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

N/A
On-demand coming soon
We're in the process of converting this LIVE webinar into the video for on-demand viewing. Please come back soon.
Rating   | Read reviews

Registration

ON-DEMAND COMING SOON!

This webinar had a live screening session recently and has not yet been converted into a video format.

This Next Level Education webinar has a 20% user satisfaction rate.

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.

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

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 1 out of 5

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Post-Production: Finding The Film

Learn directly from Shaun O’Banion, an award-winning independent producer! As a producer, post-production is a part of the process you’re rarely involved in from day-to-day, and yet it is one of the most integral parts of the filmmaking process (if not the most important). A lot of questions can be asked from a filmmaker like how to shape the film, how to define roles in post, what to do with VFX, how to handle the footage you have and ultimately how to develop a great film after it’s been shot. It’s not easy to do and it takes a lot of practice and experience to perfect. We will discuss the pieces that make up the whole, from assessing the relationships in the edit suite, to bringing all of the elements together and how it all happens. From the technical to the emotional, this webinar will attempt to demystify the process in a way for you to easily understand what to do to “find the film” in post. Post Production: Finding the Film is presented by 20 year industry veteran, Shaun O’Banion, who has worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Judd Apatow and Peter Hedges. He has won numerous awards for his films, including the prestigious IFP GOTHAM Award for GIRLFRIEND.

How to Network Online and in Virtual Settings as an Introvert

The key to succeeding in Hollywood, or really any industry, is to put yourself out there. We all know this is a business of relationships and that building relationships takes time and effort. But even if you've built a solid base of meaningful relationships, you still have to take action. Make inquiries, take meetings, get on people’s radars, show up. For introverts, however, putting yourself out there has always been easier said than done. And that’s in a normal world. Now, in this new quarantined era, and with seemingly everything - networking, pitch meetings, general meetings and more going virtual - putting yourself out there online can feel positively impossible. With extended isolation, reduced in-person connections, restricted travel, and working from home, how can you stay connected and relevant? And how can you do those things while being naturally shy? How can you overcome your self-imposed barriers. Believe it or not, it's easier than you think. The world might feel like it’s in standstill right now, but it’s more important than ever that you keep moving, not only for your career, but also for your passion and your well-being. It may be easy to curl up on your couch, order that delivery deep dish pizza, start a 7 season series on Netflix and fade away from the outside world, but it’s not going to move you or your desired career forward. Staying connected remains key, and to do that, it’s necessary to be versatile and continue to adjust as the world changes. But what does that look like? How do people successfully network from home? How do you use powerful tools such as Stage 32, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Zoom to help get yourself out there? And where do you even start the conversation as a naturally introverted person? The good news is you already have all of the tools to do it—you just have to power up and commit. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy and social media working with Lionsgate, Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. Along the way she has mastered the art of digital and has helped thousands of creatives overcome their fear of networking online. Jennifer has developed a passion and expertise in the art of networking and will share her experience exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jennifer will discuss the importance and benefits of staying connected and the larger positive implications of being involved. She’ll then delve into the tools we all have to stay connected in our own homes and the best ways to go about using them. Next, Jennifer will go over how to find your tribe in the current landscape and how to use your community not only to advance in your own goals but also to give back. She will give you the rundown of how best to approach new people virtually, including where to start, and right and wrong approaches she’s seen. She’ll then give you tips on how to make a good impression from your own home and how to define your brand despite being quarantined. Jennifer will discuss ways to be agile as the world continues to change, and how to stay on track while still being able to adjust. Finally, Jennifer will go over the best ways to set goals and then actually stick to them so that you can overcome your fears and reservations about getting yourself out there and get the results you desire!     Praise for Jennifer’s Stage 32 Webinars   " Fantastic, optimistic and informative, I feel I have a lot to work with and was a pleasure to be a part of" - Christie S.   "Great webinar - lots of interesting and useful information. Great speaker! Thanks!" - Ron H.   "Lots of good advice. Took 9 pgs of notes!" - Martha C.  

Get an Agent and Rock Episodic Season!

Learn directly from Jessica Sitomer, International Entertainment Industry Speaker, Career Coach, and Author, as well as Producer of three TV shows, actress, produced writer and development associate! Episodic season is around the corner, and if you don’t already have an agent or manager, now is the time to strike! Easier said than done, right? What if we told you there was a proven strategy for finding and obtaining legitimate representation no matter your creative discipline? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jessica Sitomer will reveal that, through interviewing agents and having her own representation through the years, there is a strategy for getting agents! Stage 32 is thrilled to bring back Jessica Sitomer to teach! Jessica consistently receives 100% satisfaction ratings on her webinars and classes (see reviews below!) and has a knack for providing excellent, immediately useful information in a genuine and easy to implement way. You will leave the webinar knowing: What type of client are you? The three ways Agents categorize their clients (you may not like the one you fall under). Three questions an Agent wants to know before taking you on. 4-step strategy for getting an Agent. How to rock episodic season with an in-depth plan. How to meet more people. Your host Jessica Sitomer is a world traveled speaker and panel moderator who has coached thousands of people worldwide, and is proud to see her clients’ names on almost every TV show and film she sees. Simultaneously, Jessica works as a professional in the entertainment industry, on shows for ABC, Nickelodeon, Showtime, MTV, and had her writing produced by an Emmy Award winning producer. She is here at Stage 32 to pass on her knowledge and experience of working with thousands of people, just like you, to make your journey a comfortable ride.

