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 »
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 who was 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!"
"They are all knowledgeable and had a great presentation"
"Great webinar financing. Will be watching again."
Elsa Ramo, Zen Raben & Sean Pope, Ramo Law PC
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The SVP of TV at Amasia Entertainment shows you how to score a YES from any buyer for your film or television project. This industry is changing rapidly with companies ramping up productions worldwide, theaters working hard to get people back to the multiplex, and streamers in a never-ending battle to stay on top of the perpetually growing competition. It’s clear that there are more opportunities, outlets, and platforms than ever to get your work in front of audiences. So, why are buyers still telling you no? The key to successfully selling your project requires work, research, and a targeted plan of attack, and in this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, you'll find out what plan works best for you and your project. You’ll discover why buyers pass on projects and provide you with industry insight to know how to turn a “no” into a “yes.” You will examine industry trends, discuss how to make your passion project stand out in a crowded field, and get real about how best to pitch your project, all to enhance your chances of locking strategic creative and financial partnerships. You’ll cover how to market your creative brand, understand different buyers, how to get a meeting, what makes a successful meeting, and most importantly, you’ll learn the art of not taking “no” for an answer. And who better to share with you their insider knowledge and vast experience selling film and television than Tracy Mercer, the Senior Vice President of Television at Amasia Entertainment. Tracy and Amasia are currently developing a sequel series to Dan Curtis’s classic DARK SHADOWS and the series BECAUSE THE NIGHT, based on the James Ellory book. Previously, she’s worked on projects including THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, HBO’s WINCHELL, TNT’s WITCHBLADE, ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, INVICTUS, Marvel’s THE PUNISHER, AEON FLUX, and Tracy was instrumental to the development of the CBS hit series, MADAM SECRETARY. She’s also worked with top-tier talent, including Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Ang Lee, and Karyn Kusama. By the end of this webinar, you’ll have a new understanding and current insight into this ever-shifting marketplace from an expert with years of experience and the keys to earning that “yes” from the right buyer.
Have you ever sat through a movie that was filled with fights, car chases, gun battles, and explosions and yet it was all you could do to keep from falling asleep in spite of the noise? This is because good action movies aren’t just about kicks, punches, and car crashes. Celebrated recent action films like EXTRACTION or Mile 22 or classics like BOURNE IDENTITY and ENTER THE DRAGON pop off the screen because of strong writing that lends itself to the story. Action writing is an art. And to write it, you’ve got to understand how to make your story matter to the audience. Action movies need to sustain the attention of viewers not just with suspense but with emotional appeal. It needs to have meaning. Explosive scenes are great, but action without a substantive story can only take you so far. Characters still need to have wants and desires, even if they’re armed and dangerous. The stakes need to be high and the flaws of each character apparent. If you are able to master this important balance of storytelling, your script will be a hit to those in the industry who are on the hunt for exciting action stories. Joshua Todd James is a well-established screenwriter, playwright, and WGA member, who wrote the action feature POUND OF FLESH, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and currently has multiple projects in development with action stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Alain Moussi, Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White and former UFC champion Micheal Bisping, among others. He also adapted Peter Biskind’s best selling book Down & Dirty Pictures into a feature screenplay and Matthew Polly’s New York Times bestseller American Shaolin into a television pilot. Joshua has spent much of his life writing and learning the art of action writing and is excited to share his experience with the Stage 32 community. Joshua will teach you how to write effective action with meaning for your film or series. After discussing why action doesn’t always work on screen, he’ll break down what can make action effective. Joshua will dive deep into defining character objectives, establishing stakes and crafting identity in each scene. Joshua will also spend time focusing on the elements that action must reveal and walk you through the three primary revelations of story. You’ll walk away with the resources to improve your current script, or fire off a new one. Joshua will be using the action classic THE BOURNE IDENTITY as a case study to illustrate the elements of effective action writing that he will lay out. Everyone who signs up for this webinar, will receive the BOURNE IDENTITY script for free.
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.
