Heath Cullens is an accomplished television director who has directed episodes of TV shows like IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, A.P. BIO, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at the art of TV directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32. Full Bio »
Learn how you can build a career as a television director from a director who has worked on hit series including IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, A.P. BIO, YOU'RE THE WORST, and more!
Most people have a general idea of what a director does, but that idea usually pertains more to feature films. Directing television can be a separate beast altogether. Successful TV directors need to be adept at navigating inherent contradictions associated with this role. Unlike in films, TV directors have to both have a vision and still fit in with the overall feel of the series. And they need to be in charge despite often only coming in for an episode or two. These are tough lines to straddle, but doing so and honing your craft can lead to a successful and exciting career.
Pursuing a career in directing in any medium is rife with challenges: there is no set path to success and finding insight into the inner workings of directing is challenging. Television directing is an even more specific specialty within the world of directing. Several ways of working and behaviors that would be ideal for a feature director are not compatible with the way television is produced. In addition, the path to breaking in as a television director is quite different from that of a feature director. If your goal is to direct television, it’s vital to understand the way television is produced and the role that the director plays within that specific production environment.
Heath Cullens is an accomplished television director who has directed episodes of TV shows like IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, A.P. BIO, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Heath’s other notable credits include IDIOTSITTER for Comedy Central, DEADBEAT for Hulu, and BLACK JESUS for Adult Swim. In addition to directing, Heath also produced the Lionsgate feature ARMED RESPONSE, starring Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, and Alan Arkin. A recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Heath is well-versed at the art of TV directing and will now share what he knows exclusively with Stage 32.
In this exclusive Stage 32 on demand webinar, Heath digs into the specifics and craft of directing for television and will reveal how to pursue it and how best to do the job once you get it. Heath will first explain how best to pursue work in TV directing, including discovering the type of TV is the best fit, how to find your ‘in’, developing a reel, shadowing, and working with established creators. Next he will delve into the vital relationships you’ll need to maintain as a TV director, including with the EP/showrunner, the crew, the cast, and the network or studio. Finally Heath will go through the major challenges you should expect in this role and tips on how to navigate. Along the way, Heath will share challenges and experiences from his own career.
The role of a TV director can be enigmatic and often eclipsed by feature films, but Heath will give you the rundown so you can be equipped with the knowledge and advice to pursue this route on your own.
PRAISE FOR HEATH'S PREVIOUS STAGE 32 EDUCATION:
"Sometimes one signs up for a class not really knowing what to expect. This class I could never have anticipated! Heath went above and beyond any expectations I might have harbored. This was one of the best classes I have ever taken on Stage 32 or any other platform. I walked away with so much information, confidence and respect for the role of the director. My heartfelt thanks to Heath." -- Angela R.
"This was a phenomenal class. Thank you for providing a class of this caliber. Heath was informative and engaging." -- Angel M.
"Heath was extremely knowledgeable and a great teacher. He had a perfect combination of facts and passion. He invested a lot of energy into, not only, teaching the class, but he also went above and beyond to inspire the class. Very grateful." -- Rainy K.
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As a filmmaker, you know that every opportunity to shoot your story is precious. The days when your team is working, your cameras are rolling and your actors are in hair and make-up are days of golden opportunity. But they can also be days of stress and frustration if you haven't prepared properly during pre-production. We want you to have the best shoot days possible and that's why this webinar is invaluable for filmmakers. In this webinar, accomplished director Heath Cullens shares his process of preparing for a shoot exclusively with the Stage 32 community. As a filmmaker, the importance of preparation during pre-production cannot be overstated. Here is your chance to learn how best to prepare from a world-class director. Heath Cullens is a director best known for directing IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, AP BIO, GREAT MINDS WITH DAN HARMON, and FX’s YOU’RE THE WORST. Currently, he is directing MYTHIC QUEST for Apple TV. A good filmmaker is a prepared filmmaker. Filmmakers must focus on getting the story they envision onto the screen, but that vision will unravel if you don’t prepare before. However, if you do prepare properly, you give your film the best chance for success. You’ll receive a step-by-step approach to utilize on your projects to ensure a smooth, productive, and creatively rewarding on-set experience for you and your production team. You’ll cover how to: Hire the best team Communicate your vision Prioritize what you need to shoot Structure your shoot day Create a strategy with your DP Properly use rehearsal time and table reads And much more By the end of this webinar you’ll have a process you can use - and the ability to revisit the lesson on Stage 32 - to ensure the confidence to lead your team as a filmmaker. PRAISE FOR HEATH'S TEACHINGS: "I thought it was on point and very informative. Heath was great." -Frank L.
