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.
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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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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!
As the world of independent television and film continues to shift, international co-productions are becoming more common. That’s because crossing borders is often an effective way to find better funding, better locations, and ultimately a wider audience. But international co-productions are not always a slam dunk. Partnering with other countries is a complicated endeavor and brings with it challenges and hurdles you wouldn’t have to face otherwise. Potential pitfalls are plentiful, but then again, so are opportunities. It comes down to putting in the work ahead of time, covering your bases, and making sure you know what you’re doing before diving in head first. Working across countries is hard enough when you’re part of a studio or large corporation. There are still contracts to hash out, politics to navigate, and differences in cultures to understand. But when you’re an independent producer or filmmaker looking to cross country lines, it can feel impossible, an overwhelming prospect where you don’t even know where to start. After all, you don’t have the backing of a legal department and you don’t have experts on payroll. You just have you. So where do you start? Is an international co-production worth it for you? What steps should you take to get the ball rolling and how can do you protect yourself along the way? With more than twenty years in the industry, Alexia Melocchi has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. Alexia is currently a producer at Little Studio Films, a representation and production company with more than 25 films and series credits. She serves as Partner and Producer, involved in all aspects of company operations, including distribution and co-production deals, managing production activities, and film and television marketing. Alexia is well versed in the art of international co-productions and will share the secrets, tips, and lessons she’s learned over her two decades in the industry exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Alexia will walk you through the nitty gritty of starting international co-productions and the things you need to know before jumping in. She will begin by going over the pros and cons of producing overseas, both for film projects and television, and when to determine if an international co-production is the right call. She’ll tell you the four aspects of your project you should focus on before making this call. She’ll then discuss what makes a story international and how to use this to your advantage. Alexia will then go over the advantages of having international settings in your script. Next she will focus on tax subsidies and credits in different countries, how these can be targeted, the challenges that come with claiming them, and the rules and requirements you’ll generally need to meet to qualify for them. She’ll also discuss the prospect of working with international broadcasters or producers. Then, Alexia will give an in-depth and detailed rundown of the benefits and challenges of producing in six major countries: Italy, Spain, Canada, UK, and Australia. She’ll offer a breakdown of the specific costs that go into overseas productions, as well as the legal ramifications of these projects, including how international cooperation might affect ownership of your IP and rights. Alexia will discuss what an effective timeline of a successful co-production deal might look like and will finally give you tips on how to work international markets like Cannes to find the partnerships you need. This webinar is useful to producers considering an international co-production as well as writers, actors and directors who feel their talent or material might work well on an international scale Like what you heard from Alexia during this webinar? Send your script to Alexia and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Alexia’s Webinar “Alexia had so much specific and helpful information that I’m going to be able to use moving forward” -Karen H. “Alexia is the best! I’m so glad I got to see this webinar” -Hannah E. “I was impressed with how much the instructor knew about this topic. I have a lot of ideas and tools I can take with me for my own projects now” -Jerry B.
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.
Learn directly from Laurie Cook, Producer and Head of Development at Bigscope Films, who's produced 4 feature films that have sold theatrically worldwide! Lured by generous tax incentives, many of Hollywood's biggest films have shot in London or are planning to head to the U.K. There is over $500,000,000 worth of public money to be spent on films each year in the U.K., and in 2012 there were over 250 films shot in the U.K. and over 600 films released there. It's a wonderful place to get films made, but the competition for finance and distribution is stronger than ever. What makes the film market different in the U.K than in Hollywood? How do you get your foot in the door as a writer, director, or producer in the U.K. film industry? Once you're in, how do you stand out from the crowd? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Laurie Cook will guide writers, directors and producers through the independent U.K. film market from an insider's point of view: how to get funding for your script and film, how and why certain projects stand out against the rest, and how to boost your chances of success. This will be your go-to guide to navigating the U.K. film market and getting your film made in the U.K. You will leave with an agenda to make you and your project focused and well presented for maximum impact. Your host Laurie Cook is a Producer and Head of Development at Bigscope Films, where he produced the films Pressure (starring Matthew Goode & Danny Huston) and Don't Hang Up (starring Gregg Sulkin) releasing this year, as well as Hangar 10 and Outpost, which were released in 2014. He knows the ins and outs of the U.K. film market, what executives are looking for when taking on projects and how to make your mark to get your script and films made.
