Frank Stiefel began making films at age 63 and then won an Academy Award at age 70. Formerly a TV commercial executive in New York, Frank decided later in life to pursue filmmaking. His directorial debut, the documentary short INGELORE about mother, a deaf Holocaust survivor, played in festivals around the country and was later broadcast on HBO. In 2012, Frank began shooting the artist Mindy Alper as she completed an epic sculpture of her psychiatrist. This turned into his film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405, which went on to win the Jury and Audience prizes at the Austin Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It was a nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject film at the International Documentary Association and earned Frank the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Frank has found incredible success transitioning to a creative career later in life and is excited to reveal what he’s learned on his journey exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »
For as much information and exposure that is out there about the entertainment industry and how it works, it can still feel like a jungle. The politics are difficult to track, the gatekeepers are difficult to access, and there’s no clear blueprint for how to “make it”. Hollywood is overwhelming for everyone trying to break in. It’s hard to know where to start, how to make inroads, or how to build a reputation or career—these are universal. Yet for those trying to transition to a creative career from a different industry or later in life, these challenges can feel even steeper.
It’s not uncommon to view Hollywood as a young person’s game. After all, many people who find a foothold in the industry only do so after putting in a lot of work as an underpaid assistant or PA, a trajectory that might be possible for people in their 20s but is a lot less feasible when you’re older. It can feel like there’s an expiration date for when you’re “allowed” to break into the entertainment industry, and at some point, the doors simply close. This doesn’t need to be the case, though, and there are many examples of people finding success later in life or after transitioning from a different industry altogether. In fact, there are big advantages to taking this step at this point in your life and upper hands that Hollywood lifers will never experience. Nonetheless, transitioning to a creative career later in life is not easy and presents unique challenges. But with a strong lay of the land and the proper tools under your belt, it’s a journey that is absolutely achievable.
Frank Stiefel began making films at age 63 and then won an Academy Award at age 70. Formerly a TV commercial executive in New York, Frank decided later in life to pursue filmmaking. His directorial debut, the documentary short INGELORE about mother, a deaf Holocaust survivor, played in festivals around the country and was later broadcast on HBO. In 2012, Frank began shooting the artist Mindy Alper as she completed an epic sculpture of her psychiatrist. This turned into his film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405, which went on to win the Jury and Audience prizes at the Austin Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It was a nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject film at the International Documentary Association and earned Frank the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. Frank has found incredible success transitioning to a creative career later in life and is excited to reveal what he’s learned on his journey exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Using his own story and path to success, Frank will discuss how he made the jump to filmmaking later in life, what he learned along the journey, and what lessons you can take along with you as you make your own transition. After giving a short history of his own career, Frank will use his first short film INGELORE as a case study to explain how to do research and take notes in the trenches. He’ll give you ideas of how to make something of your own on the cheap and resources you can draw from. He’ll explain how to form your own “band”, and find the tribe you need to break in, and will offer tips on how to run your project. Frank will then focus on preparing to make the transition to a new creative career. He’ll go over questions you should ask yourself before making the switch and how to form your plan. He will talk about how to better afford the transition and other pieces of advice you should consider before making the leap. He’ll also explain the most important thing he learned while making the transition. Next, Frank will focus on his Oscar-winning film HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 and how it came to be. He’ll explain how it began without a plan and how it later transitioned to a plan. He’ll also use HEAVEN as an example to demonstrate how you can use your unique personal background to inform your project, as well as how to take criticism along the way. Frank will also discuss what he’s learned from his multiple festival runs and how he’s used it to win an Oscar, and what comes next after winning. Finally, Frank will break down how to make your own age and experience work in your favor while breaking in. Finding success in Hollywood is difficult, but Frank has done so by carving his own path. He will give you perspective, inspiration, and strategies so that you can do the same.
Praise for Frank's Stage 32 Webinar
"Extremely inspirational. Great words of wisdom for mature people who want to break into the business."
"It was awesome and encouraging to have Frank Stiefel talk to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s that its never too late. Thank you Stage 32 for bringing this programming."
"I thought the candor with which Frank spoke was amazing."
"Perfect seminar. I shy away from signing up for these when it's someone who is just 'in the biz.' Frank had a very real take on how to be successful in the industry and I appreciated that. Dedicated filmmaker with years of experience in other aspects of art and storytelling. It made for a very engaging and emotional webinar."
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.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
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.
