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 as an extern of this program:
Working with Actors
Grip and Electric
The Art of the Interview
How to Make your Day
How to Pitch a Movie Professionally
How to Develop an Idea
How to Write a Treatment
Contracts, Permits, Licensing
With the right experience and connections, you can jumpstart your career in the film industry.
* Not all programs are available in every state. Consult an Admissions Representative to learn more.
Every script begins with an idea. Once you have that idea, it is up to you to become an enthusiastic genius on the topic of your idea. You don’t need to be a genius in quantum mechanics, astrophysics, algebra or geometry. But you do need to know every single thing there is to know about YOUR movie. How do you do that? By understanding the history of the genre you’re working in. You have to know which movies work, which movies don’t work, and why. This lesson is designed to immerse you in movies similar to the one you want…
Let’s face it: very few of us want to sit around and read about history. For some people, it’s hard to see the point, and it can be really boring. But it doesn’t have to be boring. Every time you sit down and watch a movie, you are watching history. Think about this for a minute: if there had never been a movie made before, would you know anything about what a good movie looks like? Every time you sit down and watch your favorite movies, you are building ideas about what you like and what you don’t like as…
Having a strong pitch is almost more important than having a strong script. They’re also much harder to write. A good pitch must reveal your story’s set-up, your characters, the central conflict, as well as hint at a resolution, all in just two minutes. In this lesson, we will help you develop a killer pitch that will leave even the most hardened cynic dying to know more! Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson... Lesson 1 - Intro to Genre Lesson 2 - History of Film Lesson 3 - Developing a Pitch Lesson 4 - The Script Lesson 5…
If every script begins with an idea, then every film begins with a script. A script is the blueprint for your film. This lesson begins your long and arduous journey of being a full-fledged screenwriter. Time to strap on your seat belt and prepare for the ride! During this lesson, you’ll be learning how to put the building blocks of a script in the right order. You’ll learn how to tell which ideas are good and which are not. You’ll also start outlining your idea during this lesson. An outline is a point-by-point summation of everything that is going to…
As a director, it is important to know and understand the duties of the different people on set. The AD (assistant director) is in charge of all on-set, day-to-day operations. Under him is a second assistant director who is a liaison between the director and the rest of the crews. Things like time cards, call sheets, tracking the daily progress against the production schedule, and maintaining a general sense of order, are the responsibilities of the AD. In this lesson, you will understand the importance of having an AD you can trust. Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson...…
Time to turn in your first act! The first act is the most important part of any screenplay. Your first act is what is going to sell your film. Hollywood’s a dog-eat-dog world. If your first act isn’t great, whoever’s reading it will stop reading. It’s that simple. You need to have an amazing opening to keep the reader/buyer/producer/whoever interested. During this lesson, you will get to meet with a professional screenwriter who’s been in the business for years! He/she will help you to perfect what you’ve already written, and also offer constructive advice on how to move forward. You…
The sound department is the smallest department of a production. The sound mixer is responsible for on-set sound. Under him are a boom operator and a cable wrangler. There is also the post-production sound designer, who is responsible for developing the various audio textures that are needed to draw an audience into a story and increase “production value.” When going into the filmmaking world, it is extremely important to know everyone’s job. There are a myriad of reasons for this, ranging from being able to call someone out when they’re not working their hardest to being able to jump in…
Here you get to check in with our screenwriter again to evaluate your progress! At this point, you’ll have heeded the screenwriter’s advice: you’ll have gone back and re-written large chunks of your screenplay, if not the entire script. You’re now returning for round two. You’ll have a new and improved script that features content so exciting that you can practically see it leaping off the page. Our screenwriter will sit down with you again and evaluate what you’ve changed, and what new content you’ve generated. The goal of these lessons with our screenwriter is to improve your ability to…
Cinematography is more than a science: it is an art. A good cinematographer can manipulate a camera and a set of lights to capture beautiful, striking imagery. Cinematography has evolved considerably since the beginning of motion pictures. It started out as a duty of the director, and the position itself evolved out of the advancement of technology. As the cameras and lights became more complicated, it became necessary for an entire department to be in charge of cameras and lights. In this lesson, you will learn the finer points of lighting and cinematography, including 3-point lighting, and what is meant…
So you’ve reached the end of your second act. Time to check in with our screenwriter once again! He/she will offer helpful guidance and tips as you prepare to plow forward into the climax of your story! Second Acts are always the most difficult. They require an expert writer who knows exactly how to ratchet up the tension without overdoing things. They are the most difficult part of any screenplay to write, but they are often the most memorable in the finished film. Our screenwriter will evaluate what you have written and assist you in fixing rough spots and eliminating…
Line Producing is one of the areas of the film industry that most people have little to no inkling about. The line producer is someone who assists and oversees the crafting of a budget, the needs of the day-to-day production, and ensures that everything is being done on budget and on schedule. The line producer usually has no say in the creative or narrative sides of a production; he or she is only responsible for the logistical side of production. In order to craft a good budget, you must have several things: a locked script, a total amount to budget,…
Guess what? You’ve just written a feature-length script in only 12 weeks! Congratulations! Now the fun REALLY begins. During the next two weeks, we’ll work with you on revising your screenplay and writing a second draft. Then it’s full steam ahead! Second drafts are where you keep all of the great aspects of your film and you throw away everything else. You’ll be taking your script to the beauty salon and giving it a makeover. You’ll be re-writing everything that doesn’t work about your script. Hopefully, by the end of this lesson, you’ll have a thoroughly awesome second draft of…
