When Matt Harry's original fantasy script SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS was going nowhere, he turned it into a novel that became a hit. The novel was described as “J.K. Rowling meets V.E. Schwab,” and Publishers Weekly declared it “a charming package and drily funny adventure.” Since then, the book was recently optioned for television by Boatrocker Media and Matt was hired to adapt the pilot. Book II in Matt’s series, CRYPTOZOOLOGY FOR BEGINNERS was published in 2019 and his middle-grade adventure novel SUPERKID is slated to be published in June 2021. His first produced feature screenplay, FUGUE, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has also written screenplays for Primary Wave, Platform One Media, Co-op Entertainment, and Flynn Picture Co. His short film SUPER KIDS, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 6 million views on YouTube. His TV pilot MONSTER COPS was awarded Grand Prize in the Second City Original Sitcom Contest, and is currently in development. Matt has experienced firsthand what can happen when you turn your own work into existing IP and is ready to give you the lowdown. Full Bio »
Getting your work seen and considered is a SLOG, as any writer can attest. No matter how great your script is, even if it has placed in contests, even if you’re repped by a manager or agent, it is hard to break through the noise and get execs or studios interested in what you have to offer. Part of the problem, though, is that execs are often scared to move forward with an original story. It’s more of a gamble than relying on remakes, sequels, or other projects that already have brand awareness and a built-in audience. Yet this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for you or your script. Instead, you can use this to your advantage.
Like it or not, production companies and studios big and small are moving forward overwhelmingly with projects based on IP, or intellectual property—in other words, films that feature characters, worlds, and stories that already exist in other formats or other films. IP is the name of the game now, so let’s play the game! How? Turn your script into IP. It’s actually more possible than you think. Whether it’s a novel, a podcast, a web series, or other formats, you can prove your story’s worth and independently build your own audience so that execs start coming to you and that dream script of yours can actually get made. It’s been done, it continues to be done, and you can do it too.
Don’t believe us? Listen to writer Matt Harry. When his original fantasy script SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS was going nowhere, he turned it into a novel that became a hit. The novel was described as “J.K. Rowling meets V.E. Schwab,” and Publishers Weekly declared it “a charming package and drily funny adventure.” Since then, the book was recently optioned for television by Boatrocker Media and Matt was hired to adapt the pilot. Book II in Matt’s series, CRYPTOZOOLOGY FOR BEGINNERS was published in 2019 and his middle-grade adventure novel SUPERKID is slated to be published in June 2021. His first produced feature screenplay, FUGUE, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has also written screenplays for Primary Wave, Platform One Media, Co-op Entertainment, and Flynn Picture Co. His short film SUPER KIDS, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 6 million views on YouTube. His TV pilot MONSTER COPS was awarded Grand Prize in the Second City Original Sitcom Contest, and is currently in development.
Matt has experienced firsthand what can happen when you turn your own work into existing IP and is ready to give you the lowdown.
Exclusively for Stage 32, Matt will teach you how you can turn your own script into IP to prove your story’s worth and get producers and execs interested. He will dig into why IP is so valuable, what types of IP exist, and how time consuming or expensive each type can be to create. Matt will lay out the seven main types of IP you can adapt your story into, all of which can offer your script leverage. Matt will discuss each type of IP and explain the steps you can take to make each happen and will also give you tips on deciding which IP format is right for your own project. He will also lay out what to do after your IP is out there to build your audience, get reviews, and incorporate your success into your pitch for production companies and studios.
If you have an original script you believe in, keep at it. Matt will show you how you can use IP to your advantage and beat Hollywood at their own game.
Praise for Matt's Stage 32 Webinar
"Overall it was very informative. The fact that there was an actual tried and true professional of the industry willing and able to answer questions and give the talk was a very huge plus for me."
- J. Brown
"Matt has such a way with words. Articulates concepts exceptionally well."
- K. Masters
"I loved how well-rounded he was in his creative endeavors. Matt knew about so many avenues to getting a script noticed."
- Peter M
"Matt Harry is a very knowledgeable person. Matt went into it with a solid plan that made picking up what was left out easier due to him referencing materials to look into for ourselves."