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 audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
Comes with invaluable handouts and downloads including example pitch documents, structure diagrams, and up-to-date information on production companies and studios to reach out to Writers looking to break into the industry often don’t know where to begin. Because of this, they sometimes take the wrong approach when it comes to looking for a job writing for TV or film. With so many fresh shows emerging on television and various streaming networks, more and more writers' rooms are looking to be staffed. Films are also emerging on different platforms, opening up the demand for polished writers to produce solid content for producers and directors. The opportunity to start a career in writing is more attainable than ever, but if an emerging writer attempts to navigate the writing industry without understanding best practices, they may find themselves at a loss, and ultimately give up. This may be where you find yourself. Uncertain and unconnected. The good news is, uncertainty is temporary. With the right strategy and the proper written tools, you’re just a few steps away from finding work writing for television or film. The one thing you’re missing is guidance. Landing a writing job takes more than just passing along great writing samples. It also requires strong communication skills, a hunger to succeed, and a willingness to do the work. It's absolutely within your grasp to accomplish all of these skills and more and set yourself up for a rewarding and long-lasting career writing for film and TV. Literary manager Spencer Robinson can help you get there. Spencer is literary manager at respected management company Art/Work Entertainment who has been selling and staffing his clients on the industry's leading series for years, including shows on Amazon, HBO Max and Jason Bateman's production company Aggregate just this year. He's also had clients work for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, and TBS, to name a few. Spencer is one of the most sought-after literary managers in the business for nearly two decades and is one of Stage 32's most popular and in-demand educators. In this 4-week intensive class, Spencer will go in-depth on the steps you should be taking to find work as a writer in film or TV. Whether you're interested in selling your own TV show or film, or if you want to join a writers' room, there are specific steps you need to be taking aside from simply writing well, and Spencer will break it all down for you. Spencer will provide you with the proper approach when it comes to talking with reps, managers, agents, attorneys, showrunners and execs. What’s more, he’ll share his powerful pitching knowledge for writers looking to sell their show idea or screenplay. You’ll leave this four week class understanding what it takes to write on assignment, what kinds of written tools you should have prepared prior to meetings, and the general etiquette you should come to the table with so you can land a job as a writer in the industry. Plus! Along the way Spencer will provide exclusive and helpful downloads and resources you can take back to your own projects including: The real STRANGER THINGS pitch deck The real ADVENTURE TIME pitch deck Story Structure Diagrams Sitcom Chart 2021 Facts on Pacts TV 2021 Facts on Pacts Film WHAT TO EXPECT **Spencer will be available on email during the 4 class sessions to answer any questions you have about your project.** This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. This class will consist of four sessions, each roughly two hours in duration. In addition to the presentation-style lessons where Spencer will be walking you through various elements of building your career as a writer, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session. Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the process. To see the full screenwriting class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at email@example.com for more information. Praise for Spencer's Previous Stage 32 Classes "Spencer was amazing!" - Summer K. "I had a great time learning and progressing my knowledge of the craft of writing and working directly with a mentor who is a professional in the industry. Spencer was fantastic to be taught by! Thank you!" - Natalie A. "Spencer's teaching style is the best! His patience and easygoing approach is ideal and unique to him. Kudos to Stage 32 and to Spencer!" - Armando O.
For the last 5 years, audiobooks have outpaced print media in sales. As traditional publishing becomes harder to crack, and less lucrative for that matter, more and more writers are turning to audiobooks to get their work out to as big an audience as possible. Audible alone has over 250,000 titles and that number is expected to rise tremendously over the next few years. And the number of people downloading audiobooks continues to soar. Of course, with rising demand comes a rising need. And the biggest need in the audiobook space at the moment is for distinctive, engaging and professional voice actors and narrators. Audiobook narration has become a goldmine for many. If you have worked as an actor, done voice over work, been told you have a great voice or believe you have a fantastic one yourself, you owe it to yourself to learn about the space. This is a job where you can often apply by home or simply by submitting a homemade demo. In fact, in many cases, you can narrate the book from home by setting up an inexpensive, yet professional sounding home studio. In fact, getting yourself set up and ready to audition is much simpler than you think. James Patrick Cronin and Julie McKay have narrated more than 300 audiobooks in the space of just over 4 years. They have worked together and individually with most of the major publishers in the field, in addition to having collaborated with numerous independent publishers and authors. Their work spans a wide array of genres, from Children’s Lit to Sci-Fi, Memoir to Historical Non-Fiction, and they have voiced numerous New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling authors and one National Book Award finalist. James and Julie will give you the blueprint and the building blocks toward making money narrating audiobooks. They will teach you how to set up an affordable home studio, discussing in detail what you truly need and what can be left out of the shopping cart. They will dive into performance, the narrator's prerogative, how to maintain vocal health, and how to fully prepare so you deliver your best performance. You will learn how to set your rate (and not undersell yourself), explain time management and give you clear instructions on how to act as your own agent. Most importantly, they will teach you how to find available jobs and put yourself in a position to get hired again and again. "I found the content, insight and knowledge from this webinar to be absolutely fascinating." - Ebs A. "Great primer toward getting into this particular type of VO work." - J. Nissel "Many thanks to Stage 32 for getting talented working professionals like this to give us insights to their professions." - Shaun S. "Voice over work is something that has always intrigued me. I've always been told I had a voice for this kind of thing. Now I'm ready to take the leap! So easy to understand and apply. Thank you!" Rashida C. "Ordering my equipment and getting started tomorrow!" - Angela R.
During the Write Now Challenge, we turned the spotlight - and the microphones - back over to you during the Write Now Challenge Webcast! Using the "Breakdown Webcast: Writing True Stories" as a guide, your challenge was to find a true story or subject of a biopic that resonates with you! Write a short document that details the subject of the project - whether a historic event, historical figure, or a combination of both - including a "way into the story," principal character(s), basic synopsis, potential themes for exploration, and why it resonates with you as the writer. During the webcast, participants discussed true stories and historical figures that were either well-known or obscure, but all riveting! Participants described accounts from the US Civil War, Korean War, legal battles, pro-wrestling, and many more!
