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

While enrolled in the Film Connection film school in Portland, Oregon, you’ll learn how to work with both actors and producers, lighting and sound, set, costume, and other designers. The ability to take a screenplay and bring it to life takes patience, vision, and a certain amount of bravado.

But what most film schools don’t cover is how long it takes to sit in that chair.

“There is probably going to be one niche skill that you end up [relying on for income] as a filmmaker,” Portland Film Connection mentor Erin Galey says. “So right out of film school, somebody’s going to hire you to be a piece of a production.”

With Film Connection, you’ll learn those pieces as part of a real-world production company in Portland, OR. Instead of a classroom, you’ll be on location, on the set, or in the editing room learning the skills that make you invaluable on a shoot.

Will you start out as a director for a big-budget film? Of course not. But you’ll learn what it takes to become a director and how to get there.

“Nobody tells you that,” Galey adds. “Nobody told us that in film school. Nobody ever really talked to us about realistic career paths.”

“They’re going to hire you to be an editor, or a sound mixer, or a PA,” Galey says. “And that real-world skill, that’s how you’re going to get paid. And that’s how you’re going to make a living for five to seven years until you get your first feature done.”

Here’s your chance to be a part of the growing film community in Portland. With Portland Film Connection, you learn by doing. We’ve lined up local specialists who will guide your progress and give you a chance to shine. Our 6 to 9-month programs connect you with professionals in the Portland area. When you finish, you will not only have the real-world experience that most film school graduates are missing but take to your externship seriously and you could have industry contacts for any projects that you develop in the future. Collaborate on your project with local mentors who teach you the hands-on skills you need as a filmmaker. Do well and during your final week, you could even pitch your idea before an industry executive. Get on board this amazing opportunity today.

To APPLY for our Portland, OR film school alternative, click here.

Don’t Spend More on your Film Education if You Don’t Have to

When writing a story, there are literally no limits to where the plot can go. It could be about a journey to the center of the earth or the friendship between a talking raccoon with a mean streak and a walking tree that also talks, but just one word.

In fact, both of those stories have already been told and even made into movies. But those adapted screenplays also had the back of major studios and a brand name. So if you’re looking to turn your favorite book into an adapted screenplay, you’ll need to learn how to write a makeable movie.

With the Portland Film Connection Screenwriting Workshop, you’ll work remotely with a screenwriting professional a few times a week. During this one-on-one collaborations, you’ll discuss the work you want to adapt, what genre and theme you’ll write to, and how the story will be told.

In addition to the creative roles of a screenwriter, you’ll also get into the mechanical aspects of writing a script. This includes how to properly format a script, finding an agent, and even when/how to get paid for your work.

Unless your last name is Verne or Lee. Then you’ll be able to write anything you want.

Portland is Oregon’s largest city, located in the northwest part of the state near the Washington state line, and home to a greater metro population exceeding 2 million people. Famous for its coffee, microbreweries, and active lifestyle, Portland offers close proximity to a great diversity of beautiful scenery, including mountains, rivers, and the Pacific coast, making it a great central location for filming. Additionally, besides being home to several production companies, Portland attracts a significant amount of feature film and TV production activity. If you are considering a career in filmmaking as a film director, film producer, film editor, or cameraman, Portland has plenty of opportunities to offer as an alternative to relocating to New York or L.A.

IMDB lists over 600 major movies, TV shows, documentaries, and specials that have been filmed in Portland.  A few examples of better-known films include Wild, Twilight, Elizabethtown, He’s Just Not That Into You, Pay It Forward, Twilight, and Into the Wild, just to name a few. TV shows filmed in this area include the popular series Leverage, as well as episodes of The Amazing Race and WWF Raw.

With the abundance of production activity taking place in Portland, this town is a significant connection point for film students and filmmaking professionals, and Film Connection of Portland can put you in the center of the action in ways other film schools can’t match.  Our secret is our mentor-extern approach, in which we pair you with a working film or television professional who personally trains you on real film and video shoots. As a result of our revolutionary program, many of our graduates go on to permanent industry work–and you could be next!  Enroll today, and let us get you on the set.

To APPLY click here.

Meet Our Mentors

Adam Weber

About This Mentor

Daniel Lir

About This Mentor

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

About This Mentor

Alejandra Huerta

About This Mentor

Daniela Larsen

About This Mentor

Get Real World Film Production Experience in Portland OR

“I was taking some classes over at P.S.U. and then took a class at the Northwest Film Center and I really wanted an atmosphere that was a lot more progressive.” Stephen Blanquie of Portland, OR on why he chose the Film Connection:

“I felt like I was setting myself up for something that I wasn’t really into. At P.S.U. they had something called ‘cluster classes’ that was meant to make us more well-rounded artists (prerequisite classes.). It was basically an excuse for us to meet up with other (professors) and focus on things we weren’t really interested in and wasn’t really related to film-works… I always had been a real independent kind of person, I was always looking for an environment where I could do my own thing and focus on the stuff I really wanted to focus on… So I wanted to actually work in a studio and be around people that were actually making a living in film and what I wanted to do. That seemed like something I wanted to be around.”

