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
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!
The world is changing quickly and the phrase “new normal” is being bandied about with abandon. Even though filming is limited (at best), development continues to move forward and that means producers are busier than ever. In the entertainment industry, scripts continue to be optioned, projects continue to get developed, talent continues to find representation, and production is slowly starting to resume in LA and more so all over the world. So what does producing look like in this "new normal"? It’s definitely time for a check-in. So let's delve into the state of the industry today with Oscar-nominated producer Chris Moore and our fearless leader, and fellow producer, Richard "RB" Botto. Chris Moore has done and seen it all. During a career spanning over 30 years, Chris has produced films that have had multiple Oscar nominations and wins such as Good Will Hunting and Manchester by the Sea, to studio blockbusters like American Pie andThe Adjustment Bureau, to independent darlings such as Waiting, to creating and starring in the critically acclaimed industry television shows Project Greenlight alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and The Chair. One of the secrets of Chris' longevity in the business is a full understanding of the business. He's as plugged in as they come and he knows how to adjust quickly, swiftly, and successfully as the landscape changes - which seems to happen on a daily basis these days. Most importantly, Chris is known in the industry as a take-no-prisoners, no bullshit guy. He tells it like it is and pulls no punches, which, in this business, is welcome and refreshing. Richard “RB” Botto is a producer whose films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award-winning feature, Another Happy Day, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore and Kate Bosworth, written & directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, What Lies Ahead, starring Rumer Willis & Emma Dumont, the documentary Crutch and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End starring Ed Asner and Sean Young. He is the Executive Producer on Vagic with Amy Baer at Gidden Media and My Clone’s an A-Hole with National Lampoon. He is also in active production on 3 more projects in various mediums. RB is also the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). Stage 32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Through Stage 32 he has helped incubate Chick Fight, starring Malin Akerman and Alec Baldwin, produced by Yale Productions and Ramo Law, and 10-31, produced by Eli Roth and Orion Pictures. Additionally, RB’s book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and quickly became one of their best-selling titles. The paperback, kindle edition and audiobook have all hit #1 in 6 different film and business related categories on Amazon and Audible and the title has received over 100 5-star reviews across all platforms. In another FREE Stage 32 COVID-19 webinar, Chris and RB team up for an exclusive Q&A session where they’ll answer questions from the Stage 32 community about the state of the industry today and where they believe things are headed. Bring your questions about the craft and business. If you know anything about Chris and RB, you know you're in for a candid, no bullshit, straight through the heart conversation!
Literary Manager Jon Hersh has read thousands – yes, thousands – of screenplays in his career. Starting at CAA he was a story analyst covering screenplays, manuscripts books and television pilots, which helped him get a crash course on effective structure for a project. He moved on to be a development executive at Broad Green Pictures and helped develop feature material for their slate. Being around so much material Jon learned one thing – you MUST have solid screenplay structure to get past development and get your project greenlit. In this exclusive webinar Jon is going to show examples and break down beat by beat what needs to be in your outline, plus go in detail on the 13 steps you need to follow to nail your screenplay structure. ***This webinar is a reduced price because 10 minutes of Q&A are not captured on audio***
Success of recent international shows like Netflix's LUPIN and MONEY HEIST demonstrate that US-based networks and studios are looking more and more to the international markets for creative inspiration. This is such an exciting time for international writers to find traction and opportunities in America. Yet even with this opportunity, you still need to adapt your script's sensibilities to make them successful stateside. This is something you can absolutely do as a writer, no matter your genre or format or story, provided you understand what exactly this adjustment should look like. Which subjects will or won’t work for the American screen? How do we understand the different cultural sensitivities of different marketplaces? What story structures and arcs are common internationally but don’t land over here? How does the entertainment business structure US (agents, managers, execs) differ from what you experience at home? And how does that environment change how your story is received? These are complicated questions to answer, especially if you're not currently living or selling content in the US. This is why it's critical to work with someone who understand the US market, someone who can serve as an asset for you and make sure you're presenting a film or series that can actually find a home in America. Someone like producer James Crawford. James is a Canadian/Australian, US-based producer and development executive who has worked with writers from Mexico, Finland, Spain, England, Scotland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and the Philippines. Over his career, James has worked with international writers in developing their television series and working on pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James is very familiar with working with foreign writers and over 8 weeks, he will work closely with you and a small group of other international writers to adjust your film or series script to make it work in the US market. He will also help you with your project's pitch, pitch documents and outline to better sell it to American companies. While walking you through the different aspects of a successful American script and pitch, James will also work one-on-one with you to make sure your specific project can translate successfully in America. If you have a project you want to sell in America, you're going to want to work with James before sending it out. WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 8-week writing lab, you will have a deeper understanding of the US TV and film market and an updated TV or film script and pitch that fits better into American sensibilities, ready to be shown to reps, development execs and other executives and professionals. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with James. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a producer and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at email@example.com for more information This lab is limited to 10 people This lab is designed for screenwriters of all levels looking to update their existing film or TV scripts to better fit the US market
