I’ve shared a little bit of “film school” with you before (see How to Actively Watch a Film, Reading the Shot). Today, I want to continue that series with some lessons from other filmmakers/students of film.
Find Film School Courses on Skillshare
I go to Skillshare first for a couple of reasons. One, the courses are very decently priced (some of them FREE). In fact, you’re getting this post because I recently took advantage of a “99 cents for 3 months offer,” and couldn’t believe the amount (and quality) of the classes available. Definitely way (way) less than you’d spend sending yourself to real film school. Two, each course is created by a member of the Skillshare community. Filmmakers, creatives, makers, and other artists are the ones creating the content on this site – and taking their course earns them money. It feels good to feed an artist. It’ll make you a better one to learn something from them.
These are my favorites.
From beginner to advanced, I think these courses will satisfy any appetite, and build the skill I find most important in any type of art making – storytelling. This is by no means an exhaustive list (there’s a really gorgeous course on style of cinematography that I think is killer and very much film school worthy), but each selection here is something I think any of my readers could benefit from. Camera equipment is rarely required. Narrative skill-building? Covered. Creative inspiration? Most definitely.
Top 5 Film School Classes on Skillshare
First off, this is a FREE class. So there’s absolutely zero harm to your wallet in giving it a try. Secondly, if you’re totally new to filmmaking, I don’t think there’s any better way to get a feel for it than by this method. Like collage, editing together stock footage allows you to learn the basics of creating a narrative – no camera of your own necessary. The course is taught by Nikki Stephens, a graphic designer and video editor.
Another film school class that requires zero film equipment, but still manages to teach you the most important part of good filmmaking (in my opinion) – good storytelling. I like story producer Jill Jones’ class in particular because she encourages you to have not only an idea, but a reason to be telling the story you choose. Like all Skillshare courses, it’s divided into concise modules, culminating in a project – in this case, working through the brainstorm phase and writing a solid logline (the first step to any film).
Just because you don’t have actors doesn’t mean you can’t make a film. In fact, per illustrators Joy and Noelle, all you need is Photoshop and a sense of humor. 15 modules take you step-by-step through the process of creating your characters, sketching, inking, color, and bringing your 2D creation to life. This is definitely for intermediate film school students (familiarity with Photoshop is going to be helpful), but it’s a fantastically fun and whimsical way to expand your storytelling/filmmaking skills.
To the artistically un-inclined, storyboarding can be one of the most intimidating steps in the filmmaking process. It’s the best way to plan your shots (unless you’re Werner Herzog, in which case, storyboards are for COWARDS),
and the best way to get a visual sense of your film before you actually film it. What I like about Ryan Falkner’s class is that you don’t have to be a brilliant sketch artist to complete it. At under an hour, it’s a short primer in how storyboards work and how you can use them to organize your ideas. Even better, all you need is pen and paper.
This one is just cool. PES is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, and his stop motion creations are so full of artistry and whimsy and fun. Honestly, this is what I think Skillshare does best – offers its students unique opportunities to learn not only basic skills, but direct experiences created by artists themselves. This class is beyond basic film school – students will create a one to six second stop-motion film, camera definitely necessary (an iPhone will do). But if you’re creative, and looking for a beautiful challenge, take on this one hour course and you’ll have made your own super-short, from start to finish.
Have you taken any Skillshare classes?
Let me know your favorite film classes in the comments (or what you think of these!)
*This is an absolutely un-sponsored post. Skillshare isn’t paying me, I get nothing for saying any of this, and I don’t teach a class on the platform. I just honestly like what they’re doing, and I thought I’d share.