Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN. Over the countless films he has produced, Shane has gotten pre-production down to a science and knows what it takes to prepare a film of any level. Full Bio »
It might not be the most glamorous, but pre-production is arguably the most important aspect of putting together a film. The crucial decisions you make and the team you build during this phase will determine the success of your production and ultimately, your film. But no matter what experience level you are at, pre-production can quickly become an overwhelming process. From hiring to budgeting to location scouting to scheduling there are always going to be a lot of plates you have to keep spinning. Yet approaching pre-production with a plan, with discipline, and with the appropriate knowledge will keep your film on track and even elevate it to a level you might not have previously thought possible.
Whether you're filming a project for $1 million or $1,000, pre-production is the foundation to make sure your production goes smoothly. But with so many I’s to dot and T’s to cross, there are A LOT of traps and pitfalls you can fall into as a producer. That’s why it’s imperative you have a clear understanding of the work and challenges you have ahead of you and what you need to be aware of to ensure you can ultimately get your film made. So what exactly do you need to ensure gets done during this critical phase of your project? How can you build the best team possible and put together the resources you need without going over budget? Let’s dig in.
Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN. Over the countless films he has produced, Shane has gotten pre-production down to a science and knows what it takes to prepare a film of any level.
Shane will dig into his deep producing knowledge to break down the pre-production process and outline how you can best prepare for your own project. Shane will explain how to define your budget, including where you should put most of your money towards and will dive into crewing up, focusing on the five most important members of your team and how to find the right fits for your project. He will next discuss the challenge of finding locations, how to do so for cheap, and how to best communicate with property owners and take care of permits. Then Shane will give tips on how to schedule, how many shooting days you should plan for and how to adjust when things inevitably change. Lastly, he will talk about the final steps producers should take before moving to production and when you should feel ready.
Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar
"Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future."
Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside.
"Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk."
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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 recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
The COVID-19 pandemic brought film production to a standstill last year. The risk of holding close gatherings required everyone to profoundly change how a film is produced in order to keep everyone safe. Yet we’ve luckily found a way to create new projects, on both a major studio and independent level. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. The preparation and process for producing a film have changed drastically, as have the rules and guidelines a crew needs to follow. There are ways to safely put your own film together even under these extreme circumstances, but doing so will require a new understanding of how to move forward. As a producer or filmmaker of any level, it’s your job not just to make sure a film comes together, but that the team you assembled stays safe in the process. This is extra difficult due to the pandemic, but it’s not impossible. In fact, independent productions have been finding a ways to do this successfully for a while now and you can as well. But this won’t be accomplished through business-as-usual approaches. Every aspect of the filmmaking process needs to be examined, altered, or even turned on its head in order to comply with new regulations, make the team feel comfortable, and most importantly to keep everyone virus-free. This is a big undertaking, but other independent outfits have figured this out, and learning how they did it can be instrumental in you finding success for your own project. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen.. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN, which was safely shot over December and January during the peak of COVID-19. Shane learned how to find success in the midst of a pandemic and is ready to share the lessons he picked up. Shane will teach you what you need to do to successfully and safely plan and produce a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll delve into the new rules you need to follow, issued by guilds, government agencies and film/permit offices. He’ll also discuss how location scouting works now and what sort of locations can be safely shot in. He’ll go through the changes in production insurance and how to hire and work with a COVID Compliance Officer during production. Shane will also discuss how to conduct COVID tests with your crew and how to work with guilds along the way. He will then go over how to work with actors during this time and will share with you the biggest tips and must-dos he learned to keep your crew safe. Finally, Shane will share the details of how he produced his own recent film DOUBLE THREAT and wrapped his 6 week production without a single COVID positive test. Even in times as tough as this, there’s a way forward and a way to create your art, and Shane will show you how to do so smartly, effectively, and while keeping yourself and everyone on your team safe. Praise for Shane's Previous Stage 32 Webinar "Shane was thorough, gave me a realistic view into the market as it is now, yet encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside. -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R. "I loved the inside look from someone in the industry that is dealing with Covid restrictions on a daily basis." -Marven L.