- Jaboris B.
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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
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.
Putting together a project can be complicated. The amount of information to sift through, from guild requirements and guidelines to union rules and even whether to go union or non-union can be overwhelming, confusing and intimidating. For filmmakers, producers and other creatives looking to control their own content, navigating the guilds and the unions can be so daunting, it pushes back production and/or any forward momentum your project might have. Allow us to help demystify, simplify the guilds and unions landscape and get you on your way to doing what you want to most, making your film, TV or digital project. With independent productions on the rise, it's more important than ever to know how to handle your budget and schedule accordingly, and that begins with understanding which guilds you'll be working with and how to deal with their rules and regulations. It also means understanding the ins and outs of the unions. Buttoning up all of these important variables early will assure that nothing falls through the cracks, your set runs smoothly, and there are no unpleasant surprises once you hit the distribution and collection phases of your project. 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 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. Rosi will begin by giving you a complete, yet simplified look at the guilds and unions. She will pull back the curtain and discuss the ins and outs and pros and cons of working with the labor organizations. Rosi will go over the differences between unions and guilds and help you decide if you should go union or non-union for your project. You will learn the organizations for above the line - WGAW, WGAE, DGA, SAG/AFTRA and PGA, below the line - IATSE, Teamsters and NLRB, as well as other organizations that work closely with them - ATA, AMPTP, MPAA, ASCAP, CSATF, MPSE and more. In addition you'll learn how to become a member of a union or how to become a signatory production. "Rosi, your 30 years of experience shined through today. You broke down this so it's easily understandable and now I know that my production this year will be union!" - Rachel G. "Awesome explanations of the unions, guilds and organizations. Very comprehensive." - Paul F. "You made this so easy to understand. Thanks Rosi!" - Brandon C. "Putting together my first film as a producer almost made my jump off a cliff. I wish I would have seen this first! What a world of difference it would have made. Thank you, Rosi!" -Marlene D.
How do I get financing? How can I win over a financier? How can I stand out from other projects looking for funding? How can I create a pitch that blows financiers away? These are the questions on everyone's mind. And we have the answer. One of our favorite educators, Tribeca-winning producer Samm Haillay, is back again exclusively at Stage 32 and this time, he's bringing the goods to help you design the best pitch possible for your film. As an example, Samm will be showing you the 15 minute pitch which helped raise ALL the funding for the feature length film, BYPASS, which went on to be nominated for Best Film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival (among others) and continued Samm's incredible stretch of raising funds and winning awards.. This film was written, directed and produced by Duane Hopkins, who's experience prior to this was primarily in short films. In this 2 part online class, Samm will break down what it takes for any filmmaker, producer, screenwriter or other creative looking to raise funds and get their projects into development!
In this exclusive 2 hour Stage 32 online webinar, here is just some of what you will learn from Robert McKee: Crafting believable and engaging dialogue. Why certain lines resonate and others fall flat Strategies and techniques for writing impactful dialogue The importance of showing vs. telling The three functions of dialogue: exposition, characterization and action. But that's not all! After Mr. McKee's lecture, Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard "RB" Botto, conducts an interview speaking further about the craft and opens it up to the Stage 32 community to ask questions. Now, no matter where you live in the world, this is an extremely rare opportunity to learn from Mr. McKee online! "You just don't get Robert McKee like this for this kind of price. Kudos to Stage 32 and thank you Mr. McKee" - Burton B. "Thank you RB and your awesome teem, and a big thanks to Robert McKee who is truly a Master of the craft! This webinar could be hard one to top in the writers field." - Scott W. "Just wanted you to know that McKee's webinar was fantastic. One of the best lectures I have heard on the craft. He was brilliant. And irascible." - Anthony R. "Amazing wisdom from a writing giant. Felt he was very giving and thoughtful in his replies which made it a fantastic experience." - Paul B. "Fantastic webinar - lots of great insights and ideas. Thanks!" - Ron H. "I will say it again - this was a great webinar. I am more inspired and motivated than ever to increase my skill as a writer and devote more time to doing so." - Christine D. (see more testimonials below!)
