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."
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!
Learn directly from Alex Franklin, Veteran Studio Executive for New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Lionsgate Films and Artisan Entertainment! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Alex Franklin will discuss the globalization of Hollywood and what filmmakers need to know about important countries and markets around the world to stay ahead of the game. You will learn which markets are becoming the top foreign markets (including China, Russia, India, Brazil and more), important statistics and international comparisons, how foreign audiences, industries, and governments are changing the Hollywood system, and what all of this means for your career. You will learn how globalization is changing the distribution, marketing, production and development processes, and you will leave with a clear understanding of how industry-wide changes resulting from globalization are impacting the job market for writers, producers and directors in the U.S. The growth of international markets continues to impact studio filmmaking decisions, and foreign markets like China dominate the entertainment news. Therefore it is critical that the next generation of Hollywood producers and filmmakers understand the ways in which globalization is reshaping the industry. Your host Alex Franklin is a veteran of the Hollywood studio system, having worked in development and production at New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Lionsgate Films and Artisan Entertainment. As a Studio Executive, he was involved in the development and production of films including Halloween (directed by Rob Zombie), Saw, Saw 2, The Punisher, 1408 and Youth in Revolt. After leaving the world of studio development, Franklin co-founded Pangea Pictures, a visual effects company which was involved in the postproduction of films including A Perfect Getaway, Brothers and The Warrior's Way. Currently, Franklin is head of film and television at Partos Company, where he specializes in working with A-List cinematographers, production designers and costume designers.
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including 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. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.
Learn directly from Shaun O’Banion, an award-winning independent producer! As a producer, post-production is a part of the process you’re rarely involved in from day-to-day, and yet it is one of the most integral parts of the filmmaking process (if not the most important). A lot of questions can be asked from a filmmaker like how to shape the film, how to define roles in post, what to do with VFX, how to handle the footage you have and ultimately how to develop a great film after it’s been shot. It’s not easy to do and it takes a lot of practice and experience to perfect. We will discuss the pieces that make up the whole, from assessing the relationships in the edit suite, to bringing all of the elements together and how it all happens. From the technical to the emotional, this webinar will attempt to demystify the process in a way for you to easily understand what to do to “find the film” in post. Post Production: Finding the Film is presented by 20 year industry veteran, Shaun O’Banion, who has worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Judd Apatow and Peter Hedges. He has won numerous awards for his films, including the prestigious IFP GOTHAM Award for GIRLFRIEND.
With the gap between independent films and studio films constantly growing, it has become quite a challenge for independent producers to finance their films. As a result, more and more producers are looking outside of their home territories for additional sources of finance. Europe, in particular, is very attractive for international producers: not only does it have diverse landscapes and excellent crews, but the different European countries offer fantastic funding and tax incentive schemes that can be accessed by foreign producers to finance their films. More and more filmmakers, producers, and even screenwriters are expanding their worldview by tailoring their projects and stories to make them more attractive for a potential European production and co-production. The fact of the matter is there is gold to be mined in this approach. Over the last few years, co-productions with European countries have not only become more common and successful, but the financial incentives have grown tremendously. Finding the right partners and understanding the landscape is not as difficult as one might thing. In fact, the information is readily available for those willing to put in a little legwork. Anouk van Ghemen is a freelance financial consultant with an emphasis on film funding and tax incentive schemes in Germany and the rest of Europe. With her company ONE FOUR FILMS she works for both national as well as international clients, such as Sony Pictures Releasing, Radical Media and Wild Bunch Germany. Overall, Anouk has been involved in more than 40 film and media projects. Anouk holds a B.Sc. in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan. She began her career in the film industry working as Assistant to Producer in Berlin and Paris and later became responsible for the funding and financing of a Berlin-based company‘s international films. Notable projects include the Indian-German co-production Don 2, the French-Canadian TV series Transporter, and the Korean thriller The Berlin File. Anouk will take you into the world of European co-productions with great detail and flair. She will start by explaining European vs. international co-productions, bilateral vs. multilateral co-productions, co-production treaties and cultural tests. She will discuss the pros and cons of co-productions and how to identify whether your project fits with the upside potential for a European co-production. She will dive into the important aspects of your script and overall budgetary needs including story, locations, crew, overall costs and more. Then she will get into the most important questions: How do you get the money, how much money can you get, and what will make your application for funding and incentives get approved above all others. Anouk will also teach you how to find, approach and close the right partners to assure your European co-production is a winning one! "A complete eye opener. I had no idea these options were available to me. It's like moving from a room where the walls are closing in to an open field. The possibilities are endless." - Steven C. "Invaluable information." - Valerie L. "I have 3 projects in various stages of development that have all but stalled. All 3 could certainly be rewritten or tweaked to fit a European co-production model. We'll be starting on doing just that tomorrow." - Ricardo C. "My job as a producer just got easier." - Patricia M.
So you want to make a film but don’t know where to start, you’ve graduated with a film degree, but don’t know how to get your ‘foot’ in the door, OR you’ve had the good fortune of being involved in a feature film that came to your community – and you now have the ‘bug’ – you WANT to work in film – sound familiar? Stage 32 is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: Film Crew Essentials - Learn to Become An Unforgettable Crew Member taught by Kenny Chaplin, Assistant Director and veteran industry insider who here to teach you everything you need to know regarding below the line positions and the inner workings of major motion picture film sets. This 4 part class will teach you the culture, protocol, and skills required to work and stand out within the highly competitive “below-the-line” departments of the film industry. Gain the confidence to walk onto any film set with the know-how of a road weary veteran. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Kenny is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
To kick off your directing career with Roger Ebert calling your film "One of the best films of the year" you can pretty much be assured you're on a path to success. We are proud to present to you the director who has done just that - Michael Polish. After his Sundance darling Twin Falls Idaho garnered Roger Ebert's critical acclaim he has gone on to direct over 10 feature films including: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival) Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle) 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders Michael will be teaching the 2nd installment of our Stage 32 Masters of Craft series - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits. In this online event Michael will share with you how a professional director approaches a film from inception and carries it through to post-production including a discussion of available distribution options. The goal is to give you the agency to make your films without the necessity of the Hollywood studio system (though this information will be handy if that's your path as well). He will go in-depth about the director’s process from finding superior scripts and setting your priorities in pre-production to the challenges of running your set, leading your crew and balancing the demands of your producers. He’ll explain how to interact with everyone vital to your film’s success from producers and film executives to actors, cinematographers, and editors to get the best version of your film. Finally, Michael will share insider knowledge on effective methods to market and distribute your film that will give you the power to maximize your profits. From his experience writing and directing 10 feature films, he’ll share his war stories (like losing vital funding in the middle of a shoot) and his strategies for dealing with any obstacle that arises. You’ll be better equipped to deal with mishaps and avoid filmmaking pain points. If you want to make your film and you want to know where to start, how to proceed and how to ensure you walkaway with a masterpiece, this is the webinar for you! You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of what is necessary to succeed as an indie director and gain control over the direction of your career.