How to Start a Career in Independent Producing

Hosted by Jim Young

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Jim Young

Webinar hosted by: Jim Young

Award-Winning Producer (Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca & More) at Animus Films

Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Siefried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE.   Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana.   Animus Films productions have released through Showtime, Paramount Pictures, CBS Films, Millennium Entertainment, and Image Entertainment. His films have also premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Toronto Film Festival. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

There aren’t a lot of jobs more challenging than that of an independent producer, but there also might not be any job as rewarding. It’s the producer who turns a bunch of ideas and dreams into reality and a singular product that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. What can be better than essentially creating something out of nothing? From conception and pre-production through distribution and beyond, the producer is with the film from beginning to end, builds the team, and makes the decisions that ultimately make the project a failure or success. This role is an enigmatic one, though, since it covers so much. This can also make it feel difficult or overwhelming to break into. So how does someone actually start off a career in producing in the first place?

There is no one correct way to become a successful producer, especially in the indie space. However there are three main paths that most working film producers have taken to get to where they are today: the executive path, the production path, and the independent path. Each path comes with its share of obstacles, but each can also provide the education, connections, and wherewithal to spark a successful career making movies. Better understanding how to find success through these tracks can help you turn your aspirations of becoming a working independent producer into a reality.

Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Through years of successes and challenges, Jim has learned what it takes to be a working full-time producer and is excited to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

Jim will explain what it means to be an independent producer and the three main paths you can take to become a full-time producer of your own. Jim will first talk about the main skill set and duties of an independent film producer and give you an honest explanation of what this job really looks like. Next he will explain cow you can start your career as a producer through the three most common career paths: the executive path, the physical production path, and the independent path. For each, Jim will talk about how  to get your foot in the door and how best to use these opportunities to learn what you need to get yourself ready to become your own producer. Jim will then teach you how to find longevity as an independent producer and share with you some of the biggest lessons he’s learned through his career.

If you’ve ever been interested in starting a career as an independent producer and making the types of films you’ve always been passionate about, Jim will give you the tools and tips you’ll need to make that actually happen.

 

Want to work more closely with Jim?

Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here.

What You'll Learn

  • What It Means To Be An Independent Producer
    • Skillset and duties
  • Starting Your Career Through the Executive Path
    • Types of companies to start your career
    • How best to develop relationships within the industry
    • Learning the discipline of development
    • Grasping broad production
    • Understanding the principles of valuation of projects between casting, genres, and budgets
    • Tips to “climb the ladder” and find new opportunities through this system
  • Starting Your Career Through the Production Path
    • How to get started in the world of physical production and what will make you hirable
    • Working your way up the ladder of the production hierarchy
    • How to learn what you need through the process
  • Starting Your Career Through the Independent Path
    • Finding material
    • Getting equipment
    • Putting together finance
    • Getting cast
    • Crewing up
  • Finding Longevity in Your Career
    • Tips on building your network How to continue to find talent and material
    • Ambition vs. staying in your means
  • Jim’s Biggest Lessons Learned as an Independent Producer
  • Q&A with Jim

About Your Instructor

Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Siefried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE.
 
Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana.
 
Animus Films productions have released through Showtime, Paramount Pictures, CBS Films, Millennium Entertainment, and Image Entertainment. His films have also premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Toronto Film Festival.

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Other education that may be of interest to you:

Adapting IP: How Do I Know if My Idea Should Be Written as a Film, TV Series or Podcast?

Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success.    When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life?  Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner.   Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for.    Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project.    Like what you heard from Jim from during this webcast? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here.     Praise for Jim's Stage 32 Webinars:   "This was my first webinar and I learned so much. I thought Jim was thorough in his descriptions of what each medium has to offer regarding IP" -Marietta K.   "Jim opened up new avenues for our IP that I didn't realize existed. He was a great presenter and shared his own experience with relevant info. It was really motivating." -Ricki L.   "Thoughtful way of exploring options. Using podcasts was inspirational." -JoAnne E.   "Tons of new information. Thanks!" -Jacqueline L.

