Drawn to the business from an early age, Shaun got his first film industry job as a set PA after sneaking onto the Universal Studios lot at age 17 after reading the infamous tale of Steven Spielberg having done the same. Though he didn’t get signed to a contract, after only three months of daily lot sneaks, he was offered a permanent job on the Spielberg production of SEAQUEST, DSV, where he worked for the series’ first season. From there, he segued into feature films (including two with Spielberg himself!) and never looked back. Eventually, he began to seek work as a Personal Assistant. The career change proved a wise step and he soon found himself working for (and with) some of the industry’s most well-known and well- respected talent in front of and behind the camera, including Courteney Cox and David Arquette, Academy Award winner Christopher Walken, Jack Black, Ben Stiller and acclaimed directors Joe Wright, Judd Apatow and Academy Award Nominee Peter Hedges. O’Banion soon began producing his own projects when he formed Ravenwood Films, first partnering with Desert Skye Entertainment to produce DAKOTA SKYE. DAKOTA SKYE became a festival hit, picking up more than 7 top awards at festivals across North America. The film was picked up by E1 Entertainment following its successful festival run and is now available for purchase through all major retailers. The film was in the Top 100 most viewed on Netflix Instant for nearly 5 years with 80% positive reviews and has aired on Showtime, Time-Warner On-Demand and Comcast. The film is also a regular topic of discussion among teen girls on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Following the success of DAKOTA SKYE, O’Banion partnered with The Wayne/Lauren Film Company to produce GIRLFRIEND. The film made its World Premiere at the 2010 TorontoInternational Film Festival where it landed in the trades for being one of 13 films sold in the first week! GIRLFRIEND went on to collect a handful of awards for Best Feature, Best Director and Audience Awards at various Festivals around the world as well as winning a prestigious 2011 IFP GOTHAM AWARD. The film saw a limited theatrical release in 2011 and debuted on DVD and VOD in the fourth quarter of 2012 from Strand Releasing. Last year, he co-produced THE AUTOMATIC HATE, which reunited him with writer/director Justin Lerner (GIRLFRIEND) and teamed him with Academy Award-nominated producer AlixMadigan (WINTER’S BONE). The film, currently in post, is set to debut on the festival circuit in 2015, and stars Joseph Cross (LINCOLN, MILK), Adelaide Clemens (THE GREAT GATSBY, IFC’s Rectify), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), Richard Schiff (MAN OF STEEL, The West Wing) and Ricky Jay (BOOGIE NIGHTS, HEIST). In addition to films, Shaun has produced national commercials for Pepsi, EA Sports, Chevrolet and a live event for The White House - Office of the First Lady. He has also directed a variety of short films and music videos. Shaun is a member of the Producers Guild of America and has several films in development. Full Bio »
Learn directly from Shaun O’Banion, an award-winning independent producer!
As a producer, post-production is a part of the process you’re rarely involved in from day-to-day, and yet it is one of the most integral parts of the filmmaking process (if not the most important). A lot of questions can be asked from a filmmaker like how to shape the film, how to define roles in post, what to do with VFX, how to handle the footage you have and ultimately how to develop a great film after it’s been shot. It’s not easy to do and it takes a lot of practice and experience to perfect.
We will discuss the pieces that make up the whole, from assessing the relationships in the edit suite, to bringing all of the elements together and how it all happens. From the technical to the emotional, this webinar will attempt to demystify the process in a way for you to easily understand what to do to “find the film” in post.
Post Production: Finding the Film is presented by 20 year industry veteran, Shaun O’Banion, who has worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Judd Apatow and Peter Hedges. He has won numerous awards for his films, including the prestigious IFP GOTHAM Award for GIRLFRIEND.
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!
"Thanks for the wonderful class. A phrase comes to mind when I think about it: 'Tell it like it is'. You directly shared what it is like in the industry. I don't know how others in the class are affected, but I am left with the motivation and recognition that one must love - have a passion for creating films to be in the industry - as it should be. So, your effort is an inspiration. You are someone who is 'following his bliss' as Joseph Campbell would state it." - Don D.
"Thank you again for teaching a terrific filmmaking class! You have valuable practical real-world experience that is hard to find in theory based teaching today." - Rene S.
"There was so much information in your class that I think I’ll have to come back next session and take it all over again - gladly! Great class!" - Daniel T.
