Classics: What Makes a Classic?, PART TWO - LA Raindance


Classics, Part 2: What Makes a Classic?


Availability: Live Online, Video-on-demand (VOD)
Duration: One session
Date: Thursday 15 April
Time: 10.00am- 12pm LA time 

Course Fee: $55 
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Jason Piette and Julia Verdin, creative producers of the classic Shakespeare movie adaptation, The Merchant Of Venice, dir. Michael Redford, starring Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as the Merchant, and many other classic films, explore what makes a classic, and what makes a classic adaptation.

The course is in two parts, the first an analysis of the movie Jason and Julia produced for Sony Pictures Classics, and how adaptations transition a story from another medium to the silver screen; and the second broadens the scope of the course to answer the question: what makes a classic, citing a number of famous and less well-known classics, some adaptations, some original works that became classics in their own right.



Part 2: The Anatomy of a Classic Adaptation

Julia and Jason explore the key major stakes and strokes of adaptation, before asking what makes a classic in the first place?  Do classic works of art work the same way, whatever the medium or how do they differ in their interrelationship with their viewers and readers worldwide?  What makes a work of art a classic?  What’s a classic movie?

How to identify IP that has an inbuilt audience?

What kind of stories will stand the test of time?

What is the ideal structure of a classic story?

For book adaptations finding ways to bring out the inner life into the visual medium.

Ways to translate the power of other media into the cinematic world.

Ways to craft stories from real events.

Along the way, Jason and Julia will delve into the archives and take a look at what made classics by Truffaut, Hitchcock and Tarantino tick; what directors such as Ray, Coppola, Tarkovsky and Lean brought to the cinema culture and much more…


Looking for more? This is a two-part course! Sign up for both here:


Or, check out PART 1 here:






Jason Piette is a producer and film financier with over 50 movies and TV series to his name, including the $25M The Merchant Of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons; Head In The Clouds ($20M) starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, (both for Sony Pictures Classics); the $33M Napoleon TV series for A & E in the United States; Perfect Creatures ($11M) for Twentieth Century Fox; independent American features such as Mark Pellington’s I Melt With You for Magnolia Pictures and cult classic, part crowdfunded Iron Sky for Entertainment One. Before co-founding Disrupting Influence Jason also worked on the $300 million Movision Film Fund. Jason is a graduate of Cambridge University. Jason is currently working on several TV series with Netflix.



Julia Verdin is a British film producer and founder of Rough Diamond Productions, established in 1994. She has established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading producers with over 30 feature films. She is best known for producing the Sony Classics release The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford, and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, the Newmarket release Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes, and starring Tom Jane, Deborah Unger, Dexter Fletcher and David O’Hara, and the Breaking Glass release 2 Jacks, based on Leo Tolstoy short story “Two Hussars,” directed by Bernard Rose, and starring Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Jacqueline Bisset and Billy Zane.

Verdin has recently executive produced Lionsgate release Born of War, directed by Vicky Jewson, and starring James Frain and Sophia Black D’Elia. This year she has just directed her first film Lost Girls staring Bar Paly, Marisol Nichols and Jamie Harris, and produced The Unwilling directed by Academy Award nominated director Jonathan Heap, and starring Dina Meyer, Jake Thomas and Lance Henriksen. Christmas Survival directed by James Dearden starring Gemma Whelan, Joely Richardson, Julian Ovenden and James Fox.

She is currently developing various film and TV projects with writers and directors including Academy Award and Palme d’Or nominated writer/director James Dearden; acclaimed festival award winning writer/director Éva Gárdos; Academy Award Nominated director Jonathan Heap; WGA Autumn Stories 2010 winner screenwriter Cynthia Riddle, and director Vincenzo Natali.

Verdin is a top film consultant having provided consulting services on development and production. She also wrote the critically acclaimed book, Success in Film, a detailed guide to funding, making and finishing independent films.



Do you want attend the first class in person and online on other weeks? Or, do you want to attend online on some weeks and watch other weeks on VOD?  You have the freedom to attend this course in person, online, or by watching it on VOD without making any prior selection. 

LIVE ONLINE: Every attendee gets an email invitation for the online classroom 30 minutes before class start times. All you need to do is to click the link provided in that email and watch the class on your computer’s web browser without needing to download any special software. If you are attending on your smart phone or tablet, please download the ClickMeeting app.

VOD: Video on Demand is a great option if you want to repeat what you learned in the class or you didn’t have time to attend the class in person or online. Each attendee gets a Vimeo link 24-48 hours after each week’s class.