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:
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!
One of the great myths about the entertainment industry is that the older you are, the harder it is to break in. The truth of the matter is, there are Baby Boomers working in the industry in all capacities. In fact, with the abundance of film, television and digital content being creative, the opportunities for Baby Boomers has never been greater. Whether you're writing or filming content, looking to produce or work on the business side of the industry, or have an interest in being an actor, crew member, or other on set talent or staff, it's time to get moving and let yourself be seen and heard! Ageism is a word that gets thrown around often when people talk about the entertainment industry. But at the end of the day, those working in the industry want to hire talented, dependable, and dedicated people to help them elevate their personal and professional goals. So much of getting hired has less to do with your age and how you present and handle yourself. Jessica Sitomer has been has worked in the entertainment industry for twenty years as a writer, an independent producer, a development associate, a director, and an actress. She's produced three television shows, had her writing produced by an Emmy award winning producer, and while working in development had the pleasure of being a part of Crazy in Alabama, Antonio Banderas' directorial debut (and yes, Jessica says, he's as charming in real life as he is on screen). Simultaneously, for seventeen of those years Jessica has been a career coach for Entertainment Industry Professionals. Within that period, she served for seven years as the in-house career coach for the International Cinematographers Guild. There she coached over 1000 people one-on-one, created over 40 seminar topics, ran over 30 mastermind groups, and developed a successful mentor program. No one knows this topic better. Jessica will teach all Baby Boomers how to create a relevant career that squashes the myths and stereotypes. She will identify and explain key strategies to circumvent the occasional ageism that historically have turned older generations off to pursuing their entertainment career. You will receive “ageless” tips for making a first impression either in person, by phone or via email. Jessica will also provide marketing tips on how Boomers can market online (social media and websites) to stay current. Further she will show you the advantages you have being a boomer as well as 3 strategies for using them! She will help you identify your strengths and assets to understand what makes YOU stand out so you can parlay those traits into more work. And, through templates (which you can download), she will show you how to simplify your plan of action so you can start down your path toward success. Age does NOT need to be a factor in pursuing a career in film, television and digital. Jessica will give you the tools, the motivation, the strategies, and the confidence to build the career you wish for! "Jesica is an inspirational ball of fire. I came in with doubts and fears and left ready to knock down the intimidating gates of the industry. Can I get an Amen? Thank you Jessica!" - Roberta K. "Coming from a sales background, there are 2 things I know you need to be successful: Information and confidence. This webinar provided so much information, and it was delivered in such a clear and motivating way, I left with all the confidence in the world." - Frank I.
Animation in both film and television has found increased popularity in recent years. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work of animated films and television to be completed from home or while socially distanced, the industry has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. As a result, this is a prime and exciting time to take your first steps into this world and find your space within it. The tools you need to succeed in animation are quite unique, but once honed, they can offer you a long and fulfilling creative career. Many are surprised by just how different the world of animation is to its live action counterpart, both in television and film. Animation plays by different rules, different hierarchies, different schedules, different expectations, different everything. That’s why approaching a career in animation the way you’d approach one in another field of the entertainment industry just won’t work. To find your place in animation and build a long-lasting career, you first need to understand how the business works and where you can best fit in. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who directed on shows like the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working 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. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animation and knows better than most what it takes to build a career in this industry Mike will walk you through what the animation industry looks today, both in film and television, and teach you how best to find your place within it. He will begin with animated TV and go over its financial models of production. He’ll explain what the animated TV industry looks like on broadcast, cable and streamers and go through the rating system widely used. Mike will also explain the types of animated shows currently being made and how best you can place your own show. He will also discuss representation, why you need it and how to get it. Mike will then move on to animated features and explain the financial models here, for studio films, indies, and what the “Bluth Bubble” is. He’ll also discuss domestic vs. international animation, incorporating toys and merchandise, and the balance between art and commerce. Finally Mike will explain how to find your own place in the future of animation. The world of animation might be an anomaly compared to the rest of Hollywood, but Mike will give you the understanding to walk in with your eyes open and find success. Praise for Mike's Previous Stage 32 Webinars Mike’s knowledge is sound and extensive. His vision for what’s happening now and what we are to expect in the future is brilliant. I could listen to him forever. -Jane D. "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S. I loved the wealth of content and Mike's humor. -Prema R.
