How to Find Investors and Secure Financing for your Feature Film- With a Mock Investor's Closing Call

Hosted by Elsa Ramo, Zen Raben & Sean Pope, Ramo Law PC

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Elsa Ramo, Zen Raben & Sean Pope, Ramo Law PC

Webinar hosted by: Elsa Ramo, Zen Raben & Sean Pope, Ramo Law PC

Managing Partner and Senior Associates at Ramo Law, PC

Elsa Ramo Elsa Ramo is one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and the managing partner of Ramo Law. Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance.   Zev Raben Providing guidance and advice to financiers and distribution companies, Zev Raben brings his depth of legal experience to bear for his clients in all aspects of their varied businesses. While his practice is primarily focused on representing financiers and distribution companies, Zev also assists producers in all areas of their creative pursuits. He has worked with producers whose films have been recognized by Sundance Film Festival and SXSW. His past experience as an entertainment litigator makes him well equipped to identify potential issues early on in transactions. His recent projects include the upcoming Bruce Willis film HARD KILL, 2020 Sundance standout FOUR GOOD DAYS starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis, and the award-winning A PRIVATE WAR starring Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan.   Sean Pope Sean works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution, with a particular focus towards documentaries and docu-series, and corporate formation services. Prior to joining Ramo Law in 2016, Mr. Pope worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

As the landscape of independent film continues to evolve, a clear funding path has developed for films budgeted between high-six figures and $10MM. Indeed, it’s become an effective “sweet spot” for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand some tried and true principles that will help you find investors, present your project in the proper fashion and lock them down for an investment.

Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects within this budget range can be your calling card toward a powerful career in the independent producing space. Simply put, those who understand the strategies and methods that can help your investors see a return get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring along more investors if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, there are smart ways to find money that you may not have thought of, and there are also ways you can expand your dollars once you start raising funds for your project. In addition, there is a well-known group of professionals and creatives that have been working on films in this budget range for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what the expectations are once you do.

Founded by Elsa Ramo, one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,”, Ramo Law PC provides comprehensive legal services to its clients in the entertainment industry with a specialized focus in representing financiers, producers, directors, distributors, studios and production entities in all transactional aspects of film, television and digital content. The firm provides experienced legal services to optimize its clients’ financial, legal and business position in the financing, production, and exploitation of their content. Ramo Law has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa and her associates are bona fide experts when it comes to the nuts and bolts of finding financing for your independent film.

Elsa and her senior associates Zen Raben and Sean Pope will join forces to demystify the film financing process so that producers, writers, directors, and financiers can understand the basic yet crucial components of how independently financed films are funded. They will begin by discussing entity formation. They will explain why you need to form an entity for your production and what type of entity you should form, as well as what state you should form it in. They will go over the information you will need to form the entity, the forms that need to be filled out with the state, and how operating agreements work. They will also teach you what a waterfall is and why you should include one in your operating agreement. Next, Elsa, Zev, and Sean will delve into important things to keep in mind specifically for your LLC formation, including the state of formation, deciding if it will be member-managed or manager-managed, who should be in control of creative decisions and who should be in control of business decisions. They will then talk about equity investment and go over who exactly provides equity investment, what investors get out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Next, Elsa and her associates will explain debt financing. They will teach you the four common types of collateral in debt financing, and four types of debt you will be dealing with. They will go over the key terms and considerations you should know, and just like equity investment, they will explain who provides debt investment, what the investor gets out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Elsa, Sean, and Zev will even stage a mock closing call between a producer and senior lender to demonstrate what it looks like to lock in funding from an investor. Finally, Elsa, Sean, and Zev will give you an invaluable closing checklist, walking you through everything you need to keep in mind when going after funding. Expect a thorough, comprehensive and undeniably helpful guide to give you the tools you need to find the funding for your next project. This is designed for all levels but particularly effective for those that are currently producing and/or packaging a feature film.

 

 

Praise for Elsa's, Zen's and Sean's Stage 32 Webinar:

 

"It was absolutely brilliant! One of the best webinars I've attended yet! Loved the mock call. That was so educational!"

-Becca G.

 

"They are all knowledgeable and had a great presentation"

-Carlos B.

 

"Great webinar financing. Will be watching again."

-Martin R.

 

"AMAZING WEBINAR!!!"

-Stephanie D.

