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. Full Bio »
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.
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!
You may be surprised by JUST how many successful filmmakers today began their career by writing short films. Everyone from Christopher Nolan to Ryan Coogler to Chloe Zhao to Justin Lin have short film writing credits to their name and used those projects to springboard their career. This is how new and untested creatives can prove their mettle, get their name out there and actually get their foot in the door. And you can do this as well. Whether you’re building up your filmmaking career, itching to write the next festival darling or award-worthy short film, or just love the short form format, you too, can master the art of short film writing. There are many reasons and inspirations for writing a short, but shorter doesn’t mean easier to write. One of the great challenges is that many people go into writing a short with the mindset of creating a proof of concept for a feature. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, this mindset tends to encourage a few logical fallacies, and in a strange way actually devalues the work. Short films require a fine balance of elegance and story economy. They require an innovative storytelling technique that usually takes years of practice and feedback to master. With the right guidance though, you’ll be able to master this in no time. Clay Liford is an award-winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose many shorts include the Sundance hit MY MOM SMOKES WEED. His 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 writing and making both feature length and short films. He is also a film production instructor at the University of Texas, who 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 take you through his proven and effective approach to writing an effective short films that get you noticed and advance your career. He’ll go over the REAL differences between shorts and features, what every short film needs to succeed, how to think like a director (even if you’re not one), and how to maximize your festival strategy. Most importantly, he’s going to introduce you to the concept of Iconography. You’ll have the opportunity to ask him questions, and by the end of this webinar, you’ll fall in love with this format and walk away with a new perspective and appreciation for the short film format. Clay's guidance will give you confidence to develop your short film and help you succeed in the short film market. PLUS! Clay provides you with the following handouts: Overview of How to Write a Short Film - Things to Consider & What to Watch Out For Story Structure Diagram Breakdown of Film Roles on a Set Elements of a Lookbook Duties of a Director Suggested Reading List Testimonials for Clay's Webinar: "Clay had great energy and pace. He was able to explain things in different ways and with excellent examples." -Magi A. "Clay didn't sugar coat anything - keeping the short within a tight budget and length is smart strategy & practical. I appreciated his honesty." - Shaan D.
Your pitch deck is the most important tool in your initial stage of obtaining financing for your script. A pitch deck is also used as an aid to attaching an actor or director you are interested in. As a tool, your deck is the first impression of your film condensed so the investor can become familiar with your project and determine if this is an opportunity for them. To close the deal or at least garner meaningful consideration and interest, your pitch deck has to stand out. It has to not only tell the story of your project, why it should be attractive to talent, and what the true potential audience may be, but, most importantly, it needs to show a true and realistic path to profitability. And this is where so many decks fail. Sure, you want to paint a rosy picture with your investor pitch deck. But here's the thing, most investors who have put money into films before know BS from reality. They will know if you are overshooting your estimates (an extremely common tactic), whether your film comps are ridiculous (they almost always are) and if you're exaggerating who your potential audience will be (nearly always the case). A great investor pitch deck is filled with equal parts optimism and reality. Sure, every investor wants to dream of unbelievable riches and success, but what truly makes them open their wallets is believing in the team, the project, and being presented a realistic worldview as to the potential return on their investment. Michelle Alexandria knows a thing or two about raising money. As a producer and Head of International Sales and Acquisitions for Glasshouse Distribution, Michelle has raised or assisted in raising funds for dozens of films and other projects. She has personally worked on 25 feature films $6MM and under and 3 television projects in various capacities including producing, line producing and executive producing. Michelle has spoken on the topic of raising financing at the Cannes Producers Network and other prominent film festivals and markets including MipCom, Berlin, Buenos Aires, UniFrance, Sundance, and AFM. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice actionable, and now she's here to deliver the goods exclusively on Stage 32. Michelle will teach you how to create an investor pitch deck that doesn't have that same dusty feeling of so many decks and which fits the current climate of raising funds. She will show you what elements truly matter for an investor and which you can leave out of your deck entirely. She will discuss the value (or lack thereof) of artwork and posters. Additionally, she'll dive into loglines and synopsis to assure that you are giving your potential investors the true vision of the project. She will teach you how to put together a realistic cast list and film comps. She will discuss budgets, scheduling and how to incorporate those elements into your deck. She will talk to you about putting together the right team and how those team members can send the right or wrong signal. As an added bonus, Michelle will share examples of pitches decks that have helped secure millions in financing! "Clear, concise, and brilliant." - Mario D. "No BS, straight to the point information. Loved every second." - Patricia H. "I have a deck for my film. It's going in the garbage. I will be starting over tomorrow with this wealth of information flowing in my head. Remarkable job, Michelle!" - Phil M. "Sure, everyone wants Leo or George in their films. Sure, everyone thinks their film is the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding or some other independent blockbuster. Sure, everyone believes that they have THE idea that is going to get them the money. Michelle just gave me the map as to HOW to get the money by being REAL. I can't wait to get started and to bounce ideas off my team. This was so much fun. Thank you!" - Denise P.
