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Best Filmmaking Workshops and Courses: Reviews & Ratings

filmmaking workshops

Our experts rate & review the best filmmaking workshops and courses. We’ve explored filmmaking workshops in New York & LA all for you—come see what we learned.

Sadly, due to monetary forces beyond their control, many high school graduates are left scratching their heads in consternation as their plans for secondary school are simply not a viable option any longer. 

Whether you cannot afford to go to school full-time, can’t find the loans you need to pay for tuition, or are forced to find a full-time job to pay for living expenses, finding yourself without an education plan can be a frustrating and disheartening experience.

For hopeful filmmakers, actors, editors, and production assistants, the economic downturn might look like the end to a lengthy and involved dream.  Without an education in filmmaking from an accredited institution or conservatory program, how can you be expected to make it in such a competitive and unstable business?

Options for Filmmaking Workshops

While it’s true that an education in filmmaking is a great source of benefit for individuals trying to make it in the film industry, the education alone is not a golden ticket to fame and fortune.  Most potential employers are looking for dedication, experience and determination.  With a little insider information, a bit of luck, and a firm grip on reality, you can find this in many filmmaking workshops and summer programs that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

School for Film and Television

The New York Conservatory for Performing Arts, originally known as the School for Film and Television, is quite possibly the best program for hopeful actors in New York.  Whether you are looking for a career as a soap star, a sitcom star, a television producer, a media journalist, or a movie actor or actress, you can find the tools needed to start your career off on the right foot at the New York Conservatory for Performing Arts. 

 This school offers courses that can be completed in a variety of different time frames, so if you can’t afford a four-year degree, you can choose an accelerated path that will get you the education you need in a more manageable timeframe.  This school also offers helpful grants and scholarships to qualified individuals.  Tuition costs don’t have to deter you from attending this phenomenal film and television program.  New York is the hub for amazing film and television innovations: attending school here puts you in the middle of the action.

If New York isn’t the place for you, you can find many other schools for film and television that offer accelerated courses around the country.  You don’t have to travel to a coast to find a quality education.  Educational facilities in the middle regions of the country are often much less expensive than coastal colleges as well.  With a little research you can find the perfect program to fit your time constraints and your budget.

Filmmaking Lessons

If you are a teacher or volunteer hosting a filmmaking workshop at your community college or community center, it’s important to prepare some great filmmaking lessons that will challenge and educate your students.  Hopeful filmmakers aren’t stimulated by boring lecture and bookwork; your best bet in captivating your audience is to have interactive classroom discussions and observations. 

You can begin by having your students brainstorm a list of their favorite movies and discuss why these movies are their favorites.  Encourage debate and discussion.  Then, you can progress to discussing the elements of a great movie including cinematography, costume design, set design, screenwriting, lighting and soundtrack.  Choose some classic movies from a published list of film greats and discuss why those movies gained so much attention. 

Next, prepare a lesson plan about the differing genres of film and what elements are unique to those genres.  Discuss the importance of soundtrack in a horror film, or dialogue in a romantic comedy.  Help students discuss the importance of these elements in composing a successful film.

For a more in depth study session, divide your students into groups and have them research a specific movie genre.  Ask them to watch several films in that genre and provide a list of common themes or elements in the genres.  Why do those elements work for that genre?  What is a movie in your genre that has attempted to break the mold?  Did it work for that movie, or not?

Summer Film School

If you can’t afford to attend a university full-time during the regular semester, you may be able to find a viable alternative in summer film school programs.  These programs are of exactly the same quality as the semester-long programs in the fall and spring; however, these courses are structures so that they can be completed in as little as two weeks!  Taking these courses will allow you to hold a full-time job during the rest of the year, so you can save up to pay for tuition and other expenses.

Some community centers like the YMCA even offer free summer film school programs that can be taken for hobbyist filmmakers.  These programs are usually taught by volunteers and function as workshops rather than college classes.  While you may not receive college credit, you will receive valuable knowledge about the inner workings of the film industry.

Acting and Film Schools

The best acting and film schools are in the state of New York.  New York is home to Broadway and hundreds of other small theaters and television production companies that produce thousands of shows, sitcoms, dramas and films each year.  By attending school in New York State, you plunk yourself smack dab in the middle of all the action. 

These schools are also home to some of the best instructors in the business.  Instructors with valuable experience and even more valuable contacts will assist you as you learn about the filmmaking industry.  Upon graduation, you will find yourself with a wealth of information and valuable tools that will help you land a successful career in the filmmaking industry.

2 Day Film School

Instead of shelling out thousands of dollars in tuition to attend school for four or even six years full-time, you can learn just as much in just two days.  It sounds impossible, but Dov Simens has discovered how to pack the most instruction about the film industry into the smallest possible timeframe.  Dov Simens has years of experience in the filmmaking industry and has devoted the last ten years of his life to sharing this experience with others. 

The graduates from his competitive and instructive program include renowned director Quentin Tarantino and blockbuster-creator Christopher Nolan.  These Academy Award winning directors both received personal instruction from Dov Simens in just two days.  By eliminating the worthless fluff and focusing on the valuable information, Dov Simens makes a two day crash course in filmmaking education worth as much as a four-year degree.

Film Making Courses

In these tough economic times, you may be wondering why you should even take courses in filmmaking if the business operates solely on contacts and relationships.  While it is true that a four-year degree might do nothing to sway a potential employer to hire you, the information you absorb from that degree will help you to succeed in the business.  By attending a university, students also gain helpful contacts and information about the business that can help them secure jobs in unconventional ways.

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