Amy Baer - President, Gidden Media Amy Baer's experience in the entertainment Industry uniquely spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Her first film as a producer was the 2013 hit LAST VEGAS (starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) which grossed $136MM worldwide. In 2012, Baer raised a 7 figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film, the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED) and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour (WADJDA), had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. It was released by IFC in May 2018. GM’s next film, the inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS, had its World Premiere at the LA FILM FESTIVAL on September 22nd, 2018, and won the LAFF Audience Award. Starring Aldis Hodge (UNDERGROUND), Oscar-nominee Greg Kinnear (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) and directed by Tom Shadyac (BRUCE ALMIGHTY),) the film tells the story of Brian Banks, an all-American high-school football player committed to USC by his junior year, whose life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks got his conviction overturned his name cleared in 2012 after a decade of wrongful imprisonment and parole. BRIAN BANKS is eyeing an early 2019 release. Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011), launching the division for CBS Corp. Baer spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as 1997’s MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION (2001), S.W.A.T. (2002), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), and the 2006 holiday hit THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney. Baer became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood, as the entertainment industry faces a broad reckoning over gender disparities and sexual harassment. Founded in 1973, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. Baer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1988 with a B.A. in English literature. She is married to producer Matt Baer (UNBROKEN), and has two sons. In addition to Women in FIlm, she also serves on the board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA. Richard "RB" Botto - Founder, Stage 32 Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). Stage32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Since 2011, Stage 32 has emerged as an online community of over 500,000 creatives with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by over 500 industry executives. Stage 32 is also the official film education & networking platform of AFM and the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film. RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award winning feature, Another Happy Day, written & directed by Sam Levinson, the documentary Crutch, and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, his latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently in development at Covert Media. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire is premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.RB has spoken at such festivals as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Raindance, SXSW and has taught at institutions such as Harvard and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. Additionally, he has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and other news and entertainment outlets speaking on the film and tech industries. Prior to launching Stage 32, RB was the founder, publisher and editor of RAZOR Magazine, a national men's lifestyle magazine which had a readership of 1.5 million at its peak. He was also a sports radio host on a variety of programs on ESPN and FOX affiliates. In the 90’s, RB was an integral part of the team responsible for creating the vendor tracking system used by many of today’s top e-commerce companies. Botto headed the development, design and commercial implementation for several of the top 50 most visited sites on the web during that period. RB serves on the Advisory Board for Old Town Music Hall, a classic film theater in El Segundo, built in 1921. A lifelong fan of film, a serial entrepreneur and a passionate creative himself, he’s a great guy to have a drink with! Oh, and he was once named one of People Magazine's Most Eligible Bachelors (no lie) Full Bio »
With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre" for 2018 and beyond. If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies.
Join our very own Richard "RB" Botto, producer Amy Baer (MARY SHELLEY, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE) and Head of Development of Gidden Media Chris Ceccotti (BRIAN BANKS) as they break down the current marketplace for romantic comedies in a FREE webcast!
Amy Baer, President Gidden Media - Richard Botto, Founder Stage 32
During this webcast, writers from around the world including Australia, Scotland, Canada, and more, shared their "writer biographies" and talking points. It was an excellent way to get to know one another and find out how to present their backgrounds and career aspirations during a general meeting. In addition to developing the craft, we endeavor to prepare Writers' Room members for the business of film and television. And that means, knowing how to present yourself, as well as your ideas, in a meeting with producers, executives, and filmmakers. Using the "Breakdown Webcast: Breaking down a General Meetings" as a guide, your challenge was to write a short biography on yourself which focuses on the major "talking points" that you would benefit you in a general meeting with a producer, executive, manager or other industry pro. Include a bit on your personal and professional background, the genres you write, your screenwriting accomplishments (such as awards, accommodations, accolades), your goals for your writing career (features? TV? Both?), and what makes your point of view so unique in an crowded market!
During the Write Now Challenge, we turned the spotlight - and the microphones - back over to you during the Write Now Challenge Webcast! Using the "Breakdown Webcast: Writing True Stories" as a guide, your challenge was to find a true story or subject of a biopic that resonates with you! Write a short document that details the subject of the project - whether a historic event, historical figure, or a combination of both - including a "way into the story," principal character(s), basic synopsis, potential themes for exploration, and why it resonates with you as the writer. During the webcast, participants discussed true stories and historical figures that were either well-known or obscure, but all riveting! Participants described accounts from the US Civil War, Korean War, legal battles, pro-wrestling, and many more!
