Laurie Cook worked as an Assistant Director for the BBC and Sky for four years before moving into Development, reading for companies such as Working Title, Qwerty Films and Element Pictures. Combining an experience of on set physical production and spotting talented script writers, he began producing high concept, low-budget, commercial films. Laurie is now a Producer and Head Of Development at Bigscope Films in London. Laurie's credits include Don't Hang Up, Pressure, Alien Outpost, Hangar 10, Camera Trap, Honor and The Trade. Four of his films have sold theatrically across the world and he is always on the look out for the next talented writer or director. Full Bio »
With advances in modern technology across all facets of production, post and distribution, there is no better time to go and make a low-budget film and establish yourself in the industry. From Christopher Nolans' £4,000 Following to Eran Creevy's £100,000 Shifty to Jay Blakeson's £1 million Disappearance of Alice, there are different types of "low-budget" that have been proven successes in their own right, but more importantly a launching pad for the filmmakers.
So what kind of film should you make? And how can you, regardless of how small your budget is, get the most for your money? Most importantly, how can you make sure that the right kind of people see your film once you have made it?
In this exclusive stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Laurie Cook will guide writers, directors and producers through his experience developing and producing for the UK low-budget market. Having produced 6 low-budget feature films in the past few years within the UK, which all received worldwide theatrical distribution, Laurie will teach you his tips and tricks for producing low-budget, high production value feature films and how to best utilize UK resources. From development ideas to sources of finance, production tips to the ever-changing distribution landscape, this will be your go-to guide for navigating the low-budget UK film market, with an open question and answer throughout the webinar for maximum interaction.
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 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, attaching the right actor (or actors) can make or break the success of you getting your project off the ground. Putting the right talent in the pole position will greatly increase your chances of gaining finishing funds, selling a project, securing meaningful distribution and more. But to stand out in a sea of offers that quality talent receives on an almost daily basis takes knowledge and understanding. So how do you get your project in front of the right actor and give yourself the best chance to get a “yes”? In the independent filmmaking world understanding how to formulate and put together talent offers is vital. With actors getting more offers than ever from streaming platforms, cable networks and alternative programming it’s imperative that your offer stands out from the crowd. You can push your project to the top of the decision making pile if you know how to put together the right offer. In what has been a wildly successful career, Jim Young has produced nearly 20 independent films. How did he get so many made? By attaching talent such as Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Dev Patel, Cuba Gooding Jr., Amanda Seyfried and more. Nobody understands how to attach talent better than Jim. And now he's ready to share his tried and true approaches with you so you too can attach meaningful talent to your projects. Jim will delve into the process of attracting and signing talent to your film. This will include a primer as to the roles of casting directors, talent agents, lawyers, and foreign sales agents and how each operates. He will show you what additional materials and information you need to send along with the script and the actual offer. He will also discuss elements to consider when negotiating talent deals to make sure you have a competitive advantage. Plus! As an added bonus Jim is including downloadable templates for you to work from as you put together your own deals! These invaluable documents are yours to keep.
How To Build Your Suspense From The Ground Up And Craft A Thriller With Earned Twists, Turns and Thrills If you're paying attention to the trades and seeing which screenplays and projects are being sold and produced, you know that psychological thrillers are highly in demand. With films like Joker, Ma, Escape Room, Glass, Ex Machina, The Invitation, Get Out, Happy Death Day, The First Purge and many more, companies like Blumhouse have propelled the production of thrillers for an audience hungry for suspense and thrills, making creepy, crawly movie-going experiences all the rage. With box office receipts in the billions it's clear that the appetite for psychological stories is raging. And, it's a more exciting time than ever to be able to a screenwriter or filmmaker who has a suspenseful thriller you want to tell. But the art of writing a psychological thriller is one of vulnerable characters, deep secondary characters, memorable set pieces, set ups, reversals, and earned twists and turns. There's a formula to it all, and those who master these skills win the day. Writing a psychological thriller and creating and maintaining suspense and high stakes throughout takes an immense understanding of the history of the genre. It's a genre based in Hitchcockian roots. One that needs to have certain elements in order to be effective to keep the audience involved, engaged and on the edge of their seat. While most psychological thrillers start off with a well thought out premise, that's all they have. The action starts quickly and then falls flat. In many other cases, the premise is in place, but the writer or filmmaker doesn't know how to get past the jumping off point. You must get your hook in place quickly - within your first five pages - and that takes skill. You need to truly create compelling characters, especially protagonist and your villain, and make them layered in order to support your theme and plot and to assure the audience always knows and is invested in the stakes. To be truly successful at getting your reader's attention, keep those pages turning and set yourself up for an offer of representation, an option, a sale, or financing, you need to understand all of the nuances that make a great suspenseful story before you type (or read) FADE IN. Steve Desmond is one of the best in the industry today writing suspense and psychological thrillers. His most recent feature screenplay, Harry's All Night Hamburgers, was adapted from a Hugo award winning short story and was one of the highest priced spec sales of the last 5 years, selling to Warner Bros. in a bidding war worth 7 figures. The film now has Oscar Nominated Producer Andrew Lazar (American Sniper) producing via his Mad Chance production banner and Ted Melfi directing. He has recently been tapped by Film Nation to adapt The Cabin at the End of the World, a Harper Collins title from author Paul Tremblay. The psychological horror and suspense novel centers on a vacationing family terrorized by four strangers who claim to be either attempting to bring about or trying to avert the apocalypse. His short film, Monsters, has played in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 43 awards including Best Short Film at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego and was a finalist at Stage 32's 3rd Annual Short Film Program. Steve filmed Monsters to serve as a proof of concept for his feature script, Twisted Avenue which is now in development. Needless to say, thrillers and suspense are in Steve's blood and the focus of all his writing. And now he's bringing all he's learned along the way to you. Steve will help you build your suspense from the ground up. He'll teach you the ultimate tool you need - the Hitchcock Ticking Clock Method which will help you on your way to setting the vital groundwork for your story. You'll learn how to create a compelling protagonist and an enticing villain. Steve will give you exercises you can use to craft your own characters and give you 5 must have tips on backstory and character confessions to give depth. You'll learn how to hook your reader in the first 5 pages and what the 3 different teasers you can write for your opening. You'll explore the power of murder in your script and the art of a twist ending. He will show you how to craft your script with producers in mind to give yourself the best chance to have your material attractive to the widest audience possible. Steve will go over how you can incorporate visuals into your story and break down case studies of Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. And, finally, Steve will share some advice on how to get your script on the screen by writing it in a producible budget. You will have a fully immersive experience from a suspense expert that will leave you excited, inspired and confident to tackle your next psychological project. This webinar was AWESOME!!! I just finished a thriller and now as a result of listening to Steve Desmond, I am ready to do a re-write which I believe will be one of the best screenplays I have ever written. Let's see what happens! - Michelle C. What a thrilling and insightful webinar, excellent!! - Kathleen W. Super helpful information that you don't find in books! - Pamela C. Very useful information - well structured and clearly presented! - Sara C.
Whether you’re leading the creative charge as a screenwriter, in the trenches a director or cinematographer, behind the scenes as a crew member, or in front of the camera as an actor being great at what you do is only part of your job. We at Stage 32 preach that 50% of your job is excelling at your craft, the other 50% is networking and understanding how the industry works. It's simply undeniable, those who commit to treating their networking and relationship building as their job and keep on top of what's happening in the industry land more meetings with decision makers who can make an impact on their career. But the goal is not just to get into the room, it's to stay in the room. And that means you need to know how to be good in the room. And with more and more meetings going virtual and online, you must know how to prepare and have the skills ready for those situations as well. General meetings are the first line of offense and defense for decision makers. As you know, most people in this industry - whether working in film, television or digital - want to find creatives and professionals they can go to war with time and time again. Their tribe. To become part of someone's tribe (and eventually form one of your own), you have to know how to nail the general meeting. It is crucial that you understand how to prepare. You must know who you're meeting with, what to wear, proper etiquette, the story of your project, the story of your personal brand (such an overlooked art), and know your pitch inside and out. Ultimately, you want to turn this general meeting into something much greater or assure that you're receiving a callback meeting. Their are many tried and true tricks for getting this done and we're going to bring them to you. Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Management is one of the most revered managers working in the industry today. Jeff was recently named been named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Management. Prior to joining Bellevue, Jeff worked at Creative Artists Agency, The Gotham Group, Resolution Talent Agency and Heretic Literary Management. Along the way he has sold and set up projects to New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, FOX, Screen Gems, Warner Bros. and more. Jeff has been on both sides of the table for hundreds of general meetings and has learned exactly what makes a meeting successful and where many go south – and he’s here to share the do's and don'ts with you, the Stage 32 community Jeff will teach you how to assure that you perform in your general meeting in a manner that makes you memorable. He will discuss everything from attire to how to carry yourself to how to make eye contact. He'll teach you how to prepare your pitch and convey it with the right amount of passion, charisma and energy. He’ll give you important guidelines on how and when you should talk in the conversation and help you understand if you’re talking too much or sending the wrong message. You’ll learn how to get notes from the other side of the table and how you should receive and respond to them. You will know the best way to pitch “you” and your brand so you stand out from other people taking general meetings with the same party. Jeff will teach you how to do research on the people and the company you are meeting with and how to use that information to your advantage (and not be creepy about it!) He will make you understand why the assistant and support staff can ultimately be your best ally. Finally, Jeff will go over the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in your career – from studios, production companies, managers, agents and networks and explain the differences so you’ll be fully prepared. "A wealth of information. Gave me a lot of things to think about - especially with the tips on reading the room. Your description of how to pitch myself and my story were game-changers. Off to practice now." - Sonia H. "What fabulous advice, Jeff, thank you!" - Greg M. "Yep, now I know why I haven't been securing a second meeting. I have seen the light and the err of my ways." - Veronica G "The dress code discussion was very helpful, I never knew what I should wear and now I do!" - John S.
