Program: Film Connection for Film Directing

Film Directing School

The Film Connection film directing school – study directing, producing, screenwriting in the business without going deep in debt.

Film Connection provides affordable, unique education models coupled with mentor-based (externship) programs that can be engaged remotely or in person.

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Director / Producer / Screenwriter Program

The late and great film director Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, 2001, Dr. Strangelove, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, and more) described film directing as, “Trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car at an amusement park…”

The film director is in charge of the creative aspects of a film, ensuring their vision of the story gets to the screen in the face of constant chaos. Are you up to the challenge?

If film directing is for you, the Film Connection can help you obtain the necessary skills for becoming a professional director.

With us, you will study inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea through private instruction with a professional filmmaker.

Then you will fly to Los Angeles or New York to pitch your idea to an executive who could buy or get your movie idea made.

What you will learn<br />as an extern of this program:

DIRECTING/SHOOTING:

  • Shot blocking
  • Working with Actors
  • Lighting
  • Grip and Electric
  • The Art of the Interview
  • How to Make your Day

WRITING:

  • How to Pitch a Movie Professionally
  • How to Develop an Idea
  • How to Write a Treatment
  • Screenwriting

PRODUCING:

  • Budgeting
  • Financing
  • Deal Making
  • Contracts, Permits, Licensing

Get Started

Get Educated,
Get Access,
Get Hired.

With the right experience and connections, you can jumpstart your career in the film industry.

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.

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 real-world method works.

Hans Zimmer

From his early days in pop music, Hans has written original scores for such films as Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), Gladiator (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2005) Sherlock Holmes (2009) and over 100 others.

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Joel Schumacher

Joel Schumacher and RRF have donated to The Endometriosis Foundation of America. This group aims to increase disease recognition, provide advocacy, facilitate expert surgical training, and fund landmark endometriosis research.

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Larry King

The Film Connection was recently invited onto the Larry King program to talk about how our externship program is making a difference by connecting our students and getting them hired.

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Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew and RRF have helped Tracey Wilson, a former gang member, get into film school, and are now helping him make his first documentary about getting your GED and going to college.

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Judi Levine

Sundance Award-winning Producer of the Academy Award-winning film, The Sessions.

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Judge Mathis

Judge Mathis and RRF are helping inner city youth get educated through the RRF program.

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Sandy Stern

Credits: Being John Malkovich, Saved! and Velvet Goldmine.

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Henry Bromell

Henry Bromell produced, created, directed the series Homeland, and has written and produced the television dramas Northern Exposure, I’ll Fly Away, Homicide: Life on the Street, Chicago Hope, Carnivale, Brotherhood, Rubicon, and Homeland.

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Paul Guay

Credits: Liar Liar, The Little Rascals, Hearbreakers

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Evan Astrowsky

“I went to a good film school, but the day I graduated I had no idea what to do. No one wanted to hand me thousands of dollars to direct or produce anything so I had to figure it out on my own.”

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Ron Osborn

Credits: The West Wing, Meet Joe Black, Duckman

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Doug Eboch

Credits: Sweet Home Alabama, The Hollywood Pitching Bible

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Tour 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?

Steven Schott

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Steven Schott

Background

Credits: Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Lost Calendar, The Final Season

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Daniel Sollinger

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Daniel Sollinger

Background

Producer: The Alphabet Killer, Six Ways to Sunday, Alone in the Dark II, In My Sleep, Girls Against Boys, Deadliest Warrior, Age of Kali

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Joe Van Wie

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Joe Van Wie

Background

Following a spirited and notorious adolescence in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Joe did a stretch at New York University and ended up spending nearly a decade as an accomplished part of the New York City’s lively film and TV industry. During this time, he racked up credits ranging from producing feature films premiering at international film festivals to directing and producing content for a variety of national cable television networks. His most recent film is the locally-shot award-winning feature Forged. Joe is an active board member on the boards of Dress for Success, The Scranton Club and the American Advertising Federation of NEPA. Joe is also a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the American Association of Political Consultants, and two time Pollie award winner.

