FilmSkills Unlimited

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Master the art of filmmaking with FilmSkills Unlimited– an unrestricted, year-long access to the entire FilmSkills library. Over 280 in-depth video-based multimedia lessons take you to the set where you will learn from over 150 leading Hollywood Filmmakers. Your instructors have won, or been nominated for over 70 Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and SAG Awards and have worked on TV shows and movies that have grossed tens of billions of dollars.
With FilmSkills Unlimited, you will have access to the world's largest film training library that powers the curriculum in over 80 film schools from UCLA to NYU, plus entire State and national film commissions.

Incredibly detailed and easy-to-follow tutorials take you onto the set to learn the entire filmmaking process, including development, screenwriting, producing, raising money, scheduling and budgeting, how to cast actors, the director's process, camera and lens, lighting techniques, how to record on-set audio, documentary filmmaking, on-set safety, editing, audio post-production, music composition, film marketing, and distribution.

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Setting Up Your Camera

This quick-start tutorial will help you set-up the basic settings of your camera.

Basic Shooting Techniques

Once your camera has been set-up, you're now ready to shoot on set. This lesson guides you through the camera settings you'll use to get each shot.

Basic Framing Techniques

Learn the basics of how to frame your shots for professional results.

Basic Audio Techniques

This quick-start guide will help you configure your camera to record high-quality audio on set.

Basic Production Techniques

Learn the basics of on-set production and get the quality footage you want on set.

Advice from the Pros

Dozens of successful Hollywood filmmakers share their secrets, tips, and advice on how to make it in the most competitive industry in the world.

Getting Your First Job

So you moved to LA, and you're ready to work.  But how do you get your first job? Leading Hollywood filmmakers share the secrets of how to land your first job. and how to break into Hollywood.

Making Money in Hollywood

Learn how to make a living in Hollywood, manage your money, and prepare for the ups and downs of the freelance world.

Moving to Los Angeles

Thinking about moving to LA?  Learn how to best prepare and hit the ground running in the second largest city in the United States.

Realities of the Industry

The entertainment industry does a great job of creating an illusion of how it operates, but how does it really work?  Learn from top Hollywood filmmakers what really goes on behind the scenes, and how that impacts your career.

The Art of Networking

Like they say, it's all who you know... and they're right.  In this module, learn the art of networking, meeting people, and navigating the trecherous waters of Hollywood.

Working Freelance

Learn the realities of working in a freelance-based industry, and how to survive.

How to Survive in Hollywood

Emmy-winning Executive Producer Steve Skrovan shares tips and tricks to surviving and keeping your career alive in Hollywood

The Studio System

In this module, you'll explore the studio system, learn who the players are, who the mini-majors are, the ever-evolving role of the studios as new corporate conglomerates, the types of movies they are making, and how you can be part of it.

Working For a Studio

Learn how to get your project through the studio approval system, what studio executives are looking for, and how studios work with directors and producers.

Making a Business Plan

Learn, step-by-step, how to build a business plan that will appease even the savviest investors. Hollywood producers take you through the process so you can go into the fundraising process confident in the movie you’re selling.

Packaging Your Movie

Learn how to choose the right actors for your movie, work with distributors in the development process, determine the value of your creative talent, how to attract top-tier talent, and ultimately make your movie attractive to distributors and audiences.

Agents and Managers

Learn the different between an agent and a manager, the roles each fulfill, how to get one, the costs involved, and how to use their services to promote your career.

How to Sell a Reality TV Show

Producer Troy DeVolld (Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, and Hollywood Game Night) teaches you how to sell a reality TV showin Hollywood.

Beginning the Writing Process

Learn how to begin the writing process.

Working with a Writing Partner

Learn how to find and work with a writing partner.

Developing the Idea

Learn how to find and develop a marketable idea, what producers are looking for and which ideas will prevent your project from selling.

The Changing Landscape of Television

Emmy-nominated Pamela Douglas sheds light on the ever-changing art of writing for the small screen - from story structure to career opportunities.

Story Structure

 Learn how stories are structured and how you can properly structure your screenplay.

Defining Comedy

Veteran comedia Steve Kaplan takes us into the world of comedy to help us understand not only the art of funny, but also the art of being ourselves.

The Hidden Tools of Comedy

Legendary comedian Steve Kaplan reveals the science of comedy and how you can find truth in humor.

The Three Act Structure

 Learn how to properly write a story using the three act structure.  

A-Story and Subplots

 Learn to properly structure the A-Story and subplots in your script.

Story Pacing

 Learn techniques to help improve the pacing of your story.

