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Top Ten BEST Filmmaking Courses Online

I’m always asked what the top filmmaking courses online I’d recommend to filmmakers. As Jack Nicolson says:

“If you don’t keep learning, you die.”

I am a HUGE consumer of online courses of all types. I’m a visual learner and online courses help me keep my skills sharp. Below I’ve put together a list of some of the best Filmmaking Courses Online I’ve personally taken and recommend. Some I even teach = ) Keep on hustlin’ and learning.

Light and Face: The Art of Cinematography

This workshop will walk you through how to light the most important and emotional subject you could put in front of your lens, the enigmatic face on a low budget. This workshop is unique in that it will literally guide you through the entire process of making your film. Taught by award-winning cinematographer Suki Medencevic A.S.C.

Suki has been lighting Hollywood films and television for over 25 years. Some of his work includes American Horror Story, Stuck in the Middle, and several high profile documentaries for Pixar, ILM, andDisney+ including The History of Imagineering for Disney Studios. Suki has taught around the world to sold-out crowds as well at USC Film School and New York Film Academy. He is also a member of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers

Some of the things you’ll learn from this course:

  • Single Source Lighting
  • Single Light Bulb
  • LED Lighting / Fresnel Light
  • Small Paper Lantern
  • Ring Light / Kino Flo
  • Flashlight / iPad
  • Christmas Light
  • Open Face Source + Umbrella
  • Diffusing the Light
  • Hampshire / Opal
  • 251, 250, 216, 129 Diffusion
  • Chimera Diffusion
  • 1K Chimera
  • Color Temperature Breakdowns
  • Three-Point Lighting
  • Film Noir Look
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Glamour Lighting
  • Horror Look
  • Fantasy Look
  • Old Hollywood Look
  • Warm Period Look
  • BONUS: Detail Diagrams of Each Lighting Setup

Click Here for more info.


The Complete Film Distribution Blueprint

Taught by Indie Film Hustle Founder Alex Ferrari, this course is an insider’s look at how the film distribution side of the business works. It will teach you how to avoid predatory film distributors and aggregators, what to look for in distribution agreements, VOD myths, film deliverables, working with sales agents, and much more. Don’t become a statistic. Educate yourself and thrive.

  • What is Film Distribution?
  • Producers Rep and Sales Agents
  • Film Markets
  • Video-On-Demand Ecosystem
  • DVD, Blu-Rays, and Physical Media
  • Television Syndication
  • Selling to Airlines  Hotels and Cruise Lines
  • Educational Rights
  • Theatrical Distribution & Deliverables 
  • Film Distribution Agreements and Pitfalls to Avoid
  • Film Deliverables (Physical Masters)
  • Film Deliverables (Paperwork)
  • Film Deliverables (Marketing)
  • Marketing Your Film
  • Film Aggregators
  • How to Secretly Track International Sales of Your Film
  • Keeping Your Film Distributor Honest
  • Latest COVID-19 Film Distribution Updates
  • Plus Hours of Bonus Interviews

Learn how to protect yourself from predatory film distributors and sales agents. Don’t become a statistic.

Click Here for more info


The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop

Award-winning film producer Suzanne Lyons is about to take you from script to screen and beyond in this Mastermind workshop. After producing a number of bigger budget features Suzanne thought producing the SAG ultra-low and modified budget films would be a piece of cake. Boy, was she wrong? Wearing 100 different hats was a challenge and she learned so much. And now she will be sharing all that great info with you. This workshop is unique in that it will literally guide you through the entire process of making your film.

Included in this course:

  • Learn How to Sell Yourself
  • The Script: Option and Development
  • Creating a Business Plan
  • Setting Up Your Company and Opening a Bank Account
  • Sales Presentations and Finding Investors
  • Soft Prep
  • The Casting Process
  • Pre-Production
  • Principle Photography
  • Post Production and Deliverables
  • Delivery and Sales Agents
  • BONUS PACK: Paperwork, Contracts, and Examples (Word & PDF Versions)

Click Here for more info


Screenwriting Foundations: Story Development

This course shows you how to build your script from the bottom up. We will cover concept development, creating a meaningful theme, building a central character who strikes an emotional chord with the audience, and we will even learn how to develop supporting characters and antagonists. We don’t just stop there, we break down how to write a logline, mind mapping your concept, and even how to conquer writer’s block.

Included in this course:

  • Concept Development
  • Understanding Theme
  • Mind Mapping
  • Defeating Writer’s Block
  • Constructing a Logline
  • Character Development
  • The Character Sheet
  • Tips for Great Characters 
  • Internal vs External Conflict
  • Sympathy vs Empathy
  • The Query Letter

Click Here for more info


Crowdfunding for Filmmaking Masterclass

This course will guide you through every stage of planning, creating, and running your film crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is the only method of film finance open to all filmmakers, anywhere in the world and over $250 million has already been raised for films on Kickstarter. It’s based on research on over 50,000 film crowdfunding campaigns, interviews with over 50 filmmakers who have run a crowdfunding campaign, and interviews with some of the top people at major crowdfunding platforms and services.

This course includes:

  • Introduction to Crowdfunding 
  • Reward-Based Crowdfunding
  • History of Crowdfunding
  • Pros and Cons of Crowdfunding
  • Hosting Your Campaign
  • Creating Your Crowdfunding Strategy
  • Ideal Campaign Length
  • Budget for Campaign 
  • Defining Your Audience
  • Building a Team
  • Crafting Your Pitch Video
  • Writing the Pitch
  • Setting Rewards
  • Services and Hacks to Help Your Campaign
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Launching Your Campaign
  • Fulfilling Your Extras
  • Interviews with Successful Crowdfunding Filmmakers

Click Here for more info


Hollywood Filmmaking & Television Directing Masterclass

Veteran film and television director Gil Bettman teaches you how to enhance the drama in a scene, heighten the action by using different lenses and how to move the camera in your next film and video production. The key here is that camera movement must be invisible. It should serve the story without calling attention to itself.

