Curriculum

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

Fall Semester

Mon: 10:00am-1:00pm
Writing for the Screen

Tues: 10:00am-1:00pm
Film History, Theory and Analysis

Wed: 10:00am-2:00pm
Light and Sound I

Thur: 10:00am-1:00pm
Directing I

Mon/Tues/Thur: 2:00-5:00pm
Motion Picture Production I

Spring Semester

Mon: 10:00am-1:00pm
Post-Production

Tues: 10:00am-1:00pm
The Business of Filmmaking

Wed: 10:00am-2:00pm
Light and Sound II

Thur: 10:00am-1:00pm
Directing II

Mon/Tues/Thur: 2:00-5:00pm
Motion Picture Production II

 

EQUIPMENT

  • HD Video Cameras
  • Super-16 Film Cameras
  • Digital Audio Recorders
  • Lens Packages
  • Soundstage
  • DSLR Video Cameras
  • Lighting Packages
  • Microphones
  • Avid and Final Cut Pro Editing Suites
  • Screening Rooms

For more specifics, contact our equipment office (412-681-9500) or visit their equipment list (rates do not apply).

 

HANDBOOK

Download the Filmmaking Intensive Handbook PDF for more specifics concerning classes, equipment, and admissions.

 

CLASSES OVERVIEW

Motion Picture Production I
Motion Picture Production I is more than a class.  It’s the heart of the Intensive program, the “base camp” for your filmmaking expedition.  We meet three days a week, and create a lot of media:  a music video, a documentary, a short scene on film, and finally a short dramatic piece in Super-16mm film.  Some projects will be all your own, others you will collaborate on, sharing ideas, feedback, and talents through the writing, shooting and editing stages.

Writing for the Screen
Making a film involves working with people, and we usually communicate film ideas in writing.  This course begins with persuasion—how to make a compelling argument in words.  It continues to documentary film writing before exploring the world of fiction via analyzing feature film plots and writing your own short narrative script.  The course will help turn experienced writers into screenwriters, and help beginners to get comfortable turning a mere ideas into a workable blueprint for a good film.

Film History, Theory, and Analysis
The movies are a revolutionary art form.  Since their birth over a century ago, they have transformed the world and reached nearly every human on earth.  How did the movies become so powerful?  How have they changed over the years, from A Trip to the Moon to Breathless to Batman?  With weekly screenings and discussion, this course examines the building blocks of modern cinema by looking back in time and across the variety of motion picture styles and genres.

Light and Sound I
All a camera can do is capture light shining through a lens, or bouncing off objects and people.  Microphones capture sources and reflections, too, in the form of sound waves.  How to wrangle, record, and refine these two essentials of filmmaking is the subject of this course.  The fall semester alternates between the two topics, with an emphasis on light, from the most hands-on (wear gloves!) practice to close viewing of films by the masters of lighting.

Directing I
The director’s job is simple:  translate a script on paper into moving pictures on screen.  Simple, but not easy.  Doing it well involves planning, visualization, rehearsing, and quite literally calling the shots as boss on the set.  This course gives you the opportunity to re-imagine a scene from a famous film, and shoot your version, as an exercise in script breakdowns, casting, and working with a crew of your classmates.

Motion Picture Production II
Everything in the Filmmaking Intensive—studying films, writing, technical knowledge, practicing—ultimately leads to this class, where you will play a key role in the creation of one of two polished, artistically-accomplished shorts, or a commercial for a local business or organization.  To complete these major projects, you and your teammates will work with large-sensor video cameras and digital sound recorders, with full support from the School.

Post-Production
Is editing a creative act or a technical one?  It’s both, of course, and here you will integrate the two.  We first delve into Avid Media Composer, the editing program that dominates the feature film and television world.  It’s not a simple program, but getting comfortable with Avid liberates you to explore the creative side of editing.  The editing suite is where a film is shaped in both profound and subtle ways, by building its structure, tempo, emphasis, and the sense of continuity, or flow that makes cinema such a powerful experience.  To expand the potential of post-production, you will also practice manipulating the image in Avid, and the basics of motion graphics using Adobe After Effects.

The Business of Filmmaking
You have the skills and talent to make films.  Now how do you make a living doing what you love?  This course will orient you to how the enormous industry of media production operates, and where you fit in.  You will use the final spring videos as samples for taking on the role of producer, including pitching the project, making a detailed budget, and making a fundraising plan.  You and your teammates will produce a poster, flyer, web and social media to market the films and videos, and the year-end final screening.  Finally, by developing your résumé and portfolio, you will lay the groundwork for what happens once you’ve completed the Filmmaking Intensive, whether it’s producing an independent film or finding work in the field.

Light and Sound II
Picking up where we left off, we continue to explore lighting, but the emphasis now shifts to sound.  Often overlooked by beginning filmmakers, the soundtrack of a film has the power to engage an audience in visceral and emotional ways.  The process begins with creating a sound design, and continues with advanced recording techniques, including wireless microphones and digital mixers.  It culminates in “the sound mix,” a session using ProTools software to refine audio quality, levels, and transitions, and to enhance the soundtrack with elements like reverb, music and sound effects.

Directing II
What makes a memorable performance on screen, and how to you create that with your actor?  The relationships between the director and actors is perhaps the most important one on the set.  In the second part of the directing instruction, you will delve into what a given script demands of the actors, casting the right person for the part, conducting rehearsals, and finally, directing a short scene with multiple actors.