“FILMMAKING IS EASY!”
…Said no one ever.
Filmmaking is a complex craft; a collaborative process at the intersection of art and business.
You know it’s not about Oscar speeches and red carpet fashion. It’s about the intense, passionate work that happens behind the scenes to tell a story, bring your vision to life, and share it with the world!
But where do you start? How do you go from “I want to make movies” to your first premiere?
YOU HAVE PASSION…
Ask yourself: How seriously do you want to become a filmmaker, and why?
If you answered, “Kinda” or “For fame and glory”, then save yourself some trouble and close this page. But we’re guessing you didn’t. We’re guessing you burn with a passion for filmmaking that compels you to learn more.
You can imagine eighty-year-old You looking back with regret, if you don’t at least entertain the possibility of acting on your dreams… Of becoming a filmmaker… So that you can give what you know you have to give to the world.
…but DO YOU HAVE DIRECTION?
Whether with a feature film or TV show, a brand video or vlog series, you have a passion to share your story through this medium that transcends language, culture, and borders. It will fuel the dedication you’ll need to push through the long hours and late nights (coffee helps, too)!
But dedication is only half the equation, friend. You also need direction. If you prioritize the wrong things – work hard on unimportant tasks, perhaps because you’re not sure what to do – then you’re wasting time and energy.
Ever been hiking in the wilderness? It’s easy to get lost. Imagine how valuable a compass can be. You can find your bearings and know which way to go.
“I didn’t have the $60,000 it necessitated for me to go to film school; I couldn’t afford to do it. So Lights Film School offered me an opportunity to expand my knowledge, but it also fit my budget. Signing up for Lights was the best thing I found myself doing. Their program is bar none… The community at Lights is really for me one of the most exceptional things… Being able to talk to other budding filmmakers across the world. The staff… All amazing people. Having people that you know have your back, that’s definitely what you get being a student at Lights Film School… It’s been a fantastic journey, and I absolutely look forward to being a part of the alumni.”
LET’S GET YOU ORIENTED!
There are plenty of free filmmaking resources available throughout the wilds of the internet (our indie filmmaking blog is one of them)! There are plenty of paid resources, too, providing one-off lessons and perspectives on the craft.
But here at Lights Film School, what we do is bring everything together into a comprehensive education, all under one roof. Filmmaking is put in context, so that you understand how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
As graduates of film schools including New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, our team is keen on creating a true film school experience online – and at a fraction of the cost!
🧭 LIGHTS FILM SCHOOL IS YOUR COMPASS IN THE WILDERNESS.
We’ll get you oriented. You don’t have to spend hours scouring the web for that next tutorial, wonder how individual lessons and topics are related, or stress about whether or not you’re missing something important. We take care of everything for you.
Say goodbye to the guesswork, anxiety, and overwelm!
Instead, our students are free to focus their passion and hard work on what’s really important, beginning with Lights Film School’s core curriculum. It takes you by the hand and leads you step-by-step through the filmmaking process.
EXPLORE OUR CORE CURRICULUM AT YOUR OWN PACE.
No experience necessary. You’ll build your knowledge of filmmaking from the ground up!
Develop the skills you need to make professional narrative and documentary films. Here’s a look at the 6-module syllabus:
INTRODUCTION MODULE lessons include:
Welcome! | How LFS Works | Set Up Your Slack Account | The Workshop | The Community | Extras! | Completing the Course | Your First Exercise
SCREENWRITING MODULE lessons include:
OVERVIEW: The Script, the Script, & the Script | PRE-WRITING: Introduction | Story Development | Character Development | Supporting Materials | Recap & Exercise| STRUCTURING YOUR STORY: Introduction | Beginnings & Endings | The First Act & Plot Points | The Second Act | The Third Act | The Western Dramatic Structure Chart | The Plant & Payoff| Recap & Exercise | THE WRITING PROCESS: Introduction | Action & Dialogue | Understanding the Screenplay Format | Production Considerations | Recap & Exercise | DOCUMENTARY WRITING: Introduction | The Five Steps | How to Create Your Documentary Scripts | Recap & Exercise | ASSIGNMENT I: Choose Your Track & Do the Work!