Hey screenwriters and creatives! Mark your calendars and come hang out online with Stage 32 Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch on Tuesday, November 12th at 1pm (Pacific). If you're a screenwriter and looking for support for your writing or your career, this is the online hangout for you! What is a Stage 32 Writer Hangout? This is an online webcast where screenwriters and creatives gather to share what you're working on, things that are inspiring you and give you a forum to ask questions you have about your craft, the business or the industry. For over a decade, your host, Jason Mirch, has worked in nearly every aspect of the business, including representation, development, production, and film finance. He has worked with Academy and Emmy Award winners on studio and independent projects.
Part 2 you're not going to want to miss! Ever wondered what daily life is like for a TV Writer? Looking for ways to manage and maximize your schedule to output great, useful material without losing your mind? Wondering how the hell you’re supposed to write when you’ve got a full-time job? Tune in for this exclusive 2-Part Stage 32 Next Level Webinar taught by TV Writer/Producer Charlie Charbonneau (CW shows: The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and its spin-off The Originals) to hear about life and work of TV writers, on AND off the clock. You'll gain insight that will help you succeed in finding your next assignment and how to excel in the position. In Part 2 the followup to So You Want To Be A TV Writer? An Inside Look - Part 1, Charlie will unpack all the ups, downs, problems, and pleasures that come in the daily life of a working TV writer. Hear insider advice and information about writers room etiquette, climbing the title ladder, taking notes, rolling with the punches when your material doesn’t impress the powers that be, and making sure you get paid. He’ll even discuss the best way to interact with those hot-shot actors in your show. As usual, get ready for some horror stories from the trenches!
In a short period of time, the world of podcasts has exploded and become an industry to be reckoned with. Over 100 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis, and individual shows can have millions of fans. We’re not just talking about nonfiction works like THE DAILY or SERIAL; fiction podcasts are also having a moment as more writers are turning to the audio medium to tell incredible stories. An art form in its own right, podcasts have also become a proving ground for stories to be adapted for television or movies. Shows like HOMECOMING, DIRTY JOHN, and LIMETOWN would never have been greenlit or aired if they didn’t first find success and a fan base in podcast form. Now with many more podcast adaptations like CRIMETOWN, THE BRIGHT SESSIONS and ALICE ISN’T DEAD currently in development, this route is becoming much more common and achievable. Yet before you can score that rich TV deal you first need a podcast HIT, but what does that actually take? Podcasts are easy to make - too easy. That’s partly why there are so many podcasts out there right now. Yet very few of these are actually going to be noticed by executives and transformed into the next big TV series. It turns out to stand out you need more than a great concept and some fancy audio equipment. For a podcast to really pick up steam it needs to be packaged similar to a film or TV series. It usually needs producing partners, it needs banner names and talent, and it needs a distributor or network that is willing to pick it up. So what do you need to do know before you write that first word or produce that first .wav file? How can you put the odds in your favor and still enjoy the ride? Mark Ramsey is the creator, writer, and host of several imaginative, top-ranked podcasts for Wondery including INSIDE STAR WARS, INSIDE PSYCHO, INSIDE THE EXORCIST, and INSIDE JAWS. He wrote and directed POPS! THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF JAZZ LEGEND LOUIS ARMSTRONG starring Reno Wilson (MIKE AND MOLLY, GOOD GIRLS), and THE UNDERCOVERS, hosted by Ed O'Neill (Modern Family). Mark is currently co-producing the upcoming podcast AFTERSHOCK, a full cast fiction audio thriller just acquired by iHeartMedia and starring Sarah Wayne Callies (THE WALKING DEAD, COLONY), David Harbour (STRANGER THINGS), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (THE WALKING DEAD). He is also writing and narrating a podcast adaptation of THE LAST STONE, a true crime story from New York Times best-selling author Mark Bowden (BLACK HAWK DOWN) and is developing a podcast version of William Kotzwinkle’s classic THE FAN MAN, starring David Arquette (SCREAM). Mark's deep experience in the podcast space and the success he has found through his career has given him the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to make a podcast hit, and he's going to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Mark will lay out how to properly develop and package your podcast in order for it to hopefully get picked up by a podcast network and serve as IP for future opportunities. He’ll delve into what the podcast landscape looks like and what it takes for a podcast to become a hit. He’ll share the 4 main ways you can increase your odds for discovery and discuss the need for getting a podcast distributor on board. He’ll also go over how best to bring name actors on board and get them excited on your project. Mark will then teach you how to nail your pitch to networks and podcast distributors, what sort of pitch documents you should prepare and how to communicate your show to get executives on board. Mark will even provide case studies of real pitch documents he’s created for his own shows and go through what about them worked and didn’t. Finally, Mark will discuss the path from hit podcast to IP and what next steps can be. Making a podcast hit means more than a great concept or script. Mark will walk you through what you actually need to do to give your show the platform it needs to find success.