Meet the Panelists: Elsa Ramo, Attorney, Ramo Law Recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Elsa Ramo has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Elsa provides comprehensive legal services to producers, financiers, creators, and owners of film, television and digital content and projects across a range of budgets and production levels. She established her own law firm to enable up-and-coming filmmakers and producers to bring their stories to life. Her clients include Imagine Entertainment, Fox, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of “Queer Eye”), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for “Chefs Table”), LOL (Kevin Hart’s production company), The Jim Henson Company, and Skydance. Elsa’s leadership within the legal and entertainment communities extends beyond her successful Beverly Hills firm. She dedicates substantial time to mentoring women through various organizations, and she has become a go-to commentator and instructor on legal issues related to film financing and the entertainment market. Elsa Ramo founded the firm in 2005 on the Universal Studios backlot after several clients approached her to handle their independent productions. Now as managing partner to the firm, she handles client matters as well as manages the firm’s attorneys and packaging and sales department. Andrew Fried, Producer Andrew Fried is the founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple awards and 3 Emmy nominations, Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk is best known for its award-winning Netflix series Chef’s Table. Now entering its 7th season, Chef’s Table has received 8 Emmy nominations, has won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. Boardwalk’s other recent credits include the Netflix series 7 Days Out, Street Food and Last Chance U (now in it’s 4th season), the Showtime series Action and YouTube’s Best Shot. Carolyn Hunt, Attorney, Barnes & Thornburg Carolyn has extensive experience with advising investors in virtually all aspects of their film, television, interactive gaming and other finance and distribution matters. Having been involved in the financings for hundreds of entertainment projects, including many award-winning films, she represents domestic and international financial institutions, senior, mezzanine and equity venture and production funds, high net worth individuals and media and entertainment companies in their finance, corporate, intellectual property, distribution and other entertainment-related transactions. Carolyn routinely counsels clients on the legal and business issues of entertainment financing transactions, including single-project financing transactions, capital raises, slate transactions, lines of credit, first and second lien financings, co-productions, print and advertising financing, securitizations and domestic and foreign incentivized financing structures, as well as distressed debt and restructuring transactions. Her vast experience also includes output agreements and other transactions for the acquisition and disposition of film and media content. She has extensive experience successfully guiding secured creditors through the unique issues surrounding entertainment and media assets in bankruptcy. In the past year, her work in the television and video industry has seen an uptick given the rapid changes of consumer expectations and usage habits in this age of video-on-demand and mobile media consumption. Her financier clients are increasingly providing capital to OTT projects, and she represents content providers who are more and more frequently focusing their attentions toward streaming and other alternative media transactions. Active in the community, Carolyn has served for several years as a board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art 'Contemporaries' and the Hammer Museum's Kids Art Museum Project. She is actively involved with the Board of Governors of Cedars Sinai and is on the board of the Heartland Film Festival. Carolyn has consistently been named a top dealmaker, a top entertainment attorney and one of the most influential women in entertainment by Variety and included in the Daily Journal’s “Top Women Lawyers” list. She is listed in Chambers & Partners as a ranked Media & Entertainment: Transactional lawyer. Carolyn earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. In law school, she was a staff writer for the International Law and Policy Journal. Viviana Zarragoitia, Financier, Three Point Capital Viviana Zarragoitia began her career in the entertainment industry working in production accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films. She then spent 5 years at Lionsgate, where she started working in the accounting department and segued into the finance division, specifically, profit participation. While working in profit participation, she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. She was then promoted to the group's audit division, where she managed film and television royalty audits of producers’ profit participation statements. In 2013, she joined Three Point Capital, a boutique firm that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. While at Three Point Capital, Viviana has been involved in the financing of over 70 independent films and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes, Rob Barnum, Anthony Bregman, James Schamus, Aaron Gilbert, Kimberly Steward, Nicolas Chartier, and Kevin Frakes, among others. As Vice President, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in, as well as manage the company's operations in its satellite offices (Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana). Viviana has received over a dozen Executive Producers