This is your
Atlanta Film School Classroom

Whether in-person or online. Real filmmaking education. Real film industry connections.
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* Not all programs are available in every state. Consult an Admissions Representative to learn more.

Programs

In the Film Connection for Film Production & Editing program, you will study directing, producing and screenwriting as you develop your movie idea with a professional filmmaker. Then, upon meeting the necessary requirements, you will be given the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles or New York and pitch your film idea to an executive who could buy or get your movie made.

Film Production & Editing Details

In the Film Connection for Cinematography program, you will learn the techniques involved in capturing a moving image and will start to develop “the eye of the DP.” The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry required to get the needed shots and to shape light to achieve the director’s desired artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

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We provide job placement services.

 

Other students learn in classrooms...

OUR students learn in:

 

REAL Radio Stations

REAL Recording Studios

REAL Film Production Companies


 

Where jobs get filled.

When jobs become available, our students are often the first to know and get hired.

Long story short:

Our way just makes sense.

Our mentors want to hire people like you.

Afterall, if they’ve trained you themselves,
they know what you’re capable of.

See why we call ourselves Film Connection.
To find out exact job placement numbers in your area, give us a call.



We're here to help.

We provide job placement services.

Find Out Why

Other students learn in classrooms...


OUR students learn in the same places where jobs get filled.

 

REAL Radio Stations

REAL Recording Studios

REAL Film Production Companies

When jobs become available, our students are often the first to know and get hired.

Long story short:

Our way just makes sense.

Our mentors want to hire people like you.

Afterall, if they’ve trained you themselves,
they know what you’re capable of.

See why we call ourselves Film Connection.

To find out exact job placement numbers in your area, give us a call.

(800) 600-6956

We're here to help.

Atlanta Film School

Film Connection Locations

Real World
Film Education

From directing to producing to editing and screenwriting, our mentor-taught programs avoid the unnecessary costs and unrelated requirements of ordinary film schools and programs. Work directly with an accomplished industry filmmaker at a film production company or receive direct one-on-one training online.

Tuition
Comparison

Film Connection’s mentor styled education is a cost-effective approach to real-world, curriculum backed education in film production and editing and cinematography.

 

Learn More About Tuition

 

View BBB A Rating for Film Connection Film Institute
$12,750** Tuition
$0* Loan Interest

Trade
School

$44,000 Tuition
$61,000 Loan Interest

2-Year
Junior College

$22,000 Tuition
$20,500 Loan Interest

4-Year
Traditional College

$88,000 Tuition
$122,000 Loan Interest

**Total cost varies by program
*Average Accrued Interest Charges
Sources: Sallie Mae student loan calculator - Nerd Wallet - Best Value Schools - Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

About Our Atlanta Film School Film School Alternative

Our fully-immersive curriculum
covers all of the following:

Building Relationships

Learn filmmaking in the real world with the Film Connection’s mentored externship-based approach. We make building relationships an integral part of what we do.

Hardware and Equipment

Film Connection mentors work in the real world where the competition is fierce and having the right gear matters. As an extern you have access to the latest hardware and tools of the trade.

On-Set Etiquette

Knowing how to handle yourself on the set is a prerequisite for careers in the film industry. Your mentor will guide you through proper etiquette during real film shoots.

Making Movies

We believe the whole point of going to any film school or certificate program should be to learn how to make movies—especially YOUR movie. Our Film Production & Editing curriculum is designed around this concept, from start to finish.

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

Meet our Mentors

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

Logan Hale Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Logan Hale Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Megan Kennedy Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Megan Kennedy Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Calix Lewis Reneau Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Calix Lewis Reneau Atlanta Film School Mentor

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).

