Making Short Films Part 1: DEVELOPMENT

The Business Online


Making Short Films Part 1: DEVELOPMENT

Sujata Day (actor/writer/director), Jenelle Riley (writer/producer/critic), Aneil Karia (director/writer), Doug Roland (actor/writer/director), Lori Hammel (actor/writer), Michael Sládek (SAGindie NY Consultant & filmmaker)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Begins at 11:30 AM PDT | 2:30 PM EDT

11:30 AM PDT | 2:30 PM EDT

How do you create your own content as an actor? Moderated and curated by actor/writer Lori Hammel and SAGindie NY Consultant and filmmaker Michael Sládek, this 3-part series breaks down the stages of creating a short film and empowers you, as an actor, to create unique stories that highlight your creative strengths. Join award-winning actors, directors, writers, producers, and festival organizers as they dive into the nuts and bolts of story and character development, casting, budgeting, creating your production team, shooting schedules, post-production, the festival circuit and more.

Part 1 of the series, DEVELOPMENT, focuses on brainstorming strategies, writing plans, character and story development, structuring a short film, and beginning to think about budgets, creative teams and other logistics. Featuring actor, writer and director Sujata Day, writer, producer and Variety critic Jenelle Riley, Oscar-nominated director Aneil Karia, and Oscar-nominated director and actor Doug Roland.

***Bring all your questions to the program - member participation is encouraged!***


Doug Roland is an Oscar-nominated director for his film FEELING THROUGH. Featured on The Nightly News with Lester Holt, The Daily Show, in The New York Times, and LA Times and winner of over 130 film festival awards, FEELING THROUGH is executive produced by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and was made in partnership with Helen Keller National Center. Doug's short film, JADA, became an internet sensation with nearly 25 million views online. He also produced the feature film LIFE HACK which won 16 awards on the festival circuit, including Best Independent Feature at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Doug studied film at the University of Wisconsin Madison and FAMU in Prague. As a social impact filmmaker, Doug uses his work to create accessible screening events and speak at conferences, institutions, and schools around the world about collaborative, inclusive storytelling.

Aneil Karia is an award-winning British director whose work often takes a semi-improvisational approach and leans into realism. He began his career directing several award-winning short films, including BEAT, starring Ben Whishaw, which was screened in 50 cinemas worldwide. His Film4 financed film WORK was nominated for a BAFTA and a BIFA for Best Short.

In 2019, Aneil directed the final 3 episodes of TOP BOY 3 for Netflix. In the same year he directed TROUBLE for Kano. The short film was praised for its stirring depiction of street violence and won Best Special Video Project at the 2019 UKVMAs.

Aneil’s debut feature film, SURGE, premiered at Sundance Festival 2020, where the lead Ben Whishaw won the World Cinema Best Actor Jury Prize. The film was produced by Rooks Nest for BBC Films and BFI and released in cinemas in May 2021.

Most recently, Aneil directed the Oscar-nominated short THE LONG GOODBYE for Riz Ahmed. The film was discussed in the House of Commons as ‘required viewing’ shortly after its release and went onto win Best Short at the British Independent Film Awards, Best Short at the Critics Circle Awards and the Gold Cannes Lion for direction, as well as the Grand Prix at both Hollyshorts and Odense International Film Festival.

Jenelle Riley is the Deputy Awards and Features Editor at Variety, a three-time Emmy Award winner for her work on Actors on Actors, and writer of the award-winning shorts WARNING LABELS, GRAND GESTURES, and CRAZY LOVE.

With her infectious personality and unique sense of humor, Pittsburgh native Sujata Day has established herself as a performer, creator, writer, and director. Sujata is known for her starring role as CeCe in Issa Rae’s THE MISADVENTURES OF AWKWARD BLACK GIRL. She's recurred for four seasons on HBO's INSECURE. Sujata is a Sundance Lab fellow, Sundance Film Festival influencer, and Sundance Collab advisor. Her short film, COWBOY AND INDIAN, sold to a major studio for series development. She served as HBO Visionaries Ambassador in 2019. She directs THIS IS MY STORY, a series in which beloved storyteller LeVar Burton narrates real life personal experiences of everyday racism. Sujata's debut award-winning feature film, DEFINITION PLEASE, was acquired by Ava DuVernay's Array and is now streaming on Netflix. 

Co-moderator Lori Hammel is a NYC-based actress and writer who hails from North Dakota. Film work includes Ethan and Joel Coen’s BURN AFTER READING; SHE'S LOST CONTROL;  PUZZLE and the horror/thriller BLOOD CONSCIOUS along with numerous shorts including  the lead in CONEY ISLAND QUEEN (Cannes Shorts Corner).  On TV Lori has appeared on BLUE BLOODS; FBI: MOST WANTED; JESSICA JONES; HIGH MAINTENANCE; 30 ROCK and MASTER OF NONE.  Her stage work includes Broadway, Off Broadway and National Tours.  As a commercial actor, Lori has been delighted to work opposite Keegan-Michael Key and to be directed in national spots by Johathan Krisel, David Steinberg, Phil Morrison and Oscar winning documentarian Errol Morris. Lori played recurring political pundit Leslie Hillerman on the Onion News Network series, IN THE KNOW and is the creator and star of the series MARGO ROSE REPORTS. She received an Excellence in Acting Award at the NY International Fringe Festival and is the recipient of a Jeff Award, two Jeff nominations, two After Dark Award and the SAG-AFTRA Joseph C. Riley Service Award. Lori co-authored the critically acclaimed guidebook MINDING THE EDGE – STRATEGIES FOR A FULFILLING, SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS AN ACTOR and is a contributing writer for ACTING FOR THE STAGE (Focal Press).

Founder of Brooklyn-based Plug Ugly Films, filmmaker and co-moderator Michael Sládek’s feature-length credits include CON ARTIST (New Yorker Films, The Orchard, Tribeca Film Festival Jury Mention), BAM150 (Cinema Guild), and DEVILS ARE DREAMING (Dances With Films Jury Award). He's also directed multiple shorts, including ALL AGAINST THE SEA (Woodstock Film Festival) and WE LIVE ON OUR STREET (Slamdance Anarchy & Jury Awards), as well as music videos, web series’, industrials, and live theater pieces. Sládek currently serves as the NY Consultant for SAGindie and teaches as an adjunct in the film department at Wagner College. A member of SAG-AFTRA, he started his creative career as a stage and screen actor and has worked for Columbia University Film Dept, Tribeca Film Festival, MTV News, and for writer Jamaica Kincaid.