Discover what's new for Fall 2024

All New Safety Training Series

All New Film Production Safety Training

The FilmSkills Safety Training Program integrates OSHA standards with on-set safety requirements to meet California IATSE guidelines. This 15-module online course, led by Safety Pass instructors, offers engaging videos, illustrated companion guides, downloadable reference charts, and a testing tool to ensure comprehension.

The FilmSkills Safety Training Lessons include

Announcing Cinematography: 2nd Edition

Cinematography - 2nd Edition

The definitive academic textbook designed to guide students through the art, craft, and technique of modern cinematography.

Introducing the second edition of Cinematography, the go-to academic resource for teaching the art, craft, and technique of modern cinematography. This comprehensive and beautifully illustrated textbook is designed to seamlessly integrate into your curriculum, providing students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Authored by Emmy-winning cinematographer Jason Tomaric, Cinematography – 2nd Edition masterfully connects theory with real-world application. The easy-to-read format ensures that students can effortlessly grasp complex concepts, whether you assign it independently or as a companion to the FilmSkills Academic online curriculum.

  • Paperback
  • 656 pages
  • 7.5 x 1.48 x 9.25 inches
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-8878942713

New Framing and Composition Lessons

All New 10-Lesson Series

Cinematic Composition

Designed for both directors and cinematographers, the Framing and Composition lessons balance the techniques of cinematic composition, technical requirements and limitations of various formats and aspect ratios, and the emotional impact of every shot choice.

The Visual Story

A director’s job not only includes interpreting the story through the actors’ performances, set design, and camera coverage, but also how compositional choices affect the audience’s perception and emotional reactions.

In this lesson, learn how the cinematic components of line, shape, tone, color, movement, and rhythm affect the emotional subtext of the story, and how the director can incorporate these techniques when crafting the composition of each frame. (35:49)

Composing the Shot

The audience only sees what you point the camera at, and as filmmakers, the stories we tell must exist within the boundaries of the frame.  The way we choose to place our subjects in the frame significantly affect the audience’s visual perception of the story and invoke subtle – yet powerful emotions.

In this lesson, learn how to break down the script for story-driven composition, plan concise coverage, common mistakes to avoid, and how to cheat the fame for the sake of the story. (27:03)

Creating Depth on Screen

Learn techniques for creating the illusion of depth on screen by using strategic blocking in depth planes, blocking techniques for actors, camera positions, lens focal length, depth of field, camera movement, and parallax.

From proscenium staging to complex single-camera blocking, working directors and cinematographers guide you through techniques used to create a sense of depth on a two-dimensional screen. (25:44)

Single-and-OTS-Shots

Single and Over the Shoulder Shots

Learn techniques for framing people when shooting a dialogue scene, from the basics of framing actors in single shots and over the shoulder shots to advanced techniques that use camera position, lens choice, and depth of field to enhance the emotional tone of the scene.

Learn how to create subjective and objective experiences through framing choices and how various aspect ratios affect compositional choices. (24:27)

Head Room and Lead Room

Learn the compositional guidelines for head room and lead room for proper composition of people in the frame. Working Hollywood directors and cinematographers teach how to adapt for the acquisition format and exhibition method, how to work under creative requirements on a television show, and how the aspect ratio affects your framing choices. (19:43)

Eye Lines

Learn how to choose the best eyeline, directing techniques for ideal camera placement, how to overcome challenges when working with visual effects, and how to fine tune actor’s eyelines within mere inches to achieve the desired emotional impact. (18:02)

Screen Direction and the Rule of 180

Learn the core fundamentals of screen direction, how to establish the line of action, the rule of 180, exceptions to the rule of 180, instances where the line of action doesn’t apply, how to shoot multiple character with an ever-moving line of action, and how to prepare your shot lists to avoid catastrophic editing problems. (24:54)

Screen Division and the Rule of Thirds

Learn how the compositional techniques of screen division, the Golden Ratio, and Rule of Thirds influence the tone and visual style of the frame, tips to translate story beats into compositional choices, and how to effectively apply these faming concepts when shooting different aspect ratios. (15:25)