The Protagonist

 Learn how to create a strong protagonist, the attributes of the protagonist, and how (s)he changes.

The Antagonist

 Learn to write a strong, multi-dimensional antagonist.

Conflict Types

 Learn the types of conflict, how it is influenced by genre and how it impacts the protagonist.

Supporting Characters

Learn the role of supporting characters and how they can be used to support both the protagonist and antagonist.

Character Archetypes

 Learn the eight character archetypes and how to use them as the foundation for strong supporting characters.

Personality and Backstory

 Learn how to create a real character with personality and backstory

Dialogue and Subtext

 Learn how to write compelling, realistic dialogue in your script.

From Title to Outline

 Learn how to develop your idea into a treatment and outline before writing the first draft.

The First Draft

Learn how to properly format a screenplay.

Rewriting

 Once the first draft is complete, learn how to rewrite a script, from characters to plot to dialogue.  

Marketing the Script

Learn how to pitch and present your script to producers, agents and managers.

How to Become a Writer in Hollywood, Part I

Emmy-nominated writer, Pamela Douglas reveals an insider's pespective on how to begin your career as a writer in part one of this engaging FilmTalk.

How to Become a Writer in Hollywood, Part II

Emmy-nominated writer, Pamela Douglas reveals an insider's pespective on how to begin your career as a writer in part two of this engaging FilmTalk.

Working in a Television Writers' Room

Emmy-winning Writer, Steve Skrovan takes you inside the writer's room to learn the politics, challenges, and techniques of the collaborative writing process.

The Reality Television Story Process

Veteran reality show producer Troy DeVolld takes us into the world of reality TV show production.

Final Draft - Script Basics

In this first of 6 training modules, learn the basics of script formatting and how you can use Final Draft software to begin formatting your screenplay, including scene headers, action lines, dialogue, parentheticals, dual dialogue, and transitions.

Final Draft - Using Templates

In this second of 6 training modules, learn how to use existing templates to format your Final Draft script into hundreds of popular formats including sitcoms, hour-long dramas, SNL skits, multi-camera shows, Broadway musicals, and novels.

Final Draft - Story Organizing

In this third of 6 training modules, learn how to throw away the old note card and use Final Draft's story organizing capabilities to organize your scenes, characters, and dialogue in an efficient way.

Final Draft - Distributing Your Script

In this fourth of 6 training modules, learn how to export and distribute your script through Final Draft for both physical and electronic delivery, prepare your script for table reads, water mark, and learn about Final Draft on mobile devices.

Final Draft - Tips, Tricks, & Utilities

In this fifth of 6 training modules, enhance your use of Final Draft with a number of tips and tricks.

Final Draft - Production

In this last of 6 training modules, learn how to use Final Draft to manage script changes and revisions, how to lock pages, manage scene numbers, scene omissions and additions, and export reports that quickly analyze your script for production.

Raising Money

 Learn how money is raised for motion pictures, from equity and debt financing to tax incentives

Tax Incentives

Learn how to take advantage of tax incentives, the difference between rebates and credits, how to convert credits into money, what to expect during the auditing process, and how to collect your money.

Forming a Production Company

Learn how to choose the right corporate structure, set up a company, open the proper accounts, establish the legal framework for the production, work with an attorney, and set-up the production office.

Money Management

Learn to manage the budget, set-up a bank account, manage the flow of money throughout the production including payroll, loan outs, kit fees, per diems, mileage, and petty cash.

Hiring the Crew

Learn how to hire an experienced crew, work with above the line vs, below the line, union vs. non-union crew members, manage pay or play deals, work with independent contractors and employees, address personal conflicts on set, and ultimately assemble the most talented professionals for your project.

Working with Vendors

Learn to find qualified vendors in your shooting area, manage relationships with vendors, the financial workflow from purchase orders to invoices, and tips to making sure you get the resources you need on set.

Unions and Guilds

Learn how the unions function, the benefits for members, the key unions: IATSE, DGA, SAG, and WGA, the differences in hiring union and non-union crew, how productions flip, and how to shoot in a “Right-to-Work” state.

Working with SAG/AFTRA

Learn how SAG functions, the ramifications of the SAG-AFTRA merger, how signatories work, how the Taft-Hartley act admits new members into SAG-AFTRA, and the benefits and drawbacks of Financial Core.  Be prepared when working with SAG-AFTRA actors on your production.

Beginning Pre-Production

Once the script is complete, learn the overview of the process of prepping the project to go to camera.