Any independent filmmaker can tell you that one of the key rules to creating a successful film is to use what you got. This is especially true (and especially challenging) with cinematography. With a limited budget you’re likely not going to have the state-of-the-art equipment or perfectly lit soundstage to get the optimal shot. Often you’re going to have to make do with the locations the team was able to rustle up. These locations might be too small, might lack natural light, might be the wrong color. Well that’s too bad. If you want your indie film to look great, you’re going to have to be scrappy, adapt quickly, and be ready to pull a couple miracles out of your hat. Don’t think this won’t be noticed though; having the tools to make any location look great will not only elevate the film you’re working on, but also bolster your own reputation and prove your worth as a DP or director. It might not always be fully appreciated, but if you’re serving as DP, it’s down to you to take any shot and make it cinematic. Sometimes this might be as easy as setting up a fill light, but especially for low-budget projects, it’s often much more complicated. With a lack of access to sufficient resources, it can feel like reinventing the wheel to make any shot work. However, coming to set knowing the questions to ask and the tools at your disposal can make all the difference. What combination of a fill light, key light, and back light will work best? How can you use the props and materials that happen to be around to draw the eye to your subject? And perhaps most importantly, when should you push to make the shot better and when should you recognize that it’s as good as it’s going to be? Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films, many of which were released in theaters—his most recent film is being distributed by Lionsgate. Barry’s career as a cinematographer includes several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. Barry is also the author of the DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Barry has had to light and shoot more ugly locations than he can count and has developed a slew of strategies to tackle the challenges they bring. Barry will give you tips and tools to pull beauty out of the ugliest of locations. Barry will start by going through the basics of art direction and what expectations directors will have of you as a DP. Using case studies and practical examples, Barry will outline how to find and create depth in flat locations and how to use available lighting to your advantage, even if it’s not ideal. He’ll then give you ideas of how to find use available props and items you might not have considered to add dimension to your shot. Then Barry will discuss the importance of where in the location to place your talent to elevate or destroy your scene. Finally Barry will delve into the best way to choose the right lens for each shot. You'll walk away from this fun webinar knowing how to navigate any small space surprises once you get on set with your equipment. Praise for Barry's Webinar: "Very professional and Barry gave good advice" -Carol L. "Excellent webinar . Many great tips I can definitely use. Thanks!" -Ron H. "Barry has a bunch of great strategies that I'm totally going to use on my next shot" -Charlie C. "Super interesting and super practical advice. Thank you!" -Tina R.
Time is money. And in the world of indie film, this is undeniably true. The number one expense filmmakers face today isn’t equipment rentals or crew wages. Nor is it crafty or actor day rates. It’s a DAY. And once a day is lost, it’s extremely difficult to get back. Often referred to as “the single biggest budget multiplier,” loss of days while shooting can sink your film if not kept under control. Falling behind just one day quickly leads to losing another and then another, and before you know it you have a runaway production. If you’re contemplating pre-production and production for your independent film or project, carefully managing your days is a priority. Many filmmakers avoid too much pre-planning for fear of losing the creativity and spontaneity that can make their project special, but it doesn’t need to be one or the other. There’s a proven method to keep you on track, while still allowing for inspiration and experimentation on set. It also happens to be the industry standard, and applies to any level of filmmaking - from student short to studio feature. You don’t have to toss the creative baby out with the budgetary bathwater. It comes down to identifying what to plan and what to improvise. The truth is the more you plan, the more you’re free to experiment while filming - provided you optimize your time and focus on the right elements. Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Clay will lay out how you can save time and money as a filmmaker by employing strategies and practices to make your day and keep your project moving. Not only will Clay address where to place emphasis in your pre-production process, but he’ll also lay out a specific method for planning shots and scenes, which includes shot lists and top-down lighting plots. These methods are optimized so that you make your day without losing a beat or turning it into a budgetary bean-counter. He’ll then round out the webinar with a “trouble-shooting” guide that’s easy to understand, and applicable to the vast majority of scheduling issues that often arise on set. Clay's guide will give you confidence when it comes to time management so you can focus on what really matters in putting together a project you can be proud of.