Shot types and Camera Movements

In this lesson, learn the intricacies of framing and camera movements, the basic shot types, advanced variations on each shot type, on-set shorthand for communicating shot sizes, and how to interpret emotional beats in each scene into the ideal composition. (27:57)

The Frame

In this lesson, learn how to identify and work with different aspect ratios, the history of aspect ratios in cinematic history, how to convert 4:3, 16:9, and 2.39:1 formats, safe framing guidelines, how various aspect ratios are adjusted for different exhibition and broadcast formats, using anamorphic lenses, and understanding pixel aspect ratios. (24:47)

New Industry Lifestyle Lessons

All New 8-Lesson Series

Learning the Soft Skills Needed to Succeed

Developed from over 5 years of interviews, the Industry Lifestyle series gives students the inside track on how to succeed in the film industry from the perspective, experiences, and advice of over 50 leading Hollywood filmmakers.

Realities of the Film Industry

The entertainment industry does a great job of creating an illusion of how it operates, but how does it really work?  Learn from top Hollywood filmmakers what really goes on behind the scenes, how to prepare for the long hours, how to strike a live/work balance, and deal with rejection. (29:08)

Careers in Filmmaking

Learn the possible career paths as a filmmaker, including moving to Los Angeles to become a part of the Hollywood industry, taking advantages of state and regional tax incentives to work locally, and shooting content for local businesses through your own production company. (32:31)

Working Freelance

Learn the realities of working in a freelance-based industry and how to survive. Learn the differences between working as a full-time employee vs as a freelancer, how to manage taxes and expenses, the benefits of an S-corporation, how to handle unemployment, negotiate day rates, and manage downtime between jobs. (22:29)

The Art of Networking

Like they say, it’s all who you know… and they’re right. In this lesson, learn the art of networking successfully in the film industry to make contacts and open doors, how to get a mentor, the nature of the work family and how it’s unique to life as a filmmaker. (22:04)

Moving to Los Angeles

Deciding to move to LA is a big decision, and in this video, you will learn how to prepare so you can hit the ground running. From the traffic to the cost of living, Los Angele locals share their advice and guidance on how to get to LA and succeed. (20:15)

Making Money as a Filmmaker

Learn the difference between above the line and below the line jobs, how to negotiate your day rate, union membership, working for free, generating extra income through charging a kit fee, how to manage tax deductible expenses, save money for slow times, and diversify your income. (29:45)

Advice From the Pros

Dozens of successful Hollywood filmmakers share their secrets, tips, and advice on how to make it in the most competitive industry in the world. From directors and producers to dialogue editors and grips, gain an honest perspective on life in the film industry, what to expect, and how to succeed.

Film Schools

Learn whether film school is the best option for you. In this lesson, working professionals share their insights on how film school is viewed in the industry, what to expect to learn, how to manage the cost, and which film school to choose for the greatest career advantage. (18:44)

New Expansion Lessons

All new expansion lessons supplement existing lessons with additional, in-depth analysis. From how to use common on-set forms to advanced technical processes, each lesson teaches students industry best practices.

LOG, LUTs, and Waveform Monitors

The new cinematography technical lessons explain the complex concepts of LOG curves, waveform monitors, and LUTs

Cinematography Technique

The cinematography expansion lessons feature industry best practices for common on-set scenarios.

Contracts and Forms

Each lesson focuses on one form, with concise directions and blank templates students can use on their own productions.

New Editing Lessons

Enhance Your Film Editing Curriculum

Emmy-winning television and film editors take students inside the workflow, art, and technique of narrative film editing. Applicable to every curriculum regardless of the software of hardware you’re using, the FilmSkills Editing series brings the editorial storytelling process to life.

Lesson 1

Hiring an Editor

In this lesson, students learn how to find a qualified editor, how to assess an editor’s demo reel, tips for ensuring their vision and communication style match yours, and how to ultimately get the best person for the job.

  • When in the process to hire the editor
  • What to look for in a demo reel
  • How editor’s role changes between independent and studio productions
  • Issues when hiring the editor later in the process

Lesson 2

Working with an Editor

Learn techniques for communicating your vision to the editor, the editor’s workflow, and what you can do to get the best results possible in the editing room.

