Zahida works as Director of Operations with independent film distributor, Gravitas Ventures, working with Karia Brown and Mark Lyons to help deliver Gravitas films to a variety of internet and cable platforms. Zahida’s passion for all things film-related also led her to various roles at Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox before joining the Gravitas team in the fall of 2014. Zahida helps guide indie filmmakers through the delivery process and helps to ensure the release of these movies on the ever-growing VOD space. She loves meeting new filmmakers and helping them through the final step in the movie making process. She continues to produce short films, watch copious amounts of movies, and expand her knowledge of independent distribution. An LA native, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Film from UCLA and has since worked behind the scenes on various shorts, indie features and a web series. Full Bio »
What a great time it is to be a filmmaker, producer or financier. Distribution channels have never been more plentiful or more wide open. That means more options for you to maintain a fuller degree of control for your content. And that's never a bad thing. But it also means that there are more ways to get your film or project out into the world and, most importantly, more revenue opportunities toward securing profitability. And one of the most popular and lucrative choices in today's market is Video on Demand (VOD).
To take advantage of all of these opportunities, you need to not only know where to look, what platforms are best suited for your material, and how to engage with the proper people to get a deal done, but you also must know how to deliver your film.
Zahida Kazar is the Director of Operations for popular independent film distributor, Gravitas Ventures. She works directly with top executives Karia Brown and Mark Lyons to help deliver Gravitas films to a variety of internet and cable platforms. Zahida’s passion for all things film-related also led her to various roles at Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox before joining the Gravitas team in the fall of 2014. Zahida helps guide indie filmmakers through the delivery process and helps to ensure the release of these movies on the ever-growing VOD space. She loves meeting new filmmakers and helping them through the final step in the movie making process.
Zahida will teach you how to understand and navigate the VOD space. She will discuss various rental and VOD platforms including Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and Hulu and teach you what these platforms and distribution companies are looking for. She will also dive into deliverables expectations inclding encoding, your key art, metadata, the importance of your synopsis, and your legal deliverables (so very important). From there, Zahida will help you understand how to prep your film for release including your social media and PR campaigns. And she will prepare you for what to expect after your film is released including key things to keep in mind to help assure that your project has legs in the marketplace. All this and much, much more, including an in depth Q&A session with Zahida.
"Distribution is a subject that gives me so much anxiety. Zahida took all of it away with her clear explanation of the process."
- Martina L.
"Grabbing a beer...Watching again."
- Henderson D.
"Comprehensive and first rate."
- Samuel F.
"Excellent. More like this please."
Plus, a live and interactive Q&A with Zahida!
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!
You may be surprised by JUST how many successful filmmakers today began their career by writing short films. Everyone from Christopher Nolan to Ryan Coogler to Chloe Zhao to Justin Lin have short film writing credits to their name and used those projects to springboard their career. This is how new and untested creatives can prove their mettle, get their name out there and actually get their foot in the door. And you can do this as well. Whether you’re building up your filmmaking career, itching to write the next festival darling or award-worthy short film, or just love the short form format, you too, can master the art of short film writing. There are many reasons and inspirations for writing a short, but shorter doesn’t mean easier to write. One of the great challenges is that many people go into writing a short with the mindset of creating a proof of concept for a feature. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, this mindset tends to encourage a few logical fallacies, and in a strange way actually devalues the work. Short films require a fine balance of elegance and story economy. They require an innovative storytelling technique that usually takes years of practice and feedback to master. With the right guidance though, you’ll be able to master this in no time. Clay Liford is an award-winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose many shorts include the Sundance hit MY MOM SMOKES WEED. His projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of writing and making both feature length and short films. He is also a film production instructor at the University of Texas, who has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Clay will take you through his proven and effective approach to writing an effective short films that get you noticed and advance your career. He’ll go over the REAL differences between shorts and features, what every short film needs to succeed, how to think like a director (even if you’re not one), and how to maximize your festival strategy. Most importantly, he’s going to introduce you to the concept of Iconography. You’ll have the opportunity to ask him questions, and by the end of this webinar, you’ll fall in love with this format and walk away with a new perspective and appreciation for the short film format. Clay's guidance will give you confidence to develop your short film and help you succeed in the short film market. PLUS! Clay provides you with the following handouts: Overview of How to Write a Short Film - Things to Consider & What to Watch Out For Story Structure Diagram Breakdown of Film Roles on a Set Elements of a Lookbook Duties of a Director Suggested Reading List Testimonials for Clay's Webinar: "Clay had great energy and pace. He was able to explain things in different ways and with excellent examples." -Magi A. "Clay didn't sugar coat anything - keeping the short within a tight budget and length is smart strategy & practical. I appreciated his honesty." - Shaan D.
