Jonathan Kesselman is an award-winning writer and director who has worked on projects for companies like Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, Funny or Die, WWE, Nintendo, and many more. His first feature film THE HEBREW HAMMER, starring Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer and Andy Dick, premiered at Sundance Film Festival before getting picked up by Comedy Central. THE HEBREW HAMMER has since become a holiday cult classic, voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine. His next film JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, starring Maz Jobrani, won both the Comedy Vanguard and Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival before being released on Showtime and Netflix. Jonathan recently co-created the short form comedy series GANDER, streaming exclusively on Tubi. Through his long and varied history in film and television, Jonathan is no stranger to film sets and how to best work within them. Full Bio »
Walking onto a film set for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming. Wires, lights, cameras. People everywhere. Places you should be. Places you shouldn’t. Times you need to be quiet, times you need to speak up. The film set is a place where everyone needs to know what they’re doing and where they’re going, and it’s a place where everyone will expect the same of you. Yet if you’ve never worked on a set like this before, that can be a tall order.
Whether you’re a PA on your first film, the director helming the production yourself, or anything in between, having a firm understanding of the expected etiquette on set—or “setiquette”—is crucial and lends itself to how much trust others will put on you. A film set might look like chaos from the outside, but it is often just the opposite—a well-oiled machine where everyone has a role and everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing. If you are unsure of your own role on set, you can very well stick out like a sore thumb and contribute to slowdowns and frustrations. On the other hand, if you are confident, competent, and helpful on set, people will notice, which will lead to new opportunities and a team who will want to work with you time and time again. This is why it’s so important to walk onto your first set with a good idea of how everything works.
Jonathan Kesselman is an award-winning writer and director who has worked on projects for companies like Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, Funny or Die, WWE, Nintendo, and many more. His first feature film THE HEBREW HAMMER, starring Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer and Andy Dick, premiered at Sundance Film Festival before getting picked up by Comedy Central. THE HEBREW HAMMER has since become a holiday cult classic, voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine. His next film JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, starring Maz Jobrani, won both the Comedy Vanguard and Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival before being released on Showtime and Netflix. Jonathan also wrote and directed second Unit for Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on the film BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK. He recently co-created the short form comedy series GANDER, streaming exclusively on Tubi. Through his long and varied history in film and television, Jonathan is no stranger to film sets and how to best work within them.
Jonathan will break down how a professional film or television set works and everything you should know before stepping on set for the very first time. He will give a snapshot of how a film set generally looks and run before going through all of the different departments on set and their relationship to the director. Jonathan will spend time delving into the role of the assistant director, the beating heart of the set and will then explain what a day on set generally looks like, including a schedule breakdown and how the workflow normally looks. Next he will go through the importance of blocking rehearsals, the art of slating, and how to read a call sheet and shooting schedule. Jonathan will teach you how to find success on your first set, including how to hold yourself so you’re called back again. He will also go over how to find success as a director, how to delegate, motivate, and empower, in addition to staying on schedule. Jonathan will then show you five common mistakes to avoid making on set. Finally he will give you tips on how to break in and get experience on set, including where to find opportunities and what roles you should be looking for.
"A film set can be a confusing and scary place, especially if it's your first time on one. I know how overwhelming it can feel, but I also know it's a lot more manageable if someone's able to walk you through it ahead of time. I've been on my fair share of film and TV sets and am excited to go through it with the Stage 32 community so you can leave feeling more confident."
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.
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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.
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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 Managing Attorney of the immigration firm D'Alessio Law Group, Lorraine D’Alessio! For freelance creatives like actors, directors, writers and producers, Hollywood is probably your Mecca. However, if you don’t already live there, or are not even a US citizen, how do you get there- and work there- legally? Unfortunately, the artistic community is often the target of immigration scams. It’s hard to know what information is valid and what is not. Many people spend hours researching work visas only to end up with the wrong type of visa for a creative career. Stage 32 is here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you! The more educated you are on the subject, the more empowered you will be in your career and in your life. Knowing how to find and secure the right work visa for you will get you one step closer to living your dream. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Lorraine D'Alessio, managing attorney of the immigration firm D'Alessio Law Group, will walk you through how to live and work legally in the US as a creative. She will educate you on the different visas that exist, go step-by-step through the O-1 "person of extraordinary ability" visa, suggest ways to build your career portfolio in order to strengthen your visa petition, alert you to the dos and don'ts at the border and most importantly, dispel the many myths and misinformation that exist on US visas. Lorraine D’Alessio’ combines her unique knowledge of the entertainment industry and immigration law to assist foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States and work in entertainment and entertainment related fields. Her practice is limited to immigration and nationality law and concentrates on temporary and permanent business and employment related visas for investors, artists, entertainers, musicians, actors, directors, producers and essential technical and creative personnel in the motion picture and television industries. Ms. D’Alessio routinely gives lectures throughout Canada on entertainment and investment immigration. Prior to her work in US immigration law, Ms. D’Alessio spent several years working as a Ford Model based in Toronto, Canada. She also worked globally as both an actress and business development consultant for international commercial campaigns including Snickers, Lipton, and Volkswagen.