Request an Invitation

Sandy Stern Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Sandy Stern Atlanta Film School Mentor

Background

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

Request an Invitation

Rob Helmstetter Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Rob Helmstetter Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Ryan Kindahl Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Ryan Kindahl Atlanta Film School Mentor

Background

Documentaries, Music Videos, Commercials

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Derek Koen Atlanta Film School Mentor

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Derek Koen Atlanta Film School Mentor

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

Request an Invitation

Brian Glazen Atlanta Film School Mentor

Read Profile

Brian Glazen Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Laura Scheiner Atlanta Film School Mentor

Read Profile

Laura Scheiner Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Craig Constant Atlanta Film School Mentor

Read Profile

Craig Constant Atlanta Film School Mentor

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.

Request an Invitation

Michael Van Orden Atlanta Film School Mentor

Read Profile

Michael Van Orden Atlanta Film School Mentor

Background

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

Request an Invitation

View Full List

Atlanta Film School News

Should You Storyboard?

Learn More

Film Connection student Arronn Lepperman Learns the Craft of Screenwriting

Learn More

Location Management: How Camera and Location Departments Work Together

Learn More

What Do To When Art Institute Closes

Learn More

Looking In Weird Places

Learn More

The Upside of Side Projects

Learn More

Which Books are Good to Adapt?

Learn More

Why Manners Matter in Music, Film, and TV

Learn More

The Film Scene in Atlanta Film School

The Atlanta Film School, Georgia Film Connection Film School Alternative

DIRECTING IN ATLANTA: HAVE AN IDEA FOR A MOVIE? LET US HELP YOU MAKE IT.

It’s awesome that you have an idea for a movie. It’s a great start! All movies begin as an idea, so you’ve already taken the first step. Do you know the next steps to take your idea for a movie and turn it into a movie? We do, and that’s where we come in. It’s the reason the Atlanta Film Connection exists—we help you with the next steps.

You see, in the last few years, Atlanta has become a major hub for the movie industry, thanks in large part to the most generous tax credits on film in the United States. Ant-Man, Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers 4 were all made in Atlanta. Major film studios located in Atlanta include OFS, BlackHall, Eagle Rock, Pinewood, Atlanta Metro, Tyler Perry Studios and Screen Gems.

Because the Atlanta Film Connection film directing method works directly with many Atlanta based filmmakers and production companies, we can tap into the local infrastructure in ways that most can’t and help you realize your dreams.

HERE’S HOW WE DO IT

The Atlanta Film Connection knows the steps it takes to go from movie idea to finished movie AND we know how to teach you these steps in just six months. In fact, our whole Film Connection for Film Production & Editing film directing curriculum is designed to guide you and help you transform your idea into a movie.

WE BELIEVE IN STANLEY

The legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, once said “The best education in film is to make one.” (2001: A Space Odyssey; A Clockwork Orange; The Shining; Eyes Wide Shut)

That statement is the underlying principal of the Film Connection film director approach—you come to us with your idea for a movie and we teach all the steps necessary to get your movie made.

  • Step 1. Screenwriting. Without a script, there’s no movie.
  • Step 2. Film Directing and Production. You need to understand film production and directing if you want to make YOUR movie.
  • Step 3. The Pitch Meeting. This is where you sell your idea for a movie.

The Atlanta Film Connection film directing training will be with you every step of the way, so let’s break these three steps down.
SCREENWRITING. Remember that idea you have for a movie? Before you go any further, you’re going to need to turn that idea into a screenplay. Why? Because ideas themselves are basically worthless (unless you are a movie titan)—they’re like opinions; everyone’s got one. In the movie business, ideas that are told as a screenplay have value. Screenplays can be sold. Ideas can’t.

How does the Atlanta Film Connection film directing methodology help you turn your idea for a movie into a screen play? Simple, we pair you with a professional screenwriter, one who has feature film credits to their name, and they work directly with you to help turn your idea into a screenplay.

Remember, without the screenplay, there is no movie. A good screenplay is one that tells your story idea in a way that translates into film. This sounds a lot easier than it really is which is why we team you up with a professional screenwriter. Here’s what a few people you may have heard say about the screenwriting process.

