Get the real-world views of a director and producer on how to prepare a film and manage a set with confidence and leave with a new understanding of how to steer a production to a successful finish.

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Director teaching Maine Media student

In this workshop, students will examine the dynamics of how to prep a film and gain a practical understanding of how a professional film set functions.  You’ll get both a director’s and producer’s perspective on how to shepherd a smooth-running production.  Guest speakers will provide additional insight.

Whether you are looking to understand how to command a production as a director or producer, deepen your understanding of how your craft role functions in the larger context of a set, or land a job on a shoot, this class will provide the proper foundational training for you to walk onto a film set with confidence.  

The decisions that determine whether a project will run effectively and efficiently or run into difficulties typically happen during the crucial phases of planning and pre-production.  While this class will consider all aspects of production, we will pay particular attention to how to prep for a successful shoot.

The class will examine how to match prep to what the project is, how to secure actors and negotiate their deals, how to work with agents, choose department heads and make the right hires to assemble and manage a successful team, how to prepare and read a budget, and consider where and how to spend the money.  We’ll explore the art of troubleshooting problems and potential pitfalls, and how to navigate the divide between budgetary limitations and the creative needs of the production.

Allen Coulter teaches Maine Media directing students by Tor Rolf Johansen

The best-equipped filmmakers know what their collaborators do and we will examine the dynamics of effective collaboration. We’ll examine how a director plans and collaborates with a cinematographer, a production designer, editor and audio team, as well as the value of look books and storyboards. You’ll understand the roles of a production manager, line producer, assistant director and script supervisor. 

Students will examine case studies, break down and schedule scenes, and learn how to navigate routine and hypothetical challenges.

Along the way, we’ll consider the differences between features and TV, union and non-union shoots, as well as indie and studio.  We will also cover the new normal as it relates to set safety, health protocols, and intimacy coordination. 

Leave with a new understanding of how to steer a production to a successful finish.

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Instructor: Rachel Wolther

Rachel Wolther is a writer, director and producer, featured as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her Black List screenplay NOBODY NOTHING NOWHERE, co-written with her frequent collaborator Alex Fischer, brought her to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and is currently in development with producers John Penn and Allison Rose Carter, with Octavia Spencer, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Lucy Liu attached to star. 

Rachel and Alex’s first project, the 40-minute absurdist dance comedy SNOWY BING BONGS starring Sunita Mani, Tallie Medel & Eleanore Pienta, produced by DANIELS (EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE), premiered at BAMCinemafest and screened at Rotterdam, BAFICI, AFF Wroclaw and other fests around the world. 

Rachel's feature directoral debut, THE FRENCH ITALIAN, stars Catherine Cohen, Aristotle Athari & Chloe Cherry, and will premiere summer 2024. In addition to her own work, Rachel has produced films with such award-winning filmmakers as Joanna Arnow, Nathan Silver, Josephine Decker, Zia Anger and Ashley Connor. Her producing credits include feature films, music videos, shorts, and television.