Love it or hate it, the power of social media is undeniable. Harnessing the power of social media is one of the great secret weapons many producers, filmmakers, screenwriters and other creatives and professionals use to draw attention to and market their films. Learning how to correctly use social media can not only win you an audience for your film or project, it can also get you much desired attention from managers, agents, sales agents, distributors and other people of influence who can help you get your film seen and move the needle on your creative and professional career. And the greatest thing about social media? It's free. It won't impact your budget in the slightest, yet the return on your time investment can be greater than any money you can spend. But you have to know how to navigate the landscape. Make no mistake, you need this important tool in your arsenal and we'll show you how to wield its power. There is nothing more valuable than a large enthusiastic and vocal audience of supporters. Having people champion you and your film carries with it social proof. The more people who spread the word and the more advocates they can recruit, the more marketing and promotional power you have. This is why studios spend millions of marketing dollars on social media. But you can get the same results without spending a dime. And in this day and age, social proof is valued almost as much as IP. It brings you and your project heat. It says to managers, agents, sales agents, distributors, producers, financiers and other executives and decision makers that you have something worth paying attention to. Something of value. Something they need to see. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy, social media, and integrated marketing. Recently, she launched the Digital Marketing Team for the Day and Date Film Division - Lionsgate Premiere. She's worked on a wide range of films from limited theatrical, VOD, independent, and home entertainment releases. Jennifers has worked with mini and major studios such as: Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. She has designed and run film social media campaigns that have gone viral and have drawn millions of eyeballs. Jennifer will take you through all the reasons you need social media for your film, from SEO purposes, to driving an audience, to giving you the opportunity to tell your story and the story of your film to a mass audience. She will teach you which social media platforms are the right fit for your film and will give you the best return on your time investment. She will teach you about messaging and how to stay on point. She will discuss different types of media and how to utilize each to maximize your exposure and return engagement on each platform. If you are thinking about hiring someone to handle your social media, Jennifer will show you what to look for in a hire. She will take you through various campaigns and tactics, bartering, cross promoting and enlisting your cast and crew to get involved. She will take away your anxiety of the time commitment you may believe social media involves by showing you various social timing and simple graphic design programs. And to make it all easier, Jennifer will present some case studies designed to spark ideas and remove your fears. "Ok, I took this because I HATE social media. Now I see that I allowed that concept to fester and grow irrationally. Jennifer presented this information in a way that made an optimist out of this skeptic. I'm not even going to dip my toe in, I'm diving in head first." - Maria N "Masterful." - Anthony C. "As comprehensive as it gets." - Martina J. "Social is littered with abandoned film accounts. I have always had success promoting my films on social media because I make sure to post great content and to be engaging. But, wow, there is SO much I was missing out on. So many things I did not know, overlooked, or simply didn't consider. Jennifer had me scribbling pages of notes. My mind is spinning. Can't wait to put all this information into practice." - Laura D.
Learn directly from Shaun O’Banion, an award-winning independent producer! As a producer, post-production is a part of the process you’re rarely involved in from day-to-day, and yet it is one of the most integral parts of the filmmaking process (if not the most important). A lot of questions can be asked from a filmmaker like how to shape the film, how to define roles in post, what to do with VFX, how to handle the footage you have and ultimately how to develop a great film after it’s been shot. It’s not easy to do and it takes a lot of practice and experience to perfect. We will discuss the pieces that make up the whole, from assessing the relationships in the edit suite, to bringing all of the elements together and how it all happens. From the technical to the emotional, this webinar will attempt to demystify the process in a way for you to easily understand what to do to “find the film” in post. Post Production: Finding the Film is presented by 20 year industry veteran, Shaun O’Banion, who has worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Judd Apatow and Peter Hedges. He has won numerous awards for his films, including the prestigious IFP GOTHAM Award for GIRLFRIEND.