How to Build a Lasting Filmmaking Career and Maximize The Quality Of Your Directing Work

How To Get Attention As A Director And Gain Higher And More Exciting Filmmaking Opportunities!
Hosted by Michael Davis

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Michael Davis

Webinar hosted by: Michael Davis

Director

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 »

Webinar Summary

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

What You'll Learn

Some of What Michael Will Teach You Includes:

  • Film Production
    • How to get producers off your back.
    • Making your days without making yourself crazy.
    • Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and Defcon 5.
    • The rabbit hole of multiple takes.
    • Decision making – Faking it and “Was it good for you?”
    • Why your shoes matter!
    • The lull after the take – and the lull before the storm!
    • How to avoid the director’s trailer trap.
    • Using the monitor and “The Long Walk”.
    • How to empower your AD and DP without letting them proxy direct for you.
  • The Art of Film
    • George Lucas design, Paul Greengrass impressionism, and content as style.
    • Visual storytelling – AKA getting layered.
  • Pre-production
    • Why the war is won or lost in pre-production.
    • The line producer is your friend, not your enemy.
    • The profound wisdom of pre-lighting.
    • Storyboards, shot lists, and “You can’t change plans that haven’t been made yet”.
  • Politics of Film
    • Why Hollywood is like high school but with more money.
    • When to kiss the ring, kiss ass, and kick ass.
    • The plus and minuses of blowing it with Steven Spielberg.
  • Dealing With Producers and Film Executives
    • The reasons they hire certain directors.
    • The “No” that grows.
    • Dealing with producers that have your back and those that stab you in the back.
  • Getting Attention and Getting Work
    • How to brand yourself.
    • Short films for short attention spans.
    • How to pitch.
    • The double edged sword – Hollywood’s love/hate of visionaries.
  • Agents
    • Do they work for you or do you work for them?
  • Dealing With Actors
    • Judging actors’ creativity.
    • Stress relief when actors implode.
    • Hunting for a cast and actor bait.
    • The destructive power of star power.
  • Post Production
    • Know your footage.
    • Cutting Shoot ‘Em Up action scenes.
    • Music, music, music!
  • Marketing and Distribution
    • How to find a good sales rep.
    • How to deal with critics.
    • Theatrical release – Holy Grail or Holy pain in the ass?
    • Cutting your own trailer.
    • The future of filmmaking – Freddie Wong is right!
  • Recorded, in-depth Q&A with Michael!

About Your Instructor

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.

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! 

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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: 4.5 out of 5

  • damn, looks like im staying home and making movies here hahah
  • Michael was great! He address the reality and challenges of being a director. He gave good advice and reaffirmed some of the perceptions i had of how the film industry works. Thanks!

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Create Your Own IP: How to Adapt Your Existing Script into a Podcast as Proof of Concept

In a short period of time, the world of podcasts has exploded and become an industry to be reckoned with. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis, and individual shows can have millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. An art form in its own right, podcasts have also become a proving ground for stories to be adapted for television or movies. Shows like HOMECOMING, DIRTY JOHN, and LIMETOWN would never have been greenlit or aired if they didn’t first find success and a fan base in podcast form. Now with many more podcast adaptations like CRIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS and ALICE ISN’T DEAD currently in development, this route is becoming much more common and achievable. There might not be a better time than now to adapt your feature screenplay to the podcast medium. If you've had difficulty gaining attention for your screenplay, turning it into a podcast and attracting an audience may provide proof of concept for your story to move it to a show or feature. This type of intellectual property is golden. Adapting your screenplay, of course, easier said than done. Writing for audio is a very different process than writing for a film or TV. Podcasts are written to be experienced as real time events, which is entirely different from a feature or TV script. A good podcast must paint a picture with only words and sounds and be paced to pull a listener in despite any distractions around them. It must also be structured into short episodes that defy traditional film or TV act structure. So, how do you turn 100 pages of a script into a multi-episode podcast? How does writing character or story arcs change when adapting your feature script to multiple episodes? Having a better understanding of what goes into a great comedy, drama, or genre podcast and the rules and expectations that come with this unique format can position you for success in telling your story and finding an audience. Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned writing the adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through the nuts and bolts of writing a fiction podcast and give you the tools you’ll need to adapt your long form script into this new medium. He’ll begin by discussing what the state of podcasts looks like today, including what kinds of podcasts are possible and the different formats of fiction podcasts that people are writing and which ones are currently popular. He’ll then delve into how to approach your podcast adaptation and which things you should decide on from the outset. This includes deciding on the format that will work best for your story, how to adapt your writing style to short form when you’re used to writing features or television, and whether you will use a narrator or go full “radio play”. He’ll also give you tips on how to plan for sound while starting to write. Mike will next go into detail on breaking your long form story into multiple short form episodes. He’ll give you tips on extending your story and show you where to put episode breaks within it. He’ll go over building tension between episodes between episodes and what goes into good cliffhangers on podcasts. He’ll also talk about how to avoid needing recaps between episodes. Next Mike will spend time talking about other writing challenges that come with this format, including how to paint a picture in audio form without creating awkward dialogue, the process of holding on to your subplots without your storytelling getting choppy, and how to use your first episode to grab your audience. He’ll also offer tips of how to give your characters separate voices. Finally, Mike will use his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN, which was originally written as a feature, to illustrate the process of adapting for podcasts. He’ll even share samples of both the feature and podcast versions of the SENTINELS script. If you’re excited about podcasts, curious about writing your own or adapting your feature script into one and don’t even know where to begin, start here.   Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar   FIVE STARS FOR MIKE!!! He is super-awesome! Can't wait for the next session. -Robert S.   "Mike Disa is definitely one of the best. He provided advice that is actionable." -Martin R.   "I loved how engaging Mike was. It felt like he was genuine and addressing each of us almost individually. I have honestly never had a better Stage32 experience!" -Elle C.   "It was great to hear from Mike. What a professional and what great advice from someone who knows the business and the craft of writing for podcasts." -Mary S.

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