James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold. Full Bio »
With the runaway success of breakout international television shows like HBO Max’s GOMORRAH and Netflix’s MONEY HEIST and LUPIN, US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. Whether in the guise of formats (established foreign shows adapted to air domestically) or direct buys from writers and producers, companies have finally realized that importing talent is good creative business. This means there has never been a better opportunity for writers outside of America to find success and interested buyers stateside, especially if you can write something that fits American sensibilities.
It’s clear that writers from abroad bring fresh ideas and unique perspectives that reinvigorate the film and television. Yet they still need to adapt their sensibilities to make them successful across the pond—NBC’s adaptation of BBC’s THE OFFICE, for instance, didn’t find its footing until it took the core of its uniquely British perspective and polished it to reflect the unique politics of the American workplace. This same adjustment can be made for your own project, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like. So what are American sensibilities? What makes a show more relatable to American viewers and what can you do as a writer to make sure American decisionmakers will see value in your film or series?
James Crawford is Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. While working at Cartel Entertainment, he developed formats from the Brazilian network Globo for the American market. He has taught at screenwriting retreats in France and worked for the Australian Film Commission (now called Screen Australia.) A man of the world, James also holds Estonian citizenship. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with working with foreign writers to get their projects seen and sold.
James will teach you how to make your series idea salable in the US market. This doesn’t mean selling out, but rather translating your unique voice so that it’s better heard by American producers and development executives. Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received? As we answer these, you will better understand how to adapt the cultural issues that are important in your home country and make them resonate abroad.
Praise for James's Previous Stage 32 Webinars:
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Like it or not, the film and television industry is and will always be a business. It may produce stunning works of art and lead to social and cultural impacts, but it still comes down to the bottom line. That means that as a writer, unless your name is Christopher Nolan, you’re going to have to deal with more constraints that just the words on a page in order to make your vision a reality. You’ll need to convince a producer that the script can be made and can be made with the money available. And, if you’re a filmmaker or producer, you’ll need to understand how much of the budget is going to each page in order to make your film profitable. In order to do this, it’s important to understand how to read scripts from a cost perspective and what stands out to them as red flags or unnecessary challenges. Considering this throughout the writing and development process rather than being caught off guard after a script is fully written can be invaluable. It can be frustrating to have limitations get in the way of your creative expression, to be told that the world and story in your head can’t be made because of financial constraints. It can feel like selling out to alter your script in order to fit a financier’s budget. This doesn’t have to be the case, though—you don’t have to sacrifice your narrative in service of the bottom line. Instead, there are ways to meld your creativity with some financial savvy and learn to think about how story, character, and structure translate into dollars on the page. So before you write that ambitious live action space opera, the one on the rain planet with children and exotic animals, join producer James Crawford and learn how a producer thinks and breaks down pages.This will give you a leg up on the competition when trying to get your script made. James Crawford is the Head of Development for Fireside Pictures. Prior to joining Fireside Pictures, James was the Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, where he developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series at Engage, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment,James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced film or series. James will provide you with an understanding of the unforeseen costs that go into producing a script. He’ll begin by going over what it generally means to think like a producer in the first place. He’ll then delve into the specific financial challenges that come with genre and ‘genre-ish’ projects and how you can prepare yourself for these issues. James will break down the seven main types of producers on a project and what each one does. James will focus on the relationship between the producer and the line producer, a critical partnership for finding the resources to keeping your vision. James will then give you a full breakdown of what costs could go into every single page of your script, from above-the-line and below-the-line talent to locations, production design, and small things you might not have ever considered before that can seriously add up. To illustrate this, James will provide you with a case study of a real scene of a real shooting script, illustrating line-by-line where the costs lie in the script. Finally, James will teach you 10 strategies you can use if you’re starting to go over-budget. You will leave with a firmer understanding of how your script will translate to costs, and clear strategies to keep your vision while going easier on the budget. Praise for James’s Webinar: James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B. “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C. Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W. “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with mistletoe, tinsel, sleigh rides, and, of course, a boatload of new Christmas movies. Indeed, for millions of families across America and the world, appetite is high for new Christmas-themed content. Hallmark alone is premiering 80 (!!) new Christmas movies this holiday season. That’s on top of the 90 they produced last year. And Hallmark isn’t the only player in the Christmas movie game. Many other networks and streamers have entered this space like Netflix, Hulu, Lifetime, Freeform, and BET, to name a few. With so many networks and streaming platforms hungry for Christmas content, there has never been a better time for writers and producers to bring their own Christmas story to the screen. If you want to write or produce your own Christmas film, there are a lot of opportunities available to you, but you first need to understand what this space is currently looking like and how you can best fit in. Who’s buying and selling? What makes a Christmas themed script successful and how can you best produce and assemble your film to make it marketable, unique, and exciting? Better understanding the context and current landscape can give your own Yule tide project the success you’re looking for. James Crawford is a producer and development executive currently at Fireside Pictures with several holiday titles—and several dozen other pitched projects—under his belt. While at Engage Entertainment, James developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment, James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced holiday film. James will teach you how to write and produce a successful Christmas movie in today’s industry. He’ll begin by going over the market and explaining who is buying and selling. He’ll also outline what stories are popular right now. He’ll then delve into tips for writing an effective Christmas movie, both TV movies and films. He’ll discuss aspects like screenplay format, plotting and structure, themes to lean into and avoid, diversity, characters, and what the holiday film essentials are. Next James will go over how to produce a Christmas movie. He’ll talk about what a successful budget range should be and when to start pitching. He’ll explain how to cast your movie for success and where to spend your money in production. Finally he will go over distribution options for your holiday film and whether it can sell outside of the US. If you’ve always wanted to make your own Christmas movie or have a story that you think could work within the holiday market, let James give you the lowdown you need to take the next steps toward holly jolly success. Praise for James's Past Stage 32 Webinar "James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable." --Stephen B. “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” --Imo C. "Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching." --Helena W. “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” --Dave M.
