Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over nine years of legal experience assisting clients with transactional and intellectual property matters. She regularly counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing. Ms. Thomas is an adjunct instructor at UCLA, where she teaches a course titled, “Copyright Law in the Entertainment Industries.” The course provides students with an overview of copyright protection and how it affects the television, film, fashion and new media industries. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Ms. Thomas was an adjunct instructor at American University, where she taught graduate producing students about production company formation. She provided students with the tools necessary to launch and sustain their own television and film production companies. Ms. Thomas is a regular legal contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine, where she regularly writes about the intersection of entrepreneurship, entertainment and intellectual property law. Jaia Thomas is a graduate of Colgate University (BA) and The George Washington University Law School (JD). She also holds a Certificate in Television, Film and New Media Production from University of California, Los Angeles Full Bio »
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk.
As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position.
Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects.
Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar
"Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!"
"Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied."
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!
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution! Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. Whether you’re a screenwriter, an actor, comedian, or anything, creating content for platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and Instagram can be a powerful way to be discovered, find fans, and give yourself the chance for bigger opportunities. Yet despite the positives, the internet isn’t exactly the safest place, and having your work stolen or plagiarized is unfortunately far too common. Keeping your content protected on online platforms can be complicated but if you put your own work online, it’s crucial you first understand how to best legally protect yourself. Just because your work is posted and widely accessible on platforms like Twitter or Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to have it protected. The internet can be tricky, but it’s not the wild west it once was. Understanding how to be safe and what happens to your ideas when they’re posted can make all the difference. For instance are your YouTube videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Who owns your tweet or snap? And what steps can you take from the outset to dissuade people from stealing your work? Better understanding the legal side of this world and being aware of the steps you can (and should) take is incredibly important if you’re interested in building your online presence and putting your own ideas out there for everyone to see. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their work safe, and is going to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jaia will equip you with the tools necessary to protect your work and ideas in an increasingly online world. She will first outline the copyright registration process and how it applies to online content She’ll even go through step-by-step how to get your online work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next she will delve into specific online sites and platforms, discuss their terms and conditions and give you tips on how to protect your work on each. This includes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Faceboook. Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
Walking onto a film set for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming. Wires, lights, cameras. People everywhere. Places you should be. Places you shouldn’t. Times you need to be quiet, times you need to speak up. The film set is a place where everyone needs to know what they’re doing and where they’re going, and it’s a place where everyone will expect the same of you. Yet if you’ve never worked on a set like this before, that can be a tall order. Whether you’re a PA on your first film, the director helming the production yourself, or anything in between, having a firm understanding of the expected etiquette on set—or “setiquette”—is crucial and lends itself to how much trust others will put on you. A film set might look like chaos from the outside, but it is often just the opposite—a well-oiled machine where everyone has a role and everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing. If you are unsure of your own role on set, you can very well stick out like a sore thumb and contribute to slowdowns and frustrations. On the other hand, if you are confident, competent, and helpful on set, people will notice, which will lead to new opportunities and a team who will want to work with you time and time again. This is why it’s so important to walk onto your first set with a good idea of how everything works. Jonathan Kesselman is an award-winning writer and director who has worked on projects for companies like Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, Funny or Die, WWE, Nintendo, and many more. His first feature film THE HEBREW HAMMER, starring Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer and Andy Dick, premiered at Sundance Film Festival before getting picked up by Comedy Central. THE HEBREW HAMMER has since become a holiday cult classic, voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine. His next film JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, starring Maz Jobrani, won both the Comedy Vanguard and Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival before being released on Showtime and Netflix. Jonathan also wrote and directed second Unit for Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on the film BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK. He recently co-created the short form comedy series GANDER, streaming exclusively on Tubi. Through his long and varied history in film and television, Jonathan is no stranger to film sets and how to best work within them. Jonathan will break down how a professional film or television set works and everything you should know before stepping on set for the very first time. He will give a snapshot of how a film set generally looks and run before going through all of the different departments on set and their relationship to the director. Jonathan will spend time delving into the role of the assistant director, the beating heart of the set and will then explain what a day on set generally looks like, including a schedule breakdown and how the workflow normally looks. Next he will go through the importance of blocking rehearsals, the art of slating, and how to read a call sheet and shooting schedule. Jonathan will teach you how to find success on your first set, including how to hold yourself so you’re called back again. He will also go over how to find success as a director, how to delegate, motivate, and empower, in addition to staying on schedule. Jonathan will then show you five common mistakes to avoid making on set. Finally he will give you tips on how to break in and get experience on set, including where to find opportunities and what roles you should be looking for. Praise for Jonathan's Stage 32 Webinar "I enjoyed the thoroughness and detailed explanation, have no complains or negative comments, it was fantastic!" -Arlen G. "It was so broad, yet very detailed - perfect for a newbie like myself" -Kiri M. "Great information for me. Helps me to understand "Setiqutte" as I work towards getting my first TV show into the hands of a production company." -Gregory M.
