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Film Producers Foundation Certificate

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Daniels Spectrum

585 Dundas Street East

Toronto, ON M5A 2B7


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Get your movie funded, made and seen

Creating a Business Plan | Budgeting and Scheduling | Marketing and Selling| Movie Money | Basic Legal Contracts

This 5-evening film Producers Foundation Certificate answers specific questions in key areas of producing, and explores the opportunities producers have today to develop, finance, budget and market a film, as well as deal with legal and business affairs. During each class you’ll learn skills essential to getting a movie made.

To receive a certificate, attend all 5 evenings and save. You can also purchase individual topic evenings.

Who should attend the Producers Foundation?

Writers, directors, producers, actors, filmmakers, cinema lovers — anyone with an interest in how movies are made and who seek a basic introduction to the filmmaking process.

Week 1: Creating a Business Plan

Week 1 is presented by Raindance Founder, Elliot Grove, visiting from London.

Few people have known more filmmakers and projects than Elliot. Elliot outlines how to prepare your project for presentation to private investors and to industry funding sources.

Once you have scoured film festivals looking for new talent, 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.

It was a great evening and provided not only myself but the whole room with information that could get their projects made and change their lives. What more could you ask!

This evening workshop will run through the basic essentials you’ll need, both to present your project to both industry and private investors.

  • Choosing and targeting investors

  • Structure of a business plan

  • Using visual aids

  • Preparing sales estimates and income streams

  • Money flow explained

  • Profit participation

You’ll also discover a unique way to pool your talents and quit the day job.

*Register for this information-packed evening class on its own HERE.

Week 2: Budgeting and Scheduling

Week 2 is presented by Michael Sparaga.

A producer foundation starts with the schedule and budget. These provide the critical backbone of your film — a film budget is a list of all the resources and people you need to make your film. A schedule is when and where you need them. This session runs through the essentials, conventions and details required in assembling a budget and scheduling your shooting days.

All classes were informative and the tutors were really one of the best, and though I know there’s a lot more I need to learn, I left feeling a lot more confident about handling the role of a Producer and should be back for more!

Always considered the boring bit by film producers and directors, the budget and schedule are the spine 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 evening 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

A professional budget and schedule are an essential part of a business plan.

*Register for this Budgeting and Scheduling class on its own HERE.

Week 3: Marketing and Selling Your Film

Week 3 is presented by Ali Mashayekhi.

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.

A great intro into the film industry. I found all the instructors inspiring and so glad I took part.`
– Tracey-Ann

Learn how to navigate the film marketing and distribution arenas in order to position your film for success.

  • Film festivals and distribution strategies explained

  • The role of film markets

  • How sales agents work

  • Creating the marketing assets you need to sell your film

  • How the money works

*Register for this Marketing and Selling Your Film class on its own HERE.

Week 4: Movie Money

Week 4 is presented by Michael Sparaga.

You have a great idea for a movie. You’ve met your writer and had meeting after meeting about the script. Now you need some cash to make your short or feature.

The Movie Money segment of Producers Foundation was excellent. Ignited huge interest.

This evening workshop will run through the basic financing tools available for any business, not just the film business. These tax-efficient finance structures make Canada one of the most attractive places to raise money for film production. Find out how they work and how to utilize them.

  • Canadian tax-efficient finance vehicles

  • Enterprise Investment Schemes

  • Pension Plans: Gold for filmmakers

  • Profit participation

This evening class outlines the basics of film finance and will provide you with the various elements needed for a plan to finance your movie.

*Register for this Movie Money class on its own HERE.

Week 5: Basic Legal Contracts

Week 5 is presented by Jindra Rajwans.

A film producers foundation needs a basic understanding of the legal contracts prospective investors and potential distributors will want to see. 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.

As an older student, I found the entire Producers Foundation Certificate very worth while. Five days after finishing the course I am now in the process of producing my first two projects.

In this evening crash course, the basic talent (i.e., writer, director, actors) contracts are explained.