Internet TV is not “TV light”, in fact it’s not TV at all. It’s a completely different sandbox than TV and while many of the rules of the game are the same, there are distinctly different rules you must know before you break them. In this informative and entertaining seminar, Digital Strategist and Web Series Launch Expert, Brian Rodda outlines the Top 5 things to consider while in pre-production for your digital series. Items to be discussed are: Appropriate length and form specific to different video distribution platforms (Youtube vs. Vimeo vs. Netlfix, etc…) casting/working with a Digital Influencer, expanding your world with Ancillary Content, Marketing Budgets, securing social media real estate and so much more! To read the Television Academy's interview with Brian click here!
Instagram is, of course, a visual social media platform. As such, it's a perfect platform for all creatives to showcase their personalities, collaborative mindset, reels, screenplay ideas, storyboards and other media. But it's also a fantastic arena to showcase not only the brand of your work, but your personal brand. But many creatives are intimidated by Instagram. They are afraid of falling into the void or not having anything interesting to say. You have to break free from that mindset! You just may be leaving one of your most important tools in your creative arsenal in the shed. Whether you’re working on a story for film, TV, or digital, every storyteller must use the power of social media (including Stage 32!) to promote and share their work...and currently, one of the most powerful and impactful platforms to do so is Instagram. From static posts, to video posts, to Instagram stories, to IGTV, Instagram allows you to show the scope and breadth of your creative vision, dreams, and strategies. Harnessed correctly and with the right approach, IG can bring instant and much desired attention to your portfolio. Brian Rodda knows everything there is to know about the IG game. He has vast experience in viral marketing and has worked passionately in YouTube Strategy and Social Media strategy since 2007. He is a proud member of Interactive Media Peer Group of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys) and a founding member of an aggregator for WGA written web series. Brian has worked on promoting numerous notable digital series, including: Husbands (31,143 Subscribers, 2,145,151 views on Youtube) the web’s first marriage-equality comedy, Squaresville (31,401 Subscribers, 1,772,230 views on Youtube) and Whole Day Down ( Starring Willie Garson, Successful 40K+ Kickstarter campaign). Brian will teach you how you can quickly create and establish a personal brand on IG. He will force you to complete some truthful self-analysis to assure you know exactly how you want you and your work perceived on the platform. He will whack through the jungle of resources related to IG and show you the best of the best to not only take the intimidation and fear out of becoming a regular poster of your content, but also save you a ton of time. He will show you how to plan posts, what posts get the best engagement, and how to attract influential and desired people to your page. This is a full deep dive designed to give you maximum exposure for you and your work. "I've always known the value of social media, but felt that it wasn't for me. This webinar not only removed my apprehension, but shattered my beliefs on what social media could do for me. I'm a true believer. I'm bringing my brand to the masses!" - Samantha T. "Excellent insight into a confusing world of digital. Bring Brian back!" - Michael S.
