Jon Reiss is an author and media strategist who helps filmmakers and companies navigate the new distribution and marketing landscape. He has worked with and consulted for Paramount Pictures, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland, The South Australian Film Corporation and numerous film schools and festivals to devise ways to educate and help independent filmmakers in the new economic landscape. He has conducted his Think Outside The Box Office Master Classes in over five continents and is the year-round distribution and marketing lab leader at the IFP Filmmaker Labs. Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Jon Reiss is also critically acclaimed filmmaker whose experience releasing his feature Bomb It with a hybrid strategy was the inspiration for writing Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era (TOTBO), the first step-by-step guide for filmmakers to distribute and market their films. He also co-wrote Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul and Selling Your Film Outside the US. He also teaches at the Film Directing Program at Cal Arts. Jon's previous documentary feature film was Better Living Through Circuitry, a startling, humorous and entertaining glimpse into the exploding rave culture featuring such acts as the Crystal Method, Roni Size, and Moby, among others. Reiss’ first film, Cleopatra’s Second Husband, is a dark psychological drama. As an award-winning music video director, Reiss has directed videos for Nine Inch Nails, The Black Crowes, Danzig, Slayer, and the Kottonmouth Kings. His short films have screened at festivals throughout the world. Jon Reiss’ early credits also include four hour-long documentaries concerning the notorious performance group Survival Research Laboratories. All were included on a compilation DVD 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem released Summer 2004. Reiss got his start in filmmaking at Target Video, a San Francisco based alternative video company where he covered much of the West Coast punk explosion. Full Bio »
Learn directly from Jon Reiss, a distribution and marketing specialist who's worked with Paramount Pictures, Screen Australia, Film Independent, and is the year-round distribution and marketing lab leader at the IFP Filmmaker Labs.
There are thousands of film festivals around the world – and tens of thousands of filmmakers trying to get into them. So what to do with your film? Jon Reiss wrote Think Outside the Box Office and has advised hundreds of filmmakers on their festival and distribution strategy. In this webinar you will learn how to create a film festival strategy for your specific film, how to use festivals to benefit the release of your film, how to be smart once you have been accepted into a festival and make each festival work for your film and career.
This webinar will cover the essentials that all filmmakers need to consider in order to create a festival strategy for your film.
We will breaking down a specific list of A-List, 2nd Tier, Regional & Niche Festivals
Creating a Film Festival Strategy:
Film Festivals and The Distribution of Your Film
If You Are Accepted Now What?
How can you best take advantage of a film festival?
What if I didn’t get into any film festivals – what do I do?
Q&A session with Jon!
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Learn directly from Jon Reiss, a distribution and marketing specialist who's worked with Paramount Pictures, Screen Australia, Film Independent, and is the year-round distribution and marketing lab leader at the IFP Filmmaker Labs. Filmmakers all over the world are confronted with a changing distribution landscape for their work – how are they to approach the myriad of options whether traditional or emerging? No matter how you release your film filmmakers must be grounded in what their goals are and knowing how to engage their audience. This webinar will cover the essentials that all filmmakers need to consider before marketing and distributing their film: goals and audience. We will first examine the five main goals possible for a films release followed by three steps of the Think Outside the Box Office (TOTBO) audience engagement process: identification, connection, value.
Learn how to make your unique voice shine in your writing from a Creative and Production Executive at a top production company! We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar: "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B.
There are many ways to forge a path toward a directing career in the film industry. But as almost any successful director will tell you, surviving and thriving takes much more than just talent. Packaging, the streaming platforms, and new and intriguing distribution channels have all but upended the independent film world. More and more filmmakers are embracing a DIY (Do It Yourself) mindset and educating themselves on the business - who's making what, what festivals matter, how a producer sees a project, what investors are looking for (and where to find those investors), who's the audience for my film, where can the film live and, most importantly, how can I use this information to build a long, lucrative, and successful career in the film industry. Director Qasim Basir exploded onto the Sundance scene with his film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.: Love on Election Night. The film received a massive standing ovation at its Sundance premiere which led to a bidding way, a major theatrical release, and enormous critical acclaim. The film not only takes place in once location, but is filmed in single shot. It's a masterclass, and Qasim proved that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The accolades and offers haven't stopped flowing in. Up next for Qasim is to direct the NFL Biopic ‘Hawk’ based on life of Andrew Hawkins. Prior to his Sundance debut, he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his film Mooz-Lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross & Danny Glover, and premiered at the LA Film Festival with his film Destined starring Jesse Metcalf, Cory Hardrict and Margot Bingham. Qasim has had choices for all of his films as to how they got out into the world and where they were going to live after their release. He's chosen everything from theatrical to VOD releases, and he's learned much along the way. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Qasim is bringing all his knowledge including the wealth of information he learned from the dream Sundance experience to the Stage 32 community. Qasim will dive right into the deep end of the pool to discuss how to navigate this difficult industry and how to keep yourself intact. He will teach you what you'll learn along the way as you become more successful and how to use that knowledge as fuel. He will discuss short filmmaking as a calling card or as proof of concept of something bigger. He will show you how to identify and engage financiers and production companies. Then, Qasim will delve into the filmmaking process including how casting comes down to understanding the 3 P's. He will discuss pre-production, voice, tone, story, performance & camera. He will teach you how to make decisive and confident creative choices. And he will teach you how to deal with failure and disappointment, but also how to deal with success. "People will tell you many different things in this business, but none is better than when you find what's actually right for you. Let me help get you there." - Qasim Basir PRAISE FOR QASIM'S TEACHINGS: "I saw A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. at Sundance. The movie is brilliant and watching Qasim during the Q&A it became clear that he is as well. To be able to learn from him here on Stage 32 is such a gift. Inspiration on a whole other level." - Monique T. "Genius in every way." - Tyler K. "Qasim is my hero." - Mikael F. "Another home run for Stage 32. A teacher above and beyond worthy of the subject matter. More please!" - Imani L.
