As President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, Tai Duncan oversees film projects from inception to completion encompassing all aspects of development, casting, finance and production. Zero Gravity is a production and management company based in Los Angeles that boasts a strong client list of screenwriters, directors, actors and financiers for feature films and television. Tai Duncan recently produced PROUD MARY for Screen Gems starring Taraji P. Henson and HOW IT ENDS for Netflix starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, HONEST THIEF starring Liam Neeson and THE MARKSMAN starring Liam Neeson. Zero Gravity produced the Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck starring action/thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, the drama A FAMILY MAN starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe and Executive Produced the hit Netflix television show OZARK starring Jason Bateman. Prior to his time at Zero Gravity Management Tai was a producer and Senior Vice President at Paul Schiff Productions, contributing to the feature films: MONA LISA SMILE (Sony Pictures Entertainment), WALKING TALL (MGM), HOOLIGANS (Odd Lot Entertainment) DATE MOVIE, and EPIC MOVIE (New Regency/20th Century Fox). Prior to working with Paul Schiff, Tai worked as an executive at The Donners’ Company, primarily focusing on identifying and procuring new projects and contributing to the creative aspects of the following films: TIMELINE (Paramount), CONSTANTINE (Warner Brothers), XMEN 2 (20th Century Fox) and OUT COLD (Buena Vista/Spyglass Entertainment). Before his time at The Donners’ Company, Tai started in the agent trainee program at the United Talent Agency (UTA). Full Bio »
History is littered with the bones of many failed films which fell apart due to conflicts between the director and producer. While you'll often hear how important it is for a filmmaker to have relationships with all the vital players and department heads on his or her set (and it certainly is), the reality is that the relationship between the director and the lead producer is the one that will begin the earliest and last the longest throughout a particular project. A healthy, cohesive relationship between the film director and the producer will show the cast and crew that a united front has been formed and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. An unhealthy, bifurcated relationship will put the cast and crew on their heels, which will inevitably hurt the project.
Directors and producers are often people of vision and power. Harnessed correctly and collaboratively, that combination can bring out the best in everyone and help to make a project stay on time, on budget, and on message and voice. Harnessed incorrectly, ego and hubris take over. It may seem obvious that communication is the key to assuring that the relationship flourishes, and that's not totally untrue. But the key to a productive and positive relationship between the director and producer is understanding all aspects of what needs to get done, recognizing what the other person's needs are, defining what's worth standing up for and what's worth letting go, and recognizing that at the end of the day, you're both fighting for the same result.
Q&A with Tai
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Interactive class with the Top Story Editor of Covenant on AMC's ALLBLK Payment plans available - contact email@example.com for details In this interactive, four-part class exclusively through Stage 32, you’ll learn proven techniques designed for emerging writers to write your first draft with help from a professional screenwriter, teacher, and script consultant. You’ll learn how to create your logline to test the strength of your idea while brainstorming, conduct character analysis to form the emotional journey at the core of your story, break your story into sequences, run crucial reports to analyze your script’s strengths, and more. You’ll also receive weekly assignments to ensure that you understand the lessons covered. With a small number of spots available, you’ll be able to develop real connections with other passionate writers. Your expert instructor, AZ Yeamen, has sold nearly every script she’s ever written. She uses the techniques in this course for her own stories and teaching emerging writers, helping them rise above the pack, selling projects to networks, and placing in many screenwriting competitions. AZ continues to hone her own skills as a writer, consultant, and founder of Bridge 17 Scriptwriters’ Studio. She has become the go-to for revisions, doctoring, whipping stories into shape, and pitch packages for Netflix, TVOne, Aspire TV, UMC Streaming, Bounce TV, and independent production companies. She most recently served as a Story Editor on Covenant on AMC's ALLBLK. AZ doesn’t just teach you how to craft a story. She teaches you how to bring your voice to the forefront, tailoring your script to your authentic voice so that it stands out. By the end of the four lessons, you’ll have functional skills to develop your craft with pacing, authentic storytelling, build your writing muscles, and understand screenwriting essentials. Any script that successfully applies these lessons using their own unique voice will have the skills to write a memorable script that keeps executives turning those pages.
