Program: Film Connection for Cinematography

Cinematography

The cinematographer is the set magician. DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry it takes to create the needed light and shape it for desired artistic effect.

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Cinematography Program

The DP (Director of Photography/AKA cinematographer) works side-by-side with the director from the beginning of a film’s conception to collaborate on the look and feel of the film. The DP is responsible for how the shots are composed and blocked and how the scenes are lit.  As such, the DP works closely with the director to bring his or her vision to the screen.

The DP is the director’s partner, confidant and at times, their only friend on the set. While the director works with the talent, it is the DPs job to run the crew. Together, they come up with the film’s shots and they constantly look for ways to make every image better than expected. It’s a never-ending quest that only gets more interesting with experience.

As an extern cinematographer, the Film Connection will pair you with a working DP who will not only show you the tricks of the trade, but also serve as a mentor to develop the “eye of the DP.” The eye is something that no book can teach you and no professor can lecture you on – you simply have to learn it by doing.

While learning by doing is an excellent way to learn all aspects of filmmaking, it is particularly important when it comes to cinematography since traditional lighting and camera angles are often ignored or modified to get the look the director and DP are trying to achieve.

 

This is your curriculum.

Lesson 1: Rule of Thirds

This lesson teaches basic framing within the lens, including how to frame your actors and settings in the most aesthetically appealing manner possible. Most cameras have a Rule of Thirds grid overlay in the viewfinder to make it easy to place the subject where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect and thus follow the Rule of Thirds.

Lesson 2: Basic Lighting

Lesson 2 emphasizes three-point-lighting, the most common and practical way to light a scene and give a true cinematic look and feel to your shot. Along with learning about the types of lighting instruments—open face, Fresnel and practicals—and light sources—tungsten, HMI, fluorescent and LED you’ll learn how to control your lighting through barn doors, gels, scrims, flags, shiny boards and more.

Lesson 3: T-Stops and F-Stops

This chapter focuses on the technical aspects of the camera and introduces the all-important ‘f’ and ‘t’ stops that are on every lens. Students will learn how ‘f’ and ‘t’ stops are different ways to measure how much light is being transmitted through a lens. ‘F’ stops are based on a mathematical formula, ‘t’ stops are the physical measurement of the actual amount of light which passes through the lens. You’ll learn why DPs prefer ‘t’ stops—especially when using multiple cameras.

Lesson 4: Depth of Frame

Every DP needs to understand how to frame a shot; however, to create a truly beautiful shot, the cinematographer must bring depth to the frame. This chapter will explain how to optimize beauty and depth within a frame by creating foreground, middle ground and background elements in each shot through the use of blocking and depth of field.

Lesson 5: Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is the proportional relationship between the width and height of an image. Over time, the aspect ratios have changed based on the evolution of technology. Common aspect ratios today include 16:9 HD TV; 21:9 most movies; 14:10 IMAX. This comprehensive lesson examines the history of aspect ratio, how it has evolved through cinematic history, and where it stands today.

Lesson 6: Shot Sizes

An in-depth look at the standard shot sizes used relative to the human body. This lesson will describe each shot size and type in detail, providing both descriptive and pictorial representations of how shots should be framed relative to the subject. Wide shot, full shot, mid shot, medium close up, close up, extreme close up, Dutch angle, low angle, high angle, pan, cut in, over the head, tilt, dolly, zoom, over the shoulder, two shot, crane, aerial shots and crossing the line will be described in detail.

Lesson 7: Frame Rate

Students will explore how different frame rates affect the look of the image—did you ever notice wagon wheels that appear to be going backwards on old movies? Frame rate is to blame. Additionally, students will be given a brief history of how frame rates developed during the earlier days of motion picture film. Today, the common frame rates are 24 fps (frames per second); 30 fps and 60 fps.

Lesson 8: Final Assignment 1

Students will take the cumulative knowledge they’ve gained in prior lessons and shoot their own ‘experimental documentary’ utilizing all the skills they’ve learned from prior lessons. Students will have access to their mentor location production company’s gear.

Lesson 9: Final Assignment 2

Students will learn how to communicate with directors in a practical manner in order to understand their vision as well as learn how to integrate their own creative ideas with those of the director. Their mentor, an experienced filmmaker, will serve as the director.