  • When in the process to hire the editor
  • How the editor maintains objectivity
  • Managing different communication styles between the director and editor
  • The director’s role during the edit
  • Choosing selects
  • How the director can let go during the editing process

Lesson 3

Data Management and Workflow

Learn how to develop a system for organizing the footage from set to post, how to develop a workflow that keeps the process smooth and conflict-free, how to conduct post-production meetings, the role of the post-production supervisor, standard techniques for labeling and managing footage, and data handling techniques.

  • How to set-up and manage post-production meetings
  • The role of the post production supervisor
  • How to manage data and back-ups
  • Synchronizing software versions and plug-ins
  • Sharing files with the team
  • How to organize footage
  • Script notes
  • Labeling shots

Lesson 4

The Psychology of Editing

Learn when to cut, how to determine whether you should cut or not, the hierarchy of story-telling importance when editing, what to show or not show, and how to use psychology to craft a scene the invokes powerful emotions – all through how it is edited.

  • How editing mirrors human psychology
  • Knowing when to cut
  • Trusting your intuition
  • Knowing why to cut
  • How a scene becomes greater than the sum of its parts
  • The power of order and how to change the tone of a scene through sequencing
  • What not to show

Lesson 5

The Assembly Cut

Learn how to approach the assembly cut, how to manage music and sound effects, what should or shouldn’t be included, and how to address issues of pacing, story, and character development.

  • What happens during the assembly cut
  • Cutting to the script
  • Working with script notes and selects
  • The director’s role during the assembly cut
  • Adding music and effects
  • How to manage missing digital effects

Lesson 6

The Rough Cut

Learn how to approach the rough cut, determine what moments work, how to re-structure the story, and ultimately create a movie that stands on its own- divorced from the script.

  • What happens during the rough cut
  • How to edit for story instead of the script
  • How to improve an actor’s performance
  • Managing deadlines
  • Creating titles and credits

Lesson 7

The Fine Cut

Learn techniques for perfecting every single frame of your movie before locking the picture edit, how you will know when the movie is done, the implications of locking the picture, and the process of prepping the film for audio.

  • What happens during the fine cut
  • Smoothing continuity
  • How to polish transitions in and out of scenes
  • Locking the picture
  • Knowing when to stop

Lesson 8

How to Shoot and Edit a Dialogue Scene

Learn the correct and incorrect ways of shooting dialogue on set, advanced techniques for manipulating the pacing and emotional intensity of the scene, how to work with changing background ambience, techniques for balancing the visual performance with the dialogue, how to mix the audio, ultimately how to get the best performance through the edit.

  • The correct and incorrect ways of shooting a dialogue scene on set
  • How to remove ambience
  • How to edit a dialogue scene
  • How to control the emotional intensity of a scene in the editing room
  • Working with L cuts and J cuts
  • How to edit and smooth the audio
  • Working with compressors, limiters, and EQ

Lesson 9

How to Shoot and Edit Action

Learn how to edit action for proper flow, continuity, and pacing.  Learn techniques for compressing time, revealing only the essentials to keep the story moving forward, and advanced editing techniques used by master editors.

  • How to shoot scenes on set to maximize options in the editing room
  • How to edit action
  • Differences between editing action and dialogue scenes
  • Techniques for cutting on motion
  • Handling time shifts in the story
  • The art of the montage

Lesson 10

Test Screenings and Feedback

Learn how to prepare for and conduct a test screening, how to choose the right test audience, what questions to ask after the test screening, and how to filter the responses into usable comments that can improve the story.

  • Why test screening matter
  • How to choose a test audience
  • What to look for during the screening
  • How to parse audience feedback
  • Managing feedback from clients, networks, and studios
  • Dealing with criticism
  • How to politically handle conflicting notes from executives, producers, financiers, distributors, and the director

Lesson 11

Online and Offline Editing

Learn how and when to work in an offline environment, how to transition to an online cut, and techniques for ensuring the process goes smoothly.

  • The difference between online and offline editing
  • How to create and work with proxies
  • How to online a production

Lesson 12

Color Grading

Learn the color grading process, how it differs amongst formats, the balance between technical and artistic grading, how to protect yourself from the “fix-it-in-post” mentality, and how to get the look you want.