“They do a lot of commercials and promotional type edits and they do training videos…The first few weeks were on a health reform seminar and with that, I was merely holding down the third angle, getting reaction shots from the crowd and when you’re in a room full of doctors things can only get so enthusiastic. Hahaha… Then afterward they had a helicopter which was really cool, Lisa’s husband had these things called drones that he can pretty much take a Go-Pro camera and he can get some overhead shots, some overhead views. They used overhead shots of warehouses in the desert for a secret terrorist organization feel for some other stuff and they called it a ‘Rosswell flight-test crew’. We went up to the mountains to get overhead shots of some snowboarders… I shot some B-roll, it was a lot of grip work. A funny thing with that was that none of us brought sunscreen on the shoot, so we all ended up getting burned and peeling so bad that when I would walk into the office for the next couple of days I would start laughing so hard. But it turned out great and hopefully, we will be happy to see how the footage looks.”

— Stephen Blanquie, Portland, OR

Read More from Stephen Blanquie

Portland offers close proximity to a great diversity of beautiful scenery, including mountains, rivers, and the Pacific coast, making it a great central location for filming. Additionally, besides being home to several production companies, Portland attracts a significant amount of feature film and TV production activity.

A number of major companies are based in Portland Oregon, or at least use The Rose City as a base for their Northwest headquarters. Nike, Adidas, Precision Castparts, and others mean there are plenty of opportunities to produce content. Because of that, there are many film schools to choose from in the city to learn production services.

But how many put you in the middle of the action from the start? The Portland Film Connection places you inside a full-service video production company, giving you a mentor where you’ll receive one-on-one guidance on the technical aspects of making films and post-production as well as the practical side of making movies, tv shows, commercials, and other videos.

Whether you want to make your own films or work as part of a production company, you’ll learn the tricks of the trade in the protection studio, on the set, or on location. Why sit in a classroom when you can be gaining real-world experience? Why commit yourself to four years at university, taking classes you don’t really care about, and paying up to six figures for tuition?

Portland Film Connection programs last around six months cost a fraction of those “name” schools, and you don’t have to uproot your entire life to move hundreds or even thousands of miles away. But you will have to work hard, be responsible, and take this seriously. You’ll work closely with the crew, learning, and gaining experience with people who are doing this for a living.

Just ask yourself what makes more sense.

Our Portland OR Film Industry Mentors Help you Build Real World Connections

Close to home or in your home?

Film Connection believes the best way to learn about the industry is to do it from the inside. Being on the set, operating the equipment, and having the face to face interactions with those on a shoot just can’t be replicated in a classroom. And we feel these opportunities should be accessible to as many people as possible. That’s why we have locations in more than 40 different states. Why move if you don’t have to?

But we also understand that getting to your hometown production studio can be a hardship. With job commitments, family priorities, and whatever else life can throw at us (2020 ring a bell?), even leaving the home on a consistent basis can be difficult. That’s why Film Connection has been offering remote learning for decades.

You’ll still have that one-on-one time with your mentor, it will just be over a strong internet connection. This also means you have access to all of our mentors (based on availability). We believe in increasing the availability of our programs, not limiting who can attend. And we believe our virtual learning allows anyone who wants to put in the work gets a seat at the table (upon acceptance).

Take advantage of your opportunities.

Much of making it in the film production industry is having the technical expertise but also the ability to learn new things and the versatility to take on different projects. Even when making your own movies, there will be times you’ll need to lean on the experience of others. The key is knowing who to talk to and, frankly, getting them to talk to you.

This could be the most valuable aspect of the Film Connection: We give you the opportunity to meet, greet, and work with the people who are already making a living in the industry. In many cases, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And we put you in a situation where you can meet someone that can help you reach your career goals in the industry.

The question is: How do you handle these opportunities? To put it bluntly: No one likes working with a flake. But do your work, be willing to take direction (so to speak), and show that you belong in this setting, this industry, and people will remember. At times this industry can be a very “closed community.” But show them what you can and you can find you’re welcomed with open arms.

Your Portland Film Connection mentor.

The ability to shift from small independent films to marketing to promotional work is how many filmmakers make their careers sustainable. With Film Connection, you’ll learn how to produce those pieces as part of a real-world production company in Portland. Our mentors have worked with Adidas, Columbia, Subaru, Intel, University of Oregon, WeWork, Getty Bros., The Nature Conservancy, and have taken the helm of a number of socially conscious dramas and action short films.

Not only will you gain the technical skills needed to make a living, but you will learn how to cultivate a client list and maintain those relationships. You’ll learn how to work with both actors and producers, lighting and sound, and set, costume, and other designers. The ability to take a screenplay and bring it to life takes patience, vision, and a certain amount of bravado. With us, you can train one-on-one with an experienced professional screenwriter via remote video conferencing or phone calls, so that you can take that film idea from concept all the way to “The End.”

These are the skills you’ll pick up with the Portland Film Connection mentors. Will you leave the program with a job as a director for a big-budget film? Probably not. But you’ll learn what it takes to become a director and how to get there, and you’ll learn how to be an editor or a member of the crew, and you’ll get some real-world experience in just a fraction of the time students spend in expensive film schools.

Nearby locations

Hours: M-F 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Film Connection

1001 SW 5th Ave Suite 1100
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 76er 15-1720 GET STARTED

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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