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John Lux

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John Lux

Background

John Lux is the Chief Operating Officer for the IDEAS media and experience design company, which employs film program graduates nationwide. The projects his company handles stretch from Florida, to Europe, and as far as Shangai, China.

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Rebecca Ramon

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Rebecca Ramon

Background

Rebecca Ramon hails from Battle Creek, MI and is a proud Midwestern girl. She believes that’s exactly what keeps her down to earth and youthful. With a BA in Broadcasting & Cable production from Western Michigan University, and an MFA in Film Production from Chapman University, one of the top ten film schools in the nation, she’s definitely standing on her own two feet. Not only does Rebecca have a formal education, her mentor for post production was Paul Seydor, a member of ACE; the honorary society of motion picture editors. Paul edited movies such as “White Men Can’t Jump” and “This Christmas”. In other words, she has learned from the best, and has over ten years of experience, which ranges from pre-production to post-production in several mediums. Most importantly, she has the passion to share her knowledge as a mentor.

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Tabitha Hartbauer

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Tabitha Hartbauer

Background

The BSP editing facility sets the standard for editing in Colorado. Three video edit suites utilize “Premiere Pro CS6”, “Final Cut Pro” and “DaVinci” and project Panasonic High Definition 1080p images on to 110” Stewart Screens.

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Jason Hewitt

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Jason Hewitt

Background

Odd Thomas, 13 Sins, Blood Out, Left Behind, Season of the Witch, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, The Outsider

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Steve Riach

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Steve Riach

Background

Steve is an award winning producer, director and writer of over 250 films, documentaries, television shows and home video properties, including specials from the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA and NCAA Championships, and college football bowl games.

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Avery Williams

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Avery Williams

Background

Avery O. Williams works steadily in both the film and theater worlds. He is the co-writer of the feature film Directing Eddie starring Valerie Perrine and Jade Barrymore, directed by Lawrence Kaldor which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was voted Best Comedy at the 2001 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. He wrote and directed the industrial film for the City of Atalanta entitled Surviving Domestic Violence and he wrote and co-produced the film short The Willie Witch Projects, which was showcased at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and is distributed by Trimark Pictures in their compilation entitled The Bogus Witch Project. Other short subject screenplays that have been made into films include Notes In A Minor Key, The Willie Witch Projects and The Chocolate Factory, Part 1.

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Harry Findysz

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Harry Findysz

Background

“The Film Connection Program uses real world people to mentor real world jobs.”

-Harry Findysz, Tucson, Arizona, Southern Arizona Video Productions

Producer of Live Television, Music Videos, Documentaries, Winner of Ashbury Best Music Documentary 2016 Linda Chorney The Cantina

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Greg Freeman

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Greg Freeman

Background

Greg Freeman is an award-winning Director of Photography with nearly two decades in news, sports, entertainment, special programming, documentaries, and commercials. Greg has directed projects for nearly every major television network including ABC, Discovery, ESPN, HBO, HGTV, NBC, PBS, and more.

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Tom Malloy

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Tom Malloy

Background

The Alphabet Killer, Love N’ Dancing, The Attic, Hero of the Underworld, Law & Order: SVU

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Jason Jackson

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Jason Jackson

Background

Past productions include LMN’s Monstresses; Investigation Discovery’s Cuff Me If You Can; America’s Most Haunted and UFO’s Crashed my Vacation; America’s Most Secret and I Faked My Own Death for Discovery; National Geographic’s 42 Ways to Kill Hitler and Don’t Try This At Home; Vampire Secrets and Ancient Ink for The History Channel; Las Vegas Bikers for truTV; Weather Channel’s Full Force Nature; True Confessions for WE-TV as well as Beyond Death and Investigative Reports for A&E.

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Matthew Temple

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Matthew Temple

Background

“All aspects of filmmaking are primarily experiential, so a program like this one gives the students what they need most- the opportunity to DO.” — Matthew Temple, Producer of “The Advocate” and Universal’s “Dragon Nest: Warriors’ Dawn”

Matthew Temple has long stood at the crossroads of art and social action–his work and passion split between telling stories and participating in the creation of new paradigms wherein new stories for the future can be created. As a storyteller, he works as a screenwriter, director, producer and actor.  As a social entrepreneur, he is the founder and president of the non-profit WeStrive, where he is the executive director of the Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival. Temple is currently VP of Production and Development for Mili Pictures Worldwide.

