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
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It’s the dream of almost every filmmaker to one day get nominated for and win an Academy Award. It’s the gold standard that everyone strives for—from burgeoning film students to Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet this goal can also feel utterly unattainable. It’s The Oscars after all. Awards go to Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese, not to me. Believe it or not, you absolutely have a path to the Oscars. It’s more possible than you think, and countless talented independent filmmakers find their way through the nomination process without big money, without big celebrities, and without big studio backing, but instead with just a really fantastic project. Don’t throw that dream away. There’s a road to the Oscars that you can take. Finding your way into the Oscars Ceremony is possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or just happens organically. The Academy Awards are a competition, and like any competition, they come with rules and regulations, procedures, and strategies to win. If you want to one day see Oscar gold, you need to make a fantastic film, but you also have to understand the ins and outs of the awards, the politics that surround it, and where you can best fit in. Let’s explore. Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and has helped multiple filmmakers through the Oscar qualification process, including the short film SKIN which won the Academy Award after premiering and qualifying at his festival. Daniel was formerly a theatrical sales executive before he founded HollyShorts as a response to seeing that young filmmakers had little access to industry professionals and few options for screening their films. Now in its 17th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival. Daniel is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX. Daniel’s long experience at the helm of an Academy-qualifying film festival has given him a unique perspective on what it actually takes for filmmakers to find their way to an Oscar nomination. Exclusively for Stage 32, Daniel is going to break down exactly what it takes to qualify your film for an Academy Award and the steps you can take to score a nomination or even become an Oscar winner. He’ll lay out how the Academy nomination process works and will dive into current trends, explaining what sort of themes and genres are more likely to ultimately get nominated. He will then break down the qualification process and the different ways you can get your own project qualified, including through qualifying festivals and other avenues. Daniel will finally talk about steps you can take and what to expect after your film is qualified, including strategies to better your chances of hopefully getting nominated. Becoming an Oscar-nominated filmmaker is not as out of reach as you may think, and Daniel will break down what you can do to better make this dream a reality.
The backbone of the entertainment industry was shaken to the core after the trades announced one of the major festivals - SXSW was going to cancel its in-person festival. Shortly after festival after festival had to adapt to a new way of doing things - should they present their festival live and take a chance of it being cancelled? Or, should they present their festival virtually bringing on a new slew of challenges? Navigating this "new normal" has rocked the industry and has left many filmmakers scratching their heads about what it all means. Should you release your film in this new format? Or should you hold onto it and wait it out, with the fear of another year going by without it seeing the light of day? Despite the ongoing shift to a virtual, watch-from-home and hybrid model, film festivals continue to serve as an important platform for your film to make its debut. Your film can continue to find attention, distribution and other successes from participating, yet there are new questions and considerations you should factor into evaluating which festivals to submit to. The current spirit of cooperation and collaboration between festivals during the pandemic has radically changed, creating lots of new and exciting ways you can benefit from the circuit. But, with the excitement, there is also a lot of confusion about premiere status, virtual screenings vs online screenings, and more. Outside of getting your film into a festival, there are things you can learn from what the successful festival films are seeing that you can apply to your own film and its release. Whether you are a feature filmmaker or a short filmmaker you need to understand and embrace the new practices emerging among festivals presenting virtual and hybrid events. It’s time you take stock of the situation. Kimberley Browning is an independent filmmaker, the Associate Short Film Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and the founder of the long-running short film screening series Hollywood Shorts. Kimberley is also the Executive Producer of HBO ACCESS Directors Fellowship, the network's program developing and launching underrepresented voices into episodic television. Formerly a short film programmer for both the Los Angeles Film Festival and Guadalajara International Film Festival Los Angeles, Kimberley has a long history of working with film festivals and continues to serve as a festival consultant for many independent filmmakers. Kimberley has built her storied career around elevating new voices and empowering them to get their projects out into the world. Kimberley will delve into how filmmakers are finding success with their new films during the pandemic and how you can use film festivals as well as other practices to successfully release your own short or feature film. She’ll begin by explaining how you should be setting your gals and building your strategies to get your film out there. She’ll talk about new practices to build an audience, strategy essentials—with or without COVID—and how you should now be defining success and whether it needs to evolve due to the pandemic. Next Kimberley will focus on film festivals and show you what the new festival landscape and vocabulary looks like. She’ll explain what the best digital platforms festivals are utilizing and which to avoid. She’ll also teach you what ‘geocaching’ is and how to determine your geofencing options. She will go over DRM protections and how to keep your film safe when screening virtually and will talk about the difference between virtual screenings and online screenings. Next Kimberley will delve into the new film festival calendar, how the overall festival circuit is shifting due to date changes and postponements. She’ll give you the rundown of how to read small print before submitting to festivals to make sure you know what you need to know ahead of time. She’ll walk through how you should revamp your festival strategy to better navigate COVID and how you should now be communicating with a festival team. Kimberley will also talk about how to now navigate premiere status with festivals and explain how virtual festivals impact your film’s status and its ability to get distributor attention. She’ll also talk about how media and distributors are now navigating new rules in 2020 to find work with films. Next she will teach you how to navigate a virtual festival if your film is accepted, including how to promote your film to a virtual audience and how to build relationships and make connections without in-person events. Beyond festivals, Kimberley will give you strategies to promote and market your film to a general audience for its virtual release including if and how to work with publicists and new social media strategies to start employing. Kimberley will talk about other release strategies for your film beyond film festivals. She’ll give you tips on how to host your own independent online premiere. She’ll also give you a rundown of how to find distributors in a distanced world and how to operate long-standing marketplaces like AFM that are now turning virtual. Finally Kimberley will go over ways to self-distribute your film during quarantine, including if and how to work with aggregators to maximize your release. This is a tough time to release your film—rules and practices have changed across the board—but it’s still possible to find success and Kimberley will show you how to achieve this with your own film. Praise for Kimberley's Stage 32 Webinar "Kimberley was very engaging which isn't easy when there is no audience interaction. Her presentation hit the middle ground between newbies and more seasoned festival goers which was very helpful because we are all newbies in this virtual festival world...both presenters and filmmakers alike." -Laurie C. "Good perspective, useful advice." -Mick H. "It was great!" -Daniel G. "I loved how knowledgeable Kimberley was. She gave me so many ideas of how to move forward with my film" -Karen B.
