Maren Olson works in the film finance department for CAA. Prior to joining CAA, Maren was the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. 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. Her production, Ava’s Possessions, premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. Ava’s Possessions, written and directed by Jordan Galland, follows a girl who is recovering from demonic possession. Olson has worked with Galland twice previously, having represented domestic distribution rights to his first two feature films, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead and Alter Egos. Additional projects include true-life gangster story The Wannabe, starring Vincent Piazza and Patricia Arquette, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, and post-apocalyptic drama Orion, starring David Arquette and Lily Cole, both of which she executive produced. Olson’s previous industry experience includes working in script development for producer Lawrence Bender (Kill Bill, Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction). She graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television with a B.A. in Film Production and a minor in Business. Full Bio »
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.
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"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.
"I have taken a lot of screenwriting classes but Maren gave me some new insights and understanding. The information was very relevant and helpful. She covered an extensive amount of information for the amount of time she was given. Thank you." - Janet L.
"Great webinar! Great to hear Sales Agent perspective - very helpful in developing films." - Ron H.
Writing action isn't easy! It takes nuance and skill. We’ll break down the action on the page for the heavy-hitting JOHN WICK, the action-comedy THE NICE GUYS, and the slow-building action of HELL OR HIGH WATER.
Spain attracts filmmakers from all over the world and has, especially, for the last decade, because of its popularity as a country for film production. Movies like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II and FAST AND FURIOUS, as well as the series GAME OF THRONES and THE WITCHER, are just a few examples of productions shot in and around Spain. Not only is it brimming with talented actors and crew members, but the countryside alone is a candy store for creatives looking for beautiful locations and backdrops. Thanks to equally attractive tax incentives, a strong distribution base, and the presence of HBO and Netflix in the country, Spain is now on the map as an international film production hub. If filming abroad has been on your mind, producing in Spain may be more cost effective than you initially thought. But if you’re not familiar with the production territory, tax incentives, or how to go about preparing for a production in a foreign country, you could be missing out on collaborative opportunities that can take your film further both financially and globally. Navigating requirements, rebates, and the foreign market can be intimidating. But international film production doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you have the right information at your fingertips. David Zannoni is an international business specialist and consultant for Fintage House in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America territories, and knows what it takes to produce or co-produce in Spain. Fintage House is the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. David makes deals and speaks at international film markets, festivals, and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David will enlighten you on the many benefits of shooting and distributing your film in Spain. David will kick off the 90 minute webinar by sharing his knowledge on the industry there, then moving attendees into the many benefits of shooting and distributing your product in Spain. Smaller, Independent films upwards to larger productions can benefit from foreign production shares. There are regional requirements and national requirements, and David will break those down with ease. He’ll also explain what co-producing in Spain means, and how it just might be the secret ingredient your production needs to be seen by other producers and distributors. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
In this world of DIY filmmaking, it has become easier than ever to just pick up a camera and start making your project. You don’t always need much money, a big crew, corporate backing, or other resources; you can just get up and go. But this certainly doesn’t mean your project is automatically going to look good. Even on a budget, even as a guerrilla filmmaker, it’s critical to have the tools you need to make something look professional and of high quality. You don’t necessarily need the top-of-the-line camera and all of the expensive specialty equipment found on a massive set, but there are things you’re always going to need with you, a kit that will have you covered in any situation. The challenge is determining what exactly this kit should look like. If you’re a DP, director, or a one-person-band doing all of the jobs at once, preparation is key. But if you go to any camera or equipment store or website you’ll notice just how many options there are. Tools for every occasion. Every type of lens. Every type of stand. Every type of light. Every type of microphone. It can be overwhelming to even look at. How can you distill all of these options into exactly what you need, a collection of tools that you can get on a budget and pack into one bag? Is that even possible? Your instructor Barry Andersson knows that it is. There are just some important things you need to know first. Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films, many of which were released in theaters—his most recent film is being distributed by Lionsgate. Barry’s career as a cinematographer includes several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. Barry is also the author of the DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Through his extensive experience, Barry has figured out the best and most cost effective equipment you need to make great content. Barry will share with you his time-tested soup-to-nuts equipment list and will show you, piece by piece on camera, what he uses and why. He’ll begin by walking you through the strategy of putting together your own kit and aspects you need to keep in mind when assembling the perfect collection of equipment. He’ll discuss the types of lenses to carry with you and what to get even if you don’t know anything about lenses. He’ll also delve into choosing the right case and strategies to efficiently pack everything you need. For filmmakers on the go, Barry will share how he packs everything he needs for travel without spending extra on baggage fees. Barry will share exactly what gear is essential for every type of project, including standard filming, talking heads, and B-roll. He will next discuss audio and the types of microphones, stands, poles, and extras you need to effectively capture audio on the go. Barry will walk you through the life-saving essentials he takes with him wherever he goes—seemingly miscellaneous items that no one ever says you should have. He’ll also tell you what things you don’t really need, even if people say you do. Barry will give you a resource list of 11 must-have items for your equipment kit and where you can find the best deal to purchase them. Praise for Barry’s Webinar “Great insight. Very practical and actionable advice.” -Martin R. “This was so straightforward and practical. No theory, no filler, just exactly what I needed to know. Thank you” -Harold B. “Barry’s advice was so helpful. I feel a lot less overwhelmed about buying new equipment now” -Sandy C. “I NEVER find webinars that are this straightforward and useful. This was such a gem.” -Roger F.
