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.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
TV movies are very much alive and well, and if you’re a screenwriter or producer looking to break into this huge market niche, you’ve come to the right webinar. Despite the change in viewer habits with on-demand movies, the TV Movie and the Movie of the Week on Hallmark, Lifetime, and Disney, as well as many other channels are still extremely popular. To breakdown this landscape and share the truths behind the TV Movie model, Stage 32 has brought in MarVista’s former Acquisition and Co-Production executive, Justine Wentzell. Justine has worked on almost 100 different TV movies in MarVista’s core business. After she digs into the specifics of what these networks are looking for, Julie will offer tips on writing a successful script for this niche. Stick around for a Q&A after the webinar to take an even deeper dive into other key elements of this form of storytelling. You will not get more in-depth overview of TV movies, what goes into developing, writing and producing them anywhere else!
In the world of independent film and TV, productions are increasingly crossing borders in search of funding, locations and ultimately a wider audience. But the difference between a successful international co-production and an international road-crash often lies in the details of choice of partners, structures and creative material. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Brendan Foley, an international producer (11 countries), writer and director with award winning feature films, TV series and best-selling books to his credit, will give an in-depth look at the pros and cons of international co-production. You will learn about different types of producing partners - creative, financial, public and private. You will also learn when co-producing makes sense for you or your project and when it should be avoided. You will leave this webinar with an understanding of not only what makes an international co-production work, but how to look for producing partners, co-funders and how to protect yourself and your project along the way. This seminar is useful to Producers considering a co-production as well as writers, actors and directors who feel their talent or material would work best on an international scale. PLUS - Brendan will have on two special guests: Ronni Coulter, SVP Business Affairs Sony Animation and top European co-producer Lars Hermann (CEO Copenhagen Film Festival and Danish state broadcaster DR, former Nordisk, Filmfyn Film Fund,) Special Guests: Ronni Coulter (SVP Business Affairs Sony Animation) Lars Hermann (Copenhagen Film Festival)
Learn directly from 30 year veteran Lauren “Fluff” Lindsay, Key Craft Service on Legends Of The Fall (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins), Rocky IV (Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren), and Sleepwalkers (Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Lauren Lindsay, will walk you through the details specific to managing and executing the job of providing nourishment to a working film crew in full production. In film, television, live theater or video production, Craft Service is a dynamic position which provides tray service around set, and buffet style foods and beverages to the other departments suitable to the environment on any given day or night. Drawing from her vast experience on 82 productions, you will learn all the steps involved from getting hired, and knowing what is expected of you, to being successful working in this department. Her passion for fresh and healthy foods, which promotes a happy and productive crew, has made her famous behind the camera.
PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pilot outline and start work on your bible. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact email@example.com for more information.
Whether you’re leading the creative charge as a screenwriter, in the trenches a director or cinematographer, behind the scenes as a crew member, or in front of the camera as an actor being great at what you do is only part of your job. We at Stage 32 preach that 50% of your job is excelling at your craft, the other 50% is networking and understanding how the industry works. It's simply undeniable, those who commit to treating their networking and relationship building as their job and keep on top of what's happening in the industry land more meetings with decision makers who can make an impact on their career. But the goal is not just to get into the room, it's to stay in the room. And that means you need to know how to be good in the room. And with more and more meetings going virtual and online, you must know how to prepare and have the skills ready for those situations as well. General meetings are the first line of offense and defense for decision makers. As you know, most people in this industry - whether working in film, television or digital - want to find creatives and professionals they can go to war with time and time again. Their tribe. To become part of someone's tribe (and eventually form one of your own), you have to know how to nail the general meeting. It is crucial that you understand how to prepare. You must know who you're meeting with, what to wear, proper etiquette, the story of your project, the story of your personal brand (such an overlooked art), and know your pitch inside and out. Ultimately, you want to turn this general meeting into something much greater or assure that you're receiving a callback meeting. Their are many tried and true tricks for getting this done and we're going to bring them to you. Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Management is one of the most revered managers working in the industry today. Jeff was recently named been named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Management. Prior to joining Bellevue, Jeff worked at Creative Artists Agency, The Gotham Group, Resolution Talent Agency and Heretic Literary Management. Along the way he has sold and set up projects to New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, FOX, Screen Gems, Warner Bros. and more. Jeff has been on both sides of the table for hundreds of general meetings and has learned exactly what makes a meeting successful and where many go south – and he’s here to share the do's and don'ts with you, the Stage 32 community Jeff will teach you how to assure that you perform in your general meeting in a manner that makes you memorable. He will discuss everything from attire to how to carry yourself to how to make eye contact. He'll teach you how to prepare your pitch and convey it with the right amount of passion, charisma and energy. He’ll give you important guidelines on how and when you should talk in the conversation and help you understand if you’re talking too much or sending the wrong message. You’ll learn how to get notes from the other side of the table and how you should receive and respond to them. You will know the best way to pitch “you” and your brand so you stand out from other people taking general meetings with the same party. Jeff will teach you how to do research on the people and the company you are meeting with and how to use that information to your advantage (and not be creepy about it!) He will make you understand why the assistant and support staff can ultimately be your best ally. Finally, Jeff will go over the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in your career – from studios, production companies, managers, agents and networks and explain the differences so you’ll be fully prepared. "A wealth of information. Gave me a lot of things to think about - especially with the tips on reading the room. Your description of how to pitch myself and my story were game-changers. Off to practice now." - Sonia H. "What fabulous advice, Jeff, thank you!" - Greg M. "Yep, now I know why I haven't been securing a second meeting. I have seen the light and the err of my ways." - Veronica G "The dress code discussion was very helpful, I never knew what I should wear and now I do!" - John S.
When making an independent film, finishing the film is only half the battle. You need people to actually see the film you’ve worked so hard on. When it comes to distribution, it’s important to know how to get your film into the worldwide marketplace. Once it’s there, you need to know how to generate interest toward it so the film can make its money back for the investors and back-end participants. Distribution comes in all shapes and sizes, but what kind of distribution is right for your indie film? Sometimes it means getting your film distributed by a studio; sometimes it’s creating a self-distribution path. Sometimes —- most typically — the distribution lands somewhere in between. Every film is different and therefore requires a different marketing plan, release strategy, and team behind it that have the passion and drive to get the most out of its release amongst the myriad other movies available. In this on-demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tiffany Boyle will get into the details of what the independent distribution process looks like. She will go over how to get the right representative, foreign sales agent, and domestic distribution, and the different options for each based upon the size, genre and execution of a film. She will also discuss what the key points are to look at when reviewing a foreign sales agent and/or domestic distribution deal. Filmmakers should be making an informed decision when choosing who will be handling the licensing of their film for the next 3-25 years, and Tiffany is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of indie distribution. Tiffany Boyle is the President at Ramo Law and works with producers, financiers and writer clients to bring their new material to life. Having been a Director of Sales at Crystal Sky Pictures, Tiffany has an extensive background in foreign sales. She now works with the attorneys to review, collaborate, develop, submit and supervise creative materials on behalf of clients within the firm. Tiffany has worked on over 100 features including, Stuck In Love, Pawn, Gimme Shelter, Maladies, and I-Lived. She has been to AFM, Berlin, Tribeca, TIFF, Sundance, and Cannes and is constantly expanding her knowledge of how to match films with production and distribution companies.