This is your
Champaign / Springfield Classroom

Real filmmaking education. Real film industry connections.

An Immersive
Film Education

From directing to producing to editing and screenwriting, our mentor-based programs avoid the unnecessary costs and unrelated requirements of typical schools. Work directly with accomplished industry veteran filmmakers at one of our fully-equipped film production companies across the country.

Programs

You will study inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea with a legendary to filmmaker. Then you will fly to Los Angeles or New York to pitch your idea to an executive that could buy or get your movie idea made.

Director / Producer / Screenwriter Details

The screenwriter is the person who creates, takes, or adapts an idea and formulates a screenplay. Without the writer, there would be no movie. Period. He or she is the starting gate. He or she is the person that starts the ball rolling down the hill.

Screenwriting Details

In many ways the film editor is the most misunderstood of all film professionals. Often considered just a film technician, a good editor is, without doubt, much more than that. He or she is also a qualified storyteller of the highest order.

Film Editing Details

The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry to help create the needed light, while at the same time also having the keen sensibility to shape the light for the greatest artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

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Champaign / Springfield

Film Connection Film Institute

Our "Near Me" Champaign / Springfield Filmmaker Locations

  • Decatur
  • Ridgewood
  • Ayrshire
  • Mayfair
  • Glenn Park
  • Stonegate
  • Lincolnshire
  • Camelot
  • West End
  • Ravina Park
  • Lakeview
  • Cresthaven
  • Westchester
  • Hawthorne Place
  • Near South
  • Oak Ridge
  • Enos Park
  • Riverton
  • buffalo
  • Mechanicsburg
  • Harristown
  • Forsyth
  • Argenta
  • Cisco
Schedule a Tour
Schedule a Tour

Visit a Film Production Company
In Champaign / Springfield

Get started with a tour of one of our Illinois apprenticeship locations. Or call us for more information at 800-295-4433


About Our Champaign / Springfield Film School

Our fully-immersive curriculum
covers all of the following:

Building Relationships

Learning filmmaking in the real world with the Film Connection mentoring approach makes building relationships in the film industry is a daily occurrence.

On-Set Etiquette

Knowing how to handle yourself on the set is a prerequisite to a successful career in filmmaking—your mentor will guide you through proper etiquette during real film shoots.

Hardware and Equipment

Film Connection mentors exist in the real world where the competition is fierce. Having the latest gear is essential to their success which gives you access to the latest hardware.

Making Movies

Isn’t the whole point of going to film school to learn how to make movies—especially YOUR movie? The Film Connection 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 or trade school. We’re different, even innovative and you need to understand more before you apply. Here’s how you can get more info:


Request Information Choose Your Location Call Admissions

Meet our Faculty

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

Mike Domgard Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Mike Domgard Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Credits: Blur Parties, Lincoln Promo Video, Inner Thoughts

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Aimee Schoof Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Aimee Schoof Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Aimee Schoof is an entertainment executive, producer, and co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films with Isen Robbins. She has produced more than 30 feature films that have premiered either at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Toronto, Venice, New Directors/New Films, and Berlin.

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Richard Brandes Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Richard Brandes Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Richard Brandes is an accomplished writer, director, and producer of over two dozen feature films, which have been released through such well known companies as Alliance/Atlantis, Screen Gems, Sony, HBO, CBS, NBC/Universal, and Lionsgate, to name just a few. Known in the industry for creating highly commercial, profitable films, Richard has an impeccable reputation for completing his projects on schedule and on budget.

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Paul Guay Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Paul Guay Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Credits: Liar Liar, The Little Rascals, Shrinking Violet

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Steve Rausch Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Steve Rausch Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Steve Rausch is owner and operator of focused motion. Focused Motion produces and shoot video content for commercials, industrial videos, surgeries and live sporting events. My company has worked on documentaries, programming for Discovery Networks and reality TV shows.

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Adam Weber Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Adam Weber Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Adam Weber is a multi-purpose media production addict who has specialized in copywriting, video production, audio production, front-end web development, digital advertising, media planning, and any other role you can think of in regards to making intangible things using software. He also likes to be creative by writing songs with his band Integrow and making delectable craft home brews in his free time.

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John Boros Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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John Boros Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

“The captain and anchor of our ship, guiding his crew with a father’s compassion and an uncle’s knack for mischief.”

Credits; The Fly, EMI Orientation

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Edward Isin Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Edward Isin Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

FightZone Presents, Sacred Waters, The Wishing Stone, Dawg Fight

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Dean Baker Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Dean Baker Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

Projects range from Multi-camera Live Webcasting to National TV Ads for Good Neighbor Pharmacies, Regulator Boats, and Product launches airing on Lifetime, The Learning Channel and The Golf Channel.

