Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast.She is an award-winning director, writer, and producer with a strong focus in the horror and science fiction genres and has a doctorate in Media Studies focused on the Horror Genre from Virginia Commonwealth University, an MA in Film Studies from City University of New York, and a second MA from Virginia Tech in Arts Education. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
The world of independent horror is like no other arena in the film industry. The appetite for new horror films is strong, consistent, and seemingly endless, as always-hungry audiences continue to seek out new titles. As a result, hundreds of horror films are made each year and the market itself is incredibly profitable. Yet in such a saturated market and with such a volume of horror films being released, it can be very hard to stand out. After all, out of hundreds of horror films, there are always only a couple BABADOOKs or GREEN ROOMs that have real staying power. A lot of people are able to work in the horror space, but staying in and thriving can be a lot more difficult. The challenge lies in figuring out what you can do to make your project and your work stand out.
The independent horror film industry can be a difficult world to navigate, fraught with unique challenges and hurdles. Rules and trends that apply to the film industry on a larger scale can often differ when zoomed into just horror. It’s important, then, for filmmakers interested in the independent horror space to understand this market specifically and better operate within it. How do you get meetings, get your work read, create a name for yourself, and get attention? How can you create projects and own your craft to continue to work within the constantly changing space of horror cinema? The horror world does have plenty of obstacles, but there are many steps you can take at any level of your career to get ahead of the curve.
Rebekah McKendry was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse Productions as well as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She is also currently a co-host of Blumhouse’s award-winning Shock Waves Podcast (along with Ryan Turek, Blumhouse's VP of Development) and host of Fangoria’s Nightmare University Podcast. Rebekah now serves as a professor in the renowned University of Southern California’s Cinematic Arts Department, specializing in directing and the horror genre. There are few people in the world who understand the world of horror filmmaking better than Rebekah, and she’s excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Rebekah will explore how to understand trends and tastes in horror, changes in distribution models and budgets, and how you can prepare for a long career. She will begin with a brief history of independent horror cinema, focusing on how horror tastes have evolved, how the genre has developed, what sort of trends have been created, how distribution models have changed, and social issues and problems that have come along with it. She’ll then delve into the current horror film market. She’ll outline the key players who are producing notable horror films and discuss the successful budget ranges that we are seeing right now. Rebekah will go over the production models that are being used in the horror space, including the conventional “studio” model, as well as the Blumhouse model. Next she’ll get into the microbudget film, what that looks like and what you have to maintain for it to work. Rebekah will then talk about distribution and how to navigate this part of the industry. She’ll teach you about the contemporary trends in horror films, outlining what’s popular and why, and what might be coming in the future. She’ll discuss the specific need and push for diverse voices within this genre and speak to the opportunity for social awareness in these films. Next Rebekah will teach you how to thrive in the horror industry as a filmmaker. She’ll go over how to craft a project, how to generate hype and get exposure for it, how to navigate conventions and festivals and what you can do to help get your script read. You will leave this webinar with a firm handle on this unique and tricky subsection of the film industry.
Praise for Rebekah's Stage 32 Webinar
"This was awesome! Succinct but full of up-to-date information and very motivating. I love that she harped on "just make something!" So positive and supportive and I learned a lot!"
"This was amazing! I was hesitant about spending $50 on this but it was worth every penny!"
"I thought Rebekah had by FAR the best webinar I have seen yet. She has such passion and coveys it- and she obviously has been in the industry and around it in so many ways her whole career - fantastic!"
"This is exactly what I needed to see and hear, and Rebekah provided so much good information that I can apply to my projects."
