Independent Film Acquisitions - How to Get Your Film U.S. Theatrical Distribution

Hosted by Jason Resnick

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Jason Resnick

Webinar hosted by: Jason Resnick

EVP, Acquisitions at Aviron Pictures

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

 

What You'll Learn

A look at theatrical distribution from 10 years ago to today

  • Where we were then, where are we now?
  • How does that impact you as a filmmaker?

Defining domestic distribution for the US market

  • Limited release
  • Wide release
  • Day and date release

Who are the key players in a release, how can you get to them?

How is a film acquired for domestic theatrical distribution?

  • 3 key points you need to consider if angling for an acquisition for theatrical release
  • What you need to have in order to qualify
  • Typical film budgets acquired
  • Festivals and Markets
  • Sales Representation
  • Publicists

What can hurt your chances of getting acquired a theatrical release?

  • 3 obstacles you need to consider
  • The #1 mistake people make that causes them not to get acquired

Deal structures

  • MG (Minimum Guarantee)
  • No advance
  • Back-End

Q&A with Jason

About Your Instructor

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.

FAQs

Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.

If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email support@stage32.com.

Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.

YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:

  1. Log into your Stage 32 profile
  2. Click "Settings" in the top right-hand corner (gear icon)
  3. Click "Purchase History"
  4. Choose this webinar and click the link to view
If You Do Not Have a Stage 32 Profile:
  1. Go to www.stage32.com
  2. Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar. The email addresses must match in order to watch the webinar.
  3. Once you have your profile set up, you can view the webinar by clicking "Settings" in the top right hand corner (gear icon)
  4. Click "Purchase History"
  5. Choose this webinar and click the link to view

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.

Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.

Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.

Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email support@stage32.com to request accommodations.

Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at support@stage32.com.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Write, Produce, Shoot & Distribute Your Micro-budget Film

Learn directly from Tatiana Kelly who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. The barrier of entry for the micro-budget / DIY / indie filmmaker has never been lower, making the landscape of independent film more exciting than ever. With box office and VOD sales at an all time high and more distribution opportunities than ever, independent films are enjoying a resurgence. Throw into the mix that many studios and larger production companies are committed to producing numerous micro-budget films each year (see Paramount Insurge) and independent producers such as Jason Blum (Blumhouse) have made a living in the space, and the demand for films with micro-budgets has never been higher. Additionally, many creatives are taking matters into their own hands by making micro-budget films as a calling card for their talents.Some examples of micro-budget films include Napoleon Dynamite, Halloween, Clerks, The Blair Witch Project, Mad Max, Eraserhead, Open Water, Catfish, Saw, Once, Pi.Story and style win the day as a result of the passion and dedication put into micro-budget films. If you are a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker or any other creative that values control of your story and film and has decided to write, develop, shoot or distribute a film in the micro-budget space, this is the webinar for you.

How To Develop, Package, Pitch and Sell Your Limited Series To A Streamer or Network

Payment plans available - contact edu@stage32.com for details Limited Class Size - Reserve Your Spot Now Work With The 2-Time Emmy Award Nominated Executive Producer of the Emmy Award Winning Series GENIUS   Over the last several years, the limited series has become one of the most exciting, competitive, and acclaimed formats in the entertainment industry. Limited series like Hulu’s DOPESICK, Paramount+’s THE OFFER, Netflix’s THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, Amazon’s UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, and HBO’s CHERNOBYL have become global phenomena and greatly boosted the careers of the creatives behind them. It’s no surprise that buyers and big names on all sides of the camera are hungry for binge-worthy event programming like these limited series and are looking for the next hit to make. If you have your own idea for a limited series, there’s no better time than now to get it in front of executives and decision-makers looking for this engaging content. So how does one develop the material and package it together to increase the probability of a sale or production order? Where do the best limited series ideas come from? And what differentiates a generally good story from source material that really makes sense for the limited series format? Sam Sokolow is a two-time Emmy-nominated producer, perhaps best known for his work in developing and producing the Emmy-nominated limited series GENIUS for National Geographic Channel, one of the first prestige limited series to find a wide audience. Over his career, Sam has executive produced 18 original TV series and set up dozens of television and film projects at major studios and distributors in Hollywood and is well-versed at finding success developing, pitching, and selling his projects. Exclusively for Stage 32 in this in-depth 4-session class, Sam will teach you how to develop, pitch, and sell limited series to a streamer or network by first learning how to identify source material, packaging talent into your project, and identifying the buyers. He’ll review the pilot script for GENIUS: EINSTEIN to highlight what makes a world-class limited series pilot work. He’ll also show you how to build the pitch, approach the buyers, and even share what the deals look like. Sam will even share examples of the emails and finders fees he used to package his projects. Plus! Sam will walk you through a real pitch deck he used for a limited series he worked on, so you can see how he put all the pieces together to ultimately pitch and sell the project. You don’t want to miss out on this class!