“People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.”
-Steven Spielberg, director and screenwriter of The Sugarland Express, Poltergeist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, AI: Artificial Intelligence.

“A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end… but not necessarily in that order.”
-Jean-Luc Godard (the leading French New Wave director famous for the ‘auteur theory’ of directing.

“If your goal is to become a film director, you must master screenwriting.”
-Akira Kurosawa (the famous Japanese filmmaker who wrote Seven Samurai, Rashomon and Last Man Standing and whose screenplays were adapted for The Magnificent 7 and A Fistful of Dollars.)

DIRECTING AND FILM PRODUCTION:

In order to make your idea into a film, it’s important to have an understanding of all aspects of filmmaking. While you take our structured course curriculum online, we immerse you in the filmmaking process by placing you (as an extern) inside an Atlanta film production company.

Inside this film production company, you will observe first-hand how professionals make films, you will be immersed in the real-world filmmaking environment. And in this Atlanta film production company, you will have your own personal filmmaking mentor. They will teach you in a personalized, hands-on and over-the-shoulder way, how films get made, step-by-step. You’ll learn about “hurry up and wait” and how to thrive in absolute chaos.

And while this is going on, you’ll be working on turning your screenplay into your vision of your movie as you go through our film directing mentored externship which includes:

  • Story Telling: Without a story, there is no film.
  • Scene Settings and Look: Staging the Perfect Shot.
  • Working with Actors: Getting the Best Performance from Your Cast.
  • Working with the Crew: It Takes an Army to Make a Movie.
  • Working with the Editor: How to Fix it in Post.
  • Budget Considerations: The Business Side of Film.

What makes the Film Connection film directing training special and different from traditional film schools is something we brought up previously—we place you inside an Atlanta film production company, as an extern, where you will be surrounded by film professionals working on real-world film projects. The benefits of being in this environment should be obvious, but in case they aren’t, here’s what a few people in the industry have to say about traditional film schools.

“The real trouble with film school is that the people teaching are so far out of the industry that they don’t give the students an idea of what’s happening.”
-Brian De Palma (The Untouchables, Body Double, Mission: Impossible, Scarface)

“…the curriculum is often abstract and not relevant to real life, teachers and students don’t connect with resources and experts outside of the classroom, and schools operate as if they were separate from their communities.”
-George Lucas (American Graffiti, and the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises)

THE PITCH MEETING: WHERE DREAMS CAN COME TRUE. We started with you having an idea for a movie. As a Film Connection student, you would have spent five or six months working with your screenwriting mentor on getting your screenplay honed and sharpened and ready to be pitched. You would have learned a lot about film production, film directing and the business side of filmmaking and put that knowledge to good use by making a sizzle reel—a short promotional video designed to sell your idea to those who can fund it.

The Atlanta Film Connection will setup a pitch meeting with you and film and TV industry executives where you will get to present your idea for a movie with all the things they need to see and hear:

Your elevator pitch.
Your sizzle reel.
Your screenplay.
Your budget breakdown.

Your mentors will thoroughly prepare you for this pitch meeting and give you insights into what to expect, how to act and how to pitch or present your idea. If you’ve done it right and they love your idea and are impressed with you and the stars align, you’ll get the green light to make your movie.

DOES THE FILM CONNECTION APPROACH WORK?

Obviously, a lot of our students don’t get the green light to make their movie on their first try. In the meantime, they’ve gained valuable experience on the screenwriting, production and pitching processes, established top level industry contacts and have gained a better understanding of how things actually work in the real world of filmmaking.

But sometimes magic happens, like it did with these students (with the help of their mentors.)