  • The difference between color correction and color grading
  • How to use a waveform monitor and vectorscope
  • Working with log, Raw, and Rec709 footage
  • How to work with CODECs
  • Managing limitations in the footage
  • Color matching shots
  • How to color grade skin tones
  • How to work with LUTS
  • Color grading wide and narrow gamut camera footage
  • The “fix-it-in-post” mentality
  • How to establish and create a look

23 All-New Crew Lessons

There are a lot of craftspeople on a film set, and in this all new 23-part series, leading Hollywood crews from blockbuster TV shows and movies give students an in-depth look at each major below-the-line crew position.

3 Lessons

The Producers

In this three lessons series, students learn how the business managers of a film production work. From the line producer and unit production manager to the production coordinator, students get a detailed, inside look at the duties and responsibilities of the producers.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required for the producers, including:

  • Forming a Production Company
  • Hiring the Crew
  • Raising Money from Investors
  • Tax Incentives
  • Money Management
  • Unions and Guilds
  • Working with SAG/AFTRA
  • Working with Vendors

4 Lessons

The Assistant Director Department

In this four lesson series, the Assistant Director team behind Titanic, Avatar, Stranger Things, and dozens of other Hollywood blockbusters teach students the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Director department, how to effectively manage the set, balancing the relationship between the director and producers, and how to get a job as an AD on a professional set.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required of the assistant directors, including:

  • Breaking Down the Script
  • Scheduling the Production
  • Scheduling the Shooting Day

1 Lesson

The Script Supervisor

Working Hollywood script supervisors teach students the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the script supervisor, how to interface with the director, the expectations of bridging the set to the editing room, how to effectively prep a production, and the expected deliverables when the production wraps.

To learn more about how the script supervisor manages continuity and the script notes, add the lesson, “Continuity and Script Notes.”

3 Lessons

The Camera Department

In this three lesson series, students learn the roles and responsibilities of the camera department, from the moment to get the call for the job to the time they wrap. Working Hollywood camera crews reveal best practices, expectations, and responsibilities of a professional camera crew.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required for the camera department, including:

  • Introduction to Lenses
  • How to Prep the Camera
  • Building the Camera Package
  • How to Test a Lens
  • Focusing Techniques
  • Lens Focal Length
  • f-Stops and T-Stops
  • The Camera Shutter
  • Frame Rates
  • How to Expose a Shot
  • Depth of Field
  • Neutral Density Filters
  • Polarizers

3 Lessons

The Electric Department

In this three lesson series, professional Hollywood gaffers, best boy electrics, and electricians reveal the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the electric department, how they interface with other departments on set, and how to make a living in the electric department.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required for the electric department, including:

  • Electrical Safety I
  • Electrical Safety II
  • Reducing Light
  • Tungsten Lighting
  • HMI Lighting
  • LED Lighting
  • Kino-Flo Fluorescent Lighting

4 Lessons

The Grip Department

In this four lesson series, students learn the job responsibilities of the group department and a professional production. Experienced, professional Hollywood grips methodically reveal the expectations of the grip department, how they interact with the electric department, the working hours and wages, and on-set practices to have a successful career in the grip department.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required for the producers, including:

  • Grip and Rigging Safety
  • Stands
  • Clamps
  • Rigging
  • Grip Tools
  • Grip Techniques
  • Reducing Light
  • Shaping Light
  • Reflecting Light

5 Lessons

The Art Department

In this five lesson series, professional Hollywood production designers, art directors, set decorators, and property masters teach students the hierarchy of the art department, how to achieve the desired look within the schedule and budgetary limitations, and how to effectively interact with the rest of the crew.

While these lessons focus on each role, supplement this curriculum with lessons that focus on the skill sets required for the producers, including:

  • Creating the Look
  • Set Design
  • Set Construction
  • Set Dressing
  • Props
  • Tour a Prop House

New Scheduling and Budgeting Lessons

In this engaging new series, students learn how to balance the business of filmmaking with the art through effectively breaking down the shooting script, developing a realistic shooting schedule, and how to develop and manage an accurate budget.

Lesson 1

Breaking Down the Script

Learn to properly break down the script,  line the script, techniques for breaking down each scene, how to use scene breakdown forms, and how assistant directors and line producers should manage the breakdowns from other departments on the project.