Rebekah McKendry, PhD
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
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Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
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A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
You have an idea for a screenplay. Something burning inside of you to get on the page. Or perhaps you have a screenplay (or 20) sitting in your desk draw in need of a home. Of course you know to make sure that material is primed, ready, and locked and loaded to give yourself the best chance of being read from FADE IN to FADE OUT. But you also need to make sure it's market ready. And further still, you'll want to identify where the best home is for this material and how to pitch them in a manner in which gives you the best shot to be optioned or sold. Most writers understand that taking your idea from a good concept to an excellent screenplay takes many rewrites and much polishing. In today's ultra-competitive landscape, it's more important than ever to fully flesh out your characters, locales, and plot. But thinking about the business side of things as it relates to your screenplay - understanding budget constraints, for example - is something that can give you power in a room. But first you need to get in that room. And to do that, you need to identify the proper (and realistic) homes for your material and understand what they are looking for. Further, you'll need to craft an effective pitch which may just change from one production company (or producer, financier or rep) to another. Rachel Crouch is the Director of Development for Cold Iron Pictures, Miranda Bailey's financing and production company. She's worked on films such as Sundance's Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, the Independent Spirt Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice starring Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs, Norma staring Richard Gere and Steve Buscemi and many more. Prior to Cold Iron Pictures she worked as a producer's assistant raising film financing and helping bring films into production. Rachel will take her experience on over a dozen films and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what production companies look for when considering material. Rachel will teach you how to develop your idea from a good concept to a strong story that will grab the attention of financiers and production companies. She'll help you break down your story to figure out your project's main audience and lead you through the tropes you'll want to exploit in order to leave that audience satisfied. You'll find out how to determine your story's budget range and see how letting go of those HBO dreams might help you find a better home for your project. She'll teach you how to hone your pitch including information you must include when pitching production companies. She'll even discuss rejection and finding the power within so that your next pitch is even better and more productive than the last. In short, Rachel will put you in a position to get the read, get in the room, and get the sale or job! "I appreciate Rachel's openness and willingness to share her knowledge and experience with us." - Susan S. "Very practical advice that I can apply right away." - Brian G. "I thought it was very professional and informative." - Chris R.
We’ve brought in the CEO of Bondit Media Captial, Matthew Helderman, one of the leaders in film financing today with over 200 financed films over the last couple of years. He will be sharing the basics of film finance all the way through high level packaging tips, plus going over case studies on projects he’s financed and best practices to learn. As today’s film financing structures continue to be a labyrinth-like maze of confusion for most producers, this webinar will help break down that barrier through understanding how best to put a film together you can avoid pitfalls that plague the financing process.
With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences. Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre" for 2018 and beyond. If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to learn about the current marketplace for romantic comedies.
International co-productions, or “co-pros,” can be the perfect tool for bringing dream projects to life. But these ventures come with their own unique rules and requirements, which not everyone has experience with. In this webinar, attorneys Lorraine D’Alessio and Liz Profumo will deconstruct the co-pro process, sharing practical tips for launching a successful cross-border production. Participants will learn about key steps such as finding business partners, capitalizing on tax incentives, protecting creative rights, and securing work visas for foreign staff. The webinar will also explore the impact of current U.S. policies surrounding trade and immigration. Lorraine has practiced law since 2010, with a particular focus in entertainment immigration. She is the Founding Partner and CEO of D’Alessio Law Group, a global firm which has helped thousands of artists and entertainment professionals to launch careers in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Born in Canada, Lorraine was a successful Ford model before turning her focus to law. Her entertainment background, as well her personal experience with immigration, allows her to deeply understand the legal and logistical needs of global artists. She is excited to partner with the Stage 32 community and help support its members in achieving their goals.