credits on titles she has financed. She graduated Cum Laude with a double-major in Business and English from Loyola Marymount University. Tracy Christian, Agent, TCA Management Tracy Christian is a veteran talent agent with more than twenty years in the industry working in both the literary as well as talent space. Past clients include Oscar winners Melissa Leo, Octavia Spencer, Mo’Nique, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Elizabeth Moss. Within the lit space she’s personally responsible for more than 1,000 hours of on air primetime programing. In 2011, she opened TCA, a Los Angeles based boutique talent agency representing trained character actors, writers, and producers. Early on I remember discovering an agency called IFA. Just five agents representing a list of top tier talent. Until then I didn’t know that it could be done. I thought that as I grew my client’s careers that I’d have to move with them to larger agencies. Eventually I had to free myself from the banality of department meetings and bring the focus back to the client. That’s why I created TCA. We’re doing something special at TCA; we’re repping talent that we’re insanely passionate about and keeping the list intentionally small so we can give the same attention as a manager with the aggressiveness, access, and deal making skills usually found at larger agencies. Today, Christian doesn’t just find opportunities for actors in film and television or sell successful programming. Through their production imprint, Black Leather Jacket, TCA is also a content creator. Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy is the first film from the imprint and stars Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart. The film was chosen to close the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and is was released by Universal Pictures in 2019. Your Host Amanda Toney, Managing Director, Stage 32 As Managing Director for Stage 32, Amanda oversees operations and business development for the global business. She has curated over 1,200 hours of online education created exclusively for Stage 32, and works with hundreds of entertainment industry executives from around the world to serve as educators and mentors. She has spearheaded partnerships with such prestigious organizations as the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film, American Film Market, SXSW, Austin Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, PGA, WGA and DGA, as well as brands such as AT&T, Peerspace, Pond5, Mandy, Bondit Media Capital and her personal favorite partnership, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is the official vodka of Stage 32.As a producer, Amanda has worked on the psychological thriller What Lies Ahead starring Rumer Willis and Emma Dumont; Chick Fight, starring Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin and Bella Thorne, Metaphorms, a Hungarian film, which premiered at the Raindance Film Festival and Dolphin Girl, an entire Stage 32 production in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Film Commission. She is an Executive Producer on Vagic, produced by Amy Baer at Gidden Media. She recently sold an unscripted show to a major US network .Amanda has spoken all over the world at the Cannes Film Festival (France), Hollyshorts Film Festival (US), Raindance Film Festival (UK), Hamburg Film Fest (Germany), Trinidad & Tobago Film Commission (Trinidad), Fest Festival (Portugal) and Harvard (US) on the business of the entertainment industry. Full Bio »
Founded in 2011 by Richard "RB" Botto, Stage 32 is the world's largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV and new media creatives and professionals worldwide. Stage 32 works with over five hundred industry professionals and executives who provide education, instruction and professional opportunities for members of the platform. Stage 32 currently has over 1,200 hours of exclusive film, television and digital craft and business education in its library. Stage 32 members use the platform daily to build their network, take online webinars, classes and labs, find work and cast and crew their projects. Stage 32 members range from students to Emmy, BAFTA and Academy Award Winners.
Over the last few weeks, we have been working tirelessly to ensure that you know that Stage 32 is your online home to stay connected with over 600,000 creatives and professionals from across the globe. Now, we are looking forward to bringing you another virtual event to help you stay up-to-date about the state of the entertainment industry featuring some of the top professionals in the business.
In this special event webcast we presented a virtual panel featuring some of the top minds in the Stage 32 community to discuss the current state of the entertainment industry as we are all faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Stage 32 Managing Director, Amanda Toney, hosted this incredible lineup, where you will hear the point of view of a production company (Andrew Fried of Boardwalk Pictures), a lender (Viviana Zarragoitia of Three Point Capital), lender counsel (Carolyn Hunt of Barnes & Thornburg LLP), a talent representative (Tracy Christian of TCA Management), all moderated by producer and production company counsel (Elsa Ramo of Ramo Law PC).
Tune in now for this panel discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all aspects of the entertainment industry. Producers, lenders, talent, and distributors are all adapting to the current shutdown. This panel will discuss how they are operating under the current shutdown, how existing and future productions are being handled, and most importantly, how we can strategically plan and learn for the future during this uncertain period.
