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!
It’s no secret that many creatives are looking to take the necessary steps to work on a TV show or break into a writers' room. Stage 32 and Jon Stahl, HBO’s Emmy-Award Winning Veep script coordinator, have the answers to help you find your way. We're taking you inside the room of one of the top comedy shows on television today (Veep) to learn what it's like to break in and expectations once you get there. Your host Jon Stahl spent the last decade working in television, with the last third of it in comedy. Working alongside the writers of television’s best comedy, Jon not only knows what it takes to write great comedy, but also what is needed to take a seat at the table with the rest of them.
The director and actors may get the lion’s share of the credit, and the writer might be the one who thought up the story in the first place, but it’s the producer who actually puts a film together and who turns ideas into reality, all the way from conception through distribution and beyond. The role of a producer can be enigmatic, though. It’s not as straightforward of a job as, say, an actor or a DP, and with so many different types of producers (Line producer? Associate producer? Executive producer? Co-Executive Producer?) it’s a hard concept for people to wrap their heads around. But if you’re interested in being a producer yourself and in leading the charge in creating great content that people want to watch, it’s important you better understand the role and find ways you can separate yourself from the pack and excel. There are a lot of producers out there, a lot of people working to create content. However there are a lot fewer who are prolific, who have multiple projects under their belt and have the know-how to make any project they have their sights set on a success. So what makes these power producers stand out? How do they choose what to produce and how do they operate within the industry to make things happen? And how can you join their ranks? A good step might be to learn directly from a power producer herself. Luckly, successful producer Aimee Schoof will lend her experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Aimee Schoof is the co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films and has produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale, to name a few. Aimee’s company develops, produces and sells independent films that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance Award and a Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize. Aimee’s work has led her to be nominated five times by Film Independent as a producer. She is currently both a Sundance and Film Independent Fellow and has worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecturing on film finance and production. Aimee has had more than 25 years’ experience working as a hands-on producer on projects of all shapes and sizes and knows what I takes to thrive in this role. She’s excited to share that with you. Aimee will give you a soup-to-nuts overview of what it takes to produce a film of any level and how to position yourself for success not only on your current project, but for your career moving forward. She will begin by teaching you the different types of producers on a film and what each person’s responsibility is. She’ll then give you strategies of how to choose your own path as a producer, including what it means to be an independent producer. She’ll walk you through how to find partners, collaborators, and mentors in this industry and will discuss the crucial but tricky task of finding and selecting material to produce. She’ll also break down whether a producer should focus on just one project at a time or multi-task. Aimee will illustrate what exactly a day in the life of a producer actually looks like. Aimee will then focus on relationship building, one of the biggest parts of a producer’s job. She’ll break down how to form and maintain relationships with agents and managers, actors, casting directors, and fellow producers, among others. She’ll then discuss the best practices for networking to build your connections, including how to work film festivals and markets to meet new and exciting potential partners or friends. Next, Aimee will delve into how best to source IP as opposed to working with original stories. She’ll go over the balance between holding your relationships close and expanding your network and how a good producer budgets their time when working on multiple projects. Aimee will also give you tips on how you can produce a science fiction film, even on a budget. Then, Aimee will give an honest and realistic breakdown of what a film’s timeline actually looks like—how long it actually takes to make a film and how you can stay motivated along the way. Aimee will use examples and case studies from her own past films, including projects made from existing IP, to further break down the role of a producer. Like what you heard from Aimee during this webinar? Send your script to Aimee and speak with her for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Aimee’s Webinar “I loved this! Aimee knows so much about the subject. I really learned a lot” -Cheryl B. “Aimee was able to take these big ideas and make them feel totally accessible and easy to understand. I really enjoyed hearing from her” -Howard F. “This was great! Thank you!” -Joanne D. “I feel ready and inspired to set out on my own and make some great movies after listening to Aimee!” -Hannah W.
Ask any successful filmmaker how they got started and almost all will tell you that their success began with a short film. And today, more filmmakers and producers are making short films as a proof of concept for a feature length version of their story. This doesn't have to be a daunting task. And we're here to prove it by showing you how a 5-minute short made for $5,000 went on to become a feature, a Tribeca Film Festival darling, and get national distribution. Natalie Qasabian has produced movies for the Duplass Brothers and recently was a producer on one of the biggest indie box office successes of the last few years, Searching. The film, made for under $1MM, was acquired by Sony at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to gross $75MM at the domestic box office. But much of Natalie's success and her journey began with a short film. Natalie is going to take you on an educational, inspiring, and motivational ride by teaching exactly how they pulled off the short film Join the Club, the feature All About Nina, and how the two were directly connected. She will explain the path this film took, from financing to casting to filming to film festival strategies to crushing it at Tribeca to getting global distribution. But this isn't all. Natalie will discuss the importance of making your short. How you should approach the process. How you should handle rejection along the way. How to navigate all the ups and downs of pre-production and production without having it cloud your overall strategy for the film and much, much more. Like what you heard from Natalie during this webcast? Send your script to Natalie and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here. "Natalie knows how to take a film to the highest of places by committing to sound and proven strategies. Her perspective is amazing" - Doug L.