More and more, storytellers are being asked to present more than just a script when going out to investors or production companies. Whether you’re pitching a limited series, a feature, or even a doc, executives and investors want to have a sense of what your project will be, beyond just words on a page. What will it look like? What will it feel like? Execs want a visual representation of what the project is—even if you aren’t the director. For this reason, understanding how to put together an attractive pitch deck will give you a distinct advantage as a director, as a writer, as a producer, or as any creative in TV and film. There are people out there who are incredibly skilled with programs like Photoshop or Lightroom and, for those people, creating a pitch deck that will help sell their show can be a snap. But for the average person, these apps are daunting at best and, at worst, completely confusing and overwhelming. However you don’t need to spend hours learning how to use high-end software, and you certainly don’t have to put down a bunch of money for a designer. Anyone can create an amazing pitch deck with basic software and one or two simple apps on your phone. As long as you know the rules and best practices there really aren’t barriers to keep you from making a great looking pitch deck and getting that project sold. Shaun O'Banion is the founder of production company Ravenwood and works as a post production project coordinator on some of the industry's leading films in recent years including JOJO RABBIT, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, THE AFTERMATH and OPHELIA. O’Banion produced DAKOTA SKYE which became a cult hit and remained in the Top 100 Most Viewed on Netflix. He produced GIRLFRIEND, the first film in North America to star an actor with Down Syndrome in the lead role. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, sold to Strand Releasing and won O’Banion an IFP Gotham Award. He joined the Producers Guild of America and co-produced THE AUTOMATIC HATE which made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film was released theatrically by Film Movement. Through his career, Shaun has become well versed in positioning his projects for success and understanding the best ways to pitch and sell them, including creating knock-out pitch decks. He’s ready to share what he’s learned and empower even the most tech-illiterate members of the Stage 32 community. Shaun will teach you how to use basic software and apps to craft an attractive pitch deck on your own without having to hire a graphic designer. He’ll begin by going through the basics of what a pitch deck is, how they help get projects sold and what they normally look like. He will offer provide examples of effective pitch decks. Next, Shaun will delve into how you can create an effective pitch deck on your own without fancy tools. He’ll discuss getting set up and outline what you need, including the tools and software you should consider using. Next he will go over forming a plan for the pitch deck’s layout ahead of time and the ways to best organize and prepare before diving in. Then he will teach you how best to visually convey the tone of your project in your pitch deck and how to create a flow within it. Shaun will talk about choosing images for the pitch deck, where to find them and how to choose one over another. He will then go over choosing when to use words versus pictures and how to employ visual elements like fonts to break up your document for maximum impact. After teaching you what you need to know about designing a great pitch deck, Shaun will demonstrate it all by working with the registrants in creating a brand new pitch deck in real time, live and on-screen. He will specifically focus on creating with you a general image for the overall background, graphics for the title page, setting page, main character page, supporting character page, and episode page. Shaun will also provide registrants with a resource sheet outlining the tools and software he uses for his own pitch decks. After going through this exercise with Shaun, you’ll never need to hire a graphic designer again. Like what you heard from Shaun during this webcast? Send your script and speak to Shaun for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Shaun's Stage 32 Webinar: "Shaun O’Banion made creating a pitch deck seem downright easy and fun. Before today, I was absolutely dreading it as my skills with graphic design and editing are next to zero. Shaun was so generous with his time and stayed on for an entire extra hour to go over more and have the Q&A which was incredibly kind." -Margaret M. "Just fantastic. Could have spent the whole day in this!" -Dan G. "The best I've taken" -Timothy B. "Amazing detail about specific ways to use the technology and also very creatively inspiring. Loved the as you go, how to way of doing this! I was able to follow along and create my own document and experiment as he spoke!" -Katie B. Please note that this webinar will focus on the graphic visual elements of an effective pitch deck. To learn more about the content and storytelling that goes into a pitch deck, we recommend checking out Ewan Dunbar’s TV Series Pitch Deck Webinar.
Session 1: Initial Contact: Where do producers look for material? If you’re a producer, selecting the right writer for your story. Should you really sign up for those websites that claim to get your stuff read? What makes a producer decide to read your material? How to get past the measures designed to keep you on the outside. Repped vs unrepped. How many projects is a producer developing at any one time? How To Write To Get Read. What hooks a producer, development exec or reader and are those things different at different budget levels? Should you go ahead and write your $100 million dollar summer blockbuster? Writing to get it made now. Pre-existing material. Where you find it, how to get it. Coverage. Who’s reading? What are they looking for? How do they judge? Recorded Q&A with Shaun! Session 2: What is “development” really and how long can it take? From big budget films to indies, the time period can vary wildly. What are the factors? Is there a way to “beat the system” and ensure your film gets going? Building your relationship: Working with a producer or development exec. can be a stressful process. Learn how to navigate this so that you end up with the best version of your project. Fighting/Making up/Moving on. So you’ve hit a wall. They want more changes and you’re not willing to go there. How to move past the inevitable speed bumps and get going again. Is being replaced inevitable? You’ve been optioned/hired… Now what? Beginning to understand the dynamics of your new relationship. If you’re a writer, how to work with your new producer/partner to create the best result. If you’re a producer, how to navigate the process with your screenwriter. Differences between indie/big budget in terms of development Thinking in terms of production: While certainly not a “must” for writers, having some sense of what may go into crafting a single scene from a practical perspective can be of enormous value. Recorded Q&A with Shaun!