Lesson 2

Scheduling the Production

Learn to determine the number of shooting days needed to shoot your film, how to determine the shooting order, manage day and night shoots, account for turnaround time, and the benefits of shooting consecutive shooting days.

Lesson 3

Scheduling the Shooting Day

Learn how to schedule company moves, meal breaks, learn the productivity arc of a shooting crew, how to work with the director’s shot list, skills for managing a shoot running over schedule, how to generate a one-line schedule, and how to create call sheets.

Lesson 4

Developing the Budget

Learn to create an accurate budget, tricks to reducing the budget if you’re running over, how to plan for contingencies, how to manage crew expectations, and how to go into production knowing you’ll have the money to finish.

 

Learning Professional Skills to Direct Actors

All newly update lessons reveal to students how professionals direct actors on set for convincing, authentic performances.

And as with all FilmSkills Academic lessons, the new location lessons come complete with test questions, fully illustrated companion text, and downloadable contracts and forms students can use on their own productions.

Lesson 1

Analyzing Character

Characters, like people in real life, function on different levels. They often don’t say what they mean, are driven by their own ambitions, and are shaped by their past – whether that past is from their childhood or a mere moment ago.
 
In this lesson, students learn directing techniques to help actors determine the subtext, intent, and back story of their characters. Students learn to develop their directing skills and help their actors portray honest, memorable characters.
 
  • What is the actor’s role in preparing a character?
  • What is subtext and how can the director and actor find this inner meaning of a scene
  • What is intent and how does it shape the actor’s motivations
  • What is back story and how do you craft the proper history for a character?

Lesson 2

Rehearsing Actors

Once the actors are cast, it’s time to begin working with them to flesh out real, breathing characters full of life, depth, problems, issues and challenges.
 
In this lesson, students learn how to structure rehearsals, how to conduct a table read, and what the responsibilities are of the director and actors.
 
There is a fine line between nurturing and smothering when working with actors  – know where that line is, and how to get the most our of your rehearsals.
 
  • How to conduct a table read
  • What should happen during the first rehearsal
  • What is the actor’s responsibility during rehearsals
  • What is the director’s responsibility during rehearsals

Lesson 3

Rehearsal Exercises

Characters are created before the actors ever step on the set – the performance is created from elaborate backstories, layered subtext, and infused intent in every line. But with all this work, actors can get stuck in their heads and lose the sense of spontaneity when the camera rolls.
 
In this lesson, students learn valuable techniques from working Hollywood directors to get to the heart of the actors’ performance, learn rehearsal techniques from developing the character to overcoming mental blocks on the set.
 
In the heat of the moment, the actors will always look to the director for help… make sure you know how to give it.
 
  • Tips, tricks and techniques for helping actors give you the best performance
  • Advice from working Hollywood directors

Lesson 4

The Language of Directing Actors

The key to achieving excellent performances is good communication between the actors and the director. Like other industries, directing has its own language that allows a director to succinctly express his vision in a way the actors can embrace.
 
In this lesson, students learn from Hollywood actors and directors on how to approach and work effectively with actors on set, how to deal with problematic actors, and how to communicate in the actor’s language.
 
Great performances are made from great collaborations – get everything you can out of your cast for the best movie possible.
  • How to establish trust and communication with your actors
  • How to know what you want
  • The language of acting
  • What to do when you’re not getting the performance you want on set
  • The actor/director relationship
  • The types of directors

Lesson 5

Directing Actors on Set

When working with actors on set remember they have a lot to think about: their back story, their intent, and their subtext. What you say can either strengthen their performance or weigh it down. To hone just the right performance – your words matter.

In this lesson, students learn what to say to an actor at the beginning of every scene – within 30 seconds before they call action and 30 seconds after you call cut, learn how to rehearse on set, establish strong blocking, and how to help actors balance their performance with the technicalities of film production.

The director is the only life line to the actors, and what they say can make or break an actor’s performance.

This lesson covers:

  • What to say to an actor 30 seconds before you call “Action”
  • What to say to an actor immediately after calling “Cut”
  • The three points that lead to fail-proof direction
  • How to balance performance with picture

Lesson 6

Directing Mistakes

Working Hollywood actors and directors share their personal experiences with the most common directing mistakes and how to avoid them.
 
