MISSION & VALUES
“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”
– Orson Welles –
Lights Film School prides itself on being a quality education provider.
Since 2007, we’ve been teaching students of our online film school the fundamentals of filmmaking, guiding them every step of the way.
We Love What We Do
All of us here at Lights Film School are obsessed with sound and the moving image. We have put great care into assembling a great roster of talented and enthusiastic teachers and working with them on a year-to-year basis to ensure our curriculum and educational goals are meeting the highest expectations of our students.
The same agony and ecstasy that goes into making a film, music video or documentary has gone into the creation of our online film program. From day one, it was of paramount importance to us that we helped our students realize their most creative visions.
We’ve developed an educational model that allows us to test different educational platforms and then implement the models that seem to have the best impact on our students’ work. Each year, we review the outcomes of our students’ work, and each year, we try to make the next year’s output even stronger by making adjustments to our curriculum and teaching methods.
We’ve created this course under many of the same restrictions that indie filmmakers face. Lights Film School is not a large school or a resource rich school. We simply have a deep love for film and education. Over the years, this love has earned us a great reputation with our film students and within the film community at large. Our independent spirit and our love for film are ingrained in our school’s educational philosophy. We don’t strive to be the cheapest online film school, but we do strive to offer the best value for money.
Our goal is to work with our students and teach them how to work toward professional studio production standards while still maintaining the creative freedom and visual bravery that come with being an indie filmmaker. We don’t believe that “indie” is an excuse for laziness or poor quality content. We see helping indie filmmakers as our biggest responsibility. We want to help infuse independent cinema with better stories and more impressive production standards.
We do this by using a series of different educational tools we’ve tested and re-tested over the years as we’ve worked toward finding the best recipe for film education. Our job as an education provider is to take an honest look at our approach and our students work and constantly reinvent ourselves to ensure our students are achieving the best results possible.
Our students come from around the world looking for a strong foundation course in filmmaking, and we want to be the school to provides that service. However, film is a difficult subject to teach because of its multifaceted nature, constantly changing technologies, ability to create rules and then break them, and interconnectedness of its subjects. This means that you really need to understand all of the elements of the craft before you fully understand its individual components. For example, a good director knows how to identify a good script, can make blocking changes on the go, can speak to a DoP about lens choices, can help a grip rig dolly track, can provide recommendations to the design department, and can talk about color palettes with their makeup artists.
Our filmmaking course is built with this interconnectedness in mind. We believe that directors need to have both a deep and broad understanding of the craft of film to be good directors. This is why we don’t allow for subject isolation. We don’t allow our students to just take our directing module, or just our cinematography module. You need to take all of the modules, because every module is related to every other. Writing a strong script and having a good ear for sound design may not on first glance seem related, but in film they very much are. Great directors have an intimate understanding and great respect for all of the elements that go into making a film that’s worth watching. Everything from the obvious elements such as audio and visuals, right down to smaller details like typography and aspect ratios – an understanding of all of these elements rests on the shoulders of the director, especially in the indie world.
Our Main Goals
Our goal isn’t to be the cheapest film school online. To do so would inevitably lead to a deterioration of our content and our teaching standards. Instead, our goal is to be the most comprehensive and best value for money. We’re passionate about democratizing education and work hard to keep our course fee low enough to remain accessible to students from around the world. We don’t believe you should have to live with educational debt for years because you wanted to go to film school. We offer an alternative to expensive “real world” film schools. We don’t strive to replace the need for more traditional brick-and-mortar film schools, and we strongly respect their importance in our communities. However, different types of learners and people in different contexts and different phases of life need different educational systems, and we hope to fulfill the educational needs of a certain type of student.
We believe that:
- Indie films should be held accountable to the same professional production standards of larger studio films.
- Our power as indie filmmakers isn’t to try to duplicate the Hollywood system of film creation. If we compete with them on big names, big locations, and truckloads full of equipment, we’ll lose. We simply don’t have the resources. But we can compete for audiences who are looking for something different creatively. Humans love stories. It’s in our DNA. Our goal at Lights Film School is to train our students to be brave in their efforts to tell daring and edgy stories.
- We don’t believe that there is only one right way to teach film. Yes, there are conventions and principles, and these rules are respected and taught in our filmmaking course, but we also employee teachers with different ways of thinking and different methods of approaching problems. Our goal is to give our students as many possible “creative angles” as possible to test out for themselves and see what works for them.
- We do believe that our teachers need to be accountable to the needs of our students. For this reason, we have created an educational platform that allows our students to grade our teachers. Teachers are graded on their:
- Depth of understanding of a topic
- Level of interactivity
- Enthusiasm for the topic they are teaching
- Teaching efficiency (ie., speed, organization, etc.)
If a teacher consistently does not score well on our student-led teacher reviews, they are let go (that’s a nice way of saying “fired”). We have implemented this approach to protect our students from mediocre teachers. We analyze our student feedback, and then we work with our teachers to revamp their educational material until it meets the expectations of our students. Essentially, we put control back in the students’ hands where it belongs!
In short, here at Lights Film School, we have an intense love for two things: filmmaking and teaching. We creatively torture ourselves over finding ways to help ensure our students are getting as much from our course as possible. And we are constantly striving to make sure our educational platform is both cutting edge and up-to-date with the most comprehensive, interesting, and rewarding educational content possible.
If you want to know how we found our way to this mission and these values, check out our story. If you have any questions about our course or just want to drop us a line to say “hello”, please feel free to get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.
WHAT OUR STUDENTS ARE SAYING:
“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!”
“The flexibility of the Lab Chats allowed me to work around my busy schedule. The live lectures are very thorough in covering the necessary elements relevant to developing my skills as a filmmaker. They also give me an opportunity to ask questions directly to industry professionals.”
“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. The chatroom lecture format has been surprisingly easy to get used to. 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!”
CATCH THE VISION?
Then we invite you to 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!