Amanda headed up production and development at NYC production shingle, Animal Kingdom before she became a professional writer. There she co-produced Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at SXSW 2013. She's also been an incremental part of seeing films like David Robert Mitchell's It Follows, Justin Tipping's Kicks, and Joachim Trier's Louder Than Bombs (Jesse Eisenberg) move into production - and actively worked on building Animal Kingdom's development slate. Amanda has also worked with Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) on his short film Here for Starwood hotels. Prior to working at Animal Kingdom, Amanda was Director of Development at Locomotive, where she worked closely on Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends With Kids. She has helped shepherd all of these movies to the festival stage, as well as films such as Brian Crano's A Bag Of Hammers and Carrie Preston's That’s What She Said. Full Bio »
Film festivals. They are one of the best ways to network, market your film, get feedback from judges and audiences, and most importantly, get your work seen. Even better, winning awards at festivals can help you gain major recognition and momentum as a filmmaker. But, if you haven’t submitted a film or attended a festival before, it can be a daunting task to try to get your film into a major festival such as Sundance or South by Southwest.
What festival do you choose? How do you submit your film? What happens once you make it into the festival? How soon should you be booking accommodation? Questions like these often prohibit filmmakers from entering the ever-important film festivals. But fear not – we’re here to give you a breakdown of the process of getting your film into a major festival, what to expect once you’re there, and how to give yourself the best chance of making a good impression.
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom will guide you through the navigation of getting your film into a major festival. Amanda spent years heading up production and development at NYC production shingle Animal Kingdom. Having co-produced Destin Daniel Cretton’s film Short Term 12, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at SXSW 2013, as well as shepherding over 7 films into major festivals, Amanda knows the ins and outs of what it takes to get into a major film festival and what to do once you’re there.
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!
"Loved it!" - Jeff N.
"Thank you Amanda! It was great" - Florin M.
"Great info... As I am about to start filming for a doc - and my main goal is getting into festivals." - Terran B.
"Fantastic" - Richard M.
Learn directly from Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom, Producer and Independent Filmmaker (Short Term 12, Friends With Kids, It Follows)! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar you will learn the answer to one of the most asked questions there is in regards to film: how to get a paying job. Whether you’re new to the industry, trying a different line of work, or getting back into the industry after a hiatus, it can feel like walking on to a minefield – it’s tough to know where to begin, how to get your foot in the door and how to get away from unpaid positions. Your host Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom is here to explain how she got her start in the business, how she worked her way up to a Development Executive position, and give you detailed advice about how to navigate getting a paying job in the industry. You will leave the webinar knowing: If it makes sense for you to get an internship or not. What different jobs exist in the industry - and if they'll still be around in 5 years. How to get a paying job in the film industry rather than unpaid positions. How to write a great resume and cover letter. How much money you can expect to realistically make in different jobs - so you know how much to ask for. What makes the most sense for you, your interests, and your lifestyle when pursuing paid work in the film industry. Your host Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom has spent the past 7 years working in the independent film industry in New York. She’s headed up development and production at Animal Kingdom, where she co-produced the multi-award winning Short Term 12 – and worked closely on projects like It Follows. She understands how to get a job – and is working exclusively with Stage 32 to share her know-how with you.
From epics like Annie Hall to classics like When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman to modern day movies like The Big Sick, Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas, romantic comedies have provided us with some of the most memorable films in cinema history. And now, especially thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and more, rom-coms are not only back en vogue, but hotter than ever. And the demand for great rom-com scripts is at an all time high. If you have a rom-com or are thinking about writing one, you have to understand all the elements that make up the formula that has been so successful for the most profitable rom-coms that came before. We're here to help you achieve just that. You have a great love story you want to tell. You have a great setting, characters, plot and dialogue you know is going to pop off the page. And you also know that love is a universal language and that your idea will be appealing to romantics all over the world. But, did you know that almost all successful romantic comedies have 5 set up elements and 5 plot elements that are necessary to make it a winning formula? You need to know these 10 elements and how to apply them in order to make your script go from the shelf to being greenlit. Amanda Johnston-Zetterstrom is a writer on Netflix’s hit series, YOU – today’s most modern version of an obsessive dark love story. She was a producer on Brie Larson’s debut Short Term 12 and worked on Friends with Kids starring Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. She’s had a storied career taking love stories in complex worlds and bringing them to the screen. And, now, you can learn about her formula on what makes a good romantic comedy screenplay become a great romantic comedy screenplay. In this two part class (over 4 hours of instruction!) Amanda will go over the 10 crucial elements to write a good rom-com, what makes existing romantic comedies work, how to make your script stand out from the pack, what differentiates a good rom-com from a bad one, how to hone your own voice and how to originate a great idea/hook. You will get the tools you need to write a funny, heartfelt, PRODUCIBLE romantic comedy – so that you can see your name in lights (and let’s be real… get paid!) "Wow. This class was so comprehensive. Between the dozens of case studies and the practical tips and applications I can't imagine there is a better romantic comedy class anywhere in the world." - Gwen B. "Amanda is like a walking Encycolpedia of all things love and rom-com. It's amazing how she made writing this format so easy to understand. She gave me so much to think about when diving into my script. Thank you Amanda. I will definitely take any class you offer on Stage 32!" - Kaustubh P.
