Taught by independent filmmaker, Tom Hofbauer

I'll be offering this information-filled seminar in a bunch of places across the country including los angeles, roanoke, virginia, columbus, ohio & ann arbor, michigan
  • Concept & Story Development
  • Screenwriting
  • Proper Screenplay Format
  • Script Breakdown, Scheduling, and Budgeting
  • Casting and Auditions
  • Financing
  • Legal Issues
  • Preproduction
  • Directing
  • Production
  • Who Does What on the Set
  • Set Management
  • Post Production
  • Editing
  • Marketing
  • Film Festivals
  • Distribution

"Honestly, this is probably the most interesting and entertaining presentation I've ever seen at BGSU. You spoke for just 2.5 hours and I was able to pay attention the whole time. This is my 4th year here and I literally have never been able to pay attention for the entire 90 minute class. I felt like I could have listened to you for many more hours." (M. Krause, BGSU Film Studies Student)

Tom talks about financing your independent film  - one of the topics covered in this seminar

​​​​Director's Notes - directly from the "From Idea to Audience" Seminar.

(Check out Tom's Blog for more notes)

Logline / synopsis - Wha???

A couple of weeks ago, I had a question from a visitor to my website. He asked if a logline and a synopsis were the same. In the most basic of terms, they are. Each is a description of your film. The differences between them are subtle but important. 

First, the definitions. A logline is a short description, usually no longer than 10 or 15 words, which gives the reader a very basic introduction to the story you are telling with your film. If you are a fan of the TV Guide, the descriptions of movies in that publication are loglines. 

A synopsis is a longer and more detailed version of your logline. It still tells the story of your film but is designed for a deeper dive into the actual story. I find it very helpful to have several versions of my synopsis that vary in length between 25 and 500 words. I recommend a synopsis of each the following words lengths - 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 500.

A synopsis will be helpful in the early stages of your project. A well-written synopsis should be in your business plan as you go in search of financing. (It’s also helpful to have this ready to go when a face-to-face conversation about your project begins.) Your synopsis should be carefully written with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. In addition, you should know your synopsis and be able to deliver it verbally. This has been especially important in the finance phase of my projects. Some people just don’t want to take the time to read a synopsis. Even more likely is that you might run into someone in a public place and you may only have 30 to 45 seconds to pitch your idea. Because of the frequency of this sort of pitch opportunity, I like to have a well-rehearsed" elevator pitch" which includes a bit about my experience, a very brief synopsis, and a call to action for the person to whom I am speaking. 

You want to entice someone to request a written business plan and the best way to do that is with a very brief introduction to your next great project.

Once the film is completed and if you decide to submit it to some festivals, the varying lengths of your synopsis will come into play. Each festival to which you submit will have some requirement of a synopsis to be included in the submission process and the word count of that synopsis will vary widely from one festival to another. So the best approach is to have all of them written out early in the process. One of my least favorite things to do was to have to write a 250 synopsis on the final day of a festival submission. Oh, and some festivals will want both a logline AND a synopsis and some may even request several synopses of varying lengths. But if you do as I suggest, you will be well ahead of that curve. 

If you are planning on pitching your finished screenplay to producers instead of producing it your self, a well-prepared synopsis will be very important as you start to line up pitching opportunities. Your verbiage for your pitch will come from one of your synopses.

You'll learn this and a whole lot more at the "From Idea to Audience" 2-Day Seminar. Keep an eye on this site for Seminar dates in your area. Check out the seminar information on the home page and REGISTER TODAY!!

"This is the most inspirational talk I have ever witnessed. It has given me even greater motivation to shoot my screenplay next summer. Thank you!" (L. Wetley, Independent Filmmaker)

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I've had several people ask me why am I offering this seminar. That's a really good question. 

When I made my first feature film back in 2001, I made a ton of mistakes - a TON! It's hard making a film. Really hard and when you're the person responsible for raising the money and assembling the cast and crew and scouting the locations and determining a budget and creating a shooting schedule and putting a craft services table together and shooting the damn thing and buying the editing system and editing the film and finding the music and making deals with people to keep the cost of the music down and... geez, I have to take a nap just writing that. And that's just scratching the surface. 

I wish I would have had someone to teach me all of that (or even just to familiarize me with the whole process). And in spite of all of that, I ended up making a pretty good movie. 

FYI here's the TRAILER


But now I have that knowledge, earned the hard way, and I want to help the new filmmaker who is chasing that dream or the actor who needs new content on the Internet and is willing to make it him or herself. 

That's why the investment is pretty small but the payoff is going to be huge. 

I promise you're going to learn a ton. I'll be talking about things that even the best filmmaking books don't tell you - little tricks that people tend to forget. 

So stop beating your head against a wall. Put $199 into your film budget for a consultant and take this seminar. It'll be worth it.

Oh, and sign up early. I have to make sure there are enough people for me to lock in a meeting space, book my flight and rent my car. 

I hope to see you at the end of July!!

"If you're looking for some inside filmmaking knowledge, Tom Hofbauer is the guy to learn it from. The price for the seminar may be a bit of a stretch for some but if you can afford it, it will be money well invested." (D. Kazee, BGSU Film Studies Student)

"Loved it!!! (Tom's) enthusiasm is contagious and I feel more informed" (Theatre Student, University of Central Oklahoma)

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Topics covered

From Idea to Audience​​

Learn how to make your film
without making yourself crazy!!!

"Tom, I really enjoyed having you this week. I came in not knowing what to expect and your presentation set the bar and surpassed it. Some of the material did not directly appeal to anything I have planned for myself but I found it interesting - and who knows, I may be happy to have heard it in the future. Again, thank you and good luck." (E. Shively, BGSU Film Studies Student)

  • I'm taking my intensive 2 day filmmaking seminar on the road.

  • If you want to be an indie film producer, this is the perfect seminar for you.
  • ​I'm an award-winning writer / producer / director, I've been down this road, and I want to help you as you prepare to make your film.

(818) 533-8073