It’s no secret how profoundly the visual effects industry has taken over Hollywood. What was once relegated to only the biggest summer blockbusters and studio tentpoles has spread to virtually every wide release film, scores of TV shows, even web series and short form content. And with more avenues for VFX to be incorporated into projects, there is also a need for more VFX artists. A LOT more. As VFX continues to grow, innovate, and evolve, there hasn’t been a better time to venture into this field. Even still, this doesn’t mean breaking into VFX is ever easy. The truth is it has always been a challenge to break into VFX as a career. Being successful in this industry requires both artistic and technical wizardry, a combination that is hard for anyone to master. Not to mention the ever-present and ever-difficult obstacle of 'getting noticed.' With today's entertainment landscape so severely altered, there are additional challenges, but also new opportunities. Understanding how the VFX industry works today and how best to put yourself out there in a way that will make people take notice will aid you in taking the first step into this exciting, explosive field. Geoffrey Mark is a 25-year veteran of VFX who has worked on films and TV shows like SPIDERMAN 3, Joss Whedon’s fan favorite SERENITY, CW’s science fiction breakout THE 100 and the cultural phenomenon that is SHARKNADO. Now a frequent VFX team lead and supervisor on set, Geoffrey began his career on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon in the 90s and broke into visual effects as a graphic designer and animator for the classic sci-fi cult hit BABYLON 5. Geoffrey has been hiring, training and supervising new VFX artists for decades, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Using his deep knowledge and wealth of experience on this topic, Geoffrey will walk you through the pitfalls and opportunities that exist in the VFX industry today and give you tips and ideas on how to position yourself for success and make your dream of working in visual effects a reality. He will begin with a brief overview of VFX in film and television today and will give you a rundown of the two main branches within the industry. He’ll then break down the skills you need to begin a career in this field. Since it’s such a big and diverse field, Geoffrey will spend time outlining the many sub-fields and specialties within the VFX landscape and will give you strategies to help you figure out which of these will be the best fit for you. He will give you tips on how to find free education to continue learning and honing your craft and will show you how tutorials can sometimes be helpful, and at other times insufficient. Next Geoffrey will explain how to create your own reel as a tool to get noticed and hired in the industry. He’ll walk through how long the reel should be, what kind of content stands out the most, what content you should never include and how best to incorporate music. He’ll also give you tips on updating your reel as you go and how to alter your reel to better fit different job opportunities. He will also talk about how to actually get your reel out there once it’s complete, where the opportunities and listings can be found and the best ways to approach employers. He will then walk you through how to actually get the VFX job you’re after, including how to come across as hirable in a job interview. He’ll explain the three generally accepted skill levels employers are looking for and will show you how to determine which level you are currently at. Finally, Geoffrey will delve into how to actually deliver when you get the job. He’ll walk you through the overall landscape and pipeline, how to best work with the schedules you’re given, and strategies to work most successfully with both your lead and your supervisor. Through this webinar, you will gain a clear understanding of what the journey looks like to become successful in the field of VFX and learn strategies to better get you to that point.
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. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry. 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. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19. 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.