Love it or hate it, the power of social media is undeniable. Harnessing the power of social media is one of the great secret weapons many producers, filmmakers, screenwriters and other creatives and professionals use to draw attention to and market their films. Learning how to correctly use social media can not only win you an audience for your film or project, it can also get you much desired attention from managers, agents, sales agents, distributors and other people of influence who can help you get your film seen and move the needle on your creative and professional career. And the greatest thing about social media? It's free. It won't impact your budget in the slightest, yet the return on your time investment can be greater than any money you can spend. But you have to know how to navigate the landscape. Make no mistake, you need this important tool in your arsenal and we'll show you how to wield its power. There is nothing more valuable than a large enthusiastic and vocal audience of supporters. Having people champion you and your film carries with it social proof. The more people who spread the word and the more advocates they can recruit, the more marketing and promotional power you have. This is why studios spend millions of marketing dollars on social media. But you can get the same results without spending a dime. And in this day and age, social proof is valued almost as much as IP. It brings you and your project heat. It says to managers, agents, sales agents, distributors, producers, financiers and other executives and decision makers that you have something worth paying attention to. Something of value. Something they need to see. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy, social media, and integrated marketing. Recently, she launched the Digital Marketing Team for the Day and Date Film Division - Lionsgate Premiere. She's worked on a wide range of films from limited theatrical, VOD, independent, and home entertainment releases. Jennifers has worked with mini and major studios such as: Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. She has designed and run film social media campaigns that have gone viral and have drawn millions of eyeballs. Jennifer will take you through all the reasons you need social media for your film, from SEO purposes, to driving an audience, to giving you the opportunity to tell your story and the story of your film to a mass audience. She will teach you which social media platforms are the right fit for your film and will give you the best return on your time investment. She will teach you about messaging and how to stay on point. She will discuss different types of media and how to utilize each to maximize your exposure and return engagement on each platform. If you are thinking about hiring someone to handle your social media, Jennifer will show you what to look for in a hire. She will take you through various campaigns and tactics, bartering, cross promoting and enlisting your cast and crew to get involved. She will take away your anxiety of the time commitment you may believe social media involves by showing you various social timing and simple graphic design programs. And to make it all easier, Jennifer will present some case studies designed to spark ideas and remove your fears. "Ok, I took this because I HATE social media. Now I see that I allowed that concept to fester and grow irrationally. Jennifer presented this information in a way that made an optimist out of this skeptic. I'm not even going to dip my toe in, I'm diving in head first." - Maria N "Masterful." - Anthony C. "As comprehensive as it gets." - Martina J. "Social is littered with abandoned film accounts. I have always had success promoting my films on social media because I make sure to post great content and to be engaging. But, wow, there is SO much I was missing out on. So many things I did not know, overlooked, or simply didn't consider. Jennifer had me scribbling pages of notes. My mind is spinning. Can't wait to put all this information into practice." - Laura D.
It's an undeniable fact, there is no hotter market right now than television. Over the last year, over 600 shows were broadcast on TV networks, basic cable, premium cable, and the streaming platforms. And this isn't even counting limited series, docu-series and other short form content. And with new platforms like Disney+, Apple, Facebook TV and others diving into original content, there is no peak in sight or end to this gold rush on the horizon. If anything, we may just be getting started. In fact, most streaming platforms like Netflix have made a pledge to have their entire libraries consist of over 50% original content in just a few years. Think about that! So how can you take advantage of this incredible buying and producing spree, get in a writers room, work your way up to an executive producing/showrunning position and run your own show? We're glad you asked. David Weddle has been at the television game for over 20 years. Over a prolific and well documented career, David has worked on some of the most highly acclaimed and longest running shows of all time including Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Guillermo del Toro's award winning and ground-breaking series, The Strain. David has worked side-by-side with some of the top showrunners in the business including Cartlon Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, Jack Ryan). Currently, David is a co-executive producer/showrunner and writer for the Apple TV hit For All Mankind. In this exclusive special event Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar, David will take you to what it takes to build a career from writer to showrunner. He will explain the entire landscape and give you a full understanding of who does what and why. He will explain how to get into a writer's room and what to do (and not to do) once you get in. He will show you how to play the political game, climb the ladder, and earn respect. He will teach you how to think and work like an EP until you become one. As if that wasn't enough, David will then take you through the world of showrunning. He will explain how writer's rooms are staffed. How seasons are laid out, how arcs are created and how episodes are broken down. He will explain budgets and scheduling, using real world examples from The Strain, Battlestar Galactica and CSI. He will talk hiring directors, getting your cast and making sure your show runs like a Swiss watch. And he will take you through the days and nights of being an EP and showrunner, so you know exactly what to expect and how to navigate the playing field. Joining David to moderate this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar is our very own CEO, Richard Botto, a writer and producer himself with a television pilot in active development. The world of breaking in and staying in television doesn't need to be complicated. David will show you the tricks, tips and, most importantly, the facts you need to shorten your path to success. Praise for David "This truly was a masterclass. I learned so much." - Rebecca C. "I was in a writer's room for 9 weeks and then our show got cancelled. I learned more today than I did being in that room for those 9 weeks." Anthony P. "David, you're a rock star." - Pam J. "Rewatching. Rewatching. Rewatching. Thank you, David and Stage 32." - Annette F.