We all know that America is bursting with talented filmmakers. Are you an independent filmmaker, cinema or digital media student, D-I-Y filmmaker or videographer? Do you have great ideas, a few skills and few filmmaking friends? Maybe you can shoot a short movie, but can you finance one, find an audience to watch it, or promote and sell it? Raindance Film Festival Founder and social media maverick Elliot Grove comes to New York to bring a fresh look at breaking into the film industry to get your movie made and seen by others. Elliot has produced over 700 short films, 6 features and trained thousands of new and emerging filmmakers around the world. Discover how to use the Raindance method and social media to build audiences, source financing and screen films. CHARGE YOUR SMARTPHONES! Join @stage32 and @RaindanceNYC and #IndieFilmNYC for this information-packed one-day seminar. DOORS OPEN at 9:15 am.
As filmmakers, having your film stand out amidst the throng of weekly releases is no easy task. Oftentimes, you find yourself competing against studio releases and the multitude of small-to-mid-level distributors dropping a plethora of titles. This creates an influx of news that can make it feel impossible for an indie film to be noticed. Since a film’s success hinges so vitally upon a good marketing campaign, there has to be a plan from day one. In order to stand out, there are three things that you need to think about from the very beginning of your project: the assets you can create, the timeline of how you unroll those assets, and how to keep the publicity train chugging along up to and well after your film’s release. Writers and editors of genre and horror websites receive anywhere between 100-400 emails a day. A lot of messages that hit their inbox are automatically deleted because they look like every other press release that they simply don’t care about, don’t have the time for, or they know that their audiences aren’t going to be interested in. Yet with proper planning, you can figure out how to offer websites content on your film that they will be eager to write about, as well as create a lasting relationship for future projects from then on forward. Jonathan Barkan served as the Editor-in-Chief of Dread Central, one of the internet’s leading horror websites, where he spotlighted and championed countless independent horror films. He also served as acquisitions ambassador for DREAD Presents, a genre-centric distribution label under the banner of Epic Pictures Group. Before Dread Central, Jonathan served as the Managing Editor of Bloody Disgusting, another leading horror website. More recently, Jonathan joined forces with Epic Pictures’ Shaked Berenson to form the Horror Collective, where he serves as Vice President of Acquisitions and Distribution and finds and acquires genre titles for North American distribution as well as foreign sales. An internet personality, he has appeared on multiple podcasts and news segments to discuss the social and cultural significance of horror and his writing has been featured on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, WatchMojo, Atom Tickets, Phantastiqa, ComingSoon.Net, and Shudder’s weekly newsletter The Bite. Through his extensive background, Jonathan has become a bona fide expert on the horror film industry and how independent genre filmmakers find success. Jonathan will teach you how to operate the horror and genre website landscape in order to get your genre film featured and form relationships critical to the marketing and ultimate success of your project. First, Jonathan will walk you through the assets you need to have leading up to your marketing campaign. He’ll show you what content you can create cheaply and efficiently during all stages of production, how to make it look good, how to think outside the box, and what the dreaded “curse of knowledge” is. Next Jonathan will explain how to unroll these assets, including working with your distributor (or yourself) to create a marketing plan, what to unveil and when, who to offer exclusives to, and how to get your cast and crew involved. He will give you tips of what to consider when submitting to film festivals, what to use to promote your premieres when you get accepted and what to hold onto, and how to use festivals as further promotion of your film. Then Jonathan will delve into how to get onto major outlets. He will teach you how to find contact information for writers, how to write emails for the greatest chance of success, and how to maintain a relationship that you can always rely upon. Finally, he will walk you through what to do after your movie has been released. He’ll teach you how to keep interest high moving forward and how you can keep on unveiling content. Standing out and getting your film noticed is always hard, especially in the world of horror, but Jonathan will give you practical and actionable tools to find success and your project the attention it needs. Praise for Jonathan's Stage 32 Webinar "Really valuable and interesting content and told very clearly, concisely and just very open and down to earth, really enjoyed this webinar 5 stars!" -Jaye A. "Excellent and thorough presentation." -Christopher B. "Great host, very insightful webinar." -Matt D. "The webinar and host were both great - lots of useful info" -Matthew L.
