This isn’t a boring Des Moines film school classroom. This isn’t an overcrowded college laboratory. This is life. Real Life. YOUR LIFE.

As the director of a movie, TV show, short, or commercial, you’re the PIC – person in charge. It’s up to you to have the vision to bring a screenplay or treatment to life and to rally everyone to be the best that they can be for a single scene or more than 12 hours of shooting.

But we’ve all heard stories about actors that are supposed to be… difficult to work with. How you manage those egos, as well as your own, is just one aspect of The Film Connection Film Director Program. The first step is to rid your mind of preconceived notions.

Learning to set the tone in that first meeting, the first table read, and the first day of shooting can go a long way to making the production more enjoyable for everyone. Friction between a director and actor is just the first of a long line of dominos.

After it falls, everything else could follow suit. If everyone is walking on eggshells, or worse picking sides, it will be a miserable experience for everyone. As the director, it’s your job to manage these personalities. Know when to push back of course, but maybe leave the bullwhip at home.

There is much more to learn about being a director, and Film Connection gives you the opportunity to learn one-on-one with a seasoned pro as your mentor. Working with a film production company, our externs learn every fact of filmmaking. And a big part of any production is making sure everyone feels relaxed, safe, and ready to work.

Get Real World Film Production Experience in Des Moines

There’s an adage when it comes to producing a script: write what you know. Are you a Des Moines history buff? Perhaps a drama involving a young family during The Flood of 1851 as they triumph over long odds. Or a tense thriller set in the middle of one of the largest insurance hubs in the world.

So you probably weren’t alive in 1851 and just as unlikely a high-powered executive in a worldwide insurance firm. But those two scenarios will help you decide what kind of screenplay you’ll be writing. One of the lessons in The Film Connections Screenwriting Workshop is what kind of theme/genre you’ll be writing to.

Drama, thriller, comedy, or horror are all examples of genres while triumphing over adversity or good vs. evil are themes. Every good script has one of each and your mentor will help you find which works best for your story. And so much more.

You will be collaborating remotely with an industry professional as your mentor as a Film Connection extern. That means you’ll have the opportunity to discuss character development, dialogue, writing actions and descriptions, and the importance of all three acts.

As you near a finished product, our mentors will explain the final steps of selling your script, getting an agent, and even becoming a member of the Writers Guild of America. You’ll get everything you need to make a start in the industry. The rest is up to you.

To APPLY for our Des Moines film school alternative, click here.

Meet Our Mentors

Adam Weber

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Daniel Lir

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Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

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Alejandra Huerta

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Daniela Larsen

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Our Des Moines Film Industry Mentors Help you Build Real World Connections

Located in central Iowa, Des Moines is the state capital of Iowa, as well as its largest city–hosting a population of nearly 200,000 people in a greater metropolitan area of over half a million. About a half-hour to the north, Ames is home to around 57,000 people. Together, the two cities anchor a media market that encompasses 35 counties in central Iowa. The Des Moines-Ames area is home to several film or television production companies, and sees quite a bit of film activity; additionally, it is within driving range of other metropolitan areas such as Kansas City, St. Louis, and the Quad Cities area, making it a good central hub for location filmmaking. If you are considering a career in filmmaking as a film director, film producer, film editor, or cameraman, FILM CONNECTION can help you tap into the resources available in this area so you don’t have to relocate somewhere else.

The Des Moines-Ames area and surrounding locales have played host to numerous major film productions, which include The Experiment, Dead Awake, Peacock, Field of Dreams, and Twister, just to name a few. Iowa State University in Ames was one of the film sites for the oft-mentioned 2008 documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. The Des Moines-Ames area has also seen its share of television filming, including episodes of Cops, The Biggest Loser, and others.

As you can see, the current filmmaking landscape of this area makes it a surprising choice for aspiring film students–and FILM CONNECTION can put you right in the middle of it by hooking you up with a working professional in the Des Moines-Ames film or television industry. This person will serve as your mentor/instructor during our six-month program, giving you valuable hands-on experience and helping you make valuable connections.  No wonder many of our graduates find permanent jobs in the industry. You could be next! Enroll in Des Moines-Ames FILM CONNECTION’s film school alternative today.

To APPLY click here.

Learn the skills you need to take your idea from paper to the big screen.

Real world film education by filmmakers for filmmakers, optimized for today!


Success stories

Since he started his extern program with Uptone Pictures in Raleigh, NC, Grant Gilbert has been taking…


Please take the time to read the experiences of one of our own, Korey Hehn of Pineville, OR…


The Film Connection program provided me with an opportunity to "see it and believe it"!…


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