(8) 2-hour sessions

We first dig into the syllabus; the general goals of the course and defining the expectations of each class.

We discuss what Art Direction is, who makes up the Art Department (or skeleton-crew), and how the different roles can impact your film and even the writing process.

We next pour the foundation: grasping the Elements and Principals of Design in cinema. How space, line, shape, texture, form, value and color theory for film (with it's psychological impact), along with mise en scène, can be an instrumental basis for your project's backdrop.

Each class, we raise this awareness through carefully dissecting successful (and unsuccessful) film & television pieces, illustrating the power of shot design, style and atmosphere; both theoretically and practically. The range of films we analyze are (mostly) obscure and lower-budget… this is to connect the student with tangible influence they can pinch bits and pieces from, to shape their own stories with.

As our coursework progresses, in-class exercises involve visually adapting other writer’s work for the screen. These exercises are intended for the filmmaker to connect the crucial relationships from the writing process, to visually breaking down the story, and beyond. These exercises are intended to broaden your horizons — from expressive-to-minimal writing styles — while always focusing on the character’s surroundings.

We unfold how sound and music — or lack thereof — can push atmosphere and set-design.

Whether used as props or inspiration, Fine Art over the centuries has been instrumental to filmmaking. We connect examples of Fine Art to cinema and the vast industry of fashion, theatre, commercialism, short-film, music-video and art-installation.

We discuss the correlation between costuming and character. We give you the tools on how to develop a character’s persona through suggestive costuming and makeup. We implement ideas on visually communicating with your actors on the potential of their costuming ensemble.

How do you convey your ideas in pre-production to your producer? Your investor? When your film is complete, how do you create the material to get your film promoted? Getting your film in front of an audience is the end goal after all. From working with students to Academy Award winning directors on their promo graphics, our heavy experience in this area takes the course to another level.  We discuss samples and methods of engaging layouts for your future Press-kits and Look-books, as such material is pertinent for film festivals and self promotion.

We also discuss “The Industry” where we ‘talk- shop’ and the life of freelancing. We check out some studios and stages we’ve been a part of over the years where we’ve video-documented the sets — to bring the sets to you, for a more meaningful and ‘hands-on’ look into the process of all things Art-Direction.

Homework is scattered throughout our 8 session-times. The assignments and one project we assign carry our same rhythm from the class setting to more personal and relevant application at home. We always respond with detailed feedback with every submission.