It's no secret that television is a red hot medium right now. Over the last few years, the average number of shows broadcast has been well over 500. With the advent of even more streaming options (HBO Now, Disney+, and more), some experts expect that number to double or even possibly triple over the next 2-4 years. That doesn't even account for the number of television projects that get sold or brought to pilot that never get picked up! In short, the amount of television pitches being greenlit in the room and the amount of television scripts being optioned and sold has never been higher. But, as is the case with just about anything, the bigger the gold rush, the more people seeking the gold. The content is one thing, how you pitch the content to networks, development execs, financiers, producers, managers, agents and other decision makers is quite another. Experienced professionals can spot an amateur pitcher within the first 30 seconds, if not sooner. You have to be able to stand out. And we're here to help you do just that. So, you have a great idea for a show, now what? How do you get it to the right people? What to do/how to present it to them? What most people don’t understand, is that once they’re in the door they need to think about the other side of the table. Who they’re pitching to, how many pitches that person reads/hears and how best to position themselves to stand out. Busy producers and executives get pitched all the time - honestly...All. Day. Long. Whether oral, written or Skype, you basically have 30 seconds or the first paragraph to keep them interested. And for both, the format matters! Don’t let your great idea fall on deaf ears or eyes! If you’re a writer or someone who works with writers, you need to know how to orchestrate a good pitch. Bret Slater has worked as a producer on such acclaimed shows as the multi Emmy nominated Boardwalk Empire and Ballers for HBO. Bret has worked alongside such talent as Steve Buscemi, Mark Whalberg, Russel Crowe, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Steven Levinson (Entourage), Catherine Zeta Jones, Ryan Phillippe and many more. Bret has been reading and listening to television pitches all day and just about every day since he broke into the business over a decade ago. He's seen every style, heard every idea, and knows as well as anyone what makes a television pitch a winner. Bret will teach you the entire landscape regarding pitching a television pilot or idea. In what is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the pitching process, Bret will take you inside the mind of the pitchee, the person hearing the pitch. What are they looking for in the first 30 seconds? What are you portraying when you walk in the room? What details matter and which make the person you are pitching to zone out? How do you craft your pitch to producers, managers and agents? He will teach you the 3 basic, yet much overlooked, rules that must be in every pitch along with the #1 rule on how to deliver your pitch. Bret will break down written, oral and online/Skype pitches and the do's and don'ts for each. He will teach you how to open, and more importantly, close your pitch so that you leave the person or people you are pitching to wanting more. Bret will even show you the proper etiquette for following up after a pitch. Bret will provide all the tools that will help lift the anxiety and doubt of pitching for television and give you the confidence to deliver your pitch in a mannered, informed and professional way. "Yet another winner from Stage 32." - Patricia C. "So much quality information. There were at least 3 things I was absolutely doing wrong with my approach when pitching. This clarified the mistakes I was making. Thank you, Bret." Marty T. "Having spent nearly 10 years in the feature world, I recently wrote a pilot and quickly realized the landscape is much different. My old tricks for pitching features didn't apply for TV. It's a different animal. Now I'm ready to get back on the attack." Milos S.
