Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and has helped multiple filmmakers through the Oscar qualification process, including the short film SKIN which won the Academy Award after premiering and qualifying at his festival. Daniel was formerly a theatrical sales executive before he founded HollyShorts as a response to seeing that young filmmakers had little access to industry professionals and few options for screening their films. Now in its 17th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival. Daniel is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX. Daniel’s long experience at the helm of an Academy-qualifying film festival has given him a unique perspective on what it actually takes for filmmakers to find their way to an Oscar nomination. Full Bio »
It’s the dream of almost every filmmaker to one day get nominated for and win an Academy Award. It’s the gold standard that everyone strives for—from burgeoning film students to Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet this goal can also feel utterly unattainable. It’s The Oscars after all. Awards go to Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese, not to me. Believe it or not, you absolutely have a path to the Oscars. It’s more possible than you think, and countless talented independent filmmakers find their way through the nomination process without big money, without big celebrities, and without big studio backing, but instead with just a really fantastic project. Don’t throw that dream away. There’s a road to the Oscars that you can take.
Finding your way into the Oscars Ceremony is possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or just happens organically. The Academy Awards are a competition, and like any competition, they come with rules and regulations, procedures, and strategies to win. If you want to one day see Oscar gold, you need to make a fantastic film, but you also have to understand the ins and outs of the awards, the politics that surround it, and where you can best fit in. Let’s explore.
Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and has helped multiple filmmakers through the Oscar qualification process, including the short film SKIN which won the Academy Award after premiering and qualifying at his festival. Daniel was formerly a theatrical sales executive before he founded HollyShorts as a response to seeing that young filmmakers had little access to industry professionals and few options for screening their films. Now in its 17th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival. Daniel is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX. Daniel’s long experience at the helm of an Academy-qualifying film festival has given him a unique perspective on what it actually takes for filmmakers to find their way to an Oscar nomination.
Exclusively for Stage 32, Daniel is going to break down exactly what it takes to qualify your film for an Academy Award and the steps you can take to score a nomination or even become an Oscar winner. He’ll lay out how the Academy nomination process works and will dive into current trends, explaining what sort of themes and genres are more likely to ultimately get nominated. He will then break down the qualification process and the different ways you can get your own project qualified, including through qualifying festivals and other avenues. Daniel will finally talk about steps you can take and what to expect after your film is qualified, including strategies to better your chances of hopefully getting nominated.
Becoming an Oscar-nominated filmmaker is not as out of reach as you may think, and Daniel will break down what you can do to better make this dream a reality.
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We're excited to take a peak behind the curtain into the mind of a film festival director to talk about what they look for when programming a festival. We've brought in the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, Daniel Sol, to go over the everything you need to know when you are considering submitting your short film to a festival.
Every filmmaker wants to tell a story that matters. But, how do you do that when you don’t have the full story? This is the root of every documentary filmmaker’s mission and it’s not a skill that comes easily. Learn how to find your story, adapt to its needs, and tell it in a way that touches viewers. Do you have a real-life world or story that you’re dying to tell? Do you know how to get the sources you need to tell that story? Do you have the skills to adapt when the truth changes before your eyes? Have you ever shaped a story without a script, knowing that a misstep could cost you your message and audience? Every documentary filmmaker faces these challenges while shaping a story with a script. In this Stage 32 exclusive webinar, you’ll learn from an expert documentary producer who made a career of bringing to light stories that few people know. Your host, Ilan Arboleda, is the Co-Founder and Co-President of CreativeChaos vmg, a full-service finance and production company where he serves as a producer on all company projects. Ilan and CreativeChaos are currently producing the four-part series surrounding the murder of “God’s Banker” Robert Calvi and its relationship to the Vatican, Italian culture and politics, and global money laundering. Their other credits include THE GREAT DIVIDE, THIS IS PLANET Z, KING OF COOL (TCM), THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (Starz, Netflix), BLEED OUT (HBO), LOS TIGRES DEL BORTE AT FOLSOM PRISON (Netflix), THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE (Hulu), and CASTING BY (HBO). Ilan’s films have nabbed two honorary Oscars, an honorary Emmy, an Emmy nomination, a Latin Grammy win, National Board of Review awards, two Critics Choice Awards, three LA Press Club awards, and two Gracie Awards. Most importantly, his films have inspired industry change, policy overhaul, and legislation at the state and national levels. In 2019, he co-wrote legislation with Congressman Seth Moulton that became part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Using his years of experience as your guide, Ilan shows you how to: Establish your story before you start filming Build your network Define your style and what you need to achieve it Identify the main players in your story Create a framework while you’re shooting Manage production Create a post-production workflow And more Ilan and his proven experience are just what you need if you’re looking to produce a story that makes a lasting impact on viewers. PRAISE FOR ILAN'S TEACHINGS: "Such a wide array of USEFUL information in such a short period of time...it's really just incredible. I'm not a big compliment-giver but this guy has such a high level of relevant understanding and the ability to frame it in a way that is so approachable, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful to have been here.I've spent HOURS (WEEKS/MONTHS) reading books on docs...and between this webinar and Ilan's budget webinar, I've learned more practical, applicable material than all of them...BY FAR." -Robert C.
