Join us this Friday as our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicks us off for a night of hanging out virtually. Laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack. Cindy Chu - playing Helena Francois (New Girl, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) Angela Cristantello - playing Beatrix Baker (Agent Carter, 9-1-1) Nican Robinson - playing Greg Shepherd (13 Reasons Why) Carolyn Deskin - playing Mee Moo and Super Professional Sue (Water's Edge, Sorrow) Rama Vallury - playing Turkey Hemingway, Sweaty Phil, Nervous Intern, Boss Man and Bus Drive (Happy Ending, AOK) Ramona Apthorp - playing Pickle Frost Full Bio »
Stage 32 is committed to bringing you entertainment, education, and community from the comfort and safety of your own home. Our Script Services Coordinator, Nick Assunto, has procured an amazing slate of talented and funny actors and Stage 32 members to read his pilot The Conspiracists, a half-hour sci-fi comedy.
During this exciting virtual event, you will get an exclusive look behind the scenes of a professional television table read. Watch as the actors make the script come alive for the very first time. This is a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain go behind the scenes to watch and see a script workshopped directly with professionals.
Our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicked off a night of hanging out virtually. You'll get a chance to laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack.
PLUS! after the table read we did a Q&A with the actors, writer Nick Assunto, our fearless leader Richard Botto and our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch moderated by our Managing Director Amanda Toney so you will get the perspective from everyone involved about the table read! What a great way to have fun and learn!
Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32online Twitter @stage32 Facebook @stage32 and LinkedIn @stage-32
Actors from Agent Carter, New Girl, Hawaii Five-O and More!
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Learn directly from Daniel R’bibo (Area SVP at Gallagher Entertainment), who's worked on Oscar-nominated films such as Foxcatcher, American Hustle and The Master. Production insurance. It sounds boring and overwhelming, and is one aspect of filmmaking that most producers try to avoid and typically push off until the last minute. There are a lot of options out there in terms of policies and coverages for an independent film, and it is sometimes hard to know what the right coverage for your project is. Just because you buy the insurance that is required in a contract doesn’t mean you are actually properly insured. Just because your film has wrapped doesn’t mean you are free to go. So how do you know if you’re covered? Luckily, Stage 32 is here to help you master getting the right production insurance for your independent film! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Daniel R’bibo will go over all the various insurance policies that a producer or financier should consider when making a film. He will explore ways to get better insurance for lower premiums, discuss current industry issues such as insurance for reality participants, coverage for stunts/ hazardous activity, online distribution and help you generally better understand what you are really buying when it comes to coverage. Finally, Daniel will explore the wonderful world of liability and what exposure a producer and more importantly the financier really have. Daniel R’bibo, ARM, is the Area Senior Vice President at Gallagher Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment insurance brokers in the world. In addition to managing his book of entertainment clients including Pilgrim Studios, UCLA, Academy of Art University and Emmett/ Furla Films, Daniel now oversees the Entertainment Business Management group which works with almost 50 of the top business management firms in the world. Daniel has been in the entertainment insurance industry for over 14 years and has worked on many Oscar-nominated films and smaller independent budgeted films. Who better to help guide you to getting the right coverage for your film?
