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In the Company of Strangers

Director's Note

Aspiring actors ask me what they need to get started in this career. I tell them they need three things.

1. A great headshot that looks like they do.

2. They need to understand what is expected when they arrive at an audition and should have a clear understanding of frequently used terms in this field.

3. Most importantly they need to be passionate about a process that involves a lot of rejection but also a LOT of joy.

Contact Tom




Had a great meeting today with Tom Hofbauer. Thanks again Tom for your expertise and knowledge with screenwriting. If anybody out there needs advice or help with a screenplay. Go on my friends list and friend request Tom Hofbauer for more. If he can help me, I know he can help you!


My thanks, really really, to everybody.  Tom, you and Laurie and Greg and Jenn, all working so hard to make me look good, and teaching, teaching, teaching me how to do a shoot, how to hold my head, how to fix my hair, makeup, be careful not to go out of the shoot until released, how to get rid of negatives and accentuate the positives.  Constantly giving, caring, warning us what to watch out for, being sure we were doing the right thing, letting us know how to behave on set, preparing us for the future.  Not only do we get incredible pictures we get a full class on 'how to be a success in this field.'  It will always be up to the individual to use the information, but if used I believe we have a head start, a big head start, on going further in this business.  (Pat S., Toledo)

Thanks so much for the shoot today. I had fun and am so glad I came. You guys are so kind, and you both really made me feel comfortable! Hopefully I'll be able to see you both again or maybe even work with you one of these days. Thanks again!!
(Amy H., Toledo)


Great, great speaker. I am honored to have taken this class!

Thought it was VERY helpful. Would love to attend another!

My favorite part was the practical advice that makes a world of difference.  Thank you! I learned a tremendous amount.

It was very hands-on and I got to talk to someone with first-hand experience.

Absolutely amazing. Super informative!! It was so awesome. I liked the tips and advice that most people fail to mention.

I had an absolutely great time today! Learned so much. Thanks again!

I felt refreshed, excited and wanting to get going. Thank you both for your knowledge and your honesty.

It was a great seminar. All 10s.


This week of class gave me a lot of information that I would have spent months trying to find. I want to write screenplays and make independent films. This was just what I was looking for to obtain information and knowledge on things I wish to do in my future.

Tom, I really enjoyed having you this week. I came in not really knowing what to expect and your presentations 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. Shivey - age 21

I think Tom is very well spoken and he is able to talk for eight hours... Impressive.
Male - age 24

Very much enjoyed. Knowledge of material was pretty much exactly what I came here to learn.
Male - age 23

I really loved just about every minute of it. Topics were covered very thoroughly. I feel that I could use much of this info to my benefit in the future. Thank you.
Male - age 20

I thought you did an excellent job this week. I learned a lot that will help me in the future. I will check out some of the movies you recommended and also maybe take your advice and audition for some things when I am back in NYC. Thanks.
Emily W. - age 21


Very engaging and informative. Thank you!
Male - age 22

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!
Male - age 20

I liked when you said you have to bleed film - that's how I have felt forever and never heard anyone say it.
Male - age 22

photo by Jennifer Holman

Keep an eye on this page for new content which will be arriving soon (March 11, 2014)

Audition workshop

To reserve your spot in these seminars, call the number above or send an email to Tom@midwestfilmguy.com

Whether you're an actor, a screenwriter, a director, producer or you call yourself a filmmaker...

THIS is the website for you!!

It's loaded with great information to help you navigate through the confusing and challenging world of independent filmmaking.

photo by Jennifer Holman

For more information, call 877-501-3456 or email: Tom@MidwestFilmGuy.com

Want to make a film but don't know where to start?

I can help!

I made a ton of mistakes when I made my first film - not finding enough money, not auditioning enough actors, not securing all my locations before starting... and that’s just the beginning.

When I'd finished and the time came to submit my film to festivals and distributors, I had no idea of how to navigate that landscape. And so I stumbled for years, wasting a lot of money and experiencing a lot of frustration.

I WISH I would have had someone I could've called to ask questions about the process - an authority on independent filmmaking - someone who had made a successful film and understood all of the pressures involved. But Spielberg was busy and wouldn’t take my calls. The Coen Brothers were making their own films and I couldn’t find their phone number anyway. I had no one to turn to.

But as all filmmakers know, once you get the itch to make a film, there is no turning back. The film MUST be made.

So I decided that I wanted to be the guy that I was looking for all those years. I wanted to be the guy that a filmmaker could call with a question about shooting or directing, writing or editing, marketing or making the best of a film festival. I didn’t want another new filmmaker (young or old) to have to spend hours on the Internet or hundreds of dollars on books trying to find information that just isn’t there.

I did finally finish my first film and it was recently picked up for international distribution... Yay! Success.

I have made successful films more than once. I learned how to do it the hard way. I learned what I needed to know and what I needed to have a working knowledge of. I found out how to approach investors and what was needed to get them to write a check. I discovered how to present a film at a film festival - what to do and what not to do. And I want to share all of this information with you.

I am THE guy you should call when you get stuck or need some guidance.

I can help!

With me as your personal coach, you will avoid all the mistakes I made over the last 20 years and hit the ground running.

This is a sample of just a few of the topics Tom discusses in his live teleseminars, workshops and lectures.

This is a brief look at Tom's "Some Notes on Screenplay Format".

  • Have you ever sat through the screening of an independent film and thought "why didn't this filmmaker LEARN HOW to make a film before spending all of his time and money making this"?

  • Would you like to know how to write a tight, properly formatted screenplay - one that will get read by agents and studio readers or get made into a great indie film?

  • Do you want to produce an independent film but don't have the first idea of where to start?

  • Would you like to go to film school but time, location or budget just won't allow it?

  • Would you like to get advice and personal one-on-one coaching from someone who has been successful making films?

  • Wouldn't it be great to know how to promote your successfully completed film at a film festival?

If you said "Yes" to any of those questions check out the links on this site to the FREE teleseminars and the products available from MidwestFilmGuy.com.


This is THE resource website for actors, screenwriters and independent filmmakers looking to get a leg up on all those others trying to find a way into this business. Whether you want to write a properly formatted screenplay, audition for film work as an actor or produce your own award-winning film, the information available to you on this site is exactly what you need to move your career forward.

I've been in show business for 20+ years and I bring a wealth of information to writing, performing and producing. My first independent feature film, In the Company of Strangers, was a critical success on the film festival circuit where it garnered top awards at five festivals. My location production and camera work on the Academy Award-nominated documentary film Twist of Faith enabled me to enhance my documentary film making skills while working with a couple of masters, Kirby Dick and Eddie Schmidt.





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