Jason Resnick is the EVP of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures. He has been a consultant and executive producer advising organizations and filmmakers on the opportunities for production, financing and distribution in the independent film marketplace. His current clients include MGM Studios; Proimagenes Colombia, the audiovisual arm of the government of Colombia; Seven Stars Film Studios, a Chinese production and distribution company; Twin, a Japanese distribution company; Score Revolution, a new film music company and the Riki Group, a Russian animation studio. He has previously worked with SkyItalia, an Italian TV channel; the Canadian Film Centre and Script East, an Eastern European script development program. From 1998 to 2008, Mr. Resnick served as an executive for Universal Pictures and Focus Features. His most recent title was Senior Vice President and General Manager, Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group. Mr. Resnick was in charge of all acquisitions and co-productions for all of Universal's distribution platforms worldwide: Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. His acquisitions for Focus included The Motorcycle Diaries, Lost in Translation, Swimming Pool, Brick, Mean Creek and My Summer of Love. His Rogue acquisitions included Jet Li’s Fearless, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and Unleashed. For Universal his acquisitions included Ray, Drag Me to Hell, Step Up 2, Land of the Dead, Mulholland Drive, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Gosford Park and In the Bedroom. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Resnick was also in charge of Universal's local language productions in Latin America and Asia. In Latin America, this included overseeing Universal's production deal in Brazil with Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, City of God); bringing in and overseeing Elite Squad, winner of the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and among the ten most successful Brazilian films of all time, and overseeing the production of the Mexican film, Sin Nombre, which won the Directing and Cinematography Awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. In Asia this included two major Japanese productions, Dororo and Midnight Eagle, overseeing Universal's production deal with Hong Kong-based producer, Bill Kong, which yielded master fight choreographer, Yuen Wo Ping's martial arts epic: True Legend, and Universal's co-production with CJ Entertainment of Thirst, Korean director Park Chan-wook's vampire film which won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Resnick is fluent in French and Spanish, proficient in Italian and Portuguese and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. Full Bio »
With more and more content being created and more avenues for films to be seen, the overall distribution market is changing at a rapid pace. But, the classic in-theater experience is still alive and well – if you have the right type of film and you understand how tailor your approach to the market. Don't think for a second that your film is not a fit for theatrical distribution or that all theaters and screens are controlled by the studios. There still IS an opportunity for a film to be distributed to the US market in theaters.
Independent film acquisitions with the intent to distribute in the US theatrical market still make up a profitable part of today’s film business. Unfortunately, many filmmakers aren’t aware of the elements a film must have to be considered for theatrical distribution. Understanding everything from where your content fits to how to put your film in the best position to be acquired is absolutely necessary in order for you to give your project the best chance to attract a buyer and give you the opportunity to have your masterpiece, the film you worked so hard to make, seen in a theater.
Jason Resnick is the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures and has had decades of experience in theatrical distribution on films of all budget levels. He Jason was formerly the GM of Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group and in charge of all acquisitions for Universal, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, he'll go over what the current US theatrical market looks like for film acquisitions. And, it's more accessible than you think!
To fully understand how the market has shifted and how the old thinking has become obsolete, Jason will break down the last 10 years of theatrical distribution to show you what's still working and what has dramatically changed. This information alone will give you a competitive advantage in the space and make you more attractive to buyers. He will also make you understand limited, wide, and day-and-date releases and identify the key players in each. He will show you the proper way to approach these reps and buyers so you stand out in a competitive market. Most importantly you will learn how a film is acquired for US theatrical release and what can hurt and help your chances of getting acquired.
You will walk away knowing exactly makes your film look attractive for an acquisition for the US theatrical market.
"I learned a lot. Really appreciate Jason's experience and expertise. Jason's presentation was considered, articulate, to the point and very informative. Was well worth the class fee."
- Rebecca D.
A look at theatrical distribution from 10 years ago to today
Defining domestic distribution for the US market
Who are the key players in a release, how can you get to them?
How is a film acquired for domestic theatrical distribution?
What can hurt your chances of getting acquired a theatrical release?
Q&A with Jason
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.
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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!
