As screenwriters, it is our job to create well-rounded stories. That means not only having a main character whose journey we follow but also including supporting characters and stories. The addition of strong supporting characters and subplots allows the audience to feel as if your story actually has a life outside of the confines of your script. This is the difference between being a professional screenwriter and someone who writes as a weekend hobby. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jordan Barel, who's worked in producing and development for over 15 years will teach how to bring your supporting characters to life. You will learn how to create characters that are integral to the main plot and the shape of your screenplay. He will walk you through using your support characters to subtly deliver key exposition and give insight into your protagonist. In addition, Jordan will show you how to use your subplots to strengthen your second act and keep the action moving along. You'll break down various film genres to show how each utilizes supporting characters and subplots so you can apply it to your projects. You will walk away with the tools necessary to deliver a fully developed script that says "professional" and not "hobbyist"! "It was absolutely excellent information." - Gerri G. "Great speaker, lots of great info. Thanks!" - Ron H.
From epics like Annie Hall to classics like When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman to modern day movies like The Big Sick, Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas, romantic comedies have provided us with some of the most memorable films in cinema history. And now, especially thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and more, rom-coms are not only back en vogue, but hotter than ever. And the demand for great rom-com scripts is at an all time high. If you have a rom-com or are thinking about writing one, you have to understand all the elements that make up the formula that has been so successful for the most profitable rom-coms that came before. We're here to help you achieve just that. You have a great love story you want to tell. You have a great setting, characters, plot and dialogue you know is going to pop off the page. And you also know that love is a universal language and that your idea will be appealing to romantics all over the world. But, did you know that almost all successful romantic comedies have 5 set up elements and 5 plot elements that are necessary to make it a winning formula? You need to know these 10 elements and how to apply them in order to make your script go from the shelf to being greenlit. Amanda Johnston-Zetterstrom is a writer on Netflix’s hit series, YOU – today’s most modern version of an obsessive dark love story. She was a producer on Brie Larson’s debut Short Term 12 and worked on Friends with Kids starring Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. She’s had a storied career taking love stories in complex worlds and bringing them to the screen. And, now, you can learn about her formula on what makes a good romantic comedy screenplay become a great romantic comedy screenplay. In this two part class (over 4 hours of instruction!) Amanda will go over the 10 crucial elements to write a good rom-com, what makes existing romantic comedies work, how to make your script stand out from the pack, what differentiates a good rom-com from a bad one, how to hone your own voice and how to originate a great idea/hook. You will get the tools you need to write a funny, heartfelt, PRODUCIBLE romantic comedy – so that you can see your name in lights (and let’s be real… get paid!) "Wow. This class was so comprehensive. Between the dozens of case studies and the practical tips and applications I can't imagine there is a better romantic comedy class anywhere in the world." - Gwen B. "Amanda is like a walking Encycolpedia of all things love and rom-com. It's amazing how she made writing this format so easy to understand. She gave me so much to think about when diving into my script. Thank you Amanda. I will definitely take any class you offer on Stage 32!" - Kaustubh P.
Documentary filmmaking is a very different game than narrative filmmaking, as any documentarian can tell you. Perhaps the most important difference between the two is that narrative filmmaking follows a script. The story is determined and developed before production begins. This is not the case with documentaries—it can’t be. Documentaries capture real life which is anything but predetermined. As a result the documentary filmmaking process is flipped and the story is crafted after production. Therefore perhaps the most important but least talked about stage of documentary filmmaking is the editing. Not the technical craft of editing, but storytelling, specifically finding and crafting the story from your footage. This doesn’t just make or break your documentary; it is your documentary. Yet this process of finding the story can be incredibly hard since it’s is often vastly different from the story in your head. But mastering this skill is the key to being a great documentary filmmaker and something that’s entirely within your grasp. Most documentary filmmakers reach a stage in putting together their film where they believe they’re “too close to the footage” and “need fresh eyes.” At this point, they hope an outsider will help solve the problems arising in their edit. On the contrary, this is stage where the filmmaker needs to get closer to the footage and ask themselves some very big questions. More than the interviews, more than shooting footage, more than even the assembly edit, this is the moment that makes a documentary great; it’s not the time to tap out. Knowing what makes a good documentary story, which big questions to ask, and how to get out of tough narrative jams can make all the difference in putting together your project. Eric Daniel Metzgar is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and the producer and editor of Hulu's documentary CRIME + PUNISHMENT, which won an Emmy and Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize. A two-time Sundance Documentary Lab Fellow, Eric has extensive experience directing, producing, writing, and editing award-winning documentary films. He directed, shot and edited REPORTER, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on HBO, and was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also directed, shot and edited LIFE.SUPPORT.MUSIC., which aired on PBS’s long-running documentary