The Tools You Need To Attach A- List Actors to Your Film (With Offer Letter & Sales Estimate Example)

Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. Don't worry, there are proven strategies to solving this puzzle and assuring that your project is top of mind for managers, agents, and their talent. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. The reality of the situation is that "A" List talent and the representatives get dozens of offers a month. And with more and more name actors working in television, streaming series, limited series and now even digital series (hello, Quibi!), the competition is even higher. But you CAN compete and still attach "A" List talent to your project even if you don't have all your funds raised. Franco Sama has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to films up to $5MM. Franco is considered a pioneer in the world of film financing and casting. He speaks all over the world on the subject and has mentored thousands of filmmakers and producers on how to attach the best talent to their independent features. Just some of the actors Franco has cast in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar Winner, Darkest Hour, Oscar Nominee, Dark Knight) Christine Lahti (Oscar Winner) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Franco has also been a consulting producer on many films with many more in active development. Many top producers in the game turn to Franco to get their films off the ground. And now he's bringing his over 2 decades of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Franco will teach you everything you need to know about attaching top talent to your film including a bullet proof method for ensuring that managers and agents not only put your script in the hands of "A" List talent, but that they read the material! He will show you how to make sure your script is attractive to "A" List talent. He will teach you how to turn a Letter of Intent into a Letter of Commitment. He will instruct you as to the proper timing to make your offer, so you assure that everything is in order and that you're in a position to answer all questions. He will dissect a physical offer so you know exactly what you should be presenting. He will discuss pay and play offers, deferred payments, using credits as currency and back end point deals and how you can identify which of these offers and strategies to deploy. He will go over proper etiquette and how to make sure everyone is happy so that you win the trust of the gatekeepers assuring you can return to the same managers and agents again and again. Franco will take away the fear, anxiety, and, most of all, doubt, that comes with the desire to attach name talent to your project. You will learn all the proper strategies and methods to assure success.   "I had the pleasure of seeing Franco speak live at one of Stage 32's live education events. He was so inspiring, so confident and so willing to help, this webinar became an instant signup. Even with my high expectations, I was floored by the wealth of information and the explanation of the strategies within. My fear, and let's face it, my insecurity of approaching talent was crippling. Not any more. I've put in 2 offers on 2 different features this morning and I'm already lining up my next move. Can't wait for the next one, Franco! And thank you, Stage 32!" - Pamela R.   "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S.   "This was a stunning presentation. One of the best yet." - Antonio H.   "I have seen the light and I am ready to make offers. Try and stop me." - Lydia W.   "Empowering. I'm going to watch it a 2nd and 3rd time just to make sure I got it all down. Then, I'm working the phones. Great job, Franco and Stage 32." - Reese K.    

6 Pitfalls To Avoid When Working With Tax Incentives

As the Vice President of Three Point Capital, Viviana Zarragoitia is one of the most prolific financiers who routinely lend on tax incentives, both domestically and internationally, on independent films. She is aware of the rules and regulations of tax incentives in many jurisdictions, and have spoken on numerous panels about tax credits. In this exclusive webinar, Viviana will be teaching what producers should be aware of when working with tax incentives. Although there are minor details that change within each state/country, there are some overall issues that come up in each jurisdiction that producers should be aware of when taking advantage of tax incentives for their film/TV project. These include, but are not limited to, things such as: corporate structure of the company applying for the tax incentive, making sure that costs in-state are qualified spend, working with tax incentive offices during pre-production, production and post-production, submitting final costs in a timely fashion, working with production accountants/CPAs on tracking qualified spend, working with lenders and filing tax returns to claim the incentives.

Getting Notes On Your Script and What They Actually Mean: The Note Behind the Note

As a writer, receiving notes on your material may be a difficult part of the process but, ultimately, it's part of your job. And understanding how to deal with and apply those notes to your writing may be your most important job of all. Make no mistake, all writers are precious about their work, and taking notes is never easy, but the sooner you open yourself to receiving and understanding your notes, and the note behind the note, the more likely your work will become tighter and you'll signal that you're a writer that people want to hire and/or pay for your work. Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have a contribution to make. The work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. The bottom line is you need to understand what these notes mean and how to execute them when you agree and what to do when you don't. Anna Henry is a Producer and Development Executive. Anna has set up projects at Sony, 20th Television, EOne, Starz, Amazon, Netflix, Corus, ITV America and more. Anna began her career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, then crossed over to prime-time television working at CBS and ABC in drama development and programming before working in management and establishing herself as a Producer. Anna has been on the giving and receiving end of script notes of literally hundreds of scripts throughout her career. She has developed a strong understanding on the "lingo" of script notes and what the note behind the note means when it comes to your script. Now, you will learn how to dissect the feedback you get on your script from an executive's perspective.  Anna will take you through the entire process of receiving notes. She will take away the anxiety of the entire process and teach you how to accept notes with professionalism and grace. She will explain to you who you should be getting notes from and how listening to the wrong voices can set you back. She will teach you what notes you should think about and when you should take a note as gospel. She will explain what notes are worth challenging and which you should absolutely adapt. She will help guide you through what it means when you get notes that go over structure, plot, stakes, character and exposition. She will take you through logic and clarity, cuts, action lines, dialogue and scene notes. And, she'll even go over what you should do if you get vague notes, nit picky notes and when you get suggestions and alternatives.   Anna will remove all the fear and apprehension one feels when asking for and receiving notes, giving you a comprehensive guide to reference every time you get notes on your work. You will learn how apply them to tighten your work and put yourself in a position to sell your material and/or get hired! 

register for stage 32 Register / Log In