Award-Winning writer/director/producer Joe Russo began his career in production working on commercials, web-series, television and feature films for companies like Nike, FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate and Universal Studios.In 2010, Joe joined Level 1 Entertainment where he worked for five years with CEO and Hollywood producer, Bill Todman, Jr. (X-MEN, WILD WILD WEST) working his way up to Director of Development, where he was charged with managing a slate of feature films and television programs, working hand-in-hand with major motion picture studios and television networks such as Fox, MGM, Showtime, SyFy, History and Amazon.From 2015 to 2017, Joe served as a Development Consultant for Christina Aguilera and Matthew Rutler’s MX Productions, advising the company on their feature film division and their first-look television deal with Lionsgate Entertainment.Joe has frequently been recognized for his work with writers, developing many acclaimed screenplays over the last several years — including his own — which have been selected by film and television executives for the Young & Hungry List, The Blood List, The Hit List and The Black List - Hollywood’s most prestigious list of the best unproduced screenplays.Joe most recently produced the upcoming horror feature NIGHTMARE CINEMA starring Mickey Rourke directed by genre legends Joe Dante, David Slade, Mick Garris and more.He also directed the 2017 Valentine’s Day short, BE MINE, for Eli Roth and Jason Blum’s Crypt TV and the acclaimed short MIDNIGHT CLEAR which launched on Entertainment Weekly. He also produces the Blumhouse series POST MORTEM, featuring in-depth filmmaker-to-filmmaker interviews with genre legends like John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Bryan Fuller, John Landis, Mike Flanagan and many more.Joe is repped by The Gersh Agency, Hollander Entertainment and Morris Yorn. Full Bio »
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Joe Russo will take writers behind the scenes of 2 horror films and 1 horror pilot. This webinar will be an honest, unapologetic look at the successes and struggles during the development process for each case study so you can you learn what to mimic and what to avoid for your own project.
Learn directly from Joe Russo, producer who has helped steer writers' projects through the development process to land on The Young and Hungry List, Hit List and The Black List and sell to the Major Studios and Networks. Joe’s extensive production background includes working on productions for FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios!
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.
Q: What are the system requirements?
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!
Learn directly from Joe Russo, an Independent Producer who has worked on projects with FOX, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios! You’ve spent days, weeks, months, maybe even years, toiling away on your screenplay. You’ve read all the books. You’ve taken the seminars. You’ve work shopped your script to death. You’ve crafted a sharp pitch and logline for your script – and now someone in the industry wants to READ your work! You celebrate this long awaited victory, but what happens next? What if they don’t just like the script you’ve poured your heart and soul into, what if they WANT it. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Joe Russo will shine a light and give an executive’s opinion and advice on a Hollywood process you’ve all heard of, but probably don’t know nearly enough about – Development. Joe has been recognized for his “firm grasp of the craft, solid storytelling, and compelling characters”, as well as developing many acclaimed projects. The path to taking your written words and turning them into a major motion picture is a tricky, windy road. You all know the coined phrase “Development Hell”, and too many projects fall into this pit simply because the process isn’t clearly understood at the outset. So join Stage 32 as we explore the complicated and fascinating world of Development, and all of the small victories and bumps along the road that you can experience on your way to the green lighting of your screenplay into a movie.
Learn from one of the top entertainment attorneys in Hollywood who has worked on hundreds of film & TV projects! After pouring so much time, money, and passion into your feature film and putting together a finished product that you’re truly proud of, it’s an amazing feeling when a distributor wants to buy your film. What can be more vindicating? Not so fast, though. This is your film, and it’s absolutely critical you walk into any distribution agreement with both eyes open, an understanding of what you want, what you deserve, and how to make sure you’re protected and not being taken advantage of. Distribution can often be confusing, complicated, and murky territory, and there are many common pitfalls filmmakers of all levels fall into when navigating. It can feel like you need a law degree and a special glossary just to understand the rights you’re giving away, along with the territories, fees, expenses, residuals, and everything else that comes along with a distribution deal. But you don’t need to pass the Bar to find success in seeking distribution. Gaining a keener understanding of the process and how agreements work can empower you as a filmmaker to negotiate a distribution deal that’s right for you and your film. Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Sean worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has helped countless filmmakers negotiate fair distribution deals and make the most out of their film, and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. In this advanced level and intensive two-part class, Sean will walk you through the nuts and bolts of distribution deals and zero in on the provisions and clauses you need to understand when negotiating your own distribution and sales agreements. Sean’s exhaustive rundown will leave you with a much deeper understanding of what agreements look like, what you should be looking for, and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. WHAT TO EXPECT This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of two sessions, both roughly 90 minutes in duration and spaced one day apart from one another. In addition to the Sean's presentations, you will have the opportunity to ask Sean questions during each session. To see the full distribution class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you likely start working on a new endeavor for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet this is of course not the only element of filmmaking. Like it or not, your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. In this way you’re not just a making a piece of art; you’re also running a business. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur and understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's doable. In fact, there’s a bit of a sweet spot for independent films in the $1MM range and a viable path to profitability for films of this level. The key is to intimately understand how money—both hard money and soft money—flows in and out of the project. Getting a handle on this flow puts you in a powerful position, because not only can you make your current film profitable; but you will also create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. This entrepreneurial approach might not be second nature to creatives, but it’s something you can learn and something that will aid you tremendously. David Zannoni is consultant for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. He serves as the company's representative for the Americas. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Europe. As an international 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, Europe, and all over Latin America. David is intimately familiar with how independent films are financed and made profitable all over the world and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the US market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, $1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a $1MM or under budget looks like, whether it’s considered a small film or microbudget, and how it compares in the larger worldwide film market. He’ll delve into how to see your film as an asset and how to use this viewpoint to work with investors and provide profit. David will give you the tools to think like an entrepreneur and explain the relationship between financing, distribution, and recoupment of investment. David will then teach you how to take a business approach to a $1MM and under film project. He will discuss debt and equity financing and compare it to soft money, demonstrating both of their impacts on your recoupment. He’ll then go over how to finance your film through bank loans, tax credits, private lenders, equity investors, and family and friends. In doing so, he’ll demonstrate the differences between lenders and investors and demonstrate how to make—and keep—all of your investors happy. He’ll also go over ways to mitigate risks for yourself and your investors. Plus, David will show a case study of a real $1MM US film to illustrate how a film of this level can be profitable and exactly how the money flows through from beginning to end. He’ll show financing documents and spreadsheets to illustrate the financing structure, the role of the sales agent, and how he navigated the film’s distribution agreement. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own $1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. 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.