If there has been one genre that has stood the test of time throughout the history of the film industry, it's the biopic. True stories about interesting people and events are always in vogue. Studios, indie production companies and the streamers love them because they draw big audiences and awards recognition. Actors love them because it gives them something meaty to chew on and increases their odds for awards success. Many a writer has broken through by writing a screenplay based on true events. And right now, especially with the streamers upping their game, the genre has never been hotter. But to write a killer, non-rote biopic, you need to understand where to find your material, how to secure it, and then how to best tell your version of the story so that it attracts representatives, producers, financiers, and talent. The last 10 years has seen a biopic renaissance. The Social Network, Wolf of Wall Street, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody, American Sniper, The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The King's Speech, Dolemite is My Name, The Irishman and Ford Vs. Ferrari all have been nominated or won major awards. And those are just a handful of the biopics that have been distributed either theatrically or digitally over the last decade. And with the streamers going full force, the studios looking for the sure thing, and the independent community looking for smaller, unknown stories, the desire for biopic and true story screenplays is only going to grow. Even short form biopics are booming with TV series and limited series based on real people and events all the rage. Tyler Ruggeri is a screenwriter, story consultant, and former literary manager with over a decade of experience on both sides of the entertainment industry. His biopic script The Making of Rock Hudson sold to veteran producers Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler of Maven Pictures. He also adapted the acclaimed non-fiction book Trapped Under the Sea, which led to a series of writing assignments on both original projects and rewrites. He is currently working on a feature for a major studio and developing a limited series. Tyler began his career as a manager at Exile Entertainment, where he represented screenwriters and directors in addition to developing the company’s film/TV slate – among his clients were Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). Other projects he developed with clients sold to A-list producers/financiers. With his vast experience, Tyler not only knows the world of writing biopics, but how to find and secure material as well. He will teach you resources to help you find the right material and how to find the right story for you to tell. He'll show you how to secure intellectual property. He will instruct you on the benefits of wiring an original screenplay vs. an adaptation. He will dig deep into the process of how to shape your story, including how to find your way into the story before you start writing so that your opening is an attention grabber. He will teach you how to do research and how you can do the extra legwork to go deeper into the world of your story. He will dive into 4 tips to join fact with fiction and 4 tips on dramatic license and when and how to use it. Tyler will show you how to creative the best character arcs possible including character motivation, behavior, stakes, and how the characters exist in time and place. He will help you uncover themes and make sure those themes are fleshed out to attract the widest audience possible. He will then discuss the market, how to sell, how to cover yourself legally and much, much more. If you've ever had a passion to tell a story based on a real person or events, Tyler will take you through everything you need to know to secure the IP, protect yourself legally, develop the story, write the screenplay and put yourself in a position to get the material massive attention. "Legitimately one of the best classes I've ever taken. I've had a story based on a book I've been eyeing forever and didn't know how to go about it. Now I do. What an incredible blueprint to securing, writing, and selling biopics." - Amanda P. "Outstanding in every way." - Marco G. "I'm overcome with gratitude. The best." - Danny C. "I don't think I could be any more inspired." Patricia S.
The entertainment industry is constantly shifting and adapting, but perhaps no aspect of Hollywood is more volatile than that of film distribution. Over the past twenty years, the methods and processes of releasing films have changed drastically and continue to be difficult to pin down or predict. From theatrical to video and DVD, television to VOD, the industry continues to not only adjust but wholly reinvent itself. Now, of course, one of the bigger, if not the biggest, avenues of distribution has become online streaming platforms. Massive players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu and newcomers like HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ have been making and picking up a very large number of films, and the viewership numbers for these titles can be staggering. There might not be a better place for your film to find a home than a streamer, but that’s easier said than done. There is perhaps no company with more reach globally than Amazon, and their streaming platform, already a juggernaut, is only growing in size and subscription base. Now with a global audience of around 150 million people, it’s one of the biggest platforms in the world to host films. Getting your film into Amazon’s content library can be a boon like no other. Yet Amazon is a tough one to understand. As a model, it differs greatly from its competitors like Netflix and Hulu since it’s just one piece of Amazon’s overall corporate puzzle. For many reasons, Amazon is playing a different game than other streaming platforms, which means you’ll need to play a different game as well if you want your film to be part of their library. This is why it’s critical you gain a deeper understanding of how Amazon works, what they’re looking for, and how you can break through the noise. Steff Monsalve Reed is the Director of Content and Distribution at Quiver Distribution, where she discovers and releases titles from emerging voices and helps independent filmmakers get their projects on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Redbox, DirecTV, and more. Recently, Steff has distributed films such as THE LOST HUSBAND, starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb, BECKY, starring Kevin James and Joel McHale, and THE SUNLIT NIGHT with Zach Galifianiakis, Jenny Slate, and Gillian Anderson. She will be distributing CHICK FIGHT, starring Malin