Learn directly from Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen, Producers with over 20 years of experience each in developing and financing media projects. Nikki is a director, producer and media strategist with an expertise in integrating faith-based content into mainstream media, and Anne Marie is an expert on film finance, having successfully raised over $100M for projects worldwide. With the recent successes of films like Heaven Is For Real, Son Of God, God Is Not Dead, and all of the faith oriented films coming down the pike like Mark Burnett’s Ben Hur, Mary Mother Of Christ and The Shack, Faith and Family based projects have grown from a niche market to a box office phenomenon.TV has also jumped on the bandwagon with the recent Red Tent, Preachers of LA and Mark Burnett’s The Bible and A.D. However, alongside these successes are huge controversies in the faith community, such as those surrounding Paramount's Noah and Ridley Scott’s Exodus. Faith and Family based material is like a soufflé – if you get even the smallest ingredient wrong, the entire soufflé collapses. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, hosts Nikki Hevesy and Anne Marie Gillen will walk you through the development and financing phases of creating a successful faith and/or family based project. Drawing from their 20 years of experience, Nikki and Anne Marie will teach you how faith and family based projects get funded and who the financiers, studios and distributors are that specialize in this genre so you know who to target. They will also teach you how to easily find and reach your desired audience and what type of marketing is successful for this genre. Whether you’re a producer, filmmaker or writer, knowing what goes into a faith and family project in the development stage, team building stage and financing and distribution stage is key to your project’s success in the marketplace!
This week Jason welcomes screenwriter Tripper Clancy, who wrote the summer's smash comedy hit, Stuber for 20th Century Fox! Tripper went on to write comedies and dramas of all shapes and sizes for Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Amazon, Netflix, MGM, Fox Animation, Paramount Animation, and Hasbro. He recently adapted the New York Times’ bestselling novel, The Art of Fielding, and writes on Season One of "I Am Not OK With This", a half-hour show for Netflix and is currently developing a series with Quibi. During the webcast, Tripper talks about finding an agent, selling and developing Stuber, being in the writers' room of a Netflix series, and the best advice he ever received!
The world of podcasts has been exploding over recent years. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis, and individual shows can have tens of millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. Forebearers like HOMECOMING, LIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS, and WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE have opened the door for a cavalcade of new, exciting, innovative, and truly great audio storytelling. And as the number of fiction podcasts increases, so does this medium’s fan base as millions of people consistently tune in to their favorite fiction programs. Even as film and television production has slowed down or come to a halt, the doors are still wide open for recording podcasts since they can easily be produced remotely and from the comfort of one’s own home. The water’s warm when it comes to creating your own podcast and joining this vibrant community, but it’s still important you make something that’s not only written well but sounds great. The prospect of sound design and audio quality can be daunting for those considering venturing into podcasts. It’s not unusual to believe that you’ll be unable to make a high quality and sharp sounding podcast without expensive equipment and a state-of-the-art recording studio. How good can a podcast sound if it’s being recorded in your closet or kitchen, after all? As it turns out, it can sound pretty good, and it can sound good without you needing to break the bank. But it’s not something you can just put together willy nilly. There’s a delicate, precise science to sound design and it’s something that requires a good amount of wherewithal, and forethought. Yet with this understanding in place, it is absolutely possible to create a professional sounding podcast wherever you are and under any budget. Mischa Stanton is an award-winning and sought after podcast sound designer & producer who has created immersive soundscapes for some of the biggest and most popular podcasts of all time, including LEVAR BURTON READS, Marvel Entertainment’s blockbuster podcast MARVELS, and celebrated science fiction podcast cult hit THE BRIGHT SESSIONS, which is currently in development to be adapted as a television show. Their work has been featured by Wired, Vox, Polygon, Popular Science, The AV Club, and The New York Times, and has garnered 10 Audio Verse Awards for Podcast Sound Design in just 4 years. Mischa has quickly become one of the foremost experts on podcast audio and is prepared to share what they know exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mischa will walk you through what you need to know to make your own podcast sound professional on a limited budget, from preparation all the way through editing and finalizing. They will begin with a quick introduction of the human ear and a rundown of what psychoacoustics is and why you should consider it moving forward. They