The entertainment industry is constantly evolving and changing, and given the state of the business and external factors that have impacted the ecosystem, that statement is more true than ever. So how do we continue to package and sell projects in the time of quarantine (and beyond)? Despite what some may thing, studio and development executives are reading material and distributors are watching films to possibly acquire during this time as they are not inundated with meetings in their office. Now is the time to take advantage of these open and willing eyes to push your projects and connect with industry executives to package and sell your projects from the development stage to distribution. When packaging, producers, filmmakers and financiers often desire to immediately approach A-list names and talent to better sell their projects. But it's difficult to get the attention of most A-list talent when there are no other significant attachments and/or financing. But that doesn't mean all is lost. Quite the contrary. There are other paths to explore including who else you can approach for attachments and/or financing to bring value to assure you have the most sellable and attractive package possible. 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. Since 2018 alone, Tiffany has optimized clients’ financial and business positions in more than 35 films and documentaries. 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, recently, 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
Having a known or in-demand actor in your independent film can make all the difference in whether it succeeds or not. A name actor gives your film a sense of legitimacy, which attracts new investors and more interested distributors. It also gives your film more opportunities for press and buzz, and will convince more people to watch it once it is released. That famous actor is very likely what you need to clinch your film, actually get it made, and have it ultimately find an audience and a home. But there’s a big, glaring problem with this truth: You need a name actor to get funding, but you need that funding in order to get the name actor. It ends up being a vicious circle, a catch-22 that can come across as frustratingly insurmountable, a barrier for entry that no independent filmmaker can get beyond. Let’s not mince words. Landing high level talent for your film is HARD, especially if your funding hinges on that actor saying yes. But at the same time, this isn’t the unsolvable puzzle it may at first seem. It comes down to finding the right investors and giving them what they need to say yes. This means pulling out all of the stops, preparing correctly, and doing the hard work. You’ll never be the only filmmaker going after top level talent, but you might be one of the few who’s able to do it the right way. First, it’s vital to understand what the “right way” actually is and what you need to know to do this right. Acquiring a talent is always going to be a hustle, but knowing what it takes and how to navigate this world can give you a serious edge. Independent feature film producer Franco Sama has produced an impressive array of over twenty independent feature films including cult favorite GUNS, GIRLS AND GAMBLING starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook, which was released theatrically acquired by Universal Pictures. Other films Franco has produced include; BLACK LIMOUSINE starring David Arquette, Vivica A. Fox and Bijou Phillips, TOOTH AND NAIL starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, THE PENITENT MAN, starring Lance Henriksen and Andrew Keegan and PAID, starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti. Franco’s company Samaco Films continues to fund and develop independent films from burgeoning filmmakers. After nearly two decades of experience in film finance, distribution and packaging, Franco has come to understand how to crack the code and attract top level talent to independent films. He’s ready to share what he’s learned exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Franco will go in-depth on how exactly an independent filmmaker can find both cast and funding for their project. He will begin by explaining what budget range you should be aiming for to allow you to acquire the talent you’re looking for. He’ll then teach you the steps you must take before reaching out to either talent or investors. He will explain how to tap into an investor’s mindset and use it to your advantage, including why it might be easier for you to raise $5 million than $500,000, and how you should frame your project as an opportunity for investors. He’ll explain what development funding is, how it works, and why it’s now necessary in today’s landscape. Next, he will delve into how you should be building a strong team for your project before you start approaching talent. He’ll lay out the seven critical people you will need to bring on from the beginning, why you need an executive producer, how to choose the “right” director and casting director, and whether you can attract major talent as a first time director. Franco will explain the importance of acquiring international sales estimates and will lay out what your presentation deck to investors should look like to find funding and gain the cast you’re looking for. He will also talk about how pre-sales work and how many you need to be seen as successful. He’ll then start talking about the actual casting process, including how to create a realistic actor’s wish list, deciding between “A-List” and “B-List” actors and whether or not they pass Franco’s “Parentheses Test”. He’ll explain casting with an eye towards sales and then explain the difference between letters of intent, letters of commitment, and phone verification when going after talent. He’ll also break down contingency investments and how to know when to employ deferment and back-end offers with actors. Franco will explain how to make legitimate offers to actors and agents and how to ensure they’re never empty offers. He’ll go into how “pay or play” works in this world and why going out too early to actors can destroy your casting choices. Finally Franco will explain how you can use tax incentives to help with casting. Expect to leave with a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the steps you need to take to bring on your dream actor. Praise for Franco's Stage 32 Webinar "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. “Head & shoulders above the usual webinars on film distribution and finance. Franco actually knows his stuff and has a track record to back it up. Really good presentation.” – Scott B. This was incredibly illuminating and really entertaining at the same time. I'm so glad I watched this" -Glenda T. Wow. I cannot believe how much I learned from this webinar. Franco is the best. -Terrence R.