Networking is the key to success in any industry, but in the entertainment business, it is a NECESSITY if you want to break in. And now in this increasingly online and virtual world, a large part of networking takes place in virtual settings, namely on apps and online platforms. This landscape is constantly changing, and while it can be hard to keep up with, it can also be incredibly lucrative. It is not uncommon now for writers to be discovered because of a viral post on Twitter, for friendships to be formed on Clubhouse, or for a script to be optioned right here on Stage 32. All of this just while sitting at home on your computer or phone. It’s clear that these tools are too powerful of a tool to ignore, but it’s important you know how to use these tools correctly. The world of virtual networking can seem overwhelming and foreign, especially when you’re more accustomed to traditional networking and in-person events. Yet success on these platforms is not just reserved for Gen-Z and “influencers”; creatives of all ages and background are finding success and getting discovered through these tools. Yet the key is knowing how to use these apps the right way. Just like for in-person events and old-school networking, you can use these opportunities to build your connections, or you can leave others with a bad impression. It often just comes down to understanding the rules and expectations on each platform, and understanding how to contribute and make yourself part of the community. So what are the apps where the real opportunities are forged? How can you stand out (in a good way)? With the right strategies and approach, you’ll be able to build your network and meet people who can be your cheerleaders along the way. Kristen Lucas and Tara Gore are powerhouse networkers in the entertainment industry. Kristen Lucas is a talent manager at Bohemia Group, specializing in actors and filmmakers in film and television. Her clients have appeared in films such as Netflix's I CARE A LOT and THE HONEST THIEF alongside Liam Neeson, and on television such as Netflix's THE GOOD COP and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Hulu's CASTLE ROCK, AMC's BETTER CALL SAUL and many others. Tara Gore has produced over 300 live shows and original content for MLB including Avicii, Billy Joel, Demi Lovato, Zac Brown Band, One Republic, Elton John, John Legend, Jason Aldean, Ziggy Marley and many more. Kristen and Tara attribute their success to hustling to find opportunity where others find dead ends. Their long history of creative networking has built them a vast network of contacts across all areas of entertainment and business and allowed them to ensure the success of their clients and projects. Working together, Kristen and Tara will outline the six main apps and platforms they use to network and find connections and clients: Clubhouse, Instagram, Twitter, Stage 32, IMDB, and LinkedIn. For each they will lay out how the app works, how you can best operate within it, and the mistakes to avoid. Along the way they'll dive into success stories each platform has provided and why they worked, as well as horror stories and how you can avoid similar fates. Online networking doesn’t need to be scary and it's something you can master no matter what your background is. Expect to leave this with a bunch of ideas, real world examples, and inspiration to master these apps, continue meeting new people online, and finding your place in this industry.
How do you best package and sell your projects in this ever changing industry? In this exclusive Stage 32 Webinar, we will teach your to push your projects and connect with industry executives to package and sell your projects from the development stage to distribution. Since joining Ramo Law in 2009, Tiffany Boyle has leveraged her business-oriented sales and packaging skills to bring hundreds of films and documentaries to fruition. Tiffany connects filmmakers with producers, co-producers, executive producers, co-finance partners, distributors, agencies and other industry representatives. Through her critical review of content and strategic use of Ramo Law resources, Tiffany creates successful content packaging that bridges the needs of both client and industry demands. In addition to all these skills, Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will provide you with the pertinent and actionable information you need to package a project in the current environment. She will begin by discussing the packaging and sales world before COVID-19, what is happening right now and what can be expected once we're in the clear. She will discuss packaging and selling of all budget levels and dive deep into the world of attachments including landing valuable producers, directors, actors, and even financiers. From there, Tiffany will tell you how to build your relationships to help enhance and accelerate your path to getting your project packaged and sold. She will discuss sales and the current state of the marketplace. And finally, Tiffany will even include some outside the box methods and resources toward packaging and selling your project outside the traditional model. "Let's do a deep dive into everything happening right now and what to expect down the road so you can take action. We will focus on who to approach first for attachments and how to build the project from there in order to make it the most sellable and attractive package it can be." - Tiffany Boyle
Learn how to create a professional budget for your under $300k feature film so you can make the project you envision from a producer and filmmaker whose projects have screened at Sundance, Tribeca, South by Southwest, London Film Festival, and more! Are you a filmmaker with a story to tell but you don't have access to big financing sources? You may not realize that your vision can be achieved for less money than you think and, by doing so, you can make a grand statement to the world about your talent. For filmmakers and storytellers, a film with a budget below $300,000 can be a phenomenal opportunity to launch your career or see your creative vision become a reality on screen. These low-budget films are incredibly enticing to financiers who are more open to hearing from fresh voices when they're not spending millions. And agents, managers, and executives are often blown away by an artist's creativity when they work with lower budgets. It's a calling card. But in order to make it happen, you’ll first need to present how you’ll achieve your vision at such a low cost by building a realistic and professional budget and schedule that show you are prepared to make and deliver your film. That is an art in itself. Producer and filmmaker Julie Buck will teach you everything you need to know to accomplish this goal. As a producer, line producer, production manager, and member of the Directors Guild of America, Julie has budgeted and scheduled hundreds of independent films. Julie’s work has been screened at festivals including Tribeca, South by Southwest, London Film Festival, and Sundance, among others. She's worked with A-list talent throughout her career, including Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, Anjelica Huston, and Bill Pullman. Over four sessions of this exclusive on-demand Stage 32 intensive class, you’ll immerse yourself in how to build a realistic budget in this price range by breaking down your script costs accurately, conveying everything your physical production requires, and understanding above-the-line vs. below-the-line costs. You’ll then move onto equipment, transportation, and legal considerations that are imperative for any budget, and ensure that your numbers cover everything through post-production. Once you’ve built out your budget, you’ll learn how to find financing, even if you don’t think you have those connections yet. In addition to Julie’s wealth of experience, she’ll be providing you with exclusive handouts to help you create your budget that can be used to find financing, including: Breakdowns Schedules Budgets Union sheets How to determine rates and working with SAG Testimonials from Julie's previous Stage 32 Courses: "Julie is beyond informative and helpful. Thanks to her, I actually see a clear path to production on my first feature." - Tiffany R. "Huge thanks to Julie for sharing her wealth of knowledge with our class. Her expertise is evident in her teaching. Well done." - Sebastian L.