Networking at a film festival or industry event. For some people, just the idea strikes fear in the heart. Who do you talk to first? How do you start the conversation? Holy crap, business cards?! Do I need business cards? I'm sure you have been at industry events before where you're all fired up to go, then once you get there you stand in the corner talking only to the people you know. So, how do you break that cycle? You've probably heard things like "you have to know someone to get ahead in this business" and thought to yourself "OK, but how do I get to the point where I know that mysterious 'someone?' " The answer comes back to networking. And though that word conjures up images of smarmy frat boys in suits swilling cocktails and collecting business cards, it's really about overcoming the initial awkwardness between strangers and turning those strangers into new friends. It happens slowly, organically, naturally. But if you're smart about it and go in with a plan, you can make it happen more often and more reliably – without feeling the need for a hot shower afterward. Stage 32 is proud to bring in industry veteran, Christopher Holland, who for over a decade has worked with over 200 film festivals, including Sundance, Austin, AFI, Atlanta and more. Chris is teaching exclusively for Stage 32 Your Guide To Fearless Film Festival Networking. This webinar will ease your anxiety about making professional connections in the festival environment, or any type of creative industry event. This webinar goes beyond simply breaking the ice. You will learn specific tools & get examples on how to go into an industry networking event knowing what you want and knowing how to get it. You will receive practical advice you can use for your career no matter what level you are at. Plus, this webinar will be available for you to reference time and time again as you get ready for any festival! Register now!
Now that the barrier to entry is lower than ever to start creating your own content, it's imperative to learn how to capitalize shooting on digital. Whether it's understanding the needs of digital services like Netflix, or platforms like YouTube, there is a spot in the market for you to make it a career. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar your host Stephen Balsley will be going over the technology side of the Industry, with a specific focus on the shift from Film to Digital. We will also be learning to look at Media as a whole, from how each piece is interconnected, to how technology is affecting extraordinary change in every area of Media. We will go over specific examples of Filmmakers who have successfully capitalized on the shift to Digital, and will provide useful steps to ensure your projects are taking full advantage of the available Technology to give you the best possible chance at creative success. The Technical side can be one of the most difficult and daunting areas of any Industry (like opening up the hood of a car), but Stephen's goal for this webcast is to inspire an overall curiosity into all of the change that is currently happening, and to begin to gain a firm understanding of how the Industry works around, and is very often driven by, the Digital Age in which we live. Stephen Balsley began his career at a RED Digital Cinema nearly 9 years ago, and has watched it grow from a small startup company into one of the leading Cinema brands in the world. During that time, the RED One camera was largely credited with driving the shift from Film to Digital, with RED cameras now being used in a large number of films and other projects across the Industry. Although Stephen’s expertise is in RED, he is well experienced in all types of cameras, including Arri, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic, and more.
Learn directly from Producer Michael Wormser, whose online distribution projects have reached over 30 million viewers! Never has there been a more opportune time than now for filmmakers to directly reach a global audience. YouTube has not only provided the mechanics to do so, but also provides the bandwidth, platform, and global audience - all at the low low cost of FREE hundred dollars! Yes, that's right, FREE. Thousands of people across the world are using this platform to earn a living telling their stories, creating content based on their vision and their voice… Now it’s your turn to help carry your message to the masses. Many people create wonderful YouTube channels that go unseen. Stage 32 is here to help make sure that doesn't happen to you! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Wormser will teach you how you can harness YouTube to create your own network of content for your film and build a massive fan base. Michael will show you brick by brick how you can turn your film into tangible content, culminating that into a functioning channel, and ultimately helping you get to your target goals and have your film reach an audience of millions of viewers. Your host Michael Wormser operates Level 10 Films, a film and digital production company. Prior to that he served as Head of Production at Maker Studios, Executive Producer at BlackboxTV and recently partnered with YouTuber/Actor Joey Graceffa to produce the hit web series Storytellers, which has received over 6 Million views to date. Michael also produced the YouTube Movie Smiley, starring Shane Dawson and Toby Turner, that currently boasts over 30 Million trailer views, and the Hulu series Tease for Fox Television Studios.
Creating a movie is more than just a labor of love: it's also an investment of time and money. But while countless hours are spent raising money, putting the project together, setting up shots, and editing footage, many producers and filmmakers spend too little time or have little understanding of how to take care of the legal aspects of their productions. As a result, producers and filmmakers often learn the difficult lesson that no matter how good their films may be, a distributor can't sell a movie unless all of the necessary rights and permissions have been secured. In fact, without the correct agreements in place, filmmakers may be surprised to find out that they may not even own their own films! Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will outline how to spot the top 10 major legal problems that filmmakers and producers face. He'll go through aspects of copyright law and a deep dive of a filmmaker's ownership of the film to make sure you keep your rights. He'll go over critical deal points for option and purchase agreements and talk about fundraising "sand traps" and how to avoid them. Finally Thomas will teach you tips and tricks for negotiating with agents. Whether you have a finished film, a script, or the beginnings of an idea for a television program, you will leave this webinar with a set of tools you can use to tackle legal problems that may come your way. "One of the best webinars yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Calmly and clearly explained every pitfall I fear. Definitely want him back. Thanks!" - J. Rose