Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and formerly a theatrical sales executive for Lionsgate. With a passion for film and filmmaking since childhood, Daniel decided to move to California in 2000 with an interest in the film business. After working on commercial productions as a production assistant for Tony Kaye Films and then acting in various films, he gained an understanding of the filmmaking process. After graduating at Cal State Northridge in 2006, he realized that young filmmakers had very little access to industry professionals, and few options for screening their films. And thus, the HollyShorts Film Festival was born. Now in its 13th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival and the HollyShorts Monthly Screening Series, which takes place each month at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Aside from HollyShorts, Sol also battled daily with domestic exhibitors as a theatrical sales executive at Lionsgate from 2008-2014. Mr. Sol is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX (www.bitpixtv.com). He married Puah Benzicron May 29th 2016. Full Bio »
We're excited to take a peak behind the curtain into the mind of a film festival director to talk about what they look for when programming a festival. We've brought in the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, Daniel Sol, to go over the everything you need to know when you are considering submitting your short film to a festival.
About Daniel, Director of Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival
Why do film festivals reject short films? Accept films?
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: 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!
We have found ourselves in an age of content overload. As audiences, everywhere we turn we are inundated with stories online, on screen, in podcasts and on the radio. And these are just the stories that make it to these platforms. Script readers and producers are going through much, much more, often reading hundreds of screenplays a month. And yet, with so much content out there, scripts still rise to the top. There is a reason why projects like FLEABAG, OZARK, PARASITE, and Jordan Peele's US cut through the noise, with or without big budgets or names. It’s not theme or content matter that achieves this; it’s authenticity. The industry is changing, but this simple truth never does. Executives, producers, studios, and audiences will always seek out authentic voices. The question, then, is what exactly is authenticity and how does it read on a page? Adding authenticity to your work is a lot harder than adding, say, character headings. It’s not a switch to turn on and it’s not something that can be easily engineered. Cultivating an authentic voice is a challenge every writer faces and takes years of honing your craft. However, there are things you can do right now to better zero in on your own voice and show it off to executives and other gatekeepers. Better understanding what authenticity looks like on a page, how executives identify it, and the steps writers with strong authentic voices take before approaching a script will give you the best possible chance of your project standing out, continuing into production and ultimately premiering to the masses. Sarah Cornelius serves as Creative and Production Executive at award-winning Whitewater Films, helmed by director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT). This approach has resulted in Whitewater producing numerous notable films which have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Sundance Directing Award, a Primetime Emmy, as well as collecting nominations for an Oscar and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Whitewater has produced projects for Paramount Classics, Netflix, Showtime, IFC, Samual Goodwyn Films, The Orchard, CNN Films and more. Whitewater Films recently completed their feature STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal & Ben Schwartz with first-time director Matt Ratner. Their film, THE LAST SHIFT premiered at Sundance 2020 with two time Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. In addition they produced FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sundance winner), HALFWAY THERE (Sundance Episodic Showcase winner) and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (SXSW premiere). Sarah has been involved with development on each of Whitewater's projects and has the ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner. Sarah will use her extensive experience evaluating scripts and discovering talent to delve into what goes into finding your authentic voice and how to bring it into your script. She’ll begin by discussing the main questions you should ask yourself before writing a script, including how to prevent writer’s block, how to anchor your concept, and the three ‘whys’ you must address before getting started. Sarah will then approach the concept of authenticity from the point of view of an executive, and what specific things they look at to identify a writer’s voice. She’ll speak to format and clarity, imagery and action, dialogue, point of view, and creativity and risk-taking. Sarah will even teach you how to retain your authenticity past the writing phase. She’ll discuss how to ask for and incorporate feedback while still holding on to your voice and how to pitch what you wrote with authentic confidence. Finding your own authentic voice is never easy, but Sarah will give you the tools you need to better understand how to bring your voice forward and hone in on it with more confidence. Plus, you will receive 10 downloads of notable screenplays that exhibit an authentic voice (and 2 downloads of scripts without an authentic voice) that Sarah will use to demonstrate how authenticity reads on the page: Jordan Peele's US CAPTAIN FANTASTIC THE SHAPE OF WATER PARASITE AMERICAN BEAUTY RESERVOIR DOGS WHIPLASH HARRIET TRAINSPOTTING APOCALYPSE NOW SHOWGIRLS CATWOMAN Praise for Sarah's Stage 32 Webinar "Sarah was incredible! Loved her teaching style and insight. Great webinar!" -David P. "Very informative, well worth it!" -Caroline B. "Great webinar - loved the use of scripts and clips. Wonderful speaker!" -Ron H. "Sarah Cornelius was wonderful. Time well spent today." -Brian B. Like what you heard from Sarah during this webcast? Send your script to Sarah and speak with her for a full hour by clicking here.