It’s a common misconception that you have to be able to draw to make storyboards. Nothing could be further from the truth. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can make some KILLER storyboards! Storyboards are important because they save time, and therefore save money. Storyboards are what tell the director of photography (DP) and the camera crew what they will be shooting that day. It’s never a good idea to show up to a set and just wing it. Filmmaking is all about preparation. Storyboards are a part of this process. Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson...…
Every script must be broken down going into pre-production. This typically happens as the producer reviews a finished script, marking certain elements that need to be handled before going into production. Most importantly, a script breakdown is needed before anything can be budgeted. This lesson will teach you how to break down your script so that when it comes time to pitch your story to a Hollywood executive, you’ll be completely 100% PREPARED to answer all the tough questions! Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson... Lesson 1 - Intro to Genre Lesson 2 - History of Film Lesson…
Pre-production is undoubtedly the most important part of making a movie. Pre-production begins the moment that you have two things: script lock and financing. Script lock is when you are completely, perfectly happy with the script and you don’t want to change a thing. Financing is simply having the money in the bank waiting to be spent. This is the time when you assemble the puzzle. The job that sits before you, the producer, and the UPM and Location Manager is to figure out how you are going to get everything where you want it and when you need it…
Actors can be very difficult people to work with. Having said that, if you cast an actor that is difficult to work with, you have no one to blame but yourself, because you made the decision to hire him/her. Acting is a very creative process that does take a considerable amount of skill. This lesson is designed to help you understand the best ways of communicating with your actors and the kind of language you want to use when speaking with them. Here you will also cast actors in a scene from your completed script! Continue Reading... « Prev…
Shooting a movie can be one of the most challenging, intense, creative and fun experiences a person can have. In this lesson, you’re going to choose one of the most dynamic and interesting scenes from your script, and your mentor is going to help you shoot it! Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson... Lesson 1 - Intro to Genre Lesson 2 - History of Film Lesson 3 - Developing a Pitch Lesson 4 - The Script Lesson 5 - Hierarchy of a Production Part 1: The AD Lesson 6 - Act One Lesson 7 - Hierarchy of a…
While there’s no longer a “cutting room floor” in the filmmaking business, a video editor still plays an important part in any commercial, tv show, short film, or feature film production. While the director is still the quarterback of the team, consider the editor as a running back. When the director and cinematographer are done with principal photography all of the footage gets handed off to the editor to be put together and assembled into the final product. What You’ll Need It’s been said that a craftsman is only as good as his tools. Of course, it’s also been said…
In today’s fast paced world, most directors attempting to pitch a project create what are referred to as pitch reels, or sizzle reels. They serve as a trailer for the film with the goal of quickly establishing tone and atmosphere. A pitch reel is usually constructed with repurposed footage from films with a similar tone. Are you directing a film about a masked axe murderer who kidnaps a small child? Then you’d use re-contextualized footage from Halloween and Home Alone. Maybe your Dr. Loomis character is intended to be an homage to John McClane, so you include footage from Bruce…
This is the final step of the program. The last few feet until the end zone. The final seconds on the clock. This is crunch time. Your adrenaline should be pumping. You should be excited and nervous. You’ve studied, prepared, and trained for precisely this event. You will have the option of flying out to L.A. or New York to pitch your movie to an established producer who has the resources to GET YOUR MOVIE MADE! Continue Reading... « Prev Choose a Lesson... Lesson 1 - Intro to Genre Lesson 2 - History of Film Lesson 3 - Developing…
There’s no way of knowing whether the Hollywood executive to whom you pitch your script will have any interest in purchasing it. There are tons of variables in play, and it’s more about timing than anything else. So what do you do if the agent doesn’t bite? You do what hundreds of indie filmmakers before you have done: you raise money on your own! So before you leave L.A., we will pair you with someone well-versed in raising cash from the ground up who will offer you a two hour consultation on what’s legal and what isn’t (including how to…
Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Apprenticeship (Externship) locations can be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The apprenticeship (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.”
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.
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.
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.
David’s stage and studio clients include: Bravo, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, Sex & The City, American Cancer Society, Clairol, Law & Order â€“ Criminal Intent, Amazon, Verizon, VH1, The History Channel, MTV, Director’s Guild of America and many many more.
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”…
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…
“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.”
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.
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”.
“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 […]
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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 STORY, THE 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.
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.
Sebastian Triscari Film Production & Editing Mentor
Sebastian Triscari Film Production & Editing Mentor
“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!”
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Demetria Kalodimos Film Production & Editing Mentor
Demetria Kalodimos Film Production & Editing Mentor
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.
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.
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.
“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. .
“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.
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:
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:
Scene settings and look
Working with actors
Working with the crew
Working with the editor
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?