Michael Davis is a 20-year industry veteran and accomplished Writer and Producer. He began his writing career with Prehysteria! and Eight Days A Week. He then moved on to write and direct the highly acclaimed comedy 100 Girls (starting the careers of actors like Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Katherine Heigl), which was followed up by his project Girl Fever. Following those successes, recently Davis wrote and directed Shoot 'Em Up for New Line Cinema starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci which earned an nomination for Best Motion Picture at the Satellite Awards. Michael Davis is a 20-year industry veteran and accomplished Writer and Producer. He began his writing career with Prehysteria! and Eight Days A Week. He then moved on to write and direct the highly acclaimed comedy 100 Girls (starting the careers of actors like Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Katherine Heigl), which was followed up by his project Girl Fever. Following those successes, recently Davis wrote and directed Shoot 'Em Up for New Line Cinema starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci which earned an nomination for Best Motion Picture at the Satellite Awards. Davis was an undergraduate illustration major at Parsons School of Design in New York where he honed his skill as an artist and an animator. After a stint as an animation director in Washington D.C., Davis went to USC’s School of Cinema-TV where he won the Edward G. Small Directing Scholarship. After graduating USC, he apprenticed under several of the top directors as a storyboard artist. His work includes a turn as storyboard artist on the groundbreaking Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the hugely successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie, and sketching sequences for John McTiernan’s Medicine Man, and commercials for Michael Apted. Currently, Davis is developing a live action feature based on Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution, one of the most successful video games in history. New to his slate, Davis is now packaging his original action screenplay, Bulletprooof Crush. For Fox Television Studios and Fox International, he is writing a TV series pilot based on the novel, The Book With No Name by Anonymous. He will produce this with Don Murphy, producer of The Transformers. With another new project, Davis is collaborating with Tokyo based anime studio OLM (Oriental Light and Magic) to create a new anime series for both U.S. and Japanese audiences. Also in the animation arena, Michael wrote and directed a pilot for SPIKE TV based on the Tokyopop manga, Riding Shotgun. Davis recently finished writing his first novel, Lawrence of Suburbia. Full Bio »
Starting a filmmaking career requires a knowledge of the craft and an unyielding will to succeed. Maintaining a filmmaking career requires a knowledge of how the industry works, where the landmines are buried, and how to navigate the politics like a pro. Who better to learn from than from someone who has been in the trenches and out on the battlefield again and again?
Get ready to have some serious fun and to learn how to build a lasting career as a filmmaker. This is the s*** they don't teach in film school. Or for that matter, anywhere else but here on Stage 32.
Michael Davis has worked with the likes of Spielberg, Lucas, Eastwood, McTiernan, and Ross, and with actors such as Giamatti and Owen to name a few. He's navigated the studio world and the challenges of independent filmmaking multiple times. The man has seen things. And he wants to share what he's learned from all his experiences, triumphs and failures with you.
In this jam packed webinar, Michael will teach you about the politics of studio and independent filmmaking. He'll tell you when to kiss the ring, kiss ass, and kick ass. He will discuss, explain, and instruct you on the strategic decisions that advanced his career as well as the huge mistakes that held him back and stalled his career for huge chunks of time. He will teach you how to run your set and how to keep pesky executives and producers off your back.
As if that wasn't enough, from his wealth of experience writing and directing six feature films, Michael will reveal the mistakes he’s made so you can learn from them and avoid making these same missteps, as well as discuss the smart moves he made that led him to directing a studio feature so you can emulate them.
"You will leave this webinar with a comprehensive understand of how to maximize your directing work, gain bigger and better exposure, and build a lasting career as a filmmaker."