Learn directly from the Director of Development for Ryan Reynolds' Dark Trick Films! Creating an independent film from scratch is daunting, but immensely rewarding, and can be done with any level of resources. Films under $1MM are especially a sweet spot for many independent filmmakers but certainly come with their sets of challenges. Stage 32 is excited to bring in the development executive for Ryan Reynold's production company Dark Trick Films & TV, Blake Goza, who has spent the last 7 years working projects such as Deadpool, Buried, The Change Up and RIPD. Even though Blake works on some of the most popular films & television of today, it's his personal project - a film entitled Escort - which he made independently for under $1MM that fuels his passion for being a creative. With this webinar, Blake will give you a producer’s perspective on building an independently financed movie, from start to finish, for under one million dollars. Using The Escort as a case study, he will walk you through each stage of the independent process: finding a script, packaging talent, determining a budget, acquiring financing, shooting, post production, and ultimately, distribution. Blake will discuss process specifics, like his decision to attach a sales agent in the early stages of development; what financing options he prefers - the benefits and risks of private equity versus foreign pre-sales; what talent he chose to attach first – the argument for finding your director before making offers to actors; and how to build a release strategy for your film that allows for success as you define it – whether your goal is critical acclaim, commercial exposure, or financial reward, begin with the end in mind, and build a platform that allows you to achieve that goal. If you’ve wanted to produce a film outside of the studio system on a responsible budget, then this class if for you!
In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter. In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show. "Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started." - Mia L. "Demystification complete." Lorraine R. "Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years." - Regina K. "There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo." Angelo D.
Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.
International co-productions, or “co-pros,” can be the perfect tool for bringing dream projects to life. But these ventures come with their own unique rules and requirements, which not everyone has experience with. In this webinar, attorneys Lorraine D’Alessio and Liz Profumo will deconstruct the co-pro process, sharing practical tips for launching a successful cross-border production. Participants will learn about key steps such as finding business partners, capitalizing on tax incentives, protecting creative rights, and securing work visas for foreign staff. The webinar will also explore the impact of current U.S. policies surrounding trade and immigration. Lorraine has practiced law since 2010, with a particular focus in entertainment immigration. She is the Founding Partner and CEO of D’Alessio Law Group, a global firm which has helped thousands of artists and entertainment professionals to launch careers in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Born in Canada, Lorraine was a successful Ford model before turning her focus to law. Her entertainment background, as well her personal experience with immigration, allows her to deeply understand the legal and logistical needs of global artists. She is excited to partner with the Stage 32 community and help support its members in achieving their goals.
The key to succeeding in Hollywood, or really any industry, is to put yourself out there. We all know this is a business of relationships and that building relationships takes time and effort. But even if you've built a solid base of meaningful relationships, you still have to take action. Make inquiries, take meetings, get on people’s radars, show up. For introverts, however, putting yourself out there has always been easier said than done. And that’s in a normal world. Now, in this new quarantined era, and with seemingly everything - networking, pitch meetings, general meetings and more going virtual - putting yourself out there online can feel positively impossible. With extended isolation, reduced in-person connections, restricted travel, and working from home, how can you stay connected and relevant? And how can you do those things while being naturally shy? How can you overcome your self-imposed barriers. Believe it or not, it's easier than you think. The world might feel like it’s in standstill right now, but it’s more important than ever that you keep moving, not only for your career, but also for your passion and your well-being. It may be easy to curl up on your couch, order that delivery deep dish pizza, start a 7 season series on Netflix and fade away from the outside world, but it’s not going to move you or your desired career forward. Staying connected remains key, and to do that, it’s necessary to be versatile and continue to adjust as the world changes. But what does that look like? How do people successfully network from home? How do you use powerful tools such as Stage 32, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Zoom to help get yourself out there? And where do you even start the conversation as a naturally introverted person? The good news is you already have all of the tools to do it—you just have to power up and commit. Jennifer Winberg has over 10 years of branding and entertainment experience in digital strategy and social media working with Lionsgate, Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, and Gravitas Ventures. Along the way she has mastered the art of digital and has helped thousands of creatives overcome their fear of networking online. Jennifer has developed a passion and expertise in the art of networking and will share her experience exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Jennifer will discuss the importance and benefits of staying connected and the larger positive implications of being involved. She’ll then delve into the tools we all have to stay connected in our own homes and the best ways to go about using them. Next, Jennifer will go over how to find your tribe in the current landscape and how to use your community not only to advance in your own goals but also to give back. She will give you the rundown of how best to approach new people virtually, including where to start, and right and wrong approaches she’s seen. She’ll then give you tips on how to make a good impression from your own home and how to define your brand despite being quarantined. Jennifer will discuss ways to be agile as the world continues to change, and how to stay on track while still being able to adjust. Finally, Jennifer will go over the best ways to set goals and then actually stick to them so that you can overcome your fears and reservations about getting yourself out there and get the results you desire! Praise for Jennifer’s Stage 32 Webinars " Fantastic, optimistic and informative, I feel I have a lot to work with and was a pleasure to be a part of" - Christie S. "Great webinar - lots of interesting and useful information. Great speaker! Thanks!" - Ron H. "Lots of good advice. Took 9 pgs of notes!" - Martha C.