Director of Script Services Jason Mirch dissects scenes from some of our favorite films and TV series including Bad Times at the El Royal, "Game of Thrones", The Sting, The Sixth Sense, and more! During this webcast, Jason discusses how screenwriters craft compelling plot twists and how you can use the principles in your own writing. We will also discuss practical tips and ideas on how you can create a twist that is worthy of a, "Whoa!" instead of a "huh?"
It's no secret that television is a red hot medium right now. Over the last few years, the average number of shows broadcast has been well over 500. With the advent of even more streaming options (HBO Now, Disney+, and more), some experts expect that number to double or even possibly triple over the next 2-4 years. That doesn't even account for the number of television projects that get sold or brought to pilot that never get picked up! In short, the amount of television pitches being greenlit in the room and the amount of television scripts being optioned and sold has never been higher. But, as is the case with just about anything, the bigger the gold rush, the more people seeking the gold. The content is one thing, how you pitch the content to networks, development execs, financiers, producers, managers, agents and other decision makers is quite another. Experienced professionals can spot an amateur pitcher within the first 30 seconds, if not sooner. You have to be able to stand out. And we're here to help you do just that. So, you have a great idea for a show, now what? How do you get it to the right people? What to do/how to present it to them? What most people don’t understand, is that once they’re in the door they need to think about the other side of the table. Who they’re pitching to, how many pitches that person reads/hears and how best to position themselves to stand out. Busy producers and executives get pitched all the time - honestly...All. Day. Long. Whether oral, written or Skype, you basically have 30 seconds or the first paragraph to keep them interested. And for both, the format matters! Don’t let your great idea fall on deaf ears or eyes! If you’re a writer or someone who works with writers, you need to know how to orchestrate a good pitch. Bret Slater has worked as a producer on such acclaimed shows as the multi Emmy nominated Boardwalk Empire and Ballers for HBO. Bret has worked alongside such talent as Steve Buscemi, Mark Whalberg, Russel Crowe, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Steven Levinson (Entourage), Catherine Zeta Jones, Ryan Phillippe and many more. Bret has been reading and listening to television pitches all day and just about every day since he broke into the business over a decade ago. He's seen every style, heard every idea, and knows as well as anyone what makes a television pitch a winner. Bret will teach you the entire landscape regarding pitching a television pilot or idea. In what is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the pitching process, Bret will take you inside the mind of the pitchee, the person hearing the pitch. What are they looking for in the first 30 seconds? What are you portraying when you walk in the room? What details matter and which make the person you are pitching to zone out? How do you craft your pitch to producers, managers and agents? He will teach you the 3 basic, yet much overlooked, rules that must be in every pitch along with the #1 rule on how to deliver your pitch. Bret will break down written, oral and online/Skype pitches and the do's and don'ts for each. He will teach you how to open, and more importantly, close your pitch so that you leave the person or people you are pitching to wanting more. Bret will even show you the proper etiquette for following up after a pitch. Bret will provide all the tools that will help lift the anxiety and doubt of pitching for television and give you the confidence to deliver your pitch in a mannered, informed and professional way. PRAISE FOR BRET'S TEACHINGS: "Yet another winner from Stage 32." - Patricia C. "So much quality information. There were at least 3 things I was absolutely doing wrong with my approach when pitching. This clarified the mistakes I was making. Thank you, Bret." Marty T. "Having spent nearly 10 years in the feature world, I recently wrote a pilot and quickly realized the landscape is much different. My old tricks for pitching features didn't apply for TV. It's a different animal. Now I'm ready to get back on the attack." Milos S.
How to Keep the Stakes High in Your Script 4 part class taught by Nate Matteson, literary manager named one of “Hollywood's New Leaders” by Variety Magazine. No matter if you write comedy, drama, horror or sci fi, every page has to count. It's easy for an executive to get distracted or lose focus if a script doesn't have high enough stakes for the protagonist, and/or the antagonist and secondary characters. One of the biggest reasons for passing we hear from executives are lack of clear or tangible stakes. Learn what it takes to keep the stakes high and keep the executive reading! Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class:How to Keep the Stakes High in Your Script - Keeping An Executive and Audience Engaged taught by Nate Matteson, literary manager at Gotham Group. Learn straight from the source on what he teaches his clients to keep them working! Purchasing gives you access to the previously recorded live class.Although Nate is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
People often say the most important thing when writing is just to write something that's good, but it needs to be more than good; it needs to be producible. Meaning if a producer reads your script and likes it, they also need to feel comfortable that they can help you make your movie for a budget that's smaller than THE AVENGERS. Writers don't always realize that what they write on the page directly translates to how much money it will cost and how long it will take to shoot. Things like locations, genre, number of scenes and number of characters can absolutely make or break whether your movie can get produced and whether you can get the partner you're looking for to sign on. It's important for writers to understand how producers think when reading scripts and how you can adjust your own script without sacrificing your voice or quality to make the project more achievable to actually put together. 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 demonstrate to you how to craft your ideal script to overcome the hurdles of budget and schedule and to attract the eye of producers. Shane will discuss how writers, producers, actors, and execs will read your script, the biggest red flags producers will look for when reading a script, and what aspects of a script will cost the most money in production particularly in regards to genre. He will also touch on how to strategically write for locations and how to maximize the space you have to help producers and how to know how long it will take to make your script and provide quality advice on how to adjust it to better fit your schedule. Shane will even offer a valuable case study where he will break down the pages of his own script and demonstrate how he would view it as a producer and where concerns and warning signs might be. 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.