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Nick Kielhold

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Nick Kielhold

Background

Nick is your basic military brat. Except for the fact that neither of his parents were actually in the military. But, like many military families, his family moved several times during his youth, living in Omaha, Chicago, and Minneapolis among other places. And although he wasn’t living on military bases, he developed a deep interest in History, and all things military. Ask him about the Battle of Tarawa in 1943, and you may just get an entire lesson on the Pacific Theater of World War II. When he’s not painting tanks for his war game simulations, Nick works here. He shoots video. He edits video. He talks about World War II. A lot. Anyone who comes into contact with Nick will become much better versed in the history of mankind and all the wars it has produced over the years. Nick provided 50% of the formula that founded Full Effect Productions over 18 years ago, and has played a vital role in its success. Nick is a 1987 graduate of the University of South Dakota, and his previous experience includes working at a local TV station as Commercial Videographer/Producer. Not taking a cue from his parents, Nick has decided to keep his family in one city, and has called Sioux City, Iowa home since 1988. He has a wife of 29 years and an adult son and daughter. In his free time, Nick can be found studiously painting small military ships, tanks and airplanes. He has amassed large numbers of these items that comprise entire military units used for battles at the MAGECON gaming convention. He’s a film buff who’s recently installed home theater has him positively giddy, and hardly ever seeing daylight.

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Logan Hale

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Logan Hale

Background

Logan is a lifelong filmmaker. With 8 years of experience in Event and Experiential Marketing, Logan has a passion for communicating the brand message and essence with artistic quality and creativity.

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Megan Kennedy

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Megan Kennedy

Background

Megan is an award-winning photographer and videographer with over 10 years of video production experience, from directing and editing national PSA campaigns to producing feature-length documentaries.

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Calix Lewis Reneau

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Calix Lewis Reneau

Background

Calix Lewis Reneau is a producer and writer, known for An Even Worse Joke (2013), Canyon Road (2013) and My Cousin’s Ghetto Wedding (2016).

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Sandy Stern

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Sandy Stern

Background

Producer, Being John Malcovich, Saved!, Velvet Goldmine, Pump Up the Volume, Thirteen Conversations about One Thing, Equinox, Red Hot

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Rob Helmstetter

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Rob Helmstetter

Background

Rob has experience with major corporate ad agencies Publicis, Medicus, Digitas based in New York and Chicago. He has always been on the bleeding edge of technology and believes that services should be simple for the viewers.

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Ryan Kindahl

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Ryan Kindahl

Background

Documentaries, Music Videos, Commercials

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Derek Koen

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Derek Koen

Background

Washington Koen Media Productions is a full-service media production company specializing in video productions, streaming video solutions, presentations and audio/visual support for organizations both large and small. Whether corporate video presentations, documentaries, live streaming of meetings, or web streaming solutions, our highly-skilled and creative team- with over 20 years of combined experience – using today's latest tools and technology, can produce quality results for your company

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Brian Glazen

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Brian Glazen

Background

In 2013, Brian Glazen co-produced an independent film called Fishing Without Nets. This film went on to win for Best Direction at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and recently sold to Twentieth Century Fox for distribution to theaters nation wide.

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Laura Scheiner

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Laura Scheiner

Background

Seasoned film development executive, writer and script consultant with exceptional story development and script analysis skills. As a development executive I’m particularly adept at pinpointing the problems in a script and coming up with creative solutions. I’m a passionate collaborator who creates a fertile environment where writers can bloom and scripts can meet their potential.

As a writer for hire I pride myself as bringing my story sense, knowledge, talent and unbridled imagination to the table in order to bring the producer’s vision to life.

As a storyteller I always aim to entertain, engage, surprise, move and provoke.