Lesson 10: Final Assignment 3

Cinematography students will collaborate with fellow Film Connection directing students who are also studying in their local area. This collaboration will be in the form of a full scene, shot from the director’s script and under full control of the director and cinematography student. This project will enable cinematography students to implement and utilize every skill learned throughout the curriculum in a true, on-set manner. Additionally, it will give the cinematography student high quality footage to add to his/her professional reel.

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Connections Matter

Learn From Industry Pros

The Film Connection film school alternative is endorsed by filmmakers who are making movies, maybe even the movies you love.

Professionals in the film business—including famous producers, screenwriters and directors—endorse Film Connection’s programs for one simple reason: they know our immersive hands-on method works.

Mark Kohn

Marc is an accomplished executive with a consistent record of managing costs, measuring progress with metrics and creating operational efficiencies. He’s a thoughtful and enthusiastic professional possessing the ability to create a vision, gain executive alignment and effectively lead dynamic high performance teams for success.

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Jason Hewitt

Jason Hewitt, a native of Louisiana, left the technology industry to join the film and television industry. Hewitt was an early mover in the Internet economy, founding the website creation and marketing management company Planet Symphony in 1994.

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David Fuhrer

David’s stage and studio clients include: Bravo, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, Sex & The City, American Cancer Society, Clairol, Law & Order – Criminal Intent, Amazon, Verizon, VH1, The History Channel, MTV, Director’s Guild of America and many many more.

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ICM Partners

and RRF have donated to the Hide & Seek Foundation’s SOAR (Support of Accelerated Research).

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Carl Millender

Carl Millender born in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 5, 1970 is a pioneer in the film and television industry. In 1990 Carl Millender became a cultural consultant for NBC’s new programs, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-air”, “Seinfeld”…

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Brian Glazen

Equal parts MacGyver, Steven Spielberg and Gandhi, Brian has ideas. Ideas about marketing, ideas about communication and ideas about fixing just about anything that might be broken. When he’s not sharing his ideas with clients you can usually find him fixing things at his own home or eagerly searching for things that may need fixing…

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Sam Borowski

“Film Connection truly is the ‘Film School of Hard Knocks.’ It helps new students to gain experience and network and teaches one thing I always preach to young filmmakers: practicality. It gives new students and would-be filmmakers, writers and editors, a chance to connect personally with their mentors.”

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Alex Keledjian

Producer of Project Greenlight

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Richard Berg

Richard Berg is an Art Director’s Guild and Emmy nominated Production Designer. He is responsible for the Production Design of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Eleventh Hour, Miami Medical, Chase and Modern Family. Berg is also an architect.

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Jeff Kushon

Great program. I’m proud to be a part of it.” Jeff has worked on over 200 film sets and has been a Set Decorator on hit movies, “Dude Where’s My Car”, “Nurse Betty”, “Blade 2”, “Beautiful”, “She’s All That” as well as TV shows “Modern Family”, “Trust Me” and “Miami Medical”.

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Luis Estrada

“Our first extern in this program was put right in the middle of the action and it was amazing how he was able to learn by doing. This Film Connection is great for people with a sincere interest in this field. Our extern turned out to be a reliable resource and we hope his experience […]

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Matt Pellowski

“Being paired with working professionals and established companies allows up-and-coming artists to learn on the job, introduces them to the realities of film production, and helps them acquire the tools needed to become successful. Two of our current staff are graduates of the Film Connection.”

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Schedule a Tour

Visit a Film Production Company
In Your Area

Please fill out the following information, and Admissions will contact you:

* Not all programs are available in every state. Consult an Admissions Representative to learn more.

Meet our Mentors

Why learn from teachers when you can learn from the professionals?

Michael Van Orden Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Michael Van Orden Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Credits: Being Doug, Called to Serve, The Washing, Spit

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Albert Dabah Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Albert Dabah Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Albert has been in the video production business for thirty-three years, owning and running Simba Productions in New York City.

Clients: CNN, HBO, Apple

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Bob Kelley Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Bob Kelley Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Clients: Discovery Canada, PBS, UCDavis, Associated Press, Fox News, Blackstone Media, NBC Universal

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Marc Silber Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Marc Silber Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

With a background in visual media, director Marc Silber has interviewed scores of entrepreneurs, CEOs and creative professionals over the years. His interview series has received hearty praise and has helped countless business leaders and artists tell their story.

