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. Full Bio »
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.
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."
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Stop wasting money! Make no mistake, entering film festivals should be part of the overall strategy for just about any independent filmmaker or producer. There is tremendous value in getting in the right film festival, perhaps more than ever before. So how do you not only identify the best festivals for your film, but assure you give yourself the best chance of being selected? Get the answers from a producer of over 35 independent films and a veteran of the festival circuit. With so many film festivals popping up year over year and many of the major festivals turning to higher profile projects, navigating which festivals to spend your dollars on can be daunting. Unfortunately, many filmmakers and producers today are overspending on festival submissions (or entering as many as possible) so they can say they've made it into something. This is an approach that can not only leave you light in the wallet, but can also put your film, the one you spent so much time and effort into, in a position to be branded incorrectly and actually hurting its chances of success. Aimee Schoof has produced over 35 films, many of which have played at some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. But many others have played at festivals that may not have the marquee names, but proved correct for the content. By using this approach, Aimee and her producing partner have scored lucrative deals and distribution opportunities. If you've seen Aimee's other Stage 32 webinars, you know she brings energy and knowledge to spare. She will teach you everything you need to know about where to submit, but also approaches on how to give your film the best chance of standing out from the crowd. She will also demystify and destroy some of the "false truths" that have become part of submitting for festivals (YES, you can submit a rough cut!) She'll tackle how to get press, how to run your social media, how to get your team involved, and much more, all in the name of getting your film seen and, ultimately, the attention it deserves. This is a blueprint that will have you saving money, making it into more festivals, and smiling from ear to ear while walking the red carpet. Like what you heard from Aimee during this webinar? Send her your script and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. I've taken many Stage 32 webinars and they've all been wonderful, but Aimee's had me ready to run through a wall! So much thoughtful and intelligent information! - Debra S.
**This video presentation contains English closed captions. To view the webinar without captions, click here. Stage 32 + Netflix join forces to bring you an exclusive television pitch workshop Learn best practices to make your pitch work and what your pitching document should look like You do NOT want to miss this! For many, the holy grail of television has become Netflix. It’s a titan in the industry, and with over 200 million subscribers worldwide, no one can put out content quite like them. Just look at the recent hit show BRIDGERTON, which has already been seen by a massive 80 million households (!!) since its release. If you’re a writer or creator, getting your series onto Netflix’s platform can spell success in a big way. But first there’s the matter of getting your series in front of them and pitching it effectively. It should be a comfort to know that you’re not the only one who wants your series on Netflix. Netflix wants that too! Netflix execs are constantly on the lookout for exciting new voices and new series to fill their slate. Yet it takes more than just a good series or a good pilot script to get on Netflix’s radar; you need to be able to communicate it well and pitch it in a way that will get their team excited. This certainly takes some work, but it’s absolutely achievable. If you’re interested in getting your show on Netflix, it’s time to learn directly from the source what it will take to make that happen. In an effort to reach more writers and find more content, Netflix has joined forces with Stage 32 to present a FREE and invaluable workshop on what it is that they’re looking for in new shows and how you can best pitch your series to their executives. In Stage 32's continued effort to help level the playing field for content creators worldwide, we felt it's important that we help you get tools you need to be able to make sure that you can pitch effectively. Kicking off the workshop will be Stage 32 CEO, Richard "RB" Botto (@rbwalksintoabar), and hosting this presentation will be Stage 32's Managing Director Amanda Toney with Netflix’s Director of Creative Talent Investment and Development for International Originals Christopher Mack. Christopher was previously Senior Vice President of Scripted Content for Stage 13, overseeing all of the brand’s original scripted series and development slates across multiple genres, including Emmy nominated Netflix series’ SPECIAL and IT'S BRUNO. Before Stage 13, Chris headed the Warner Bros. Workshop, the writing and directing program for professionals looking to start and/or further their careers in television. Over a period of 10 years in this role, Chris curated a roster of close to 100 writers and 50 directors representing the breakthrough emerging voices working on high-profile television shows today. In addition to these responsibilities, Chris has covered hit shows such as TWO AND A HALF MEN and SMALLVILLE for the Current Programs department. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Chris spent seven years writing on various one-hour dramas including ER, THE PRACTICE and THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE. After graduating from Loyola Law School, Chris got his start in television at NBC Studios as an associate and he quickly rose to becoming an executive. During his time at the newly created NBC Studios, he oversaw a varied list of shows including: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR and IN THE HOUSE, among others. In this exclusive Stage 32 workshop, Christopher will delve into what exactly makes a television pitch work at Netflix. He’ll discuss the essentials you’ll need to catch Netflix’s eye and will zero in on how to write an effective pitch document. He’ll pose questions you be able to answer and communicate for your series and give you ideas on how best to communicate your show’s overview, world, tone, and characters. Christopher will then discuss how season summaries should be built and give you ideas on how to think about and present potential episodes. Finally, you will have the invaluable opportunity to ask Christopher your own questions. You will leave this presentation with the understanding of how to structure and present your series, not in theory, but directly from the source.
