Home News Chicago Filmmakers Launches New Online Classes for Winter/Spring 2021

Chicago Filmmakers Launches New Online Classes for Winter/Spring 2021

by Geek Insider
Chicago Filmmakers

(December 14, 2020 – Chicago, IL) Chicago Filmmakers (CF), a non-profit media arts organization established in 1976, launched today a robust slate of affordable online filmmaking classes and professional development workshops starting in January through March 2021. Taught by CF’s faculty of award-winning filmmakers and university professors, courses cover a range of topics from screenwriting and producing to set design and audio production. Classes meet weekly through video conferencing and are accessible to students located anywhere in the U.S. or internationally.

“Chicago Filmmakers is dedicated to providing opportunities for our community of filmmakers to develop new skills and advance their careers in the industry in the virtual space,” says Programs Manager, Jackie Robbins. “We’re doing that by expanding and deepening our roster of producing and writing classes, introducing new classes in set design and animation for youth, as well as adapting our editing and audio classes for online learning. We’re continuing to train new cohorts of Production Assistants prepared to enter the film industry when film and TV production revs up again in the months to come.”

Expanding on its core curriculum, CF has added courses focused on professional development in the film and TV industry such as an intensive Film Producing Workshop for emerging film producers to strengthen their skills in an interactive, project-based learning environment. Additionally, Line Producing: Scheduling and Budgeting with Movie Magic provides hands-on training with the leading industry software used by production managers and line producers working in the field. Another session of CF’s popular Film & TV Production Assistant Bootcamp for students to prepare for the entry-level position will also be announced soon.

Advanced writing courses are available including a Film and TV Script Workshop for experienced screenwriters to receive feedback on their script from peers and mentorship from the instructor, as well as Writing the LGBTQ+ Story which provides a supportive and safe space for writers to develop their LGBTQ+ web series, feature, or TV Pilot.

For the holiday season, Chicago Filmmakers is offering digital gift cards available for purchase which can be redeemed for film classes, camps, workshops, memberships, screenings, or virtual events.

All of Chicago Filmmakers’ course offerings can be found on our website at www.chicagofilmmakers.org. For more information, please contact Jacqueline Robbins, Programs Manager, at [email protected].

2021 WINTER / SPRING SCHEDULE

Intro to Film Producing
Mondays, January 4 – February 1, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Joseph Lewis
The secret’s out: producers are the ones who make it all happen. Pre-production and proper planning are essential to a successful feature-length film. Lectures and seminars will use real production case studies to cover budgeting, scheduling, casting, releases, permits, soliciting investors, script breakdowns, hiring crew, coordinating post-production, festivals and distribution.

Edit I: Premiere Pro
Tuesdays, January 12 – February 9, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Michael Bohacz
Adobe’s digital editing software has long been used by professional editors around the world. This course will provide students instruction on the complete process of editing on Premiere Pro, from organizing footage to uploading to the web. Topics covered include basic editing, trimming, transitions, titling, sound, color correction and an intro to special effects. Chicago Filmmakers will provide students with a temporary license to access the Adobe Premiere Pro software for free for the duration of the class.

Line Producing: Scheduling & Budgeting with Movie Magic
Saturdays, January 16 – March 6, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST
Instructor: Dan Lamkin
In this 8-week intensive, students will step into the role of a Line Producer to gain a better understanding of the logistics for film and TV productions. Using EP Movie Magic Scheduling & Budgeting, students will learn the industry standard and be prepared both in terms of concepts and hands-on training with the software. Topics covered include structuring a schedule and budget, hiring crew, location scouting and permitting, acquiring production insurance, equipment rental and more. Chicago Filmmakers will provide students with a temporary license to access Movie Magic software for free for the duration of the class.

Foundations of Screenwriting
Thursdays, January 21 – March 11, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Paul Peditto
Want to translate your idea into a feature film? This course is designed to introduce beginning writers to the fundamentals of writing a feature-length screenplay. Through screenings, readings, discussion, and critiques, students will engage with character development, dialogue, structure, narrative progression, and what to do with a finished screenplay. Students should use this course as a springboard towards generating the first draft of a feature-length screenplay.

Audio Production
Wednesdays, January 27 – February 24, 2021 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Drew Durepos
In this introductory course for audio production, students will explore the basics of film sound recording and post-production and discuss the main tools and techniques used in these processes, including a variety of microphones, digital sound recorders, and digital audio workstations (with a focus on Fairlight within DaVinci Resolve 16). Additionally, as we continue to pursue our creative projects during the COVID pandemic, we will emphasize ways new filmmakers can achieve great audio with limited access to advanced tools, exploring the possibilities of smartphone production and working with found sounds and sampling. This class will empower students with a technical understanding of audio production such that they can 1) achieve professional-level sound on their own projects; and 2) elevate their creative rapport with future crew members and collaborators.