What You'll Learn

  • Entity Formation
    • Why do I need to form an entity for my production?
    • What type of entity should I form?
    • What state do I form in?
    • What information do I need in order to form my entity?
    • What forms need to be filed with the state of formation?
    • What is an operating agreement?
    • What is a waterfall and why should I include one in my operating agreement?
  • Key Things to Keep In Mind For an LLC Formation
    • The state of the formation is important
    • Will your LLC be member-managed or manager-managed?
    • Who will be in control of creative decisions?
    • Who will be in control of business decisions?
  • Equity Investment
    • Who provides equity investment?
    • What does the investor get?
    • Where does the investment get placed?
    • Why are investors motivated?
  • Debt Financing
    • 4 common types of collateral
    • Types of debt
      • Bridge loans
      • Tax credit loans
      • Loans against minimum guarantees and/or pre-sales
      • Gap loans
    • Key terms &considerations
    • Who provides debt investment
    • What does the investor get?
    • Where does the investment get placed?
    • Why are investors motivated?
  • Mock Closing Call
    • Mediator – Elsa Ramo
    • Producer/Borrower – Sean Pope
    • Senior Lender – Zev Raben
  • Closing Checklist
    • A list of all the financing/loan documents generated by the lenders
    • Confirming that the lender can assert it’s required security
    • Chain of title
    • Other third partyagreements
    • The production related documents &agreements
    • Insurance
    • Corporate documents
    • Collateral agreements &other investor agreements
  • Q&A with Elsa, Sean and Zev

About Your Instructor

Elsa Ramo Zen Raben Sean Pope Ramo Law PC

Elsa Ramo

Elsa Ramo is one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and the managing partner of Ramo Law. Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance.

 

Elsa Ramo Zen Raben Sean Pope Ramo Law PC

Zev Raben

Providing guidance and advice to financiers and distribution companies, Zev Raben brings his depth of legal experience to bear for his clients in all aspects of their varied businesses. While his practice is primarily focused on representing financiers and distribution companies, Zev also assists producers in all areas of their creative pursuits. He has worked with producers whose films have been recognized by Sundance Film Festival and SXSW. His past experience as an entertainment litigator makes him well equipped to identify potential issues early on in transactions. His recent projects include the upcoming Bruce Willis film HARD KILL, 2020 Sundance standout FOUR GOOD DAYS starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis, and the award-winning A PRIVATE WAR starring Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan.

 

Elsa Ramo Zen Raben Sean Pope Ramo Law PC

Sean Pope

Sean works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution, with a particular focus towards documentaries and docu-series, and corporate formation services. Prior to joining Ramo Law in 2016, Mr. Pope worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER.

FAQs

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 audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Get a Screenwriting Manager – Examples & Resources

It's the question every screenwriter eventually wants an answer to:  How do I get a manager. There's a lot of information out there, and probably even more misinformation, on the proper approach toward attracting and securing a manager. The truth of the matter is that most managers are tremendously busy.  They are not only reading their clients scripts, they're helping them flesh out new ideas.  And when they're not reading their clients' work, they're reading scripts recommended to them by trusted sources and staying on top of industry trends, as well as production company/network/streamer mandates, wants and needs. So how best to break through and make sure you have the most solid chance to land a quality manager? What if you had the chance to pull back the curtain back and hear directly from a successful literary manager as to what makes them interested? Now you can. All writers think they have the next great screenplay. And maybe you do! But to get the proper feedback, get the script into market shape, and have a confidant on the business side of your pursuits to get your work out there, having a great manager who's plugged in can make all the difference. Unlike agents, managers are there to make sure all of your screenplays are molded toward marketability. Additionally, they're in the career building business. They'll help you hone and shape not only your existing screenplays, but your ideas for the next one and the one after that so that you go from novice to experienced and in demand. Conrad Sun currently working as a Film & TV Literary Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists, a management company with offices in United States and Canada. Originally from Canada himself, Conrad made the move to Los Angeles nearly 10 years ago where he attended the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program. After attaining his masters in film & TV producing, Conrad went on to work in both film & TV lit management at New Wave Entertainment, and TV production at Motion Theory Films. Conrad currently heads the Los Angeles offices of Meridian Artists and reps film & TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad writers have credits including BLINDSPOT, BOJACK HORSEMAN, 2 BROKE GIRLS, MOTIVE and SLASHER. In this jam-packed 90-minute plus webinar, Conrad will give a complete and thorough overview of the screenwriter/manager relationship. He will explain the often confusing world of managers vs. agents and explain which one you need first, what each does for their clients and whether you'll ever need both. He will explain how a manager works in the day-to-day so you can understand how to best help your manager to position yourself toward success. Then, Conrad will dive into the nitty gritty of how to get the attention of a manager, the importance of writing samples, how to utilize writing groups, the psychology of your reader. From there, Conrad will use real world examples by breaking down the pilot for BLINDSPOT. Conrad will also go over the merits (or lack thereof) of query letters, screenwriting contests, pitchfests and more. And in one of the most important but overlook aspects of the building of a screenwriter's career, Conrad will discuss the importance of defining, building, and explaining your brand and the brand of your work. You will also receive a list of resources from Conrad to help you on your screenwriting journey. This is an all out, fully comprehensive look at how to find, secure and build a relationship with a quality literary manager.   Praise for Conrad   "There are so many 'experts' out there giving advice on how to secure management. This webinar proved how much of it is BS. Thanks to Conrad for giving the straight skinny." - Steven L.   "So much logic. So much common sense." - Gina P.   "Eye-opening and immensely helpful." - Heather P.   "I've wasted so much time taking the long, winding road. Thanks for putting me on the highway." - Drea T.   "My 5th Stage 32 webinar and I get more impressed with each one I take." - Michael M.

