Masters of Craft: Michael Polish - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits

Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits
Hosted by Michael Polish

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Michael Polish

Webinar hosted by: Michael Polish

Award Winning Director of 10 Films & Independent Spirit Award Winner

Your host Michael Polish is one of today's most critically acclaimed filmmakers, having directed almost a dozen hit films. His first feature film, Twin Falls Idaho premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and was hailed by renown critic, Roger Ebert as "one of the best films of 1999." Roger Ebert included Twin Falls Idaho in his Top 10 Selects of 1999. Michael went on to write and direct 10 more feature films, including: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival) Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle) 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders Michael has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards where his movie Jackpot won the John Cassavetes Award. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

To kick off your directing career with Roger Ebert calling your film "One of the best films of the year" you can pretty much be assured you're on a path to success.

We are proud to present to you the director who has done just that - Michael Polish. After his Sundance darling Twin Falls Idaho garnered Roger Ebert's critical acclaim he has gone on to direct over 10 feature films including:

  • The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen
  • Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods 
  • The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms
  • Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson
  • Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival)
  • Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth
  • For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle)
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen 
  • Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley
  • The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders

Michael will be teaching the 2nd installment of our Stage 32 Masters of Craft series - The Indie Filmmaker's Toolkit: Maximize Your Resources, Creativity and Profits. In this online event Michael will share with you how a professional director approaches a film from inception and carries it through to post-production including a discussion of available distribution options. The goal is to give you the agency to make your films without the necessity of the Hollywood studio system (though this information will be handy if that's your path as well). He will go in-depth about the director’s process from finding superior scripts and setting your priorities in pre-production to the challenges of running your set, leading your crew and balancing the demands of your producers. He’ll explain how to interact with everyone vital to your film’s success from producers and film executives to actors, cinematographers, and editors to get the best version of your film. Finally, Michael will share insider knowledge on effective methods to market and distribute your film that will give you the power to maximize your profits.

From his experience writing and directing 10 feature films, he’ll share his war stories (like losing vital funding in the middle of a shoot) and his strategies for dealing with any obstacle that arises. You’ll be better equipped to deal with mishaps and avoid filmmaking pain points. If you want to make your film and you want to know where to start, how to proceed and how to ensure you walkaway with a masterpiece, this is the webinar for you!

You’ll leave with a comprehensive understanding of what is necessary to succeed as an indie director and gain control over the direction of your career.

What You'll Learn

  • It all starts with a killer script!
    • Writing a script you know you can produce. Or finding one. Originality, the indie filmmakers greatest tool.
    • Case study: Twin Falls Idaho. Utilize the originality of a story only you can tell.
  • Estimating the budget for your film
    • How to find financing for your film. Where do you go? 
  • Pre-production: Setting your priorities heading into pre-production.
    • Where to split the focus and how to game plan the outcome of your film.
    • Crew – who do you trust? How do you form relationships with your department heads. Choosing your DP and so on.
    • Casting – how important is casting? How do you cast James Woods, Nick Nolte, Darryl Hannah? Using Union or Non-union crew
    • Location scouting/tech scouting/Production design
    • Cameras and visuals – Choosing your camera; planning your shots
    • Case studies: Northfork, The Astronaut Farmer
  •  Production: Running Your Set
    • How to make it through production successfully
    • Establishing trust between cast and crew
    • Staying on schedule vs flexibility
    • Communicating with each department successfully
    • Getting your actors to trust you, reading the different personalities of your actors
    • Putting out fires – Avoiding pitfalls, dealing with issues that may arise
      • What happens if your financing falls through or you're over budget
      • Handling budget limitations, where should the director start to make cuts or try to stretch his resources.
    • Case study: Northfork
  •  Post-production: Wrapping It All Up
    • Pulling your story together
    • Editing considerations – Sound design, music choices
    • Distribution – Indie distributers; how to make a profit making Indie films 
      • VOD – releasing to Itunes, Netflix
      • Utilizing Social Media to market your film for free!
    • Case study: For Lovers Only
  • In-depth Q&A with Michael!

Whether it's your first or your 20th, you will walk away with the confidence to shoot your next film.

About Your Instructor

Your host Michael Polish is one of today's most critically acclaimed filmmakers, having directed almost a dozen hit films. His first feature film, Twin Falls Idaho premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and was hailed by renown critic, Roger Ebert as "one of the best films of 1999." Roger Ebert included Twin Falls Idaho in his Top 10 Selects of 1999. Michael went on to write and direct 10 more feature films, including:

  • The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen
  • Northfork, starring Nick Nolte and James Woods
  • The Smell of Success, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni & Ed Helms
  • Hot Bot, starring Zack Pearlman and Danny Masterson
  • Stay Cool, starring Winona Ryder and Sean Astin (Nominated for best feature at Tribeca Film Festival)
  • Big Sur, an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel starring Kate Bosworth
  • For Lover’s Only starring Stana Katic (CBS’s hit show Castle)
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen
  • Amnesiac, starring Wes Bentley
  • The upcoming Sharon Tate biopic adapted from Greg King’s book Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders

Michael has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards where his movie Jackpot won the John Cassavetes Award.

FAQs

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.

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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! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.

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