Akermin and Alec Baldwin, a feature film which was incubated through Stage 32. Before Quiver, Steff worked as a distribution consultant for AMBI Distribution and Raven Capital Management, and served as the Manager of Acquisitions and Exhibitor relations for Entertainment One, a major independent distribution company releasing films in North America as well as several major territories around the world. Through her extensive distribution background, Steff has become very familiar with what it takes to get a film on various platforms. Steff will walk you through how Amazon finds and picks up films and what content creators can do to better get their own projects on Amazon’s radar. Steff will begin by going through a primer of what film distribution for streamers looks like, including the basic life cycle of a film and important terms to know. Then she will give a rundown of Amazon as a whole. She’ll explain how it works and how you should categorize it. She’ll also go over who Amazon’s competitors are and what Amazon’s subscription base looks like. Then she’ll outline the three distinct services Amazon provides—Transactional, SVOD, and IMDB.tv—and explain how you should think about each. Next Steff will go over what kind of content Amazon goes for. She’ll go over genres, styles and more aspects that are most successful on the platform and will delve into the film titles that have performed best in the past, as well as presently. Steff will talk about how to pitch your film to Amazon. She’ll teach you who is able to pitch to Amazon in the first place, what makes a pitch there successful, and how to make your content stand out to peak their executives’ interests. She’ll even offer a case study of a real pitch deck that she used to get them to pick up a film. After this, Steff will talk about how to best prepare and maximize deliverables to fit Amazon’s requirements. She’ll give you a rundown of what exactly Amazon requires and talk about the steps you should be taking well in advance to ensure you have what you need for Amazon if they pick up your film. She’ll also provide strategies to make your marketing materials stand out and for your film to perform better. Then Steff will talk about revenue expectations with Amazon. She’ll explain how Amazon’s payment structure works and will give a general sense of how much you can expect to make from an Amazon distribution deal. She’ll also talk about how to create a budget with this in mind for a realistic return on investment. Next she’ll explain what she believes might be next for Amazon, what the current trends are pointing to and how the “streaming war” might affect things moving forward. Finally, she’ll leave with closing thoughts for filmmakers to consider, including additional challenges to prepare for and unique opportunities at Amazon you can take advantage of. Expect to leave with a much clearer understanding of how Amazon works and how you can better position your film for success at this streaming platform. Praise for Steff's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "One of the best presentations I have seen." -John S. "Great info. Great presentation. Really explained the topic well. " -Martin R. "Steff was excellent in explaining the distribution process and especially how it pertains to Netflix." -Michael W.
Low budget filmmaking is all the rage these days. But unfortunately, many people equate low budget with low quality. And if we're being honest, that's because most producers and filmmakers don't understand how and where to spend their money to stretch their dollar and make sure the quality is up there on the screen. In short, you don't have to compromise on your vision if you have a smaller budget to work with. Even though you may not be playing with studio level money, you still have the ability to make a high quality film without skimping on spending for what matters. If you are clever in your planning, approach and execution of minimizing costs your will walk away with a movie you will be proud of and that will play much larger than the budget. And this will allow you to stand out in every way, from festival submissions to attracting sales agents, distributors and more. Thinking smart about your indie film must begin at the script stage. There are many tips and tricks successful producers and filmmakers use to ensure that a project will not run amok financially once you start developing and shooting it. You must think outside of the box to be able to find cost-effective ways to assure you get everything you need to make your production go smoothly and on schedule while keeping you in line on your budget. Once you master a few tips and tricks of the trade, you'll assuredly have money left over to spend on what really counts and make your film look and sound like you had money to burn. So, how can you evaluate your script, avoid the common pitfalls, and assure that you avoid the myriad issues that can stall a production or push it over budget? We have the answers. Sara Elizabeth Timmins was a field producer on the hit HBO series McMillions, which was produced by Mark Wahlberg and premiered at Sundance 2020. Her films have been seen in theaters, the Hallmark Channel, Starz, Showtime and internationally. She has worked with talented actors like Jane Seymour, Ellen Burstyn, Chris Cooper, Josh Lucas and Mackenzie Foy and writers like NY Times Best Selling Author David Baldacci. Throughout her career she has learned how to attach award-winning talent and turn a profit on every single one of her films. Sara Elizabeth will teach you the 3 key elements you must not skimp on in order to get your film to come out looking the best possible way. She'll share how she's been able to secure and manage professional talent and crew on a low budget. She'll take you step by step with great examples of where you can minimize costs in the script and development phase, as well as once you're in production. She'll even share things to think about when it comes to transportation, lodging, craft services, locations and more. She'll also give you 9 common production dangers that can sabotage your budget - you'll want to know each one of these before you even say "action!" This is information you'll want to come back to time and time again and can help you for every single production regardless of your working budget. "What clever information Sara Elizabeth. Thank you a million for your insights into your process producing. You gave me so many things to think about that I never would have considered. I'm excited to put this into practice on the film I'm doing next year!" - Robin M. "Brilliant. Just brilliant. I feel like I just got the secret sauce." - Timothy K.