An Inside Look of the Stage 32 Writers' Room: Writing Romantic Comedies

A Vice President of Development at an A-List production company recently said,"Every studio executive is asking me for Rom Coms!" If you look at recent trends, it is clear they are on a come back. With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre". If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies. So how do you as a writer approach writing a Romantic Comedy without falling into the trap of tired cliches? Or, how do you take the storytelling conventions and turn them on their head?  Jason Mirch is a 10+ industry veteran who's worked in development on films for Image Nation such as THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, FLIGHT, CONTAGION, as well as in management, financing and producing. Jason is Stage 32's Director of Script Services and has helped dozens of writers in the Stage 32 community springboard their careers. He's the host of the Stage 32 Writers' Room which is a weekly online writers' group that meets online with writing challenges and one-on-one access to top industry professionals who serve as mentors and provide advice on the group's projects.  During this 90-minute look inside the Writers' Room Breakdown Webcast, Jason will go over the history of romantic comedy as well as the anatomy of a romantic comedy. He'll teach you the 7 essential story beats in a romantic comedy and you will learn to develop your romcom with a theme or dramatic question. Plus, Jason will break down scripts including WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, THE APARTMENT, KNOCKED UP, WHAT WOMEN WANT and more.  Jason will discuss what makes these projects work and how we can apply those same principles to our writing! Plus! Jason will be taking ANY of your writing questions! Like what you heard from Jason during this webcast? Send him your screenplay and speak with him privately for an hour by clicking here!     Praise for This Writers' Room Webcast "Thanks for this summary! Loved the rundown ad the clips!" - Bethany B. "Such an insightful breakdown, thanks so much." - Crispin "Jason, you always overdeliver! THANKS so much!" - Petula "This was an amazing breakdown. Wow." - Ricki L. "Great breakdown as always, Jason, with superb choice of clips." - Stephen P.

Stage 32 TV Development Lab: How to Develop and Pitch Your Television Project

Sorry, this lab is filled. Keep checking back Stage 32 Education for upcoming labs. Despite the quickly shifting landscape, and the uncertainty much of the entertainment industry is currently facing, there is still no better time to break into television than right now. Shows are continuing to get greenlit and writers are continuing to get staffed. Thanks to streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock, Disney+, HBO Max and others, over 600 shows were greenlit last year and some industry experts are predicting we may see as many as 1,000 television shows greenlit per year by 2025. We’re in the midst of a content gold rush and more people than ever are looking for and buying great ideas and great scripts for their networks and platforms. If you have a great idea for a television show, there is absolutely a path forward, especially if you know how to navigate this new landscape. The opportunities are plentiful and the prospects have never been more exciting, but to get your television project greenlit, there are a few things you need to have down pat. Obviously you need a great idea—not just an idea that’s interesting and unique, but one that can sell. You also need a standout script around that idea, one that reads great and will make network and streamer executives stop, take notice, and want to read more. Yet an idea and a script aren’t enough to get that TV show made. You’ll also need to be able to deliver a convincing and memorable pitch, complete with an outstanding pitch deck and documents, and you need to be able to package your project to be more sellable to your dream network. These elements don’t necessarily go hand in hand, and different skills are necessary to accomplish each, but all are fully attainable and within your grasp, especially the right knowledge and guidance to help get you there. Raquelle David is a Producer and Literary Manager who has sold shows to Netflix, Amazon, Film Nation, eOne, and many others. Her clients have credits including SICARIO, MAD MEN, OUTLANDER, DOWNTON ABBEY, HELL OR HIGH WATER, THE LIBRARIANS, SHAMELESS, and IRON MAN. Raquelle has worked across independent film and television as a producer as well. Her multiple film credits have garnered a number of accolades including nominations for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Australian Academy Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award and the Screen Producers Australia Award. Raquelle previously worked for Goalpost Pictures, Seven Network, Screen New South Wales in Australia and Rhombus Media in Toronto, Canada, under the tutelage of producer Niv Fichman (THE RED VIOLIN, ENEMY, BLINDNESS). Through her career, Raquelle has helped countless writers pitch their projects or get staffed on shows, and knows better than most what it takes to get a project off the ground and greenlit. In this advanced level and exclusive six-session lab (no more than ten students will be admitted), Raquelle will work directly with you in a class setting and also during one-on-one sessions to help you get your television project off the ground and set up for success. To do so, Raquelle will guide you through selecting a concept—either an original idea or based on existing IP—and getting your TV pilot script ready. She will then help you get your pitch and pitch document ready, and will teach you how best to package your project, including finding a good producer and working with showrunners. Finally, Raquelle will go over how best to protect your IP and ownership and how to work with reps and understand the roles and revenue splits when pitching TV. If you already have a concept or even a completed pilot, Raquelle will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. Plan to leave this lab with your TV project fleshed out and improved, an effective pitch and pitch document, a plan to properly package the show, and a slew of strategies and tools to hit the ground running and finding success. WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for intermediate writers and producers looking to get their individual television project ready to pitch and sell to networks. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 10 Spots Available. No exceptions***  You will be given exclusive and confidential handouts that will accompany the lessons and that you will be able to hold onto after the lab ends. This lab will consist of six sessions occurring twice weekly for three weeks, each roughly 90 minutes in duration. In addition to the lessons where Raquelle teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask her questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with her directly about your specific project. 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 TV project development process. To see the full TV project development lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at edu@stage32.com for more information   Plus! Raquelle will also provide you exclusive, confidential and helpful documents for you to download and use for your own projects including: Option Agreement Shopping Agreement TV Pitch Deck Examples TV Pitch Template TV Pilot Examples Current Network needs (current list of buyers and what they’re looking for) Current POD deals for TV Comprehensive Showrunner list

