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'S TEACHINGS:
"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.
Remember that every line of dialogue matters, every image has a purpose, and there are no wasted bullets in the gun! We're kicking off another month of a packed Writers' Room schedule with the Breakdown Webcast: Exposition as Ammunition! Many writers struggle with how to get out critical information and backstory to the audience in an organic way. So during this webcast, we discuss how to get the audience the information they need without a lecture they don't want. During this webcast we'll discuss different ways of getting out information in a way that feels organic to the narrative and the characters. We examine some of the best - and worst - examples from film and television!
There is no worse feeling than finally getting your project on its feet, only for it to be brought to its knees because you don’t have the proper insurance coverage in place. You have to make sure your project can be completed safely and responsibly and, ultimately, sold to a distributor. You need the right kinds of insurance to guarantee your success, and you will learn exactly what that entails in this new exclusive Stage 32 webinar. The key to your success is that you understand the 4 basic kinds of production insurance, why each is important and what the function of each type of coverage is. Not having the proper coverage in place could cost the production company big time with losses that you cannot recoup. You may be denied access to a location due to not having the proper coverage in place. You also may not be able to sell your project to a distributor who requires that the film is properly insured. Teaching you every important aspect of the production insurance game is Doug Hodges from Front Row Insurance, an Entertainment Insurance Broker with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York that specializes in the film, music, and theater industries. Doug routinely negotiates on artists’ and companies’ behalf to obtain the best coverage at the lowest premium from the insurance companies. This essential webinar will give you an overview of insurance coverage, policies and how they protect you, and why having the right insurance is vital to any production and ultimate sale. You will review real insurance policies and receive real-world examples from Doug's vast experience working on every kind of film and with every type of filmmaker. When you’re making your film or TV project, you may focus heavily on the creative side, but you also need to protect yourself with the right kinds of insurance, so don’t want to miss out on this incredibly valuable webinar.
Learn directly from acclaimed author and screenwriter Max Adams who has worked with companies such as Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures and Max’s students have won three Academy Nicholl Fellowships, two Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Awards, a Stage 32 Happy Writers Award and more! We continuously hear from the executives that we work with that concept is the most common mistake in spec scripts today. Readers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it bigger, badder, better and more enticing to the world. How can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is thrilled to bring you acclaimed screenwriter and writing coach Max Adams to teach you how to create compelling concepts and re-craft existing concepts so that they garner instant attention through one sentence descriptions alone. Dubbed “Red Hot Adams” by Daily Variety for selling three pitches over a Christmas holiday, she will teach you how to pull a story out of the “been there seen that no thanks” file and into the “I have got to read that” file. You’ll learn how to break your story into individual components to find its strengths and weaknesses, which gives you tools to analyze your future writing projects and raise stories’ impact. This will be your complete crash course in high concept writing, and you will leave this webinar knowing how to make your stories more interesting and enticing for readers, buyers, producers, editors, representatives, cast and industry players!
In today’s content gold rush, audiences aren’t waiting for the official trailer anymore to decide if they’ll see a film in theaters or wait for an on-demand release. Now, audiences decide from the first press release or casting announcement, with teams of people working behind the scenes to create buzz through production and release. So before you start rolling, is your publicity plan in place? There’s a reason that major studios spend just about as much on marketing as they do on the production: The movie doesn’t matter if people don’t see it, making publicity and marketing crucial to a film's success. You have to be your own publicist and grab everyone’s attention as early as possible. Don’t let a limited budget keep you from getting the word out. With the right publicity plan in place, you could blow audiences away around the world without breaking the bank. You need a publicity plan. Creating your publicity brand, including casting, staffing, securing talent participation in promotional campaigns, and finding your key media angles are all strategies that start as early as development and continue through your project’s life cycle. Sharing her wealth of experience in publicity and marketing with you is Janine McGoldrick in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar. Janine has a wealth of experience working in publicity for major studios and production companies, such as Universal Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Lionsgate, BBC, New Line, and more. As the SVP of Communications at Cohen Media Group, she oversaw all theatrical releases, including the Academy Award-winning feature THE SALESMAN and CHURCHILL, starring Brian Cox and John Slattery. Using her vast experience in publicity at every budget level, Janine teaches you how to develop, brand, and sell your script, so that your PR strategy is at work from the beginning by creating a publicity toolkit and press kit. She’ll show you how to ensure a cohesive brand through trailers, posters, and promos, as well as unique opportunities through social media where you can save on your budget. If you’re planning on working with a publicist, Janine has you covered there, too, as she shows you how to find the right publicist for the job and how to work with the in-house studio marketers. For those attending live, you’ll have an incredible opportunity to ask Janine questions about your project, as well as the nitty-gritty details, like pitching, embargoes, and what to avoid so that you don’t endanger your production. No one knows your film better than you, and by investing in yourself today, you can take one step closer to ensuring your film finds success. PRAISE FOR JANINE'S TEACHINGS: "Although useful for films, I still found this helpful for the release of an online curriculum." -Teressa G. "I am not at the point to be able to use this information yet as I'm still writing a script. But I made a bunch fo notes, and when I get there, this will be very helpful. If I might make one more suggestion, tell us about more tools. This was a very high level presentation without a lot of useful tools that people can use." -Kristin K.
