Aaron Wolf is a director, actor and writer based in Los Angeles. He graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and worked with the improv comedy troupe, The Groundlings. After a time at Warner Brothers, and working with Disney, Dreamworks and Fox, among others, Aaron made the decision to create passion-driven stories independently, keeping his own voice with Howling Wolf Productions. Wolf’s narrative films include the award-winning Guest House, starring Michael Gross and Heather Lind; and The Walk, starring Wolf, along with Oscar- and Emmy-nominee Peter Riegert. Wolf will be releasing the adventure thrillerTAR in theaters in 2018. Wolf stars as the son beside Oscar-nominees Timothy Bottoms, Graham Greene, and Max Perlich. Wolf is currently touring around the country with his feature, Restoring Tomorrow, a universal story of hope. The film has received extensive coverage in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Tablet Magazine, Guideposts and The Times of Israel. Aaron’s other work includes writing a theatrical film for The Walt Disney Studios, a documentary for DreamWorks and co-hosting a sports show on the Dodgers and Clippers for Cox TV. Wolf has directed documentaries for The Museum of Tolerance, commercials for software giant Adobe, Lucky Brand, and Microsoft. He has directed TV pilots, including a partnered pilot with animation studio Six Point Harness, a film for the University of Southern California and worked with David Talbert on the screenplay for the Fox Searchlight feature, Baggage Claim. Wolf is in pre-production on the comedy LD University and its companion documentary (We Are All) disAbled, drawing from his personal experiences to tackle the urgent topic of learning disabilities and education and is currently in a national ad campaign to raise awareness and change stigmas on the issue. Aaron uses his passion for storytelling to create change where it is so desperately needed. Twitter: @TheAaronWolf Instagram: @TheAaronWolf Facebook: Aaron Wolf Full Bio »
Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. You learn that pieces that come together to make a movie in school but this is the film industry and it's totally different.
From studios to independents, your host Aaron Wolf has learned some secrets of the trade....come on the journey! You can’t find this stuff in school or in a book. You have to live it. And Aaron has. From being a student at NYU to being a part of The Groundlings, to working with FOX, Warner Bros. and Disney and dealing with film festivals and independent distributors, Aaron has seen it all in a short time. He wants to share the secrets with you. Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. Just getting a job in LA doesn’t prepare you. Creativity comes in many forms. One form is creatively navigating the business so that YOU can live your dreams.
With his recent film, Restoring Tomorrow, being acquired by Seventh Art and featured in Variety, Aaron has learned through trial and error on how to make a living as a filmmaker. Join him in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar as he discusses what he's learned, and what you need to know for your own journey!
After acting in and directing countless films, working in the studio system with companies like DreamWorks, Warner Bros. and Disney, and creating independent films through his production company Howling Wolf Productions, Aaron wants to share his outside-the-box insight into how you can make your magic in the industry.
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Learn how to pitch your family film or TV project from a former Nickelodeon executive. Includes a case study from a real pitch deck for a produced family film. More studios, networks, streamers and production companies than ever before are looking for content that appeals to all ages. This means opportunities are plentiful for the creator who understands how to put together, pitch, and sell this family friendly genre. More than other genres, family content comes with strict mandates and specific audience demos, each with their own unique profiles and specifications. Projects that can’t easily align or fit into these already defined sections have a much harder time selling. In order to put your best foot forward and get executives to notice your family-friendly film or series, you first need to understand how the industry works and how best to adjust your project and your pitch. Mike Sammaciccia is the founder and producer at Afterglow Pictures, which specializes in family friendly content and has over 15 projects in development, including a documentary and tv series with Will Smith's Westbrook Studios. Mike also produced the action thriller SURVIVE for Jeffrey Katzenberg, which starred GAME OF THRONE’s Sophie Turner and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON’S Corey Hawkins. Before creating Afterglow Pictures, Mike served as Walden Media’s first creative executive, bringing in the book HOLES and serving as the executive in charge of production for the hit family film starring Shia Labeouf and Sigourney Weaver. He also served as Senior Vice President of live-action movies and series for Nickelodeon for many years, producing 4-5 live action and animated movies per year. This content consistently broke audience benchmarks and propelled the careers of many young stars. Mike has been at the forefront of family content—both film and television—for almost 20 years and knows better than most what it takes right now to get a family project off the ground. Exclusively for Stage 32, Mike walks you through how to approach developing, pitching and selling your own family friendly series or film. He’ll lay out the different demos and what kind of content studios, networks and streamers are embracing. He’ll also point to where family content may be headed in the future. Mike will then teach you how to get your own family film or series market ready by defining your own demo, deciding if it’s better as a film or series, making your characters family-friendly, and developing necessary partnerships along the way. Next he will discuss how to get your project in front of the right studio, network or production company and how to determine which one is the right fit for your project. He’ll also speak to whether you need a manager or agent. Mike will then go through how to best pitch your family project, the documents you should have, how to pitch, and what goes into your pitch deck. Mike will even share a real pitch deck for a family film he went out to pitch and explain why he made the choices he did in assembling it.