The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine have changed the film and television industry profoundly. Like it or not, we’re thinking about movies differently now, we’re making them differently, we’re selling them differently, and we’re watching them differently. Studios, buyers, and producers are keenly aware of this shift and are applying this to how they are choosing their next projects. As a writer, understanding how the industry is changing and what people are now looking for can make all the difference in being able to take the next steps in your career. With so many new obstacles and challenges now involved in making a film, producers have to weigh a lot more factors when choosing their next projects, including which movies will be safest to put together. Small details in scripts—scenes or moments that might have been no big deal to include as recently as a year ago—might now be all it takes for a producer or financier to reject. So how does production during COVID look like and how can you make your script work and come across as more attractive within these constraints? Let’s take a closer look. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, including the action thriller BREAK EVEN and action comedy DOUBLE THREAT, currently in production. Shane recently released his book What You Don’t Learn In Film School, which covers filmmaking from concept to delivery and has already landed on required reading lists at several universities across the country. Shane continues to produce films during COVID and is well versed on what it takes to put a film together in this unique time. Shane will dive deep into how producers are operating in the time of COVID-19 and how you can make your script “COVID-friendly” and more attractive for producers to work on. He will begin by outlining how production has changed since COVID, including the biggest new hurdles, new guild requirements, and what’s keeping talent from signing on. He’ll explain what’s making movies more expensive to produce and what locations are now ideal or no longer easy to shoot in. He will next delve into what a COVID-friendly script looks like to a producer. He’ll talk about what kind of stories producers and buyers are seeking out, what red flags in your script will keep producers from signing on and how many characters are too many now. He will also discuss locations as well as the genres and themes that buyers are now gravitating towards. Shane will then discuss how to adjust your script to fit this new era, including deciding whether it’s worth adjusting or saving until things are safer and how to find compromise and middle ground when making changes. Finally, Shane will give you tips on how to get a producer on board during this time. This is a tricky time for everyone, but Shane will give you the lowdown to be smarter and more strategic in finding opportunities and success.
Hello Creative Army! Over the last few months, the entire team here at Stage 32 has been working tirelessly to help you stay connected, creative, motivated, and informed. As always, we are committed to bringing you networking opportunities, education and mentoring from top-level industry executives and professionals, and access to decision-makers around the globe all from the safety of your own home. Since the beginning of the quarantine mandates brought about by the spread of COVID-19, I've promised you free education designed not only to keep you inspired and entertained, bit to provide up-to-date, no BS information regarding how the industry is handling business during the better at home orders and give you a glance into what lies ahead. We have brought in top executives in television and animation for state of the industry roundtables, partnered with film festivals to bring you top of the line virtual panels, and even hosted a virtual happy hour and table read, to name just some of our COVID-19 free education initiatives. Every day, the Stage 32 team is on the phone and communicating with industry professionals. Our goal is to have our finger on the pulse of what's happening in the moment. Additionally, since launching Stage 32 Screenings I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of entertainment industry creatives and professionals including festival directors, distributors, sales agents, financiers and other executives to get their take on how they're navigating these challenging times. I can think of no better time to host another free AMA (Ask Me Anything) so I can share what I've been hearing and experiencing in my personal creative pursuits and to take your questions on all things craft and business. In June I hosted a new AMA. You brought your questions and energy and I provided a couple of hours of no-holds-barred shop talk. All creatives were welcome to join no matter their profession(s), skill level, or geographical location. We came together for some inspiration, motivation, and community. I had fun spending quality time with you all. As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative friends and peers to watch. Should any of your contacts not be members of Stage 32 already, you can send them an invite here! If you missed my last few AMA's, you can view them here! Cheers! RB
