Course descriptions and program timetable
Introduction to Production Techniques is an introduction to the basic concepts of production and basic directing techniques. Students will be introduced to terminology, roles, blocking, basic shooting techniques, master shots, interpreting the written word. Students will also gain an understanding of the three stages involved in filmmaking: preproduction, production and post-production. There is also a workshop component where students will be tasked to shoot and upload various assignments.
An in depth look at the language of film, its origins and its genres. The innovations and major cinematic movements will be addressed, as well as the techniques, styles and storytelling formats that were pioneered. Students will discuss, break down and deconstruct a historic film using the techniques drawn from class.
The Advanced Production Techniques explained in Introduction to Production Techniques will be expanded. Blocking will be further explored. Students will build on the master shot (three shot), using newly introduced set ups and shot types. They will learn to capture audio to the camera. At the conclusion of this course students will have completed several cinematic scenes.
Editing 1 introduces students to the basic concepts of visual storytelling, technical skills and artistry. Students are introduced to theoretical concepts as well as become familiar with the editing stations, the workflow, and the software and its various tools. Students will be introduced to themes, how to build tension and elicit an emotional response through relevant assignments and various editing techniques.
Scripts 1 introduces students to the basic concepts and formatting of the screenplay – characters are explored, as well as dialogue, scene structure, and sequences. Students create complex, layered characters with an emphasis on dialogue without story exposition. Students write a scene that imparts information and reveals character through subtext – guiding the audience through the use of actions – as subtly and naturally as possible. Story conflict within a scene is stressed, as is the protagonist/antagonist relationship, and culminating in the ultimate scene resolution. Students also write a second scene in sequence, discussing audience expectations, and the possibility of going against these expectations to build interest and create a more compelling narrative.
Principles of Promotional Media builds on the skills gained in Introduction to Production Techniques and Advanced Production Techniques. Students are treated as professionals and will form mock production companies, are therefore now challenged to deliver quality products on time. They are introduced to the concept of various filmed projects with a marketing or promotional aspect applied. They are introduced to how to work with clients, and accomplish the client’s needs. Students will deliver a commercial, a public service announcement (PSA), and a music video. Students will then have the opportunity to submit a pitch for either a corporate or a training video. By the conclusion of this course students will have expanded their production knowledge and gained the skills and confidence needed to work with clients and meet rigorous deadlines.
Scripts 2 focuses on the three act structure and story arc; students learn to create and highlight fundamental plot points. With this structural knowledge students learn to create a “beat sheet” for a short film. Using this beat sheet students are guided through the next process of creating a treatment, which includes detailed information and subtext. Finally students write the first draft of their script with a focus on rising action, tension and creating a compelling story. Students will continue to tweak this script, as this is generally the screenplay submitted in their pitch/package for consideration for the Thesis projects/short films.
Editing 2 advances the techniques introduced in Editing 1 as well as introduces new concepts. The course focuses on intermediate editing techniques with a focus on storytelling, style, gloss and presentation. Students also study the interplay between music and the image and how to produce the desired pacing and rhythm, marrying the two disciplines.
Students are provided an introduction to the various documentary techniques and styles and discuss the various approaches to storytelling within the documentary structure. Students will be tasked to produce and deliver a short documentary ready for festival inclusion. They will achieve this through relevant assignments and scheduling their own shoot dates.
Producing and Production Management introduces students to the business and management side of filmmaking. With an emphasis on producing and production management this course offers lecture and hands on demonstrations on various paperwork, permits, location agreements, crew agreements, call sheets and so on. There is an introduction to the various unions and guilds and their roles.
Audio Principles is an introduction into basics of audio production. Th course focuses on creative aspects of audio-recording, editing and mixing sound in cinema, video, and other multimedia production. Topics include: psychoacoustics, basic techniques of sound-recording and possible artistic application of sound design in film, with regard to specific narrative demands and structure, and post-production (sound mix).
In Storyboards and Visual Storytelling students will gain a further understanding of the visual storytelling process. Through the use of various techniques students will create storyboards, illustrate the narrative, plan shots that will successfully demonstrate action and continuity. They will understand layout and composition, and learn to effectively communicate the emotion, subtext and storyline.