  • Film Connection graduate Victor Cobb sold his script to a company in Atlanta that turned it into a Lifetime Original Film Project.
  • Film Connection graduate Ofu Obekpa sold his script and directed his own feature, Klippers, starring WWE’s Kevin Nash.
  • Film Connection graduate Anne Marie Cummings movie was optioned by Intrinsic Value Films.
  • Film Connection graduate Yuqing Chi wrote Lost in Love which is being directed by Emmanuelle Gallissi.
  • Film Connection graduate Melissa Merkel flew to Los Angeles for her pitch meeting and her screenwriting mentor put her on a Lifetime Series Project he was working on the first week she was there.

THE NEXT STEP IS UP TO YOU

If you are serious about seeing your idea for a movie become a movie, we encourage you to apply to the Atlanta Film Connection film directing approach.
It will take hard work and long hours. It will take dedication. It will take passion.

If you give us these three things, you can do everything we’ve been talking about in as little as six months. The Atlanta Film Connection film directing coursework is open enrollment, which means you can start anytime. Are you ready to make your idea into a movie?

The Atlanta, Georgia Film Connection Film School Advantage

1) We’re Located Everywhere.

The Film Connection filmmaker school has more locations than any other film school in the world. Why? Because our school takes place on-the-job in real film and production facilities. Anywhere in the United States you happen to live, we have a location near you.
Learn near where you live. Advantage: Film Connection.

2) Low Tuition Helps You Graduate Debt Free.

It’s ludicrous to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt for a film school education. It’s also completely unnecessary. We keep our tuition rates low so you can focus on jumpstarting your film career.
Other schools not only cost more, they have lots of add-on charges. Advantage: Film Connection.

3) Learn On-the-Job, Not In a Classroom.

Seriously—what can you learn about filmmaking sitting in some classroom? Nothing. You only learn this skill by doing it. That’s why we place you as a student extern inside a real Atlanta film production facility, where you’ll be taught by a working film professional. With the Film Connection, your classes take place on-the-job and on the set of real productions.
Real-world experience, not useless theoretical classroom instruction. Advantage: Film Connection.

4) Learn One-on-One From a Mentor.

With the Film Connection, you’re not just a student—you’re an extern. And your instructor isn’t a full-time classroom professor—he/she is a working Atlanta film professional with years of expertise in your area of interest, whether that’s directing, screenwriting, producing, cinematography, etc. This film professional will become your personal mentor, taking you through the curriculum one-on-one. Ask any questions you like; learn at your own pace.
One teacher to one student. Advantage: Film Connection.

5) Endorsed and Recommended by Hundreds of Professionals.

We are endorsed by famous directors, noted film composer Hans Zimmer, and hundreds of others like them across the country. More film professionals endorse us than any other school because they know our methods work to break people into the film industry. What’s more, many of these pros choose to teach our student externs.
More professional endorsements than any other film school. Advantage: Film Connection.

6) True Job Placement Assistance.

Learning on-the-job has its advantages: many of our film externs end up getting hired or recommended for jobs by our mentors. But when no job openings are available from your mentor, we don’t leave you hanging. Our film school offers true job placement assistance through our completely free Stay Connected Program. We’ll work to help you find employment in the film industry for up to 12 months after you graduate.
“Job placement” at other schools means handing you a cold-call lead list when you graduate. Advantage: Film Connection.

7) You’re On the Inside From Day One

The biggest challenge for any emerging filmmaker is getting “in the door” of the film industry—getting someone of influence to pay attention to you. One of the biggest advantages of the Film Connection is that by placing you in a real Atlanta film production facility, we get you on the inside from your very first day of training. You’re in the workplace, you’re on the set, you’re building relationships, you’re proving your abilities. By the time you graduate, you’re already an insider.
The other guys are on the outside, looking in. Advantage: Film Connection.

8) Tutoring To Help You.

Need help with your homework? Stumped on a particular assignment? Having trouble using your editing software? Mentor not available? No problem. Our programs include tutoring at no additional cost to you. Just give us a call. We’ll help you out.
 Tutoring is available. Advantage: Film Connection.

9) Real Industry Connections.