Any independent filmmaker can tell you that one of the key rules to creating a successful film is to use what you got. This is especially true (and especially challenging) with cinematography. With a limited budget you’re likely not going to have the state-of-the-art equipment or perfectly lit soundstage to get the optimal shot. Often you’re going to have to make do with the locations the team was able to rustle up. These locations might be too small, might lack natural light, might be the wrong color. Well that’s too bad. If you want your indie film to look great, you’re going to have to be scrappy, adapt quickly, and be ready to pull a couple miracles out of your hat. Don’t think this won’t be noticed though; having the tools to make any location look great will not only elevate the film you’re working on, but also bolster your own reputation and prove your worth as a DP or director. It might not always be fully appreciated, but if you’re serving as DP, it’s down to you to take any shot and make it cinematic. Sometimes this might be as easy as setting up a fill light, but especially for low-budget projects, it’s often much more complicated. With a lack of access to sufficient resources, it can feel like reinventing the wheel to make any shot work. However, coming to set knowing the questions to ask and the tools at your disposal can make all the difference. What combination of a fill light, key light, and back light will work best? How can you use the props and materials that happen to be around to draw the eye to your subject? And perhaps most importantly, when should you push to make the shot better and when should you recognize that it’s as good as it’s going to be? Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films, many of which were released in theaters—his most recent film is being distributed by Lionsgate. Barry’s career as a cinematographer includes several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. Barry is also the author of the DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Barry has had to light and shoot more ugly locations than he can count and has developed a slew of strategies to tackle the challenges they bring. Barry will give you tips and tools to pull beauty out of the ugliest of locations. Barry will start by going through the basics of art direction and what expectations directors will have of you as a DP. Using case studies and practical examples, Barry will outline how to find and create depth in flat locations and how to use available lighting to your advantage, even if it’s not ideal. He’ll then give you ideas of how to find use available props and items you might not have considered to add dimension to your shot. Then Barry will discuss the importance of where in the location to place your talent to elevate or destroy your scene. Finally Barry will delve into the best way to choose the right lens for each shot. You'll walk away from this fun webinar knowing how to navigate any small space surprises once you get on set with your equipment. Praise for Barry's Webinar: "Very professional and Barry gave good advice" -Carol L. "Excellent webinar . Many great tips I can definitely use. Thanks!" -Ron H. "Barry has a bunch of great strategies that I'm totally going to use on my next shot" -Charlie C. "Super interesting and super practical advice. Thank you!" -Tina R.
Sorry, this lab is fully sold out. Keep checking back for upcoming labs and other education! Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite show to present if you want to be noticed. This means a great concept, a fantastic pitch deck, and a knockout pilot script. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is animated TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to make your animated pilot as good as it can be and help you springboard your writing career. 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 animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. In this lab, you will be working directly with Mike in a virtual class setting and also during one-on-one online sessions to hone your concept and build your pilot outline and pitch deck for a fantastic, market-ready animated pilot. Whether you are interested in creating a “prime time” adult comedy series, action, dramedy, or children’s animation, Mike is here to help you. He will guide you through creating engaging characters, building your world, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and building your bible or pitch deck to sell your show. If you already have a concept, or even a completed pilot, Mike will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Mike as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your animated series. Students who sign up for this lab with Mike will be eligible to participate in a Level 2 Lab where Mike will continue to mentor you in writing your pilot! WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 5-week writing lab, you will have a polished pilot outline and pitch deck for your animated television series. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with Mike. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. This lab will also come with free access to a previously recorded animation webinar led by Mike Disa for you to watch and use to work on your project. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 15 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 15 people This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot.
With more and more content being created and more avenues for films to be seen, the overall distribution market is changing at a rapid pace. But, the classic in-theater experience is still alive and well – if you have the right type of film and you understand how tailor your approach to the market. Don't think for a second that your film is not a fit for theatrical distribution or that all theaters and screens are controlled by the studios. There still IS an opportunity for a film to be distributed to the US market in theaters. Independent film acquisitions with the intent to distribute in the US theatrical market still make up a profitable part of today’s film business. Unfortunately, many filmmakers aren’t aware of the elements a film must have to be considered for theatrical distribution. Understanding everything from where your content fits to how to put your film in the best position to be acquired is absolutely necessary in order for you to give your project the best chance to attract a buyer and give you the opportunity to have your masterpiece, the film you worked so hard to make, seen in a theater. Jason Resnick is the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for Aviron Pictures and has had decades of experience in theatrical distribution on films of all budget levels. He Jason was formerly the GM of Worldwide Acquisitions for the Universal Pictures Group and in charge of all acquisitions for Universal, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Home Entertainment. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, he'll go over what the current US theatrical market looks like for film acquisitions. And, it's more accessible than you think! To fully understand how the market has shifted and how the old thinking has become obsolete, Jason will break down the last 10 years of theatrical distribution to show you what's still working and what has dramatically changed. This information alone will give you a competitive advantage in the space and make you more attractive to buyers. He will also make you understand limited, wide, and day-and-date releases and identify the key players in each. He will show you the proper way to approach these reps and buyers so you stand out in a competitive market. Most importantly you will learn how a film is acquired for US theatrical release and what can hurt and help your chances of getting acquired. You will walk away knowing exactly makes your film look attractive for an acquisition for the US theatrical market. "I learned a lot. Really appreciate Jason's experience and expertise. Jason's presentation was considered, articulate, to the point and very informative. Was well worth the class fee." - Rebecca D.