We're excited to take a peak behind the curtain into the mind of a film festival director to talk about what they look for when programming a festival. We've brought in the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, Daniel Sol, to go over the everything you need to know when you are considering submitting your short film to a festival.
As the world of independent television and film continues to shift, international co-productions are becoming more common. That’s because crossing borders is often an effective way to find better funding, better locations, and ultimately a wider audience. But international co-productions are not always a slam dunk. Partnering with other countries is a complicated endeavor and brings with it challenges and hurdles you wouldn’t have to face otherwise. Potential pitfalls are plentiful, but then again, so are opportunities. It comes down to putting in the work ahead of time, covering your bases, and making sure you know what you’re doing before diving in head first. Working across countries is hard enough when you’re part of a studio or large corporation. There are still contracts to hash out, politics to navigate, and differences in cultures to understand. But when you’re an independent producer or filmmaker looking to cross country lines, it can feel impossible, an overwhelming prospect where you don’t even know where to start. After all, you don’t have the backing of a legal department and you don’t have experts on payroll. You just have you. So where do you start? Is an international co-production worth it for you? What steps should you take to get the ball rolling and how can do you protect yourself along the way? With more than twenty years in the industry, Alexia Melocchi has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. Alexia is currently a producer at Little Studio Films, a representation and production company with more than 25 films and series credits. She serves as Partner and Producer, involved in all aspects of company operations, including distribution and co-production deals, managing production activities, and film and television marketing. Alexia is well versed in the art of international co-productions and will share the secrets, tips, and lessons she’s learned over her two decades in the industry exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Alexia will walk you through the nitty gritty of starting international co-productions and the things you need to know before jumping in. She will begin by going over the pros and cons of producing overseas, both for film projects and television, and when to determine if an international co-production is the right call. She’ll tell you the four aspects of your project you should focus on before making this call. She’ll then discuss what makes a story international and how to use this to your advantage. Alexia will then go over the advantages of having international settings in your script. Next she will focus on tax subsidies and credits in different countries, how these can be targeted, the challenges that come with claiming them, and the rules and requirements you’ll generally need to meet to qualify for them. She’ll also discuss the prospect of working with international broadcasters or producers. Then, Alexia will give an in-depth and detailed rundown of the benefits and challenges of producing in six major countries: Italy, Spain, Canada, UK, and Australia. She’ll offer a breakdown of the specific costs that go into overseas productions, as well as the legal ramifications of these projects, including how international cooperation might affect ownership of your IP and rights. Alexia will discuss what an effective timeline of a successful co-production deal might look like and will finally give you tips on how to work international markets like Cannes to find the partnerships you need. This webinar is useful to producers considering an international co-production as well as writers, actors and directors who feel their talent or material might work well on an international scale Like what you heard from Alexia during this webinar? Send your script to Alexia and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Alexia’s Webinar “Alexia had so much specific and helpful information that I’m going to be able to use moving forward” -Karen H. “Alexia is the best! I’m so glad I got to see this webinar” -Hannah E. “I was impressed with how much the instructor knew about this topic. I have a lot of ideas and tools I can take with me for my own projects now” -Jerry B.