business of film

MPI Course Empowers Filmmakers to Navigate Entertainment Business

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Ten filmmakers recently completed MPI’s inaugural Business of Film course. This six-month intensive kicked off last November with a three-day summit in Los Angeles. Participants attended monthly virtual seminars thereafter. 

Crafted with the goal of equipping filmmakers to navigate the entertainment industry, the course covered critical topics such as entertainment law, pitching, getting representation, financing films, and leveraging festivals.

Participants learned from showrunners, producers, agents, development executives, and film financiers, including Rob Mitchell (CFO, Bold Films), Ralph Winter (producer, X-Men films), Tanner Mobley (VP of development, Millennium Films), and Stacey Parks (founder, Media Sparks and FilmSpecific.com). 

“I’m not the same filmmaker I was before I started,” wrote one participant. “I am so much further ahead and I feel truly empowered to tell the stories that I am meant to share with the world.”

“I feel empowered to achieve my goals now that I’ve completed this program,” wrote another. “This was a phenomenal opportunity to engage with industry leaders and to learn from them as they generously shared how they succeed.”

Learn more about Business in Film here and find additional opportunities for filmmakers here.

Filming Wraps on New MPI Original Comedy Short

Last month we completed production on the MPI Original short film A Piece of Cake. This comedy comes from writing and directing duo Austin and Meredith Bragg, who work as award-winning video producers and editors at Reason TV.

The short originated in a 2018 MPI concept development screenwriting workshop. MPI worked with the Bragg brothers to turn their concept into a completed draft and shortly thereafter, acquired the film for production. 

The film follows a desperate father (Rich Sommer, Mad Men; Glow) who discovers his daughter’s favorite cake decoration is illegal. He descends into a confectionery black market and must make the ultimate parenting choice: break a birthday promise or break the law? 

While the film centers on family dynamics and the outrageous twists and turns that unfold to fulfill the birthday girl’s request, it also shines a light on policy themes such as the overregulation of ordinary actions. 

The Braggs have worked with MPI for many years, participating in our cinematography workshop, screenwriting workshops, and our Business of Film program. They also created original sketches for MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV. Now MPI is proud to enable the Braggs to take their careers to the next level with this compelling calling card short.

“The ability to work with such an accomplished cast and crew was not just an education, but a revelation,” they wrote. “The practical on-set skills and insights we've gained through this process are already having a positive impact on our work. We can't say enough about the talent and energy that MPI has devoted to this production.” 

The film is now in post-production and will screen in festivals next year.

RECAP: MPI’s Business of Film May Session

MPI May BoF

Featuring Stacey Parks, Producer & Founder of FilmSpecific.com

On May 23rd, Stacey Parks shared her distribution expertise with filmmakers in the Moving Picture Institute’s Business of Film program. Stacey, who serves on MPI’s board of directors and produced our forthcoming feature film Miss Virginia, drew from almost two decades of experience as a sales agent, producer, and consultant to give the filmmakers advice they could use in their own careers. Topics ranged from landing domestic distribution to working with international sales agents.

To learn from Stacey Parks yourself, check out FilmSpecific.com, a training and consultancy organization for independent filmmakers, which Moviemaker Magazine called “one of the top 25 websites that filmmakers need to know about.”