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Craig Roessler Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Craig Roessler Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

A film and television studio executive and producer for over twenty years, Craig has directly overseen, managed, and/or produced 25 films and seven network series with budgets totaling over $500 million. 

Craig is known for his project-management skills, having close working relationships with talent and directors, producing big looking, studio-quality content on tight budgets, quickly providing workable solutions for development and production issues, and completing projects on time, on budget.

As Senior Vice President of Production, Programming and Creative Affairs for MGM Television Worldwide Inc., Craig had direct oversight of all content development, and oversaw pre-production, production, post-production, while working with business & legal affairs, marketing, and promotion. His MGM product was nominated for 10 Emmy awards and numerous others including DGA, Golden Globes, PGA and SAG awards. 

He oversaw studio projects such as the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Universe, Dead Like Me, and The L Word, as well as Showtime Movies Inherit the Wind, Twelve Angry Men, In the Time of the Butterflies, That Championship Season, and Rocky Marciano, which opened the Monte Carlo Film Festival. Craig has worked with a wide range of talent, from well-established actors and directors to breaking new talent. 

Craig grew up in Los Angeles and Colorado, working summers on ranches breaking and training western saddle horses. He attended Columbia University, working his way through school as an actor on NBC’s soap opera “Another World,” while learning production work skills for quick, quality content.

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Kel Thompson Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Kel Thompson Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

America’s Production Company was established in 2005 by Kel Thompson who has degrees in photography & advertising from Texas State University. Kel is also a graduate of the Palm Beach Film School. Kel was first published in photography at 17 years old in TX. Kel worked for News24Houston as their first helicopter videographer, before being hired by a major event production company in Florida. Two years later he established America’s Production Company after learning the ropes in photo, video, audio and event production.

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Zef Cota Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Zef Cota Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Alphabet City Films is a film production company based in New York City, NY. We are a collective of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, and other talented filmmakers. We have created many short films, and recently produced our first feature length film: The Trouble.

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Jim DeGroot Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Jim DeGroot Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Clients: Green Bay Packers, Disney, National Guard, Doritos, ABC World News, Good Morning America, St. Joseph’s Medical Centers, Homeland Security

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Eero Johnson Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Eero Johnson Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

“I’m Eero Johnson. I’m a film and video producer living in Bellingham, Washington. For over ten years I’ve been creating commercials, corporate videos, web videos, sales DVD’s, music videos … whatever it takes to get your message to your audience. I have a great group of clients and I love what I do.”

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Chris Varner Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Chris Varner Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

In a career spanning nearly 20 years, Chris has worked in almost every facet of video production, from lens to post. His credits include EPK work on “Sleepy Hollow”, “Under The Dome”, “The Longest Ride”, “We’re The Millers”, “Iron Man 3”, “One Tree Hill” and more.

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John Raffo Learn Cinematography Mentor

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John Raffo Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

John Raffo started as a photographer in New York before turning his attention to screenwriting. Over the last twenty years he’s worked on a variety of credited and uncredited projects (including, DRAGON, THE BRUCE LEE STORYTHE RELIC, and THE INTERPRETER”). His original screenplay RENKO VEGA AND THE JENNIFER NINE appeared on the 2011 Black List. THE 7TH SWORD is his first story written directly as a graphic novel.

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Shawn Hamer Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Shawn Hamer Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

17 time Emmy award winning DP/Camera Operator, Producer and Director with over 20 years of experience in the Film, Television and Audio business. Extensive professional experience for top clients across the country from Miami to Anchorage, from New York to San Francisco. International production experience in South & Central America as well as China for both documentary and commercial production. Well versed in handling both low and high budget production ($1k to $3.5m). Professional still shooter as well with full ProFoto strobe lighting and speedlight kits. Lots of contacts in the Detroit metro area and in major cities across the globe for every type and size production – full cinema production, 3D production, aerial shoots, camera car, crane/jib, etc. I also have shot, explored, camped and lived all over Michigan – I know the state EXTREMELY well, particularly it’s remotest regions.

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Sebastian Triscari Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Sebastian Triscari Learn Cinematography Mentor

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“Young people are the future of this industry. Mentorship programs like The Film Connection are the most efficient and effective ways for anyone who has a passion to gain the information and experience necessary to be successful!”

