About Stephen Mitchell: In 1980, Stephen founded an entertainment industry think tank labeled The New Hollywood Studio System in the guise of a repertory company for film and television. He authored the Action/ReAction technique for actors and founded a film school with curricula for writers and directors. Stephen supervised the group until 2001. In 1985, Stephen launched his cable TV series (Interview). The series, lauded by critics, attracted a cult following that included Oscar, Emmy, Peabody and Grammy winners. It attracted buyers for Stephen's story ideas and generated a first-look deal for him with TriStar Pictures. In 2001, Stephen wrote How to Start a Hollywood Career Without Having to Go There: An Instruction Manual For Actors with Kathi Carey. He was a CableAce Awards judge for nine years. Over the years, Stephen has made a dozen independent movies none of which are on IMDB, but that's a story for a blog post and will be part of the discussion in his webinar for Stage 32. Stephen is producing a documentary on the Ferrari 250 GTO, one of which he used to own. He produced Carrera Panamericana (1950-54) and was a co-producer on Addiction Incorporated with Charlie Evans Jr. (The Aviator). He is currently producing a DVD series Elys'ee Wednesday: Drive! and a TV series Tennessee Long Haulers. Last year, he wrote his first novels, Ignorance is Bliss, and Ray D. Shosay's Journal: Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris and is now writing a book about his Ferrari GTO which is worth forty million dollars and is currently owned by Ralph Lauren. Full Bio »
Stage 32 presents a webinar by Stephen Mitchell on how to make movies using a logical, if unconventional, approach that will establish your brand as a filmmaker and accelerate your career.
There is nothing like having a movie producing credit to separate you from the crowd. Whether you are a writer, director or actor, the quickest way to move your career forward is to produce a movie. Find out how to get it done while everyone else is waiting for Divine Intervention.
This is an special webinar event exclusively for Stage 32 members.
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!
"I originally started working with Stephen as an actress, but he very quickly decided that I needed to learn writing, producing and directing. I protested, at first, but boy am I glad he insisted. Under his guidance and mentorship I learned everything I use today in my career as a filmmaker. To date, I have had two films go out worldwide on the festival circuit that I wrote, produced and directed, both of which won numerous awards and accolades and the second of which was in the pool to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2011. I currently have two more films that are just starting their festival journeys, along with several projects in development. Stephen's approach combines real-world practicalities with proven techniques, so you're not just learning a methodology taught from a book or a classroom, you're learning practical, useful tools that you can immediately apply to your own work." - Kathi Carey, Stage 32 member, Actress/Writer/Producer/Director
"I had the opportunity to work with Stephen on EW:Drive! and really enjoyed the way he approached directing. His natural ease behind the camera put all of us in front of it at ease while driving some very expensive classic supercars. Stephen knows how to bring out the best in a moment and let the performer's personality shine through, while highlighting the important points in the storyline. I think I speak for all of us involved when I say that I look forward to filming the next episode with him!" - Kira Gurnee, Stage 32 member, Actress/Producer/Director
"Stephen Mitchell is a lover of cinema . From my chats with Stephen, I have learned so much about the magic of cinema, especially about the subliminal on the screen and breaking down scenes that make audience members swoon--from acting, directing, producing and writing. He has enriched me with breakdowns on blocking, cinematography, actors actions and reactions, to branding and why is important and how to connect with as many constitute groups in the audience as possible. Stephen is an encyclopedia about movies, from old Hollywood to the new and beyond, mixed with interesting stories about the industry and the stars themselves! Take a webinar with Stephen and you will walk away much wiser and entertained!" - Rachael Wegener, Stage 32 member, Actress/Producer/Director
"The gift of being around and working with Stephen is not only to witness how his brilliant, avant-garde mind works but to also be the beneficiary of his innate filmmaking intelligence." - Tom Gurnee, Stage 32 member, Actor/Writer, author of Moving to L.A. for Acting
There are many ways to forge a path toward a directing career in the film industry. But as almost any successful director will tell you, surviving and thriving takes much more than just talent. Packaging, the streaming platforms, and new and intriguing distribution channels have all but upended the independent film world. More and more filmmakers are embracing a DIY (Do It Yourself) mindset and educating themselves on the business - who's making what, what festivals matter, how a producer sees a project, what investors are looking for (and where to find those investors), who's the audience for my film, where can the film live and, most importantly, how can I use this information to build a long, lucrative, and successful career in the film industry. Director Qasim Basir exploded onto the Sundance scene with his film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.: Love on Election Night. The film received a massive standing ovation at its Sundance premiere which led to a bidding way, a major theatrical release, and enormous critical acclaim. The film not only takes place in once location, but is filmed in single shot. It's a masterclass, and Qasim proved that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The accolades and offers haven't stopped flowing in. Up next for Qasim is to direct the NFL Biopic ‘Hawk’ based on life of Andrew Hawkins. Prior to his Sundance debut, he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his film Mooz-Lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross & Danny Glover, and premiered at the LA Film Festival with his film Destined starring Jesse Metcalf, Cory Hardrict and Margot Bingham. Qasim has had choices for all of his films as to how they got out into the world and where they were going to live after their release. He's chosen everything from theatrical to VOD releases, and he's learned much along the way. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Qasim is bringing all his knowledge including the wealth of information he learned from the dream Sundance experience to the Stage 32 community. Qasim will dive right into the deep end of the pool to discuss how to navigate this difficult industry and how to keep yourself intact. He will teach you what you'll learn along the way as you become more successful and how to use that knowledge as fuel. He will discuss short filmmaking as a calling card or as proof of concept of something bigger. He will show you how to identify and engage financiers and production companies. Then, Qasim will delve into the filmmaking process including how casting comes down to understanding the 3 P's. He will discuss pre-production, voice, tone, story, performance & camera. He will teach you how to make decisive and confident creative choices. And he will teach you how to deal with failure and disappointment, but also how to deal with success. "People will tell you many different things in this business, but none is better than when you find what's actually right for you. Let me help get you there." - Qasim Basir Praise for Qasim "I saw A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. at Sundance. The movie is brilliant and watching Qasim during the Q&A it became clear that he is as well. To be able to learn from him here on Stage 32 is such a gift. Inspiration on a whole other level." - Monique T. "Genius in every way." - Tyler K. "Qasim is my hero." - Mikael F. "Another home run for Stage 32. A teacher above and beyond worthy of the subject matter. More please!" - Imani L.
When putting together a deal as a writer or producer there are many things to think about when it comes to your contracts - between option agreements, purchase agreements and negative pickups it's important you understand what deal you're getting yourself into before you start development. We will cover three different types of contracts: purchase agreement, option agreement, and negative pickup. We will discuss terms in both a legal and practical matter so that you get the information needed to be prepared to negotiate your next agreement. Such things will include material and boilerplate terms, what can or can't be negotiated, and how lawyers themselves will be reading and reviewing your agreement. This will be an in-depth, but accessible, legal discussion walking you through each part of a standard purchase and option agreement. Plus! You'll get 5 contract templates to download! Your Stage 32 Educator is entertainment attorney Jordan Barel, who's a California attorney that has worked with AMC, New Line Cinema, Generate and Alloy. He is also a producer who develops projects based off IP and started out as the television coordinator at Verve Talent & Literary Agency. Whether you're a producer, filmmaker or writer learn the overview of contracts to give you a competitive advantage in your next negotiation! **All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about certain types of contracts within the entertainment industry. The information presented is not legal advice and is not to be acted on as such, please consult your lawyer for issues specific to your contract.
It’s hard to fully encapsulate how massive of an undertaking it is to create a film. The amount of hours, money, people, and passion that go into every project can be staggering. And for independent productions that don’t have the stability or backing of a large, flush studio, all of these different elements fit together tenuously at best. With so many plates to spin, it takes the work of a capable producer to bring everything together and keep everything on track. Murphy’s Law dictates whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and any independent filmmaker or producer will attest that this is indeed the case. No amount of planning or foresight can keep everything running seamlessly. Money might fall through, equipment might malfunction, actors might bail, hired talent might prove to be difficult to work with. It’s impossible to keep all chaos at bay when managing a project as massive and messy as an independent film. That said, a great producer, especially in the indie space, can put out fires, keep the chaos at bay, and keep that movie on track. It boils down to working smartly, being as prepared as possible, and being light on your feet. Some of this comes with time and experience, but there’s a lot a producers can do, even on their very first project, to better rise to the occasion and manage their film successfully. Luke Daniels is the Executive in Charge of Production for Tunnel. In his career in entertainment, which has spanned nearly two decades, Luke has produced over 60 feature films (8 in 2019 alone), including the Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto International Film Festival Official Selections. He has worked on films with directors like Kevin Smith and James Franco and talent like Riley Keough, Jean Claude Van Damme, Luke Wilson, Topher Grace and more. Through it all, he's learned countless tricks as an independent producer that can help keep your production on track, and he’s bringing his experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Luke will go over the things he's learned through the years to help you with your own productions, from the beginning of pre-production, all the way through production. He’ll begin by giving you strategies on creative ways to creatively put financing together when starting out a project. He’ll then teach you the basic steps to take to put together a project smartly. Next Luke will then discuss how to hold key elements in place while prepping for a film and what you can do if you lose an actor or director. He will also give you tips on what to do if you lose a location before production starts. Luke will then focus on the producer’s role during production. He will show you how to manage high-level talent and go over ways to deal with difficult talent during the shoot. He will then delve into the producer-director relationship and how to respect their vision while still being able to collaborate creatively during the process. Luke will discuss what to do if you go over budget, especially if you’re not bonded, and will teach you how to navigate if you’re hit with unexpected fines. Praise for Luke’s Webinar: “I loved hearing Luke’s perspective and past experiences” -Sandra T. “So many great tips and lessons that I can bring with me on my next project” -Brian F. “Luke was great! Really helpful” -Joe V. “I liked how specific and practical Luke got with his advice. Thank you!” -Miranda C.