Producers and filmmakers of independent films and TV series deal with a multitude of parties regarding the production, financing and distribution of their films and projects. Many of these parties have a financial interest in the project and are entitled to a share of the revenues generated by domestic and international distribution of the film or series. In order to make the allocation and distribution of revenues manageable, it is important to design a recoupment schedule for your project. The recoupment schedule, also called “the waterfall”, combines all the single deal terms negotiated between the production and investors, financiers, talent, sales agents, co-producers, and service producers. Each project is unique, with its very own financing structure for example, and therefore there is no universal format for a recoupment schedule. However, there are certain guidelines to consider when putting together a recoupment schedule for your project. Understanding these guidelines will not only assure that there is no financial shadiness going on behind the scenes and no surprise lawsuits hanging out in the horizon. It also means that everyone who needs to get paid does get paid...and on time. And that can only raise your stature as someone who can deliver the goods and as a person people want to work with again and again. David Zannoni is consultant for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies, and is the company's representative for the Americas. David negotiates agreements for films and television series, and he is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Spain. David also runs a consultancy business through Xaman Ha Consulting and Zannoni Media Advisors, and has been focusing particularly on international service providers in the film and TV industries, and film and TV productions in Latin America, amongst others. As a film business specialist David is continuously present to make deals and speak 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, Spain, and all over Latin America. David will explain in easy to understand detail the world of recoupment schedules and why they are so important to your film or project. In an in depth, interactive presentation, David will discuss sources and allocation of film and TV revenues, the purpose of a recoupment schedule, the entitlements and obligations that are payable out of revenues, and the order and priority of payment for film and TV entitlements. He will discuss various territories around the world including distribution rights and assignments. He will show you which kind of projects use a recoupment schedule and the importance of a recoupment schedule as it relates to securing financing and attaching production partners. David will take away all the guess work that goes into the world of waterfalls/recoupment schedules and simplify the entire process to assure everyone on your team is taken care of and given the sense of security they (and you) deserve! Praise for David "I went into this one expecting it to be dry as a bone in the sun. I was so wrong. 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.
Understanding film distribution and all of the variables that go with it - just got a whole lot easier. With so many sale options, both foreign and domestic, making the proper decision when it comes to distribution rights can be downright frustrating. To help ease that frustration, Stage 32 is bringing in Alexia Melocchi, a seasoned sales agent and buyers representative for international distributors. For over twenty years Alexia has been in the trenches and continues to move successfully through them, which is why we’ve asked her to share her most sound advice with all of you. Alexia has sold over 25 movies to international and US distributors making three times their budget for herself and her producing partners. In 2017 and 2018 the films she acquired on behalf of her distributor clients have grossed over $900 Million USD. On this information-packed webinar, Alexia will share how this was done, as well as offer a fresh perspective on the ever-changing distribution landscape and what filmmakers need to do to successfully move through the trenches themselves today.
It's not talked about as often, but faith based and faith friendly films have been a steady, popular, and profitable industry for a while now. It could be considered a niche audience, but it’s a powerful and dependable niche audience that has helped catapult films and filmmakers to success. Recent films like I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, GOD’S NOT DEAD, and THE SHACK have found popularity and impressive box office numbers by tapping into this audience and bringing out church-goers and other faith-friendly communities that might not be as eager to seek out films outside of this genre. And it makes sense that faith-based films are doing well. In challenging or negative times, people will more actively seek out positivity and inspiration, two ingredients almost guaranteed to be in a faith-based film. Considering how challenging and negative our current world can be, there might not be a better time than the present to break into the world of faith-based films and write a script that can shine in this market. The faith-based arena might be lucrative, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cinch to succeed in. It can be a complicated and difficult world to navigate. Faith based films exist firmly within the larger film and television landscape, but they still have their own specific companies, leaders, and expectations to understand. Breaking into any aspect of the film industry is hard, but there are challenges that come specifically with the faith friendly market. It’s important in this world to create a product that is wholesome and accessible for all ages and sensibilities, and navigating this tight rope is tricky, ensuring you don’t turn off any particular group. As a producer or filmmaker wanting to work in this space, it’s your job to understand this world and the different players within it. Having a strong sense of how everything works, what kinds of films succeed in the space, and how to avoid the land mines that come along with this genre is critical. With a proper lay of the land, you’ll be able to better tackle this genre and produce a film that can not only succeed financially, but inspire and uplift viewers at the same time. Brad Wilson is the co-founder of Higher Purpose Entertainment (HPE), a production company dedicated to telling