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Film Production Diploma

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  • Entry requirements
    * Successful completion of the VFS Foundation Visual Art & Design program



    - OR -



    * A 1-page (maximum) synopsis of a film project that you are passionate about making. Provide the film genre and utilize references to other movies to explain how you would make the film. Explain the concept, vision or idea. In addition, provide a 1-page (maximum) outline of the story.



    - OPTIONAL -



    * If you have made a film before, include a VHS copy (NTSC) or DVD copy (to a maximum of 2 films) or a link to the film online. Ensure that you specify your involvement in the film as well as any success it has garnered (e.g. screenings and awards).
  • Course description
    In a year at VFS, the curriculum is divided into six eight-week terms. Each term builds on the lessons and experiences you develop in the terms before it. The result is a professional-quality short film; your ultimate calling card to the industry. Starting with short documentary projects in your first term, you move on to specifics such as pitch-sessions, lighting and art direction in your second, and mid-term film projects in your third and fourth. Teamwork is an essential skill you learn along the way, so that Terms 5 and 6 can be devoted to every detail of the production of your final project. By the time you start to shoot, you're not only ready to make a great short film, but also prepared to take on professional work as soon as you graduate

    Program & Term Overview

    Weeks 1-8 (Term 1)


    Subjects Covered

        * Directing
        * Documentary
        * Producing 1
        * Assistant Directing
        * Cine 1
        * Sound
        * Post-Production 1
        * Short Script
        * Art Direction
        * Film Theory & Genre
        * Film History

    There is no better way to acclimate right off, than being introduced to the multiple aspects of filmmaking. Using the Documentary as a starting point, students will learn research methods and the principles of visual storytelling, hone their interview and pitch techniques, execute a pre-production and production plan and be involved with the creative and technical stages of producing a ten minute documentary. During this period, students will receive technical training in AVID editing software, digital cinematography and location sound mixing. Near the end of the term, students begin their journeys as narrative storytellers by studying short scripts and dramatic film format.
     
    Weeks 9-16 (Term 2)

    Subjects Covered

        * Directing
        * Documentary
        * Producing 1
        * Assistant Directing
        * Script Supervising & Continuity
        * Cine 2
        * Sound
        * Short Script
        * Art Direction
        * Film History

    As post production on the documentaries progress, classes and workshops expand in Directing, Casting and Art Direction. The key roles of Assistant Director and Producer are emphasized with focus on budgeting, scheduling, location management, set etiquette and protocol. With the introduction of the Film Camera, students dive into the next phase of cinematic and lighting techniques. The term culminates with the "Instructor Shoot", a filmmaking exercise where students will rotate in key crew positions and apply what they've learned to produce a short film under the mentorship of VFS instructors.
     
    Weeks 17-24 (Term 3)


    Subjects Covered

        * Directing
        * Producing 1
        * Assistant Directing
        * Script Supervising & Continuity
        * Midterm Drama Production
        * Cine 3
        * Sound
        * Post-Production 2
        * Art Direction
        * Film Theory & Genre

    Completing your "short film" writing course, delivering a first draft of your script and beginning the dynamic process of script development is the initial focus at this point. Then Cinematography skills are enhanced with emphasis on studio and exterior lighting, painting with light and dolly techniques. Directing skills are deepened through Actor/Director workshops, technical training in blocking and storyboarding, and each student will direct a scene with the support of a small crew. Simultaneously, students are introduced to more advanced post production techniques, including the use of visual effects and color correction, the use of music in film and creating a compelling title sequence. The integral part of this term is when students pitch their scripts and six Mid Term Dramas are chosen for production. Directing proposals are then prepared and pitched to the Instructors. Immediately following the selection of Directors, students break into crews and pre-production begins on the first round of these projects.
     
    Weeks 25-32 (Term 4)


    Subjects Covered

        * Final Projects
        * Post-Production 3

    It's now time to bring tangible production experience to the forefront and put your training into practice. Beginning with script development notes, projects are mentored by instructors through creative concept and production meetings, directing workshops, technical surveys and equipment reviews. Postproduction studies continue with the Avid Media Composer, Adobe After Effects, digitizing and logging of footage and syncing picture with sound. When the second round of Mid-Term Dramas are complete, the spotlight focuses on the development of Final Projects. The concept of "teaming" is introduced and the student filmmakers hear pitches from students and grads from the VFS Writing campus.
     
    Weeks 33-40 (Term 5)

    Subjects Covered

        * Producing 2
        * Final Projects
        * Midterm Drama Production
        * Post-Production 3
        * Film Theory & Genre

    As post production on Mid-Term Dramas hits full stride the concentration on editing and creative technical skills increases. After a series of cuts and critiques you will "lock picture and sound" and then team with the VFS Sound Design campus to learn sound aesthetics, spotting, mixing, and get an introduction to Pro-Tools. While immersed in post, you are also writing and/or developing a Final Project script and preparing for your Director's pitch. Scripts and Directors are selected for production and crews are formed to produce six unique, festival-driven short films. Throughout pre-production, advanced classes provide students the opportunity to deepen their skills in story development, creative producing, advanced tools of the director, creating a cinematic look and facilitating character driven design choices. At the end of this term the first round of High Definition Final Projects move into production.
     
    Weeks 41-48 (Term 6)

    Subjects Covered

        * Producing 2
        * Final Projects
        * Midterm Drama Production
        * Post-Production 3
        * Film Theory & Genre

    The beginning of the final term is dedicated primarily to prepping and shooting the second round of Super 16 Final Projects. Post production accelerates and meeting delivery deadlines becomes a necessity. As well, the students get a deeper understanding of sound design and engage in a full color correction process at an outside professional facility. As the year wraps up, students deliver their festival kits and take classes in financing, distribution and marketing for independent films. In addition to grant writing, and career and resume guidance, students are provided with choices for advanced workshops and specialized guest lectures. Following final exams the program culminates with a graduation screening of student films.
     

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