Zeke Thomas is an Executive Producer at Ego 360, a filmmaker, and on-camera talent with over a decade of experience in the entertainment and advertising industries. You may recognize him from ad campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, sketches on Conan, and viral videos that top over 100 MM views across Youtube and Facebook. At Ego 360 he specializes in immersive storytelling in spherical environments in narrative, branded, and unscripted. Founded in February of this year, Ego 360 has already amassed an impressive client list including: Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV, and Paramount Pictures just to name a few. Prior to his work at Ego 360, Zeke served as creative producer and interim creative director for Defy Media's Break Youtube channel. In addition to his duties at Ego 360, he also serves as a Consulting Producer at BlackboxTV Studios where he wrote and produced a zombie musical comedy in association with Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment. He's currently in writing and producing season one of Get Jacked! for Clevver/DEFY which combines pop culture and fitness based comedy. Full Bio »
Virtual Reality: The Next Frontier of Filmmaking - You've probably heard this mantra from anyone who's ever picked up a VR headset and they aren't necessarily wrong. New forms of media come along once every couple of decades and VR is the latest form to take shape since the advent of online video. If you're interested in learning what goes into the production of a spherical capture and VR you're in the right place!
In this Stage 32 Webinar, Zeke Thomas, an executive producer at Ego 360 (clients include: Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV, and Paramount Pictures) will provide an overview of best practices for shooting a 360 video and spherical capture from concept to execution. He will cover the importance of storytelling in immersive environments, how your location will inform your production workflow, and the best way for consumers to interact with your content.
Virtual Reality/spherical capture is a relatively new form of media that is being adopted by consumers at an incredible rate. If you're interested in throwing your hat in the ring, take advantage of Zeke's knowledge to learn about what works and what doesn't for immersive experiences.
As an executive producer at Ego 360 and VR your host, Zeke has guided, budgeted, and executed a multitude of projects in immersive storytelling as well as managed client/studio relationships. He has been a filmmaker and storyteller in the digital space since 2007 and continues to produce in both framed and immersive environments.
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We've brought in Zeke Thomas, a VR producer who recently did the 360 experience for HAPPY DEATH DAY for Universal & Blumhouse and who's clients include: Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Nerdist Industries, VidCon, Youtube, Outside TV and more. Zeke will be breaking down the business of VR/360 in this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar. Billions of dollars have been poured into Virtual Reality & 360 spherical capture, but is there really a business for this form of storytelling? If you're already filming in VR/360 or are interested in pursuing this medium, it's important to understand not just the craft, but the business of it.
Hello, Creative Army. It's been a busy few months around the Stage 32 offices and for yours truly as it relates to my personal projects. I'm excited to share with you what I'm hearing, what I've learned, and what I've experienced since we last got together. As always, my AMA's are always free! Watch as many times as you'd like. Cheers! RB
In this world of DIY filmmaking, it has become easier than ever to just pick up a camera and start making your project. You don’t always need much money, a big crew, corporate backing, or other resources; you can just get up and go. But this certainly doesn’t mean your project is automatically going to look good. Even on a budget, even as a guerrilla filmmaker, it’s critical to have the tools you need to make something look professional and of high quality. You don’t necessarily need the top-of-the-line camera and all of the expensive specialty equipment found on a massive set, but there are things you’re always going to need with you, a kit that will have you covered in any situation. The challenge is determining what exactly this kit should look like. If you’re a DP, director, or a one-person-band doing all of the jobs at once, preparation is key. But if you go to any camera or equipment store or website you’ll notice just how many options there are. Tools for every occasion. Every type of lens. Every type of stand. Every type of light. Every type of microphone. It can be overwhelming to even look at. How can you distill all of these options into exactly what you need, a collection of tools that you can get on a budget and pack into one bag? Is that even possible? Your instructor Barry Andersson knows that it is. There are just some important things you need to know first. Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films, many of which were released in theaters—his most recent film is being distributed by Lionsgate. Barry’s career as a cinematographer includes several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. Barry is also the author of the DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Through his extensive experience, Barry has figured out the best and most cost effective equipment you need to make great content. Barry will share with you his time-tested soup-to-nuts equipment list and will show you, piece by piece on camera, what he uses and why. He’ll begin by walking you through the strategy of putting together your own kit and aspects you need to keep in mind when assembling the perfect collection of equipment. He’ll discuss the types of lenses to carry with you and what to get even if you don’t know anything about lenses. He’ll also delve into choosing the right case and strategies to efficiently pack everything you need. For filmmakers on the go, Barry will share how he packs everything he needs for travel without spending extra on baggage fees. Barry will share exactly what gear is essential for every type of project, including standard filming, talking heads, and B-roll. He will next discuss audio and the types of microphones, stands, poles, and extras you need to effectively capture audio on the go. Barry will walk you through the life-saving essentials he takes with him wherever he goes—seemingly miscellaneous items that no one ever says you should have. He’ll also tell you what things you don’t really need, even if people say you do. Barry will give you a resource list of 11 must-have items for your equipment kit and where you can find the best deal to purchase them. Praise for Barry’s Webinar “Great insight. Very practical and actionable advice.” -Martin R. “This was so straightforward and practical. No theory, no filler, just exactly what I needed to know. Thank you” -Harold B. “Barry’s advice was so helpful. I feel a lot less overwhelmed about buying new equipment now” -Sandy C. “I NEVER find webinars that are this straightforward and useful. This was such a gem.” -Roger F.