An In-Depth Guide to Being a Successful Indie Producer

There aren’t a lot of jobs more challenging than that of an independent producer, but there also might not be any job as rewarding. It’s the producer who turns a bunch of ideas and dreams into reality and a singular product that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. What can be better than essentially creating something out of nothing? From conception and pre-production through distribution and beyond, the producer is with the film from beginning to end, builds the team, and makes the decisions that ultimately make the project a failure or success. This role is an enigmatic one, though, since it covers so much, and to be truly successful in this position requires that you know a lot about A LOT in order to foresee future issues, stay protected, and ensure you have all of the items you need to deliver a completed product. If there are any problems or surprises that come up during the making of a film-and there ALWAYS are--it will invariably fall on the producer to address and figure out a way for the film to carry on. As the producer, it's impossible to fully predict what issues will inevitably arise during production, but having an understanding of the different facets of your job and what it takes for a film to be completed and released is crucial. As a result, going into a a film's production blind and completely green is inadvisable. Instead, before taking the plunge in producing your first film, it's important to know everything you can and get the guidance you need so you can take that first step with your eyes wide open. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent producer in the industry, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Through years of successes and challenges, Jim has learned what it takes to be a working full-time producer and is excited to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Over the course of four sessions, Jim will dive deep into the roles and responsibilities of an indie film producer and give you the guidance you need to tackle your next (or first) project with confidence and foresight. He will walk you through every step of making a movie, from development to casting and financing to prep and physical production all the way through festivals, distribution and release. Plus! Jim will offer exclusive and helpful documents and resource sheets you can download and take with you for your own projects. Downloads include: Option/Purchase Agreements Sample Budget Foreign Sales Estimates Sample Investor Agreement Sample Shooting Schedule Sample Call Sheet Calendar of Film Festivals Sample Delivery Schedule for a Distributor   WHAT TO EXPECT **Jim will be available on email during the 4 class sessions to answer any questions you have.** This class is designed for beginner and intermediate students looking to learn the ins and outs of independent film producing. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Jim will be walking you through various elements of indie producing, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".

The Step by Step Process of Developing a Book Into a Film or Television Series

Some of the most well regarded recent feature films and television shows were based on books, including the Oscar-nominated Little Women, JoJo Rabbit, The Two Popes, The Irishman and the Emmy-nominated Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects and many more. Authors spend months, if not years, formulating characters and worlds that make it onto the printed page. This creativity serves as great source material that would translate greatly to the big or small screen. If you're an author who's written a novel and are looking to get it adapted, a screenwriter that's written a script based off a book you have (or would like to obtain) the rights to, or a producer or financier who has the rights or are circling securing the rights to a property you believe would make a great film or TV show, you need to understand the steps to take to obtain the rights, protect yourself legally, and make the development process a smooth and enjoyable ride. Discovering an adaptation-worthy story can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting book or article at a bookstore, library or newsstand. Understanding how to obtain the rights and develop that material effectively is the harder part. It takes meticulous planning and approach to be able to get the rights to the desired intellectual property and successfully adapt and develop the material. Many factors go into getting an adaptation to the screen including negotiations, legal hurdles and making sure you're staying authentic to the source material. Once misstep and it could derail an amazing project. You need to be prepared. Jim Young has produced films adapted off of books and intellectual property such as The Catcher Was a Spy (starring Paul Rudd), Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and Life of King (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.). He's had his films premiere at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and has earned himself a reputation of being an expert in adaptations. Through years of working with authors, publishers, talent, financiers and distributors Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish. Jim will teach you how to acquire the rights to a book you're interested and go over where to look for title, how to approach the author and publisher and how to close the deal. He'll give advice on the story development process and how to engage the author during that time, as well as tips on how to avoid liability. You'll learn two essential people you must have in your pre-production phase and how to work with the cast, crew and author on set. You will get insider tips on what to do before your film or TV show hits the screen to gain momentum for your project. And, finally, Jim will give you six legal elements to have in place prior to your project's release. This is must-know information coming from someone who's prolific in producing films based off of books.     

Breaking Down Actor Talent Offers - Includes Downloadable Templates

Let’s face it, attaching the right actor (or actors) can make or break the success of you getting your project off the ground. Putting the right talent in the pole position will greatly increase your chances of gaining finishing funds, selling a project, securing meaningful distribution and more. But to stand out in a sea of offers that quality talent receives on an almost daily basis takes knowledge and understanding. So how do you get your project in front of the right actor and give yourself the best chance to get a “yes”?   In the independent filmmaking world understanding how to formulate and put together talent offers is vital. With actors getting more offers than ever from streaming platforms, cable networks and alternative programming it’s imperative that your offer stands out from the crowd. You can push your project to the top of the decision making pile if you know how to put together the right offer. In what has been a wildly successful career, Jim Young has produced nearly 20 independent films. How did he get so many made? By attaching talent such as Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Dev Patel, Cuba Gooding Jr., Amanda Seyfried and more. Nobody understands how to attach talent better than Jim. And now he's ready to share his tried and true approaches with you so you too can attach meaningful talent to your projects. Jim will delve into the process of attracting and signing talent to your film. This will include a primer as to the roles of casting directors, talent agents, lawyers, and foreign sales agents and how each operates. He will show you what additional materials and information you need to send along with the script and the actual offer. He will also discuss elements to consider when negotiating talent deals to make sure you have a competitive advantage. Plus! As an added bonus Jim is including downloadable templates for you to work from as you put together your own deals! These invaluable documents are yours to keep.