One of the weakest elements in screenwriting is story momentum. Without story momentum, pacing drags, plots lose focus, second acts die, and story climaxes are – anticlimactic. Achieving story momentum is not addressed often enough in screenwriting classes. Nor is the direct correlation between dramatic tension and the cause and effect elements needed to link scenes and scene sequences. This relationship is the cornerstone of achieving dramatic tension and mastering story momentum. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Max Adams, a 20-year working screenwriter and acclaimed author who has worked with Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures, will explain why linear plotting fails and will give you practical tools and techniques you can immediately apply to you writing. You will leave this webinar knowing how to fix story holes, correct pacing, create driving story engines and achieve rising story momentum to maintain a feature film script straight through to a riveting story climax! PRAISE FOR MAX'S TEACHINGS: “I’ve taken all of Max’s classes and quite simply, her focused methods and attention to detail blow every other screenwriting class out of the water.” ~ Jules Howe, Best Comedy Screenplay, Austin Film Festival “If you want someone to challenge you to dive deep and pull the BEST out of yourself, Max is that whip-smart coach, teacher, and mentor.” ~ Ana Maria Montoya, Winner Sundance Latino Screenwriting Project “Max Adams is one of the most knowledgeable and talented people in screenwriting that I know, all writers need to hear what Max Adams has to say.” ~ Kerry Valderrama, Winner, Best Director, Independent Television & Film Festival “Max Adams is the kind of smart, engaging teacher that made me want to be a better writer — and she helped me do it.” ~ Alvaro Rodriguez, writer - Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
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.
Only 6 Spots Left! Develop, perfect and practice your television series pitch with Emmy-nominated showrunner Todd Slavkin, the showrunner on hit series including SMALLVILLE, SHADOWHUNTERS, MELROSE PLACE 2.0, and most recently THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY! ***Flexible Learning: if you cannot attend any of the sessions live don't worry - you will be sent the links to the recordings of each session within 48 hours of the live session and you will have direct access to Todd on email to ask him any questions about your craft or career so you can keep up at your own pace and schedule.*** Payment plans available - contact email@example.com for details Pitching is an art and a business. If you want to successfully pitch and sell your television series, you not only need to create a standout show, but you need to build a world-class pitch and hone your pitching skills in order to seize the day and win the room. Everything from the structure of your pitch and the visuals in your pitch deck to your tone, voice, body language, and demeanor in the room (or on zoom) is crucial in having a successful pitch. In this interactive Stage 32 8-week pitching lab, you will work directly with veteran television/film writer and top showrunner Todd Slavkin to develop every aspect of your pitch and, ultimately, pitch your project to Todd to receive professional-level feedback on your work. Todd will teach you the art and craft of pitching and selling your television project to producers, studios and networks/streamers while you build your market ready pitch so you are armed for success. Todd's experiences showrunning series for Disney, The CW, ABC, and more have provided him with an arsenal of showrunning tools that he will share with you to prepare you and your pitch for the marketplace. Todd has worked in all different kinds of genres and has been involved with many popular television shows, including SMALLVILLE, SHADOWHUNTERS and most recently THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, for which he was nominated for two Emmys. He has written pilots for ABC, NBC, FOX, FREEFORM and The CW, where he developed and was the showrunner of MELROSE PLACE 2.0. Other television credits include NO ORDINARY FAMILY, ALPHAS, DEFIANCE, DOMINION and GUILT. He began his career in features, penning DARK REFLECTION and CONTROL, starring Ray Liotta, Willem Dafoe and Michelle Rodriguez. Over 8 intensive, information-packed weeks, including a one-on-one consultation with Todd where you will work together on your pitch, you will actually craft the verbal and visual sales tools to successfully sell your project. You will delve into pitch structure, voice control, emotional intonation, the effective pause and even how to use sound effects. You will also build and learn how to best use a visual deck/lookbook. Some sessions will also include guests, mainly writers who have had success selling their pitches to major companies and outlets, as well as agents and managers, all sharing their own stories and tips for success. One-on-one time with an industry expert of this caliber is incredibly rare. You will walk away from this lab having built and practiced your TV series pitch