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.
In today’s marketplace, not only are more and more films are becoming female focused, but the demand for screenplays and films with female driven lead characters is growing rapidly. With the success of blockbusters such as WONDER WOMAN, ATOMIC BLONDE, RED SPARROW, ALIEN: COVENANT and TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, the box office is proving that not only is there an appetite for female-starring films, but also that they can be profitable. Everyone is looking for the next original idea with a female lead that can be turned into a franchise. There are many misconceptions and challenges that writers fall into when it comes to creating female characters for a large, global audience. The most common is the gender flip, which is taking a male character and write it as a female. It’s examples such as this that are most often believed to be the correct approach to creating a female character in a male driven genre when in fact it’s the opposite. This webinar will provide these kind of examples and explain where the mistakes lie, how to correct them and the importance of creating authentic female characters. Aimee Rivera is the development executive at Skydance Media. Skydance produces blockbuster films such as TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Netflix's 6 UNDERGROUND, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds, ANNIHILATION, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, and WORLD WAR Z. Aimee is focused on finding female driven blockbusters and franchises for Skydance's upcoming slate. Aimee will go over how the #MeToo movement has changed the way female characters are written and an overview on how female leads in today's world have evolved. She will get break down WONDER WOMAN, ATOMIC BLONDE, RED SPARROW, THE HUNGER GAMES, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, and ALIEN: COVENANT and look at the differences between these female characters and compare them to male franchise characters in films such as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, JASON BOURNE and JAMES BOND. She'll teach you what makes a great character, what are the tropes and common misconceptions and break down the types of female characters you can write. She will discuss writing characters in male driven genres for today's market including whether there are boundaries you must be aware of when writing female characters, what the modern female character looks like in today's filmmaking world, whether male writers can write female characters, and what today's audience looks and connects with as it relates to strong, but flawed, female leads. Aimee will also get into her ultimate tips on writing female characters - not only in male-driven genres, but also in a post #MeToo world. She'll even share some writing exercises to assure that your female characters JUMP off the page. This is an opportunity to develop, hone and, ultimately, write female characters that not only will attract representation, producers and financiers, but to make sure your script is as market ready (and perhaps, franchise ready) as possible. Praise for Aimee's Stage 32 Webinar: The webinar was great and so was Aimee! She's extremely knowledgeable about the movie industry and writing screenplays and provided excellent examples of strong female characters in action movies. -Lyle D. This was great - a lot of information talked about very succinctly, with tips and discussions on the different facets and difficulties that can present themselves. Very enjoyable! -Dawn P. A great theme about female characters. Needed this very for my story. I like the simplicity of the elements taught with the details of what's needed for films nowadays. -Mary M.
Ask any successful filmmaker how they got started and almost all will tell you that their success began with a short film. And today, more filmmakers and producers are making short films as a proof of concept for a feature length version of their story. This doesn't have to be a daunting task. And we're here to prove it by showing you how a 5-minute short made for $5,000 went on to become a feature, a Tribeca Film Festival darling, and get national distribution. Natalie Qasabian has produced movies for the Duplass Brothers and recently was a producer on one of the biggest indie box office successes of the last few years, Searching. The film, made for under $1MM, was acquired by Sony at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to gross $75MM at the domestic box office. But much of Natalie's success and her journey began with a short film. Natalie is going to take you on an educational, inspiring, and motivational ride by teaching exactly how they pulled off the short film Join the Club, the feature All About Nina, and how the two were directly connected. She will explain the path this film took, from financing to casting to filming to film festival strategies to crushing it at Tribeca to getting global distribution. But this isn't all. Natalie will discuss the importance of making your short. How you should approach the process. How you should handle rejection along the way. How to navigate all the ups and downs of pre-production and production without having it cloud your overall strategy for the film and much, much more. Like what you heard from Natalie during this webcast? Send your script to Natalie and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here. Praise for Natalie's Stage 32 Webinar "Natalie knows how to take a film to the highest of places by committing to sound and proven strategies. Her perspective is amazing" - Doug L.
The television landscape has changed dramatically over the years and continues to evolve, seemingly on a weekly basis. Yet through all of it, an undeniable constant has been late night TV. In fact, with their up-to-the-minute spoofs of our fast-changing news cycle and cultural landscape, late night shows like THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON, THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH, LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER, and FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE have never been more relevant. The appetite is high, but writing for this rapid-turnaround genre is its own skill set, separate from others used throughout TV and film. Furthermore, getting hired for such a show can be particularly challenging. Yet it’s still possible. So how can you prepare yourself with for when late night writing opportunities present themselves, and can you find these opportunities in the first place? For as ever-present as late night TV is, the industry itself can seem hard-to-know and enigmatic. It’s certainly less covered in media than other types of television. Yet if you’re interested in writing for a late night program, it’s critical to have a basic understanding of how these shows work--both the media ecosystem they exist in, and more specifically, how they are produced day-to-day, and even hour-to-hour. It’s also crucial to put together a strong, standout Late-Night Writers’ Packet, which combines a number of different elements that decision makers are looking for when hiring. If you want to pursue a career in late night writing, it’s time to learn everything you need to know to find success. Rob Kutner is an Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy Award-winning late night television staff writer who has worked on shows like CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. Starting out as a writers’ assistant on DENNIS MILLER LIVE, Rob is also the author of the satirical end-of-times bestseller Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times into the Best of Times! and has written material for the Oscars, Emmys, Writers’ Guild Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Guys’ Choice Awards, and two White House Correspondents’ Dinners. Rob has spent the majority of his storied career operating and thriving in the world of late night television and is ready to