Breaking Down the Script

Learn to properly break down the script,  line the script, techniques for breaking down each scene, how to use scene breakdown forms, and how assistant directors and line producers should manage the breakdowns from other departments on the project. 

Scheduling the Production

Learn to determine the number of shooting days needed to shoot your film, how to determine the shooting order, manage day and night shoots, account for turnaround time, and the benefits of shooting consecutive shooting days.

Scheduling the Day

Learn how to schedule company moves, meal breaks, learn the productivity arc of a shooting crew, how to work with the director’ shot list, skills for managing a shoot running over schedule, how to generate a one-line schedule, and how to create call sheets.

Budgeting

Learn to create an accurate budget, tricks to reducing the budget if you’re running over, how to plan for contingencies, how to manage crew expectations, and how to go into production knowing you’ll have the money to finish.

Insurance

Learn how to insure your production against liabilities and costs incurred from accidents, the types of insurance you’ll need, where you can buy production insurance, the costs of insuring a production, cast insurance, film and video tape insurance, equipment insurance, and E&O insurance. 

Finding Actors

Learn how to work with casting directors to approach recognizable actors, how to develop a script that appeals to certain talent, the art of packaging, casting actors on your own, and the pros and cons of working with unknowns.

Auditions

Learn how to find the ideal audition space, attract qualified actors, conduct auditions, and learn what to look for so you can find the perfect cast for your movie.

The Art of Auditioning

Renowned actor, instructor, and author, Michael Laskin reveals the challenges facing both actors and directors in the audition process and how to overcome them.

Callbacks

Learn how to conduct the second and third auditions, what to do after the auditions, recognize danger signs in actors, and how to prepare the actors for the next step: the rehearsals.

Working with Local Celebrities

Learn the best way to approach local celebrities, how to use them, and the secret benefits they can bring to your movie. Working with local celebrities will not only improve the visibility of your production, but lead to a number of other benefits that can not only help promote the movie, but assist greatly in production.

Analyzing Character

In this module, you will learn directing techniques to help actors determine the subtext, intent, and back story of their characters. Develop your directing skills and help your actors portray honest, memorable characters.

Rehearsing Actors

Learn how to structure rehearsals, how to conduct a table read, and what the responsibilities are of the director and actors during the rehearsal process.

Rehearsal Exercises

Learn valuable techniques from working Hollywood directors to get to the heart of the actors’ performance, learn rehearsal techniques from developing the character to overcoming mental blocks on the set.

The Art of Directing Actors

Learn from Hollywood actors and directors on how to approach and work effectively with actors on set, how to deal with problematic actors, and how to communicate in the actor’s language.

Acting in a Changing Industry

Renowned actor, instructor, and author, Michael Laskin gives actors advice on how to survive in the ever-changing Hollywood industry.

Acting Techniques

Learn the various types of acting techniques - from Stanislavsky to Chekov.

Acting Techniques For the Screen

Renowned actor, instructor, and author, Michael Laskin gives brilliant advice on performing on camera.

Directing Actors on Set

Learn what to say to an actor at the beginning of every scene – 30 seconds before you call action and 30 seconds after you call cut, learn how to rehearse on set, establish strong blocking, and how to help actors balance their performance with the technicalities of film production.

Directing Mistakes

Learn to identify common directing problems and how to fix them to ensure you get the best performance on set possible.

Directing Extras

Learn how to find extras, the right way to direct them, how to cheat them on set, liability concerns and how to avoid them, logistics on the shooting day, and the most common problems filmmakers encounter when working with extras

The Art Department

Learn the structure and hierarchy of the Art Department, the duties and responsibilities and how this department can be scaled up based on the size of the production.

Set Design

Learn how to design sets on both large and small budget productions.

Set Construction

Learn how movie sets are constructed to create both a convincing environment and a workable production setting.

Set Dressing

Learn how to dress both practical locations and constructed movie sets to create a realistic environment for the characters.

Creating the Look

Learn how the art department creates the look of the environments in which the story takes place.

Props

Learn how props are created, gathered, and organized for a movie.

Tour a Prop House

Take a virtual tour of Lennie Marvin's Prop Heaven in Burbank, CA

Finding Locations

Learn how to scout locations and work with local resources to find the best possible environment for your movie

Film Commissions

Learn how to use the services of a film commission to secure locations for your movie

Working with Location Owners

 Learn how to work with location owners, negotiate location agreements and deal with problems.

Shooting on the Studio Backlot

Learn about the resources and exterior sets available at the major studios in Los Angeles.

Film Permits

Learn when you need a filming permit and how to obtain one

Location Tech Scouting

Learn how to properly scout a location, what to look for and how to prep it for your shoot.