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Ryan Heppe Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Ryan Heppe Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

During his tenure at CCH, Heppe was hired by legendary producer David Foster (The Getaway, Short Circuit, The Mask of Zorro) and quickly climbed to the position of Head of Development where he became involved with Foster’s productions: Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, and The Core starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank.

As a hyphenate Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, some of Heppe’s work includes: Production of the docu-drama The Magic Was In The Music, a remake of Short Circuit, adaptations of the 80’s television mini-series V and cop series T.J. Hooker, among others. As an actor, he’s starred in such stage productions as You Can’t Take It With You, Life On The Bowery, Dracula and Picnic at Hanging Rock – several of which he directed.

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Karl Koelling Champaign / Springfield Mentor

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Karl Koelling Champaign / Springfield Mentor

Background

I began TAPROOT with a passion to create inspiring film and video content that would move people and maybe even make the world a little bit better place. There are projects that TAPROOT pursues and develops based on our interests, but I’m a firm believer that we all have our callings, and that collectively we can have the biggest impact. As a result, TAPROOT partners with businesses, agencies, and other organizations that are doing important work, helping them tell their stories and share their ideas through cinematic filmmaking.

Our team has a multi-disciplinary background that enables us to understand and compellingly translate your messages and ideas to the visual medium of film and video, and we create and execute projects of varying scale from start to finish. I run TAPROOT and provide direction on all our projects, which include: story-based branded content, television commercials, web based video of all sorts, and film series.

If you care about how you’re presenting your work to the world and want to do so in an honest, inspiring manner – we’d make a good match.

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Champaign / Springfield News

What Makes a Good Love Scene?

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Low Budget Filmmaking Heroes

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What Science Says About Writer’s Block

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Lorne Michaels Potential Retirement from SNL and The Future of TV Sketch Comedy

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Achieving Flow: Entering the Vortex

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How to Have a Successful Table Read

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What You Should Know About Neil Gaiman

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EDM Jobs That Actually Exist!

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The Film Scene in Champaign / Springfield

The Champaign / Springfield, Illinois Film Connection Film School Advantage

Welcome to the future of filmmaking. We’re Champaign and Springfield-Decatur Film Connection. Production companies that have worked on both narrative and documentary films have teamed up with us to provide mentors that will help get your career off the ground by providing you with studio or on location experience.

There are two paths you can take. The first is our 6-month behind the scenes track that pairs you up with mentors who work in the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur corridor.

The second, more comprehensive, path is our 8-month directors track. More mentors and more opportunities for you! No film program anywhere offers you a chance to see your project come alive before your very eyes and pitch it to someone who can make it happen. No one except the Film Connection.

To APPLY for our Champaign-Springfield-Decatur Film School, click here.

The cities of Champaign, Decatur and Springfield are located a short distance from each other along a stretch of Interstate 72 in central Illinois. Springfield is the state capital of Illinois, and the historical place where Abraham Lincoln began his political career. The combined population of the three cities exceeds 200,000 people, and several production companies call this area home. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area is within driving distance of several major cities, including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis, making it a good central hub for diverse filming locations. Illinois is a film-friendly state, offering tax incentives up to 30 percent for films shot in the state, and several major film festivals are held annually in the region. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area makes a surprising alternative location if you want a career as a film director, film producer, screenwriter, film editor or cameraperson–but would rather not relocate to New York or L.A.  

Many major movies, commercials, TV shows and documentaries are filmed in Illinois. Among the known films that have shot in the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area and surrounding regions are Mission: Impossible, The Informant, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, and the Jimmy Stewart classic film Call Northside 777. The Champaign-Springfield-Decatur area has also seen filming for television episodes and documentaries, including the Great American Road Trip, Lincoln's Last Night, and the documentaries Route 66 Road Trip and Lincoln.

FILM CONNECTION Film School of Champaign-Springfield-Decatur will put you in the heart of this production activity by hooking you up with a working film or television professional, who becomes your personal instructor and mentor.  You'll gain valuable hands-on experience on real film and video shoots, making valuable industry connections along the way.  In fact, over 70 percent of our graduates get hired, many before they even graduate. FILM CONNECTION can help you realize your dreams; let us show you how. 

To APPLY click here.

Connections Matter

Learn From Industry Pros

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

Professionals in the film business—including many of the famous producers, screenwriters and directors who’ve worked on the films that inspire you—endorse Film Connection’s programs for one simple reason: they know our immersive hands-on method works.

Mark Kohn

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

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Jason Hewitt

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

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David Fuhrer

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

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ICM Partners

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

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Carl Millender

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

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Brian Glazen

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

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Sam Borowski

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

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Alex Keledjian

Producer of Project Greenlight

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Richard Berg

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

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Jeff Kushon

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

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Luis Estrada

“Our first apprentice (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 apprentice (extern) turned out to be a reliable resource and we hope […]

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Matt Pellowski

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

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