Learn directly from Tatiana Kelly who has produced 12 independent films including Wristcutters: A Love Story and The Words (Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana), and The Procession. The barrier of entry for the micro-budget / DIY / indie filmmaker has never been lower, making the landscape of independent film more exciting than ever. With box office and VOD sales at an all time high and more distribution opportunities than ever, independent films are enjoying a resurgence. Throw into the mix that many studios and larger production companies are committed to producing numerous micro-budget films each year (see Paramount Insurge) and independent producers such as Jason Blum (Blumhouse) have made a living in the space, and the demand for films with micro-budgets has never been higher. Additionally, many creatives are taking matters into their own hands by making micro-budget films as a calling card for their talents.Some examples of micro-budget films include Napoleon Dynamite, Halloween, Clerks, The Blair Witch Project, Mad Max, Eraserhead, Open Water, Catfish, Saw, Once, Pi.Story and style win the day as a result of the passion and dedication put into micro-budget films. If you are a screenwriter, producer, filmmaker or any other creative that values control of your story and film and has decided to write, develop, shoot or distribute a film in the micro-budget space, this is the webinar for you.
Learn what it takes to get your true crime series sold from a long-time true crime producer with over 100 episodes of true crime TV under his belt. Includes a Case Study of a Real Pitch Deck for a True Crime Show There is no denying that true crime has become HUGE presence in the television landscape. From TIGER KING, THE JINX and MAKING A MURDERER to more recent limited series like HEAVEN’S GATE and MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS, true crime docuseries have become wildly popular and show no sign of slowing down. Even beyond the banner networks and streamers like Netflix, HBO and Hulu, many smaller networks like Investigation Discovery, Reelz, Oxygen and True Crime Network devote a large portion—if not all—of their slate to unscripted, true crime series and specials. This has led to a very recent explosion in true crime content and an incredible opportunity for content creators interested in this space to find opportunities and get their content sold. To find a place in the true crime space, you not only have to find and have access to a great story, but also build a fantastic pitch deck, and a strategic and effective pitch to get buyers on board. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is true crime TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Your instructor is Phil Claroni, who has worked for over 10 years in the true crime television space and produced countless projects for networks such as CNN, Investigation Discovery, Discovery UK, Reelz, and ZDF. After starting on the hit show FORENSIC FILES, where he served as producer, Phil has been a director and lead writer for true crime shows airing throughout the world. More recently Phil served as showrunner for the Reelz series COPYCAT KILLERS and now serves as an executive producer for the company Story House Production. Phil’s decade-plus in the true crime TV world, pitching and selling countless shows to various networks has made him an expert in this space and has given him a keen eye into what makes a murder show sell. Phil will lay out how to best develop your own true crime docuseries and pitch and sell it to a streamer or other network. He’ll first explain what kind of story sells today and how you should tailor your pitch to reflect the current market you’re selling to. He’ll give you tips on how to research your story, what info is most important, how to obtain talent, and the legal elements to be aware of. Next, Phil will explain how to build the perfect pitch deck to sell your true crime series and go through one-pagers, treatments and sizzles. He will then explain how to find a production partner for your series, including who’s currently buying and how to know which partners would make t host sense for you. He’ll also tell you what materials can aid a sale and how you can take a meaningful meeting. Finally Phil will explain how to close, including initiating a bidding war and what to do to follow through. Phil will even share a real pitch deck he put together and explain why he made the choices he made in assembling it. “No one goes to college and majors in true crime production. It’s something you have to learn from others, but it’s one of the most attainable genres to produce in show business, and I’ll show you how.” -Phil Claroni