Anna Darrah is an experienced film buyer, negotiating with and licensing over 800 films in her 12 years working for Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle. She has been an active player on the festival circuit and currently advises filmmakers on custom distribution strategies. Anna is also a filmmaker who produced two documentaries that aired on The Sundance Channel, and directed a music video and the short film THE MATTER OF MAGIC. She is currently working on a feature-length documentary about Helen Schreider (www.THEHELENMOVIE.com) while also making short films for the ZILLOW.COM series, HOMEMAKERS. Anna has enjoyed jurying and participating in film festival panels and workshops here and abroad and is currently offering a Film Distribution Workshop co-taught with Jilann Spitzmiller. Anna authored a chapter in Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution, and has published articles on topics as diverse as motherhood and film distribution. Full Bio »
Filmmakers, producers, and financiers can really be held back by distribution contracts. If they don’t understand the language or terms, are passive or held hostage by a feeling that they may be getting ripped off, or simply do not have the support system to advise them or the knowledge to know what to fight for, they can find themselves at an extreme disadvantage. In many cases, the excitement of the "someone likes my movie/let's get it out there" mentality supersedes common sense. And that alone can lead you into giving away your rights, accepting horrendous percentages or agreeing to terms that lock you and your project up. Don't fall into these traps!
You worked hard on your film. You sacrificed time and likely money to get to this point. While most might think this is time to hit the gas pedal, it's actually time to tap the brakes. You want to be sure you're doing everything humanly possible to not only protect yourself, your investors and your team, but maximizing your film's potential in the marketplace.
Anna Darrah is an experienced film buyer, negotiating with and licensing over 800 films in her 12 years working for Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle. She has been an active player on the festival circuit and currently advises filmmakers on custom distribution strategies. Anna is also a filmmaker who produced two documentaries that aired on The Sundance Channel, and directed a music video and the short film THE MATTER OF MAGIC. She also produced a feature-length documentary about Helen Schreider (www.THEHELENMOVIE.com) while also making short films for the ZILLOW.COM series, HOMEMAKERS. Anna has enjoyed jurying and participating in film festival panels and workshops here and abroad and is currently offering a Film Distribution Workshop co-taught with Jilann Spitzmiller.
Now Anna brings her knowledge and teaching prowess to Stage 32. Anna will begin by breaking down theatrical and broadcast rights as well as exclusive and non-exclusive deals. She'll dive into breaking down deal points including term, territory, rights and compensation. She'll discuss standard terms and point out red flags within and speak to what you should negotiate to assure you get the best, and most fair, deal. She will even look at the negotiation process from the other side of the table so you can understand what a distributor truly wants out of a deal. Thinking outside the box, Anna will even discuss going the DIY distribution route or a hybrid DIY/traditional distribution path. All this and much more.
It’s incredible how each contract is like a snowflake -- totally unique and yet similar in some very important ways. I will help you understand the entire distribution arena so you can sleep well knowing you've made the best deal for you, your partners and, most importantly, your film.
- Anna Darrah
Praise for Anna
"Excellent overview of terms to be aware of when negotiating or reviewing a distribution agreement."
- Valerie N.
"Anna was great, the information she shared was so very useful!"
- Christian C.
"For a complex subject, Anna made it all so simple and easy to follow. Excellent webinar!"
- Drea P.
- Mana W.
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"Excellent overview of terms to be aware of when negotiating or reviewing a distribution agreement." - Valerie N.
"Anna was great, the information she shared was so very useful!" - Christian C.
Learn directly from Jessica Sitomer, who has had her writing produced by an Emmy Award Winner, produced TV herself and has coached thousands of professionals who work in the entertainment industry. So you have chosen to pursue one of the most sought out industries on the planet: film, television or theater. People come and go, jobs come and go; this is not like becoming a teacher and once you have tenure, you’ve almost guaranteed your job security. This is an unstable industry. You’ve heard of the corporate ladder? The bad news is in our industry there isn’t one clear ladder to climb. The good news is you can build your own ladder. But before you build it, give yourself a reality check in regards to the nature of the industry you are pursuing. Understand its cycles so they don’t scare you and you’re prepared for them when they come. Take a moment to remember why you’re passionate about what you do… you’ve been given a gift, and you need emotional, financial, and physical stability so you can share it with the world. People have asked me, ‘Can I really have a career in the entertainment industry that I love, make money at it, and still have time for friends, family, self care, health, spirituality, and fun?’ And my answer… YES! Once you understand the nature of the industry and take some steps to plan for the instability, you can build your life any way you want.
