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. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jaia Thomas will equip attendees with the tools necessary to protect their work in an increasingly online world. In the first part of this webinar, Jaia will outline the copyright registration process. Are YouTube videos protected under U.S. Copyright Act? Are Vimeo videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Jaia will answer these questions and more. She will also provide attendees with a step-by-step guide for registering digital works with the U.S. Copyright Office.In the second part of this webinar, Jaia will discuss best practices for sharing your ideas and videos on social media platforms. Who owns your tweet or snap? 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.
Taught by Director of Development at Supergravity Pictures, Mike Flavin, who's worked on films such as Sony/CBS's Faster with Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, and The Enivitable Defeat of Mister & Pete with Jennifer Hudson and Anthony Mackie which was screened at the White House. Hollywood has found itself looking inward at the plummeting returns from the "Blockbuster Months". Why did a relatively "starless" movie like Guardians of the Galaxy print money, while Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow flopped? Why would seemingly well known Intellectual Property like Peabody and Sherman tank while another brand, Lego, do so well? (besides the world's obvious affinity for Chris Pratt!) The answer lies in one confirmed fact about the movie industry: you never, ever know what will be a hit and what won't. BUT, in saying that, there is a way in which you can give your project the absolute best chance of success by looking analytically at successful films from the past and implementing these dynamics into your project. If you've seen the film, Moneyball, you'll remember Jonah Hill's character found a way to statistically determine the best odds for his team's sucess. Our webinar host, Mike Flavin, has been able to analytically and statistically apply a method to do the same for a script or film - and he's found success as a Director of Development by doing just that. Join Mike as he teaches you his methodology to apply components in a script that make it more sellable. In this webinar, we will break down several successful movies in a number of genres and draw statistical conclusions on what made them so successful. It's the Moneyball-ization of Hollywood; let's play the house against itself!
Part 1 - Character Jared gives an overview of the elements that make for engaging and natural dialogue, using practical, real-world examples demonstrating how the voice of a screenplay can make your project competitive in the marketplace. He also reveals the “one true secret” behind some of the best dialogue ever written. Part 2 - Environment Jared leads a discussion on how to cultivate the best environment for great dialogue to grow. He also discusses the practical side of writing dialogue for a specific audience of genre. Part 3 - Voice Jared covers how to find a character's voice when writing dialogue, and how to successfully layer subtext into your scenes. Part 3 ends with a discussion on the Do's and Dont's of writing great dialogue. Part 4 - Objectivity The last part of this class covers common mistakes writers make when writing dialogue for voice overs. Jared reveals the single tool that is in every great writers' toolbox, and lastly he gives insight into what producers and executives look for when evaluating the voice of a screenplay.
Learn directly from Host Tatiana Kelly, who has produced 12 independent films including The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Procession! One of the most critical stages in filmmaking, once you have a script, is budgeting your film. The budget can cover everything from the inception of the project, such as writing fees and other development costs, all the way to the finished film and even film festival marketing. Whether the film is under $10,000 or over $10,000,000 the film budget must present a spending plan for every dollar to be expended on the production. You will need to have a budget that is detailed and accurate because it will serve as the road map and your bible for the project. It is also one of the key documents of your presentation that should be in place when seeking out investments. It is really the scope of the budget that will directly affect the amount of money needed to be raised. Creating a budget is not an easy task given that it can consist of hundreds of line items that have to be balanced across many different competing priorities. Both over and under estimating the budget can be disastrous in that you can either end up not having enough money to finish the film or you can have enough but it will be impossible for investors to recoup their financial investment. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Tatiana Kelly will present a straightforward method of developing a working budget. She will discuss what some of the key questions are as well as the decisions that need to be made prior to embarking on a budget. There are certain primary elements of the film and the screenplay that may be necessary such as stunts or locations or cast in order to secure financing for example, and which will help start to build out the budget. She will also cover budgeting basics and review what all of the line items represent. Tatiana Kelly is an independent producer who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story, The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. Tatiana is also on pre-production on "Cut Throat City" which she is producing with Reggie Hudlin ("Django Unchained") and which is being directed by RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, "Catcher Was a Spy" based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name, directed by Ben Lewin ("The Sessions") and written by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan", "The Patriot", "Thor 2"), and "House of Curl" based on the bestselling book by the same name starring Guy Pearce and Laura Linney. She is also in development on projects with Academy Award-nominated writer Tab Murphy ("Gorillas in the Mist"), Ernesto Foronda ("Better Luck Tomorrow"), and companies including Lynda Obst Productions, CBS Studios, and Tribeca Productions.
Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. Don't worry, there are proven strategies to solving this puzzle and assuring that your project is top of mind for managers, agents, and their talent. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. The reality of the situation is that "A" List talent and the representatives get dozens of offers a month. And with more and more name actors working in television, streaming series, limited series and now even digital series (hello, Quibi!), the competition is even higher. But you CAN compete and still attach "A" List talent to your project even if you don't have all your funds raised. Franco Sama has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to films up to $5MM. Franco is considered a pioneer in the world of film financing and casting. He speaks all over the world on the subject and has mentored thousands of filmmakers and producers on how to attach the best talent to their independent features. Just some of the actors Franco has cast in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar Winner, Darkest Hour, Oscar Nominee, Dark Knight) Christine Lahti (Oscar Winner) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Franco has also been a consulting producer on many films with many more in active development. Many top producers in the game turn to Franco to get their films off the ground. And now he's bringing his over 2 decades of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Franco will teach you everything you need to know about attaching top talent to your film including a bullet proof method for ensuring that managers and agents not only put your script in the hands of "A" List talent, but that they read the material! He will show you how to make sure your script is attractive to "A" List talent. He will teach you how to turn a Letter of Intent into a Letter of Commitment. He will instruct you as to the proper timing to make your offer, so you assure that everything is in order and that you're in a position to answer all questions. He will dissect a physical offer so you know exactly what you should be presenting. He will discuss pay and play offers, deferred payments, using credits as currency and back end point deals and how you can identify which of these offers and strategies to deploy. He will go over proper etiquette and how to make sure everyone is happy so that you win the trust of the gatekeepers assuring you can return to the same managers and agents again and again. Franco will take away the fear, anxiety, and, most of all, doubt, that comes with the desire to attach name talent to your project. You will learn all the proper strategies and methods to assure success. "I had the pleasure of seeing Franco speak live at one of Stage 32's live education events. He was so inspiring, so confident and so willing to help, this webinar became an instant signup. Even with my high expectations, I was floored by the wealth of information and the explanation of the strategies within. My fear, and let's face it, my insecurity of approaching talent was crippling. Not any more. I've put in 2 offers on 2 different features this morning and I'm already lining up my next move. Can't wait for the next one, Franco! And thank you, Stage 32!" - Pamela R. "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. "This was a stunning presentation. One of the best yet." - Antonio H. "I have seen the light and I am ready to make offers. Try and stop me." - Lydia W. "Empowering. I'm going to watch it a 2nd and 3rd time just to make sure I got it all down. Then, I'm working the phones. Great job, Franco and Stage 32." - Reese K.
“What’s your story about?” Having a perfect logline ready to answer that question can help give you the best chance of seizing the opportunity when you are asked. Your logline is your most important asset. It's invaluable for keeping you focused on what makes your story unique and for always making sure that you nail the first impression when someone asks you about your work. Having the perfect elevator pitch ready to go can make or break you when the opportunity presents itself. But, why do so many creatives struggle with coming up with that one-sentence? How do you get better at honing your logline? Stage 32 is here to help you. We have brought in Emmy-award winning producer Lane Shefter Bishop who has sold 30 PROPERTIES in the last 5 years - all from pitching just a logline. Plus, she is the author of the book Sell your Story in a Single Sentence; Advice from the Front Lines of Hollywood Touted as “The Logline Whisperer” Lane Shefter Bishop has the specific tools you need to help you know how to sell what you write! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Lane will give you insider information on how you can best position your project to sell your work to agents, editors, publishers and producers. Lane has successfully sold projects to various networks and studios, including NBC/Universal, ABC/Disney, CBS, Lifetime, Sony and 20th Century Fox. All of these projects have one thing in common – they began with a single sentence, a top-notch logline. After all, you can have the best material in the world but, if you get on the phone or in a room, you need to know how to sell it with your logline!