The film industry is all about connections, and you can’t make those connections without spending time where the film people are hanging out. By placing you in a real film production company as an extern, the Film Connection enables you to make lots of industry connections you could never make sitting in a college or trade school classroom. These are the connections that can advance your career.
Real world film industry connections. Big Advantage: Film Connection.

10) Want to Take It All the Way to Hollywood?

Ready to make your big break into the Hollywood scene? We’re here to help! All through your Atlanta Film Connection externship, you’ll be working on developing your own film idea—and when you’re ready, you can pitch your film in Los Angeles in front of actual, real Hollywood film executives! No ordinary film school in the world offers this kind of opportunity but with us, it’s part of your program and film education.
A real chance to break into Hollywood. Big Advantage: Film Connection. NO OTHER FILM SCHOOL DOES THIS.

Your ATLANTA, GEORGIA FILM SCHOOL ALTERNATIVE

Our film school alternative in Atlanta gets you inside an actual Atlanta film production company for a film student externship working with the pros. The smart way to learn directing, producing, editing, camera, screenwriting or general production in Atlanta is to start inside a working Atlanta film production company as a film extern—and Atlanta FILM CONNECTION puts you there. Break into the film business with our help!

Why would you spend 50 thousand dollars or more, or go deep into debt, to go to film school at a college or trade school? You can spend far less money and go to film school in a real production company right here in Atlanta. Our film school alternative is the smart, cost-efficient way to get your film school education, and we help you get connected while you get educated.

To APPLY for our Atlanta Film School alternative, click here.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA is the 9th largest DMA in the U.S., and the original headquarters and still pivotal player in Ted Turner’s media conglomerate of MGM, CNN, TBS and TNT, as well as home to Coca Cola, the Atlanta Braves, Hawks, and Falcons, and over 30 institutes of higher learning. Not only does Atlanta host a significant TV presence along with several major cable networks, but in recent years it has seen a significant expansion of its film industry, leading the City of Atlanta to establish its own Office of Entertainment to cater to the needs of film productions. This area’s diversity of locations and mild climate make it a favorite spot for location filming. Take a look at a few of the major productions that have filmed on location here in Atlanta just in the past few years:

  • Zombieland (2009)
  • Need for Speed (2014)
  • Prisoners (2013)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2014)
  • Million Dollar Arm (2014)
  • The Internship (2013)
  • Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
  • Halt and Catch Fire (TV Series, 2014)
  • The Walking Dead (TV Series, (2010-present)

Needless to say, there is a growing need in Atlanta for qualified and experienced directors, producers, writers, editors, camera operators, and other film crew. There are also numerous opportunities to make valuable connections with industry professionals—and the FILM CONNECTION gets you closer to the action than any ordinary film school can.

Our unique mentored-externship approach is the secret of our success. We don’t stick you in a classroom with a bunch of other students. Instead, we place you with a seasoned film professional in a real film production company as an extern. Your mentor will train you on the job and will specialize in your particular area of interest, whether it’s producing, directing, film editing, cinematography, film editing, etc. If you dream of breaking into Hollywood with your own film, we’ve got you covered there, too; our structured curriculum is designed to guide you through the development of your own film idea, and when you’re ready, we’ll arrange a special meeting in Los Angeles for you to PITCH YOUR FILM to real industry executives!

The point is, you’ll never get this kind of opportunity to break into the film industry by studying at any classroom-based film school—so why waste your time and money? You owe it to yourself to see what the ATLANTA FILM CONNECTION can do to help you jumpstart your career!

To APPLY click here.

 

Current Atlanta Student News

Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens starts his own production company in Atlanta

“In a few short years…Yeah, I believe that I’ve come a far way.”

Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens mixes business and pleasure with his own film companyFilm Connection graduate Taylor Giddens is perhaps a bit understated in describing his journey. When he started with the Film Connection a few years ago, he had zero filmmaking experience. Today, he owns and operates his own production company in Atlanta.