Production Coordinator Master Class: Be A Unique & Efficient Production Coordinator

4-part previously recorded class taught by Carol Kravetz, veteran Production Coordinator for shows such as Breaking Bad and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as well as various features for MGM, Warner Brothers, HBO and USA Network! The Production Coordinator position requires wicked organizational skills, resourcefulness and the ability to work long hours and handle a multitude of tasks simultaneously under high-pressure situations. That means you have to be accurate, purposeful and on time (which means early). Whether you are a director, producer, production assistant or production coordinator, knowing how to discover your crew members’ skill sets, delegate effectively and execute tasks with extreme precision is a must for cultivating a successful career. If you'd like to learn how to logistically run a set and organize the moving parts that make a production possible, join us for this exciting class! Stage 32 Next Level Education is thrilled to bring you Carol Kravetz, a veteran Production Coordinator, most recently on shows such as Breaking Bad and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, to teach you a Production Coordinator Master Class: Be A Unique & Efficient Production Coordinator! In this 4-part previously recorded class, Carol provides a fully comprehensive guide on how to be prepared to prepare, prepared to shoot and prepared to wrap. You will learn Carol’s personal list of Production Coordinator best practices, from the various tasks you will be expected to perform and how to execute them with precision, to how to recognize each document you will need in a mound of paperwork, to how to transition the office from pre-production to shoot to wrap. You’ll learn how everything is paid for, how to facilitate rentals and purchases for on-set departments, and the common pitfalls and traps that happen during production so you can avoid them. Carol then teaches you her networking, resume and follow up tips to help you find work and keep working past the wrap party. With interactive lectures and homework assignments directly geared toward making you a stronger and more competent Production Coordinator, you will leave this class with a comprehensive understanding of how to be an effective Production Coordinator and be a valuable asset to any set you work on! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Carol is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.