Walking onto a film set for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming. Wires, lights, cameras. People everywhere. Places you should be. Places you shouldn’t. Times you need to be quiet, times you need to speak up. The film set is a place where everyone needs to know what they’re doing and where they’re going, and it’s a place where everyone will expect the same of you. Yet if you’ve never worked on a set like this before, that can be a tall order. Whether you’re a PA on your first film, the director helming the production yourself, or anything in between, having a firm understanding of the expected etiquette on set—or “setiquette”—is crucial and lends itself to how much trust others will put on you. A film set might look like chaos from the outside, but it is often just the opposite—a well-oiled machine where everyone has a role and everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing. If you are unsure of your own role on set, you can very well stick out like a sore thumb and contribute to slowdowns and frustrations. On the other hand, if you are confident, competent, and helpful on set, people will notice, which will lead to new opportunities and a team who will want to work with you time and time again. This is why it’s so important to walk onto your first set with a good idea of how everything works. Jonathan Kesselman is an award-winning writer and director who has worked on projects for companies like Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, Funny or Die, WWE, Nintendo, and many more. His first feature film THE HEBREW HAMMER, starring Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer and Andy Dick, premiered at Sundance Film Festival before getting picked up by Comedy Central. THE HEBREW HAMMER has since become a holiday cult classic, voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine. His next film JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, starring Maz Jobrani, won both the Comedy Vanguard and Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival before being released on Showtime and Netflix. Jonathan also wrote and directed second Unit for Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on the film BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK. He recently co-created the short form comedy series GANDER, streaming exclusively on Tubi. Through his long and varied history in film and television, Jonathan is no stranger to film sets and how to best work within them. Jonathan will break down how a professional film or television set works and everything you should know before stepping on set for the very first time. He will give a snapshot of how a film set generally looks and run before going through all of the different departments on set and their relationship to the director. Jonathan will spend time delving into the role of the assistant director, the beating heart of the set and will then explain what a day on set generally looks like, including a schedule breakdown and how the workflow normally looks. Next he will go through the importance of blocking rehearsals, the art of slating, and how to read a call sheet and shooting schedule. Jonathan will teach you how to find success on your first set, including how to hold yourself so you’re called back again. He will also go over how to find success as a director, how to delegate, motivate, and empower, in addition to staying on schedule. Jonathan will then show you five common mistakes to avoid making on set. Finally he will give you tips on how to break in and get experience on set, including where to find opportunities and what roles you should be looking for. Praise for Jonathan's Stage 32 Webinar "I enjoyed the thoroughness and detailed explanation, have no complains or negative comments, it was fantastic!" -Arlen G. "It was so broad, yet very detailed - perfect for a newbie like myself" -Kiri M. "Great information for me. Helps me to understand "Setiqutte" as I work towards getting my first TV show into the hands of a production company." -Gregory M.
Getting ahead is hard in Hollywood, and taking the next step in your career can be difficult when it feels like the expectation is for you to stay in your own lane. Being a cinematographer is such an exciting, rewarding, and important role on any project, but that doesn’t mean it’s where your journey has to stop. If you have aspirations to move into directing and make your own film, that path is more possible than you might think. In fact, your background as a cinematographer might even catapult you to this position, since, in an effort to save film funds, it’s becoming more common for producers to hire cinematographers who can also direct. Many people believe that the roles of the director and cinematographer are separate, but actually they are partners in the storytelling process. This means that making the leap from cinematographer to director is not as hard as you might think. However, whether you want to exclusively direct or be a DP / director combo, you have to adhere to a certain mode of operation, master the art of collaboration, and hone your ability to speak clearly to your cast and crew in order to maximize your time on set. So how do you get that first directing job? Can you effectively direct and shoot at the same time, and if so, how do you divide your precious time between your cast and crew? With careful planning and a solid understanding of how to manage your responsibilities on set you can become the perfect “double threat” that producers love, while putting extra cash in your pocket and achieving more of your creative goals. Ryan Little is a director, producer, and cinematographer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. His first feature SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, for which he took on the dual roles of DP and director, won 16 “Best Picture” awards and two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Feature and Best Cinematography. Since then, Ryan has served as cinematographer and director on a slew of projects and has directed actors like Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sean Astin, Neal McDonagh, Gary Cole, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. Most recently Ryan has worked with Producer Dean Devlin on the TNT pilot BLANK SLATE and has directed TV episodes of shows like GRANITE FLATS and EXTINCT. Ryan has built a storied background and deep well of knowledge in both cinematography and directing, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Using his own experience as well as his deep understanding of the industry today, Ryan