“We’ve got your back.”
– Your Friends at Lights Film School –
Your privacy is extremely important to us.
Last Updated June 19, 2018 | Effective Date May 25, 2018
Our updated Policy more clearly explains what information we collect from you, how we use it, and why. Of course, our commitment to respecting your privacy remains the same. We’re excited to continue building a trusting relationship with our students, subscribers, and website visitors more generally, and this Policy update – along with our extensive review of our internal data processes and systems – is the latest manifestation of that mission!
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
An Overview of the Sources of Personal Data
Lights Film School obtains information about individuals in these main ways:
- When you visit one of our websites or contact us directly about becoming a student or obtaining other information,
- When you become a student, and
- When you’re a service provider to Lights Film School.
“You” or “your” refers to the individual who uses our websites, features, and services, or accesses available information, or engages with us directly via email.
The goal of all of this, of course, is (1) to serve our existing students as best we can, and (2) to keep growing as a business, thereby reaching as many aspiring filmmakers around the world as we can!
Whose information does Lights Film School collect?
Lights Film School collects information from two types of individuals:
Our visitors are individuals who visit one of our websites or contact us directly about becoming a student or obtaining other information. They may also opt into our marketing emails.
Our students are individuals who have enrolled in Lights Film School and created their membership accounts. They also may opt into our marketing emails.
What information does Lights Film School collect?
Depending on how you use the Lights Film School websites, features, and services – and depending on your direct interactions with us – we collect two types of information: personal information and non-personal information.
Personal information is information that identifies you or may be used in conjunction with other pieces of information to identify you. For example: your name, email address, and billing and credit card information via our payment plugin and gateway.
Students also are invited, but by no means required, to share further details about themselves with the Lights Film School community. For example: their name, website, nationality, bio, project assignments, as well as posts that abide by our community guidelines and a representative photograph, like you see on traditional social media websites. For many of our students, the resulting community is an attractive aspect of their Lights Film School educational experience.
Personal information also can include information that does not identify you, but could be combined with other information in a way that enables you to be identified. This includes things like age, gender, IP address, and current location.
Non-personal information is information that cannot be used or combined with other information to identify or contact you, including browser types, device types, and statistical data involving the use of the Lights Film School websites. This helps us refine Lights Film School’s websites, features, and services from a technical standpoint.
When does Lights film School use information from third parties?
Lights Film School collects only the information necessary to run our websites and provide our features and services successfully. Some of this information comes from or otherwise involves third parties.
For example, when you place an order on our website, we receive information from a third party that provides automated fraud detection services. We manually cross-check this information against other information, including the IP address associated with the order. Occasionally, if questions remain as to whether or not an order is fraudulent, we consult information that is made publicly available on social media websites. You can control how much of your information social media websites make public by visiting these websites and changing your privacy settings.
As another example, when you contact us via a contact form on our website for any reason, your message is delivered via email to our help desk software, which can help build a more complete contact profile.
As a third example, in addition to their Lights Film School membership accounts, students are invited to create community accounts on a messaging platform that serves as the backbone of some of Lights Film School’s optional community features. Of course, students can control how much of their information this messaging platform makes public by adjusting the settings to their liking.
What third parties does Lights Film School involve, why, and how?
Chatra is live chat software that enables us to engage with our websites’ visitors in real-time. When we’re unavailable to chat, Chatra registers the names, email addresses, and chat transcripts of visitors who provide them, then forwards this information to HelpScout so that we can follow up. Other information collected during a chat includes log data such as the time on site, website referrer, location, OS/device, and browser. Although Chatra may log a visitor’s IP address, we choose not to see it by toggling off a setting in the backend.
To help protect against spam bots and reduce the load on our server, we use CleanTalk’s SpamFireWall feature, which filters inbound traffic by checking an IP address against a private database blacklist of known IP addresses with spam bots. Log files are retained for 7 days, after which they are deleted.
Crazy Egg helps us figure out how visitors are using our websites and interacting with our content, by providing Snapshot, Recording, and A/B Testing functionality. We study the resulting (aggregated and anonymized) data – especially heatmaps – to understand how we can improve and optimize our websites.
Disqus serves as the commenting system on our websites, enabling interaction around our websites’ content. For example, visitors on our blog can comment on our posts. In respect of users’ privacy and to ensure a safe experience, Disqus offers a strong Do Not Track (DNT) framework, among other privacy features. For example, they pseudonymize email and IP addresses of users next to their comments in the moderation panel.