If you are a writer, filmmaker, digital content creator, or producer, it's vitally important to not only understand the role of a sales agent, but how to find, vet and hire the right sales agent. This is a vital, yet extremely overlooked aspect that could make or break the viewership and profitability of your film or project! In this challenging and competitive world of film and digital content finding the right sales agent is key. Understandably, many creatives, producers and digital content creators find venturing into the world of sales agents to be daunting. But it doesn't need to be! There are few who know the world of sales agents better than Simon Graham-Claire and Ricky Margolis. Simon and Ricky head up, Future Films USA and have been involved in the financing and distribution of over 200 films and TV shows. In this extremely popular and exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, Simon and Ricky give you all the tools to navigate the minefield of sales agents. Just some of the questions Simon and Ricky will be answering include: What can a sales agent do for me that I can't do for myself? Where do I go to find a sales agent? How do I know if a sales agent is reputable? How do I know a sales agent is right for my genre? What questions should I be asking when vetting a sales agent? What if a sales agent disagrees with where I believe the film or project should be distributed? How much do sales agents cost? Will a sales agent expect to have an equity position in my film? How does the waterfall distribution of funds work with a sales agent involved? Can a sales agent bring financing to a project? Let Simon and Ricky demystify the world of sales agents and help you protect the films, shows, and projects you worked so hard to conceive and create by getting your work seen and by increasing your likelihood of profitability! Praise for Simon, Ricky and How to Find and Hire the Right Sales Agent to Help You Distribute Your Film or Project "I felt like Simon and Ricky had a concise step by step study guide on the process of getting to the green light... The idea of hiring a sales agent is no longer a jumble" - Betty S. "Loved the presentation and I found it very informative! Thanks again!" - Richard D. "Great seminar - informative and to the point." - Robert G. "Very well presented! Loved their personal approach!" - Glenn C. "Excellent presentation! Organized, well-spoken, and crystal clear!" - Brent B. "My second webinar with Simon and Ricky. They're incredible. Please bring them back again." - Samantha M. This webinar is available for immediate and unlimited viewing On Demand
Over recent years, the independent producing model has shown that films budgeted between $1-$3 Million have become a "sweet spot" for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand some tried and true principles that will help you find investors, present your project in the proper fashion and lock them down for an investment. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects with budgets between $1MM-$3MM can be your calling card toward making a life working in independent film. Simply put, those who understand the formula to the strategies and methods that can help your investors see a return get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring more investors if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, there are smart ways to find money that you may not have thought of, and there are also ways you can expand your dollars once you start raising funds for your project. In addition, there is a well-known group of professionals and creatives that have been working on films between $1-$3MM for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what expectations are once you do. Brad Hibbs Wyman has produced over 40 feature films in all budget ranges, including Monster starring Charlize Theron in her Oscar-winning role, Freeway starring Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon and actor Steve Buscemi's directorial debut, Trees Lounge. Brad has learned all aspects of financing and the elements that are needed for a successful raise and he's going to bring his years of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Brad will teach the basic principles of motion picture financing for under $3 million dollar features which include: Rule #1 - “GET THE MONEY" Rule #2 - Always remember to “GET THE MONEY” Rule #3 - Never forget to always remember to “GET THE MONEY" If that gives you the insight into Brad's fun personality, then you're in for a treat with this webinar. Brad will teach you the common obstacles that get in the way of raising financing. He'll go over all the various types of financing: equity, private equity, pre-sales, GAP, tax incentives, deferred and crowdfunding. In addition, he'll go in depth on guidelines for your financial package and what you'll need for tax incentives, pre-sales, debt and domestic MG. He'll even go over your plan of execution including your investment proposal and what it looks like, completion and guarantor bonds and pitching your project. You will not only know the basics of how to smartly raise up to $3MM, but you'll also walk away with knowing the names of the players and the companies that are in this landscape, giving you an instant advantage to becoming an insider. And if that doesn't make you feel great enough, Brad’s proceeds from this exclusive Stage 32 webinar will be donated to his favorite arts charity! "Brad was great. I loved his style and how frank he was. Really appreciate his demeanor." - Robert G. "It was one of the most amazing experiences. The most entertaining and true presenter I have ever come across." - Ranadeep B. "Awesome experience - great learning opportunity and very well organized. I look forward to more." - Brien Gorham "Brad brought the goods and the funny. And he removed my initimidation factor when it comes to approaching investors. Great webinar!" - Alyssa K.