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.
"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 Daniel Metzgar
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The Cannes Film Festival can be overwhelming when you plan to attend for the first time. Over 12,000 film industry professionals head to Cannes each year to present and discover almost 4,000 films and projects in development at 33 screening venues. Fuelled by this success, the Marché has expanded with the opening of the Riviera and Lérins exhibition halls, forming a hub around the world-famous Palais des Festivals and the Village International, the number one venue for promoting films from all over the world. As a leading global film industry organization, the Marché du Film takes a rigorous approach in adapting to the expectations of industry professionals worldwide and to emerging economic, technological and creative film trends. Even if you’re a veteran attendee, things are always changing at Cannes so it’s important you stay in the know. Stage 32 is proud to be the industry education workshop partner of the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film for the third year and we are excited to offer all badge holders the opportunity to experience Stage 32 education. Together with the Marché we are excited to offer an exclusive webinar to our Stage 32 community on how you can navigate the festival. In this webinar we’re bringing in the Executive Director, Jérôme Paillard, and his team to talk about the festival and how to navigate it. Now, you’ll get to hear straight from the source on how to make your Cannes experience work for you. You’ll walk away from this webinar able to arrive on the Croisette ready to make things happen!
Learn directly from Heather Hale, Independent Film and TV Producer and Director who is vetted to pitch projects to NBC Universal and whose 50 hours of television have won Emmys, Tellys and Ace Awards as well as "Best New Series Pilot"! Our industry has changed dramatically - and it continues to evolve. This webinar will help you strategize how to find the best points of entry for your projects in the overlapping but distinct media marketplaces. Learn time-proven techniques and new resources to proactively brainstorm the right attachments and elements for your project. Learn how to identify, research and prioritize a finely honed hit list of marquis-value actors appropriate for not only the roles – but your budget and genre; bankable, "gettable" directors that will do justice to your project's sensibilities; legitimate financiers and distributors proficient in your niche and the brands that are eager to hit your target demographics. Figure out how to track them all down, strategize the best approaches to get on their radars and develop the kind of materials and pitches they will most likely respond to. Heather uses in-the-trenches humor, candor and real world examples to illuminate the many paths to getting a project up onto the big (or little) screen.
Art/Work Manager Spencer Robinson will discuss the differences between managers and agents, how to grab a manager's attention, working with a manager and what he currently is seeing in the industry.
Since announcing our new screenings initiative, thousands of new members have joined the Stage 32 community, and there was no better time than to come together to connect, learn, and grow in our digital universe. So with that, I wanted to welcome our new members to the party by hosting one of my AMAs (Ask Me Anything): Quarantine Edition. Damn, you guys were on fire! The entertainment industry is rapidly changing as we all navigate this evolving landscape. In the last few weeks, in addition to talking with over 800 filmmakers from canceled festivals, I've had countless conversations with executives and industry professionals how creatives can keep hustling and put themselves in position to succeed in this new and ever-changing landscape. With everything going on, I can say without hesitation that I had a LOT to share! And I know you all had questions! In this over 2 hour AMA webcast we got together for inspiring, motivating, and brutally honest craft and industry talk. Remember, no matter what your discipline, skill level, geographical location, etc, this AMA will be helpful for ALL! You all brought your questions and the energy and I handled the rest. Amidst this global crisis that has forced so many of us indoors, we are excited to give film, tv, and digital creatives a safe place to stay creative and build relationships with their fellow entertainment industry folks from all over the world. Let's continue to come together for some inspiration, motivation and community love. And if you know any other creative who is not a member of Stage 32 that could use a lift, please invite them as well by sharing the on demand link to download. I enjoyed spending quality time with you all.
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.
Filmmakers, producers, and financiers can really be held back by distribution contracts. If they don’t understand the language or terms, are passive or held hostage by a feeling that they may be getting ripped off, or simply do not have the support system to advise them or the knowledge to know what to fight for, they can find themselves at an extreme disadvantage. In many cases, the excitement of the "someone likes my movie/let's get it out there" mentality supersedes common sense. And that alone can lead you into giving away your rights, accepting horrendous percentages or agreeing to terms that lock you and your project up. Don't fall into these traps! You worked hard on your film. You sacrificed time and likely money to get to this point. While most might think this is time to hit the gas pedal, it's actually time to tap the brakes. You want to be sure you're doing everything humanly possible to not only protect yourself, your investors and your team, but maximizing your film's potential in the marketplace. Anna Darrah is an experienced film buyer, negotiating with and licensing over 800 films in her 12 years working for Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle. She has been an active player on the festival circuit and currently advises filmmakers on custom distribution strategies. Anna is also a filmmaker who produced two documentaries that aired on The Sundance Channel, and directed a music video and the short film THE MATTER OF MAGIC. She also produced a feature-length documentary about Helen Schreider (www.THEHELENMOVIE.com) while also making short films for the ZILLOW.COM series, HOMEMAKERS. Anna has enjoyed jurying and participating in film festival panels and workshops here and abroad and is currently offering a Film Distribution Workshop co-taught with Jilann Spitzmiller. Now Anna brings her knowledge and teaching prowess to Stage 32. Anna will begin by breaking down theatrical and broadcast rights as well as exclusive and non-exclusive deals. She'll dive into breaking down deal points including term, territory, rights and compensation. She'll discuss standard terms and point out red flags within and speak to what you should negotiate to assure you get the best, and most fair, deal. She will even look at the negotiation process from the other side of the table so you can understand what a distributor truly wants out of a deal. Thinking outside the box, Anna will even discuss going the DIY distribution route or a hybrid DIY/traditional distribution path. All this and much more. It’s incredible how each contract is like a snowflake -- totally unique and yet similar in some very important ways. I will help you understand the entire distribution arena so you can sleep well knowing you've made the best deal for you, your partners and, most importantly, your film. - Anna Darrah Praise for Anna "Excellent overview of terms to be aware of when negotiating or reviewing a distribution agreement." - Valerie N. "Anna was great, the information she shared was so very useful!" - Christian C. "For a complex subject, Anna made it all so simple and easy to follow. Excellent webinar!" - Drea P. "A knockout." - Mana W.