The Stage 32 Writers’ Room has just surpassed a milestone achievement - 100 webcasts! For the last year and a half it has been the honor of Director of Script Services Jason Mirch to act as the humble host, guiding webcasts that include script and screenwriting breakdowns, virtual pitch sessions to industry professionals, one-on-one conversations with some of the biggest names in the business, and writing exercises that challenge our imaginations and sharpen our skills. The goal of the Writers’ Room has always been to give writers all over the world the support, access, and education to thrive in their craft and career. Our recent Writers' Room guests have included Oscar-nominated Pixar writer Meg LeFauve, Billion Dollar Producer Amy Baer, AKEELAH AND THE BEE Filmmaker Doug Atchison, Universal Pictures Executive Ken Korba, A QUIET PLACE development executive Linsday Schwartz, GREEN HORNET producer Bradley Gallo, and many more - all of whom spoke and interacted directly with our members. Several of our members have connected with each other and have swapped scripts, collaborated on projects, produced projects they have written, and writers have even been optioned by producers largely because of the Writers’ Room! The Writers' Room is strong because of the incredible members who are serious about their craft and advancing their careers. So we are turning the spotlight over to some of our talented Writers' Room members who will tell us how they broke out in a highly competitive industry and achieved success during this Stage 32 Writers' Room Member Success Spotlight webcast! During this webcast, Writer, Producer, Actor & Stage 32 CEO Rich "RB" Botto and Writer, Producer, and Director of Script Services Jason Mirch shine some light on members who have utilized the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to achieve tremendous success in the industry and learn the secrets they have discovered for breaking out! During this webcast the panel includes: Screenwriter, Martin Reese, who received a $5,000 option agreement from Glass House Distribution and Trick Candle Productions for a script he developed with the help of the Writers' Room! Screenwriter, Chris Torres, who landed representation with Manager Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment after being a part of the Writers' Room and being connected for a meeting by Stage 32! Author and Screenwriter, Christi Corbett, who developed one of her novels into a screenplay which was then optioned by producer Brad Wilson of Higher Purpose Entertainment!Screenwriter and Filmmaker, Chaun Lee, who used the power of Stage 32 and the Writers' Room to develop a short film which she then produced using local crew and cast in Atlanta just prior to lockdown!
***Sorry, the lab is filled!*** This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea. With the TV market exploding right now, 30-minute and 60-minute TV drama and dramedy pilots are in demand. Many, if not all, managers and agents are looking for writers that can write in this space, and with more and more production companies heading into TV, knowing how to write a strong TV pilot will give you a competitive advantage and help you find success as a TV writer! Stage 32 is thrilled to have our Writing Lab: Write Your TV Pilot and Lean How to Pitch it in 10 Weeks taught by Anna Henry who is a veteran TV development executive that's worked with ABC, CBS, Nickelodeon, SONY, 20th Century FOX Television, Amazon, Starz, EOne, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, ITV America and more. This hands-on intensive lab will guide you through picking a concept, creating engaging characters, structuring and outlining your pilot, writing the pilot, polishing and pitching it! You must have a solid understanding of screenwriting to participate. We will not be going over the basics. The main objective of this 10-week lab will be to have a solid completed script that is market-ready to start pitching. You will meet online with Anna for 2 hours a week in a class setting, plus have phone or Skype consultations during some of the weeks when you don't have an online class. This will be accompanied by weekly homework assignments to guide you on your way to creating a marketable, unique pilot that will grab the industry's attention. Payment plans are available - please contact email@example.com for more information. This Lab is Limited to 10 People.
Learn directly from Gotham Award-winning Producer Shaun O’Banion who's worked with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow. Everyone will tell you filmmaking is a collaborative process and comes down to relationships. Possibly the most important relationship? The one between the writer and the producer or exec. This partnership is critical and is often the first spark that can get a project going. But this relationship doesn’t just materialize without any work put in. The truth of the matter is the collaboration and trust that’s built between the writer and producer, starting with the optioning or hiring process and going through all of development and production can be just as important as the script and production itself in how successful the film turns out to be. If you’re a writer, it can be challenging to find a producer who is the right fit and actually get on their radar or get them to read your work in the first place. As a producer, getting your hands on the script that you actually connect with and that you can feel confident in producing can be quite an undertaking. And whether you are the writer or the producer, navigating this creative relationship through the murky development process is complicated but absolutely crucial. So how does a successfully writer-producer relationship actually work? How do producers find scripts and how can you set up your own screenplay for success? And once you’re on your way, what steps can you take to ensure the relationship, and therefore the entire project, doesn’t fall apart during development? Let’s explore. Shaun O'Banion is an award-winning producer and the founder of production company Ravenwood and has worked with writers and filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Joe Wright and Judd Apatow. O’Banion produced DAKOTA SKYE which became a cult hit and remained in the Top 100 Most Viewed on Netflix. He also produced GIRLFRIEND, the first film in North America to star an actor with Down Syndrome in the lead role. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, sold to Strand Releasing and won O’Banion an IFP Gotham Award. He joined the Producers Guild of America and co-produced THE AUTOMATIC HATE which made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film was released theatrically by Film Movement. Shaun has also worked as a post production project coordinator on some of the industry's leading films in recent years including JOJO RABBIT, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, THE AFTERMATH and OPHELIA. Shaun is well versed on building relationships to get films made and is ready to break down what he knows In this exclusive two-part class, Shaun will walk you through process of getting material produced from the producer's perspective. He’ll go through what producers look for, how doing your research matters, and how collaboration with your new partner is the key to it all. Plus, expect to learn the differences between setting up a short and setting up a feature. Shaun will also delve into the development process and give you a new set of tools to get your material in top form. The development process is murky and hard to navigate, but Shaun will go in-depth on how exactly to see it through to the end by building a strong relationship with your producer. Praise for Shaun’s Stage 32 Class "Loved the up-front examples of how long it took to develop different films and whys behind it. Super informative." - Gina G. "For people trying to break into the business, these kind of webinar chats where the info and experience rolls off the cuff is important and very effective for me. If you can't be around the industry and executives, having the opportunity to 'be in the room' and hear about process and how things are done is really important." - Diana L.
Part 2 you're not going to want to miss! Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position. In Part 2 the followup to So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!
CCO Bradley Gallo and Story Editor Nat Topping from Amasia Entertainment join our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.