Sarah Cornelius is the Creative and Production Executive at Whitewater Films, an independent production company spearheaded by veteran producer Rick Rosenthal whose more than 100 credits include: BAD BOYS HALLOWEEN 2 TRANSPARENT BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SMALLVILLE Whitewater Film's mandate is to discover new writers with unique voices and to produce their projects. 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 The Orchard Showtime CNN Films Netflix IFC Samuel Goodwyn Films 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), SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Full Bio »
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. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. 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:
"I've worked with countless writers in this industry and know how hard it is to stand out. I also know how important a sense of authenticity can be for any script. I love helping writers find their own unique voice and know how to pull it out of them. I'm so excited to share what I know with the Stage 32 community."
***You will receive your 12 script downloads as pdf downloads underneath the recorded version of the webinar.
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!
Bonus! Get 2 contract templates: Option Agreement Template & Producer Attachment Agreement "Conrad you were so very informative, had absolutely great advice, information a person would need to understand when going to a meeting for negotiations with executives. You covered most everything I wanted to ask. Thank you stage 32, this was the best webinar I have taken." - Diane K. "Great summation of the ins and outs of right options. Thank you for the contract templates." - Karla T. Ideas for movies, TV shows, web series etc. can come from anywhere. Often times it’s an original idea that comes from within your own creative mind, but as you know, a lot of the best stories can be based on other source material like books, real people’s lives, big brands, or any other already existing property. In all of the latter scenarios, you can’t legally create your vision without controlling the rights to the source material. This often discourages people from pursuing these rights because it involves contracts, dealing with rights holders and costs money. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Conrad Sun will change your perspective not only on how to acquire the rights to material, but how to develop great story ideas. He will explore creative ways on how to find and control the rights to stories that you’re passionate about without having to pay for them. Whether you’re a writer looking to adapt a screenplay, or a producer looking to set up a property with a financier, this webinar will provide useful information how to effectively control the rights to your passion project and hopefully lead to its creation. Conrad Sun is currently working as a TV Lit Manager and Development Executive at Meridian Artists in Los Angeles and represents TV writers in both the comedy and drama space. Conrad has also worked in content development with companies like Epix, Hasbro Studios, Gran Via Productions (Breaking Bad), New Wave Entertainment and Motion Theory Films. Conrad is also the founder of the popular website FilmEscape, an online resource and encyclopedia for learning anything relating to the film and television industry.
Every great pitch starts with a great logline and every script you write has a perfect logline, it's your job to discover it. This month we challenged you to write, rewrite or polish your logline(s) and send them our way!
Learn directly from Producer Mitchell Peck, who has produced 3 studio movies with worldwide distribution! Hollywood is a global aspiration. This year, 80+ countries submitted films for Academy Awards consideration. And the number of aspiring screenwriters is growing every year thanks to websites like Stage 32, and others. Tech and resource barriers to entry for filmmakers are being lowered, with DSLR's, iPhones, online distribution, social media, etc. Financing is easier than ever before, thanks to options like Slated, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, etc. Filmmaking is finally a democratic medium. Yet, at the same time, Hollywood remains largely impenetrable -- and opaque -- to outsiders. Literary agencies, production companies and movie studios will not read "unsolicited submissions." Hollywood is an inefficient system; good material falls through the cracks all the time. For 20 years in Hollywood as a movie producer, Producer Mitchell Peck has specialized in identifying material (scripts, books, articles, life-rights, etc.) and aspiring screenwriters from outside the Hollywood system -- and successfully guiding them into Hollywood's best literary agencies, top management-production companies, and major movie studios. (Check out some of Mitchell’s success stories on his website below). Few producers can boast the same track-record of success as Mitchell on behalf of aspiring screenwriters. In this webinar, "Anatomy of a Hollywood Movie Deal: 7 Case Studies of Success with Producer Mitchell Peck” Mitchell will shed light on -- and hopefully demystify -- the process of successfully navigating the Hollywood marketplace by sharing highlights from seven (7) Hollywood movie deals in which he successfully guided aspiring screenwriters to top agency representation, script development deals, and-or produced studio movies with worldwide distribution.
Now that the barrier to entry is lower than ever to start creating your own content, it's imperative to learn how to capitalize shooting on digital. Whether it's understanding the needs of digital services like Netflix, or platforms like YouTube, there is a spot in the market for you to make it a career. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar your host Stephen Balsley will be going over the technology side of the Industry, with a specific focus on the shift from Film to Digital. We will also be learning to look at Media as a whole, from how each piece is interconnected, to how technology is affecting extraordinary change in every area of Media. We will go over specific examples of Filmmakers who have successfully capitalized on the shift to Digital, and will provide useful steps to ensure your projects are taking full advantage of the available Technology to give you the best possible chance at creative success. The Technical side can be one of the most difficult and daunting areas of any Industry (like opening up the hood of a car), but Stephen's goal for this webcast is to inspire an overall curiosity into all of the change that is currently happening, and to begin to gain a firm understanding of how the Industry works around, and is very often driven by, the Digital Age in which we live. Stephen Balsley began his career at a RED Digital Cinema nearly 9 years ago, and has watched it grow from a small startup company into one of the leading Cinema brands in the world. During that time, the RED One camera was largely credited with driving the shift from Film to Digital, with RED cameras now being used in a large number of films and other projects across the Industry. Although Stephen’s expertise is in RED, he is well experienced in all types of cameras, including Arri, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic, and more.
