The Tools You Need to Transition to a Creative Career at Any Age

Hosted by Frank Stiefel

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Frank Stiefel

Webinar hosted by: Frank Stiefel

Oscar Winning Filmmaker

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 »

Webinar Summary

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.

 

"I think I'm proof that it's possible for someone to find success in the entertainment industry at any point in their life and from any background, though it does take a little savvy and a whole lot of work. My hope is that you'll be able to use my story to help you out on your own transition."

-Frank Stiefel

What You'll Learn

  • A Short History of Frank
    • How Frank began in Hollywood at 63 and won on Oscar at 70
  • Short Film Case Study: INGELORE
    • Doing your research and taking notes
    • How to film on the cheap, including resources
    • Forming “the band” – the tribe you need to break in
    • Tips for running your project
  • How to Know You’re Ready to Transition to a New Creative Career
    • Questions to ask yourself before making the change
    • How to form your plan (and then how to ditch it)
    • How can you afford the transition?
    • Advice to take the leap
    • The most important thing to know if you take the leap
  • The Oscar Winning Film: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
    • How the film came to be
    • How to begin without a plan
    • How to transition to a plan
    • How to use your personal background to inform your film
    • How to take criticism
  • Festival Run
    • How to plan your short film run
    • Doing it the 'wrong way'
    • After you win an Academy Award-what comes next?
  • How Age and Experience Works In Your Favor
  • Q&A with Frank

About Your Instructor

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.

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