We are well into the digital revolution in filmmaking. The least known and least understood aspect, but arguably the most important, of the digital revolution is the digital master of your film via a Digital Cinema Package. More than cameras or editing or access to great equipment, the one factor that allows the indie filmmaker to truly be on a level playing field is the ability to screen your film at festivals and any theater in the world via DCP. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, experienced filmmaker, Stephen van Vuuren, will teach you all secrets, tips, and best practices that everyone involved in film productions must know to end up with a quality digital master of your film. The information in this webinar is not available all together in one place anywhere on the internet until now! Many film festivals, large and small, now require DCP screeners and nearly all theaters in the world require your film on DCP. A DCP is the single most important master of your film that you will ever make. However, many indie filmmakers have limited experience and understanding of how they must plan from the very beginning stages of a film to insure their film – short, feature, documentary – is ready for DCP. You only have one chance with your audiences to make a great impression – and today that chance depends on your DCP.
As the Vice President of Three Point Capital, Viviana Zarragoitia is one of the most prolific financiers who routinely lend on tax incentives, both domestically and internationally, on independent films. She is aware of the rules and regulations of tax incentives in many jurisdictions, and have spoken on numerous panels about tax credits. In this exclusive webinar, Viviana will be teaching what producers should be aware of when working with tax incentives. Although there are minor details that change within each state/country, there are some overall issues that come up in each jurisdiction that producers should be aware of when taking advantage of tax incentives for their film/TV project. These include, but are not limited to, things such as: corporate structure of the company applying for the tax incentive, making sure that costs in-state are qualified spend, working with tax incentive offices during pre-production, production and post-production, submitting final costs in a timely fashion, working with production accountants/CPAs on tracking qualified spend, working with lenders and filing tax returns to claim the incentives.
It seems like every day another film festival launches or expands. Specialty festivals are becoming all the rage and major, established festivals have been expanding to accept shorts, digital shorts, documentaries, television pilots, specialty genre content and content focused on diversity. With the market growing, so are the number of submissions to any given festival, especially those which are producing results for the connections of the accepted films. You want to make sure your screenplay is on point, that the story is a fit for the style of the festival you are entering and that the film grabs a judge's attention from the get go. Part of assuring you have a festival darling film is understanding the festival landscape, knowing the right players and making connections that assure your film is being viewed by the decision makers. But this all starts, as it always does, with the script. A majority of screenwriters do not write big budget tentpole blockbusters. They tell more intimate, character driven stories. And these are the kind of stories that most festivals adore. But why do some of these scripts attract financing, producers, and, ultimately, the attention of festival directors while others fall through the cracks? As a writer and/or producer, how can you identify the aspects of your screenplay that might be killing your chances of festival success and fix them before filming begins? And how can filmmakers and producers assure, even if they have a winning film based on a fantastic script in place, that they are entering the right festivals and navigating the circuit correctly? There is a chemistry to all of it. A mixture of the creative and the business side of things. It's imperative that you have an understanding of both. Maren Olson has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes, festival favorites such as An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Natural Selection and Red Flag, and Sundance Audience Award winners This is Martin Bonner, Valley of Saints and Kinyarwanda. As a producer, she was responsible for critically lauded Short Term 12, which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. The film went on to win 19 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Maren currently works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerly the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. To say she understands all the ins and outs of the festival circuit, what festivals look for and how they operate would be a massive understatement. Maren will teach you what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. She will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. She will teach you the 3 components of a festival-friendly story idea and why you must answer yes to each. She will talk budget, shooting locations and when the proper time is to bring on a producer. She will explain the mistakes people make and demystify the myths people believe when navigating the festival circuit. She will go over common pitfalls screenwriters, filmmakers and producers make that can be fatal when submitting to festivals. Maren will give you the tools to get traction on your project. She will lay out, in clear, precise terms, how to assure your project is given the best opportunity to become a "Festival Darling." "Excellent - informative. Maren brought facts and experience to a very nuanced subject about "Film Festival Darlings - offering an extremely in-depth analysis to the elements of what a writer or producer should consider when moving forward in the Indie film world. My fav Stage 32 webinar so far. Thanks." - Robert G. "Fantastic seminar. Like a good filmmaker, you kept us engaged from opening to close. Thanks again!" - Bob B. "Maren had a lot of practical information and road trap warning for indies. I appreciated the components of a festival face, comps, and specific advice that is useful." - Betty S.