Introduction to Drone Cinematography: Everything You Need to Know To Get Started

Aerial images go back to when hot air balloons first went up in the 1700s, but the use of aerial images has exploded in the 21st century with the now ubiquitous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as drones. In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, tv or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily to rent the necessary equipment to get. In the same way, finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to have the eye and well-developed instincts and they need to understand how to work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. It's important to know that the term ‘drone operator’ is often used for those that use these vehicles to capture video or images, but just as cinematographers are never simply referred to as ‘tripod operators’, neither should anyone simply be seen as a ‘drone operator’. A drone is just a new way to place the camera in incredibly exciting places, a tool in a tool belt. Better understanding the steps that can take you to this point can prove exciting and promising for a cinematographer’s career. Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy. He has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will give you the knowledge and tools to get you started to becoming a successful aerial cinematographer. He’ll begin by giving a brief introduction on drone photography, offering a history and understanding of what exactly drones, as well as how they have affected the current state of helicopter-based cinematography. He’ll explain the benefits and exciting potential of drone cinematography and how that has come into play in media today. He’ll lay out how drones and drone photographers work within small and large productions and their crews. Next Chris will give a rundown of how drones work, what the main types of drones are, what the main drone manufacturers are, and what the notable parts of a drone are. He’ll explain what features are offered for different drones and what features are needed for different types of projects. He’ll also give tips on where to buy your own drone as well as how to obtain a licence to legally operate them. Chris will then outline the safety and legal aspects of operating drones. He will teach you the governmental rules and regulations in most countries, including vertical separation rules and how both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes are treated. He’ll give you tips on how to navigate these rules while still working with your clients and how to understand what your licence gives you the right to do. He’ll also provide strategies to work within the confines and limits to still get the shots you need as well as strategies to keep yourself and your crew safe. Chris will go over how to break into the industry as an aerial cinematographer. He’ll explain the current marketplace and help outline what level of the marketplace you should be targeting. He’ll give you tips on how to build a reel and display your ability to find opportunities and will teach you how to find and stick to your rate, including ways to not undercut the market, manage value-added rates, and offset licence rights against day rates. Chris will even offer case studies from his own career to demonstrate how best to work with clients and get the shots you’re after. Expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to kick start your own aerial cinematography career.   "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey

How to Find and Hire the Right Sales Agent to Help You Distribute Your Film or Project

If you are a writer, filmmaker, digital content creator, or producer, it's vitally important to not only understand the role of a sales agent, but how to find, vet and hire the right sales agent. This is a vital, yet extremely overlooked aspect that could make or break the viewership and profitability of your film or project! In this challenging and competitive world of film and digital content finding the right sales agent is key. Understandably, many creatives, producers and digital content creators find venturing into the world of sales agents to be daunting. But it doesn't need to be! There are few who know the world of sales agents better than Simon Graham-Claire and Ricky Margolis. Simon and Ricky head up, Future Films USA and have been involved in the financing and distribution of over 200 films and TV shows. In this extremely popular and exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, Simon and Ricky give you all the tools to navigate the minefield of sales agents. Just some of the questions Simon and Ricky will be answering include:  What can a sales agent do for me that I can't do for myself? Where do I go to find a sales agent? How do I know if a sales agent is reputable? How do I know a sales agent is right for my genre? What questions should I be asking when vetting a sales agent? What if a sales agent disagrees with where I believe the film or project should be distributed? How much do sales agents cost? Will a sales agent expect to have an equity position in my film? How does the waterfall distribution of funds work with a sales agent involved? Can a sales agent bring financing to a project? Let Simon and Ricky demystify the world of sales agents and help you protect the films, shows, and projects you worked so hard to conceive and create by getting your work seen and by increasing your likelihood of profitability!   Praise for Simon, Ricky and How to Find and Hire the Right Sales Agent to Help You Distribute Your Film or Project "I felt like Simon and Ricky had a concise step by step study guide on the process of getting to the green light... The idea of hiring a sales agent is no longer a jumble" - Betty S. "Loved the presentation and I found it very informative! Thanks again!" - Richard D. "Great seminar - informative and to the point." - Robert G. "Very well presented! Loved their personal approach!" - Glenn C. "Excellent presentation! Organized, well-spoken, and crystal clear!" - Brent B. "My second webinar with Simon and Ricky. They're incredible. Please bring them back again." - Samantha M.     This webinar is available for immediate and unlimited viewing On Demand 

