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!
Christian Sander is The Director of Development for Pensé Productions - we have a fun hour long conversation with Christian about the craft and business.
Learn directly from Steve Desmond, a filmmaker and screenwriter who completed a successful crowdfunding campaign and nearly doubled his initial raise! Steve has also worked on projects with Imagine Entertainment, Dreamworks Animation, The Disney Chanel, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV and The Walt Becker Company! You have a great idea for a feature film, documentary, or short film. You’re tired of just writing stuff and want to make your dream project into a reality. But you don’t have the money to do it… Yet. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, filmmaker and screenwriter Steve Desmond will help you build a killer crowdfunding plan so that you can raise the funds to get your dream project off the ground. Steve recently ran his own campaign to fund his short film on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $16K. He not only hit his goal, but blew by it raising a total of nearly $30K and his film is now in post-production! From his own experience, he’ll teach you how to craft a compelling pitch, build an online audience, and maximize your project’s potential. He’ll also go over the pros and cons of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other major crowdfunding sites, so that you can pick the one that’s best for you. From making your pitch video to writing the perfect funding email to marketing your project across all social networks, this will be a one-stop shop for how to successfully crowdfund your film.
Nowadays many independent film and TV productions that have multiple parties involved are looking for the best way to recoup profits on a completed project. One of the best ways to assure the parties involved with your film (producers, investors, financiers, sales agents and talent) see their returns is to have a collection account in place. A collection account is an account in the name of a neutral third party who receives revenues generated by an independent film or TV project on behalf of the multiple beneficiaries from local distributors. This process is called collection account management and is an effective tool to guarantee that the beneficiaries receive their share of the revenues. The beneficiaries include producers, investors, financiers, sales agents and talent. Often times financiers, production partners and international sales agents put a collection account up as a requirement before even boarding project. During this webinar we will explain the functions and benefits of having a collection account in place for an independent film or TV project, how collection account management is set up and which parties should be involved in the entire process. We will further discuss the allocation and distribution of revenues, how to put together the Recoupment Schedule, and the importance of signing, or being a beneficiary to, the Collection Account Management Agreement.
Remember that every line of dialogue matters, every image has a purpose, and there are no wasted bullets in the gun! We're kicking off another month of a packed Writers' Room schedule with the Breakdown Webcast: Exposition as Ammunition! Many writers struggle with how to get out critical information and backstory to the audience in an organic way. So during this webcast, we discuss how to get the audience the information they need without a lecture they don't want. During this webcast we'll discuss different ways of getting out information in a way that feels organic to the narrative and the characters. We examine some of the best - and worst - examples from film and television!
In this big, bonus episode of the Executive Hour we are joined by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-nominated screenwriter, Meg LeFauve! Meg is the brilliant screenwriting mind behind critically acclaimed films including INSIDE OUT (which earned her an Academy Award nomination, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2016), THE GOOD DINOSAUR, and CAPTAIN MARVEL. She has also contributed to Pixar films including FINDING DORY and INCREDIBLES 2, as well as the 20th Century Fox animated film SPIES IN DISGUISE! Prior to her career as a screenwriter, Meg ran development for actress and filmmaker Jodi Foster. She has been nominated for an Academy Award, Emmy Award (as a producer), NAACP Image Award, and BAFTA Award, with a total of 24 award nominations and 8 wins! During the webcast, Meg's discusses her career at Pixar, how she is adapting and working in the current quarantine situation, what writers can be doing during this time, what types of scripts and projects she thinks will be in demand once this quarantine is over, and so much more!
In today's world of independent filmmaking, the VOD, SVOD & AVOD distribution strategy becomes a stronger option for many filmmakers. We've brought in 15 year executive Chad Miller who has worked with hundreds of filmmakers on their distribution strategy through his working relationship with platforms such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and iTunes to teach for Stage 32 Next Level Education. In this exclusive webinar, Chad will break down the very important topic of how to window the release of your film. Making sure that you are going to market during the most opportune time is key to a successful distribution strategy. Chad will give you an overview of VOD, SVOD & AVOD and explain the evolution of windowing strategies and why & when it makes sense to break with the traditional windowing strategies. He'll also go over the revenue expectations, deal strategy basics and give you a comprehensive look so you are prepared when it's time to release your film.