will teach you how you can make the transition from cinematographer to director and use your photography background to your advantage. He will begin by broadly discussing the prospect of switching from cinematographer to director and explaining why it’s possible. He will go over how he made the transition himself as well how other notable directors made a similar shift. He will demonstrate why your background as a DP will actually make you a better director yourself. Ryan will then delve more deeply into how best to land your first job as a director, including “planting seeds” for future opportunities, playing to your strengths as a practiced cinematographer, using the connections you’ve already built, and how to create sample work to help show your value. He will also discuss the possibility of serving as a Director/DP combo on set as a way to break in, what that looks like, and how to do both roles effectively at the same time. Next, Ryan will give you the rundown of how to best tackle your first directing gig. He’ll go over the aspects of directing you can expect to come naturally and the aspects that might be more of a challenge because of your background, as well as how to let the DP role go when directing. Ryan will teach you how to best prep for your first directing gig before going on set. He’ll talk about how to create your “style guide” for the project, finding your story moments ahead of time, making a useful shot list, and how best to use storyboards. He will then talk about how to spend your time on set as a director, including how to manage your time and break up your day and how to tell the story in your coverage. He will reveal three mistakes commonly made by directors during rehearsal and will discuss when the right and wrong times to operate the camera yourself are. He will also go over finding the balance between assertive and collaborative on set and how to set the right tone. Finally Ryan will focus on working with actors from the mindset of a cinematographer, including how to speak the actor’s language, how to hold the essential one-on-one actor preproduction meeting, and what you can do to become an “Actor’s Director”. Through all of this, Ryan will give you the tools and confidence to make the switch you might have been contemplating for a while and take the next important steps on your journey to become a bona fide film director. "I attribute a lot of my success to my background as a cinematographer. It's given me so many great opportunities and the skills to advance in my career in exciting ways. I want other cinematographers to better understand their value and potential as filmmakers, and am so excited to share what I know to empower the current DPs and future directors that are part of the Stage 32 community." -Ryan Little
Low budget horror films have never been hotter or more in demand. Last year, The Hollywood Reporter stated that the horror genre was saving the film business and that low budget horror was helping to lead the charge. More and more companies are looking to follow the Blumhouse model of making horror films on the cheap and then raking it in at the box office and VOD. Even the streaming platforms have jumped in with both feet. But make no mistake, just because many of these production companies and filmmakers are keeping their costs down, they are not skimping on quality. Quite the opposite in fact. Horror film aficionados demand great stories, memorable characters and scares that are earned. They want fresh ideas, a unique vision, and an experience they can return to again and again. To stand out from the crowd, you need to be prepared not only to find or produce great material, but to understand how to navigate the landscape. More people produce and shoot horror than just about any other genre. And in such a crowded field, it can be hard to stand out. Go to any film market or horror trade show and you are instantly inundated with posters for dozens if not hundreds of horror features, short films, television shows and digital content looking for a home. After a while, everything seems to look the same. But there is a way to break out of that crowded field and assure that your work gets seen, bought, distributed and/or screened. And we have just the guy to show you how to get it done. Nick Phillips knows horror. In his 20 years in the business, Nick has worked, developed and produced films for Miramax and Sony Screen Gems. In 2012, Nick co-founded his own production company specializing in genre films, the Revolver Picture Company. Just some of the films Nick has worked on include Scream, Halloween, Hellraiser, the Crow, Vacancy, Feast and The Roommate. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Nick will share his knowledge on how to create terrifying films at not-so-terrifying costs. Films the industry wants to have a piece of and horror fans won't be able to get enough of. Nick will start by teaching you one of the most common failings of producers and filmmakers within the horror space, namely what you should look for in a horror script. From there, he will talk development and the production process during this all important period of the project's evolution. Nick will show you how to stretch your budget dollar, by minimizing locations (but maximizing how you use them), making the right hires, keeping the shoot moving and staying on schedule. He will teach you his tricks on working with actors during the most intense scenes and keeping them motivated. Speaking of actors, he will discuss whether name talent matters or whether choosing the best actor for the part is a better approach. He will show you how to get the best production value throughout the film. And everyone knows, a great horror movie demands a sequel! Nick will show you how to set yourself up so that your project is franchise ready. This is a fully comprehensive overview of how to immerse yourself in the horror genre as a producer and/or filmmaker. "I have no desire to work in any other genre outside of horror. I've been frustrated that my vision always seems to be too expensive for the money I have available. Thank you, Nick, for showing me the path to seeing my vision through while keeping my costs down. I'm inspired again!" Matt H. "There is nothing scary about this webinar. It's fantastic." Devon M. "Man, was this eye opening. I have seen the light and now know how to keep my costs in check. Let the blood flow!" - Francisco D. "My all female slasher grindhouse project is back on my production slate thanks to you, Nick. I don't know how that makes you feel, but I feel fantastic!" - Marissa G.