Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant, and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Full Bio »
The UK has a booming screen sector with world-class production facilities that have recently been home to film and TV behemoths like STAR WARS, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GAME OF THRONES, as well as a thriving independent sector that has supported filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Ken Loach, Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay. Chances are high that many of the films and TV shows you’ve loved in the past year came out of the UK. It goes to show that whether you’re based in the UK or elsewhere, understanding the UK market’s unique ecosystem and knowing how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities available – from production and financing right through to the distribution and exhibition – is essential and can open endless doors for you in this increasingly global, yet competitive industry.
The UK and US industries are closely aligned due to a common language, frequent co-productions and an increasing cross-pollination of talent. But what sets the UK market apart from its US counterpart is a strong public funding system, which supports the independent sector and nurtures new talent. So how do you access this support and what kind of projects are eligible? And what about commercial financing options? How does TV fit into this? And what about Brexit and its impact on co-productions? Whether you’re a UK native or an international filmmaker, producer, it’s high time to gain a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s role in the global film and television industry. In many ways, with so many creatives focused on the American market, this is open yet unexplored territory that can be explored and mined for your gain.
Over the last 15 years Rowan Woods has worked across almost every sector of the UK film industry, from development to journalism, via distribution, festivals, exhibition and a long stint at the BBC. She currently splits her time between the British Council, where she acts as the specialist liaison between the UK production sector and the international festival circuit, and the London Film Festival, where she programs episodic work and industry panels. Over the years she has worked with BAFTA, BFI, EIFF, LSFF, BFI NETWORK, Curzon and Radio4. She also works as a freelance development and acquisitions consultant and is frequently found moderating industry panels and talent Q&As, including for BFI, BAFTA, IFFR and SXSW. Rowan’s work has given her a deep and comprehensive understanding of the UK film and television industry and is excited to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.
Rowan will give you an in-depth overview of the UK sector, outlining the key players, the opportunities and challenges, and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate it successfully. She’ll begin with a general introduction of the UK market including what makes it unique, key facts and figures you should know, and how to understand the overall structure. She’ll then teach you about their main sources of funding, both public and private, and how funding works with international co-productions. She’ll also discuss the funding opportunities available for new talent. Rowan will then outline the key film institutions of the area and what they do. She’ll then discuss the support structures in place for producers and will delve into the key players in the sales agent space and how to determine which sales agent is right for your project. Rowan will go over the key distributors in the region and what the exhibition landscape looks like in general. She will also talk about the role of online platforms today and how the UK box office operates. She will then discuss the role of critics in this ecosystem and the key critical voices. Rowan will teach you about the major film festivals in the UK and how to determine which is right for your project, whether your project is a feature, short, narrative, or documentary. She’ll also talk about good marketplaces and forums in the area. She’ll go over the most important people in the UK industry right now and will then delve into the landscape of UK television, including both public service broadcasting and streaming services and key TV production companies. Rowan will outline for you the key opportunities in the UK marketplace, as well as the key challenges that go along with them. Finally, Rowan will give a rundown of how the industry has been altered by Brexit, as well as by COVID-19.
Praise for Rowan's Stage 32 Webinar
"It was great information and an amazing overview of how the UK industry works. Thank you so much."
I was vague about how things get into production in the UK, but have a much better idea now. Between the seminar and the resources to fill in the gaps, I feel a lot more equipped.
I was very impressed by the comprehensive overview of the UK industry and how well Rowan presented it. I'd love to hear more from her in the future.
Comprehensive survey. Rowan knows her stuff, and has walked the walk. She is a confident and fluent presenter: she can talk the talk
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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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.
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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.
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!
Show, don't tell! We take a look at how screenwriters use silence in the horror film A QUIET PLACE, the caper film THE DEPARTED, the action-drama DRIVE, and the adventure of LORD OF THE RINGS.