Faith based and faith friendly films have been a steady, popular, and profitable industry and one of the hottest genres for success. It could be considered a niche audience, but it’s a powerful and dependable niche audience that has helped catapult films and filmmakers to success. Recent films like I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, GOD’S NOT DEAD, and THE SHACK have found popularity and impressive box office numbers by tapping into this audience and bringing out church-goers and other faith-friendly communities that might not be as eager to seek out films outside of this genre. And it makes sense that faith-based films are doing well. In challenging or negative times, people will more actively seek out positivity and inspiration, two ingredients almost guaranteed to be featured in a faith-based film. Considering how challenging and negative our current world can be, there might not be a better time to break into the world of faith-based films and write a script that can shine in this market. Writing a faith based or faith friendly script can be tricky, as you don't want to fall into cliches and lose your audience. You might have a great idea for a script with an uplifting message and inspirational ending, but when does it cross the line from a traditional genre script to faith-friendly? What does that audience actually look for and what do faith-based production companies seek out when considering a script? What elements in your story are off-limits and which will help you sell your script? There’s no crystal ball that can tell us 100% what works and what doesn’t in this genre, but there are patterns and constants that can be gleaned and applied to your own script. With a proper lay of the land, you’ll be able to better tackle this genre and write a script that can not only get on the screen, but inspire and uplift viewers at the same time. Brad Wilson is the Co-founder of Higher Purpose Entertainment (HPE), a production company dedicated to telling stories in film and TV that encompass truth of character and strive to embrace inspirationally redeeming qualities. While at HPE he's produced a number of films including THREE BLIND SAINTS, CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET, MY MANY SONS, THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, and THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE, which was released last year in 1,100 theaters across the country. Brad is well-versed in the business of faith based films and has a keen sense of how projects thrive in this genre. He’s ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Brad will walk you through how to create a faith based script that can both sell and have a positive impact within this specific community. Brad will begin with an overview of the faith based/faith friendly landscape and will give you a rundown of how this genre works both at a studio and in the independent space. He’ll then break down major screenwriting points of an effective faith based scripts, including average page count, characters, and plot structure. He’ll outline what makes a script faith based or faith friendly and at what point a drama script would be considered by a faith based production company. He will delve into what the faith based audience looks like and the best ways to reach them. Brad will teach you the elements that work best for a faith based script, including employing romance and a specific message. He will also go over elements to stay away from and how to balance a cross over script with “preaching to the choir”. He will also give tips on how to drive the story forward within this genre. He’ll discuss when to take feedback on your script and when to trust your gut and will give you tips on how to keep your writing real, even when it’s made up. Brad will also discuss the types of budget you should keep in mind for the best chance of success with your faith based script. Brad’s valuable rundown of the faith based genre will give you the tips and tools you need to create an amazing script that will excel within the faith friendly community. Like what you heard from Brad during this webinar? Brad will read your script and speak with you for a half-hour if you click here. Praise for Brad's Stage 32 Webinar "Brad was terrific! This was an excellent real world webinar. Very helpful in reinforcing some of the trends that I have been seeing in this category, and I learned a lot from today's discussion." -Lew S. "Brad was amazing. He laid out so clearly the genre and how to write for it in a practical way. He was an awesome instructor who combined practical info, inspiration, and was so "real." Loved it." -Ricki L. "This was the best webinar I've had so far at Stage 32. Brad's very seasoned and gave wonderful tips that will help me make my faith-friendly script" more marketable." -Gayle R. "A very honest, forth right presentation from a guy whose been there and done that, and knows the pitfalls and promises of the biz." -Dennis H.