Learn directly from the Director of Development for Ryan Reynolds' Dark Trick Films! Creating an independent film from scratch is daunting, but immensely rewarding, and can be done with any level of resources. Films under $1MM are especially a sweet spot for many independent filmmakers but certainly come with their sets of challenges. Stage 32 is excited to bring in the development executive for Ryan Reynold's production company Dark Trick Films & TV, Blake Goza, who has spent the last 7 years working projects such as Deadpool, Buried, The Change Up and RIPD. Even though Blake works on some of the most popular films & television of today, it's his personal project - a film entitled Escort - which he made independently for under $1MM that fuels his passion for being a creative. With this webinar, Blake will give you a producer’s perspective on building an independently financed movie, from start to finish, for under one million dollars. Using The Escort as a case study, he will walk you through each stage of the independent process: finding a script, packaging talent, determining a budget, acquiring financing, shooting, post production, and ultimately, distribution. Blake will discuss process specifics, like his decision to attach a sales agent in the early stages of development; what financing options he prefers - the benefits and risks of private equity versus foreign pre-sales; what talent he chose to attach first – the argument for finding your director before making offers to actors; and how to build a release strategy for your film that allows for success as you define it – whether your goal is critical acclaim, commercial exposure, or financial reward, begin with the end in mind, and build a platform that allows you to achieve that goal. If you’ve wanted to produce a film outside of the studio system on a responsible budget, then this class if for you!
Kate provides you a downloadable list of of management companies! If you’re an aspiring writer, a good literary manager is often a vital ingredient for your success and continuing career. They’re with you on every step of your journey. They give you notes on your projects, help you strategize and prioritize, keep you motivated, and get you in front of execs, producers, and other players to get that next job. It’s a crucial and ongoing relationship that can make or break your career. The manager/client relationship is an intimate and important one that should be based on trust and communication, as well as on personalities. Because of this, it’s worth taking the time to think about what kind of working relationship you want to have with your rep. Managers and by extension management companies have different strengths and approaches to working with clients. From the bigger players like Anonymous Content, 3 Arts and Circle of Confusion, to the more boutique companies like Bellevue Productions, MXN Entertainment, and Lit Entertainment, each manager or management company has a different working philosophy and mandate for building a client’s career—from development to career strategy to producing policies to staffing and more. Understanding these differences and knowing what to be aware of and what questions to ask when looking for representation is essential. Kate Sharp is a producer and literary manager at Bellevue Productions. Prior to joining Bellevue, Kate was the VP of Development and Production at Occupant Entertainment, producing short-form content for Showtime, MTV, Verizon, Facebook, and U2, and was an Executive Producer on the Hulu original, Emmy-nominated TV series BEHIND THE MASK. Her film credits include PEEP WORLD, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, MADAME BOVARY and THE HALLOW. Kate is currently producing THE BURNING SEASON (recipient of a Film Independent Producing Fellowship, a 2016 Tribeca Sloan grant, a 2018 Fast Track Sloan grant, a 2015 Athena List winner and on the 2016 Black List), as well as AT RISK (recipient of a Film Independent Writing Fellowship and on the 2018 Black List). Kate’s extensive experience as a manager, producer, and executive of projects big and small has made her an expert on representation, and she’s excited to share her expertise exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Kate will start with the basics of the management landscape, describing the role of a literary manager and illustrating what a good manager/client relationship could look like. She’ll go over the different approaches managers have when working with clients and teach you the major players and the different types of management companies, including the larger companies, and the smaller more boutique ones. She’ll then delve into how a writer should pick a manger by helping you understand what personal needs and wants you should consider when looking, what questions you should ask during the interview process, and what red flags you should be aware of when meeting with potential managers. Next, Kate