Eric Daniel Metzgar is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and two-time Sundance Documentary Lab Fellow with 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 and produced the Hulu documentary CRIME + PUNISHMENT, which won both an Emmy Award and Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, and he 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. Full Bio »
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.
Praise for Eric's Stage 32 Webinar
"This webinar was truly insightful. Very down to earth and straightforward with information. I learned more with Eric in a half-hour than 1 year at a university."
"Fantastic webinar! Eric shared valuable information in such an engaging way...I was so relaxed even though I was feverishly taking notes. : ) He was definitely inspiring. I'm anxious to watch it again!"
"Amazing session with Eric. He has saved me months of prep on my docs just on the tips I got today. No more paper edits for me."
- Genevieve S.
"What an amazingly insightful, helpful presentation! Eric's evident passion for documentary film and practical guidance left me excited to dig into my project."
"So helpful. Exactly what I needed during this time in my careers and profession."
Eric Daniel Metzgar
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
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A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
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Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
During the Write Now Challenge, we turned the spotlight - and the microphones - back over to you during the Write Now Challenge Webcast! Using the "Breakdown Webcast: Writing True Stories" as a guide, your challenge was to find a true story or subject of a biopic that resonates with you! Write a short document that details the subject of the project - whether a historic event, historical figure, or a combination of both - including a "way into the story," principal character(s), basic synopsis, potential themes for exploration, and why it resonates with you as the writer. During the webcast, participants discussed true stories and historical figures that were either well-known or obscure, but all riveting! Participants described accounts from the US Civil War, Korean War, legal battles, pro-wrestling, and many more!
Using the principles learned in the Breakdown Webcast: Breaking the 4th Wall, this month members were challenged to write a short scene in which the character(s) break the fourth wall to drive the plot forward, reveal character and deliver exposition. As part of the webcast, Jason turns the microphone over to the writers to read their projects aloud for the other members in the group.
Sorry, this lab is filled. Keep checking back Stage 32 Education for upcoming labs. Develop An Outline and Pitch Document for Your Animated Television Series in 5 Weeks Netflix Animation Director Will Be Your Mentor via Virtual Classes & One-on-One Meetings! Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max , and KIPO AND THE AGE OF WONDERBEASTS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite show to present if you want to be noticed. This means a great concept, a fantastic pitch deck, and a knockout pilot script. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is animated TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to make your animated pilot as good as it can be and help you springboard your writing career. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who directed on shows like the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. In this lab, you will be working directly with Mike in a virtual class setting and also during one-on-one online sessions to hone your concept and build your pilot outline and pitch deck for a fantastic, market-ready animated pilot. Whether you are interested in creating a “prime time” adult comedy series, action, dramedy, or children’s animation, Mike is here to help you. He will guide you through creating engaging characters, building your world, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and building your bible or pitch deck to sell your show. If you already have a concept, or even a completed pilot, Mike will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material. Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Mike as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your animated series. Students who sign up for this lab with Mike will be eligible to participate in a Level 2 Lab where Mike will continue to mentor you in writing your pilot! WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 5-week writing lab, you will have a polished pilot outline and pitch deck for your animated television series. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with Mike. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information This lab is limited to 15 people - Sorry this lab is sold out This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot.
Once you finish your screenplay and decide it’s time to reach out to producers and representatives, one of the most common responses you may receive is that your idea is not ‘high concept’ enough or your logline doesn’t have a ‘high concept hook’. This term is thrown around a lot in the movie business, but what does it actually mean? ‘High concept’ might be a buzz word, but it’s also a term that carries with it significant meaning as well as some lessons and perspective you can bring back to your own project if you know how best to approach it. Readers, producers and buyers see so many spec scripts that have no chance of becoming films not because the writing isn’t great, but because the writer did not spend enough time on concept. It is one thing to fall in love with a story idea. It is another to stick with it during the uncomfortable phase of working on that idea to make it more enticing to the world. So how can you ensure you consistently develop ideas that excite readers and push your script toward a sale? How do you know if your idea is “high concept” enough? What exactly does “high concept” even mean? Andrew Kersey is a literary manager and the head of Kersey Management whose clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. Andrew recently just sold his client's sci-fi spec script to Universal with THE SOCIAL NETWORK and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Oscar-nominated producer Mike De Luca, and his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel. Andrew has helped his clients pitch countless projects and knows better than most what buyers are looking for and how a high concept approach can make all the difference in getting that script sold. Andrew will break down what makes a script ‘high concept’ and how you can write and sell your own high-concept screenplay. He’ll nail down exactly what a high concept story is and offer examples of high concept movies in different genres, explaining what makes them successful. He’ll then break down why high concept stories are so appealing, from the perspective of producers, studios, and audiences. Next Andrew will delve into how to actually write a