact. He'll teach you how to prepare your pitch and convey it with the right amount of passion, charisma and energy. He’ll give you important guidelines on how and when you should talk in the conversation and help you understand if you’re talking too much or sending the wrong message. You’ll learn how to get notes from the other side of the table and how you should receive and respond to them. You will know the best way to pitch “you” and your brand so you stand out from other people taking general meetings with the same party. Jeff will teach you how to do research on the people and the company you are meeting with and how to use that information to your advantage (and not be creepy about it!) He will make you understand why the assistant and support staff can ultimately be your best ally. Finally, Jeff will go over the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in your career – from studios, production companies, managers, agents and networks and explain the differences so you’ll be fully prepared. "A wealth of information. Gave me a lot of things to think about - especially with the tips on reading the room. Your description of how to pitch myself and my story were game-changers. Off to practice now." - Sonia H. "What fabulous advice, Jeff, thank you!" - Greg M. "Yep, now I know why I haven't been securing a second meeting. I have seen the light and the err of my ways." - Veronica G "The dress code discussion was very helpful, I never knew what I should wear and now I do!" - John S.
There has never been a better time than right now to for women and people from underrepresented backgrounds to break into Hollywood. That's not to say the door is wide open; it's still a jungle out there and it's critical you understand the steps you should take to find your way in. Hear from the incredible Julianna Medina-Politsky, who was at Legendary Entertainment for nine years and helped produce films like GODZILLA, 42, PACIFIC RIM, and the hotly anticipated and upcoming DUNE before moving to the independent space where she now helps produce exciting new films from up-and-coming filmmakers. Julianna is a fierce advocate for finding space and opportunities for women as well as anyone from underrepresented communities and is going to break down how YOU can best find your path forward to break into film or television. You won't want to miss the instructive, inspiring, and motivating presentation Julianna has in store!
The more production savvy we are, the better filmmakers we become. As directors, it is our job to know every heartbeat of our story; the preparation needed for executing our vision; and the intricacies of bringing it to its final conclusion, in a way that will illicit an emotional response from our audience. That means that we must not take our foot off the pedal once we wrap. Being present, aware, in control, and maintaining our focus during post-production is vital. Sometimes our film is made (or lost) in the edit. The technical steps of post production can seem overwhelming, especially coming off the heights (or lows) of wrapping a picture. But if we don’t have a good understanding of the post production steps, it could be challenging to bring our vision to a strong finish, and ultimately to a wider audience. Stacia Crawford is a Director/Producer/Writer/Actress who, last year alone, directed two feature films which premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. As a producer she has helmed five feature films with Mar Vista Entertainment (premieres on Hallmark, Lifetime, CMT), in addition to several independent feature films. In television, Stacia co-directed/produced various unscripted series for NBC/Esquire, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike, Logo, Pivot, Blaze TV, MTV. She also produced several web content shows, most notably for My Space. Prior to directing/producing, Stacia started her career as an actress/writer and can be seen in several feature films, including cameo roles in films that she’s directed. As a writer, she has written two novels (KIT TEN, THE SPACE BETWEEN) and co-created four original dramatic television series, (DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, WILDCATTERS, AMERICAN CAESAR, and SENESCENT) all currently in development. In a clear, expansive, yet easy to digest presentation, Stacia will help all filmmakers understand exactly how to handle and navigate the post-production process. She will begin by teaching you what to look for when hiring your entire post-production team. From there, she'll discuss the difference between all the post production positions - some sound quite similar, but do completely different jobs - and...do you need them all? Stacia will then dive into scheduling including the level of cuts for the film, and how long each part of the process (sound, coloring, etc) should take. She will discuss pick up shoots, fixing lighting and audio mistakes, and how to protect for footage errors. She'll even get into key art and what to include in your trailer! This is a comprehensive webinar designed to keep you deeply immersed in the post-production process carrying with you the knowledge that will keep your team on board with finalizing your vision. Praise for Stacia from her previous Stage 32 Next Level Webinar: She explained what is the Director's job was very very well and broke it down step by step! -Sharlene R. Stacia did a great job. She was great! -Tracey A If you are thinking of going into the industry it was amazing, hit all the points, and she went above and beyond when she expanded on a lot of her points...like making sure you get your insert shots (which I've been a victim of.). Overall she was great, clear and to the point. -Ryan H. Stacia was great. A lot of good information in a clear and concise manner. -Angel N. Great information! -Liz H. It was interesting to hear from other filmmakers' perspective. I learned a lot about the Director's position, as it relates to Film & TV. I came into this webinar because of my interest in knowing more about the producing/directing side of the industry, and man Stacia really did go in and cover a lot. My mind was soaking up information left and right. Another great webinar! -Shayne W.
Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.
Viviana Zarragoitia, the VP of Three Point Capital, explains how exactly to take advantage of tax incentives for your own project With a walkthrough of an online application PLUS! a special guest - Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN incentive program It’s important for you to understand how various tax incentives work, because a lot goes into deciding where to shoot and how to piece together projects based on these incentives. They’re a big part of funding projects. Understanding the criteria, how to properly fill out applications, working with local film funds and associations, knowing what is due when, and knowing when money flows back to you are just some of the pieces that go into putting together a film or series as it relates to tax incentives. If your head is spinning a little, don’t worry. With the right guidance, this will all make sense to you and you’ll be on your way to making sure you make the most out of the appropriate tax incentives for your next projects. Viviana Zarragoitia is the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Through Three Point, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in. She has been involved in the financing of over 100 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), Rob Barnum (MARGIN CALL), Anthony Bregman (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), James Schamus (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Aaron Gilbert (JOKER), Kimberly Steward (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), Nicolas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER) and Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), among others. Before Three Point Capital, Viviana worked in accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films, as well as in the finance division of Lionsgate, where she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. Viviana has seen it all when it comes to film financing and knows intimately well how to take advantage of domestic and international tax incentives. In this extended class and workshop, Viviana walks you through the types of incentives and how to access them, domestic and international tax credits, and how to monetize incentives. She also discusses the effects of tax incentives in the entertainment industry and locally, as well as how to decide on a jurisdiction based on creative and financial elements. Plus! Viviana gives a workshop and goes over an online application for a tax credit. Viviana even brings in a special guest- Philip Gilpin of the Duluth, MN Incentive Program--to take part in a Q&A that answer questions on making tax incentives work for your projects. Praise for Viviana's Past Stage 32 Financing Classes: "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" -Patricia C. "Viviana was personable, professional, interesting, interested, and a wealth of knowledge and useful information. I will take every opportunity to learn from her. She was patient and polite with every question and always clear with what she knew, what she thought, what she believed, and what she didn't know. She painted pictures and delivered facts, outlining the paths she has seen successful producers take while still encouraging all to pursue their art with a greater knowledge of the business and understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls." -Randy G. "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." -Sean R.
Have you ever wondered what the people you want to invest in your projects are thinking? Wouldn’t it be great if you could be in the room for the conversations and debates that lead to a project getting the money needed for production? This is your chance to find out. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, the co-founders of the film finance company Creativity Capital will answer the most commonly asked questions from producers and filmmakers just like you while sharing exactly what investors are thinking when they’re choosing projects. Creativity Capital co-founders Patrick Fischer and Richard Kondal have spent the last seven years financing films for Netflix, BBC Films, Universal Pictures, and many more. They specialize in financing solutions for global content productions. Patrick is a film producer and creative entrepreneur who has executive produced over 40 films, including the BAFTA-winning UNDER THE SHADOW and the acclaimed documentary feature MCQUEEN. Richard is a film producer, passionate entrepreneur, and post-production veteran. He has spent the past decade working in the film industry with well-known directors such as Mike Figgis, Stephen Frears, and Michael Winterbottom. In addition to answering your most pressing questions, Patrick and Richard will discuss how to structure your finance plan, how to approach investors, and how to close the deal. You will have an insider’s look at what goes into choosing which movies get financing and why exclusively from this webinar. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity to see how you can set your own project up for investment success!