We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
As the world becomes flatter and technology brings us closer together, opportunities for international cooperation continue to abound. For producers or creatives looking to find or bolster their next indie project, there’s a huge amount of potential in joining forces with companies or teams from other countries and pooling your resources together, creating something larger than the sum of its parts. Forming an international co-production can give you access to more funding and financing opportunities, more access to locations, actors and crew, and more sales and distribution opportunities after the film is finished. But while international co-productions can reap great rewards, they also present unique challenges. After all, each country has its own set of rules and regulations, its own red tape, and its own processes for getting things done. Navigating this transnational world requires a set of skills and wherewithal that can be hard earned but is hugely valuable. International co-productions are becoming more common in both mainstream cinema and the indie space. But while it yields results, it’s not a science. Collaboration never is. If you have your sights set outwards and are interested in working across country lines to create your next film, be prepared for some unique hurdles. For one, how do you even get started? How do you find international talent or partners in the first place? And once you find them, how do you woo them into working with you? How do you manage financing and how do you make compromises that make all parties happy? After all, collaboration is challenging no matter what, but working with people in another country, people who might not even share the same first language as you, amps that challenge up to another level. Birgit Kemner is a French-German producer who has headed up successful co-productions for nearly a decade. All her productions have been selected and awarded in renowned festivals such as the Cannes or Venice Film Festival. Birgit was previously Head of Marketing and Festivals at the MK2 group and has worked on international releases of over 50 films directed by filmmakers such as Gus van Sant (ELEPHANT, LAST DAYS, PARANOID PARK), Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS) and Gela Babluani (13 TZAMETI - Lion of the Future at Venice, Jury Prize at Sundance and European Discovery at the European Film Awards) as well as numerous international film retrospectives of directors such as Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. Birgit is bringing her years of successful co-production experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Birgit will use her extensive background to walk you through every step of creating a successful international co-production. She will begin by discussing tips on how to choose good projects in the first place and how to identify the right partners for you and your vision. She’ll teach you how to network and attract partners, especially in international markets when you often have ten minutes or less to make an impression. Birgit will then go over the challenges of funding and the resources available, especially in European markets. She will then talk about strategies and tips for your transnational partnership to survive and thrive, including tools to communicate, effective contracts, cash flow schedule, and how to determine who does what when. Finally, Birgit will delve into steps to take after the film is complete to bring it to the international market, get it into festivals, and optimize both marketing and sales. Simply put, you will be learning from one of the best. Birgit will illustrate all of these points by using two of her own films as case studies, HUMAN CAPITAL, which played in competition at Tribeca Film Festival, and EL ARDOR, which was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival. Praise for Birgit's webinar: "Birgit gave me more information about international co-productions than I even knew existed. I now feel totally prepared and energized to tackle my next project" -James R. "Great slides and great information!" - Marisé S. "Awesome! Birgit covered the bases and inspired me to look outside the box." -Clint A. "Very informative, helpful information and guidance to take our next step into making our film. Thank you!" -Anastasia C.
It’s hard to fully encapsulate how massive of an undertaking it is to create a film. The amount of hours, money, people, and passion that go into every project can be staggering. And for independent productions that don’t have the stability or backing of a large, flush studio, all of these different elements fit together tenuously at best. With so many plates to spin, it takes the work of a capable producer to bring everything together and keep everything on track. Murphy’s Law dictates whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and any independent filmmaker or producer will attest that this is indeed the case. No amount of planning or foresight can keep everything running seamlessly. Money might fall through, equipment might malfunction, actors might bail, hired talent might prove to be difficult to work with. It’s impossible to keep all chaos at bay when managing a project as massive and messy as an independent film. That said, a great producer, especially in the indie space, can put out fires, keep the chaos at bay, and keep that movie on track. It boils down to working smartly, being as prepared as possible, and being light on your feet. Some of this comes with time and experience, but there’s a lot a producers can do, even on their very first project, to better rise to the occasion and manage their film successfully. Luke Daniels is the Executive in Charge of Production for Tunnel. In his career in entertainment, which has spanned nearly two decades, Luke has produced over 60 feature films (8 in 2019 alone), including the Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto International Film Festival Official Selections. He has worked on films with directors like Kevin Smith and James Franco and talent like Riley Keough, Jean Claude Van Damme, Luke Wilson, Topher Grace and more. Through it all, he's learned countless tricks as an independent producer that can help keep your production on track, and he’s bringing his experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Luke will go over the things he's learned through the years to help you with your own productions, from the beginning of pre-production, all the way through production. He’ll begin by giving you strategies on creative ways to creatively put financing together when starting out a project. He’ll then teach you the basic steps to take to put together a project smartly. Next Luke will then discuss how to hold key elements in place while prepping for a film and what you can do if you lose an actor or director. He will also give you tips on what to do if you lose a location before production starts. Luke will then focus on the producer’s role during production. He will show you how to manage high-level talent and go over ways to deal with difficult talent during the shoot. He will then delve into the producer-director relationship and how to respect their vision while still being able to collaborate creatively during the process. Luke will discuss what to do if you go over budget, especially if you’re not bonded, and will teach you how to navigate if you’re hit with unexpected fines. Praise for Luke’s Webinar: “I loved hearing Luke’s perspective and past experiences” -Sandra T. “So many great tips and lessons that I can bring with me on my next project” -Brian F. “Luke was great! Really helpful” -Joe V. “I liked how specific and practical Luke got with his advice. Thank you!” -Miranda C.