How to Connect with Decision Makers and Get Your Work Noticed Without Reps

Aren’t you tired of querying and pitching agents and managers only to be dismissed or ignored? The truth is that reps find writers through referrals, which is annoying for those who don’t have the connections yet. But there’s a better way. You can be your own rep, keep the 10% commission for yourself, and get yourself and your work noticed on your own. In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, professional screenwriter Brooks Elms will show you how to get yourself and your work noticed without a rep and how use your passion to become an unstoppable sales force on your own. Brooks is an accomplished screenwriter, who’s penned over 35 scripts, selling several of them, writing a dozen movies on assignment and whose projects have screened all around the world. Brooks most recently sold a script with Brad Peyton (SAN ANDREAS) attached to executive produce. Brooks brings his vast experience to show you how to up your outreach game, use your social media for success, build sustainable relationships, keep smiling and selling in the face of adversity, and so much more. Brooks believes that the best way to sell your work is to sell yourself, making the process less about “sales” and more about embracing your strengths and communicating them in the best way possible to the industry.  This is a next-level, world-class relationship-building webinar and a fun way to launch your career in your own unique style.

Pre-Production Musts To Set Any Filmmakers Up For Success

As a filmmaker, you know that every opportunity to shoot your story is precious. The days when your team is working, your cameras are rolling and your actors are in hair and make-up are days of golden opportunity. But they can also be days of stress and frustration if you haven't prepared properly during pre-production. We want you to have the best shoot days possible and that's why this webinar is invaluable for filmmakers.    In this webinar, accomplished director Heath Cullens shares his process of preparing for a shoot exclusively with the Stage 32 community. As a filmmaker, the importance of preparation during pre-production cannot be overstated. Here is your chance to learn how best to prepare from a world-class director.  Heath Cullens is a director best known for directing IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, AP BIO, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Currently, he is directing MYTHIC QUEST for Apple TV. A good filmmaker is a prepared filmmaker. Filmmakers must focus on getting the story they envision onto the screen, but that vision will unravel if you don’t prepare before. However, if you do prepare properly, you give your film the best chance for success.  You’ll receive a step-by-step approach to utilize on your projects to ensure a smooth, productive, and creatively rewarding on-set experience for you and your production team. You’ll cover how to: Hire the best team Communicate your vision Prioritize what you need to shoot Structure your shoot day Create a strategy with your DP Properly use rehearsal time and table reads And much more By the end of this webinar you’ll have a process you can use - and the ability to revisit the lesson on Stage 32 - to ensure the confidence to lead your team as a filmmaker.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In