Community Relations

Learn how to professionally integrate a film production into a community

Crew Structures

Learn the various types of crews and the positions usually hired for small, medium, and large productions.

Crew Positions

Learn an overview of the primary positions on a movie set.

How to Find a Crew

Learn how to find your crew, regardless of how big or small your budget may be.

The Line Producer

Learn the duties and responsibiltiies of the line producer, both on and off the set.

The Unit Production Manager

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Unit Production Manager, both on and off the screen.

Production Coordinator

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Production Coordinator both on and off the set.

1st Assistant Director

Learn the job responsibilities of the 1st Assistant Director.

2nd Assistant Director

Learn about the responsibilites of the 2nd Assistant Director in pre-production and on set.

2nd 2nd Assistant Director

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the 2nd 2nd assistant director in pre-production and on set

Production Assistants

Learn the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of production assistants on set.

Script Supervisor

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the script supervisor, from maintaining continuity to preparing the script notes.

The Production Designer

Learn about the Production Designer, his responsibility to the look of the film and her relationship with the director and cinematographer.

The Art Director

Learn the function, duties and responsibilities of the Art Director.

The Construction Coordinator

Learn the role of the Construction Coordinator and the construction department.

The Director of Photography

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the director of photography.

Camera Operator

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the camera operator both on and off the set.

1st Assistant Camera

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the 1st Assistant Camera.

2nd Assistant Camera

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the 2nd Assistant Camera on set

Key Grip

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Key Grip

Best Boy

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Best Boy

Grips

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Grips

Working as a Grip

Hollywood veteran Casey Slade never ceases to entertain as he takes us inside the world of the grip department.

Dolly Grip

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Dolly Grip

Gaffer

Learn about the duties and responsibilities of the gaffer.

Best Boy Electric

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Best Boy Electric.

Electricians

Learn the duties and responsibilities of the Electricians.

Craft Services and Catering

Learn how to feed the cast and crew, sample menus, and serving suggestions.

Costume Design

Learn how costumes are designed and managed on set to help create the character.

Make-Up

Learn how to work with the make-up department, and how make-up affects the look of the actors on camera.

Hair Styling

Learn how to design the look of an actor's hair and how to maintain continuity throughout the day.

What to Bring to Set

As you prepare for your first day on set, this lesson walks you through what to wear and the tools to bring.

Filmmaker's Toolkit

Learn how to create a kit with the necessary tools, gadgets, and gizmos to help your set run smoothly and make you look like a hero when Murphy’s Law strikes.

Proper Set Etiquette and Behavior

Learn the unspoken rules of how to behave on a movie set.

Working with Difficult Personalities

Hollywood verteran Casey Slade has worked with everyone from A-list celebrities to new filmmakers, and shares some keen insight on how to deal with egos in the film industry.

Walkie Talkie Etiquette

Learn how to properly use walkie talkies on set.

Building the Camera Package

Learn the different components of the camera, accessories, and how to choose the tight combination for your project.

How to Prep a Camera

Drew Lauer, from Hollywood Special Ops, takes us through the process of prepping a camera package for a shoot.

Film vs. Video

Learn the differences between shooting on film versus shooting on digital video.

Shooting Film

Learn the process of shoot, buying, and processing film.

Shooting Digitally

Learn how to select and shoot on the proper digital format for your project.

Imaging Sensor and ISO

Learn how the imaging sensor works and how to use the ISO as an exposure tool.

Frame Rates

Learn about frame rates, how to choose the correct one, and the impact frame rates can have on your image.

Tripods and Sliders

Learn the types of camera support equipment - from tripods to jibs - and how to properly use them.

Introduction to Lenses

Learn about the attributes of the camera lens and how to choose the best lens for your production

Taking Care of Lenses

Learn how to properly handle and care for a camera lens

Focusing Techniques

Learn how to use focus tools - including the measuring technique, peaking, and 1:1 zoom to keep your shot in sharp focus

How to Expose a Shot

From zebra strips and light meters to false color and waveform monitors, learn how to use these tools to get the perfect exposure.

F-stops and T-Stops

Learn how f-stops and t-stops work, and how to use them as a measure of exposure.

The Zone System

Learn how to use the zone system to determine the proper exposure for your shot

Lens Focal Length

Learn how the focal length of a lens affects the look of the shot.

Macro Focus

Learn to use macro focus when you're shooting a subject within the minimum focus of the lens.

Back Focus

Learn how to properly identify if the back focus is out on a camera and how to resolve it.