Let's face it, executives, producers, managers, agents, financiers, and gatekeepers in general are busy. Between meetings, reviewing content and business plans, and working with their clients and colleagues, time is at a premium. But, that doesn't mean they're not on the lookout for new material and talent. In fact, that's their job! Still, to sort through all the people and content that they confront and are presented on a daily basis can be a daunting task. They want those people and material that stands out immediately. And that's where a killer query letter or a memorable and meaningful cold call can make a huge difference and set you apart from the crowd. Talk to any executive and they'll tell you that they receive dozens if not hundreds of query letters a day. Because most of them don't have an attention grabbing subject line or little to no personalization, almost all end up in the trash. But, any executive will also tell you that if a subject line grabs them, or if the query letter shows the recipient that this was a personal, non-mass, attempt to get their attention, you have a very real shot of doing just that. The same holds true for cold calls. Having a solid, wise approach and knowing exactly what to say will give you the best chance of breaking the ice and securing the conversation you were hoping for. It's all about creating intrigue, interest, and value while approaching your subject from a place of selflessness and thoughtfulness Wendy Kram has over 20 years of experience as an entertainment industry executive, consultant, and producer, developing and producing projects for Disney, Universal and Sony Studios, HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, NBC, ABC, CBS and USA Networks. Her credits include Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries Sally Hemings: An American Scandal for CBS with Sam Neil, and current projects she's producing with Anonymous Content (the company responsible for True Detective, Mr. Robot, The Revenant, and Spotlight). As the founder of L.A. FOR HIRE, an international consulting firm, clients come to Wendy for her expertise in script development and the ability to connect projects with Hollywood A-list talent and decision-makers. With longstanding industry relationships, Wendy understands buyer and creative talent needs, and has direct access to principals at the major studios, networks, streaming providers and agencies. Creative Screenwriting Magazine ranks Wendy and L.A. FOR HIRE as one of the industry’s premiere script consulting firms. Wendy will teach you all the tips and trade secrets she's learned pitching projects and dealing directly with executives. She will show you how to craft a logline, pitch, and powerful statements for just about any situation. She will show you how to deliver your message with power and control while being engaging and confident. She will instruct you how to not only get by the gatekeepers, but to get them to remember you - to become an ally. She will show you how to avoid novice mistakes that will lead to dead ends. She will teach you how to develop leads and then how to create and nurture these relationships. Wendy will show you how query letters and cold calling can become powerful tools in your arsenal. Wonderful class - simplified and helpful information that can be applied immediately for better results. The examples at the end are totally worth it. - Cate C. One of the most generous presenters imaginable; outstanding! - Virginia Y. Wendy was really excited to be involved which was great! - Brent B. Very interesting and engaging. I loved it. - Jason A. Wendy was terrific, on point, and insightful. The Q&A was incredible. Thanks again. - Maria L.
The entertainment industry is constantly evolving and changing, and given the state of the business and external factors that have impacted the ecosystem, that statement is more true than ever. So how do we continue to package and sell projects in the time of quarantine (and beyond)? Despite what some may thing, studio and development executives are reading material and distributors are watching films to possibly acquire during this time as they are not inundated with meetings in their office. Now is the time to take advantage of these open and willing eyes to push your projects and connect with industry executives to package and sell your projects from the development stage to distribution. When packaging, producers, filmmakers and financiers often desire to immediately approach A-list names and talent to better sell their projects. But it's difficult to get the attention of most A-list talent when there are no other significant attachments and/or financing. But that doesn't mean all is lost. Quite the contrary. There are other paths to explore including who else you can approach for attachments and/or financing to bring value to assure you have the most sellable and attractive package possible. Since joining Ramo Law in 2009, Tiffany Boyle has leveraged her business-oriented sales and packaging skills to bring hundreds of films and documentaries to fruition. Tiffany connects filmmakers with producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-finance partners, distributors, agencies and other industry representatives. Since 2018 alone, Tiffany has optimized clients’ financial and business positions in more than 35 films and documentaries. Through her critical review of content and strategic use of Ramo Law resources, Tiffany creates successful content packaging that bridges the needs of both client and industry demands. In addition to all these skills, recently, Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will provide you with the pertinent and actionable information you need to package a project in the current environment. She will begin by discussing the packaging and sales world before COVID-19, what is happening right now and what can be expected once we're in the clear. She will discuss packaging and selling of all budget levels and dive deep into the world of attachments including landing valuable producers, directors, actors, and even financiers. From there, Tiffany will tell you how to build your relationships to help enhance and accelerate your path to getting your project packaged and sold. She will discuss sales and the current state of the marketplace. And finally, Tiffany will even include some outside the box methods and resources toward packaging and selling your project outside the traditional model. "Let's do a deep dive into everything happening right now and what to expect down the road so you can take action. We will focus on who to approach first for attachments and how to build the project from there in order to make it the most sellable and attractive package it can be." - Tiffany Boyle
In this Stage 32 Next Level webinar, Simon Graham-Clare will discuss 10 business steps for giving your project momentum and creating a viable package that feels right to investors. Having been involved in the production and/or financing of over 200 projects, Simon will discuss how a filmmaker can benefit by teaming up with a producer who understands this world, and he looks at all projects from an international point of view to give you a full spectrum idea of film financing. The last two films The Future Film Group produced were both first time directors, so Simon knows exactly what it takes to get your project in production, no matter if it is your first film or one of many. Simon Graham-Clare is a Producer at The Future Film Group, established in London in 2000 as a film financier, utilizing the expertise of its principles in both the entertainment and business worlds. It quickly established itself on the UK scene through its involvement in films such as Bend It Like Beckham (starring Keira Knightley), The Queen (starring Dame Helen Mirren) and Mrs. Henderson Presents (starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins). The company quickly formed a production division to work alongside its financing arm and, through an ever-expanding structure, has since been involved in the production and/or financing of nearly 200 films and television shows. Some of The Future Film Group’s notable productions include Transsiberian (starring Woody Harrelson and Sir Ben Kingsley), 50 Dead Men Walking (starring Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley) and Flawless (starring Sir Michael Caine and Demi Moore).