Stage 32 and Vail Film Festival have joined forces to bring you an exclusive FREE virtual Q&A with top female filmmakers from the festival! Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in! The 2020 Vail Film Festival took place online from May 15-17, and had a special focus on female filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival included filmmaker Q&A sessions, a filmmaking workshop, and a women in film panel discussion featuring leading female producers, actors, and directors. The 2020 film program will showcase narrative features, documentaries, short films, and student films. This year's lineup includes films starring Simon Pegg, Annette Bening, Juno Temple, Alexandra Daddario, Wendie Malick, Danny Trejo, Maggie Siff, Sabrina Carpenter, Natalie Zea, Jay Mohr, Jason Ritter, Kristen Vangsness, Rose McIver, and more. The lineup for the 2020 Vail Film Festival is unparalleled, and we encourage Stage 32 members to attend the virtual festival and support their fellow filmmakers. As part of our partnership, Vail Film Festival is offering Stage 32 members an exclusive 25% off discount on all-access passes to the online festival. Stage 32 members can use the code stage32 at checkout. For more info and to purchase a pass to the online Vail Film Festival please visit: www.vailfilmfestival.com
Almost everyone is at least vaguely familiar with Bollywood, but the Indian film and TV industry is more than just Bollywood, and it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that just keeps growing. With over 1.3 billion people living in India, it’s no wonder. However, the popularity of Indian movies and TV is not confined to India alone. Thanks to growing accessibility through streaming platforms, popular series like MADE IN HEAVEN and PUSHPAVALLI on Amazon, and movies like GARBAGE and RAJMA CHAWAL on Netflix, plus many many more are gaining wider audiences worldwide. As the world becomes flatter and network and streaming giants are investing more and more into generating country-specific content, this is an incredibly exciting time to find opportunities in the Indian film and TV space. The challenges of breaking into new territory, are knowing what buyers and sellers are looking for, and who all the players are. India may be one country, but it’s made up of 28 states with different languages, cultures, and people. Therefore, there are also many different film and TV industries within India. So, you need to know what Indian buyers are looking for as well as what streamers here will be looking for, which may be different from other content they buy. Knowing all these differences is important for setting yourself up for success in India. With the right guidance, you can be sure you’ll set up a good foundation for your future film and TV endeavors in India. Katharina Suckale is a long-time producer and creator with deep experience creating content for the Indian film and TV industry, including creating the Indian series, BETWEEN WORLDS, which has been picked up by Disney+. She has also directed documentaries, shorts, and experimental films. With a career spanning twenty-four years in the film industry, and experience in both distribution and production, she has a deep knowledge for the landscape of the industry in India, Europe, and the US. In 2003, she founded Suckale Film Produktion, producing projects in Germany, Africa, and India. Producing in India led her to discover her love for India and its rich storytelling culture. She has consulted on and overseen European-Indian co-productions and handled worldwide sales for Yash Raj Films India. Katharina is here to share her love for filmmaking in India and how you can break your way into this bustling industry. She’ll walk you through the main differences between the Indian Market and the European/American markets, including everything you need to know about the difference between film, series, and streaming platforms in India. She’ll also share her insights on how new talent can break into the Indian entertainment industry, and the importance of genre conventions. This is your chance to get to know the billion-dollar industry and find out what it takes to bring your projects there.
As a writer, receiving notes on your material may be a difficult part of the process but, ultimately, it's part of your job. And understanding how to deal with and apply those notes to your writing may be your most important job of all. Make no mistake, all writers are precious about their work, and taking notes is never easy, but the sooner you open yourself to receiving and understanding your notes, and the note behind the note, the more likely your work will become tighter and you'll signal that you're a writer that people want to hire and/or pay for your work. Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have a contribution to make. The work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. The bottom line is you need to understand what these notes mean and how to execute them when you agree and what to do when you don't. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America and more. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as a Producer. Anna has been on the giving and receiving end of script notes of literally hundreds of scripts throughout her career. She has developed a strong understanding on the "lingo" of script notes and what the note behind the note means when it comes to your script. Now, you will learn how to dissect the feedback you get on your script from an executive's perspective. Anna will take you through the entire process of receiving notes. She will take away the anxiety of the entire process and teach you how to accept notes with professionalism and grace. She will explain to you who you should be getting notes from and how listening to the wrong voices can set you back. She will teach you what notes you should think about and when you should take a note as gospel. She will explain what notes are worth challenging and which you should absolutely adapt. She will help guide you through what it means when you get notes that go over structure, plot, stakes, character and exposition. She will take you through logic and clarity, cuts, action lines, dialogue and scene notes. And, she'll even go over what you should do if you get vague notes, nit picky notes and when you get suggestions and alternatives. Anna will remove all the fear and apprehension one feels when asking for and receiving notes, giving you a comprehensive guide to reference every time you get notes on your work. You will learn how apply them to tighten your work and put yourself in a position to sell your material and/or get hired!