stories in film and TV that encompass truth of character and strive to embrace inspirationally redeeming qualities. While at HPE he's produced a number of films including THREE BLIND SAINTS, CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET, MY MANY SONS, THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, and THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, which was released last year in 1,100 theaters across the country. Brad is well-versed in the business of faith based films and has a keen sense of how projects thrive in this genre. He’s ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Brad will put on his producer’s cap and walk through how a producer can successfully understand and navigate the world of faith-based and faith friendly filmmaking. He’ll begin by teaching you what the state of the faith based industry looks like right now. He’ll focus on the notable and successful faith based films coming out now, including studio films and indie films and what their budgets have been. Then he will provide you helpful strategies on how to independently produce a faith friendly film. Next he will outline themes, topics, and other landmines to avoid while producing your film to stay within this genre and not offend its audience. Brad will outline the main elements that make a faith and family based film successful in the marketplace and will delve into how to be authentic and stick to facts while still remaining commercial and appealing. He will then discuss what the faith based audience looks like and how best to reach them. He’ll talk about getting involved with churches and communities in producing and distributing your film and how best to reach out. Brad will next give a rundown of who the financiers and studios are in this market and what they’re looking for. He’ll spend time talking about the pure business of this space. Finally he will explain who the main distributors targeting this audience are. This is a tricky and very specific part of the film industry, but Brad’s will give you the tools you need to better understand it and succeed within it. Like what you heard from Brad during this webinar? Brad will read your script and speak with you for a half-hour if you click here. Praise for Brad's Stage 32 Webinar "This was superb! He was very open and helpful. I really appreciated him walking us through his business plan." -Crystal B. "He was so informational and inspiring with all he presented. Thanks to Brad Wilson and Stage 32 for presenting this." -Ann K. "Brad Wilson is personable, professional, and knowledgeable. I feel inspired to rework my script and shop it for production" -Darlyn K. "This was very informative. I have not written in this area, but hearing about how these movies get made is very inspiring. I can now see the steps that are needed. It is so great to get his wisdom and the practical step by step how to." -Mary S.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is making a living doing what you love and telling stories in a visual medium. You may have great ideas, a knack for working with others, and an eye for cinematic beauty, but it can still be very hard to break in. One path you might not have considered yet to find work as a commercial director. Commercial directing can give you opportunities to put your skills to use, to create a product that people will be able to see, and to actually tell stories. And more so, this job will allow you to do this WHILE GETTING PAID –often very well. This does not mean the world of commercial directing is easy, and you’ll find that it’s also highly competitive and tight-knit, but understanding the marketplace and landscape can very well give you the ability to break through and find work doing what you love. The industry of advertising is turning upside down right now; socially, culturally, and politically. Everyone is trying to grasp this ever-changing industry, but it’s important to remember that the more things change the more they stay the same. No matter what else is going on in the world, finding success and opportunities as a commercial director comes down to being personable to clients, communicative with your crew, knowing when to be firm or flexible in your creative approach, and understanding how to push your creative spirit out of its comfort zone. So how does the commercial filming industry actually work? What will make brands and agencies want to hire you to direct their project? And how can you apply your skills and your background to break into this lucrative field and even use it to find further opportunities in narrative film? Keith Rivers is an award-winning commercial director who has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Amazon, Delta Airlines, Unlimited Tomorrow, Porsche, McDonald’s, and Soundcloud to name a few. He has written, produced, and directed several global ad campaigns including Internet Explorer 9, where a music synchronization deal for Alex Clare begot him triple-platinum record sales and a BRIT award. Rivers also created the instantly viral Microsoft Surface launch video, which received 9 million views within the first week on YouTube and won a Gold ADDY award. Keith continues to direct large scale advertising campaigns for large and notable companies and his years of experience in this field has allowed him to become a bona fide expert in how to find success telling stories for brands and agencies. Keith will break down what the landscape of commercial directing looks like and how you as a director can break in, stay in, and even use your success to transition to narrative film directing. He’ll break down what the life of a commercial director looks like, including how much you could expect to make and what the ecosystem is between production companies, agencies, and brands. Keith will also give you tips into how to find opportunities and break into commercial directing. He will teach you how to make yourself better and more hirable with tools like your reel and spec work, and will go through how to pitch well to get a commercial directing gig. Keith will next explain how to get the directing gig and do it right by doing your best work and aligning with creatives and will finally outline how to build your career and using your work as a stepping stone to long form narrative directing. Keith will also provide a slew of examples and resources like storyboards, lists of production companies and agencies, example treatments and more that you'll be able to take with you afterwards.