As you are aware, unscripted television is BOOMING. All the streamers have jumped into the mix and now more and more networks, premium cable channels and even short form platforms like Quibi are diving in with both feet. Creating compelling non-fiction TV requires more than just vision. It involves a gameplan. And it can't hurt to have multiple ideas in reserve or even multiple paths for the same show. This will allow you to not only launch one show, but perhaps lay the groundwork for many shows, essentially building brand recognition for you and for your production company. There is a path to building a scalable business in reality and unscripted and that path is wider than ever. And there's no better person to send you on that path than a guy who has built an empire with his company through producing such shows as Netflix's CHEER and CHEF'S TABLE and many others for streamers and networks around the world. We all have a desire to tell stories. In an era when technology is rapidly developing and there are increasingly lower barriers to actually creating unscripted content. But an idea is just the start. Often times what we fail to do is understand how to get from an idea, or a series of ideas, to having viable content that a more commercial marketplace is actually looking for. By doing a deep dive into the history, shows and business of the prolific reality production company Boardwalk Pictures, we can better understand how to establish our creative voice and brand in a crowded landscape and determine how best to bring our value to a variety of projects and partners. Andrew Fried is the Founder and President of Boardwalk Pictures, producers of premium non-fiction content for multiple networks and distributors including Netflix, Showtime, Quibi, YouTube and many others. A recipient of multiple awards and 3 Emmy nominations, Fried and Boardwalk strive to elevate and expand the idea of documentary television across an ever-growing unscripted landscape. Boardwalk has been responsible for some of the most prestigious unscripted series of the last few years. CHEF'S TABLE, now entering its 7th season, has received 8 Emmy nominations, has won 3 James Beard Awards and the IDA Award for Best Documentary Series. CHEER, also on Netflix, has proven to be one of the platform's biggest successes. Other huge commercial hits include Gwyneth Paltrow's THE GOOP LAB, 7 DAYS OUT, STREET FOOD and LAST CHANCE U (now in it’s 4th season), the Showtime series ACTION and YouTube’s BEST SHOT. Andrew will teach you how to stake your claim in the unscripted marketplace and also how to build an empire in the space. By diving into his journey and the paths Boardwalk Picture shows have taken from concept to screen, Andrew will show you the do's and don'ts of unscripted from the creative and business sides to assure you shorten your path to success. He will speak to the companies origin stories and how Chef's Table became Netflix's first unscripted original series. He will explain how to judge quantity vs. quality, explain the "8th Grade Assembly" test, describe what it means to be storyteller led, and how to identify a void that needs to be filled. He will dive into how to develop your creative brand, define what stories it is you want to tell, and how to approach meetings and networking opportunities to help get your vision to air. He will describe how to add value to just about every situation - so important in unscripted where you're likely to have partners and how to best position yourself to where people not only want to work with you, but will be anxious to hear your next idea and the one after that. Praise for Andrew's Stage 32 Webinar "Fabulous, authentic insights into what makes a successful producer of premium unscripted content!" -John P. "Loved it! I especially appreciated his positivity! I’m feeling inspired and I know I’m on the “write” track to creating something wonderful!" -Edie F. "Andrew was really great - a total professional who gave a lot of insight into "the business" and what attracts the green light." -Pooky A. "Excellent. Honest. Thoughtful. Insightful." -Tim O.
Taught by 25+ year producer (GOOD WILL HUNTING, AMERICAN PIE, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA), director (KILL THEORY, THE PEOPLE SPEAK) and Project Greenlight Co-Founder, Chris Moore. Want to see a free Q&A with Chris & Stage 32 Founder & CEO Richard Botto? Click here. "I chose to teach at Stage 32 over Masterclass because I believe in their mission. Their education isn't storytelling hour or dated material, it's exclusively about offering practical, actionable, and motivational information on what's happening in the industry right now. This is going to be a fun, but honest 2-part class that will help you navigate the business today." - Chris Moore With so many variables in today’s entertainment industry how do you know the steps to not only give yourself the best chance of breaking in, but also the guidelines on how to sustain a high profile and highly successful career? What if you were able to have a legendary industry veteran look at your current trajectory and give you advice? Stage 32 is going to give you just that. Chris Moore has asked and answered these questions over a remarkable and diverse 25+ year career in entertainment. As an award winning director and producer of over 30 projects such as Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, American Pie and Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea Chris has seen and experienced just about everything. And as the co-creator of the wildly successful Project Greenlight, Live Planet (both with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Sean Bailey) and The Chair, Chris has made mentoring and teaching creatives serious about a life in entertainment his mission. Chris is here exclusively on Stage 32 to shed a light on the big picture questions that you should be focusing on including: How to manage a career over time What truly matters from a professional and personal standpoint How to take the long view in your approach How to cut out the noise and listen to the “right” voices How to navigate the industry today! Session 1 How to Learn from Your Successes and Failures & Stay Focused on the Career you Desire - Chris will walk through tangible, actionable advice you can walk away with and apply to your own projects and/or jobs. He will provide an overview of the different paths and the resources that can help you reach your goals. ***In this on demand class, Chris will no longer be reviewing loglines and synopsis from students. Session 2 Evaluating & Learning Why and How You Choose the Next Move to Make - Chris will go over a select number of submissions that students have submitted from the first session. He’ll go over, in detail, an analysis of the situation and provide real-time, actionable information to help you better understand how to navigate your next steps. We’ll do our best to chose examples that apply to multiple levels in the industry so you can apply it to your own career.
Crowdfunding has completely revolutionized the way film, video, and other creative projects from graphic novels to albums and art exhibits are financed by taking the power from the corporations and putting it back into the hands of the creators and their audiences. The days of setting up a “standard definition” campaign on platforms like Indiegogo are all but extinct. Now more than ever, creators must run crowdfunding experiences that are as exciting as the projects they’re looking to get funded. We've brought in author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers and Indiegogo’s Film/Creative Campaign Strategist John T. Trigonis who has worked on thousands of film crowdfunding campaigns ranging from micro-budget to over $1MM. In this webinar John will teach his Tao (Way) of crowdfunding to encompass the ever-changing landscape of online fundraising for film and creative projects. You will be provided with the basics of running a successful and memorable campaign and learn from case studies of those who have had successful crowdfunding campaigns. You will walk away with some advanced tactics to raise even more than your goal. This is all gently infused by the philosophy that makes Trigonis’s advice work wonders –– Taoism. True success in crowdfunding comes not from a short-lived stint with crowdfunding, but commitment to crafting a memorable community experience.