series POV, and THE CHANCES OF THE WORLD CHANGING, which also aired on POV and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Eric also edited GIVE UP TOMORROW and ALMOST SUNRISE, which were both nominated for Emmys and also aired on POV. Through his storied and heavily awarded history, Eric has positioned himself as a practiced and highly sought after editor and documentarian. He’s prepared to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Eric will teach you invaluable strategies to help you move through the inevitable difficult stages of your documentary editing journey and to stay on track when the going gets tough and all seems lost. He will begin by going over what makes a good documentary story in general, including beginnings, middles, and ends, arcs, stakes, and “releasing power”. He’ll then discuss how best to approach your own footage and determining if you have a story. He’ll explain differentiating between the footage and the story in your head, how to craft an outline, and create a reckoning with beats. He will also teach you what selects are and why they can make all the difference. Next Eric will give you tips on how to approach the initial assembly edit, where to start, how to stay motivated, how to avoid “the music trap” and the best way to start linking your scenes together. Then he will delve into the real editing after the assembly is completed. He’ll discuss rearranging, re-cutting, and deleting, how to fix the scenes that aren’t working and how to know when to kill your darlings. He will also give you tips on revisiting raw footage later on in the process and what to do when you hit those inevitable but painful roadblocks. Eric will focus on the two hardest parts of a documentary—beginnings and endings, and strategies to make them successful. Next Eric will go into strategies of how to be objective of your own project in order to figure out why it sucks. He will spend time giving tips and inspiration for what to do when you hit that dreaded brick wall and how to stay on track and hold on to your purpose when things get difficult. He’ll talk about getting others’ opinions and what you need to do to allow your film to be good, how to take it from good to great, shifting from the content to the form, fine tuning, working with the film as a whole, and how best to address lingering doubts. There’s nothing harder than editing a great documentary, but you will leave this webinar with a better understanding of how to be successful and a collection of strategies to help you navigate your way through. "Editing a documentary is hard, period. There's no road map and no formula. But after editing a number of documentaries, I've learned a few things that I wish I'd known at the beginning of my journey, and I hope my experience can help others who are struggling to make their film as great as it can be." -Eric Metzgar
Producer Tiegen Kosiak joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
Art/Work Entertainment Manager, Spencer Robinson joins our panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a creative is finding financiers and raising funds for your film. You may have a great script, a great cast and crew, but at the end of the day no money means no project. It seems like everywhere you turn these days there are thousands of films getting made, so where are all these filmmakers finding their financing? And what makes these projects so special and attractive that financiers are ready, willing and able to write a big check? The answers are simpler than you think. The key that separates a successful producer, filmmaker, director or actor or screenwriter looking to control their own content from those still struggling is the ability to raise and close the money necessary to make the project a reality. For many, the belief is that a great script is all you need to attract investors. Although story is still king, it's not the only factor that goes into a financier making separating your project from all others that are presented to him or her. To set yourself up requires work, research, and a targeted plan of attack. It requires a full understanding of the financial prospects of your project, the marketplace, and potential distribution and recoupment strategies. And most of all, and this may surprise some people, it requires you to be personable, collaborative, and to have an ability to listen and adjust where necessary. Tom Malloy has raised over $25M in funding for films. He co-owns the distribution/foreign sales company Glass House Distribution, and two production companies - Trick Candle Productions and Blood House Productions. Over the years Tom has produced almost two dozen feature films and has worked with Dakota and Elle Fanning, Elisabeth Moss, Amy Smart, Billy Zane, Eliza Dushku and many more. Throughout all these projects he's mastered the art of raising capital to greenlight a project. And, he's going to share with you how you can find money for your own project! Tom will focus in on how to identify, attract and sell investors who are a fit for your project. He'll introduce the HNI (High Net Worth Individual) and how you can find and approach them. You will learn how to tailor and perfect your financing pitch so that it's personal, professional and stands out from the pack, and learn to be prepared for any responses, feedback, or kickback you might receive. As important, you'll learn the three mistakes commonly made when approaching and pitching an investor. Tom will show you how to research investors, and give you an actual list making technique that works. Then, once you have your plan, he'll teach you how to get and win meetings. He'll teach you which markets are worth attending and how to put a plan of attack in place once you get there. Finally, Tom will teach you 5 tips on how to close your investor. This is proven advice from someone who has a track record of over a decade being successful and finding financing. "Solid gold Tom! Thanks for all the handy tips to put into place. You made the process seem so much easier to find people to actually invest in my film!" - Steven R. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the projects I put in front of investors. What I've learned is I don't have the right strategy or message to make them understand why I have such confidence. This webinar changed all that for me. I realize now that I had much of it backwards and was missing many key components that made my pitch, and frankly, my follow up methods lacking. I'm grateful." - David W.