tell you how you can do the same. Rob will teach you how late night television works and how you can best position yourself to find opportunities as a writer within it. He’ll begin by going over an introduction to late night television, including a brief history and overview, an examination of how late night is different than other genres, how a late night show generally works, and what a typical day on a program like this looks like. Next Rob will go through his own experiences with late night and extract the biggest lessons he’s learned from his own journey. He’ll discuss his early steps, his work as a production assistant and a writers’ assistant, and how he got his first writing gig. He’ll also go into the differences between the shows he’s worked on, including CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. He’ll explain how he continues to find work in this space. He will then go through five ways you can find a late night writing job of your own. He will also teach you strategies you should use to better get noticed as a writer. He’ll explain the difference between “hiring” and “reading”, how to be gently persistent, and what a late night writing packet is as well as why it’s crucial. Rob will dive deep into how to put together your own late night packet and share with you the 8 different pieces you’ll need to build a packet that will get producers’ attention. He’ll explain how to make your packet look good and noticeable. Rob will even offer a live demonstration, showing how to put together a packet live. Next he will talk about how to keep your writing job once you’re staffed. He’ll explain the differences between late night and episodic production cultures and go through what the day-to-day requirements of a late night writer are. He’ll explain what the etiquette of the writers’ room is, how best to pitch your ideas, and how to take and move forward with notes that you’re given. He’ll also talk about how best to navigate the quick turnarounds that are notorious in jobs like this. Finally, Rob will go through further opportunities in the world of late night that you can explore, including finding producing opportunities and chances to actually perform on your show. Let Rob help you walk into the world of late night with your eyes open and with a collection of strategies to best find the writing opportunity you’re after. Praise for Rob's Stage 32 Webinar "Very informative, told with kindness." -Zara Q. "Rob's webinar was uber insightful and detailed. I learned more about breaking into the industry than several UCLA extension classes." -Jamie T. "Wonderful insider POV, super helpful tips on the package/sample work" -Laura D. "Very on point. Speaker was knowledgeable and had lots of real world experience. He seemed very relatable, too." -Jeff E.
Whether you're controlling some valuable intellectual property, looking to secure IP, or simply have a valuable property in the form of a spec script, TV pilot, webseries, digital series, or other filmed material, you are likely going to be confronted with signing or distributing an option agreement. It is imperative that you understand the various types of option agreements and what information should be included to assure that you are not only protecting your material, but yourself legally as well. As the content gold rush grows, option agreements have become more and more commonplace. It is the vital piece of the paper trail that will ensure you are exercising and getting all your rights as your project gets made. These agreements are designed to protect both sides of a given deal, but can be complicated and sometimes include unnecessary language or clauses that could serve to hold up your content or payment. before you sign on the dotted line, you need to understand what exactly is an option agreement, who has creative control, how much money can be made and what you need to include to protect your rights up front. Lane Shefter Bishop is an Emmy award winning filmmaker and producer who has set up over two dozen book properties - many of them only on book proposals and early partials - with studios, networks and production companies throughout the entertainment industry. She is the CEO of Vast Entertainment, a book-to-screen company with numerous projects at both studios and networks, including feature films for Fox 2000, Silver Pictures, CBS Films & Lionsgate, and TV films for Lifetime, as well as TV series with Phoenix Pictures, Atlas Entertainment, The Donner Company, Storyline Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. She has been on both sides of option agreements and knows the ins and outs of what you need to take into account for your own option agreement. Lane will provide you essential practical knowledge on the ins and outs of option agreements and break them down step-by-step and section-by-section. You will know what is included in a typical option, what purchase price can be expected, what royalties can be expected, what reserved rights are and how to handle publishers releases, notarized addendums and author assignments. This is vital for authors and screenwriters who currently have or expect to have their own material optioned and want to know what monies they can expect to make, when, and how. But it is also highly beneficial for producers, directors, and talent looking to acquire their own underlying material for development- books, short stories, graphic novels, articles, etc. Lane will provide you with a comprehensive, but easy to understand deep dive on option agreements. She will remove the fear and anxiety which will allow you to clearly and decisively protect yourself and ask for the important items that need to be included in all your agreements. Praise for Lane's Stage 32 Webinar “Very impressed with Ms. Bishop, both her formal presentation and the Q & A that followed.” - Steve Weintz “The seminar was informative, insightful, well documented, entertaining, well thought out and delivered with a touch of humor. Wonderful!” - Katharine Carter
Have you ever wanted to see what it takes to sell a kids show successfully in today’s market? In this webinar, you’ll learn from an executive producer in kids programming what today’s audiences are looking for, how to deliver a great script, and how to pitch and sell your project successfully. Do you have a fantastic idea for the next great kids show? Do you want to inspire and shape the next generation? Or make their day a little brighter with relatable stories with heart? Some of the best comedy writing and storytelling on television comes from kids programming, but the space is rapidly changing as more platforms and networks arrive, each with their own unique needs. These networks need you and your stories to meet their programming demands. In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, you’ll find out exactly how the pros create and sell their stories to the biggest networks and streaming platforms in town by creating projects with humor, heart, and knowing what kids are watching today. You’ll learn: Tips and current trends in kids television Obstacles and constraints How not to talk down to your audience The difference between Nickelodeon and Disney How to use point-of-view to your advantage Essential elements to seeing your pitch The differences in pitching for kids shows vs. adult shows The power of co-viewing And so much more You’ll be learning directly from executive producer and sitcom writer Kirill Baru. He has worked on and sold both live-action and animated comedy shows in both the adult and kids space, including Disney’s SYDNEY TO THE MAX and Cartoon Network’s MAD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Kirill also sold the series EAGLETON ESTATES to Netflix Kids and, using this project as a case study, Kirill will walk you through creating his pitch that sold the show, providing you with the steps to sell your own. By the end of this webinar with Kirill, you’ll be confident about writing and packaging your kids television series as a market-ready project.