Basics of Screenplay Structure for Your Feature Project

Writing a great 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 structure and clear plan. Structure is often the hardest aspect of writing for screenwriters of all levels and requires a large amount of discipline and trial and error to get right. This is why, whether you’re a brand new writer or someone with tens of screenplays already under your belt, outlining is an essential tool. Mastering this skill can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. Yet it’s not enough just to outline; you have to outline well. At its best, an outline can show you how your story should be shaped—what to cut, what to keep, where to place your beats, and how to take your audience to the perfect ending. Yet an outline can also do the opposite if you’re not careful. It can mire down your story in unnecessary scenes or can help you justify keeping aspects that really should be cut. To have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Sophie Azran is a producer and Creative Executive at ImageMovers, Robert Zemeckis’ production company, where she has developed projects including THE WITCHES for HBO Max., BIOS with Tom Hanks, PINOCCHIO, ARES, MANIFEST and PROJECT BLUE BOOK for History Channel, and many others. Previously, Sophie worked at Warner Bros., Tom Hanks' company Playtone and Trudy Styler's company, Maven Pictures. As an independent producer and through her role at ImageMovers, Sophie works with countless writers in developing and improving their scripts and will share exclusively with the Stage 32 community the structural and organizational practices she works on for her own projects. Sophie will walk you through how to successfully create an outline for your own feature project. She’ll begin by discussing the items you’ll need in addition with your outline, including the logline, comparisons, and character descriptions. Next she will discuss how an outline should work and at what point you should start outlining. She’ll lay out tips on how to actually get an outline started, including how it could be formatted. Sophie will then do a deep dive on structure and how each step should be incorporated into your outline. She will show an example of what an effective outline looks like and will talk through common pitfalls to avoid when outlining. She will also discuss what a completed outline can teach you about your own story and how to move forward once you have a finished outline, including transitioning to index carding and how to use your outline to start writing pages. Outlining and structuring your story is never easy, but Sophie will give you a rundown and a series of strategies to make it much more possible.   "Prep work isn’t just for novices—all the great professionals do it. That’s why I’m so excited to talk about outlines, which are the foundation of all screenwriting; helping you iron out structure, character, tone and more." -Sophie Azran

What Film Festival Directors Are Looking For When Programming Films: Demystifying the Submission Process

As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Yet despite festivals serving as a lifeblood of the film industry and a launching pad for so many, it’s still a relatively enigmatic and opaque landscape and a difficult one for even the savviest of filmmakers to navigate. Perhaps because festivals can feel so enigmatic, it’s common for filmmakers not to consider the workings of a festival or the rules and goals they operate under before submitting. After all, you already spent a huge chunk of time learning the rules and goals of filmmaking. You put in time, money and resources to make something good and that you’re proud of. Shouldn’t that be enough for a festival? Can’t they just say ‘yes’? Unfortunately, like with any aspect of this industry, there’s more to it. Programmers do a lot more than “find the best films” and they have to balance a lot more than simply choosing things because they’re “good”. To set yourself up for success, it’s time to better understand how festivals tick and what you can do while submitting, or even while making your film, to be better positioned for success and to hopefully get that long awaited acceptance letter. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will pull back the curtains on how film festivals are organized and how they select films, and will give you tips and strategies to better position your film for success once it’s time to submit. He’ll begin by going over at the most basic level who festival programmers are and what drives them. He’ll then offer a bird’s eye view of how a festival’s selection process normally works, including who watches your film, how many times it’s usually watched, and whether it’s watched in its entirety. He’ll also give you a sense of how films are declined, shortlisted, or accepted. Next he will spend time discussing what programmers look for when evaluating films. He’ll go over what appropriate runtimes for both shorts and features are how programmers may react to specific themes and topics. He’ll also talk about festivals’ identities and audiences, premiere status requirements, and other content issues they consider. He’ll bring up copyright issues that sometimes come up as well as how to navigate submitting your film as a work-in-progress. Then Harrison will teach you tips for submitting your film, including how to navigate deadlines, how to work with FilmFreeway and other services, and what you need to have ready beyond just the film when submitting. He’ll also touch on press kits and cover letters. Harrison will delve into how to best communicate with festival programmers. He’ll talk about best practices, appropriate circumstances to reach out and situations when you should refrain from contacting them. He’ll also discuss what to do when you need to change your submission's Vimeo password and how to navigate updating your submitted cut. Finally, Harrison will explore the complicated, notorious world of fee waivers. Expect to leave with a comprehensive lay of the land of how festivals operate and a toolkit to better position your own projects for success on the festival circuit.     Praise for Harrison's Stage 32 Webinar   "Very informative and honest. Good coverage and great to hear form someone who knows." -Paula M.   "Absolutely Great! It was really helpful to hear Harrison's insights & wisdom after having gone through the 2019 International Festival Season. I will definitely take all this with me into my next journey into the festival circuit!" -Becca G.   "Excellent and insightful." -Elease P.   "Super helpful in a LOT of ways! I will be sharing these insights with the production team of the short film I recently directed. We'll take many of these suggestions into account when we start hitting the submission circuit." -Peter M.    

register for stage 32 Register / Log In