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Mitch Kaufman Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Mitch Kaufman Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

A native of Atlantic Beach, Mitch Kaufmann has been offering video services to area businesses and residents since 1984. He started Atlantic Video Productions by shooting weddings, business seminars, and sporting events.

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Horacio Jones Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Horacio Jones Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Award winning director, Horacio Jones is a multi-faceted Video Producer, Director, and Editor. He has turned CinemaViva into one of the leading video production studios in San Diego. In addition to making outstanding corporate video productions, he is committed to making socially conscious and inspiring films and documentaries that bring magic into peoples lives in fun and colorful ways.

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Deen Olatunji Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Deen Olatunji Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Deen’s most recent film is “Warfare”, which was screened at the heart of Dallas and several other cities across the United States. Deen has also worked on several feature, short films and other content, which include “Kanaani” (Popular TV Series”), “The Call”, “King Sacrifice”, “Who Am I” , and “Dancing With The Docs-Texas”. (TV Series). He is currently working on his next projects “The Alarm Clock” (Short Film) and “Eze Back To School”  (Feature Film) all coming up in fall and winter 2016.

Deen believes the RRFC program is great because it’s one of the few reputable schools that teach you on the field which he states is a great way of learning.

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Rex Piano Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Rex Piano Learn Cinematography Mentor

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“The Film Connection allows aspiring writers to work with professionals.  The students not only learn theory, but practical applications to screenwriting.  I wish it was around when I was a student.” — Rex Piano, Producer/Director, Impact Earth, Fall of Hyperion, Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire, Murder Dot Com, Hope Ranch, The Month of August

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Matt Kaczkowski Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Matt Kaczkowski Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Matt Kaczkowski graduated from Winona State University with a BA in Mass Communications Broadcasting. He spent three years as a DJ and produced an award-winning radio production.  Prior to starting SilverWater Productions, Matt was an event planner and A/V services coordinator for 4 years. Matt’s passion for film and video is a catalyst for SilverWater’s success.

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Ivan Alzuro Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Ivan Alzuro Learn Cinematography Mentor

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“Unlike the local University, Film Connection sends us committed and focused students. We have turned 1 student into full-time contractor – that says it all!”

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Daniel Lir Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Daniel Lir Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Dream Team Directors is a prestigious directorial team founded by Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir. Their company motto, “Let our dream team manifest your dream”, symbolizes the expansion and positive attention they win for their celebrity and high-profile brand clients and collaborators such as Adidas, MTV, Coldplay, P. Diddy, Smashbox Cosmetics, Atlantic Records, Chrome Hearts, Oscar De La Renta, Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe nominee Anthony Mackie, Matt Bennett of the “Big Bang Theory” and Lea Michele of Fox’s “Glee.”

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Rocco Michaluk Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Rocco Michaluk Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Michaluk has been creating award winning Film & TV productions for over 15 years. His Film Clients include Columbia Pictures, Indian PaintBrush, PBS, NBC, American Empirical Pictures and Fountainbrush Films. His Television clients include NBC, Television Academy / Emmy’s, MTV, Viacom, E! Entertainment, CBS, ABC, Travel Channel, Leftfield Pictures, PETA, and others.

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Alejandra Huerta Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Alejandra Huerta Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

Alejandra Huerta specializes in On-Screen Promotions, Executive Presentation Tapes and Sizzle Reels. She started her career with Andromeda in Miami offering Production Services to MTV Latin America as an editor for on-air promotions. She then relocated to New York where she became a successful producer and editor for Viacom and NBC Universal. After her professional experience in NY she relocated to Florida where she continues to manage, produce and edit projects at Andromeda Productions.

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Joaquin Palma Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Joaquin Palma Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

“The thing I admire most about the program is that it pairs you with people doing the job that you are aspiring to do. In doing that, I feel it gets rid of the “glamour” that people associate with this business, and helps them realize that it is, in fact, A JOB. It takes hard work, a lot of practice and a sincere courtesy towards one’s colleagues to get ahead and stay relevant; not that tired stereotype of the suffering artist that won’t settle for anything less than his vision of perfection! I don’t think they teach you that at traditional film schools.” — Joaquin Franco Palma

Joaquin Franco Palma was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a first-generation American. Having started his career as a production assistant, Joaquin has gone on to become an award winning writer and director of both independent features and TV; most notably, as a staff writer on the Emmy nominated HULU series, EAST LOS HIGH. Aside from writing for the screen, Joaquin is also a published author of fiction and is a youth writing volunteer for the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND and NOSOTROS ORGANIZATION programs.