- Michael Davis
Some of What Michael Will Teach You Includes:
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There are many ways to forge a path toward a directing career in the film industry. But as almost any successful director will tell you, surviving and thriving takes much more than just talent. Packaging, the streaming platforms, and new and intriguing distribution channels have all but upended the independent film world. More and more filmmakers are embracing a DIY (Do It Yourself) mindset and educating themselves on the business - who's making what, what festivals matter, how a producer sees a project, what investors are looking for (and where to find those investors), who's the audience for my film, where can the film live and, most importantly, how can I use this information to build a long, lucrative, and successful career in the film industry. Director Qasim Basir exploded onto the Sundance scene with his film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.: Love on Election Night. The film received a massive standing ovation at its Sundance premiere which led to a bidding way, a major theatrical release, and enormous critical acclaim. The film not only takes place in once location, but is filmed in single shot. It's a masterclass, and Qasim proved that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The accolades and offers haven't stopped flowing in. Up next for Qasim is to direct the NFL Biopic ‘Hawk’ based on life of Andrew Hawkins. Prior to his Sundance debut, he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his film Mooz-Lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross & Danny Glover, and premiered at the LA Film Festival with his film Destined starring Jesse Metcalf, Cory Hardrict and Margot Bingham. Qasim has had choices for all of his films as to how they got out into the world and where they were going to live after their release. He's chosen everything from theatrical to VOD releases, and he's learned much along the way. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Qasim is bringing all his knowledge including the wealth of information he learned from the dream Sundance experience to the Stage 32 community. Qasim will dive right into the deep end of the pool to discuss how to navigate this difficult industry and how to keep yourself intact. He will teach you what you'll learn along the way as you become more successful and how to use that knowledge as fuel. He will discuss short filmmaking as a calling card or as proof of concept of something bigger. He will show you how to identify and engage financiers and production companies. Then, Qasim will delve into the filmmaking process including how casting comes down to understanding the 3 P's. He will discuss pre-production, voice, tone, story, performance & camera. He will teach you how to make decisive and confident creative choices. And he will teach you how to deal with failure and disappointment, but also how to deal with success. "People will tell you many different things in this business, but none is better than when you find what's actually right for you. Let me help get you there." - Qasim Basir PRAISE FOR QASIM'S TEACHINGS: "I saw A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. at Sundance. The movie is brilliant and watching Qasim during the Q&A it became clear that he is as well. To be able to learn from him here on Stage 32 is such a gift. Inspiration on a whole other level." - Monique T. "Genius in every way." - Tyler K. "Qasim is my hero." - Mikael F. "Another home run for Stage 32. A teacher above and beyond worthy of the subject matter. More please!" - Imani L.
Learn directly from Kristy Maurer, VP of Development, who’s worked on Looper, Side Effects, and Academy-award nominated An Education. So you want to make a film but don’t know where to start – sound familiar? You have this great idea for a film. Or, you’ve found the script, maybe attached some talent, and are ready to get things in motion for production. But what are your next steps? How do you get from script to screen? What is the difference between pre, post, and good old regular production? What about financing? How do you market it? So many questions! Producing, and especially independent producing, can be very complex, and with so many options out there it’s sometimes hard to know what is important to know and what you can skip. Here is your one-stop crash course on Indie Film Producing - Indie Film Producing 101, if you will. Whether you’re producing the film yourself, looking for independent producers to bring on board, or have signed a deal with an independent production company, it’s important to know the steps involved in producing a film independently, no matter your role in the filmmaking process. Indie films are getting produced and distributed every day, and it’s time to learn how to take your vision for your film and make it a reality! Kristy Maurer is currently the Director of Development at Endgame Entertainment (Looper, Side Effects, An Education) and has worked in a wide variety of production positions for film and TV. Having worked on network shows, such as Friday Night Lights to independent films, such as Elvis and Annabelle, starting Blake Lively, she knows the ins and outs of producing and can help you learn all you need to know to get your film produced and made. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Kristy will walk you through every step of the production process, from where to start with the script, to creating production plans, to marketing, even adding in case studies of independent films in the past few years that have made a profit and how they did it. This will be your go-to guide for all things Indie Film Producing and give you a great foundation for understanding the process of production on an Indie scale.
Writing scenes come naturally to many of us especially when we have an outline of what we are aiming to accomplish. Scenes require us to describe setting, introduce characters, establish tone, and achieve a list of other key elements. We are tasked with making the words in each scene exciting and engaging with a few precious moments - urging the reader to keep turning the page and for the audience to keep watching. The words that we use should guide the reader and allow our voices to shine through our work. Understanding the importance of the words you use is imperative to how well your script ultimately translates to the screen. Scenes are a building block to the narrative of your story. Without well-written scenes, the foundation of your story will crumble. It is important to examine each scene of your story and analyze what ways it can be enhanced so that it really adds to the overarching points you are trying to get across as a writer. This comes with proper execution of infusing your own personality and authentic voice in a way that uniquely connects with your readers. Although this can be difficult, there’s no need to run away from this challenge. We have the tools and resources to help your words spring off the page instead. Steve Desmond is an established award-winning and represented screenwriter who wrote the thriller feature ON YOUR DOORSTEP that sold to Treehouse Pictures which has worked with incredibly talented actors like Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Henry Cavill and he also created the horror feature, TWISTED AVENUE, which made 2015 Hit List honoring the best spec screenplays of the year. His successful portfolio of films continues with his current project, MONSTERS, that won the Comic-Con International Film Festival for Best Horror/Suspense Film and Best Overall Film and has been accepted into over forty film festivals. Steve’s well-renowned success has landed him amazing representation with APA who is connected to partners such as the Global Production Network, The Gotham Group, that produced projects such as THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES and THE MAZE RUNNER franchise, and Eclipse Law Firm which has represented projects like NARCOS, KING KONG, WATCHMEN, and YOUNG ROCK. Steve will instruct you how to effectively craft the scene descriptions of your story to make them truly come to life. After providing you with the critical Do’s and Don’ts when writing scenes, Steve will show you how to guide your reader on an exciting journey, set your tone so that readers can feel the words on the page, and craft character introductions that leave memorable impressions with your audience. He will also discuss directing on the page, rewriting scene descriptions, and the importance of reading scripts. Steve will provide you with several resourceful writing exercises that will help you generate ideas for your own prose writing. You will walk away from this session with your words leaping off the page! Steve is beyond excited to share his tools and expertise with members of the Stage 32 community.
