Producer’s Craft: Budgeting
In this course, students will learn the importance of balancing the creative vision of a project with logistics and budgetary constraints. Students will break down a script, create a shooting schedule, and learn how to identify all necessary elements. Students will then build a budget, learn about unions and guilds, and make critical assumptions. Students will be introduced to and trained on the industry-standard software used by producers; Movie Magic Scheduling and Movie Magic Budgeting.
Producer’s Craft: Creative
This area of study is designed to give students insight into the duties and responsibilities of the Producer. Both creative producing and production management will be introduced and discussed. Students will analyze each phase of a project, including development, pre-production, production, post-production and marketing & distribution. Students will experience first-hand a rigorous film project and go through a green-light meeting.
Effective producers must have a basic understanding and familiarization with the elements of storytelling, and how those elements are translated into a script worth producing. Producers must also know enough about screenwriting to work with writers in making passable scripts good and good scripts even better. Students will learn dramatic story structure and how theme, tension, conflict and character development are essential to effective storytelling. They will be introduced to: pitching a story, writing a logline and treatment, character arcs, dialogue and screenplay formatting. Each student will develop and write an original, five- to ten-page narrative script.
Hands-on Camera & Lighting
In Hands-On Camera & Lighting, students learn fundamental skills in the art of cinematography. They will be introduced to cameras and supporting equipment and learn how to handle them, including how to assemble, disassemble and pack the gear. Students will shoot screen tests for focus, exposure, lens perspective, slow/fast motion, contrast and lighting in preparation for the 3- minute short film and individual short films.
In Sound Design, producing students are introduced to and discuss voice-over, sound effects and music as viable and common means to enhance story. This area of study is designed to afford students the knowledge and skills to execute professional-grade, single-system production sound recording sessions, as well as instruct the student on how production sound relates to the overall structure of film sound. Students practice a series of hands-on exercises with professional recording equipment under the guidance of the instructor. All exercises are recorded and played back during class time. In addition, students will listen to film clips without images and will practice the identification and classification of film sound. Students will also be introduced to Post-Production Sound.
Editing presents students with multiple aesthetic approaches to editing film projects. Students will learn to apply concepts such as temporal continuity and spatial continuity, as well as less traditional discontinuous editing techniques. The area of study will also discuss the psychological and emotional effects of editing on the overall story. Lectures are supplemented with individual consultations at the computer.
Directing for Producers
The director’s vision shapes the look and feel of a film. The student is responsible for turning the words of a script into images on the screen. Through directing exercises, this class will allow producers to understand how directors organize their vision. Students are introduced to storyboards, overheads and shot lists, as well as working with actors and key crew members. In crews, students develop, prep, shoot and edit one 3-minute silent short film. In addition, each student will produce a short script developed in Screenwriting Fundamentals or will participate in the shoot of a classmate’s short film.
This class explores the legal and business issues related to film and television for creative producers and it surveys the many legal doctrines that shape the entertainment industry and explores how those various doctrines interact. Topics will include free speech, defamation, invasion of privacy, publicity rights, copyright and fair use. Particular attention is paid to intellectual property. Students will be introduced to standard contract formats and contractual relations in the entertainment industry. Students will explore the clearances and releases needed for depiction of people or their works in films, including likeness, crowd notice, locations, names and artwork. This area of study is designed to enable non-lawyers to understand how these various areas of law will impact their projects.
Branding, Marketing, & Distribution
In this course, students will learn necessary creative and conceptual skills to develop a brand. Students will be introduced to and will analyze mission statements and will develop their own. Students will also examine and analyze marketing and distribution plans for feature films. They will also discern the type of projects they want to develop and where in the entertainment industry this work will fit creatively and fiscally.
Reality TV/Alternative Media
Students will learn the basics of producing for reality television and the genre’s relationship to other platforms and formats through the analysis of existing successful reality TV programming. Students will also learn about new and emerging media technology and explore web series, podcasts and multimedia tie-ins.
Through in-class examples, students are introduced to effective pitching styles and instructed on how to pitch to investors and development executives. Each student will practice and gain critical and fundamental pitching skills. Students will develop a brief and effective pitch of the material they are developing in class and pitch it to their instructor and the class in the final class meeting.