The horror genre is one of the only genres that still can open big theatrically. In fact, over the last 5 years or so, the horror genre has provided the industry with some of its most profitable films. And that trend shows no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, the trend is accelerating. Horror still lends itself to a shared experience of being scared with a group in the dark. The jump scares, soundtrack and sound effects really play well in theaters, but also lends itself to that adrenaline we all love when sitting home alone streaming a great horror film. Horror can also be produced on a much lower budget than most other genres, so the opportunity for higher margins of profit are always in play. And you don’t need big movie stars as the concept is the star. Additionally, tons of new directors are able to break in through the horror genre and they're all looking for that perfect script with that killer concept. The challenge for most writers is coming up with either a totally new concept (THE CONJURING), or coming up with a new twist on what has already worked in the past (INVISIBLE MAN). But once you have fleshed out the concept, you need to make sure the writing is on point. That includes a perfect opening, a cadre of memorable characters, a plot that keeps those pages turning, and a close that makes a manager want to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting. Jake Wagner is one of the most respected literary managers working in the business today. Jake has also been one of top selling spec script managers of the last decade. Jake was responsible for the largest spec sale of the last 10 years (and one of the biggest in history), with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN which sold for over $3MM to Universal Pictures. After an illustrious and celebrated career at Benderspink and Good Fear and Film + Management, Jake is now the owner of Alibi Management. Jake’s clients have written some of the most popular recent horror films including POLAROID and CRAWL. Now, exclusively for Stage 32, Jake will teach writers of horror screenplays what managers look for in a spec screenplay. As one of the leading sellers of horror specs in the market today, Jake will tell you the common mistakes horror writers make and how to avoid them. To start, Jake will take you through the types of horror scripts attracting financing and producing interest in the market right now and he will explain why certain feature scripts stand out above the rest. Then, Jake will dive into the writing and the reading habits and needs of a manager. He will dive into what your first 10 pages tell a manager and how you can not only make them shine, but how to do so in a manner that keeps a manager turning pages. He will discuss the importance of your first act, the introduction and nuances of your characters, how to make sure your plot is not only interesting, but clear, and how to stick the landing. And, as a bonus, Jake will take you through 10 case studies of some of the most successful horror feature and short film projects of recent years including A Quiet Place, No Good Deed, Meet Jimmy and more. "Too often I hear and see scripts that are derivative of other movies and don’t bring anything new to the table. Let me show you what makes a horror script attractive to me and other literary mangers and that will draw attention in the marketplace right now." - Jake Wagner
PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your drama pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch. WEEK #1 – Introduction, Pitch Docs, Character This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of drama pilots and how they differ from network to network. We will go over how to create effective loglines and pitch documents. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. The assignment for this week will be to create a pitch document and write a detailed description (around half a page) on each of your series regular characters. WEEK #2 – Pilot Outline and Series Bible This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of drama pilot (procedural or serial) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your series bible and what it needs to include to support your pilot. The assignment for the week is to complete a pilot outline and start work on your bible. WEEK #3 – Pilot Outline (One on One Consultations – No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding pilot structure. Each writer will send in their pilot outline in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the outline before proceeding with next week’s class and to continue working on your series bible. WEEK #4– Scenes, Beats, Dialogue, This week we will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, story beats, and dialogue. The assignment for the week will be to write three complete scenes from your outline: the teaser/opening scene, a scene with heavy dialogue, and a strong character scene. WEEK #5– Acts 1 and 2 We will discuss both the four-act and five-act structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. This week we will go over all the necessary story beats that exist in acts 1 and 2 of a drama pilot, including exposition, number of scenes per act, traditional page count, inciting incidents, acts 1 and 2 breaks, etc. The assignment this week will be to complete Acts 1 and 2 of your pilot. WEEK #6– Acts 3, 4 and 5 Similarly to last week, we will cover the necessary story beats that traditionally exist in acts 3 and 4 of a drama pilot. If your pilot structure has five or more, as some broadcast network shows do, there will be time allotted for further instruction on how to proceed. The assignment this week is to complete the first draft of the entire pilot and to turn in your series bible. WEEK #7–Consultation for Revision (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations. Please turn in your pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call, and each writer will have a 10-minute call to go over notes. Your assignment this week is to address any notes. WEEK #8– One-on-one Feedback and Polish (No Online Class) This week will consist of 10-minute one-on-one phone calls as well. Please submit your revised pilot at least 24 hours before your scheduled call. Final notes and next steps for your pilot will be given. Payment plans are available - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.