Next, learn How To Move the Camera most effectively by systematically fulfilling Five Tasks when designing each moving master shot. Finally, learn how a master of visual design like Zemeckis customizes his application of these Five Tasks to the unique demands of each scene.

Click Here for more info


Storytelling Blueprint: The Hero’s Two Journeys

Experience two of Hollywood’s most sought-after story experts, authors, and lecturers with Screenwriting and Story Secrets: The Hero’s Two Journeys. If you’re a screenwriter, novelist, filmmaker, game developer, or storyteller in any arena, this course will empower you to captivate your readers and audiences to achieve both artistic AND commercial success. Modeling what works is the philosophy at the heart of this course. Taught bu Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler.

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The Dialogue: Learn from the Masters

The Dialogue is a groundbreaking interview series that goes behind the scenes of the fascinating craft of screenwriting. In these 70-90 minute in-depth discussions (over 37 hours in all), more than two-dozen of today’s most successful screenwriters share their work habits, methods, and inspirations, secrets of the trade, business advice, and eye-opening stories from life in the trenches of the film industry. Each screenwriter discusses his or her filmography in great detail and breaks down the mechanics of one favorite scene from their produced work.

Click Here for more info


Filmmaker in a Box: Learn How to Make a Low Budget Feature Film

FILMMAKER IN A BOX is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the making of a micro-budget (meaning REALISTIC BUDGET!) feature film production. This is a look into how a professional near-no-budget film is made – with EVERY DETAIL available at your fingertips!

FIB examines the EVERY detail (Over 18+ Hours) of the making of an independent movie called 2 Million Stupid Women (a comedy written by a woman!), which was made for only $100,000, made within the “Hollywood” system. If you want to make a feature, you need to take this course.

Click Here for more info

 

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Werner Herzog MasterClass: Learn Filmmaking from a Legend

Most of what we’ve heard about Werner Herzog (for a FREE 90-minute masterclass see below) is untrue. The remarkable number of false rumors and outright lies disseminated about the man and his films is truly astonishing. Yet Herzog’s body of work is one of the most impressive and important in postwar European cinema.

At the ripe age 72, Werner Herzog remains as prolific and revolutionary as he was when he stole a camera and made his first movie at the age of 19.

Without a doubt, Herzog is a renegade, in the truest sense of the word. As a youngster, he taught himself how to make films. When no one would fund his movie-making habit, he started his own production company at age 17.

When he needed to get through the Peruvian jungle for filming Fitzcarraldo, he forged official-looking documents for safe passage (they worked).

For every film, he did a thousand things to get the shot. He once won a poetry contest four times by entering under five different names and directed major operas when he couldn’t read music.

Over the course of his career, the legendary filmmaker has done it all, both as a documentarian and a director of fiction films. He has built a reputation for himself for his ability to have a distinctive voice in each of his films.

French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog:

“The most important film director alive.”

American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog

“Werner has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting.”

His international breakthrough came in 1973 with his film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, in which Klaus Kinski played a crazed Conquistador. For The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Herzog cast in the lead a man who had spent most of his life institutionalized (yes you read that correctly), and two years later he hypnotized his entire cast to make Heart of Glass.

He rushed to an explosive volcanic Caribbean island to film La Soufrière, paid homage to F. W. Murnau in a terrifying remake of Nosferatu, and in 1982 dragged a boat over a mountain in the Amazon jungle for Fitzcarraldo.

More recently, Herzog has made extraordinary “documentary” films, such as Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Werner Herzog said:

“Film School is way too expensive. You can learn the essentials of filmmaking, on your own, in two weeks.”

And with that, he started a frenzy among indie filmmakers everywhere. So when a legend like Werner Herzog holds a masterclass where he shares his knowledge of filmmaking and storytelling, it’s most definitely a class worth paying attention to.

Dissatisfied with the way film schools are run, Herzog decided to team up with Masterclass.com and teach an Online Filmmaking Masterclass.

For the students, Herzog has said,

“I prefer people who have worked as bouncers in a sex club, or have been wardens in the lunatic asylum. You must live life in its very elementary forms. The Mexicans have a very nice word for it: pura vida. It doesn’t mean just purity of life, but the raw, stark-naked quality of life. And that’s what makes young people more into a filmmaker than academia.”

Herzog has over 70 films and 50 awards to his credit and now he is teaching documentary and feature filmmaking.

You’ll learn storytelling, cinematography, locations, self-financing, documentary interview techniques, and how to bring your ideas to life. By the end, you’ll make uncompromising films.

Class is now in session: Werner Herzog’s Filmmaking MasterClass

A must read for any serious filmmaker is Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul CroninThis edition of Herzog on Herzog presents a completely new set of interviews in which Werner Herzog discusses his career from its very beginnings to his most recent productions. 

Famous for his frequent collaborations with mercurial actor Klaus Kinski – including the epics Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, and the terrifying Nosferatu – and more recently with documentaries such as Grizzly ManCave of Forgotten Dreams and Into the Abyss, Herzog has built a body of work that is one of the most vital in post-war German cinema.

Below I’ve included over 9 hours of videos and interviews.

Werner Herzog’s Masterclass – TIFF