The Camera Shutter

Learn how the camera shutter works, its limitations, and how you can use use it to change the look of your footage.

Managing Media

Today's filmmakers almost always shoot on a digital format, and that makes digital media the new film negative. Learn how to properly manage your on-set media.

Intro to Light and Exposure

Learn the basics of exposure, latitude, the attributes of light, and the Inverse Square Law.

Attributes of Light

 Learn the basic attributes of light and how to craft it to achieve the ideal cinematic look.

Tungsten Lighting

Learn how to work with, operate and trouble shoot tungsten lighting fixtures.

HMI Lighting

Learn about HMI light fixtures, how to operate, maintain and troubleshoot them.

Kino-Flo Fluorescent Lighting

Learn the types of Kino-Flo's and how to properly use them on set.

LED Lighting

Learn how to work with the newest LED lights.

How to Build a Light Kit

Learn how to build a light kit.

Low Budget Lighting Tools

Learn how to use simple, inexpensive lighting tool if you're on a budget or on the road.

Using a Light Meter

Learn the difference between the types of light meters, how to calibrate one, and how to properly use it to get the correct exposure every time.

Reducing Light

Learn the tools and techniques for reducing the brightness of light from a light source.

Softening Light

 Learn tools and techniques for softening or diffusing light.

Shaping Light

 Setting up a light is easy, but crafting it is an art.  Learn the tools and techniques for shaping light to achieve the desired look.

Color Temperatures

Learn about the colors of different light sources, how they affect the format on which you're shooting, and how to properly compensate.

Lighting a Scene

Learn how to assess an existing location, scene blocking and existing lighting to deterine the best way to light a set.

Lighting Daytime Exteriors

Learn how to light actors outside using only sunlight, reflectors and diffusion.

Working with Mixed Light

Learn how to mix and match light from different color temperatures to achieve the look you want.

Three Point Lighting

Learn a range of lighting techniques when lighting people.

Lighting People

 Learn how to use the three-point lighting system to properly light people.

Key Light Techniques

Learn advanced techniques for shaping your actor's key light

Advanced Lighting Techniques

Learn advanced lighting techniques to add style and quality to your shot

Beginning a Project

Learn how to begin the directing process, read the script for the first time, best prepare long before you even set foot on set, and how to breakdown the script for character and story.

The Visual Story

Learn how to use visual elements of shape, space, line, color, rhythm, movement and tone to frame the story.

How to Shoot a Scene

Learn the process of how to shoot a scene: blocking, light, rehearse, tweak, and shoot.

How to Direct a Scene

Learn how to direct a scene from blocking the actors to choosing the camera angles.

Blocking Actors

Learn how to block the actors, what story cues to look for, how to drive the blocking emotionally, and how to work with the actors to get the best physical performance possible.

Basic Coverage

Learn the basic template for shooting the action in a scene - the master, coverage, inserts and cat-in-the-window shots, learn how to vary shot size to increase coverage, break the standard, plan for the edit, and ensure you get the coverage you need.

Advanced Coverage

Learn how to craft a oner, create a psychological impact for each shot, create compelling establishing shots, manipulate the pacing and rhythm of a scene, determine the opening visual, and enhance transitions from one scene to the next.  

Directing a Chase Scene

Television director Gil Bettman shows you how to direct a dynamic, exciting chase scene on a low budget.

Storyboards and Pre-Visualization

Learn how to work with a storyboard artist, use pre-visualization software, know how detailed storyboards should be, creative restrictions to be aware of, how to create storyboards even if you can't draw, and when to use animatics.

Creating a Shotlist

Learn how to create a shot list, location requirements, how to decide your shots, the elements in a shotlist, how the shot lists are used to schedule and budget a film, and to prepare for days when you go over schedule or over budget.

How to Create Invisible Camera Moves

Veteran Director Gil Bettman reveals inside-industry techniques for creating dynamic, yet invisible camera moves that engage the audience.

Continuity and Script Notes

Learn how the script supervisor tracks continuity and how to create a continuity notebook.

Working with the Military

Learn how to approach the National Guard, work with the US military, the types of resources the military can provide, and how to work with reenacters.

Reality Show Interview Techniques

Learn interview techniques on reality TV shows from veteran realty producer, Troy DeVolld.

Composition

Learn compositional techniques including the rule of thirds, how the great painters used mathematical principals like the golden ratio to create the perfectly composed images, how to balance line, color, and shape, and then how to break these rules.

Creating Depth

Learn techniques for crafting foreground, midground, and background elements, how to manage depth or flatness as a narrative tool, techniques used in network television shows to cheat depth, and the ways the camera lens can affect depth.