Finding, securing, and building a relationship with a meaningful and experienced producer can be one of the biggest challenges writers and filmmakers face. Even with a great script and a stacked cast, many producers who can move the needle on a project are often in great demand. Securing a meaningful producer means you have someone on your team who can pull the strings, make the offers and put the puzzle pieces of the project together. But how do you find a producer in the first place? How do you build a relationship and show them that you’re someone they should take a chance on? And once you’ve reached that point, how do you get the most out of that relationship to assure that your vision reaches the screen in the most productive, and hopefully profitable manner possible? One of the biggest misconceptions for talent is that producers stifle creativity. ‘The only word they know is “no!”’ or ‘The only thing they care about is money!’. The truth is, though, that building a relationship with the right producer can be a career-maker and can also make your life easier. Producers help you make connections, take all of the day-to-day questions about making a project off your plate, and can even creatively add to your series or film. But you need to know how best to use your producers if you’re going to succeed. Writers and filmmakers alike need to know how to find the right producer for them, understanding the skills different types of producers bring to the table, and finding the best way to create a good producer/talent relationship. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development at Cold Iron Pictures, a production/financing company that most recently produced BEING FRANK starring comedian Jim Gaffigan and Anna Gunn. Previously Cold Iron produced SWISS ARMY MAN starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, as well as Marielle Heller’s directorial debut DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, both of which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. They also produced the Sundance hit UNTITLED AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY, which premiered in the US Documentary Competition section and is available on Hulu. Rachel has been involved in every step of producing these films and has helped launch careers of the talent involved with them. Rachel will walk you through the nuts and bolts of finding the right producer and forming a great working relationship with him or her. She will discuss the different types of producers and how each contributes to different projects. She will then go into how to find that perfect producer, and the best ways to do research, take meetings, and woo them to get them on your side. She will also discuss the producer’s role in every phase of production—from giving notes during development, to building the team in pre-production, serving on the ground during production, and handling sound, color, and deliverables during post, among many, many other facets. Rachel will help you tackle the tricky issue of dealing with money with your producer and outline the common ways the producer-talent relationships fall apart, as well as flourish. Rachel will even provide case studies from her own background to illustrate how the producer-talent relationship helped create Independent Spirit Award winning DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Sundance winning SWISS ARMY MAN, and SXSW nominated BEING FRANK. Like what you heard from Rachel during this webcast? Send Rachel your script and speak with her for a half-hour by clicking here. Praise for Rachel’s Stage 32 Webinars: "Very informative, Rachel is wise beyond her years." -Anthony L. "Very helpful! I learned so much and I am looking forward to going back and rewatching" -Milena W. "Rachel Crouch was awesome. She enriched my knowledge of the world of producers and how as a screenwriter we can make connections with the right ones and how best to work with them! Great job." - Ricki L. "Rachel was terrific! Her thoughts were clear and helpful." -Valerie C.
Learn directly from Melissa Daykin Cassill, Vice President of State Street Pictures (Faster, Beauty Shop, Barbershop, Notorious, Nothing Like The Holidays) The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Little Miss Sunshine. What is it, exactly, that makes these comedies stand out from the crowd? With so many different types of comedies in the marketplace, it is becoming the toughest genre to break into. More executives are turning to A list comedians to write than actual screenwriters, so how do you get an executive's attention? How do you get past executives that have different senses of humor, jokes that don't translate internationally, and storylines that can easily get deemed outdated a year later? Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our 4 week online intensive class How To Write A Fresh, Stand Out Comedy taught by the Vice President of State Street Pictures, Melissa Dayin Cassill. In this hands on 4 week course, you will learn the importance of the emotional crescendo of a comedy script, how to balance the comedy with the humanity of the characters, and how to pitch your comedy script once you're ready, all while molding your pages under Melissa's supervision. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a fresh stand out comedy script that will grab executives' attention! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Melissa is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.
In this exclusive 2 hour Stage 32 online webinar, here is just some of what you will learn from Robert McKee: Crafting believable and engaging dialogue. Why certain lines resonate and others fall flat Strategies and techniques for writing impactful dialogue The importance of showing vs. telling The three functions of dialogue: exposition, characterization and action. But that's not all! After Mr. McKee's lecture, Stage 32 Founder & CEO, Richard "RB" Botto, conducts an interview speaking further about the craft and opens it up to the Stage 32 community to ask questions. Now, no matter where you live in the world, this is an extremely rare opportunity to learn from Mr. McKee online! "You just don't get Robert McKee like this for this kind of price. Kudos to Stage 32 and thank you Mr. McKee" - Burton B. "Thank you RB and your awesome teem, and a big thanks to Robert McKee who is truly a Master of the craft! This webinar could be hard one to top in the writers field." - Scott W. "Just wanted you to know that McKee's webinar was fantastic. One of the best lectures I have heard on the craft. He was brilliant. And irascible." - Anthony R. "Amazing wisdom from a writing giant. Felt he was very giving and thoughtful in his replies which made it a fantastic experience." - Paul B. "Fantastic webinar - lots of great insights and ideas. Thanks!" - Ron H. "I will say it again - this was a great webinar. I am more inspired and motivated than ever to increase my skill as a writer and devote more time to doing so." - Christine D. (see more testimonials below!)