Course Overviews

Interested to learn more? Browse through our course overviews. New courses added monthly!

FILM AND TV FINANCING

Film & TV Financing Course

All you need to know to finance your own film or TV show!

Our Film and TV Financing Foundation Course with industry veterans, financier/producer Jason Piette (Berlin I Love You, The Merchant Of Venice) and producer Julia Verdin (Stander, The Merchant Of Venice) is designed to help you pick up and use the tools you need to set up and get your films and TV shows made. Jason currently has a TV series in development with Netflix.

Film and TV financing – from raising equity, or accessing tax credits, through pitching networks and OTTs, or negotiating the best banking and sales deals – made easy!

What You Will Learn

Lesson 1: Discover the different types of film finance structures. This will enable you to approach a potential investor intelligently.

Part 1. Overview of Film and TV Financing

  • Financing in the current marketplace
  • Packaging for financing
  • Latest developments from the industry (with recent cases)
  • Financial planning overview:
  • Equity Funding
  • Tax Incentives
  • Distribution advances
  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants
  • Co-productions
  • In-kind products and services
  • Completion bonds and budgets

Part 2. Equity Funding

  • Making a project appeal to investors
  • Creating a business plan
  • Where to look for equity funding

Lesson 2: Tax Incentives

Learn how successful producers blend different types of government aid, soft money and tax benefits to close the gap on their film finance strategy.

  • State and international incentives, and applying for them
  • Which incentives make more sense for your film or TV show?
  • Rebates vs credits
  • Cashflowing the credits
  • Impacts of incentives on your budget
Get Started Today!

THE ULTIMATE PRODUCING COURSE

Learn to Fund Your Film! Then get it made and seen!

You’ve got your script. You have toured through fringe theaters and found a talented cast. A film director with a film in a festival caught your eye. All you need to do now is fund your film.

This 5 session course on film production is comprised of classes that answer specific questions on producing independent films and explore the opportunities producers have. It gives aspiring producers an insider view of the film industry by providing the essential skills and knowledge required for both creative and physical production.

Each lesson will take you through everything you need to know to produce and fund your film effectively. This course contains hard-to-obtain documents Including business plans, marketing and distribution, budgeting and scheduling, talent attachments, and financing and legal contracts.

What You Will Learn

Lesson 1: Creating A Business Plan

Once you have created your potential cast list, settled on the next hot director and found that absolutely terrific script, you need to prepare a plan of attack to get the money to shoot your film.

This workshop will run through the basic essentials you will need, both to present your project to industry investors, as well as how to present your project to private investors to enable your to fund your film.

  • What do you need for your project to be financeable?
  • Structure of a business plan
  • Using visual aids
  • Understanding sales estimates and income streams
  • Money flow explained
  • Profit participation

Lesson 2: Basic Legal Contracts

Once your film is finished and ready to be sold, you will have to show the “chain of title” to any prospective film buyer. If you fail to do this you will never be able to sell your film.

In this crash course, the basic talents’ (ie. writer, director, actors) contracts are explained. View it as health insurance for filmmakers!

  • Key negotiation points explained
  • Understanding chain of title
  • Who and what should you have contracts with

Lesson 3: Budgeting and Scheduling

Simply put, a film budget is a list of all the stuff and people you need to make your film, and a schedule is when and where you need it.

Always considered the boring bit by film producers and directors, the budget and schedule are the spines of any production. If you get the budget (the money part) wrong, your film will stall half-finished without cash. Get the schedule (the time) wrong, and your film will suffer – either from loss of quality or remain unfinished because you have run out of time (and budget!)

This course explains how scripts are analyzed and whipped into shape budget-wise and schedule-wise.

  • Script breakdown
  • Assessing prices
  • Union vs non-union
  • Creating a do-able schedule

Lesson 4: Marketing And Selling Your Film

The essential task for filmmakers is creating a marketing plan for your film. Learn how to utilize the trade press, consumer press and film festivals to turn your film (and yourself) into this year’s cult classic.

Learn how to approach film festivals and film markets with a strong press kit that will enhance the commercial potential of your film.

A special feature will be the use of social media to create interest in your film, with a live demonstration.

  • Creating the marketing assets you need to sell your film
  • Writing a good logline/synopsis and getting good photos
  • Creating a press kit
  • Film festivals explained
  • The role of film markets
  • How to approach sales agents
  • Finding the best distribution
  • Protecting yourself and your money from shady distribution deals

Lesson 5: Film Financing

You need some cash to make your short or feature.

This crash course will run through the basic financing tools available for any business, not just the film business. These tax-efficient finance structures make certain states in the US and certain countries very attractive places to raise money for film production. Find out how they work and how to utilize them.

  • State/government funding and tax credits
  • Private investors
  • Pre-sales and co-productions
  • Product placement
  • Crowdfunding
  • New financing options
  • Deferrals
Get Started Today!

SALES AND DISTRIBUTION

Get Distribution For Your Film

Among the thousands of films made each year, less than 5% get a distribution deal. Successful filmmakers create a sales and distribution strategy from day one rather than waiting till their films are finished. This helps to structure a viable production plan that includes getting the right type of cast and all the materials needed to sell a film effectively during the production period.  Knowledge and good planning will maximize their potential for success and increase their chances of getting a good return for their investors.

Understanding how sales companies and distributors operate, and what type of distribution will maximize your revenue rather than theirs is crucial in the current marketplace. Gaining a further understanding of how to protect yourself and increase the potential of your film can also save you pain, heartache, and loss of potential revenue.

