Development Essentials

A 4-part deep dive into developing your projects, whether for film or television, and an in-the-trenches view of how to put your projects together.

In this four part course we'll cover everything from evergreen, foundational development processes to up-close-and-personal case studies to how to go outside the traditional closed-door systems to keep your projects moving forward.

Development is an area where filmmakers and series creators try to take shortcuts to expedite financing and production. But one thing is certain about development - in today’s hyper competitive market there are no shortcuts to developing a world class project! There are also pitfalls in developing a project that many don’t know even exist until it’s too late.


  • Optioning IP vs creating your own
  • Which formats to develop for
  • Creating and investing in digital assets
  • Packaging 101
  • How to move from development to pitching to selling and setting up your work
  • Creating early traction with your project during development
  • Customary outreach and follow-up guidelines to prospects
  • Development timelines and costs
  • Common development pitfalls and how to avoid them


This course will be delivered in four separate pre-recorded sessions over two weeks, beginning August 12. The course is fully interactive and participants can ask questions and get feedback on their specific projects within each online lesson.


(Available August 12)

In this session we'll cover:

  • What you are trying to accomplish during development and cultivating the right mindset
  • Iterative development/ gaining early traction and market feedback
  • Taking the right steps in the right order
  • Best outreach practices + how and when to follow up
  • Time and budget considerations
  • Single projects vs development slates: sequential vs parallel


(Available August 15)

In this session we'll cover:

  • IP vs. original ideas + treating original ideas like IP
  • Shaping a narrative/ outline
  • Formats to consider
  • The visual and written assets you'll need
  • Strategic packaging during development: film vs TV


(Available August 19)

In this session we'll cover:

  • The types of deals you'll need to make from securing rights to finance and more
  • Ways to finance development: film vs TV
  • Development ROI and cash flow timelines


(Available August 22)

In this session we'll cover:

  • Overview of the post-development process: what steps look like for film and TV
  • Pitfalls to avoid post-development
  • When to stop developing a project
  • How to survive during the waiting game: going from active development to waiting on others


Development Essentials

A 4-part deep dive into developing your projects, whether for film or television, and an in-the-trenches view of how to put your projects together.

Your Instructor

Stacey Parks
Stacey Parks

Stacey Parks is the founder of She has over 16 years experience in independent film as a sales agent, producer, and consultant for independent filmmakers. Stacey is also the author of "The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution" (2012 Focal Press), now in its second edition and considered to be an essential handbook for independent filmmakers seeking production and distribution insight for their films. Stacey is the Executive Producer of the films Fits & Starts (released in December 2017) and Lost In France (released in 2019 and starring David Wain, Michaela Watkins and Matt Walsh), both distributed by The Orchard. She is the producer of the upcoming Miss Virginia (slated to be theatrically released in fall 2019 and starring Uzo Aduba). She is also the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of The Upgrade, a 32-part digital docuseries for Bravo that aired on in 2017. Stacey recently completed production on a docuseries pilot for Spanish studio MediaPro, on which she serves as Creator and Executive Producer, and she currently has several scripted series in active development, set up with major production partners in both the US and UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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