Our Stage 32 Managing Director Amanda Toney hosted this incredible panel and kicked off the conversation. You will hear from top industry professionals that can offer thorough points of view from multiple facets of the entertainment business:
Top Producers, Attorneys, Financiars & Talent Professionals
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!
In this exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar we're bringing in Lee Sternthal, writer of Disney's TRON: LEGACY and writer/director of THE WORDS, starring Bradley Cooper an Zoe Saldana to discuss how to create realistic characters for television and film. Having drawn incredible A-list talent to his scripts, character has become one of Lee's favorite part of creating story. A solid hero and anti hero are crucial to a successful story, and the supporting characters need to help support and move your plot. Lee will be talking through the origins of why character matters and provide you with exercises to ensure that you have solid characters in your own storytelling.
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.
Network TV is dead, right? All good shows are on cable and streaming! Not so fast! Network TV is alive and well, as demonstrated by the critical success and healthy ratings of new shows such as This is Us, Designated Survivor and Speechless, as well as powerhouse veterans such as Big Bang Theory, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, and NCIS. Broadcast networks are increasingly having to compete for top talent and ideas in a crowded marketplace. While landing a series order from ABC or FOX is no easy feat, the networks’ deep coffers mean they can buy and develop a high volume of shows, season after season. Producers of course enjoy the prestige of developing ideas for HBO or Amazon, but they are equally eager to find the next network hit, which can yield huge financial dividends with multiple season orders. What’s more, agents and managers judge prospective clients based on their original pilot scripts, and the right network pilot can demonstrate to a potential representative that you are ready to staff and ready to sell. As a manager, I always recommend writers have at least two or three finished scripts ready to go, and a mix of cable and network samples increases the number of producers and executives who may be interested in your work. In this webinar, you will learn about the brands and programming models of broadcast networks, how to know what ideas they will find appealing, what you need to include in your network pitch, and the do’s and don’ts of writing your network spec pilot.
Networking. The mere word puts a chill up the spine of many creatives, especially when you may not even know anyone or know where to start. But if there's been one thing that's been proven time and time again, it's that we work in a relationship business. Winning champions of you and your work is as important than creating and honing the work itself. Whether you're introverted and have a distinct fear of putting yourself out there, or if you're an extrovert who isn't getting the results you're looking for in your relationship building efforts, we're here to help. Let's start by merging the idea of networking with the mindset of relationship building. The truth is relationship building can be a fun exercise you'll want to tackle every day. It's all about setting a positive approach, embracing a long term mentality, and building upon every success. The most successful people in film, television and digital media have spent years cultivating relationships, and remember, they all started without knowing anyone. They've understood that by being likable, selfless, and collaborative that people are going to not only want to help them succeed, but work with them as well. This is why the tribe mentality is so prevalent. And it's why the people who put relationship building strategies into practice every day are those who have found longevity in the business. Industry veteran Jessica Sitomer has over 20 years in the industry as a development executive, producer, writer and career coach for the Cinematographers Guild. Through the years she has perfected the art of relationship building - helping creatives grow their networks from one to two people to hundreds to thousands. When she moved to Los Angeles, she knew two people and one of them moved the day after she got to LA. She made it her mission to learn how to survive and thrive in the creative industry. And survive and thrive she has. Not only is Jessica's network huge, but she has also written three best-selling books on the subject of networking and relationship building, And… Action! Powerful, Proven, and Proactive Strategies to Achieve Success in the Entertainment Industry, The Greenlight Coach and You Got This: For Those Who Work Hard and Play Hard - How to go From Burnout to Bliss. Here Jessica brings her unique brand and boundless energy exclusive to Stage 32 to help you get to the next level by giving you concrete steps and tools to build relationships that lead to roles, jobs, reads, financing, and more. Jessica will show you how to best approach social media and how to utilize this valuable tool in a way that takes away the intimidation factor to meeting people. She will show you how to be more collaborative, to check your ego at the door, and to make sure you're communicating in the right fashion. She will tackle live events and how you can make sure you get the most bang for your buck. She will teach you strategies to help you grow as a communicator and collaborator. She'll even teach you how to reach out to those you may have previously thought untouchable and show you that no one is off limits! This is a comprehensive overview of how you can take your networking and relationship building skills from good to great. You will learn everything you need to know to step up, stand out and change the course of your career. I've been following, reading, and listening to Jessica for years. It's little wonder why she's been so successful. This webinar challenged me to put all my self-made BS to the side and just let myself go. And the results are already speaking for themselves. She's a superstar in every sense of the word. - Miriam P.
