While covering The Tribeca Film Festival this spring, Lights Film School’s Courtney Thérond had the opportunity to chat with writer, producer, and director Vera Miao about her upcoming digital series, Two Sentence Horror Stories, which premieres on Stage 13, an original digital content brand under Warner Brothers Digital Networks.
Vera’s work has been a part of The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab as well as the 2015 Sundance Institute/Women in Film Financing Intensive. She was also a fellow of the inaugural year of The Tribeca Film Institute’s Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program (2015). All of this to say that we’re very excited to break down Vera’s latest project!
Courtney: What was it like working with Stage 13, coming from an independent film background? At what stage of the project did you begin the collaboration, and what was the workflow like creating a show within a studio?
Vera: This was my first time working with a studio. Let me just say, as a filmmaker whose biggest resources are often willpower and prayer, having the support of a studio from beginning through distribution is AMAZING.
Stage 13 is a division of Warner Brothers Digital Networks, and it’s intentionally filmmaker-friendly and creator-driven, so the experience was really supportive. It was a new experience for all of us – indie filmmakers getting notes from the studio; studio executives working with writer-directors used to a DIY approach and a lot of creative autonomy. But there was tremendous respect, good faith, and a shared commitment to making the best series possible, so we had a lot of common ground. Plus, we always tried to have fun!
The collaboration started at the very beginning, since we moved forward with just a pitch. In the development phase, I would submit drafts, receive notes from Stage 13, and make revisions until we had scripts the studio felt good about moving forward with. A similar setup was in place during editing of the episodes.