In fact, Taylor was heading in a whole other direction—a married twenty-something, a small business owner, making his way in the world. But he had an unfulfilled dream to pursue film as a career, and he says it was his wife who ended up pushing him in that direction.

“She told me just to try it,” he says. “Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work out. You don’t want to have any regrets of not even trying it at all.”

At first, finding a film school was a challenge because they were all expensive and required him to move. But then Taylor discovered that the Film Connection could train him on the job with a mentor right there in Atlanta, and it just made sense to enroll. “I’m the kind of person that if I want to learn something, I’ll go out and do it myself,” he says. “That’s why I liked the Film Connection. . .Instead of sitting in a classroom all day, you’re actually hands-on.”

Taylor was placed as an extern with Film Connection mentor Carl Millender of Starmaxx Media in Atlanta. Having no prior experience, he says it was a steep learning curve at first. “When we first went on set, I didn’t know a lot of terminology,” he says. “I was trying to fake it but without looking like an idiot, and trying to learn.”

But passion and determination kicked in, and before long, Taylor found himself in an assistant role with many of his mentor’s projects, learning not only the technical skills, but also paying attention to the business side. When he finished the program, being a business owner himself—it was a natural next step for Taylor to launch his own company. He named it Kelly Productions, after his wife, who had first impressed on him to chase his dreams. “She’s kind of like the mother of the production company,” says Taylor. “She’s been very supportive, and sometimes she’s more supportive of me than I am of myself.”

Now graduated and running his company, Taylor pays the bills with corporate and commercial projects, but he keeps it competitive and interesting by taking a creative approach. “If it has anything to do with a camera, I’m ready to go,” he says. “We’re trying to establish ourselves as not just, ‘Hey, we’re not just gonna show up and shoot it’….How can we do it in a creative, fun, cinematic film way?”

And that’s not all. Since launching Kelly Productions, Taylor has been able to do several creative projects of his own, including a number of high-quality and award-winning short films. He looks forward to the day when he can do creative films full-time. “It’s a lengthy process,” he says. But considering how far he’s come in a few short years—Taylor’s well on his way.

Read More from Steve Pitts

“Two Steves”: Atlanta Film Connection Mentor Now Works With His Former Student

Steve Pitts on the Set

“My mentor’s name [was] Steve Carmichael, and my name is Steven Carmichael Pitts!”
What are the odds that a Film Connection student and Film Connection mentor in Atlanta would share such similar names, or hail from the same state? (Both are originally from Alabama.) For that matter, what are the odds that these two would form such a lasting bond that the mentor would one day use the graduate’s film company facilities to teach his current students?

But that’s exactly what has happened with Atlanta-based Film Connection graduate Steve Pitts, and his mentor, filmmaker Steve Carmichael—the pair we’ve come to know as the “two Steves.” Not only did Pitts (the graduate) remain active in Atlanta’s fast-growing film scene, but he become a major shareholder in the progressive film collective Rite Media Group, under whose banner he now directs numerous projects, including several upcoming feature films! As for Carmichael (the mentor)—he now utilizes the space at Rite Media to teach new Film Connection students, and even sends his students to work on the set of Pitts’ film projects!

“I consider Steve [Pitts] a really good friend,” Carmichael says. “It’s great to be around him and, in effect, be working together…We just communicate well with each other.”
For Pitts, the feeling is mutual. “Now that Steve [Carmichael] is teaching out of our space,” he says, “for him to be able to say, ‘This guy was like you, and now look,’ it’s kind of humbling…”I’m now contributing to people that were [once] in my position…I try to help out the best I can as far as getting these guys on set and teaching them.”

When Pitts first enrolled in the Film Connection back in 2011, he says he was drawn mainly to the hands-on approach. “It seemed right up my alley,” he says. “I don’t like school—I learn better [by] just doing than I do being told how to do it.”