Any independent filmmaker can tell you that one of the key rules to creating a successful film is to use what you got. This is especially true (and especially challenging) with cinematography. With a limited budget you’re likely not going to have the state-of-the-art equipment or perfectly lit soundstage to get the optimal shot. Often you’re going to have to make do with the locations the team was able to rustle up. These locations might be too small, might lack natural light, might be the wrong color. Well that’s too bad. If you want your indie film to look great, you’re going to have to be scrappy, adapt quickly, and be ready to pull a couple miracles out of your hat. Don’t think this won’t be noticed though; having the tools to make any location look great will not only elevate the film you’re working on, but also bolster your own reputation and prove your worth as a DP or director. It might not always be fully appreciated, but if you’re serving as DP, it’s down to you to take any shot and make it cinematic. Sometimes this might be as easy as setting up a fill light, but especially for low-budget projects, it’s often much more complicated. With a lack of access to sufficient resources, it can feel like reinventing the wheel to make any shot work. However, coming to set knowing the questions to ask and the tools at your disposal can make all the difference. What combination of a fill light, key light, and back light will work best? How can you use the props and materials that happen to be around to draw the eye to your subject? And perhaps most importantly, when should you push to make the shot better and when should you recognize that it’s as good as it’s going to be? Barry Andersson is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He has directed 5 feature films, many of which were released in theaters—his most recent film is being distributed by Lionsgate. Barry’s career as a cinematographer includes several television pilots, acclaimed short films, numerous commercials, and countless commercials and corporate videos. Barry is also the author of the DSLR Filmmakers Handbook. Barry has had to light and shoot more ugly locations than he can count and has developed a slew of strategies to tackle the challenges they bring. Barry will give you tips and tools to pull beauty out of the ugliest of locations. Barry will start by going through the basics of art direction and what expectations directors will have of you as a DP. Using case studies and practical examples, Barry will outline how to find and create depth in flat locations and how to use available lighting to your advantage, even if it’s not ideal. He’ll then give you ideas of how to find use available props and items you might not have considered to add dimension to your shot. Then Barry will discuss the importance of where in the location to place your talent to elevate or destroy your scene. Finally Barry will delve into the best way to choose the right lens for each shot. You'll walk away from this fun webinar knowing how to navigate any small space surprises once you get on set with your equipment. Praise for Barry's Webinar: "Very professional and Barry gave good advice" -Carol L. "Excellent webinar . Many great tips I can definitely use. Thanks!" -Ron H. "Barry has a bunch of great strategies that I'm totally going to use on my next shot" -Charlie C. "Super interesting and super practical advice. Thank you!" -Tina R.
***All lab spots filled - Check our Next Level Class and Lab page for new opportunities as we continue to announce** 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 7 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 Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org 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".
Many of us are familiar with the tropes made popular by screenplay gurus like Syd Field and Blake Snyder. Yes, it's true that many great films can be broken down into three clean acts or thirteen story beats. But the same can be said for many unwatchable films too. What are the elements that differentiate the great screenplays from the purely mediocre? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, creative executive from Zucker Productions (director Jerry Zucker's production company), Farrell Ingle will define the importance of the ever imposing first act of a feature screenplay. He will show you how much of the groundwork for your story needs to be laid in the first act of your screenplay. If those early pages aren't up to snuff, the rest of your story will suffer, no matter how fantastic the ending is. Your host, Farrell will lay out the many pitfalls writers stumble into without necessarily realizing it while they craft the set-up of their story. Using examples of classic films, you will understand how top notch writing creates multitudes of subtext, character development, and plot advancement with each scene. We will also discuss what constitutes an "act" and why it's so very dangerous to hold yourself within the box of a rigid structure. By the end of this lecture, you should be able to go back through your own writing and break down each scene in your script to ensure that you're putting yourself in a position to succeed. After all, the first act is the most important act for readers and executives when evaluating your ability as a screenwriter. Plus, you will break down the first acts beats of well-known movie scripts as Farrell leads you through an in-depth analysis of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Professional, Die Hard and more!
Have you ever wanted to create and write your own TV show that you also star in? Well, that's exactly what writer/actor/producer John Lehr did not just once but twice and now Stage 32 has brought John in to show you how it's done. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, you’ll learn how you can create your own star-making television show, how to pitch it, and what it’s like to produce a television series that you also write and play the lead in. John Lehr is an actor, writer and comedian who has sold multiple shows he created to major streaming platforms and networks, including QUICK DRAW on Hulu, 10 ITEMS OR LESS on TBS, and JAILBAIT for Crackle. John is also the original Geico Caveman and has hosted several network TV shows. John believes that knowledge is power and that you too can launch your career as a writer, producer and actor by creating and selling your own television show. He’ll show you what pitfalls and roadblocks to avoid while making your project one that buyers love. John isn't alone. FLEABAG’S Phoebe Waller-Bridge and CHEWING GUM’s Michaela Cole both began their careers more focused on acting before creating, writing and starring in shows that became must-watch television. This webinar covers the whole process including what makes a good show premise, how to pitch your show successfully once you're in the room, and how to even get those elusive pitch meetings. If you’ve been waiting for a star-making role, this webinar will show you how to stop waiting and take control of your own career today.
Jon got his start with CAA, before moving to Broad Green Pictures and then striking out on his own with Housefire Management. We discuss screenplay structure, boutique management, industry trends, & more, plus a live Q&A!