Monday, June 18, 2018

BLOG TOUR l INTERVIEW: Shane Stanley, Author of What You Don't Learn in Film School @shanestanley

Multi-Emmy Award winning filmmaker Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set starting with hit shows like “Entertainment Tonight” and “Seinfeld.”

Along with his father, Stanley produced “The Desperate Passage Series,” which was nominated for 33 individual Emmy Awards and won 13 statues. In this series, five of the seven specials went No.1 in Nielson Ratings, which included “A Time for Life” and “Gridiron Gang.”

Stanley has produced films starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei and Martin Sheen. He co-wrote two of the films and has worked closely with top Hollywood executives.

Stanley has taught workshops at many film schools and universities. He is the founder of Visual Arts Entertainment, a production company based in Los Angeles. He is still active in teaching, working with several schools, film students, and recent grads as a mentor and guide.



About the Book:

Author: Shane Stanley
Publisher: Industry Insider, LLC.
Pages: 199
Genre: Nonfiction/Film


Multi Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Shane Stanley, a lifelong entertainment industry insider, has worked in every aspect of the film industry, covering a multitude of movies, television shows, and other projects. In his valuable new book, WHAT YOU DON’T LEARN IN FILM SCHOOL: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING, Stanley takes a candid look at the film business and offers ambitious young filmmakers important information on how to navigate every aspect of making movies, from initial pitch to distributing a finished product. The book “is written for anyone who hopes to have a career in the industry at any position, but (is) geared for (the) total filmmaker,” Stanley says.

Producer Neal H. Moritz (“Fast & Furious,”S.W.A.T.,” “21 and 22 Jump Street”), says that WHAT YOU DON’T LEARN IN FILM SCHOOLpulls no punches. It's one of the most insightful and accurate books ever written on the subject, a master class bridging the gap between school and real-life experience that will save you years of heartache. A must-read for anyone interested in pursuing a career in film.”

Jane Seymour, two-time Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner, actress, producer and founder of the Open Hearts Foundation, declares that Stanley’s “step-by-step guide is a must-read for anyone hoping to break into the world of independent cinema, along with many useful tips for those who desire to work within a studio or network system.”

Jeff Sagansky, former president of Sony Entertainment and CBS Entertainment, notes that “Shane Stanley takes you to a film school that only years of practical experience can teach. He covers both the business of independent filmmaking as well as the hard-earned secrets of a successful production. A must-read for anyone who wants to produce.”

A lifelong veteran of the film world, Stanley has directed and produced hundreds of film and television projects, including the 2006 No. 1 Box Office hit “Gridiron Gang,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. His clearly-written guide to navigating the shoals of independent filmmaking comes from his hands-on experience, covering such topics as choosing what material to produce, raising independent capital, hiring a production crew and selecting the right cast.

WHAT YOU DON’T LEARN IN FILM SCHOOL is an essential book written by someone who clearly understands the independent film business from the inside.


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Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

As a storyteller, my background comes from a visual medium, working primarily in film and television. I have always been attracted to telling stories I can personally relate to, so when the opportunity to write a book about the business of my business came about, it felt like a very natural transition into publishing.   

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I find each day I am writing one thing or another but if I am able to completely pry myself away from the computer, I like to hike with my wife, snowboard with my family and spend time on the water. Coming from an extreme sports background and now, needing to slow down due to a laundry list of injuries, I find those kind of activities fill that void, relax me and really get my batteries recharged. I’ve also been known to just jump into the car and drive through the desert, as nothing inspires me like a sunrise over the Arizona Mountains.

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

I don’t know what it is about this godforsaken industry that makes people so crazy. Actually, maybe I do.

Think about it; if you encounter someone who’s striving to be a mechanical engineer, a biologist, or an architect, chances are they’re pretty grounded and seem to have a realistic, yet solid game plan when it comes to achieving their career goals.

Now, do you ever notice the difference when you speak to an artist with (or without) a career plan? Maybe it’s the passion that comes within creativity or perhaps their attempt to bury deep-seeded doubt with rays of hope. However, if you ask me, I think we’re all nuts…in our own way. It seems this business can bring out the worst or the crazy in some of the most levelheaded people…and I don’t think that diminishes when someone becomes successful…it only gets worse.

Can you think of any other industry in the world where being deemed successful is essentially the equivalent of winning the lottery? You could be working as a dishwasher who is writing a script in your spare time when it falls into the right hands…then suddenly you’re the next Shane Black or Eli Roth.

Maybe you’re crashing on your friend’s couch (technically homeless) then you get that one audition and you’re co-starring alongside Gal Gadot. I guess those odds can make anyone crazy living this way on a day-to-day basis, but it’s not just the artists. As we’ve seen recently the upper echelon of Ho-Ho Wood have their own problems in which how they behave (thanks to the media frenzy of late), and I don’t think I need to elaborate on that too much. However, I do hope this time there is a lasting change in the behavior on set and behind the golden gates. It’s long overdue.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

My book came from years of personal experience in the motion picture and television industry, so writing it wasn’t much of a struggle. It came about because I do a lot of teaching and consulting and felt I could save time by starting to write down answers to the most commonly asked questions I got to make it easier for those I was mentoring. I never had any illusions of grandeur as, once it took shape, was originally intended to be a blog that somehow got loose from me and turned into a 200-page book. Most everything I have done in the entertainment industry has been self-produced or pushed from within, so the steps I had to take to get it finished and into a book people could buy and read wasn’t too difficult just a lot of new experiences for me having never put out a book before.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

An in-depth, no holds barred look at making movies from ‘concept to delivery’ in today’s ever-evolving climate while breaking down the dos and don’ts of (independent) filmmaking.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

I think the book stands alone because of the hands on experience I share that comes from a lifetime in the industry (over 40 yrs) and a from a perspective that comes from every angle of the business of making movies. At first I wasn’t sure how it would be received but after the endorsements from some of the most respected people in the industry and reviews came in, my confidence in the book and its importance skyrocketed.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Christmas/Hanukah. Because there’s no better time to get the help you need in order to launch a great career in an industry your passionate about – especially when people are inspired and ready for great things in a brand new year.
Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done? I most certainly would and am already considering it as the business is ever evolving and continues to teach me something new each day.

What’s next for you?

What You Don’t Learn in Film School Summer Sessions, where I am offering seminars and workshops, at no cost, to film school grads to help them find their voice and navigate a career in the entertainment industry - something the film schools are not teaching them.

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