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FilmSkills Modules

Explore all the filmmaking content FilmSkills has to offer

FilmSkills Module Library

Industry Lifestyle

  • 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.

  • Working Freelance

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

  • Tricks to Working Freelance

    Hollywood insider Casey Slade, reveals dozens of tips and tricks from his illustrious career on how to succeed as a freelancer in the entertainment industry.

  • 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.

  • 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 treacherous waters of 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • How to Survive in Hollywood

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

Development

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Script Writing

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Story Structure

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

  • 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.

  • Become a Hollywood Writer, 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.

  • Become a Hollywood Writer, 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 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 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.

  • The Reality TV Story Process

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

Final Draft Training

  • 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.

Producing

  • 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.

Scheduling and Budgeting

  • 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. 

Casting the Roles

  • 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.

Working with Actors

  • 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 Techniques For the Screen

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Directing Mistakes

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

Production Design

  • 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.

Locations

  • 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.

  • 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

Technology and Equipment

The Producers

  • 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.

Assistant Director Department

Production

  • Script Supervisor

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

Camera Department

  • 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

Electric Department

  • 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.

Grip Department

  • 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

Art Department

  • 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.

  • 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.

Camera and Lens

  • Introduction to Lenses

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

  • Lens Care

    Learn how to properly handle and care for a camera lens

  • Basic Camera Techniques

    A quick guide for basic camera functions and techniques.

  • Tripods and Sliders

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

  • Focus

    This module focuses on the first ring of the camera lens - the focus ring.  Learn how to properly set focus, set focus marks, rack focus and work with the hyperfocal point.

  • Exposure

    Learn how to properly determine the exposure of your shot

  • The Zone System

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

  • Focal Length

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

     

  • 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 Shutter

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

  • Gain

    Learn about the gain function and when to use it.

  • Basic Shooting Techniques

    Learn basic shooting techniques to make the best quality footage, both visually and for the edit.

Lighting

  • 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 how and when to properly use Kino-Flo lighting on your set.

  • LED Lighting

    Learn how to to work with the newest LED lighting on your production.

  • 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 Outside

    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.

  • 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

Directing

  • 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.

  • 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.
     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Directing a Chase Scene

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

  • 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.

  • Continuity and Script Notes

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Reality Show Interview Techniques

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

Cinematography Technique

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Eyelines

    Learn how to choose the best eyeline, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Using a Clapboard

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

  • Green Screen Techniques

    Learn how to properly light and expose green screen shots.

  • 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.

Grip and Rigging

  • C-Stands

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

  • Stands

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

  • Roller Stands

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

  • Dolly and Track

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

  • Clamps

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

  • Rigging

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

  • Grip's Tools

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

Documentary Production

  • Intro to Documentaries

    Learn about documentary storytelling, the types of documentaries, the challenges of the medium, how to manage B-Roll, use recreations to enhance the story, find the balance between story and production value, create compelling interviews, and discover the cinematic tools available to the documentarian.

  • 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.

Safety Training

Audio Recording

  • The Physics of Sound

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

  • Microphone Basics

    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.

  • Lavalier Microphones

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

  • The Boom Mic

    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

  • 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.

  • 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, from recording directly to the camera, to using external mixers and recording devices.

  • Cables and Adapters

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

Editing

  • 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.

Audio Post-Production

  • 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.

  • Scoring a Scene

    Learn how composer Chris First approached the scoring of a scene

Music Composition

  • 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

Marketing

  • Film Marketing

    Learn how the Hollywood marketing machine works, and how you can use studio-level techniques to market your own movie.

  • Reaching Your Audience

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

  • Editing a Trailer

    The trailer is one of the single most powerful marketing tools for reaching your audience. Learn how to cut the trailer in a way that maximizes it's effectiveness.

  • Designing the Key Art

    The key art is the main marketing images used throughout all print marketing campaigns. Learn how to properly design key art to achieve maximum results in attracting audiences

  • Building an EPK

    Make sure the media has the materials they need to properly review and promote you rmovie.  In this lesson, learn how to build an effective Electronic Press Kit.

  • Designing the Website

    Websites designed to market films have changed over the years.  Learn how to build the most effective website to convey the marketing message for you rmovie.

  • Working with the Media

    Getting press through television and radio interviews, newspapers, magazines, and blogs is a powerful - and free - way to reach your audience. Learn how to craft your message and get the media to work for you.

Distribution

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Film Ratings and the MPAA

    The MPAA is the organization responsible for awarding film ratings to educate parents abotu the content of each movie. 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.

  • 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.

  • Mistakes Filmmakers Make at Film Festivals

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

Retired Modules

  • Hollywood Formula

     Learn the basic Hollywood writing system - including A-Plots, subplots and advanced writing conventions.

  • Creating Characters

     Learn how to create realistic, original characters for your story, the character types and how they relate to each other.

Music Videos

  • Amor & Psyche

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

FILMSKILLS MODULES