The magnitude to which the television landscape has changed over the past few years really can’t be overstated. Traditional models have been shattered and the dominance of network and cable television has given way to the streamers. Just look at this year’s Emmys—Netflix shows received 160 nominations, compared to NBC, which received only 47. With the way paved by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, the past few years have seen an explosion of streaming platforms and with it, new content and new opportunities for creatives to jump on board. The TV landscape has changed and continues to change, but most would agree: streaming is the place to be. Yet it’s not that simple, is it? With the world of television changing so quickly, it can feel like whiplash to keep up with everything. The world of streaming this year alone has seen new players (hello, Peacock) and others that have already fallen by the wayside (R.I.P., Quibi). Platforms continue to innovate and reinvent themselves to stay current and compete with their fellow networks, and as they change, so does what they’re looking for and how they look for it. If you’re a writer, producer, or creator working to get your television show on a streaming network, it’s hard to know where to start. There are always isolated articles in the trades as well as whatever you can find out through word of mouth, but what you might really need is for someone to lay it all out—what are the players right now, what content is performing well on their platforms, what are they looking for, and where are they headed? As luck would have it, Stage 32 has put this all together for you. Arielle Cohen is a Senior Manager in Strategy at NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock, which launched this past July. In this role, Arielle works to grow and improve Peacock by researching what’s working and where the industry is headed. Arielle is also a Development Executive for Broadway Producer Eric Falkenstein's Spark Productions, whose Broadway credits include MOULIN ROUGE and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. She is on the board of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Associates, a member of TEDx Young Professionals, Women in Cable Television and Ladies of Comedy Association (LOCA). Through her work, Arielle has become a veritable expert in the world of streaming television and has a clearer view than most of where it’s headed. Arielle will provide a comprehensive look at the world of streaming TV today, focusing on who the major players are and what kind of content they are focused on. She’ll begin with an overall look at the television industry and how it has changed. She’ll also explain what the current streaming landscape looks like today. She’ll lay out the major players and how the recent additions of streamers have altered the ecosystem. She’ll also explain the difference between premium and ad-supported streamers. She will then offer strategies for you to determine which streamers could be the right fit for your project. Arielle will offer a deep dive into the seven biggest streamers today, going over their top performing shows and where they’re headed. She’ll do this for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Peacock, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Disney +. She will next delve into where we are going from here, including new trends and developments we should expect to see and whether we can sustain so many streaming networks moving forward. Finally Arielle will offer suggestions of what streaming execs are looking for and suggestions for making your own project more interesting to them. You’ll leave with a much clearer and fuller picture of this quickly shifting industry.
Like it or not, the film and television industry is and will always be a business. It may produce stunning works of art and lead to social and cultural impacts, but it still comes down to the bottom line. That means that as a writer, unless your name is Christopher Nolan, you’re going to have to deal with more constraints that just the words on a page in order to make your vision a reality. You’ll need to convince a producer that the script can be made and can be made with the money available. And, if you’re a filmmaker or producer, you’ll need to understand how much of the budget is going to each page in order to make your film profitable. In order to do this, it’s important to understand how to read scripts from a cost perspective and what stands out to them as red flags or unnecessary challenges. Considering this throughout the writing and development process rather than being caught off guard after a script is fully written can be invaluable. It can be frustrating to have limitations get in the way of your creative expression, to be told that the world and story in your head can’t be made because of financial constraints. It can feel like selling out to alter your script in order to fit a financier’s budget. This doesn’t have to be the case, though—you don’t have to sacrifice your narrative in service of the bottom line. Instead, there are ways to meld your creativity with some financial savvy and learn to think about how story, character, and structure translate into dollars on the page. So before you write that ambitious live action space opera, the one on the rain planet with children and exotic animals, join producer James Crawford and learn how a producer thinks and breaks down pages.This will give you a leg up on the competition when trying to get your script made. James Crawford is the Head of Development for Fireside Pictures. Prior to joining Fireside Pictures, James was the Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, where he developed, sold, and produced seven movies to Hallmark Channel over three years, including THE ROOFTOP CHRISTMAS TREE, SLEIGH BELLS RING and A DECEMBER BRIDE. In addition to his feature production experience, James has developed several one-hour television series at Engage, pitching to EPiX, WGN America, Cinemax, and Universal Cable Productions, among others. James worked as Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television and film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying, developing, and pitching content for its first-look deal with Entertainment One, including the Stephen King novel The Regulators. At