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you likely start working on a new endeavor for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet this is of course not the only element of filmmaking. Like it or not, your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. In this way you’re not just a making a piece of art; you’re also running a business. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur and understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's doable. In fact, there’s a bit of a sweet spot for independent films in the $1MM range and a viable path to profitability for films of this level. The key is to intimately understand how money—both hard money and soft money—flows in and out of the project. Getting a handle on this flow puts you in a powerful position, because not only can you make your current film profitable; but you will also create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. This entrepreneurial approach might not be second nature to creatives, but it’s something you can learn and something that will aid you tremendously. David Zannoni is consultant for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. He serves as the company's representative for the Americas. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Europe. As an international film business specialist David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David is intimately familiar with how independent films are financed and made profitable all over the world and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the US market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, $1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a $1MM or under budget looks like, whether it’s considered a small film or microbudget, and how it compares in the larger worldwide film market. He’ll delve into how to see your film as an asset and how to use this viewpoint to work with investors and provide profit. David will give you the tools to think like an entrepreneur and explain the relationship between financing, distribution, and recoupment of investment. David will then teach you how to take a business approach to a $1MM and under film project. He will discuss debt and equity financing and compare it to soft money, demonstrating both of their impacts on your recoupment. He’ll then go over how to finance your film through bank loans, tax credits, private lenders, equity investors, and family and friends. In doing so, he’ll demonstrate the differences between lenders and investors and demonstrate how to make—and keep—all of your investors happy. He’ll also go over ways to mitigate risks for yourself and your investors. Plus, David will show a case study of a real $1MM US film to illustrate how a film of this level can be profitable and exactly how the money flows through from beginning to end. He’ll show financing documents and spreadsheets to illustrate the financing structure, the role of the sales agent, and how he navigated the film’s distribution agreement. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own $1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars: "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
Whether we’re talking about a comedy or drama, sci-fi or horror, a film or television series, animated or live action, short-form or long-form, having good characters is essential. There’s no escaping it. Even a script with everything else going for it, if it doesn’t have strong, compelling characters, it’s not going to work. Great characters connect the audience to your world and ground it in humanity. They provide stakes, bolster your plot and keep it moving. It’s therefore crucial to understand what make an effective character and how you can create that in your own project. Unfortunately there’s not a step-by-step guide to crafting the perfect character. There’s no secret formula and there’s no surefire algorithm. Good characters are complicated and hard to define because so are people. Good characters hold a mirror up to reality and let the audience see themselves or someone else they know in them. And all of that might be fine and good in theory, but what does that actually mean in practice? If you’re a writer how can you create a character who serves as a mirror, who will stick with audiences long after the movie or show ends? And if you’re a producer or director, how can you recognize a great character from a mediocre one through the written word? Lee Sternthal is a screenwriter, director and photographer who has written screenplays for every major studio, including TRON: LEGACY for Disney, as well as scripts for Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and many others. His film, THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons was an Official Sundance Film Festival selection and was later bought by CBS Films. Lee is a Sundance Institute Fellow, and his work has appeared on The Black List. Through his writing career, Lee has spent more time than most considering the art of character and using that to aid his own career, as well as writers he continues to mentor and champion. Lee will walk you through the power of character and how to create great characters for your own project. He’ll begin by discussing why exactly characters are so vital to story and will teach you the key differences between a TV character and a film character. Next he will give you a brief history of character in storytelling and reveal the one fictional character from history that all other characters draw from. Lee will then discuss the difference between heroes and anti-heroes, as well as help you determine which of your characters is the driver and which are the riders. He’ll then delve into the art of a great antagonist and why an interesting adversary is so crucial to a successful story. Lee will help you frame your story through the clarity of need, both in character and in story. Next Lee will go over the classic Hero’s Journey and slightly re-imagine it for modern times. He will give you strategies and exercises to better understand and develop your own characters, including his “What’s Their God?” and “Changing A Flat Tire” games. He’ll then teach you the concept of revealing character through behavior and hiding character with words. Next Lee will delve into the idea of how your characters fit into your world, including how the environment might change your character. He’ll teach you the Shakespearean approach to character and compare it to the Balzacian approach, and will also discuss the difference between neuroticism and human comedy. Finally Lee will go over the dance between plot and character, illustrating how the two should work with and against each other to create a feedback loop that’s necessary for any great script. Praise for Lee’s Webinar: “Great insight. Really helped me in moving forward.” -Martin R. “I really enjoyed Lee's perspective on script writing. The examples he provided were very helpful. I'm very appreciative that he would share his knowledge, some of his techniques and be so generous with his encouragement.” -Simone L. “Lee had a great way of explaining how to get a feel for the character and why they have the traits they do. Lee did a great job of covering a lot of character related topics which I am glad I have been exposed to.” -Karl H.
PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pilot outline and start work on your bible. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A New Exclusive Webinar Hosted by the Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers specializing in senior lending on film and television projects. Receive exclusive handouts, including information on sales agent commissions, samples of sales sheets, and more. You’ve raised money to produce your project, but you’re still coming up short. Did you know that there is money available to you at the bank to help you fill in the “gap”? You just need to know how to get it. Gap financing is a bank instrument for filmmakers that fills the “gap” in funding between the money you’ve already raised and your estimated film production budget to completion. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you’ll cover the essentials of gap financing and what to look out for in deals. No one knows the ins and outs of gap financing better than your instructor, Viviana Zarragoitia. In her role as Vice President of Three Point Capital, one of the entertainment industry's top financiers that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. Viviana has helped set up funding for over 100 independent films and will guide you through the crucial elements of gap financing, what your financial sheet and package must include to secure it, an explanation of presales, how to work with sales agents, and more. She's previously worked with Lionsgate, Millennium Films, and Bold Films and worked with top-tier producers, including Cassian Elwes (MUDBOUND), Anthony Bregman (DO REVENGE), Aaron Gilbert (LICORICE PIZZA), Kevin Frakes (HEREDITARY), Nicholas Chartier (THE HURT LOCKER), Rob Barnum (ALL IS LOST), and more. You’ll learn about sales estimates, sales sheets, and how to work with sales agents and find out what makes a production look like a worthy investment to a bank vs. one that’s too risky a bet. Plus, you’ll get handouts on sales agent commissions, samples of sales sheets, and more, so you can secure the funding you need to finally get your film made. Viviana is giving you what she’s learned working with productions, just like yours. You'll walk away from this webinar with the knowledge you need to get that last bit of funding to make your project a reality. PRAISE FOR VIVIANA'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION: "As someone who was totally new to the world of film financing, trying to learn about the process by myself was intimidating to put it lightly. Viviana clearly explains the film financing process step-by-step and demystifies the complex, bespoke nature of pre-sales, tax credits, sales agents, and so much more. I feel infinitely more confident in my ability to produce a film thanks to this class. I give it the highest possible recommendation for any independent filmmaker looking to finance their film and take their projects to the next level." - Sean R. "Viviana has a tremendous depth and range of knowledge about film financing and she was happy to share everything she knew. Thanks to her loose, attentive style for the class, it ranged far and wide, and she answered a lot of people’s questions whether they were general or specific to their own projects. And I feel like there was value for all of us in even the most project-specific questions." - Randy V. "As an experienced film and television producer and writer, Viviana's class was just the refresher - and inspiration - that I needed! Having been a completion producer for a bond company, I have seen too many producers who were let down in the producing process by so-called-professionals who offered support at the on-set of a production, but then failed to deliver when needed. Viviana and her company Three Point Capital have an excellent reputation, and her counsel provided in the class solidified that. I highly recommend both Viviana and Stage 32 Education!" - Patricia C.
Every actor faces obstacles, but with these proven techniques and exercises, you will access that creative gem that sets you apart. Learn from an acting coach of Oscar-nominated talent on his acting method, using internal growth to raise your performance while overcoming external setbacks. “Andy McPhee helped me lay the foundation for how I approach character development… To be content, prepared, and confident to play, and most of all, rooted in the being of my character. It’s this approach that readied me to work with some of the best directors of our time and to then be elevated further at their hands and genius… In my eyes, he is the best of the best and I have my career and record-breaking achievements to thank him for it.” -Kodi Smit- McPhee, 2022 Oscar Nominee for Best Supporting Actor in THE POWER OF THE DOG Andy McPhee has coached POWER OF THE DOG Oscar nominee, Kodi Smit-McPhee, EUPHORIA and THE WHITE LOTUS break-out star, Sydney McSweeney, and hundreds of talented actors, in addition to garnering over 130 acting credits of his own, including SONS OF ANARCHY and SAVING MR. BANKS. Andy has built a successful career as an actor and coach, using his own mentoring methods and exercises, and now, he wants to share those same lessons with you. Learn these skills directly from the expert exclusively in this Stage 32 webinar. Andy will teach the essential principles of his method, including training for the job, and the importance of preparation and balance. You’ll also be shown how to implement this method, as live webcast attendees will have the chance to work directly with Andy in an exercise using sides. And, most importantly, Andy will show you how to identify your next major steps and raise your game to succeed. You’ll walk away with the tools to apply Andy’s method again and again in your career, and always be ready for that next goal as an actor. PRAISE FOR ANDY'S TEACHINGS: “Andy McPhee helped me lay the foundation for how I approach character development. It’s this approach that readied me to work with some of the best directors of our time.” Kodi Smit-McPhee, 2022 Oscar Nominee for Best Supporting Actor in THE POWER OF THE DOG