Go deep into the art of directing in this Eight-week intensive, guided by industry professionals

Dates:  Jun 14-Aug 8, 2020
Levels:  All
Fee: $10,995

To realize their vision, a director must intimately understand not only the key creative and practical dynamics of their job – but also the roles of their closest collaborators during the development, production, and post-production process of a film.  It’s essential that a director understand story structure and character, and how to work with a writer – even as they may also sometimes choose to be their own writer. They will work closely with producers and often function as a producer. Their closest behind-the-camera connection will be to the cinematographer with whom they must share a common vision for the look and visual style of the film. After production, they’ll work intimately with an editor and will need to grasp the dynamics of flow, pacing, and how to sculpt a scene for the greatest impact. This extraordinary intensive offers a package of classes to equip the complete director. Each workshop is led by an accomplished working professional who will provide a uniquely qualified real world perspective on the realities of the craft, the art and business of filmmaking, and the dynamics of working in collaboration with one another to create and direct a film.


The Courses

The Director's Craft | Peter Werner

In the first week of the intensive students are introduced to the primary responsibilities of the Film Director. Casting, rehearsal techniques, script, storyboarding and scene analysis, art direction and collaboration are examined and experienced by each class member. With the guidance of a seasoned professional, students explore and develop effective ways to lead, inspire, manage and direct the cast and crew’s creative energies in order to realize the directorial vision.

Directing Actors for the Camera

The 2nd week is a practical laboratory that explores the process of directing both actors and the camera. Led by an industry professional with extensive experience in both directing and cinematography, students block, rehearse, and direct a team of professional actors in short dramatic scenes. They focus on exploring ways in which the camera and the shot design can be implemented to most effectively help tell their story. The goal is to explore the directorial and collaborative processes and the techniques needed to create convincing performances while also fulfilling this artistic vision, and executing the necessary mechanics of the shot.

Story Structure and Character Development | Wayne Beach

In Week Three students examine the essentials of screenwriting: concept, character, story, plot, dialogue, and structure. Guided by a professional screenwriter, you will examine the importance of visual storytelling, the process of shaping story, creating compelling character arcs, constructing scenes and sequences, writing effective dialogue, and the fundamentals of suspense and tension. This week will afford students valuable insight into the screenwriter's process, and its relationship to that of the director.

Creative Producing for Film & TV | Eric Mofford

Among the most important things a director must understand to be successful professionally, is the dynamics of working with a producer. In this course students will get a chance to step into the financial and logistical world of filmmaking, and experience the perspective of the individual being tasked with bridging this world with the creative one. This workshop closely examines the role of the creative producer in overseeing the development and production of a project from conception to completion. The crucial dynamics of pitching a project and preparing a presentation to talent, financiers, studios, networks, and distributors will be explored. Through it all, you will be guided by a deeply-experienced producer.

The Camera and Visual Storytelling | Steven Fierberg, ASC

This week, the focus will be on one of the director's most important responsibilities: crafting their shot design to convey emotions and tell an effective story through their visuals. The intensive will merge with the concurrently-running Cinematography Track, and students get the opportunity to work with emerging camera operators and DPs. Led by an award winning, ASC, Director of Photography, you’ll learn the “language and grammar" of shot design, subjectivity, composition, camera placement and movement. The course will be heavily project-based and students will collboarate to shoot original concepts. By week's end, participants will have created a short, portfolio-quality, cinematic piece, and worked with an editor to see their vision to completion. Projects are screened at the Friday Night Showcase of student work.

The Art of Editing

Whether you want to be a director who edits your own films, or prefer to hand them off to an expert who does it for a living, understanding the editing process is pivotal to becoming a successful visual storyteller. This course will include screenings, theory discussions, and analysis of films, and students will explore how pacing, shot selection, rhythm, and juxtaposition can be used to create emotional impact and advance a story. Students will be given various types of footage to practice with throughout the week, and will create edits to be critiqued in class. This course will give directing students valuable new perspective, and the ability to keep a clear vision of their final edit in mind, when approaching the way they design shots and guide performances on set.

On Film Acting: A Lab for Directors and Writers | Clark Middleton & Ewen Bremner

Arguably the most crucial aspect of the director's job is working with their actors. Directors who can understand the actor's experience, and the vulnerable and risk-taking nature of performing in any scene, will be able to foster the relationship and the trust needed to create powerful and emotional performances from their cast.

This class will be co-taught by award-winning actors, Clark Middleton and Ewen Bremner. Clark has appeared in such acclaimed films and shows as "Birdman", "Twin Peaks", "Kill Bill Vol. 2", and "The Blacklist". Ewen's credits include "Trainspotting 1 & 2", "Julien Donkey Boy", and "Black Hawk Down". Both have worked with top directors such as Danny Boyle, And Lee, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and Richard Linklater.

In this intensive week, you will work with directors and actors and will participate in a series of exercises to develop the skills and focus needed to build an effective acting process.

Directing Master Class | Allen Coulter

In the final week of the intensive, students will gain an intimate inside look into the process of a master director whose credits include "The Sopranos", "House of Cards", "Ray Donovan", and "Boardwalk Empire". The week combines lectures, screenings, scene analysis, and practical work. You become part of the crew to help (and observe) our guest director go through their process of preparing, rehearsing, photographing, and editing a scene, and collaborating with a master DP in the concurrently running cinematography master class. Witness the most effective implementation of scene coverage, camera moves, and how the director communicates with cast and crew to get the most out of each. The class will cover the dynamics of a director’s career path, and students will be afforded ample opportunity to gain valuable insight from the instructor on their own personal experiences, and roads to success in the world of film production.

Shooting & Directing Branded Content (Optional Follow Up Course)

Students are given the option to stay for a 9th Week and utilize their broad new set of skills and knowledge to produce and direct a short, portfolio-quality commercial. Students will write scripts, plan visual approaches, cast actors, scout locations, and shoot branded shorts. They will work with an editor to "direct" their final cuts, which will screen at the final Friday Night Showcase of student work. This week will afford students the opportunity to use what they've learned in the preceding nine weeks in a real and practical directorial environment, and to demonstrate and observe the skill sets they've acquired that will help them get to the next level in their career.

Please contact Registration for information on room & board fees for intensives at [email protected].

This intensive is not eligible for any promotional offers that may occur.

Image:  ©Tor Rolf Johansen

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