That hands-on training from a mentor certainly paid off for Pitts, as he has leveraged his skills to become a partner in one of Atlanta’s moving-and-shaking film companies. Today, the Film Connection students currently taught by Steve Carmichael also get plenty of hands-on experience on the set of Rite Media projects, from doing music videos for up-and-coming Atlanta hip-hop acts to being on-location for weeks at a time on feature film shoots. Through it all, Pitts remembers the hands-on learning that got him where he is today, and passes the following advice to Film Connection mentors: Don’t just stand there: do something.

“Something we always like to tell folks is, ‘You’ve got to ask,'” he says. “When any of [Carmichael’s] students come onto our set but they just kind of stand there and watch, we say, ‘Dude, grab something, ask somebody something, bug us. You’re not helping anybody out by just standing there watching.'”

Read More from Steve Pitts

Film Student Ron Reid Learns the Power of Collaboration in Atlanta!

Ron Reid with Mentor Steve Carmichael

RiTE Media Group is rapidly gaining a reputation as a mover-and-shaker in Atlanta’s burgeoning film scene, largely because it is a collective of film pros who understand the power of collaboration on projects. The Film Connection maintains strong ties with RiTE Media—one of our graduates is a partner in the collective, and one of our mentors, Steve Carmichael, teaches in their facility. This gives our Film Connection students the opportunity to experience firsthand the power of collaboration on film projects—none more so than Film Connection extern Ron Reid.

Ron tells us he was initially drawn to a film career because he sees it as an outlet for creative expression: ” I think filmmaking can be like a painter illustrating themselves on to a canvas. For me, it’s part of inviting others into my own world,” he says.

But as it turns out, his military experience also taught him the power of teamwork. “One of my greatest treasured skills from service is that I maintained a strong desire to contribute as part of a team,” he says. “It’s more than about oneself.”

When Ron enrolled in the Film Connection in Atlanta, and mentor Steve Carmichael started sending him out with RiTE Media on film shoots, Ron began witnessing firsthand how collaboration and creativity can work hand-in-hand to produce something amazing. Perhaps the greatest example of this was a New Year’s Eve video shoot for music artist TOTEM, where Ron was on-hand.

“It was very long, it was very cold, it was outdoors,” he says. “It was a massive amount of people…I was with them doing that one for 22 hours, which through all the different projects I’ve worked on, that’s been the longest. But people stuck around because they had vested interest, not just on making money, but they were involved in that collaborative process…Just to see that entire piece come together when they had the release party and the actual viewing and showing of the video itself…It was almost like the power of human spirit.”

As Ron completes his externship in Atlanta, he says he has “thousands” of film ideas running around in his mind, and he’s passionate about his new career because it combines the expression he craves with the shared experience he loves. If there’s anything else he’s learned, it’s the power of having a mentor in the film business. For him, it’s Film Connection mentor Steve Carmichael. “I went to college and got a degree in business management,” he says, “which is fine—a lot of Americans do that. But I wish that everything was designed after an externship kind of approach. You get that one-on-one, you’re not just out there learning things as you go alone. You have somebody kind of guide and walk you through it. Steve’s kind of a family member in some aspects, like an uncle that I would know.”

Not only does Atlanta host a significant TV presence along with several major cable networks, but in recent years it has seen a significant expansion of its film industry, leading the City of Atlanta to establish its own Office of Entertainment to cater to the needs of film productions. This area’s diversity of locations and mild climate make it a favorite spot for location filming.

As such, there are several film school options in the ATL. But before you put down your hard-earned money or sign up for four years in a classroom, consider what the Atlanta Film Connection has to offer. Our programs last from six to nine months and cost just a small fraction of what those “name” schools charge for tuition.

And it goes beyond just the time and money and you’ll save. Our unique mentored-externship approach is the secret of our success. We don’t stick you in a classroom with a bunch of other students. Instead, we place you with a seasoned film professional in a real film production company as an extern.

