First Semester – 15 weeks
First semester courses give students an overview of filmmaking by introducing them to essential elements of writing, directing, producing, casting, editing, post-production, distribution, sales and marketing, the operation of a digital camera and the basics of cinematography and lighting. Computers and industry specific software used in production, screenwriting and editing are covered as well as other professional filmmaking equipment. Advice on what it takes to be successful in the film industry is presented. In the Film Production course, students learn camera techniques, directing and basic production and create several short films and simple exercises in the digital format. These hands-on courses teach students to work both independently and collaboratively in a high-pressure creative environment that simulates professional filmmaking. Courses cover the basics of producing and how the industry works for independent films and the major studios, TV and cable networks, streaming services, as well as commercials, industrials, web-based productions and other moving image industries. Additional emphasis is placed on the creative process, while insight into human behavior, gained through the Social Psychology course, will prove useful when collaborating with cast and crew in the pressure-filled environment of a working set.
Second Semester – 15 weeks
Building on the fundamental skill set developed in the first semester, students now broaden and intensify their training by investigating more advanced creative and technical approaches to narrative and documentary filmmaking. Assigned exercises progress towards more substantial personal projects and ideas are developed as students work independently and collaboratively to produce more complex and sophisticated work. Emphasis is placed on the study of narrative literature, film analysis and the history of film.
Third Semester – 15 weeks
Technique and aesthetic converge in the third semester as the curriculum concentrates on production. To this end, filmmakers are pushed to expand their skill set to include tools for more nuanced control over the storytelling process. The collaborative process by which Director and Actor bring a performance to life, and the power of a well-crafted soundtrack to influence emotional response, are among the topics explored. Student filmmakers also delve deeper into the Producer’s domain. The foundation of physical production, scheduling and budgeting, is taught using industry standard software. Courses cover contracts, marketing, distribution and the creative use of cinematography to shape mood and tone. The ins and outs of submitting films to festivals as well as marketing and selling films to studios, networks, independently, and on the Internet, are covered as well as public speaking. A colloquium course provides a forum to address specific issues that arise and is supplemented with guest speakers on various industry topics such as art direction and costume design as well as advanced cinematography techniques. Students may continue to hone their screenwriting craft, generating scripts to be considered for the Fourth Semester Final Project or be assigned projects such as writing about the relationships between Producer/Writer, Director/Writer, etc. By the eleventh week of the semester, those students wishing to, are encouraged to submit one or more screenplays for consideration as the Fourth Semester Motion Picture Production Final Project.
Fourth Semester – 15 weeks
The cumulative knowledge and experience garnered throughout this program is the foundation for the Fourth Semester Motion Picture Production Final Project. This project is approved and selected by the faculty. Students collaborate on this project, forming all the positions of a film crew, pre-production through post-production. This project is the centerpiece for a real-world study of the business of film. The Colloquium provides a discussion format, including guest speakers, to address specific issues that arise along the way. A unique Advanced Development course focuses on preparing students for a professional career after graduation. A Human Biology class helps students to better understand the human body, the primary tool of the actor.