Writing is rewriting. All writers know this, but unfortunately too many writers waste valuable time and energy rewriting their scripts over and over without really making them better. Or they make some parts of their script better while weakening other parts -it's almost like an endless whack-a-mole game. The reason this happens is that often writers don't know the most effective ways to evaluate and rewrite their material. They rewrite without a clear focus or understanding of the fundamentals. Knowing how to effectively rewrite your script will lead to a dramatic improvement in your final product for both feature and TV scripts, and will be a game changer in your writing career! There's an art to the rewriting process that many successful writers embrace. It begins with letting go, relaxing, embracing, and, eventually, enjoying the process. Great writers know how to save time by quickly identifying issues with their scripts and how to fix the problems quickly and efficiently. They know how to receive notes, how to discuss those notes, and which notes are worth pushing back against and which are worth taking. They know a great script doesn't evolve all at once. It takes time, patience, awareness and constant molding. Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Julia Roberts, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, Kopelson Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures. Corey is also a distinguished instructor at UCLA, where he earned his MFA. His students have gone on to sell or option scripts to Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Disney, Fox, Fox 2000, MGM, Universal, Warner Brothers, Showtime, FX, USA Network, AMC and HBO. Others have been staffed on such shows as Community, Justifed, Bones, The Mentalist, The Fosters, Young and Hungry, Playing House, and Treme. Corey knows what it takes to write and rewrite a great script, and he has proven it time and time again. Corey will walk you through the entire rewrite process for feature and TV screenplays from first understanding how your story reads in other people's heads (and why that is important!) all the way to correcting structural weaknesses in your script. He will break down rewrite memos, notes, and narrative cohesion, leaving you with a comprehensive overview of how to do an effective rewrite and how to immediately apply it to your own work. He will teach you how to receive notes and how to find the note within the note, an overlooked and misunderstood practice that can save you major rewriting time and win you points with executives, producers and financiers. Corey will show you all the pitfalls and common mistakes writers make during the rewriting process so you can move forward with not only confidence in your writing, but confidence you can carry into any room. PRAISE FOR COREY'S TEACHINGS: "Pure magic." - Alonzo G. "I always loved pumping out the first draft, but hated the rewrite. Now I know why. I had no idea what I was doing. I have 4 scripts that I can't wait to tear down and build back up bigger and stronger than ever." - Mark R. "This was so comprehensive and helpful. The entire webinar I was recognizing faults in my latest script. So happy I took this webinar!" - Mariana W. "I feel like I was just let into a secret club. The Rewrite Club. I know things other writers don't. Excited to put all this information into practice." - Jules P.
Advanced and in-depth 2-part directing class with award-winning Sundance and SXSW and director Clay Liford Learn how to handle shot coverage, scheduling, and time management on set! Perhaps the biggest challenge for any director, new or experienced, big budget or small, film or TV, is making your day, and ensuring you are efficiently getting the footage and performances you need so you don't go over schedule and over budget. This is difficult, but there’s a proven method to keep you on track, while still allowing for inspiration and experimentation on set. It also happens to be the industry standard, and applies to any level of filmmaking - from student short to studio feature. It comes down to identifying what to plan and what to improvise. The truth is the more you plan, the more you’re free to experiment while filming - provided you optimize your time and focus on the right elements. Let's go deep into how exactly to plan your day so you can do your job on set, stay in control, stay creative, and leave with the best possible film you can make. Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film Fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. In this intensive on-demand 2-part class, Clay will show you how you can save time and money as a filmmaker by employing strategies and practices to make your day and keep your project moving. Focusing on both pre-production and production, Clay will walk you through how exactly to plan your days on set, address where to place emphasis in your pre-production process, and lay out a specific method for planning shots and scenes, which includes shot lists and top-down lighting plots. Along the way, Clay will provide invaluable handouts and case studies. Praise for Clay's Previous Stage 32 Education: "Excellent - granular and practical, not just theoretical." --Peter C. "Clay was amazing. Would love to take more classes from him" --Jacqueline A. "I was impressed with Clay. He has what feels like a natural gift for teaching from a comfortable and personal level" --Maeve T.
What's going on, Creative Army? It's been a moment since we last had the time to interact in a live setting. Let's remedy that with another AMA (Ask Me Anything), pre-Cannes style. We got together for another inspiring, motivating and energy-packed question and answer session. For 2 hours I left you with tips, tricks and actionable information to help you move forward with your 2019 (and beyond) goals. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA is for ALL! As always, registering for my AMA is completely free. Spreading some positive vibes. Cheers! RB