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Hi there! Want to get in touch?

 


 

We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for your interest in our online film school!

We’d love to hear from you and answer whatever questions you may have about Lights Film School. As you wait to hear back, check out these Frequently Asked Questions. You may very well find an answer!

Do I need to know anything about filmmaking in order to enroll and successfully complete my studies?
You don’t need any preexisting knowledge or experience with filmmaking in order to join us here at Lights Film School and successfully complete your studies. We’ll teach you everything from the very beginning, building from the ground up, and we’ll be with you every step of the way!
How does the filmmaking course work? What does the curriculum actually look like?
The filmmaking course will introduce you to the fundamentals of filmmaking in-depth. It provides the knowledge and guidance you need to take an original film from concept all the way through to completion.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a finished short film to add to your portfolio, rooted in the practical, theoretical, and historical underpinnings of filmmaking.

Subjects are divided into 5 modules (not counting the Introduction):

  • Screenwriting
  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Sound Design

We’ll lead you through everything naturally and logically, taking the guesswork out of the learning process. The modules are divided into units and presented as written and video tutorials and examples. We include film clips, and in some cases, full feature films to illustrate key points!

Additionally, you’ll encounter our hands-on “Mirror Program”, providing audio and video files for you to download and manipulate as you practice the concepts covered in the lessons. Mirror activities are an invitation to go behind the scenes and co-develop a project with your teachers. For example, in the Sound Design module, you’ll use audio files we provide to create and sweeten a soundscape according to our step-by-step instructions. By working virtually with us side-by-side, you’ll grow in understanding and confidence.

Not every lesson culminates in a mirror activity. Some lessons task you with other exercises – for example, you might be asked to study a feature film we’ve handpicked, or break down a screenplay from our Screenplay Library.

The training wheels come off at the end of each module. Our series of 5 assignments will channel your learning into the creation of an original short film, narrative or documentary, of your own imagining. By the end of the course, you’ll have a finished product for your portfolio!

How long will it take to complete my studies? Is the curriculum flexible?
We’ve developed Lights Film School with flexibility in mind. Your studies are specifically designed to let you move on your time at your own unique pace. You shouldn’t have to choose between learning and leading the rest of your life.

Simply put, we believe strongly in the principle of an “outcomes-based education” as opposed to a “time-based education”. We’d rather you structure your studies around your obligations, and then when you have time to dedicate to learning, you give us 100%. Most students complete the course in 3-6 months, but you have access to the course for life, per our Terms of Use.

Is Lights Film School accredited? What sort of certificate will I get?
Every student who completes the filmmaking course is mailed a custom course completion certificate commemorating their accomplishment.

That said, it’s important to understand that we’re a non-accredited private learning environment here at Lights Film School. We chose this route to keep enrollment fees low and remain accessible to independent filmmakers interested in learning the technical, artistic, and theoretical elements of filmmaking without going into debt. Of course, accredited schools charge tens of thousands of dollars for enrollment in their programs. There are obvious advantages to going this route, but there are also some pitfalls.

To be a filmmaker doesn’t require a degree. In fact, many of the best and most respected filmmakers got their training simply by completing their film projects and learning as they went along. We’ve designed Lights Film School for these people: independent filmmakers looking to add production value and narrative integrity to their work without spending obscene amounts of money.

Consequently, our approach makes learning accessible to everyone around the world. You still will be given one-on-one opportunities with teachers. You’ll be asked to read lectures, watch video tutorials and examples, complete assignments, engage in our interactive events, and have your work critiqued, but you’re doing so for your betterment as a filmmaker, not simply for a degree, and at a very small fraction of the price you’d pay for an accredited program.

And anyway, our course completion certificate sure looks nice when framed and mounted on your wall!

Is Lights Film School more for fiction or documentary filmmakers?
Both! Our online film school suits fiction and documentary filmmakers equally. As a student, you’ll eventually be asked to choose a “track” that determines the type of project you’ll make for final review, but the course itself is useful for filmmakers of all interests.
Will Lights Film School help me find a job in the film industry?
The film industry is a networking-intensive business that’s as much about who you know as it is about what you know.