Commercial work can provide you with some of the most fun and lucrative work you can secure as an actor. Getting the right commercial spot with the right brand can help elevate you and your profile as an actor on a national level and capture the attention of casting directors, filmmakers and producers who want to work with you. Knowing what it takes to stand out and improve your callback / booking chances is essential to effectively outpace the competition and secure a lasting career in commercials. You've put the work into honing your craft, now it's time to learn how to navigate the landscape and land those roles. Auditioning for commercials takes special skills and knowhow in order for you to stand out from the pack and win the room. Unlike theatrical casting, you have more room to play and let the real YOU shine during your audition. At the end of the day, giving a great performance in the room is important, but being crushing the role and being memorable is even better. Almost always, casting directors see hundreds of actors for each commercial. You want to not only knock your audition out of the park, but keep yourself first and foremost in the minds of the casting director so you're remembered for the next role, the one after that, and so on. It may surprise you to learn, setting yourself apart is not as hard as you think. Karen Ryan has cast hundreds of commercials over the past 15 years and has in-depth knowledge of the things that directors, ad agencies and clients watch out for when choosing who best represents their brand. She has worked with Corona, Hyundai, Home Depot, Toyota, Walmart, Pizza Hut, Hershey's, Just For Men and more, as well as with major studios such as Disney and NBC Universal (among many others!). She has helped guide actors to be more effective in their choices, how they present themselves and how they can set themselves apart to ultimately improve their chances of booking commercial work. And now she's sharing that knowledge with you exclusively on Stage 32. Karen will teach you the knowledge of how to up your game in the fast paced, competitive world of commercials. You will go through the process from breakdown to booking and understand how to prep your commercial copy. She'll share with you what non-verbal clues can give you a competitive advantage and teach you the do's and don'ts (from a casting director's perspective) in the the casting room. You will know what casting directors and producers are ultimately looking for and how you can bring the best YOU to the audition. She'll also teach you where and when to go off script and improv to give yourself a distinct advantage when the time is right. You'll also learn how to deconstruct your reel (honestly) and how to best present it. You will gain complete insight into booking more commercial work and gain the tools and knowledge to help you win the room, book more work, and stay first and foremost in the casting director's mind. "Karen truly cares about bringing out my best self. Since working with her I have booked more roles in one year than I had in the previous 5. The acting industry needs more people like Karen!" - Sean R. "Excellent advice and guidelines for improved auditions" - Steven F. "Bring Karen back! She's great!" - Anne H. "Loved Karen and all the info she shared!" - Roxanne H.
Stage 32 and Vail Film Festival have joined forces to bring you an exclusive FREE virtual Q&A with top female filmmakers from the festival! Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in! The 2020 Vail Film Festival took place online from May 15-17, and had a special focus on female filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival included filmmaker Q&A sessions, a filmmaking workshop, and a women in film panel discussion featuring leading female producers, actors, and directors. The 2020 film program will showcase narrative features, documentaries, short films, and student films. This year's lineup includes films starring Simon Pegg, Annette Bening, Juno Temple, Alexandra Daddario, Wendie Malick, Danny Trejo, Maggie Siff, Sabrina Carpenter, Natalie Zea, Jay Mohr, Jason Ritter, Kristen Vangsness, Rose McIver, and more. The lineup for the 2020 Vail Film Festival is unparalleled, and we encourage Stage 32 members to attend the virtual festival and support their fellow filmmakers. As part of our partnership, Vail Film Festival is offering Stage 32 members an exclusive 25% off discount on all-access passes to the online festival. Stage 32 members can use the code stage32 at checkout. For more info and to purchase a pass to the online Vail Film Festival please visit: www.vailfilmfestival.com