will go over the relationship between managing and producing and what goes into a manager producing your project. She’ll talk about what you should consider when talking to your manager about serving as a producer. Finally Kate will delve into the ins and outs of a beneficial manager/client relationship, including how to get the ball rolling once you sign, how to work well with them day-to-day, week-to-week, and what expectations you should both have for each other. Kate will leave you with an understanding of the literary representation landscape and a clear idea of what to consider and what questions to ask when finding your own manager. Praise for Kate's Stage 32 Webinar "Kate was fantastic, clear and succinct about what she's looking for, what she's not looking for and a general overview of what managers do." -Gail B. " Kate Sharp was incredible. She laid out the road map for where a screenwriter goes after completing screenplays. She made it clear on what to look for in a manager and how it differs from having an agent. She's a great instructor, and also looks like a very special person to have as a manager, who loves what she does and would be a great partner for a writer! Thank you for sharing her gifts with us!" -Ricki L. "The information was straightforward and practical. I made loads of notes to go back over. Thanks!" -Gillian R. "BRAVO, KATE!!! She provided a wonderful presentation fueled by stellar "real world" facts and scenarios." -Bill B.
This was by far the best webinar on pitch documents that I have experienced. I've seen others where they give certain advice that she warned not to do! - Tiffany C. This is the age of peak TV and you have an incredible, original idea for a show! You have it all planned out: the setting, the characters, what the show will be about... maybe you've even written the pilot script. Now it's time to pitch! Perhaps you have a meeting with a manager or a producer, or someone is already interested in your idea and has asked you to send some "pages." Or you've signed up for a Stage 32 pitch session with the perfect exec who's looking for a show just like yours. You will learn how to write a professional pitch document that can serve as the outline for your in-person pitch to a manager, producer or studio executive, or be sent after your meeting - using the template and requirements the big agencies and studios use. You will also learn how to translate that into a shorter version for Stage 32 pitch sessions, contests, or just to be able to briefly pitch your idea as you're networking. PLUS! Anna will include these handouts for you to download: Stranger Things Pitch Document New Girl Pitch Document New Girl Short Pitch Document Example Lookbook Example This was my first Stage32 webinar, and it exceeded my expectations, both in terms of quality (and quantity) of information and overall value. Anna was personable, knowledgeable, and organized. The slide deck was helpful, and her overall presentation hit all the key topics. Anna and Stage3 2 delivered the goods. - John R. What a thoughtful, thorough and inspiring webinar. It's clear that Anna Henry put an enormous amount of work into this presentation. Not only was the content there, but the structure was also superb. I feel educated and inspired to go back to my own work and do better than what I thought was my best. What could possibly be better than that! Thank you Anna for your genius and your generosity. - Crispin L. See more testimonials below!
Learn directly from Franco Sama, 15-year expert of film financing and distribution with 25+ successful independent feature films to his name, including Guns, Girls and Gambling (Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook) and Petunia (Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti)! As a filmmaker you may find yourself at the mercy of distributors and the existing archaic, chaotic convoluted distribution system(s) that ultimately ends up costing the you profits and, more importantly, creative and financial control of your project. With many new options becoming available for your project to be seen, self-distribution is becoming an increasingly beneficial option. In this webinar we go over the self-distribution model of limited theatrical and limited platform release. We've brought in 15-year financing and producing expert Franco Sama to draw on his experience with over 25 successful indie films in which he has secured distribution. Franco will teach you step-by-step how to release your film in multiple theaters across multiple cities throughout the Unites States. Plus, he will take it a step further and show you exactly how to incorporate the release into your business plan as part of your development process so you can benefit your investors and increase your film’s international value. You will leave this webinar armed with knowledge and ready to self-distribute your film via limited theatrical or platform release.