Cartel Entertainment,James developed pitches for Amazon, FX, Hulu, Netflix, Cinemax, UCP, and other major networks. James has a storied background as a producer and executive and is intimately familiar with what it takes to turn a script into a produced film or series. James will provide you with an understanding of the unforeseen costs that go into producing a script. He’ll begin by going over what it generally means to think like a producer in the first place. He’ll then delve into the specific financial challenges that come with genre and ‘genre-ish’ projects and how you can prepare yourself for these issues. James will break down the seven main types of producers on a project and what each one does. James will focus on the relationship between the producer and the line producer, a critical partnership for finding the resources to keeping your vision. James will then give you a full breakdown of what costs could go into every single page of your script, from above-the-line and below-the-line talent to locations, production design, and small things you might not have ever considered before that can seriously add up. To illustrate this, James will provide you with a case study of a real scene of a real shooting script, illustrating line-by-line where the costs lie in the script. Finally, James will teach you 10 strategies you can use if you’re starting to go over-budget. You will leave with a firmer understanding of how your script will translate to costs, and clear strategies to keep your vision while going easier on the budget. Praise for James’s Webinar: James was awesome. Clear, concise, and knowledgeable. -Stephen B. “James Crawford was very informative, and the way he brought the webinar across was entertaining and kept you engaged. I loved every bit of it! I hope he comes back for a round 2” -Imo C. Super helpful and very clear. Right to the point. Not full of anecdotes but actual teaching. -Helena W. “It was very informative in a practical way. James was great!” -Dave M.
History is littered with the bones of many failed films which fell apart due to conflicts between the director and producer. While you'll often hear how important it is for a filmmaker to have relationships with all the vital players and department heads on his or her set (and it certainly is), the reality is that the relationship between the director and the lead producer is the one that will begin the earliest and last the longest throughout a particular project. A healthy, cohesive relationship between the film director and the producer will show the cast and crew that a united front has been formed and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. An unhealthy, bifurcated relationship will put the cast and crew on their heels, which will inevitably hurt the project. Directors and producers are often people of vision and power. Harnessed correctly and collaboratively, that combination can bring out the best in everyone and help to make a project stay on time, on budget, and on message and voice. Harnessed incorrectly, ego and hubris take over. It may seem obvious that communication is the key to assuring that the relationship flourishes, and that's not totally untrue. But the key to a productive and positive relationship between the director and producer is understanding all aspects of what needs to get done, recognizing what the other person's needs are, defining what's worth standing up for and what's worth letting go, and recognizing that at the end of the day, you're both fighting for the same result. As President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, Tai Duncan oversees film projects from inception to completion encompassing all aspects of development, casting, finance and production. Zero Gravity is a production and management company based in Los Angeles that boasts a strong client list of screenwriters, directors, actors and financiers for feature films and television. Tai recently produced PROUD MARY for Screen Gems starring Taraji P. Henson and HOW IT ENDS for Netflix starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, HONEST THIEF starring Liam Neeson and THE MARKSMAN starring Liam Neeson. Zero Gravity produced the Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck starring action/thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, the drama A FAMILY MAN starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe and Executive Produced the hit Netflix television show OZARK starring Jason Bateman. Needless to say, as an on set producer, Tai knows a thing or two about the director/producer relationship including the pitfalls and the paths to glory. Beginning with pre-production, Tai will take you what steps you will need to take from moment one to forge a productive relationship that will last through post and beyond. Tai will talk about the steps you need to make to assure you are communicating clearly and effectively. He will talk you through script notes, casting, hiring crew, location scouting and scheduling. Moving on to production, Tai will teach you how to keep things smooth on set, how t manage disagreements, scheduling and money issues, and the push and pull between what a director wants and what he or she has in the can. Tai will then move on to post, and how to manage expectations during the assembly cut and the director's cut. He will discuss scoring, sound and color, sales and marketing, festival approaches, and even distribution strategies so that everyone is fully communicating and staying on the same page throughout. "Don't allow a failed relationship, miscommunication or misplaced ego sabotage all the work and effort that's gone in to putting a project together. Cohesiveness begins at the top and must continue throughout the project. I'll show you how to get it done." - Tai Duncan