Eye Lines

Learn how to choose the best eye line, directing techniques for ideal camera placement, how to overcome challenges when working with visual effects, and how to fine tune actor’s eyelines within mere inches to achieve the desired emotional impact.

Framing People

Learn techniques for framing people from lead room to headroom, how networks and major studios influence framing choices of their programs, how to use single and dirty shots to convey connection or distance between characters, and how directors and cinematographers decide on common guidelines for each production.

Rule of 180

Learn the core fundamentals of screen direction, how to establish the line of action, the rule of 180, exceptions to the rule of 180, instances where the line of action doesn’t apply, how to shoot multiple character with an ever-moving line of action, and how to prepare your shot lists to avoid catastrophic editing problems.

Shot Types

Learn the intricacies of framing, the basic shot types, advanced variations on these shot types, how to quickly communicate your vision to the cinematographer, and the emotional responsive invoked by various shot types.

The Frame

Identify and work with different aspect ratios, manage conversions from film to HD, NTSC to HD, title safe requirements, and how various aspect ratios are adjusted for different exhibition and broadcast formats.

C-Stands

Learn how to use one of the most often-used stands on set - the C-stand.

Clamps

Learn about the different types of clamps used to rig light fixtures and grip equipment on set.

Dolly and Track

Learn how to properly set-up a doorway dolly and track.

Grip's Tools

Learn the essential tools every grip needs when working on set.

Rigging

Learn the most common rigging tools used by grips on set.

Roller Stands

Learn about roller stands, how and when to use them.

Stands

Learn the most commonly-used stands used on location to support lights and overheads.

Green Screen Techniques

Learn how to properly light and expose green screen shots.

Using a Clapboard

Learn how to properly use one of the most iconic tools in the film industry.

Using a Monitor

Production monitors are used on practically every set.  In this module you will learn how to properly calibrate a production monitor to ensure that the image you see on screen is what is actually being recorded.

The Documentary Format

Learn about documentary storytelling, the types of documentaries, the challenges of the medium, observational cinema vs objective-driven stories.

Finding the Story

Learn how to find the story by refining the subject matter, develop a viable and engaging hypothesis, unlock the secrets of the story arc, find a balance between the art and commerce of documentary filmmaking, know the audience, and narrow down broad concepts.

Documentary Pre-Production

Learn how to effectively prep a documentary shoot, research your subject, properly use release forms and secure permissions to protect yourself legally, know what crew to hire, and how to determine when it’s time to shoot. 

Choosing the Gear

Learn how to prepare for life in the field, how to choose the right camera and camera support gear, how to manage batteries and media on location, how to prepare for audio recording, how to pack for the road, and how to make sure your gear survives airports and the airlines.

The Interview Location

Learn what to look for in potential locations, how to work in the all-too-common hotel room or conference room, how to make sure a space is rights-cleared, and how to create a comfortable environment for your subject. 

Interview Camera Set-Ups

Learn how to shoot interviews alone with one camera, one camera with an operator, a cross-shooting two-camera technique, how to work with different frame sizes, work with monitors, techniques for shooting on the run, and how and when to use auto settings.

Preparing for the Interview

Learn how to find qualified subjects, techniques for preparing to shoot the perfect interview, tips on what to wear, how to select the right chair, how to work through a translator, and how to deal with release forms – especially in a heated or controversial interview. 

The Art of the Interview

Learn how to warm up a nervous subject, how to determine the objective of the interview, the first question you should always ask, how to uncover the truth especially with subjects intent on deceiving or leading you, how to work with difficult subjects, how to conduct interviews in which you are also on camera, and how to conduct man-on-the-street interviews.

Ethics and Objectivity

Learn the difference between a subjective and objective approach to filmmaking, how to recognize bias, how to balance your own ethics and feelings in difficult situations, and ethical guidelines both in the field and in the editing room.

Shooting B-Roll Footage

Learn to harness the power of B-Roll for your film, how to use verité footage, basic coverage techniques in the field, how to shoot sequences, how to tailor B-roll for interviews, and how to shoot B-roll after the edit. 

Field Shooting Techniques

Learn when to shoot in auto or manual modes, how to properly shoot your coverage, how to adjust the amount of footage for the project, how to shoot green screen plates, how to work with ambient sound, and how to manage the legalities of a shoot.

Editing Documentaries

Learn how to manage your footage, organize interviews and B-roll, how to find and narrow the story, how to maintain your objectivity in the thick of the process, know what to cut, and how to finish the film.