Getting a job in Hollywood can seem hard...but it doesn’t have to be. If you feel like every job application you send in is a shot in the dark, you may want to rethink your process. Luckily, there are many tangible strategies that can make the job search more efficient. Ultimately, the key is to find a way to stand out in the pack. And we’re here to help you do just that. During this 90 minute session, you’ll learn how to build a robust network, job search tactics that will get your resume into the right hands, how to craft effective resumes and cover letters, and tips to help you ace any job interview. Whether you’re just starting out or are hoping to transition into a new position that will move you closer to your goals, this course is for you. We are professional resume writers, dedicated to helping Hollywood hopefuls find their dream jobs. But unlike most professional resume writers, we are not recruiters or HR executives. Instead, we have actually worked in and hired for entry-level positions across Hollywood. After conducting hundreds of interviews and weeding through even more resumes over the years, we've learned that many qualified candidates simply don't know how to pitch themselves for the Hollywood jobs they want. And, in an industry where most jobs are filled through internal referrals, it’s crucial to impress not only the recruiters, but those in the actual departments that are hiring -- and we know what they’re looking for because we’ve worked in those departments ourselves. We’re excited teach you the proven networking strategies, resume and cover letter writing techniques, and and interview skills that we have used to succeed in our own careers and watched countless others use to succeed in theirs.
Ever heard an exec say something like: "I'm looking for a grounded, high-concept genre film"? Join Stage 32's Allen Roughton and learn to decipher what execs are actually saying when they tell you what they're looking for! As the Stage 32 Writing Services Coordinator, I spend most of my time talking to execs about the kind of material they want, specialize in, or think is the next big thing. And I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I need a translator. High-concept? Grounded? Smart? Supernatural... but not horror? A Ten-by-ten? What the heck are these people talking about? Luckily, I've googled my hear out, asked a ton of questions, immersed myself in the script development world, and learned their language so you don't have to! Now I'm here to put it all together in a FREE Webinar breaking down the lingo of Screenwriting Development! Live Wednesday, May 2nd at 1pm PST, I'll become your translator and help you understand the world of development as I break down the lingo so you can make sure you're sending the right project to the right exec. Have a question for Allen? Join Allen live and participate in the Q&A at the end of the webinar! or
Learn from top financier Viviana Zarragoitia, VP of Three Point Capital - exclusively through Stage 32! Get access to exclusive handouts including sample budgets, packages and collection account management statement, sales sheets, sales agent contracts and distribution agreements Over recent years, the independent producing model has shown that films budgeted between $5-$10 Million can not only make a considerable return on investment, but also serve as a launch pad for its creators and win critical acclaim. Take some examples: BRUISED was made for $10MM and sold to Netflix after premiering at last year's Toronto International Film Festival PIECES OF A WOMAN was made in this range and sold to Netflix after premiering at this year's Toronto International Film Festival GET OUT was made for $5MM, grossed over $250MM worldwide, won the Oscar for best Screenplay and launched Jordan Peele into the elite entertainment stratosphere MOONLIGHT was made for $5MM, grossed over $65MM worldwide and won the Oscar for Best Picture. SPLIT was made for $9MM and grossed over $278MM worldwide and continued to propel James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy into creative roles. CODA was made for $10MM and won the best picture Oscar. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects with budgets between $5MM-$10MM can be your calling card toward taking the next step in elevating your film career. Simply put, if you understand the strategies and methods to help your investors see a return, you get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring more investors with them if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, it's not impossible, and in fact can be well within your grasp, especially with the right guidance and education. 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 films in the $5-10MM range can find success. In this advanced level and intensive 4-session class, Viviana will comprehensively teach you how you can finance your own film in the $5-10 million budget range. In Session 1 she will provide an overview of the different types of film financing available to you. In Session 2 she will focus on using tax credits, soft money, and grants to help fund your project. Session 3 will delve into equity, pre-sales, gap, and sales agents. Finally Session 4 will look at waterfalls, recoupment and navigating collection accounts. Along the way, Viviana will provide exclusive and valuable handouts that you can take with you for your own projects, including: Sample Budgets and Packages Sales Sheets Sales Agent Contracts Sample Collection Account Statement Example Distribution Agreements