Screenwriters, Producers, Filmmakers - Get Smart, Get Legal, Get Protected - With 40-Page Downloadable Workbook!

There's nothing worse than having a screenplay bought or a project with financing get placed on hold because of legal issues that could have been handled at the start. Too many projects have been shelved permanently and will never see the light of day because of conflicts and misunderstandings that could easily have been avoided.  Unfortunately, few screenwriters, filmmakers or producers know the right questions that need to be asked and answered in order to protect yourself and your project legally. It doesn't need to be this way, though. There are simple legal steps you can take from the beginning to assure a smooth and steady ride so your focus can be on making the best project possible. Especially for those in creative fields, navigating legal issues can feel overwhelming and confusing, maybe even unnecessary. Yet having a basic legal understanding of how to protect your work and property is incredibly crucial. You need to know how to legally incorporate everyone's input and notes into your script without worrying about losing authorship. You need to know how to set up a partnership for success and why so many people run into trouble when doing so. You need to know when it's okay to agree to work for free or 'on spec' and why it's still vital to have a written agreement. And you need to know when it's okay to talk business on your own behalf. The good news is you don't need to pass the bar in order to ensure you and your projects are in good legal shape. Instead, you just need a little guidance.  Producer and attorney Gary W. Goldstein, has produced some of the biggest box office hits in film history and has served as a mentor to dozens of prestigious writers, producers, and filmmakers. His credits include PRETTY WOMAN, UNDER SIEGE, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, and many more. He's also papered some of the biggest deals in film history. By working as both a producer and entertainment attorney, Gary's knowledge of deal memos and contracts is without peer. He knows all the do's and don'ts, the tips and tricks, and the side streets and alleyways toward making sure that you are not only protected, but getting the benefits and compensation you deserve for your efforts.  Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Gary will present a complete "how to" in order to assure that you use a proven and smart approach to protecting yourself legally. He will teach you his 3 rules that should never be broken when entering into deals; whether you should use an agent or an attorney (or both) to negotiate your compensation and benefits on your behalf; how to deal with release forms and option agreements and how to assure you get everything in writing so there are no surprises or disappointments down the road. He will show you how to maintain a paper trail of all communication and why it's monumentally important to do so. He will discuss the realities of maintaining creative control and how to handle the creative contributions of others as well as the pitfalls to avoid when receiving feedback. He will instruct you on the qualities of finding a good creative or business partner or partners and the essential questions to ask up front.  As if all this wasn't enough, Gary will provide a 40-page interactive workbook exclusive for those who take this webinar. This is an invaluable resource!   Huge Praise for Gary!   "Here’s some practical advice for those seeking a career in Hollywood, from someone who really knows what the hell he's talking about." - J.F. Lawton, Screenwriter (PRETTY WOMAN, UNDER SIEGE)   "When I met Gary, I had nothing but talent and a drive to succeed. Nine months later, I had my first script option, my first studio writing assignment, and a Writers Guild card. The advice here is worth its weight in gold" - Allison Burnett, Screenwriter & Director (AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, FEAST OF LOVE, GONE AND UNDISCOVERED GYRL)   "When I became your student, I was a mom with a script. Now, I'm a series writer-producer-director. Thank you for helping me achieve one of my biggest dreams. And thank you for this class. You continue to amaze." - Sally Rubin, Screenwriter, Producer, Author   "Gary W. Goldstein’s mentoring will prove 100% better than whatever else you may be considering. He will change your life." - Marilyn Warda, author, The Randomness of Life   "I’ve learned more about how things really work from Gary than I have over the past 10 years and countless other classes!"  -  Angela Falkowska, Screenwriter   "The workbook alone is worth 10 times what the webinar cost. I am in awe. Thank you, Gary." - Antonio T.   "Again, Stage 32 outdoes itself. What a score landing Gary. He's a legend." Jason R.   "Gary, you had me from minute one. Amazing information. And delivered with class and style. -Angela P.    

Building a Career as a Director: Surviving and Thriving in the Film Industry

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.  

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