Facebook | Privacy Principles
We use Facebook’s advertising pixel for prospecting and retargeting, with an attribution window of 28 days (click) and 1 day (view). This allows us to build awareness of our brand, discover people who may be interested in becoming students, further engage existing students, and share content with people who are interested in independent filmmaking more generally.
Flywheel is our WordPress-managed hosting solution. Like all of the third parties we involve, they share our obsession with security, as we will discuss later. They are SOC2 compliant and EU Privacy Shield certified.
Google Suite serves as the tool we use to manage both direct and transactional emails through our www.lightsfilmschool.com website. Depending on the context, emails involving said website are logged and delivered using an SMTP plugin configured for OAuth2 and the Gmail API, then passed along to HelpScout via a forwarding rule.
We also use Google Suite to store internal documents and project assignments our students submit (as a courtesy), as well as create and share project assignment reviews.
Additionally, we make use of Google Analytics to collect information about how visitors use our websites; determine unique visitors and pageviews; establish and continue user sessions; store the types of referrals used by visitors; collect general demographic information, browser types, and device types; monitor eCommerce activity; and the like. So as to facilitate historical analysis, user and event data never expires. It resets on new activity.
We use an EU compliance add-on for a premium WordPress plugin, MonsterInsights, to help with some aspects of GDPR compliance with regards to Google Analytics. It anonymizes IP addresses on all Google Analytics hits, eCommerce hits, and form tracking hits; disables UserID tracking on Google Analytics hits, eCommerce hits, form tracking hits, and the UserID dimension in custom dimensions; enables the ga() compatibility mode; and disables the Demographics and Interests Reports for Remarketing and Advertising tracking on Google Analytics hits (for Google AdWords).
More generally, Google Analytics helps us monitor and evaluate Lights Film School’s websites, features, and services in general. It’s a tool we use as a part of improving our business and offerings.
HelpScout is our help desk software. We use it to manage contacts and correspondence received through our HelpScout knowledge bases, Chatra, and via email. Conversations, productivity, user, happiness, and docs reports help us gauge the effectiveness of our support team and efforts.
MailChimp is our marketing automation platform and email marketing service. It’s the solution we use to manage and grow our email lists with double opt-in forms as the signup method. From time to time, our email lists form target audiences for our Facebook Ads, including only those subscribers who opted into online advertising.
Additionally, we use MailChimp’s transactional email add-on, Mandrill, to handle triggered emails on our www.lfscommunity.com website, including purchase receipts, password reset requests, and the like.
We use OptinMonster to assist with lead generation on our websites. For example, its forms integrate with MailChimp, allowing us to invite students and visitors to become email subscribers. The software’s use of global interaction and success cookies helps us ensure a positive user experience by preventing prompts from showing to users again and again. Currently, our global success cookies expire after 365 days. OptinMonster also integrates with Google Analytics so that we can assess campaign performance.
PayPal integrates with WooCommerce, the ecommerce plugin active on our www.lightsfilmschool.com website, as a payment gateway. If you opt to pay via PayPal during checkout, then PayPal is the platform that processes your payment. Consequently, aside from the billing address and IP address associated with your order, we do not store your payment method details on our websites.
Slack is a messaging platform that serves as the backbone of some of Lights Film School’s optional community features, including The Cantina, The Workshop, The Lab Chats area, The Online Theatre area, and The Alumni Lounge. Students can control how much of their information this messaging platform makes public by adjusting the settings to their liking. Similarly, they can control how much of their information they share directly onsite in the Community Directory.
SproutSocial is the software we use for social media-related management, social advocacy, social analytics, and social listening. It helps us stay on top of our social media interactions, activity, and opportunities across our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
Stripe integrates with WooCommerce, the ecommerce plugin active on our www.lightsfilmschool.com website, as a payment gateway. It also integrates with MemberPress, the membership and ecommerce plugin active on our www.lfscommunity.com website, as a payment gateway. If you opt to pay via credit or debit card, then Stripe is the platform that processes your payment. Consequently, aside from the billing address (and in the case of WooCommerce, the IP address associated with your order), we do not store your payment method details on our websites.