with Todd so you can go out into the market and confidently sell your project! Praise For Todd's Teaching "Todd's experience and expertise shine through. If you've ever wanted to be a showrunner on a TV series then learn all you can from him." -- Rahime B. "I never realized how much fell on the showrunner before working with Todd. He's a fantastic educator!" -- Meg L. "You brought to the zoom screen the qualities I’m sure you excel at as a showrunner – humour, vulnerability, candidness, insight, patience, wisdom, respect, humility, confidence, inclusion. Each of these words have been selected specifically!" -- Jan R. "I just wanted to send a quick note to say THANK YOU for the wonderful showrunner class! The amount of information given in the 4 classes was incredible and you can tell by the stellar guest speakers that Todd you are truly admired for not only your work, but also for being a kind, thoughtful human :)" -- Sage P "Todd is an absolute angel! This was the most wonderful class I’ve ever taken! If we ever does another class, I’d love to join." -- Lauren M. "I loved Todd's class. Todd is so enthusiastic and informative, he has a true love of teaching. I would take future classes with him, no question. I really came away with an understanding of how showrunning works and the responsibilities and career paths." -- Allyson M.
For most writers and directors, securing representation represents a huge step forward in legitimizing the pursuit of their dreams. The right rep can help you make a living doing what you love - whether it's seeing actors speak your words on screen or managing a cast and crew and yelling "Action!" on set. It's a step that can get you one step closer to quitting your day job and concentrating on your creative career full time. Finding the right manager and/or agent will help you give you a member of your team responsible for helping you develop your creative voice or your distinguished eye, get you in the right doors to connect with the right opportunities, and to help you begin to get paid for your talent and effort. So, how and where do you find the right managers and agents? And, what makes you stand out among the thousands of creatives reaching out and vying for the attention of these representatives on a daily basis? For starters, there are many questions you need to ask yourself to make sure that you're prepared to be representation ready. Further, beyond putting the work into your craft, you need to do your research to assure you have the right knowledge to give you the best shot to stand out in an effort to secure a rep meeting. There's much work that needs to go into being a professional creative before you get your foot in the door. And, once you bust that door open and get the attention of a quality rep, there's an art to making sure that you are asking the right questions to assure that this rep is right for you and your career so that you can start working and keep working. Antonio D'Intinio is one of the hardest working managers in the industry that represents screenwriters and directors at Circle of Confusion. He began his career at the agency APA before joining Jeremy Platt at Plattform, where you helped manage Plattform's first look deal with Amazon Studios. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW. He strives for excellence in his clients, and that is mutually reciprocated making it a successful client-manager relationship. Antonio will teach you the best strategies to obtain representation as a screenwriter or director. You will learn what you need before you approach representation, how best to reach out to representation and most importantly what to do once you’ve obtained representation. Antonio will get down in the weeds to teach you what you must look for in terms of communication from your rep. What questions to ask to make sure you're making the right decision. What expectations your rep will likely put on you from time management to deadlines to the ability to receive and apply notes. You will learn how to achieve the ultimate goal with your rep, mutual respect and expectations. Antonio will demystify the representation landscape and give you the tools to have the confidence to approach potential reps with a clear understanding of what you're looking for, while understanding fully what they want in a client. No matter what stage of your career you're in - whether you're unrepped or looking to change representation - you will benefit from the INSIDER INSIGHTS Antionio shares in this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar! Praise For Antonio's Stage 32 Education: "The lowdown you've been waiting for. Great Insights! -Jean B "Antonio really took us behind the curtain with a no B.S. approach. A straight shooter that tells it like it is. Eyes wide open for me now." -Michael K. My goal was always to be repped. And I got my wish. And it went terrible. We weren't on the same page. I didn't know what to do. After watching Antonio's presentation, my last rep and I parted ways and I was able to secure a new manager. The change has been night and day. We work together for a common goal. Thank you, Antonio! - Steven L.