Your mentor will train you on the job and will specialize in your particular area of interest. You’ll get a better understanding of what to expect in a filmmaking career, how to better be prepared for different situations, and solve common issues on the set. The information and experience you get with Film Connection will give you a reference of how to work with people in this industry, whether as part of a crew or as you produce your own films.

Built around your life.

It’s a big step, pursuing your dreams. Luckily, you live in an ideal area to learn filmmaking. Atlanta has a variety of locations to choose from for a wide range of scenes. The big city, rural areas, and historic avenues. The Atlanta Film Connection also has a facility stocked full of the latest equipment. So there’s no need to move to L.A., N.Y., Miami, or anywhere else to learn how to make films.

Of course, life has a funny way of getting in the way no matter where you live. With family priorities, a good-paying job, and other commitments, you may not be able to make it to the set as required. And we understand that – so we offer remote learning opportunities to those that aren’t able to commit to in-person mentoring.

Yes – being at the production facility or on location is the best way to experience one of our programs. But this isn’t an “all-or-nothing” proposition. With virtual learning, you’ll still get the undivided attention of our mentor, feedback on your work, and answers to your questions. We believe everyone should have access to this kind of education, regardless of their situation.

Make your opportunity count.

Because the Atlanta Film Connection film directing method works directly with Atlanta-based filmmakers and production companies, we can tap into the local infrastructure in ways that most educational institutions can’t. This may be the most invaluable part of our programs.

Our mentors are already established in Atlanta, so they’ve worked with many of the key players in the industry. And while we won’t say it’s impossible to break into the biz without a little help, filmmakers are very particular with who they work with. They prefer known entities over inexperienced ones.

When you work with our mentors, this is the time to start establishing your identity. You’ll never know who’ll show up on set. Every day could bring another opportunity to establish a good relationship with a filmmaking player in the Atlanta area. It doesn’t matter if you want to become part of a production team or start making your own films – these are the people who can help you in either capacity.

Film Connection brings these opportunities to you—it’s up to you to make the most of them. Act with responsibility, communicate with respect, and run your butt off and, chances are, people will remember. You may very well be impressing the people you’ll be working for, working with, or as part of your crew when making your own films.

Atlanta Film Connection mentors.

When we choose our mentors, we look for a variety of characteristics. They have to be skilled, provide wisdom that comes from experience, and the desire to teach the next generation of filmmakers. When you look at the Atlanta Film Connection mentor, you’ll see they’re more than qualified.

With skills in photography, photojournalism, cinematography, broadcast TV, and commercial production, our mentor has been guiding externs since 1986. They’ve worked with clients in developing concepts, scripts, budgets and production schedules for commercial television, feature films, and various media projects. He had a 14-year broadcast career as a cinematographer, feature producer, writer, editor, and chief photographer at WAGA-TV in Atlanta.

He also freelanced as a cinematographer, camera loader, and set-lighting technician for the film industry at Universal, Walt Disney, Lorimar, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Columbia Studios. He has also worked for CNN, Benning Construction, Discover Card Services, AADD, Wildcat Jewelry, and others. His work has been published in Life Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Atlanta Magazine.

But there’s also the teaching aspect. One of their past students externs is Steven Carmichael Pitts, who has gone on to direct his own feature-length thriller, Red Winter. Steven also worked as the special effects technician on First Man, starring Ryan Gosling, and the animated children’s series Moon and Me. He has also served as a camera operator on a number of projects including Fade Away, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Lycan, and Prosper.

Jason Reinhardt, another past student, made the most of his connections and really impressed his mentor and their associates. As a result, he worked on both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Black Panther!

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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View Full List

Contact the Film Connection


650 Hamilton Ave SE, Suite A
Atlanta, GA 30312
(404) 973-2450


3333 Piedmont Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 692-5910

Email: [email protected]
Hours: M - F 12:00PM to 9:00PM

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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.

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