It seems like every day another film festival launches or expands. Specialty festivals are becoming all the rage and major, established festivals have been expanding to accept shorts, digital shorts, documentaries, television pilots, specialty genre content and content focused on diversity. With the market growing, so are the number of submissions to any given festival, especially those which are producing results for the connections of the accepted films. You want to make sure your screenplay is on point, that the story is a fit for the style of the festival you are entering and that the film grabs a judge's attention from the get go. Part of assuring you have a festival darling film is understanding the festival landscape, knowing the right players and making connections that assure your film is being viewed by the decision makers. But this all starts, as it always does, with the script. A majority of screenwriters do not write big budget tentpole blockbusters. They tell more intimate, character driven stories. And these are the kind of stories that most festivals adore. But why do some of these scripts attract financing, producers, and, ultimately, the attention of festival directors while others fall through the cracks? As a writer and/or producer, how can you identify the aspects of your screenplay that might be killing your chances of festival success and fix them before filming begins? And how can filmmakers and producers assure, even if they have a winning film based on a fantastic script in place, that they are entering the right festivals and navigating the circuit correctly? There is a chemistry to all of it. A mixture of the creative and the business side of things. It's imperative that you have an understanding of both. Maren Olson has represented domestic and/or worldwide distribution rights to over 70 finished films, including Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes, festival favorites such as An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Natural Selection and Red Flag, and Sundance Audience Award winners This is Martin Bonner, Valley of Saints and Kinyarwanda. As a producer, she was responsible for critically lauded Short Term 12, which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. The film went on to win 19 other awards including the Gotham Award for Best Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing. Maren currently works in the film finance division of CAA, and was formerly the President of Traction Media, where she was responsible for the creative development, packaging, production, financing and sale of independent films. To say she understands all the ins and outs of the festival circuit, what festivals look for and how they operate would be a massive understatement. Maren will teach you what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. She will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. She will teach you the 3 components of a festival-friendly story idea and why you must answer yes to each. She will talk budget, shooting locations and when the proper time is to bring on a producer. She will explain the mistakes people make and demystify the myths people believe when navigating the festival circuit. She will go over common pitfalls screenwriters, filmmakers and producers make that can be fatal when submitting to festivals. Maren will give you the tools to get traction on your project. She will lay out, in clear, precise terms, how to assure your project is given the best opportunity to become a "Festival Darling." "Excellent - informative. Maren brought facts and experience to a very nuanced subject about "Film Festival Darlings - offering an extremely in-depth analysis to the elements of what a writer or producer should consider when moving forward in the Indie film world. My fav Stage 32 webinar so far. Thanks." - Robert G. "Fantastic seminar. Like a good filmmaker, you kept us engaged from opening to close. Thanks again!" - Bob B. "Maren had a lot of practical information and road trap warning for indies. I appreciated the components of a festival face, comps, and specific advice that is useful." - Betty S.
Pre-production is the most important time for a director because it's where you go through a "process of discovery." It's also during this time that all departments discover a director's work style, vision and expectations as to how to do their jobs and make the production run smoothly and efficiently. In most cases, if a movie doesn't turn out as expected or runs over budget, it's a failure of execution during pre-production that can be pointed to as the cause. Many directors are simply too dependent on their producers and are way too anxious to get filming. This mentality is a huge mistake. So how can you assure that you handle the pre-production process effectively and in a manner where your cast and crew want to run into fire for you? How can you know which variables are most important and where you can delegate? We're here to help. Much is expected of the director during the pre-production process. You are in charge of making crucial decisions that can either make or break any production. It can all seem very overwhelming no matter how many times you've done it. But in reality, taken step by step, it could be a fun and rewarding part of the process of making a film. All this takes time - and the more time you have in prep, the more you will discover and sort out before you go to camera. It's the planning, the patience and the perseverance that wins the day and ultimately makes for a winning project for all involved. Peter D. Marshall has worked in the film industry for over 40 years as a film director, television producer, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, and screenwriter. Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch. As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards. Peter has worked with directors such as John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Peter will guide you through pre-production, the most important phase for a director. He will help you navigate the business and politics with a step by step guide. He will teach you how to break down your script, how to effectively put together your shot lists, storyboards, and access the budget. He will explain how to set the tone you want to have on the set early and in a non-threatening manner. He will show you how you should conduct meetings with your producers, writer, 1st AD, and other department heads. He will explain how to work with your cast during pre-production so they are confident in their roles and in your vision so they're ready to go on the first day of shooting. He will take you through production meetings, wardrobe fittings, camera tests, script read throughs and rehearsals. He will provide you with a complete overview of a director's role in the pre-production process to assure that everything goes exactly as you wish and that your vision is served. "I have taken several directing courses and Peter's course by far, takes the gold star. This impressive, condensed seminar saturates years of experience and learning and presents it in an easy to use package. A definite recommendation." - Trevor M. "I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing." - Brad L. "I'll be shooting my first film in the next 30 days. This course came as a surprise birthday present. It was a godsend. I would have been fracked if I hadn't taken the workshop. There were so many essential elements that I would have missed. Peter's course is helping me hit the ground running and as a result, I feel much more confident and sure. Thanks Peter." - Fredrick H.