DIRECTING MODULE lessons include:
OVERVIEW: Your Gift, Your Curse | SCRIPT ANALYSIS: Introduction | Creating “Moments” | Finding the Subtext | MISE EN SCÈNE: Introduction | How Space Manifests Story | Costume Design, Color Palette, & Exercise | DIRECTING ACTORS: Introduction | Action Verbs |Problematic Performances | Method Acting | Production Environment | Casting | Case Study | BLOCKING: Introduction | Coverage | Shot Sequencing | DIRECTING A DOC: Introduction | The Interview & Narration | Ethics | DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS: Introduction | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Jane Campion | Mike Leigh | Ridley Scott | The Coen Brothers | Roundtable, 2011 | Roundtable, 2016 | ASSIGNMENT II: A Technical Exercise
CINEMATOGRAPHY MODULE lessons include:
INTRODUCTION: 88 Years in 7 Minutes | COMPOSITION & FRAMING: Introduction | Visual Elements | Technical Applications | LIGHTING: Introduction | Natural Lighting | Directionality & Intensity | Artificial Light | MOVEMENT: Introduction | Movement Types | Movement Examples | TONAL RANGE: Attuning Your Eyes | CONTINUITY & SHOT FLOW: Introduction | The Line of Action | The 30 Degree Rule | Continuity Coverage | Shot Connections | Cutting in Camera | Shot Flow & 6 Considerations | ASSIGNMENT III: Cinematography Portfolio
EDITING MODULE lessons include:
OVERVIEW: Editing Starts in Pre-Production | Editing Software | Dailies | KEY CONCEPTS: Mirror Program Exercise Files | Transcoding | Beginning the Edit | Understanding Bins | Selects & the Rough Cut | Names & Keywords | Subframe Editing & Sync | Coverage & Multiple Takes | When to Cut | Technical Basics | Visual Punctuation | Dialogue | Rhythm | EDITING TOGETHER: Introduction | Steps I – VI | THE FILM LOOK: Understanding Production Value | COLOR GRADING: Introduction | Exposure & Contrast | Saturation | Color | Cropping | The Final Image | TITLES: Introduction | Choosing a Font | Animations | Credits & Title Cards | Finalizing Your Mirror Program Cut | ASSIGNMENT IV: Film Analysis
SOUND DESIGN MODULE lessons include:
INTRODUCTION: Filmmaking’s Ugly Duckling | SOUND CONCEPTS: What is Sound? | Equalizers | Filters | Scrubbing | Compression | Sample Rate | Bit Depth | Mono & Stereo | Sound Characteristics | SOUND CAPTURE: Introduction | Microphones | Continuity | Averages & Peaks | Automatic Gain Control | Room Tone | Foley & Wild Sounds | Sound on Tape | SOUND EDITING & MIXING: Introduction | Creating a Sonic Map | Preliminary Considerations | SOUND DESIGNING TOGETHER: Getting Started | Steps I – XVI | SOME FINAL POINTS: Sourcing Music | “Fixing” Audio | ASSIGNMENT V: The Culmination of Everything You’ve Learned
“Because of my schedule, I couldn’t attend film school, which is also quite a big investment. I got to know Lights Film School and understand a very different value proposition… And for me it made complete sense. It really makes you start getting your hands dirty within the filmmaking process, even if you have never done it. It’s a safe space, and you learn so much.”
“I had just started to take an interest in the film industry. And since film schools are very expensive, I thought Lights Film School would be a good alternative. The program helped me improve in all aspects of filmmaking… I got to take my time, making sure that I really mastered the different teachings. It allowed me to put my absolute best into my final project!”
A TRULY MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENCE:
The Lights Film School curriculum revolves around polished lecture notes. You’ll encounter more than 150 film clips, audio bites, video essays, and visual examples throughout, thoughtfully presented to illustrate key concepts.
Here’s an example of a custom video tutorial we created in-house:
PERFECTED OVER 10+ YEARS. COMPLETED OVER 3+ MONTHS.
We’ve spent more than a decade creating Lights Film School’s curriculum. It’s something we continue to refine and revise, inspired by feedback from students and alumni, our team’s professional and teaching experiences, and evolving techniques and trends.
Curriculum updates are a relatively common occurrence to help you keep the pulse of the film industry – and they’re included with your enrollment!
Most students complete their studies in 3 – 6 months, but you should take your studies at your own pace. We believe strongly in the principle of an “outcomes-based education”. You shouldn’t have to choose between learning and leading your life. Just give us 100% when you have time to commit to Lights Film School – that’s all we ask.
plus, get EXTRAS, BONUSES, & ADD-ONS!
Lights Film School extends far beyond the core curriculum. Get access to:
✓ Progress Tracking
✓ Hands-On Exercises
✓ Media Libraries
✓ Downloadable Workbooks
✓ Completion Certificate
✓ Teacher Feedback* and Workshop Archives*
✓ International Community*
✓ Networking Opportunities and Alumni Support*
* Unlocked through Premium Membership. Learn more here.
GET FROM POINT A TO B
IN A FRACTION OF THE TIME.
(AND AT A FRACTION OF THE COST).
Some of our teachers have spent $150K+ over 10+ years to learn what they know. You don’t have to.
The mission of Lights Film School is to break down the barriers to film education. We want everyone interested in learning filmmaking to have a chance, wherever they live. That’s why our enrollment fee includes so much for so relatively little!
but DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT!
We’ve taught thousands of people since Lights Film School started in 2007:
“Lights Film School is the ideal stepping stone; I love how it takes you through the entire filmmaking process. Learning the technical side was appealing & the course exceeded my expectations. The tutors are experienced & incredibly knowledgeable. Lights opened a whole new world for me.”
“Having a dream to create films, but not having any real formal training made me a prime candidate for Lights Film School… I revisited my final project, and it was broadcast on local PBS stations. Thanks for giving me a solid foundation and the confidence to follow my dreams!”
“Lights Film School has been an amazing experience! By the time I graduated, I had secured two film jobs, developed my showreel, and achieved film schooling! Lights is the perfect school for anyone who wants to work towards a film certificate whilst having enough time for a full-time job.”
With limited time and experience, I enrolled in Lights Film School. I’m so glad that I did. It was challenging while still being supportive and accessible. Instructors were very attentive and the online school community was always open to sharing ideas and experience. The online platform itself was quick to learn and easy to follow. I’ve come away with technical skill, a honed lens for what makes a good film, and the confidence to pursue this career!
“I am very pleased with how thoroughly the program is constructed with theoretical knowledge, concrete examples, videos and other material. My filmmaking skills have reached a completely different level after studying at Lights. Especially the feedback from the teachers has been priceless!”
“I cannot thank enough the teachers and support staff at Lights Film School for kickstarting my career. What you would get at your local film school would not even compare!”
“It’s easy to recognize and respect the expertise of the instructors, who have been responsive to my questions as well as helpful and generous with their direction. They’ve helped improve my work enormously.”
“I would like to thank Lights Film School and everyone who is a part of your program! Because of Lights Film School, I now work in video full time and have made some really awesome short independent films that have gotten attention from big name video game developers and publishers.”
“There are, undoubtedly, many free filmmaking resources on the internet, but these are scattered and disconnected… The Lights Film School course, conversely, guides its students through a highly structured curriculum with regular assignments and excellent feedback!”