4-part previously recorded class taught by Carol Kravetz, veteran Production Coordinator for shows such as Breaking Bad and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as well as various features for MGM, Warner Brothers, HBO and USA Network! The Production Coordinator position requires wicked organizational skills, resourcefulness and the ability to work long hours and handle a multitude of tasks simultaneously under high-pressure situations. That means you have to be accurate, purposeful and on time (which means early). Whether you are a director, producer, production assistant or production coordinator, knowing how to discover your crew members’ skill sets, delegate effectively and execute tasks with extreme precision is a must for cultivating a successful career. If you'd like to learn how to logistically run a set and organize the moving parts that make a production possible, join us for this exciting class! Stage 32 Next Level Education is thrilled to bring you Carol Kravetz, a veteran Production Coordinator, most recently on shows such as Breaking Bad and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, to teach you a Production Coordinator Master Class: Be A Unique & Efficient Production Coordinator! In this 4-part previously recorded class, Carol provides a fully comprehensive guide on how to be prepared to prepare, prepared to shoot and prepared to wrap. You will learn Carol’s personal list of Production Coordinator best practices, from the various tasks you will be expected to perform and how to execute them with precision, to how to recognize each document you will need in a mound of paperwork, to how to transition the office from pre-production to shoot to wrap. You’ll learn how everything is paid for, how to facilitate rentals and purchases for on-set departments, and the common pitfalls and traps that happen during production so you can avoid them. Carol then teaches you her networking, resume and follow up tips to help you find work and keep working past the wrap party. With interactive lectures and homework assignments directly geared toward making you a stronger and more competent Production Coordinator, you will leave this class with a comprehensive understanding of how to be an effective Production Coordinator and be a valuable asset to any set you work on! Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Carol is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate.
Every year tens of thousands of filmmakers go out to market or submit to festivals with the hope of getting their films distributed, only to learn that by not taking the proper steps to deliver a cleared film, they're dead in the water. In a recent survey in a popular filmmaking magazine, over 40% of filmmakers had never heard of clearances and 75% didn't know how to go about clearing their film. Managing clearances ahead of time can save you huge headaches down the road. Not only will you allow yourself the best chance to secure a sales agent and/or distribution for your film or project, but you will protect yourself legally! The last thing anyone wants after all the time and effort it takes to make a film is to find out it's being held up by expensive legal issues. The truth of the matter is, understanding and working through the issues associated with clearances is not as difficult as it sounds. It does however require knowledge, focus and discipline. It requires someone keeping an eye on the entire shoot and that begins with a script breakdown report and continues throughout production. To teach this all important webinar, we're bringing you two times the knowledge! First, Stephanie Weier is the CEO/Founder of The Domain Group. Holding a passion for filmmaking, branding and legal compliance, Stephanie has worked on building The Domain Group to be a leader in the industry with 20 years of service working for studios, indie producers, game companies, web content and commercials. Founding the company in 2001, Stephanie has lead The Domain Group to having completed over 1000 films in 15 years. She holds a EJD in Contract and IP Law from Concord Law University. Lori Dalton is the President of The Domain Group and is one of the most comprehensive and detailed clearance analysts in the industry. Her project management ability has helped position The Domain Group as both a clearance house and branding company. Combined, Stephanie and Lori have over 40 years of experience. Their company has over 1,000 credits including Happy Death Day, Breaking Bad, Crazy, Stupid, Love (Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell), Blue Valentine (Ryan gosling, Michelle Williams) Edge of Darkness (Mel Gibson) Gimmie Shelter (Vanessa hudgens) and Ray (Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington) to name a few! Together, Stephanie and Lori will lead you through the land of clearances, so you can concentrate on making the film you want to make without worry! Stephanie and Lori will teach you how to make sure your delivered project is a rockstar with distributors, and why a little more work in this area during pre-production and production can save you lots of time and money down the road. They'll start by showing you the details of a script breakdown report and explain why you need to have one. Then, they'll dive into the world of clearances, big and small so you know exactly how to handle each situation. On the fence about what to clear? They'll explain what you need to clear and what to leave alone. They'll explain what to do if your clearance request is denied. They'll also explain the all important difference between featured use and background use and why the distinction matters more than you think. They will break down title reports and copyright reports and discuss trademark law. And, most importantly, they will show you exactly what you need to do to protect yourself in case you are challenged legally in any way. Don't overlook this all important aspect of the filmmaking and producing process! Lori and Stephanie will have you navigating the world of clearances like a pro and assuring you're protected from the start of pre-production. Praise for Stephanie and Laurie "These women rock!" - Laurie T. "A masterclass. So, so, good!" - Monica H. "This is one of those subjects that prevented me from moving from screenwriting to making my own films. I always worried that I would do something wrong and get sued. No longer. Fantastic information delivered in a fun way." - Michael E. "I had no idea. I should have, but I didn't. Now I do. This was a fantastic webinar on a subject every filmmaker and producer - and probably writer - should understand." - Gary G.
