Mike Flavin is the Director of Development for Supergravity Pictures. A graduate of Columbia College, Chicago, Michael started his career at Spyglass Entertainment (The Sixth Sense) and BenderSpink (American Pie) before taking on his first position as a manager trainee at The Gotham Group (The Maze Runner). From there, Michael transitioned to State Street Pictures (Barbershop Series) where he was involved with Sony/CBS Films' release Faster starring Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, as well Sundance Film Festival entrant The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete which starred Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Hudson and screened at the White House. While at State Street, Michael also helped shepherd the project Guru, a bio-pic on Del Close, the modern master of improvisational theater, as well as the Untitled Talent Show Project which is set up at Universal Studios with George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious) directing and Duane Adler (Step Up) writing. He went on to become the Director of Development for financier Cider Mill Pictures. Full Bio »
Hollywood has found itself looking inward at the plummeting returns from the "Blockbuster Months". Why did a relatively "starless" movie like Guardians of the Galaxy print money, while Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow flopped? Why would seemingly well known Intellectual Property like Peabody and Sherman tank while another brand, Lego, do so well? (besides the world's obvious affinity for Chris Pratt!)
The answer lies in one confirmed fact about the movie industry: you never, ever know what will be a hit and what won't. BUT, in saying that, there is a way in which you can give your project the absolute best chance of success by looking analytically at successful films from the past and implementing these dynamics into your project.
If you've seen the film, Moneyball, you'll remember Jonah Hill's character found a way to statistically determine the best odds for his team's sucess. Our webinar host, Mike Flavin, has been able to analytically and statistically apply a method to do the same for a script or film - and he's found success as a Director of Development by doing just that. Join Mike as he teaches you his methodology to apply components in a script that make it more sellable.
In this webinar, we will break down several successful movies in a number of genres and draw statistical conclusions on what made them so successful. It's the Moneyball-ization of Hollywood; let's play the house against itself!
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Outlining isn’t for everyone. But if you find yourself struggling with where to begin, or getting stuck in the middle of a draft, or if the concept of writing a full screenplay just feels too daunting, then an effective outline can help make the process easier. An outline helps you to dive into your story before you begin writing, so that you can craft a plan for turning your vision into a reality. If your screenplay is a house, the outline is the architectural blueprint. Mastering outlining can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. It happens to everyone: You have an idea that you’re passionate about and leap into writing page one. But eventually, that initial spark wears off and it’s a struggle to figure out what to write next. Outlining is a great way to curate your ideas into a game plan so you can hold on to that spark. But in order to have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Steve Desmond is a WGA screenwriter whose screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times in the past five years, including in 2020 with his latest script, The Saturday Night Ghost Club. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar nominated producer attached. FilmNation (Arrival, The King’s Speech) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World. He’s also been hired to work on projects for Legendary Pictures, Sony, Blumhouse, and Mandalay, amongst others. In honing his craft as a writer, Steve has leaned heavily on the art of outlining and has used it to find success for his work. Steve will provide tips and best practices for outlining to help you better prepare for writing your script and zero in on your project’s story and structure. He’ll explain the positives and negatives of outlining and how to find the outlining approach that’s best for you. He’ll also discuss how best to research and the benefits of creating a notes document. Steve will delve into ironing out your premise, focusing in on theme and tone, and building out characters. He will talk about three act structure and his own “build the bridge” method for outlining. Finally he’ll discuss next steps after you finish your first go at the outline. Expect to leave with strategies and ideas you can take back with you to better organize and attack your own script. Praise for Steve's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "This was fantastic. Steve offered so much insight, dozens of little nuggets that rang true or gave me pause to think of something I'd never considered before."-Ed K. "Perfectly laid out, clear and concise material taught by a genial host!"-George P. "Steve was fantastic. His examples and insights were on point. Thanks!"-Adam H. "I made 3 pages of notes; good pertinent topics with simple fundamental answers presented. Very helpful, worth the time and fee."-Thomas W.
Taught by 25+ year producer (GOOD WILL HUNTING, AMERICAN PIE, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), director (KILL THEORY, THE PEOPLE SPEAK) and Project Greenlight Co-Founder, Chris Moore. "I chose to teach at Stage 32 over Masterclass because I believe in their mission. Their education isn't storytelling hour or dated material, it's exclusively about offering practical, actionable, and motivational information on what's happening in the industry right now. This is going to be a fun, but honest 2-part class that will help you navigate the business today." - Chris Moore With so many variables in today’s entertainment industry how do you know the steps to not only give yourself the best chance of breaking in, but also the guidelines on how to sustain a high profile and highly successful career? What if you were able to have a legendary industry veteran look at your current trajectory and give you advice? Stage 32 is going to give you just that. Chris Moore has asked and answered these questions over a remarkable and diverse 25+ year career in entertainment. As an award winning director and producer of over 30 projects such as Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, American Pie and Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea Chris has seen and experienced just about everything. And as the co-creator of the wildly successful Project Greenlight, Live Planet (both with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Sean Bailey) and The Chair, Chris has made mentoring and teaching creatives serious about a life in entertainment his mission. Chris is here exclusively on Stage 32 to shed a light on the big picture questions that you should be focusing on. Session 1 How to Learn from Your Successes and Failures & Stay Focused on the Career you Desire - Chris will walk through tangible, actionable advice you can walk away with and apply to your own projects and/or jobs. He will provide an overview of the different paths and the resources that can help you reach your goals. ***In this on demand class, Chris will no longer be reviewing loglines and synopsis from students. Session 2 Evaluating & Learning Why and How You Choose the Next Move to Make - Chris will go over a select number of submissions that students have submitted from the first session. He’ll go over, in detail, an analysis of the situation and provide real-time, actionable information to help you better understand how to navigate your next steps. We’ll do our best to chose examples that apply to multiple levels in the industry so you can apply it to your own career.