So, how do you create a distribution and sales strategy and maximize your film’s potential revenue? Our SALES AND DISTRIBUTION Course for filmmakers with 4 industry veterans Jason Piette (sales agent, executive producer) will talk you through the current marketplace, US distributors, foreign sales agents, self/online distribution, deliverables, how to avoid legal pitfalls and ways to create a successful marketing and film festival strategy.

What You Will Learn

Lesson 1: The Current Marketplace

  • What are buyers +  distributors looking for?
  • Genres in demand
  • Latest developments
  • Changing landscape with digital distributors disrupting the market
  • Release strategies and windows
    • Theatrical
    • Blue-Ray/DVD
    • VOD
    • SVOD (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.)
  • Monetizing your film
  • Pitching to distributors and sales agents

Lesson 2: Sales Agents

  • Overview of foreign sales
  • What do sales agents look for?
  • Guaranteeing selling your film
  • Finding and connecting with the right sales companies
  • Budgets and projections: How much can films make?
  • What do sales agents need from you to approach buyers and financiers?

Lesson 3: Distributors + Self/Online Distribution

PART 1: US DISTRIBUTORS

  • Overview of domestic distribution
  • How does it work? How to exploit maximum revenue?
  • What are the ancillary rights and how can you benefit?
  • Tips for choosing the right distributor
  • E&O Insurance

PART 2: SELF / ONLINE DISTRIBUTION

  • Overview of self-distribution
  • Top current platforms for self-distribution
  • Difference between self and traditional distribution models
  • The changes in streaming markets
  • Understanding windows system of distribution
  • Challenges and difficulties
  • Identifying your audience
  • Getting people to buy your movie

Lesson 4: Delivery & Legal

  • Overview of deliverables
  • Sample delivery requirements: Chain of title, billing block, music cue sheet, script sheet, copyright information etc.
  • Understanding and negotiating a delivery list
  • Pitfalls to avoid during delivery
  • Post-production workflow
  • What format to shoot in
  • Tips on sales and distribution contracts
  • Understanding Chain of Title
  • Preventing shady deals
  • What to be careful of when signing a distribution deal

Lesson 5: Marketing and Film Festivals

  • Purpose of marketing
  • Identifying your audience and niche
  • Building audience at earlier stages for potential sales
  • Understanding your position in the market
  • Creating buzz through a limited theatrical release
  • Launching digital and social campaigns
  • Creating marketing assets for selling your film: Logline, tagline, synopsis, key arts, photos, video clips, press kits, etc.
  • Creating a film festival strategy
  • Choosing the best festivals for your film
  • How to market your movie at a festival
Get Started Today!

MICRO-BUDGET FILMMAKING

Demystify the filmmaking process!

Learn how to use the resources smartly and make a film on a micro-budget. Get a film made this year!

In this 2 hour class, you will learn some basics of low budget filmmaking.

What You Will Learn

  • What kind of stories can be made on a micro-budget?
  • How do you make something on a micro-budget that doesn’t look micro-budget?
  • What size crew and resources do you need?
  • How do you keep an eye on the film sales and marketing if you don’t have a script?
  • Learn how to approach the production of your film creatively
  • Learn how to navigate the current safety issues
Get Started Today!

CASTING YOUR MOVIE

Cast Your Movie!

Learn the key things you need to know about casting for films and how to get those big names interested in YOUR project!

What You Will Learn

  • How to attract star talent to your project
  • Hiring and working with a casting director
  • Handling the talent meeting.
  • Casting smartly to give your project added value
  • Creating a viable talent package to get funding
Get Started Today!

CLASSICS PART 1 AND 2

Want To Produce a Classic That Stands The Test of Time?

Join us for an exploration of what makes a classic film.

Jason Piette and Julia Verdin, creative producers of the classic Shakespeare movie adaptation, The Merchant Of Venice, dir. Michael Redford, starring Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as the Merchant, and many other classic films, explore what makes a classic, and what makes a classic adaptation.
The course is in two parts, the first an analysis of the movie Jason and Julia produced for Sony Pictures Classics, and how adaptations transition a story from another medium to the silver screen; and the second broadens the scope of the course to answer the question: what makes a classic, citing a number of famous and less well-known classics, some adaptations, some original works that became classics in their own right.

What You Will Learn

Part 1: The Anatomy of a Classic Adaptation

Jason and Julia analyze the decision points of and challenges faced by the production of The Merchant Of Venice through the creative and production prisms:

  • How was the original play performed and what was its impact in Shakespeare’s day, and did that inform the adaptation?
  • What were the main considerations when adapting the most performed Shakespeare play, enshrined in the school syllabus?
  • What needed to change, in the transition from stage to screen?
  • How the film was packaged and put together?
  • What are ‘production values’ that help to make a film a classic?
  • Theme, structure, performance decisions
  • Ways we found to reach the project’ inbuilt audience and making it relatable and engaging new audiences

Part 2: The Anatomy of a Classic Adaptation

Jason explores the key major stakes and strokes of adaptation, before asking what makes a classic in the first place?

  • Do classic works of art work the same way, whatever the medium or how do they differ in their interrelationship with their viewers and readers worldwide?
  • What makes a work of art a classic?
  • What’s a classic movie?
  • How to identify IP that has an inbuilt audience?
  • What kind of stories will stand the test of time?
  • What is the ideal structure of a classic story?
  • For book adaptations, finding ways to bring out the inner life into the visual medium.
  • Ways to translate the power of other media into the cinematic world.
  • Ways to craft stories from real events.

Along the way, we will delve into the archives and take a look at what made classics by Truffaut, Hitchcock and Tarantino tick; what directors such as Ray, Coppola, Tarkovsky and Lean brought to the cinema culture and much more.

Get Started Today!

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