As the landscape of independent film continues to evolve, a clear funding path has developed for films budgeted between high-six figures and $10MM. Indeed, it’s become an effective “sweet spot” for investors. At this budget you can typically attract and secure some star power, one important step toward increasing the odds that your investors will see a return on their investment. But this is just one reason why this budget range is attractive to many investors. There are many more variables at play which will help you raise money for a film or project in this price range. But first, you must understand some tried and true principles that will help you find investors, present your project in the proper fashion and lock them down for an investment. Knowing how to raise money intelligently for films and projects within this budget range can be your calling card toward a powerful career in the independent producing space. Simply put, those who understand the strategies and methods that can help your investors see a return get to keep those investors time and time again. And those investors can, and usually do, bring along more investors if they're happy. While everyone says that raising financing is the hardest aspect of filmmaking, there are smart ways to find money that you may not have thought of, and there are also ways you can expand your dollars once you start raising funds for your project. In addition, there is a well-known group of professionals and creatives that have been working on films in this budget range for years and it's important that you know who they are, how to approach them and what the expectations are once you do. Founded by Elsa Ramo, one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry today and recently named to Variety’s 2019 “Dealmakers List,”, Ramo Law PC provides comprehensive legal services to its clients in the entertainment industry with a specialized focus in representing financiers, producers, directors, distributors, studios and production entities in all transactional aspects of film, television and digital content. The firm provides experienced legal services to optimize its clients’ financial, legal and business position in the financing, production, and exploitation of their content. Ramo Law has represented over 100 films and 50 television scripted and unscripted series in 2019 alone, including Emmy award-winning shows and films which debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Clients include Imagine Entertainment, FOX, Balboa Productions (Sylvester Stallone’s production company), Scout Productions (creators and EPs of QUEER EYE), Boardwalk Pictures (EPs for CHEF’S TABLE) and Skydance. Elsa and her associates are bona fide experts when it comes to the nuts and bolts of finding financing for your independent film. Elsa and her senior associates Zen Raben and Sean Pope will join forces to demystify the film financing process so that producers, writers, directors, and financiers can understand the basic yet crucial components of how independently financed films are funded. They will begin by discussing entity formation. They will explain why you need to form an entity for your production and what type of entity you should form, as well as what state you should form it in. They will go over the information you will need to form the entity, the forms that need to be filled out with the state, and how operating agreements work. They will also teach you what a waterfall is and why you should include one in your operating agreement. Next, Elsa, Zev, and Sean will delve into important things to keep in mind specifically for your LLC formation, including the state of formation, deciding if it will be member-managed or manager-managed, who should be in control of creative decisions and who should be in control of business decisions. They will then talk about equity investment and go over who exactly provides equity investment, what investors get out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Next, Elsa and her associates will explain debt financing. They will teach you the four common types of collateral in debt financing, and four types of debt you will be dealing with. They will go over the key terms and considerations you should know, and just like equity investment, they will explain who provides debt investment, what the investor gets out of it, where the investment gets placed and why investors are motivated. Elsa, Sean, and Zev will even stage a mock closing call between a producer and senior lender to demonstrate what it looks like to lock in funding from an investor. Finally, Elsa, Sean, and Zev will give you an invaluable closing checklist, walking you through everything you need to keep in mind when going after funding. Expect a thorough, comprehensive and undeniably helpful guide to give you the tools you need to find the funding for your next project. This is designed for all levels but particularly effective for those that are currently producing and/or packaging a feature film. Praise for Elsa's, Zen's and Sean's Stage 32 Webinar: "It was absolutely brilliant! One of the best webinars I've attended yet! Loved the mock call. That was so educational!" -Becca G. "They are all knowledgeable and had a great presentation" -Carlos B. "Great webinar financing. Will be watching again." -Martin R. "AMAZING WEBINAR!!!" -Stephanie D.