The Attitude of Safety

Learn how human behavior can impact safety on set.

Basic On-Set Safety

Learn basic on-set safety practices

On Location Safety

Learn to identify and address safety concerns when shooting on location

Studio Facilities Safety

Learn industry-standard safety guidelines for shooting on a soundstage

Vehicle and Roadway Safety

Learn industry-standard safety practices for working around vehicles and roadways

Shooting Moving Vehicles

Learn industry-standard techniques for shooting moving vehicles

Lighting Equipment Safety

Learn industry standard safety techniques for working with light fixtures.

Grip and Rigging Safety

Learn industry standard practices for safe grip and rigging techniques

Electrical Safety I

Learn the basics of electricity and how an electrical circuit works

Electrical Safety II

Learn industry safe guidelines for working around energized sources

Lifts, Trucks and Tools

Learn industry standard safety guidelines for working around lifts, production trucks and when using power tools

Weapon Safety

Learn industry standard practices for using weapons on set

Pyrotechnics and Special Effects

Learn industry-standard techniques for working with pryotechnics, flames, smoke, fog and dust effects

Environmental Safety

Learn industry-standard techniques for working in various environments

The Physics of Sound

Learn the attributes of sound, how we hear, measure and record sound.

How Microphones Work

Learn how microphones function, their classifications, output configurations and how to choose the best microphone for the job

Microphone Pick-Up Patterns

Learn the different types of pick-up patterns, how they capture sound, and which to choose when recording audio.

Audio Pre-Production

Learn how to prepare for a shoot by breaking down the script, determining the best equipment to use and how to address complex scenes.

Lavalier Microphones

Learn how to properly set-up and use lavalier microphones on actors and on set

The Microphone Boom

Learn about the types and uses of boom poles, windscreens, shock mounts and techniques for monitoring audio

Boom Operating Techniques

Learn techniques for the proper placement and operation of the boom mic on set

Location Recording Techniques

Learn techniques for recording high-quality sound on location.

Recording the Audio

Learn how audio is encoded and recorded

Audio Configurations

Learn the various ways to record the audio signal on set.

Cables and Adapters

Learn to use and care for cables and adapters when recording audio on set.

Introduction to Editing

Learn the basics of editing, when to start, and how to best prepare for the edit long before the cameras even start to roll.

Building an Editing Suite

Learn the components of an editing system, as well as the history of editing gear - from tape-to-tape editing to now.

Hiring an Editor

In this module, you will learn how to find a qualified editor, how to assess an editor’s demo reel, tips for ensuring his vision and communication style match yours, and how to ultimately get the best person for the job.

Working with an Editor

Learn techniques for communicating your vision to the editor, the editor’s workflow, and what you can do to get the best results possible in the editing room.

Concepts of Editing

Learn when to cut, how to determine whether you should cut or not, the hierarchy of story-telling importance when editing, what to show or not show, and how to use psychology to craft a scene the invokes powerful emotions – all through how it is edited.

Data Management and Workflow

Learn how to develop a system for organizing the footage from set to post, how to develop a workflow that keeps the process smooth and conflict-free, how to conduct post-production meetings, the role of the post-production supervisor, standard techniques for labeling and managing footage, and data handling techniques.

The Assembly Cut

Learn how to approach the assembly cut, how to manage music and sound effects, what should or shouldn’t be included, and how to address issues of pacing, story, and character development.

Stock Footage

Learn how to use stock footage, how to understand a licensing agreement, where to find stock footage, how to manage the technical requirements, and what your rights are when distributing your production.

Editing a Dialogue Scene

Learn the correct and incorrect ways of shooting dialogue on set, advanced techniques for manipulating the pacing and emotional intensity of the scene, how to work with changing background ambience, techniques for balancing the visual performance with the dialogue, how to mix the audio, ultimately how to get the best performance through the edit.

Editing Action

Learn how to edit action for proper flow, continuity, and pacing.  Learn techniques for compressing time, revealing only the essentials to keep the story moving forward, and advanced editing techniques used by master editors.

The Rough Cut

Learn how to approach the rough cut, determine what moments work, how to re-structure the story, and ultimately create a movie that stands on its own- divorced from the script.

Test Screenings

Learn how to prepare for and conduct a test screening, how to choose the right test audience, what questions to ask after the test screening, and how to filter the responses into usable comments that can improve the story.

The Fine Cut

Learn techniques for perfecting every single frame of your movie before locking the picture edit, how you will know when the movie is done, the implications of locking the picture, and the process of prepping the film for audio.

