LEARN FROM INDUSTRY PROS
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.
Browse Lesson Plan
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.
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.
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 course, we will help you develop a killer pitch that will leave even the most hardened cynic dying to know more!
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!
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.
During this course, 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 might be missing an extremely simple plot mechanic that someone with more experience would easily see, or you might be over-writing. It’s amazing what a seasoned, professional screenwriter will notice. You’ll be glad you had a chance to sit down with this person after you hear their insights.
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 film textures that are needed to draw an audience into a story and increase “production value.”
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.
In this course, you will learn the finer points of lighting and cinematography, including 3-point lighting, and what is meant by “the visual image.”
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 problem areas.
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, a firm idea of how long it will take you to complete the film, and a breakdown of your script so you know exactly what will be required.
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!
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.
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!
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 course 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 not get sued), and also offer some great resources and places to look when trying to decide the best place to start!