SurveyMonkey is the survey software we use to (1) collect new students’ registration details, (2) invite feedback to various Lights Film School events for students, such as our live Lab Chats, and (3) invite answers to surveys included in our marketing emails.
In the case of (1), the new student is required to provide the full name of the person who checked out, the full name of the new student, the new student’s email address, how they heard about Lights Film School, whether or not they are currently subscribed to our newsletter, and what their goals are as a filmmaker. The first three requirements serve as cross-checks in our fraud prevention efforts and ensure that we manually create a new student account with the correct name and email address, since the purchaser and enrollee are not always the same. The next two requirements help us better understand our acquisition channels, and the final requirement is an opportunity for us to help the new student articulate and eventually reach their learning goals.
Three optional questions provide more information when answered. The first asks the individual registering what the purchaser’s relationship is to the student, if the purchaser is not the student. This serves as another cross-check in our fraud prevention efforts. The second asks whether or not the purchase is a gift, so that we can set up the recipient’s account on the date of the purchaser’s choosing, and the third invites the purchaser to share what, if anything, they’d change about our website.
SurveyMonkey logs survey respondents’ IP addresses for reference. We occasionally use this information in context of (1), as an additional cross-check in our fraud prevention efforts. We keep survey responses on record indefinitely to help with customer support as well as to identify trends over the longterm that can help us improve our business and offerings.
WPSlackSync is a premium WordPress plugin that synchronizes Slack channels with WordPress, enabling access to Lights Film School’s optional community features directly onsite. Its authentication token is stored locally, in the browser or a cookie. It does not gather any additional user data.
Yeps! allows us to add beautiful, minimalist bars to our websites, providing announcements, notifications, offers, and a cookie banner. The software’s use of log data – for example, a visitor’s IP address, browser type, and other statistics – helps us improve our business and offerings from a technical perspective as well as ensure a positive user experience; for example, by preventing prompts from showing to users again and again.
Where and when is information collected?
Lights Film School will collect the personal information that you submit to us. We also may receive information about you from third parties, as described above.
When a student enrolls in Lights Film School for the first time, depending on where they made the purchase (either www.lightsfilmschool.com or www.lfscommunity.com), our team either creates or approves a new membership account on www.lfscommunity.com. If you wish to use this account, you will be required to provide us with information, including that required by the new student registration form (see “SurveyMonkey” above). In addition, we may obtain your personal information from you if you identify yourself to us by sending us an email with questions or comments.
We also offer a personalized course completion certificate to students who complete the course. If a qualifying student wishes to receive their certificate, we ask them for a mailing address so that we know where to send it.
Cookies and Web Beacons
Like many websites, we use “cookies” on Lights Film School’s websites to collect information that helps us run, monitor, evaluate, grow, and ultimately improve our business and offerings. A cookie is a small data file that can be placed on your computer or mobile device in order to identify your browser and activities on our websites. Examples include Facebook’s advertising pixel and Google Analytics’ data, as described above.
You do not have to accept cookies in order to interact with Lights Film School’s websites, features, and services, although this may lead to a degraded experience. While most browsers are configured to accept cookies out of the box, it is possible to change your browser settings to notify you when you receive a cookie or even to reject cookies generally. Similarly, some third party advertising networks, like Google, allow you to opt out of or customize your preferences in relation to your internet browsing.
To learn more about how you can control privacy settings and cookie management, click the link below pertaining to your web browser:
In addition to cookies, we use “web beacons”, a web technology used to help track website or email usage information, that can be embedded on web pages and in emails. For example, web beacons in our marketing emails enable open tracking, which helps give us a general overview of our subscriber engagement. These can be blocked if you or your email client chooses not to display images.
Log Files and Other Usage Statistics
Lights Film School’s servers automatically record information including access logs, PHP error logs, and slow error logs, all of which is retained for 7 days. We also track usage statistics, such as when a student last logged into their account (aiding our support and troubleshooting efforts) and when a student saves their course progress (making it easy for them to pick up where they left off every time they login).
Does Lights Film School collect information from children?
We are committed to protecting the privacy of children. Lights Film School’s websites, features, and services are not designed for or directed to children under the age of 18, since some of our teaching materials include films that are unrated and/or have received an “R” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. In fact, per our Terms and Conditions, a student must be 18 years of age or older at the time of enrollment, unless parent or guardian approval is clearly provided. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with information without their consent, then he or she should contact us.
What does Lights Film School do with the information it collects from you?