Creating your own original digital series is a great calling card for your talent, a potential incubator for a larger TV series and a way to become an influencer that attracts brands. In this era of DIY content creation, now is your time to shine by creating a web or digital series, which will also serve as valuable IP (intellectual property) for you and your brand as a creative. We've seen digital series become hits TV shows like High Maintenance on HBO or Drunk History and Broad City on Comedy Central. With so many factors to consider to create a season for your digital series, where do you even begin? How do you not break the bank creating and filming it? And how do you assure your story is fine tuned to keep your budget down and make certain your scheduling, casting and locations make sense financially? You don’t have to overthink or overestimate the budget of your series. In fact, most webseries can be done for as little as $500 an episode. Yes, you heard that right, $500 per episode! Keith Powell has taken everything he’s learned as an actor on high-budget episodic productions (such as 30 Rock, This Is Us, Grace and Frankie, The Newsroom), modified it, and applied it to creating a successful micro-budget web series. And he did all this without breaking the bank and while keeping his sanity intact (well, kind of). And being the kind of guy he is, now Keith wants to share this knowledge with you. Keith will teach you the building blocks toward creating an artistically successful series without stretching your budget. You will walk away with all the tools necessary to help you during development, pre-production, production, post-production and even distribution. Most importantly, you will learn how - even with the glut of web series available online and within the market - you can make a product that stands out above the noise (and there definitely is noise!) Creating a web or digital series is something YOU can control and that can open doors to help launch your creative career. Keith will provide you with the tools to get started and establish the brand of your content and the brand of you! PRAISE FOR KEITH'S TEACHINGS: "Keith's no-nonsense approach (i.e. to the point, quick and efficient) provides a great overview of not only the things to consider when putting together a web series but also ensures he covered a lot of ground. Thanks Keith! We're putting together a web series right and some of your tips will save us ten-fold on the cost of this webinar!" - Dave P
In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will teach you how to write a kick-ass comedy pilot that will get executives’ attention. This webinar is not only about how to properly execute writing a comedy pilot, but also about how to make it your strongest sample so that it can get noticed! You will leave the webinar knowing: The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot as they relate to concept, structure and voice. How to properly highlight your unique comedic voice and stuff your script with laughs. How to create a crisp 1-2 sentence pitch that will get executives excited about your idea. How to navigate the competitions and fellowships. How to think from a Producer/Manager/Executives POV and understand what they're looking for so you can apply it to your script. Michael Poisson is a former Director of Development who's worked for Ryan Reynolds TV production company DarkFire TV, Krysten Ritter's company Silent Machine and CAA and is now a writer on Netflix's Raising Dion. This background gives has given Michael a unique perspective for what kind of script stands out among the hordes on everyone’s “Weekend Read” lists and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you. PRAISE FOR MICHAEL'S TEACHINGS: He was amazing -- professional, articulate and knew his subject inside-and-out! – Jan S. It was very obvious Michael knows [his stuff]. He was very organized and I feel like he answered many questions that I've had for years. Thank you so much. – Betty S. Michael was sensational; one of the few who can actually DO a webinar and keep an interest. Nice voice inflection and tone; no distracting "um's" and such. Great material; learned a ton! - Geno S. Very informative and in great detail and explanation, Michael. Time very well spent. – Jean B. Excellent seminar with relevant information. Great job. – Matthew M. I really found the examples [he] references on current programs and series very useful. The information was concise and allowed me to visualize my next steps. – Ashanti G. He was excellent! – Tina F. Good information, well thought out, organized and easy to follow. Many useful takeaways. Thanks Michael!! – Lesa B.