  • Key negotiation points explained

  • Preparing and maintaining your contracts

This class is designed to answer basic questions about film contracts.

*Register for this Basic Legal Contracts class on its own HERE.

Creating a Business Plan | Budgeting and Scheduling | Marketing and Selling| Movie Money | Basic Legal Contracts

About the Instructors

Elliot Grove

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters in Europe than Raindance founder Elliot Grove. He has presided over the launch of some of this country’s most interesting filmmakers. Edgar Wright was his first intern, Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn met at a Raindance course in the mid 1990’s, Christopher Nolan and Gareth Edwards (Monsters) all launched their careers following film training courses at Raindance.

Elliot founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993 and the British Independent Film Awards in 1998. He’s produced over 7000 short films, and 5 feature films. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. His first feature film, TABLE 5 was shot on 35mm and completed for a total of $511.40. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe, Cuba, Mexico, Japan and North America.

As an author his three books have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS’ LAB: WRITE & SELL THE HOT SCREENPLAY(Focal Press 2008), RAINDANCE PRODUCER’S LAB: LO-TO-NO BUDGET FILMMAKING (Focal Press 2004) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year. Open University awarded Elliot an Honorary Doctorate for services to film education in 2009. Elliot developed the content for the Producers Foundation in London, England. Christian Colson took this class and applied Elliot’s principals making Slumdog Millionaire and Battle of the Sexes.

Michael Sparaga

Michael Sparaga is an award-winning Canadian screenwriter and producer. His debut feature, the critically-acclaimed, superhero-comedy Sidekick, played in numerous worldwide film festivals and was released in Canada by Maple Pictures before going on to sell in multiple international territories, including the US (Warner Home Video). Remake rights were optioned by Universal’s Focus Features.

His follow-up production, Maple Flavour Films, a humorous TV-hour documentary on the current state of the Canadian film industry, which Michael also directed, made the rounds on the Canadian film festival circuit and aired on Air Canada and PayTV.

Michael’s second feature, the workplace-comedy, Servitude, celebrated a sold-out world premiere at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal before going on to be released in Canada by Alliance Films. Starring Joe Dinicol (“The L.A. Complex”), Margot Kidder (Superman), Enrico Colantoni (“Veronica Mars”) and Dave Foley (“The Kids in the Hall”), Servitude was the first film greenlit for production out of Telefilm Canada’s Features Comedy Lab. As part of the Lab, Michael prepared Servitude for production with mentorship from comedy heavyweights Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) and Donald Petrie (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days).

As a screenwriter, Michael has had several screenplays optioned and several in active development. When not writing and producing under his own banner, Michael works with other independent filmmakers. He provides story editing services as well as assisting them in various producing capacities. Credits include Son of the Sunshine (world premiere Slamdance 2009) and Gravy Train (released through Alliance Films in 2010).

Ali Mashayekhi

Since starting in 2003 with a self-funded short film, Ali Mashayekhi has produced Japanese music videos, multiple short films and two features. His most recent film is Let’s Rap (2015), starring Jason Priestley. Mashayekhi is currently in post-production on the comedic TV pilot, Day Players, starring Kristian Bruun and Ashley Leggat. His current slate includes the fashion expose The Style Atlas, the travel show Japan Drift, and the feature film The Dwelling. He completed the Producers’ Lab at the Canadian Film Centre in 2016. Ali brings is marketing and distribution experience to the Producers Foundation Certificate.

Jindra Rajwans

Jindra is the Principal of Rajwans law firm. He advises clients on intellectual property and entertainment law matters relating to the acquisition, protection, licensing, sale and exploitation of intellectual property rights across a broad range of business sectors. Jindra has been invited to speak at numerous business conferences. He’s been a guest lecturer on mergers and acquisitions at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Executive Education Centre. Jindra is a member of the Ontario bar and is a registered Canadian Trademark Agent.

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Daniels Spectrum

585 Dundas Street East

Toronto, ON M5A 2B7


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