In general, we use the information collected (1) to provide you with the best possible experience interacting with us and when using Lights Film School’s websites, features, and services; (2) to help us understand who engages with us; (3) to enable our advertising in some cases, including using your email to send information to you about Lights Film School if you have opted into our marketing emails; (4) to contact students for customer service, billing, and essential account operation purposes (such as membership account password resets); and (5) for internal operations, including the growth, monitoring, and evaluation of our business.
Laws and Legal Rights
Lights Film School cooperates with government and law enforcement officials. We may disclose your information if we believe in good faith that we are required to do so in order to facilitate valid legal processes, protect our property and rights, protect the safety of the public or any person, or to prevent or stop activity we may consider to be illegal or unethical or at risk of becoming so. In short, we’re committed to protecting our community and upholding the rule of law!
Does Lights Film School disclose information to other third parties?
Could my information be sent to other countries?
Lights Media Collective LLC is an LLC formed in the United States. Information collected via our websites, or through direct interactions with you, may be transferred from time to time to authorized team members, or to third parties, located throughout the world, and may be viewed anywhere in the world, including countries that may not have laws of general applicability regulating the use and transfer of such data. To the fullest extent allowed by applicable law, by using any of our websites, features, and services, you voluntarily consent to the trans-border transfer of such information. For more information about transfers in relation to third party services we use, please see their Privacy Policies, linked above.
Is the information Lights Film School collects secure?
We go to great lengths to ensure that your information is safe and secure. Flywheel, our WordPress-managed hosting solution, manages security at both the site and server level, proactively monitoring for malware and ensuring that all data is encrypted at rest, in transit, as well as across their hosting platform. Moreover, our www.lightsfilmschool.com website is McAfee SECURE certified, meaning that it has been tested and certified to be free of malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and other things that can harm you and your computer.
SSL is included on our websites. Strong passwords are required by our user management systems, and logins are limited to prevent brute force attacks. WordPress core files are locked down, intelligent IP blocking preempts potential attacks, and our firewall service adds an extra layer of protection against DDoS, RPC-XML, and SQL injection attacks. Additionally, strong passwords are also in place with our third party accounts, as is two-step verification in many cases.
To top it all off, we regularly monitor and ensure that both WordPress and our websites’ plugins are up-to-date, thereby preventing vulnerabilities, and we conduct routine manual reviews of our user management systems to ensure no unauthorized access. Aside from the billing address and, depending on the payment gateway you use to checkout, IP address, we do not store your payment method details on our websites.
However, neither people nor security systems are foolproof, including encryption systems – this is the internet, after all. While we’re zealous about security and use reasonable efforts to protect your information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. We will make any legally-required disclosures of any breach of the security, confidentiality, or integrity of your sensitive information via email and/or conspicuous posting on our website(s), as expediently as possible and without unreasonable delay.
What choices do I have with regards to the use of personal information?
You’re welcome to contact us in order to (1) update, correct, or obtain your personal information, (2) change your Lights Film School communication preferences, or (3) delete your personally identifiable information from our systems. Except where otherwise described, personal information in our systems does not expire so as to ensure a stellar customer support experience. For example, we sometimes have lapsed students from years ago contact us to resume their studies. Our records also assist in other business operation, evaluation, growth, and improvement efforts, such as fraud prevention.
Should you contact us to update, correct, obtain, change, or delete your personal information, we will make commercially reasonable efforts to honor your request. Of course, promptly after receiving your request, all personal information stored in databases we actively use, and other readily searchable media will be updated, corrected, exported and delivered to you, changed, or deleted as appropriate, as soon as and to the extent reasonably and technically practicable.
Who can I contact with privacy questions?
The Lights Film School team has done its very best to explain our commitment and approach to privacy here, but should you have any comments, questions, concerns, or requests at all, we’re here for you. Please go ahead and contact us via email or by post:
Lights Media Collective LLC
228 Park Ave S #72782
New York NY 10003-1502
WE’RE ON OUR STUDENTS’ SIDE.
Here’s what they have to say!
“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.”Aaron Falvey
“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!”Gregory Fish
“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.”Nick Kingan
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!Kelly Legge
“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!”Jussi Pohjolainen
“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.”Sharvon Urbannavage
“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.”Charlie McDougall
“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.”Jason Forge
“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!”Julian Eyre
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!