What we do here at Lights Film School is address the “what you know” in depth, meaning that we equip you with the foundational knowledge and skills you need to open the door to the industry, as well as provide guidance in the creation of your short film, which will become a portfolio piece for you. Of course, you’ll meet teachers and students in the Lights Film School community, who may one day become collaborators!

Ultimately, though, every individual finds their own unique way into the industry, regardless of background. We’ll prepare you for that journey, so that you can embark on it confidently and professionally.

How does Lights Film School handle time zone differences?
Interactivity is a big part of the learning experience at Lights Film School, so we’ve built all interactive events with flexibility in mind. 

For example, our live Lab Chats are held at different times every other month to ensure that students have the opportunity to attend them regardless of individual schedules and time zone differences. The same Lab Chat might be scheduled at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC -04:00) on Wednesday this month and at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC -04:00) on Saturday another month.

Additionally, Lab Chat transcripts are available for review for 24 hours after the Lab Chat concludes. While attending a Lab Chat live affords an invaluable opportunity to interact with teachers and peers – asking questions, clarifying any points of confusion, learning from each other, building professional relationships – our retention policy helps ensure that students can review the content right away, if they don’t wish to wait a month until the next session.

As a global team ourselves, we’re very sensitive to the needs of our international students, and we work hard to ensure equal access for everyone.

Who are the teachers at Lights Film School?
Our team is a small and tight-knit bunch of professionally trained and practicing filmmakers. Like our students, we’re based all around the world. Feel free to visit the faculty page on our main website for a sense of who’s who!
How interactive is Lights Film School?

Interactive events and community more generally are woven throughout the Lights Film School learning experience. You’re welcome to engage as much or as little as you want.

For starters, you’ll have access to The Cantina Area, a social network where you can get to know your teachers and peers and benefit from mutual inspiration, aspiration, and accountability. 

You’re also invited to tune into some 20+ hours of “Lab Chats”, live lectures led by our teachers in a chat-based virtual classroom. Topics include:

  • The Screenplay and Film Production
  • Character Development
  • Dialogue and Storytelling
  • Visual Storytelling
  • Defining the Director
  • The Science and Art of Sound in Cinema
  • Defining the Documentary
  • Building Cinematic Suspense

Available exclusively to Lights Film School members for a one-time payment of $50 is the Online Theatre, a virtual venue for screening short films. You’ll draw on everything you’re learning to break down a curated selection of shorts, discovering what works and what doesn’t in each. It’s a behind-the-scenes window into professional productions designed to build your powers of film analysis that invites fun, free-flowing discussion.

The Workshop is another public space within Lights Film School. Everyone can see and comment on everyone else’s assignments, students and teachers alike. In fact, we encourage you to check out other students’ assignments and read their teacher reviews. The Workshop really acts as a collective learning experience and is a great way to learn from other filmmakers’ mistakes – and successes!

Finally, when you complete your studies, you’ll receive an invite to The Alumni Lounge, a private community area where filmmakers who’ve completed their studies gather to keep in touch with each other and the Lights Film School community at large.

All of this to say that you don’t have to be alone in your filmmaking journey. Interaction is there if you want it, every step of the way!

What equipment do I need?
All you need is a video camera and some editing software. That said, it doesn’t matter what type of video camera and editing software you have when you enroll. 

From an equipment standpoint, the bar to entry into the film industry has never been lower. Certainly, you’re welcome to use a high-end camera, but DSLMs and even iPhone cameras are common today. Here at Lights Film School, we teach our students how to embrace, not resist, the technical constraints they face. Oftentimes, constraints are the key to creativity!

While we do recommend that you work toward finding a camera and software that afford you as much manual control as possible, we meet you where you are – our goal is to teach you regardless of the tools you’re using. ARRI Alexa or Panasonic GH5, Avid Media Composer or Apple iMovie, you’ll be able to complete everything in the course without a problem.

READY TO ENROLL?

Start learning how to create professional narrative and documentary films, using the gear you already have, wherever you live.

We’ll be with you every step of the way, with guidance, community, and resources from beginning to end!

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