*12 Spots Available - 2 spots remain* Do you have a thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, or horror feature you’re working on? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about writing in this space, but aren’t sure where or how to get started? This is a persistently hot genre; but currently, there is a demand for new writers in this space for features that can be done under $15MM. It’s a really exciting time to break into the grounded genre space, but first it's important that you have the right script and know what it takes to sell a project in this genre. David Chien is a literary manager at Art/Work Entertainment whose clients include the writers of ARRIVAL, BIRD BOX, LIGHTS OUT, and THE THING. They have also had clients work for Netflix, The CW, Cinemax, CBS, NBC, FX, Starz, Nickelodeon, EPIX, and TBS, to name a few. For over ten years David has helped countless writers improve their scripts, get staffed on series, and pitch and sell their scripts to major executives. You will work one-on-one with David over 8 weeks as he guides you through identifying, developing, and structuring your own genre screenplay. This is an incredible opportunity to work closely with someone who knows how to pull great sellable stories out of his clients. He’ll work closely with you on drafting the right concept, building an outline, preparing a verbal pitch, and writing engaging character descriptions. You will wrap up this eight-week lab with fresh ideas and most importantly a solid and thorough blueprint to write a great genre script—one that’ll surely make decision makers notice you. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to David as a mentor by email and via video conferencing. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Feature Lab: "David is definitely some kind of genius at what he does. He is able to get to the plot holes and potential problematic issues of a script within seconds. All while he’s able to come up with suggestions and ideas about the how and why things aren’t working and at he same time making observations about the how, what and why might work instead. I’ve never seen anyone able to do this as quickly, or as well as, David can. It’s really quite extraordinary!" - Sarah T. "I really enjoyed David's class. He was not another "industry professional" who just liked everything he heard and told everyone they were great. He really put us through our paces; made us ask ourselves tough questions. At the end of the course, I've got a solid outline for a unique story and a great starting place for the actual script writing- which is exactly what I hoped for." - Christopher G.
If you’re a writer, producer or other aspiring creative with hopes of one day actually getting behind the camera and directing your own project, taking the first step can be daunting. Where do you even start? And how can you be sure you know what you need to in order to take that plunge? Now you can under the guidance of Oscar-nominated director/producer Rick Rosenthal. Over the course of 9 weeks, Rick will guide you through actually prepping, shooting and editing your first project as a director in a supportive and encouraging environment - best of all? You can do all of this in the comfort of your own home. Even better? You don’t need any special equipment to participate. All you need is a cell phone that records video, a computer, and editing software that you will download for free. You will leave this lab with real world, valuable practice in putting a project together, and the knowledge and skills to direct the next project on your own. Rick Rosenthal is an Oscar and Emmy nominated director/producer and the CEO of Whitewater Films, which is known for many feature film hits that have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, and more. Through his film directing background, Rick has directed the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Sean Penn, John Lithgow, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Along with his credits directing films, Rick has also worked as a producer on Amazon’s Emmy-winning series TRANSPARENT for the first three seasons, along with directing and producing credits on countless other shows. When Rick launched Whitewater Films as a production company, he committed to helping up-and-coming filmmakers and offering them the advice and assistance he never had. Furthering his drive to give back and educate burgeoning filmmakers, Rick also served as the chair of the Directing Program at the American Film Institute. Through his decades-long career Rick has become well versed in diverse genres of filmmaking and has specialized in educating and empowering new voices, which he is bringing directly to the Stage 32 community. Through this lab, you will have the opportunity to prep, shoot, and edit two scenes from a script that Rick will provide you. You will learn camera placement, camera movement, blocking a scene, all from different points of view--single character, multiple character, and omniscient. Rick will bring in a special guest editor to teach you the basics of editing a scene through the free software DaVinci Resolve, which is quickly becoming an industry standard. Through Rick's mentorship, you will walk away confident to take these skills and apply them to your own directing project, whether that's a short film, feature film, or web series. PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 students and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a practiced director and expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at email@example.com for more information WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for writers, producers, or other aspiring creatives interested in becoming a director and looking for actionable skills, practice, and guidance to make this transition. This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 10 Spots Available*** This class will consist of six weekly sessions. There will be an additional week where you will sign up for an extensive one-on-one mentoring session with Rick. In addition to the lessons where Rick teaches the class, you will have the opportunity to ask him questions during each session as well as multiple chances to speak with him directly about your specific project. 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 TV project development process. To see the full directing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".