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Craig Constant

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Craig Constant

Background

Craig Constant is an Executive Producer at Constant66 Films. After leaving the Marine Corps, he worked as a Photojournalist/Editor for the Fox News Channel for close to seven years. Since then, he’s worked as a Sound Technician, Production Sound Mixer, Camera Operator and Director of Photography.

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Michael Van Orden

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Michael Van Orden

Background

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

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Albert Dabah

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Albert Dabah

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

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Bob Kelley

Background

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

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Marc Silber

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Marc Silber

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

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Craig Roessler

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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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

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA FOR A MOVIE?

A great number of our students come to us because they have an idea for a movie. That’s a great place to start. All great films start with an idea. Film Connection, film directing externship is designed to help you transform your idea into your movie. Here’s how we do it.

THE FILM CONNECTION PATH TO BECOMING A DIRECTOR

The Film Connection believes in another pearl of wisdom from Stanley Kubrick that the “best education in film is to make one.” That’s the fundamental core of the Film Connection for film directing—you come to us with your idea for a movie and we teach you and help you implement all the steps necessary to get your movie made. Using the auteur theory of film directing, we do this in three stages.

We pair you with a professional screenwriter—one who has feature film credits—to help turn your idea into a screenplay.
We teach you all the steps in the filmmaking process through our structured curriculum and your time as an extern inside a local film production company. During this part your education you will create a sizzle reel, based on your screenplay for your film.

We set up a pitch meeting with you and film industry people who can fund your movie. You will be armed with your elevator pitch, sizzle reel, budget breakdown, screenplay and guidance from your mentor—all the necessary ingredients to get to your goal of having your film get the green-light.

WHAT DOES A FILM DIRECTOR DO?

The film director is in charge of the creative aspects of a film, ensuring their vision of the story gets to the screen in the face of constant chaos. Are you up to the challenge?
If so, the Film Connection film directing externship can teach you the necessary skills for becoming a professional director. These filmmaking skills include:

  • Storytelling
  • Scene settings and look
  • Working with actors
  • Working with the crew
  • Working with the editor
  • Budget Considerations

STORYTELLING: Without a story, there is no film.

Like everything to do with film, we start with the story. A story has a plot, a cast of characters, a setting, a conflict, and a resolution. Storytelling is relevant in all phases of filmmaking from pre-production to production to post-production. In pre-production, locations and actors get chosen for how well they fit the story. In production, the director strives to obtain the best shots and performances to tell the story. In post-production, the sequence and timing of the shots determine how the story is presented to the audience.

While the Film Connection film directing externship emphasizes all aspects of the storytelling process, from concept through editing, in both its curriculum and our externship process which is hands-on and geared towards practical application, our screenwriting portion of the training is done a bit differently. We pair you with a professional screenwriter, one who has feature film screenwriting credits and experience, to work with you in creating a screenplay based on your idea for a movie. We believe this to be a vitally important part of the process, if for no other reason than that ideas cannot be copyrighted but screenplays can. So get that idea fleshed out and developed into a screenplay you can copyright, fast!

SCENE SETTING AND LOOK: The Magic Behind What’s in a Shot.

This is where you start learning how to utilize the technical aspects of filmmaking to bring magic to the screen. Camera angles, lenses and framing determine what’s in the shot and where the eye goes. Lighting sets the tone and mood for the shot. Sets, props and wardrobe also have their influence. While the director isn’t usually the one to do these things, it’s important that they have a working knowledge of what’s involved, what’s feasible and what’s not, in order to convey their ideas to the people responsible for implementing them.

The Film Connection Film Directing externship contains lessons devoted to cinematography, storyboarding, breaking down your script, pre-production and line producing, all of which are integral to the scene setting and look.

WORKING WITH ACTORS: Getting the Performance You Are Looking For.

It may be an overused phrase, “What’s my motivation?” but this is the essential question actors ask of directors. The director must not only know what the point of the scene is but how each character in the scene presents themselves. The director should be able to answer these questions for each actor for each scene.