Offline/Online Editing

Learn how and when to work in an offline environment, how to transition to an online cut, and techniques for ensuring the process goes smoothly.

Color Grading

Learn the color grading process, how it differs amongst formats, the balance between technical and artistic grading, how to protect yourself from the “fix-it-in-post” mentality, and how to get the look you want.

Understanding Compression

Learn the fundamental principles of compression and how it affects the look and size of the footage.

Intro to Audio Post-Production

Learn the five components of audio and go to the sound studio to experience the construction of the audio for a scene.  Learn the ADR process, the contributions of Foley to the mix, the role of sounds effects and ambience, and the music.

ADR

Learn the technical process of re-recording the dialogue of a scene during the ADR process.

Directing Actors in ADR

Learn how to work with actors to get the best vocal performance possible during the ADR process, address acting problems and actor fatigue, and gain valuable tips on how to direct a natural and realistic performance so the ADR performance becomes better than the original delivery on set.

Foley

Learn how Foley is recorded and mixed to create and full, rich audio track. Learn the types of Foley, how much should be recorded, the process of recording Foley, and how to properly schedule and budget this creatively demanding aspect of audio post-production.

Sound Effects

Learn the process of creating a compelling sound effects track for your movie, where to find high quality sound effects, how sounds effects and Foley work together, how to find a balance with the dialogue and music, and the role of the sound effects editor.

Mixing the Audio

Learn how all the final components of the audio are mixed together.

Emotion Through Music

Learn to use music as a dramatic player in a way that properly supports the emotion of the scene without overwhelming the performance.

The Who and How of Music

Learn the people involved in crafting the score to a movie, the types of scores available, and how music is recorded - from synth to live instruments.

Working with the Composer

Learn how to work with a composer through scoring process, from the initial meeting to making changes to the completed score.

Music Licensing

Learn how music is licensed, and how existing music can be used in your production

Film Marketing

Learn how the massive marketing machine works in hollywood and how you can use it to promote your movie.

Reaching Your Audience

Learn how to effectively determine, define, and market to your audience.

Designing the Key Art

Learn how to design an effective movie poster that will reel your fans in, help you raise awareness in your film, and get a distribution deal.

Making a Movie Trailer

Learn how to market your movie with key do's and don'ts when making the trailer.

Building Your Website

Learn how to build an engaging website that will help you sell your film to audiences and distributors.

Building a Press Kit

Learn how to craft the idea press release to get the media interested in covering your story.

Working with the Media

Learn how to conduct yourself during television, print, and radio/podcast interviews to get the maximum exposure for your project.

Intro to Distribution

Learn how the distribution process works, the way studios approach the process, the windows and time frames of distribution, how to approach self-distribution, and knowing your audience.

Film Ratings and the MPAA

Learn how a rating can impact your ability to sell and monetize your movie, how to work with the MPAA, and the process of obtaining a rating.

Domestic Distribution

Learn the distribution process so you know what to expect, what materials are needed, and most importantly how to protect yourself in the high stakes game of film distribution.

Foreign Distribution

Learn how foreign sales agents work, how to find a reputable agent, common scams used to steal your movie without paying you, what you will be expected to deliver, how to collect your money, and hundreds of other tips.  We take you to the heart of it all at the American Film Market to see – firsthand, how the foreign distribution process works.

Mistakes Filmmakers Make at Film Festivals

Learn the top five mistakes filmmakers make at film festivals and how you can avoid them.

Film Festivals

Learn how to find a qualified producer’s rep, how to get into top film festivals, what to do once you are accepted, how to attract the right audiences at the screenings, and how to leverage the opportunity for your next production.

Internet Distribution

Learn how to properly distribute your movie online, how content aggregators work, how to find a unique presence online, and how to leverage your online movie to get your next movie deal.

Exposure

Learn how to properly determine the exposure of your shot

Focal Length

Learn how changes in the focal length affect the shot, both creatively and technically  

Focus

Learn how to properly set focus, set focus marks, rack focus and work with the hyperfocal point.

The Shutter

Learn to use the shutter and how it affects the exposure and look of the image

Analog vs. Digital

Learn the differences between the analog and digital video signals.

ASA and Gain

Learn about the imaging sensors work, and how to properly determine your ASA on set.

Lens Care

Learn how to properly handle and care for a camera lens

How to Shoot a Spec Commercial

Emmy-winning director, Jason Tomaric takes you through how he shot a $2,500 spec commercial for his demo reel to generate more clients.

Amor & Psyche

Learn about the making of the music video for "Amor & Psyche"