Outlining isn’t for everyone. But if you find yourself struggling with where to begin, or getting stuck in the middle of a draft, or if the concept of writing a full screenplay just feels too daunting, then an effective outline can help make the process easier. An outline helps you to dive into your story before you begin writing, so that you can craft a plan for turning your vision into a reality. If your screenplay is a house, the outline is the architectural blueprint. Mastering outlining can elevate your next project to new heights and convince more people to take notice in your story. It happens to everyone: You have an idea that you’re passionate about and leap into writing page one. But eventually, that initial spark wears off and it’s a struggle to figure out what to write next. Outlining is a great way to curate your ideas into a game plan so you can hold on to that spark. But in order to have a successful plan and structure for your screenplay, it’s crucial to know not only how to outline, but to read what that outline is telling you about your story. Let’s take a closer look. Steve Desmond is a WGA screenwriter whose screenplays have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times in the past five years, including in 2020 with his latest script, The Saturday Night Ghost Club. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar nominated producer attached. FilmNation (Arrival, The King’s Speech) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World. He’s also been hired to work on projects for Legendary Pictures, Sony, Blumhouse, and Mandalay, amongst others. In honing his craft as a writer, Steve has leaned heavily on the art of outlining and has used it to find success for his work. Steve will provide tips and best practices for outlining to help you better prepare for writing your script and zero in on your project’s story and structure. He’ll explain the positives and negatives of outlining and how to find the outlining approach that’s best for you. He’ll also discuss how best to research and the benefits of creating a notes document. Steve will delve into ironing out your premise, focusing in on theme and tone, and building out characters. He will talk about three act structure and his own “build the bridge” method for outlining. Finally he’ll discuss next steps after you finish your first go at the outline. Expect to leave with strategies and ideas you can take back with you to better organize and attack your own script. Praise for Steve's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "This was fantastic. Steve offered so much insight, dozens of little nuggets that rang true or gave me pause to think of something I'd never considered before."-Ed K. "Perfectly laid out, clear and concise material taught by a genial host!"-George P. "Steve was fantastic. His examples and insights were on point. Thanks!"-Adam H. "I made 3 pages of notes; good pertinent topics with simple fundamental answers presented. Very helpful, worth the time and fee."-Thomas W.
Voiceover work is a hot and highly in-demand job for creatives, and one that keeps growing. From audiobooks to animated features and series, to advertisements, voiceover for the visually impaired, and so much more, there are endless possibilities and ways to make income! If you’re an creative looking to stretch your horizons and talents, it’s definitely an area you’ll want to learn and get into. Plus, you can often work from anywhere in the world! One of the challenges facing voice actors starting out though, is not knowing where to start. There are so many factors that go into having a successful voice acting career, but building a strong foundation and learning the basics is a must if you want to get anywhere. You’ve been using your voice your whole life, but do you really know how to use your voice? What happens during a recording session? There are a few things every voice actor must learn before getting started, and we’ve got a veteran voice actor to teach you all you need to know! Van Gunter has been a Cannes Gold Lion award-winning voice actor for over 20 years and co-owns Boutwell Studios, a Post Production Audio Facility. Boutwell produces commercials for television, does custom sound design for video or motion pictures, original music scoring for jingles or soundtracks, and works on specialized projects, such as ADR, podcasts or radio dramas. He’s voiced for NASA, Valvoline, BBVA Bank and Pandora, among many others. Van is a true voice over professional and is excited to share his years of experience with the Stage 32 community. You will leave this webinar with an overview of how to prepare your voice, how to work with a voice script and know how to explore your career options.
Creating a realistic budget can make or break a film before it ever makes it into production. Where should you spend? Where can you cut? How do you stretch your dollar? In short, how can you assure you're creating the highest quality film for the lowest price? Listen, not everyone can afford a line producer. And even if you can, you want to make sure he or she is protecting your vision and your money! Understanding this aspect of the business and how a film can be put together is everything! Let's make this complex aspect of filmmaking easier, shall we? Michael Madaville (Taken, Taken 2, Taken 3 to name a very few) is one of the most respected line producers in the business. Michael has created budgets from some of the most successful indie darlings, mid-majors and studio films in the business. And now, exclusively for Stage 32, he will take you by the hand, help you problem solve just about every issue that may arise, and help you toward financial success no matter what your budget may be. Using examples from his decades in the business, Michael will walk you through examples of micro to major budget films and discuss how to reduce costs for crew, locations, materials and more and how to apply that information to get your schedule tight and your budget to where it needs to be. No more chasing funds or getting caught short during filming! Michael will show you how to get on the path to a smooth shoot well before yelling "Action!"
The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain. Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar "It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much." Marisé S. I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped. -Jonathan H. I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future. -Carolyn K. Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk -Stephen P.
4 part class taught by Producer Michael Wormser, whose online distribution projects have reached over 30 million viewers! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! Have you ever wondered how so many people have films, trailers, shorts and webisodes online that have achieved massive fan bases and are making millions of dollars? Well the truth is they aren’t any different than you, and in today’s world you have the same resources available that they do. There are many outlets to reach an audience, but how many of these are effective? In this course, you'll find out the best ways to not only reach an audience, but to engage and successfully grow an audience online. Stage 32 Next Level Classes is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: Zero to Hero: How to Build an Online Audience taught by Michael Wormser, who brought the viewership content of Maker Studios from 40M to 250M monthly! Learn how you can see success in this competitive directly from an executive who's mastered it. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Michael is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!