Acting is such a tough profession. Facing rejection, navigating the Hollywood system, understanding the rules and politics of it all—it’s all hard enough in general, but even harder when you have to go at it alone. That’s why it can make all the difference to have a talent manager. Good talent managers can drastically transform your career as an actor. They have the connections that can get you into rooms and auditions you weren’t privy to before, they can help you prepare for roles and auditions, and they’ll give you the expertise to support you in navigating your own career and finding success long-term. Talent managers are great, but finding one in the first place can be a challenge. Just like with everything else, this comes down to marketing yourself. There are a lot of actors out there looking for representation, and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. To find a good representative, it’s critical that you stand out. Displaying talent as an actor certainly comes into the equation, but so does marketing yourself correctly and creatively to better pop when a potential manager is looking through potential clients. To do this, it’s important to understand what a talent manager does, how they think, and how they operate. There are ways to get talent managers interested and excited about representing you. Sometimes it just comes down to learning the language. Joe Lorenzo started working in talent management 15 years ago and has since transitioned to Los Angeles, running his talent management and producing firm, Society Entertainment. He currently has working talent on a variety of networks including ABC, FOX, CBS, Showtime and more, streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon and a variety of independent films. With his background as a casting director, Joe has been able to get name talent, name directors, and recognized writers on to projects he is producing. Joe packaged 4 films in 2005, including the feature film GIRLS CLUB with Jaime King, and the Television Movie of the Week, CHRISTMAS AT WATERS EDGE with Keisha Knight Pulliam. In 2006, Joe produced ROCKER, a low-budget indie with his client as the writer and the star. In recent years he produced the feature films NEXT OF KIN in Los Angeles, BOSTON GIRLS in Boston Mass, and THE NO SIT LIST aka BABYSITTERS BEWARE, in Los Angeles. Joe has been managing actors for a very long time and intimately knows what it takes for an actor to land representation. Joe will give an in-depth rundown of how to attract and work with talent managers, from a talent manager’s perspective. He’ll begin by discussing the best ways to get a talent manager’s attention, including the importance of headshots, how to write your resume, tips for a great acting tape, and how to get the right people to give you referrals. Then he will discuss what managers generally look for in clients. Next, he will go over what talent managers expect from the clients they sign, including how best to communicate and the power of honesty. Joe will delve into how managers approach both developmental clients as well as clients that are already currently working with credits. He will speak to the ever-present question of the differences between agents and managers, the different ways each can help you, and how an attorney can also come into play. He will then talk about the different major markets in the industry and how an actor can find success even if they do not live in any of these cities, including mastering the self tape audition and how to ace a live Skype audition. Joe will give you four specific ways to edge out to the competition in the room or on tape and will delve into ways actors can stay current on their own, including creating their own content and being proactive on social media. Finally Joe will give you an idea of how new clients generally start their relationship with their manager, including paperwork you should expect and how to approach initial conversations. You will leave this webinar with a strong understanding of how talent managers operate and more confidence in how better to approach and work with them to bolster your own acting career. Praise for Joe's Stage 32 Webinar I loved how straightforward and upfront Joe was about everything. I’m excited to use this to step up my own game! -Leticia G. This was so helpful. It’s great to hear about managers directly from a manager himself—especially one as giving and honest as Joe. -Jeremy H. This was great! I learned so much. -Henry V. I’m so glad I saw this. It really helped me wrap my head around acting representation, which always felt so unwelcoming and enigmatic until I heard it from Joe. -Ashley W.
This webinar has a 100% satisfaction rating! Acquiring the rights to a literary property with an eye towards turning it into a movie or television series is one of your primary responsibilities as a filmmaker or producer. Or, if you’re a writer with a screenplay or someone who owns IP that can be made into a film or TV series, how do you know you’re signing the right contract with a producer? Whether you are looking to acquire a screenplay, article, book, graphic novel or comic book series you need an option/purchase agreement — or is it shopping agreement? Or is it an attachment agreement? Trying to understand which agreement is right for you can make your head spin. But, it’s important to make sure you come to the table with the right agreement to protect yourself upfront and secure all the necessary rights to the amazing property you’re after. At a glance, it seems that there is overlap between the holy trinity of rights agreements: shopping, option/purchase and attachment. Unfortunately, many people confuse the terms and as a result people often end up coming to the bargaining table with very different ideas on what kind of agreement they are — resulting in the creation of Frankensteined-together versions of these three types of contracts. The wrong drafting can leave the writer stripped of their copyrights or producers and filmmakers unable to secure financing because they don’t have the rights they thought they paid for. There are key distinctions between these three agreements and any producer or filmmaker(or on the flipside, writer) must know the difference between them. Experienced entertainment attorney Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is here to help. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will give you a solid foundation of the legal issues involved in the acquisition of film rights, as well as a rubric for understanding, negotiating, and drafting key provisions in the option/purchase, shopping agreement, and attachment deals. He will walk you through the basics of copyright law and the legal steps necessary in transferring rights. Next he will discuss common pitfalls writers and producers make when it comes to breaks in the chain of title, joint authorship, and work for hire. Critically, Thomas will spell out the differences between shopping, option/purchase, and attachment agreements and will give invaluable tips on how to negotiate and draft these agreements to ensure you’re getting what you need and not being taken advantage of. You will have the tools you'll need to navigate the murky waters of copyright law and to land the rights to your dream literary property. Plus! Thomas provides you with a 32 page detailed resource guide to help you navigate the nuances of various agreements Praise for Thomas' Stage 32 Webinar “I would wholeheartedly recommend this webinar not only to producers and writers, but to anyone in the business, even if you think you know what you're doing. It's mandatory viewing if you call yourself a professional." - Anna H. "The best I've heard this explained." - Patricia C. "The best webinar I have taken here so far. Great visuals, clear explanations, relevant topic." - Maritere Y. "Thomas was excellent. Articulate, helpful diagrams, and I liked his delivery and vast experience as a producer and lawyer." - Virginia K
**Only 5 Spots Left** Get Guidance in Rewriting and Improving Your Half Hour Pilot Script with Experienced TV Writer Meghan Pleticha (SILICON VALLEY) Support Your Fellow Writers As You All Work Together To Hone Your Scripts Before you send your half-hour TV pilot to that representative or exec, is the story in the very best place it can be? Rewrites are truly where a good script becomes exceptional. Yet too often, writers neglect to review their scripts because they don’t want to kill their darlings or reshape their scenes. If you’re truly serious about getting your own series and vision off the ground, though, it won’t happen until you invest in rewriting your work. Meghan Pleticha is television writer with ten years of entertainment industry experience who has most recently worked as a staff writer on HBO’s Emmy nominated comedy series SILICON VALLEY. Her work has also appeared on Cartoon Network’s POWER PLAYERS, and in Escala, AeroMéxico’s official in-flight magazine. Previous to being staffed on television shows, she worked as a writer’s assistant and script coordinator for shows like FX’s MARRIED, ABC’s CHARITY CASE, and VH1’s HIT THE FLOOR. Over 8 weeks, Meghan will help you rewrite your own half hour pilot script by walking you through the entire process and offering support and mentoring throughout. Using her own unique and tested rewrite process as well as a series of thought through and tested homework assignments and exercises, she will help you tackle your own project the right way and leave with a stronger pilot script than what you started with.
**Learn the art of TV joke writing from long time TV comedy writer Kirill Baru and participate in an actual episode punch up room, working to improve scenes from a notable TV comedy.** Jokes don’t just come out of nowhere, and their success is completely reliant on the medium. Things that are funny in conversation or in front of an audience might not be funny on a television show. This is why being “naturally funny” just isn’t enough to make a funny series with great jokes. It takes an understanding of the medium and insight into the types of jokes that work on television. It also usually takes a team of people in a punch up room setting, utilizing multiple perspectives and senses of humor to arrive at the best joke for each situation. Understanding how to find the best jokes in an episode script and learning how to operate successfully in a punch up room setting will help make your own comedy pilot funnier and can give you the tools to be a more desirable member of any TV comedy writers room. Kirill Baru is a sitcom writer and executive producer who has staffed on and sold a variety of live-action and animated comedy shows like Freeform’s BABY DADDY and the critically acclaimed animated show DAN VS. on the HUB. He’s also written and produced several comedies in the kids space, from Disney’s SYDNEY TO THE MAX to Cartoon Network’s MAD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. When Kirill isn’t staffing on shows, he’s developing projects with networks such as Disney and Netflix. He attributes his career to writing comedy that finds a way to have a lot of edge without ever losing any of its heart. Kirill is very familiar with punching up TV scripts, finding ways to make them funnier and finding success in a TV punch up room. In this special extended workshop, Kirill will teach you how to craft effective jokes for any TV comedy. He’ll break down where good jokes come from and the elements needed to make a joke work. Kirill will also lay out the main types of TV jokes you can draw from and walk you through important comedy terminology that’s used in every writers’ room and punch up room. He’ll also go through how to make jokes work with an eye towards scene construction and explain what makes a great punch up room for any TV comedy. Kirill will then lead a TV comedy punch up room, similar to how real TV comedies run them. Everyone who signs up will be able to participate in this room and work with the group to add jokes, fill in pitches, and create alt docs for two scenes of an episode of an actual notable TV comedy. Kirill will provide feedback and analysis or all of the joke pitches. If you’re interested in breaking into TV comedy, it’s so important that you know how to craft great jokes in this specific medium. This workshop is the perfect way to help you get there. Praise for Kirill's Previous Workshop "The workshop was awesome! Going through this workshop and seeing the end result produced by our team of writers (classmates), not only shed light into how the sausage is made, but also showed me that this is something I can actually do. Well worth the investment!" -Kane B. "Kirill's workshop was a great experience. He's a natural teacher, professional, insightful, and encouraging. It was not only educational but practical, allowing the attendees to punch up an actual script as if in the writer's room, followed by him, putting on his showrunner hat and reviewing what had been created by the group. I would highly recommend anyone interested in working as a professional writer, with dreams of being in the writer's room to attend one of his classes." -Dave W. "This was the best online class tv writing class I’ve ever taken. There is only so much the brain can grasp and retain in a lecture format. Kirill did an amazing job structuring the class and providing an in the moment experience — the best way to learn. Thank you." -Barbara G.