high concept story and whether you can adjust your existing screenplay or write one from scratch. He will go through breaking down genre walls and other writing tips you can take with you. Andrew will then teach you how to sell your high concept story. He’ll talk about the importance of your logline and title and give you tips to pitch your high concept story to execs and buyers, including how to explain your world and use comps. Finally he will go over common mistakes writers make when creating high concept stories and will reveal where not to begin and whether size and budget matter. Expect to leave this webinar with a much clearer idea of what makes something “high concept” and a series of tips and ideas you can bring back to your own project to better sell it. "Throughout my time as a literary manager, the term "high concept" has come up more times than I can count. The writers that I work with that are most successful are the ones that understand what this term really means, what buyers are looking for, and how they can adjust to fit this idea. I'm excited to share these secrets with the Stage 32 community." -Andrew Kersey
You know what you like to write, but do you know your personal brand as a writer? Branding yourself as a writer is an integral part of your strategy toward getting read, securing representation, attracting development executives and producers, and, ultimately, securing a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. Should you write in a variety of different formats or stick to one? Should you settle in on a tone or style or show your versatility? All of these questions (and many more) will factor in to how you brand yourself as a writer. Your brand is equal parts preferred medium, chosen genre(s), and personal voice/style. Once all of this is determined and developed, it will become easier to for you, your representation team, and/or your production company to sell/produce/finance your material. There are more screenwriters than ever looking to secure and maintain a career writing for film, television, and now, digital content. But with so much talent vying for limited opportunities, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd. And because there are very few new stories, only fresh takes on proven formulas, a writer’s unique voice and style are paramount when creating and selling content. This voice/style combined with preferred genres and mediums make up a writer’s brand, and cultivating that brand is instrumental in selling yourself and your material in Hollywood. And you don’t need representation or a production company behind you to do it! Developing your brand as a writer starts and ends with you. Once you fully understand, determine and develop your brand with confidence, you’ll find that many more representatives, producers, and other buyers will be willing to jump on your bandwagon. Tiegen Kosiak began her career working with, among others, the Academy Award-winning writers of BIRDMAN and the creator of STEP UP and SAVE THE LAST DANCE. While working in management and development Tiegen recognized how integral a writer’s brand was in submitting material, setting meetings, and pitching clients for open writing assignments. Prior to her new role working with an A-list actress who has a producing deal with Netflix, Tiegen worked for Cinestar Pictures, Zoe Saldana’s production company. In these roles Tiegen uses branding every day to option material, sell screenplays, and attach writers to projects. She'll help you understand how you can stand out, get read and get sold! Tiegen will teach you the tools needed to craft your brand as a writer and how to use that brand to sell yourself and your material to representatives, producers, and other content buyers in the entertainment marketplace. No matter if you're writing for features or television, Tiegen will show you how to rise above the competition by finding your lane and using this focused strategy to get reads and get you in rooms that matter. Whether you're looking for representation or searching for new representation, Tiegen will teach you 9 invaluable tips on approach that won't make you "just another writer" in the eyes of a rep. She will teach you how to choose the right representation (so important). She will explain and help you navigate where to find work, how to handle, general, pitch and network meetings, and how best to approach producers. In short, she will give you all the tools to help brand you and your writing so executives, reps, and decision makers want to read you and work with you from the jump! I found it very helpful and entertaining. I was shocked at how fast the time went. Tiegen packed a lot of great information into the 90 minutes. I know this is a webinar I will listen to again. - Cam C. This was an EXCELLENT webinar! Useful, unique information. Tiegen generously shared an enormous amount of information. Writing is a strenuous, though rewarding endeavor, and her detailed observations and vigorous, yet concise, genotype theories, as it were, have inspired my work ethic. And triple thank you for mentioning there are management companies with offices in NYC, not far. I don't live in LA, and have been worried for ages about that geographic block. Thank you Tiegen, and Stage 32. - Gerri G.
Now that the barrier to entry is lower than ever to start creating your own content, it's imperative to learn how to capitalize shooting on digital. Whether it's understanding the needs of digital services like Netflix, or platforms like YouTube, there is a spot in the market for you to make it a career. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar your host Stephen Balsley will be going over the technology side of the Industry, with a specific focus on the shift from Film to Digital. We will also be learning to look at Media as a whole, from how each piece is interconnected, to how technology is affecting extraordinary change in every area of Media. We will go over specific examples of Filmmakers who have successfully capitalized on the shift to Digital, and will provide useful steps to ensure your projects are taking full advantage of the available Technology to give you the best possible chance at creative success. The Technical side can be one of the most difficult and daunting areas of any Industry (like opening up the hood of a car), but Stephen's goal for this webcast is to inspire an overall curiosity into all of the change that is currently happening, and to begin to gain a firm understanding of how the Industry works around, and is very often driven by, the Digital Age in which we live. Stephen Balsley began his career at a RED Digital Cinema nearly 9 years ago, and has watched it grow from a small startup company into one of the leading Cinema brands in the world. During that time, the RED One camera was largely credited with driving the shift from Film to Digital, with RED cameras now being used in a large number of films and other projects across the Industry. Although Stephen’s expertise is in RED, he is well experienced in all types of cameras, including Arri, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic, and more.