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Drew Mason Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Drew Mason Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

I started getting serious about making videos during summer backpacking trips with my friends between college semesters at Central Michigan University. Shortly after graduating, I was asked to produce a local TV show. I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back. Since then, I’ve produced videos for documentaries, national ad campaigns, and commercials for multinational companies. Recently I was part of a team that produced videos for Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City, and we received an Emmy Award for special event coverage.

My introduction to the business wasn’t with videography; I was a wedding DJ for nearly 8 years. Through this experience, I discovered that weddings are not only among my favorite things to be a part of, but also to film. I love capturing the excitement, love, and energy surrounding them.

When I’m not editing videos – haha, funny joke – I like to make music. In fact, I serenaded my wife Amanda with my ukulele for our first kiss. True story! I also try to get out to the backcountry wilderness with just a backpack from time to time, especially in beautiful northern Michigan.

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David McClain Learn Cinematography Mentor

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David McClain Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Credits: Coca Cola, Google, Dateline, Travel Channel, NBC

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Demetria Kalodimos Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Demetria Kalodimos Learn Cinematography Mentor

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In 2000, Demetria established Genuine Human Productions, writing, directing, shooting and editing true stories about real people…genuine humans. Demetria Kalodimos has anchored and reported television news for more than 30 years. She’s won some of journalism’s most prestigious awards including 15 regional Emmys, 2 National Headliners and 2 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

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Grant Salisbury Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Grant Salisbury Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Over fifteen years post production experience in Orlando—Grant has provided video editorial, 2D & 3D animations, and motion graphics for a multitude of media clients through his post production company, GFX Creative.

Short & Long Format Video Editorial, Event & Theme Park Animations, Infomercials, Broadcast Commercials, Corporate Communications and Interactive Media for The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Sea World, Lockheed-Martin, AAA Insurance, 3M, Siemens, Honda, A&D Medical, Toyota, FedEx and others.

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Jae Macallan Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Jae Macallan Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Jae Macallan is the owner, producer, and lead editor for Yoyostring Creative in Seattle, WA., with satalite offices in Portland, OR and San Diego, CA.  Yoyostring produces traditional video as well as animation, 360 VR, live video switching and video mapping. 

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Ron Osborn Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Ron Osborn Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

“Simply put, there is no better or more effective way to teach anything than one-on-one, mentor to student.  This is what the Film Connection does.” — Ron Osborn

A writer/producer in television for 35 years, Ron has been nominated for 7 Emmys, 3 Cable Ace Awards, and 2 Writers Guild Awards on shows like MOONLIGHTING, THE WEST WING, and the adult animated DUCKMAN.  He has written pilots for every primetime network, numerous cable networks, as well as movies like MEET JOE BLACK; and has developed feature projects with Steven Speilberg, Ron Howard, and George Lucas, among others. .

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Sam Borowski Learn Cinematography Mentor

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Sam Borowski Learn Cinematography Mentor

Background

“The Recording Radio and Film Connection is such an effective program, because it takes the student out of the classroom and puts them in the very field they seek to be a part of. With mentors that actually work in the student’s respective field, they get first-hand knowledge of how everything works and just what to do. I think it’s the best way to get hands-on experience and the lessons learned are very valuable. I also think that the interview process helps to match a student with a mentor that will be right for them.” – Sam Borowski

Directed and produced the feature film, Night Club starring Oscar-Winner Ernest Borgnine, Natasha Lyonne and Paul Sorvino. Wrote and produced the feature-length documentary Creature Feature: 60 Years of the Gill-Man with Oscar-Winner Benicio Del Toro and narrated by 2-time Emmy-Winner Keith David. Also directed and produced the film Maniac.

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What is the Next Step?

We get it. This isn’t your normal four-year college requiring coursework not associated with your area of interest. We are a post-secondary institution or trade school that's different in its approach. Here's how you can get more info:


Request Information Externship Location Call Admissions

Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Externship locations can be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The externship mentor will work with each student on structuring a specific schedule, the student agrees that he/she will be available to meet with the mentor for a minimum of two sessions per week.”

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Film Connection provides unique, mentor-based programs that are affordable, so you can stay in control of your finances.

New! Finance your education with Climb.
Get approved in minutes with no impact to your credit score.