Learn directly from Marty Lang, award winning producer of over 20 films! Making an independent film is hard, no matter where you're doing it. But there's great news – no matter where you film, there are treasure troves of resources available to you, if you know where to look. In any community, there are people, government agencies, and organizations that are looking to help people just like you. The smart filmmaker will find them, engage them, and work with them to create a much better film than they had, at first, imagined. This type of filmmaking is called place-based filmmaking, and it can be done in any big city, small town, county or state. If you think about how to engage your local community from the moment you start thinking about your film, you will be able to better capture the authenticity of where you are in your work, as well as open yourself up to resources you may not have had before. Marty Lang is a an award winning producer of over 20 films, best known for his feature romantic dramedy, Rising Star, in which he implemented place-based filmmaking and engaged his community’s resources from production to distribution. This film went on to win awards at various film festivals and was featured in Filmmaker Magazine, Film Threat and Film Courage. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Marty will teach you how to create a successful place-based film. Using examples of place-based filmmaking from his own resume, Marty will show you how place-based filmmaking will help you develop your story more organically, and how it will help you solve many problems before you even get into production.
It might often be the first name listed on a movie’s end credits, but a Unit Production Manager isn’t exactly the most known or celebrated role on a film’s crew. However the UPM is one of the most critical and valued jobs throughout a movie’s journey. It’s the UPM that holds everything down, that keeps all of the parts moving and makes sure the business elements are taken care of so the director and other creatives have the support and the space they need to carry out their vision. The skills needed to carry out the responsibilities of a UPM are not only crucial, but can also be lucrative for someone looking to succeed within the film industry. Once you start listing it out, the jobs and expectations of a unit production manager are expansive and seemingly never ending: Building a production bible, creating a budget, drafting a schedule, hiring the team, working with unions, insurance, paperwork, payments, even feeding the cast and crew. To be a good UPM you kind of have to be good at everything. So where to start? What exactly does a UPM do and what separates a good UPM from a bad one? Rosi Acosta is a Unit Production Manager, DGA, who has worked on over 75 TV and Film projects and over 100 commercials. She is a valued name in Hollywood as a top UPM who's worked on films such as DRIVEN, SPEED KILLS, IMPRISONED and many more. With over three decades of experience, Rosi has worked internationally with production companies from the US, Europe, Russia and Latin America. Rosi began as a casting director 32 years ago in Puerto Rico working for director Marcos Zurinaga at Zaga Films where she became one of the top casting directors in the Island. After working as such for a few years, she wanted to expand her horizons in production moving on to work with the most important TV producer in the Island, Gabriel Suau, in Telemundo-Puerto Rico, where she worked for several years in various TV shows and telenovelas. Throughout her expansive career and extensive experience Rosi has become one of the most sought-after UPMs in the world. Rosi will delve into the nuts and bolts of the role of the unit production manager and all of the tasks and responsibilities that go along with it. She’ll begin by going over the production management process from a bird’s eye view, from development through production. Rosi will discuss the business elements behind filmmaking and the ways the UPM is responsible for finding the balance between the creative and the financial. She will go over the four major skills needed to be a great UPM as well as the tenuous relationship between the project’s script, budget, and shooting schedule. Rosi will then teach what goes into a production bible and how to create a script breakdown to prepare for production. She will then delve into creating production budgets as well as preliminary shooting schedules. A huge responsibility of the UPM is to plan for contingencies and the unexpected, and Rosi will offer tips and advice on how to make sure you’re covered for everything that might come your way and will illustrate this with examples from her own experiences. She will then teach you about working with the four major unions—SAG-AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, and WGA, and how to obtain insurance packages to cover your team and your production. Rosi will then discuss how hiring works on set, strategies to bring on the right team, and common pitfalls to avoid while doing so. Finally, Rosi will go over the common aspects that will make a movie expensive, and what warning signs to look for to prevent your project from going over budget. Consider this a definitive breakdown of what the underappreciated but critical unit production manager actually does. Plus! This is a bonus extended webinar with over 2 hours of information! Praise for Rosi's Webinar “Super informative; Rosi was very helpful.” -Adam G. “Rosi Acosta was awesome. She is a treasure of knowledge. I definitely got my money's worth.” -Lawrence W. “This was so helpful. I loved hearing from Rosi” -Dana B. “This felt like a Masterclass on the ins and outs of a UPM. I’m leaving this webinar knowing way more than I thought I would. Thanks!” -Jerry C.