Kristi Speiser, Certified Image Consultant and Life Coach for actors has been in the business 25 years and worked with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler! Now she brings her extensive knowledge and experience in honing, refining and defining an actor's image exclusively to Stage 32. Examples of Kristi's Image Consulting Work “Going within is the most challenging place one will ever go. But this brings the biggest payoffs and sets you up for more success in life both personally and professionally” - Kristi Speiser When you're an actor, you're seemingly being given advice at every turn. Whether it's who to take acting classes with, how to address casting directors in and out of the room, or what roles you are or aren't a fit for, the opinions never seem to stop coming. It can be overwhelming. But one piece of advice that is golden is that understanding your brand and assuring that you are doing everything possible to put that brand on display will undeniably give you an advantage in a very crowded field. Simply put, most actors go into headshot sessions, auditions, and meetings with no clue or definitive idea as to what they're putting out there or how they are being perceived. That's something that's fully in your control and something that you can begin honing, shaping, and changing starting today. Kristi Speiser is a certified image consultant and life coach with the International Coaching Federation. After a hugely successful 20 year career working with actors in fashion advertising, Kristi moved on to become Chief Operations Manager in her husband’s acting studio. For 25 years she had an insider’s access to the business side of acting and entertainment. Exposed to thousands of actors, she played a part in the rise of major directors, producers, and stars like, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler. Exclusively for Stage 32, Kristi will teach you how to gain a full understanding of you who are and use that to help you define your brand. She will show you how you are likely perceived by decision makers and gatekeepers and how you can change that perception so you stop wasting time and money pursuing the wrong roles or markets. She will show you how clothes, voice patterns, communication behavior and more can be altered and modified to any situation to increase your chances of success. She will discuss how you can build effective and important relationships so you stay top of mind of casting directors and producers. Kristi will even get down into your headshots - telling you the real truths - and what photos and information should be on a personal website. In short, Kristi will teach you how to treat your career as a business and how embracing that mentality alone, and implementing these strategies toward that end, will result in more work and more happiness! This is a major deep dive into your image and brand designed to help actors of all experience and skill levels. This information will leave you refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to tackle any audition or meeting! She helped me realize the image I was putting out there was not an accurate representation of who I was. She opened my eyes to a world of color, silhouettes and accessories. Through her nurturing, I not only discovered the ability to reflect my essence outwardly, but also how to own it. – Leena H. She is an expert at what she does but most importantly someone who truly desires to see her clients succeed in the industry. – Stephanie F. I felt like I was being pulled in a dozen different directions when it came to my career: my look, my characters, my goals, my personality… Kristi brought all that into focus. – Shayna R.
The ultimate goal for every filmmaker is to ensure that audiences see your film. You may want recognition, notoriety, or maybe as many “likes” as possible however, from a practical business perspective, you also want to make your investor's money back – or, even better, to make a profit. The path to reaching this sometimes-elusive-outcome is through the distribution process. And, in today's changing distribution landscape there are many different types of offers that can be presented to you as a filmmaker. Truthfully, understanding what you're signing up for with your film's distribution can be downright confusing. Getting a distribution deal for your film is exciting for you as a filmmaker. You've reached the holy grail and a distributor is interested in releasing your film so you can finally reach an audience. But, before you sign on the dotted line there are many factors you need to think of. Distribution contracts can show varying types of clauses that could potentially harm your film's chance at making a profit. And, let's face it, if you can show your investors a profit on their investment, they'll likely want to invest in more films with you at the healm. So, how do you know what clauses to look out for and what you can negotiate so you give yourself the best chance of not only gaining an audience, but also getting pad? For the last 15 years Bryce C. Campbell is one of the leading distribution and marketing executives in the industry who's overseen the distribution of several Oscar-winning films. Bryce got his start working at Miramax Films and Open Road Films and has worked on hundreds of independent films securing distribution and negotiating contracts. He especially excels in the digital distribution arena. Bryce is heavily involved in the post production aspect of filmmaking working collaboratively with the marketing team to provide data-driven insights on a wide range of marketing components such as one-sheets, trailers, and special events. One of his key interests is negotiating distribution deals with filmmakers and leveraging industry analytics to provide insight into box office potential for each project. And, he's bringing all these years of knowledge to Stage 32. Bryce will help you understand the different types of distribution options available to you in terms of theatrical, SVOD, Day and Date, Foreign and Digital. He'll help you manage realistic expectations when considering the potential for each of these with your film. You will learn how to design your budget and casting in harmony with distribution goals. Then will take you through the anatomy a distribution contract and analyze contract clauses for optimal benefit and to avoid pitfalls. You will learn how to apply this knowledge to negotiate the best possible distribution contract for your film. And, most importantly, Bryce will give you 2 real distribution deal contracts to review so you can understand what to look for and how to apply that to your own deal! "Mind blown. The examples are extremely helpful. I had no idea that recognizing some of the clever way things are written in the contract could potentially harm my chance to make money back on my film." - Mike S.