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I coming from?
  • Where am I?
  • Who am I with and how do I feel about this person?
  • What do I want from this person?
  • What am I doing to get what I want?

Often, films are shot out of sequence and so the above questions help the actor maintain their place and evolution in the story.
The Film Connection film directing externship devotes an entire lesson to dealing with actors: how to deal with their egos; how to respect their creativity; how to let them know you are in charge; and most of all, how to get the best performance possible out of them.

WORKING WITH THE CREW: Making a Movie Requires an Army

The first thing to realize about your film crew is that they are a different beast. They are more apt to look at their profession as a job, rather than a labor of love like many creatives do. This does not mean they aren’t professional, it’s just that they look at the movie differently than the director does. Treating your crew with respect, recognizing the crew hierarchy and ensuring they are well fed will go a long way towards an on-time, on-budget production.

The Film Connection film directing externship inserts you into a professional film production company as an extern under the guidance of their top filmmaker who serves as your mentor. You will be able to observe first-hand while you participate on shoots and gain experience on how a crew works together, how they are managed and what their roles are in making the film.

WORKING WITH THE EDITOR: We’ll Fix It in Post.

The job of an editor is to assemble the raw footage into a coherent sequence. They do this by selecting, rearranging, and splicing scenes to tell the story that began as a screenplay (the writer’s vision), was captured on film by the director (the director’s vision of the screenplay) and turned into a finished film (the editor’s vision of the director’s vision.) Before editing begins, the director and editor discuss what they want the final product to be and then the editor puts together a rough cut. The director and editor then collaborate on polishing the rough cut into the final cut, adding music and sound effects until they are satisfied it’s ready for its audience.

And just in case you’re wondering, the saying, “We’ll fix it in post” should not be a new phrase for the aspiring director. Even though fixing it in post is sometimes a necessary remedy it should be considered a last ditch effort. Ideally, the film director wants to confer with his or her DP and editor prior to the shoot to ensure all the necessary shots for the telling of the story are included in the screenplay and shooting schedule. A lack of sufficient “b roll” and takes essentially leaves the director and editor with not enough material to edit together into a cohesive story and flow of scenes. Ever feel like a particular scene in a movie was too short or that it changed abruptly? Lack of footage is probably the reason behind it.

Because the Film Connection film directing externship places you inside a film production company, you will be able to work with an experienced editor and get an understanding by immersion of how the relationship between director and editor works.

BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS: The Business Part of the Art of Filmmaking

At the end of the day, filmmaking is a business, and like all business ventures there is a bottom line and a desire to turn a profit. Every film deals with budgetary concerns about time and money. To arrive at a budget, the director and producer prepare a breakdown which lists all the elements involved in each scene. The line producer then determines the costs involved for each aspect of the breakdown. The finished budget includes above the line (creative talent) costs, below the line (direct production) costs, post-production costs and other (insurance, completion bonds, etc.) costs. Often, creative compromises must be reached for a film stay within budget.

With Film Connection, film directing externship takes you step by step through both the breakdown process and line producing process. By understanding how and what impacts a budget, the director gains the ability to keep the film on-budget and on-schedule. Learn more about the film production process on the Film Connection blog.

THE NEXT STEP IS UP TO YOU

If you are serious about seeing your idea for a movie turn into fruition, we invite you to apply to the Film Connection. Because the Film Connection film directing externship gets you started learning in-industry, you’ll spend a lot of time inside a film production company, getting your hands dirty working with the gear, immersing yourself in all phases of filmmaking and gaining valuable on-the-set experience.

Additionally, you will be paired with two mentors to help guide you on your path to success: one will be a director at the local film production company you extern at, the other will be a professional screenwriter. At the end of the courses, we will setup you up in a meeting to people in the film industry who can finance your movie. We will get you primed, prepared and ready to pitch your movie concept at this meeting. If you work hard, are dedicated and passionate, you can do all of this in as little as six months. The Film Connection film firecting training is open enrollment, which means you can start anytime. Are you ready to make your movie?

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Film Connection provides affordable, unique education models coupled with mentor-based (externship) programs that can be engaged remotely or in person.

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