will teach you how to build your own home studio, including finding the right place in your home, the inexpensive but effective ways to sound proof your space, and additional purchases you can make to improve acoustics. Next Mischa will give you a rundown of the recording equipment you will need and smart purchases that can work with your budget. This will include microphones, interfaces, mixers, and headphones. Then they will delve into actual techniques to use while recording your podcast, including near/far and mono/binaural techniques and how to effectively record your podcast remotely. They will provide tips on directing your podcast from an audio perspective, including how to properly cast to ensure everyone sounds different and finding the balance between stage and screen styles. They will then walk you through actually running a recording session, how to make the most of your rehearsals, and documents and spreadsheets you should follow. Mischa will also explain how to edit pacing and feel the flow while directing your sessions. Next they will teach you about sound design, including where to get sounds and effects and how to actually lay out a session. They will run down specific techniques you can use to improve your podcast’s soundscape, including EQ, reverb sends, and accessibility. They will also explain the best and worst editing software to use. With Mischa’s knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to create your own podcast with a sound quality that can stand toe-to-toe with the best of them. Praise for Mischa's Stage 32 Webinar "This was a tremendously informative and helpful webinar -- well done and time very well spent!!!" -Peggy K. "Well done! Tons of good info!" -Kathleen O. "It was very informative, especially how Mischa explained and demonstrated step by step the process on making a podcast." -Sandra R.
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 not only in the present, but for years to come. In short, 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. Further, you need to open up your creative mindset to the myriad opportunities available all over the world including hot markets found throughout Europe. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but the more you understand, the better your chances of finding a production partner or investor to take your vision forward. Working in the European market, especially with films in the €1MM and sub€1MM range can offer you opportunities you haven't thought of before. But to take advantage of this surging market, you need to understand the variety of production and financing options available and how to tap into them. Whether it's hard money, soft money or other methods toward financing and securing the necessary pieces to greenlight your project, getting a handle on the in's and out's of how to proceed will put you in a powerful and advantageous position. Understanding and executing this business model will open new doors to other productions around the world and serve to create a portfolio of proof that will serve as a calling card moving forward. David Zannoni is an international business specialist for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. 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 about the European market with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the European market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, EUR1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a EUR1MM 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 film financing works specifically in Europe, including a breakdown of soft money sources versus hard money sources, debt financing versus equity financing, tax and location incentives, and film funds and government support. He will also discuss working with a co-production as a financing tool. He will highlight how European film financing is different compared to other regions and the different levels of film financing to consider: European, national, and regional. David will next demonstrate the importance of language, culture, and collaboration and will then teach you what specifically Europe can offer for both European and non-European productions, including incentives, co-productions, diversity, talent, and shooting locations. He will explain how to approach your film as an asset, how to see yourself as an entrepreneur, and how to see filmmaking as a business. David will then go over the continental circle of financing, distribution, and investment recoupment and will explain how risk mitigation works for European film projects. Next he will discuss managing revenue and rights, as well as managing recoupment as a whole. He will spend time delving into European film contracts, including distribution agreements, CAM agreements, and sales agency agreements. David will ultimately illustrate whether European films can be profitable and how, and analyze with you when a European film can be considered successful, whether it breaks even or finds profitability. Plus, David will show a case study of a real EUR1MM European 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 and demonstrate how money flows in and out. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own EUR1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. This Stage 32 Webinar is Part 2 in David’s "Think Like an Entrepreneur" series. Click here to check out David’s webinar on being profitable in US marketplace with a sub-$1MM film. 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.