In this lesson, students learn to identify common directing problems and how to fix them to ensure they get the best performance on set possible.
 
Don’t let these common directing errors affect your cast, your production, and ultimately, your movie.
 
  • The most common mistakes directors make
  • How to avoid and resolve these mistakes

Lesson 7

Directing Extras

Movies have long used extras to breathe a sense of realism into a scene.  Extras are non-speaking actors who populate the background of a diner, a stadium or a store to more closely recreate real life. For a filmmaker, extras are a great tool to have.

In this lesson, students learn how to find extras, the right way to direct them, how to cheat them on set, liability concerns and how to avoid them, logistics on the shooting day, and the most common problems filmmakers encounter when working with extras.
 
Whether you’re working with thousands on a battlefield or just a small handful in coffee shop, create a realistic backdrop of life for your scene.
 
  • How to cast extras
  • How to cheat extras to increase their numbers on screen
  • Logistics the day of the shoot
  • Liability issues and how to avoid them
  • How to direct extras

Get Your Students Ready to Shoot on Location

We partnered with the powerhouse Location Managers from Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Transformers 2, Top Gun 2, Spiderman: Homecoming, and Grey’s Anatomy to give your students professional guidance on finding, managing, and shooting on location.

Check out a free preview of from “Working with Location Owners”

And as with all FilmSkills Academic lessons, the new location lessons come complete with test questions, fully illustrated companion text, and downloadable contracts and forms students can use on their own productions.

Lesson 1

Scouting Locations

Locations play a critical role in every film production, and in this lessons, students  will learn how to properly break down the script, scout locations, work on cold scouts, how to assess the technical feasibility of a location, and it’s local industry support. (19:13)

This lesson covers:

  • How to break down a script
  • How to properly generate a list of locations
  • How to scout locations
  • Available resources to help you location scout
  • How to conduct a cold scout
  • How to assess the technical requirements of the location

Lesson 2

Working with Film Commissions

Each state has a film commission tasked with attracting motion picture production to that state. In this lesson, students learn the services offered by a film commission, how to use their services to find the best location for your movie, liaise with local industry, and what hidden pricing traps.(24:53)

This lesson covers:

  • What a film commission does
  • How to use their location libraries
  • How to use their scouting services
  • Limitations of a film commission’s services
  • How a film commission can help you liaise with local industry and local government
  • How your budget affects the services they offer
  • How to find a film commission

Lesson 3

Working with Location Owners

Approaching and asking a location owner to use his or her property for your film shoot can be a daunting task. In this module, you will not only learn how to approach a location owner, but which contracts and forms are needed, proper protocol, how to deal with problems and how to help a location owner prepare himself for the whirlwind that is the production process. (34:47)
 
  • How to approach a location owner about using his or her property for your shoot
  • How to establish your credibility
  • How to speak and present your case to a location owner
  • The necessary contracts and agreements to protect yourself legally
  • How to conduct a walk through
  • How to deal with problems if the location owner decides to pull out at the last minute
  • The location release form and its importance

Lesson 4

Film Permits

In most major cities, filmmakers are required to obtain a permit to be able to shoot on both public and private property.  This lesson will guide students through the permitting process, when one is required, how to get one, the costs involved, and common traps associated with free permits.

(22:58)

  • What are permits
  • When is a permit required
  • Shooting guerilla without a permit
  • The difference between shooting on public and private property
  • Free permits and their hidden costs
  • How to use a permit on location

Lesson 5

Community Relations

No one makes a movie in a vacuum – every day a shoot will invariably affect someone, whether it’s one neighbor or an entire community. In this lesson, students will learn how their film shoot affects the public, how to work with local officials, how to notify residents, how to leave a positive impact on the community when they’re finished shooting, and a general code of conduct for crews when shooting on location. (25:00)
 
  • How to secure permission from the neighbors in the community in which you’re shooting
  • The public impact of a film shoot
  • How to work with the police
  • How to shoot in a public venue
  • How to deal with disruptive people when shooting in public
  • The proper code of conduct for motion picture crews when shooting on location