Stop wasting money! Make no mistake, entering film festivals should be part of the overall strategy for just about any independent filmmaker or producer. There is tremendous value in getting in the right film festival, perhaps more than ever before. So how do you not only identify the best festivals for your film, but assure you give yourself the best chance of being selected? Get the answers from a producer of over 35 independent films and a veteran of the festival circuit. With so many film festivals popping up year over year and many of the major festivals turning to higher profile projects, navigating which festivals to spend your dollars on can be daunting. Unfortunately, many filmmakers and producers today are overspending on festival submissions (or entering as many as possible) so they can say they've made it into something. This is an approach that can not only leave you light in the wallet, but can also put your film, the one you spent so much time and effort into, in a position to be branded incorrectly and actually hurting its chances of success. Aimee Schoof has produced over 35 films, many of which have played at some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. But many others have played at festivals that may not have the marquee names, but proved correct for the content. By using this approach, Aimee and her producing partner have scored lucrative deals and distribution opportunities. If you've seen Aimee's other Stage 32 webinars, you know she brings energy and knowledge to spare. She will teach you everything you need to know about where to submit, but also approaches on how to give your film the best chance of standing out from the crowd. She will also demystify and destroy some of the "false truths" that have become part of submitting for festivals (YES, you can submit a rough cut!) She'll tackle how to get press, how to run your social media, how to get your team involved, and much more, all in the name of getting your film seen and, ultimately, the attention it deserves. This is a blueprint that will have you saving money, making it into more festivals, and smiling from ear to ear while walking the red carpet. Like what you heard from Aimee during this webinar? Send her your script and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. PRAISE FOR AIMEE'S TEACHINGS: I've taken many Stage 32 webinars and they've all been wonderful, but Aimee's had me ready to run through a wall! So much thoughtful and intelligent information! - Debra S.
A New Exclusive Webinar! One of the industry's top independent film producers spills his secrets on how to overcome one of the biggest strategic dilemmas producers face - should you try to cast talent or raise money first for your feature film? You're facing one of the dreaded catch-22s of our industry... what should you try to secure first for your feature film - your cast or your financing? It can feel like you cannot have one without the other, yet you have to start somewhere. Surely, having a great name attached to your project is bound to attract investors' attention, right? At the same time, with investor funding secured, agents' attention is much easier to grab, which will help land A-list talent for your project. Having the best of both worlds is not easy... but it's entirely possible! In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, producer Eric Gozlan will teach you the exact strategies you need to navigate this critical scenario. Eric brings 15 years of experience as an industry insider, producer, and business developer. He will walk you through the nitty-gritty of creating a bulletproof strategy for your feature film. His 2022 film BANDIT, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert and Mel Gibson is currently available on Amazon Prime, Hulu and more. Eric will teach you how to make the key decisions that set the tone for your entire project. You will learn how to properly assess a piece of talent's value, what investors are really looking for and what casting decisions can move your project ahead. Eric will share tried and true tips and tricks when it comes to pitching investors and attracting the right talent for your feature. You will explore the pros and cons of pursuing a cast before funding and vice-versa. But what if you were to pursue both at the same time? Eric will explore that scenario too! Don't miss out on this exclusive chance to learn from one of the industry’s top independent film producers and walk away with a clear, actionable plan that will jumpstart your feature film project! Want to have both a great cast and financing for you film in hand? Join the webinar to discover how! PRAISE FROM ERIC'S TEACHINGS: "Eric is a world-class producer and a great communicator. There's nobody I'd rather work with when putting an independent film together." - Sam W
Location Department 101: How You Can Pick and Successfully Manage Your Film’s Locations There are two things that a production starts doing as soon as they have the “green light” - casting for actors and scouting for locations. In a way, a location scout is like a casting director for locations and to be able to manage locations take a tremendous amount of skill and organization. Unless a film is shot entirely in a studio with sets or green screen, locations are integral to how the film will look. Anyone can become a location scout, but to become a GREAT scout and manager that people call again and again takes a keen eye, good people skills, and on-the-ground experience. Alan Forbes has served as Location Manager or Production Manager on over 40 feature films including THE IDES OF MARCH, THE INSIDER, SEABISCUIT, THE AVENGERS, CAROL AND POINT BLANK. He began his career crewing on commercials and then went into film production management. He knows first hand what it takes to find and manage locations for a film or TV project and he’s here to teach you exclusively how to do that! In this webinar Alan will guide you through the entire process of scouting and managing - from the moment you get the script, to when they call “Action!” on set. Alan will offer you tips and insights from his decades of location and production management experience. Whether you are someone considering a career as a scout, or a filmmaker looking for ways to increase your production value and anticipate potential location problems, this is the webinar that will help you learn the basics about locations. PLUS! You will receive a Locations Communications Handouts that you can use for your own project!