The Motion Graphics and Visual FX course introduces the students to the Adobe After Effects software and the concepts and design techniques surrounding motion graphics and visual effects. Motion Graphics centers on animated graphic design, title sequences, lower thirds etc. And the visual effects components combines existing footage with computer generated imagery that is commonly used when creating environmental effects such as adding snow, smoke, lightening, rain or manipulating the sky or used in logo removal. Students learn to create and manipulate after effects and use them accordingly. Students learn how to use the interface and how to create compositions, layer basics and layer transformation properties, as well as create and view masks and use multiple masks. Other properties and techniques of After Effects are explored.
In Factual Entertainment students will be introduced to one of television broadcasts strongest markets. Students will be introduced to the concepts and theories behind this form of genre. The students focus on developing and pitching an original Factual Entertainment concept. Students will be guided through the process of creating the story, episode structure, casting the central personalities, how to budget the production and packaging for the overall proposal. The central project in this course will be the production of a “sizzle reel” to present to producers and broadcasters.
Introduction to Production Design introduces the student to the art, craft and science of professional film and television art direction. The focus is to create the physical look of the story and its environment whether that be a period piece, contemporary, or futuristic sci-fi. Students will learn design concepts and techniques and the various roles involved in the art department. This course provides students with the knowledge to create a cohesive design that will weave through the film and advance the director’s vision in creating a unique look for the film.
The building and presentation of packages is a valuable technique and art form used industry wide to effectively present your proposal. Students learn how to package and present a concise plan detailing their idea, screenplay, look, feel, and course of action that they plan to undertake to complete a compelling and engaging short film.
In this course students will gain a comprehensive knowledge and learn the skills associated with creating an accurate budget projection and forecast. As well as learning the details involved in budgeting and maintaining a tight schedule. Students will create a realistic shooting budget and shooting schedule. Students will be introduced the various software to assist them in the creation of these tasks. They will learn how to accurately breakdown, create long budgets, stripboards and navigate the variables associated with scheduling. Students will gain an understanding of the process carried out by line producers, unit production managers and directors. Students will be introduced to the concepts of above the line and below the line production costs. This course contains a major assignment where students will create a project budget and schedule reflective of their projected Thesis project.
In Preproduction Development students will begin to assemble and shoot their Thesis film. Using the package prepared in previous terms, students will put together all the elements required to deliver a final product in Term 8. Mentorship is offered by the instructor through online resources, forums and private messaging. Questions will be posed to the instructor on a unique and individual basis that will help the student further their filmmaking skills and help to facilitate their shooting schedule, equipment needs, set decoration, permits and contracts, costumes, makeup, crew, etc.
Film Contract & Copyright focuses on the contracts associated with and pertaining to copyright infringement and clearances. Students will be guided through the essential provisions of copyright law focusing on its terms, coverages, exclusive rights, ownerships and payments. Canada is continually adjusting its copyright laws with respect to the ever changing Global and technological climate. Students will discuss clearances concerning writing, music, intellectual property and brands. Students will learn when to engage legal counsel and when it is not necessary. With these provisions in mind completed projects would be successfully prepared for distribution.
Distribution and Marketing will familiarize the student with the business of film and television distribution and marketing. Students will formulate production and distribution choices dealing with projects and business partners. The student will develop an understanding of the TV sales process and the global marketplace in which they will be entering. Students will learn the language of broadcast and film sales, create effective “one/sell” sheets, develop a sales forecast, and a marketing and promotional plan.
Post Production Processes deals with the requirements involved with the final output and delivery of any project. Students will work on their Thesis projects. The instructor will act as the post production supervisor, who will schedule various delivery dates such as rough cuts, fine cuts, audio needs, output and delivery dates. Students will combine all the previous knowledge gained in the editing courses, motion graphics and vfx and their audio course. At the conclusion, the students will have a festival ready short film.
The Portfolio/ Career Development course will strengthen career seeking strategies, hone students’ pitch skills and introduce interview strategies and industry expectations. Students develop the ability to promote themselves and their work. Further study of the nature of unions, guilds and associations will be presented, as well as agents and what they have to offer. Students learn the steps necessary to form production companies. Students will build a basic website portfolio (Electronic Press Kit) to display their previously produced materials and promote their skills.