This week, Jason speaks with producer Natalie Qasabian, who has forged a successful career producing independent films which have had tremendous commercial success! Natalie began her career producing three films for the indie film duo the Duplass Brothers, including Duck Butter directed by Miguel Arteta, Natalie went on to produce All About Nina starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common. Later, Natalie produced Searching, a thriller starring John Cho and Debra Messing which was acquired by Sony at Sundance in 2018 and went on to gross $75M at the box office! Currently she's producing Run, starring Sarah Paulson for Lionsgate as well as the sequel to Searching for Sony. Natalie talks about starting her career as a Line Producer and Production Manager, and how that allowed her to make independent films for a modest budget. Natalie shares her insights on the effectiveness of proof of concept videos, how first-time filmmakers can attract financing, and the inside story of how she sold Searching to Sony at Sundance!
Literary Manager Jon Hersh has read thousands – yes, thousands – of screenplays in his career. Starting at CAA he was a story analyst covering screenplays, manuscripts books and television pilots, which helped him get a crash course on effective structure for a project. He moved on to be a development executive at Broad Green Pictures and helped develop feature material for their slate. Being around so much material Jon learned one thing – you MUST have solid screenplay structure to get past development and get your project greenlit. In this exclusive webinar Jon is going to show examples and break down beat by beat what needs to be in your outline, plus go in detail on the 13 steps you need to follow to nail your screenplay structure. ***This webinar is a reduced price because 10 minutes of Q&A are not captured on audio***
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 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.
Hollywood is overwhelming for anyone trying to break in. The politics are difficult to track, the gatekeepers are challenging to get past, and there’s no clear blueprint for how to “make it.” It’s hard to know where to start, how to make inroads, and how to build a career. And these challenges can feel even steeper for those trying to transition to a creative career from a different industry or later in life. This doesn’t need to be the case. With a strong understanding of the industry and the right tools, this transition is absolutely achievable. Because, no matter what anyone tells you, this industry doesn't have an expiration age for people trying to break in. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you’ll see how your unique life experiences can inform your creative work so that your age actually works in your favor and makes you an asset in this industry. Frank Stiefel began making films at age 63 and then won an Academy Award at age 70. Formerly a TV commercial executive in New York, Frank decided later in life to pursue filmmaking. His directorial debut, the documentary short INGELORE, played in national festivals and was later broadcast on HBO. His film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 went on to win the Jury and Audience prizes at the Austin Film Festival and earned Frank the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Frank has found incredible success transitioning to a creative career later in life and is excited to reveal what he’s learned on his journey exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Using his own story and path to success, Frank will discuss how he made the jump to filmmaking later in life, what he learned along the journey, and what lessons you can take along with you as you make your own transition. Frank will use his first short film INGELORE as a case study to explain how to do research and take notes in the trenches. He’ll give you ideas of how to make something of your own on the cheap and what resources are available to you. Frank also helps you prepare to transition to a new creative career. He’ll go over questions you should ask yourself before making the switch and how to form your plan. He will talk about how to better afford the transition and other advice you should consider before making the leap. He’ll also explain the most important thing he learned while making the transition. Frank will then use HEAVEN as an example to demonstrate how you can use your unique personal background to inform your project and take criticism along the way. Frank will also discuss what he’s learned from his multiple festival runs and how he’s used it to win an Oscar, and what comes next after winning. Finally, Frank will break down how to make your own age and experience work in your favor while breaking in. Finding success in Hollywood is difficult, but Frank has done so by carving his own path. He will give you perspective, inspiration, and strategies so that you can do the same. Praise for Frank's Stage 32 Webinar "Extremely inspirational. Great words of wisdom for mature people who want to break into the business." - Karen B. "It was awesome and encouraging to have Frank Stiefel talk to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s that its never too late. Thank you Stage 32 for bringing this programming." - Ann K. "I thought the candor with which Frank spoke was amazing." -Kerry B. "Perfect seminar. I shy away from signing up for these when it's someone who is just 'in the biz.' Frank had a very real take on how to be successful in the industry and I appreciated that. Dedicated filmmaker with years of experience in other aspects of art and storytelling. It made for a very engaging and emotional webinar." - Anthony N.