Film and TV Script Workshop
Mondays, February 1 – 22, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Paul Peditto
It’s time to roll up your sleeves! In this workshop, writers will receive the individual attention, mentorship, and support needed to further develop and sharpen their scripts. Guided by the instructor, students will present their writing to the class for peer feedback and critique and will be expected to revise their script regularly outside of class. Discussions will revolve around character development, plot line and structure, and effective utilization of story models. Students should already have a basic knowledge of screenwriting format; the elements of structure, plot, action, and character; and must have a current screenplay underway in order to take the class.

Developing the Documentary
Wednesdays, February 3 – March 10, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Julie Englander
Truth is often stranger than fiction, and there seems to be no better time than the present to become a documentary filmmaker. Discover the techniques and styles best suited for your documentary idea and then shape that idea into a work that can be funded and hold up to the competition. This course will give you an overview of documentary forms and teach you how to research your project, write a treatment and synopsis, target interested funders, write a proposal, make a budget and prepare a shooting schedule. Students are encouraged to come to class with a specific documentary idea they wish to develop.

Set Design for Film
Tuesdays, February 9 – March 9, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Lindsay Denniberg
Explore the many different stages involved in set design for film including miniature set building, lighting, forced perspective and matte painting in this five-week course. Students will use their Zoom camera to help frame compositions, and recyclable materials from around the house to create a variety of sets! In the final classes, we’ll film a green screen test of each classmate to drop into our sets.

Youth Stop Motion Animation
Saturdays, February 20 – March 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Lindsay Denniberg
In this six-week program, young creators (ages 9-14) will learn many different stop motion animation techniques, such as model making, claymation, collage, pixelation, and how to use a green screen. Students will use their zoom camera (or another camera you are comfortable with if you prefer) to animate your subjects frame by frame. In the final classes, everyone’s animations will be compiled into a film reel to be shared online!

Writing the Web Series
Wednesdays, February 24 – March 17, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Paul Peditto
In this four-week course, students will explore visual writing, story structure and character in preparation for creating a web series. Using Zoom, the class will consist of lectures using Power Point, view current web series as case studies, and workshop their own web series episodes. Through instructor and class feedback, each student will leave the course with a knowledge of the current landscape of web series, and knowledge on how to write for micro-budget, opening up the possibility to make the web series themselves.

Film Producing Workshop
Mondays and Wednesdays, March 8 – 31, 2021 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. CST
Instructor: Joseph Lewis
Expand and strengthen your skills as a film producer in an interactive, project-based learning environment. Led by award-winning producer and educator Joseph R. Lewis students in this 4-week intensive will be guided through a series of production scenarios designed to sharpen creative instincts and cultivate critical thinking skills. Students will work in groups, pairs, and individually to complete projects and should expect an hour of homework each week. Suggested pre-requisite: Intro to Film Producing.


Writing the LGBTQ+ Story
Saturdays, April 17 – May 22, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST
Instructor: Exal Iraheta
This six-week online course will provide a supportive and safe space for writers to explore and develop their LGBTQ+ web series, feature, or TV Pilot. Guided by the instructor, meetings will consist of short lectures, viewing examples, discussions, and critique sessions. We will investigate questions such as: How have LGBTQ+ stories evolved since the 90s? What are the current challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community and mainstream media? What is the future of LGBTQ+ media? Students will leave the course with one of the following: First act of a feature, 3 episodes of a web series, or 1 TV Pilot.  

Film & TV Production Assistant (PA) Training
Class dates TBA
Instructor: Jean Young
It’s the model entry-level career entertainment industry position. The Film and TV Production Assistant (PA) provides a range of essential support both on and off-set. From crowd control to assisting with scheduling – effective, flexible, and enthusiastic PAs are in demand. In this seminar, there’s plenty to learn, including proper set etiquette and important safety concerns, walkie-talkie operation, and film and TV set conventions. You’ll get insider information that will make you stand out as a reliable and focused crew member throughout the show. This seminar presents a walk-through of how to land the job, understand and anticipate each department’s needs, effectively communicate with crew and actors, and includes a full rundown of a typical day-in-the-life of a PA.

About Chicago Filmmakers


Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. Chicago Filmmakers’ twofold mission is to serve independent film and digital video artists by supporting the creation and dissemination of new media arts works and to serve Chicago audiences by screening artistically innovative, socially relevant, and diverse films and videos.

Chicago Filmmakers nurtures the development of aspiring filmmakers of all ages by offering classes, workshops, and summer camps; empowers artists to create new work through production grants, equipment access, fiscal sponsorship, and other services and resources; and encourages the professional advancement of media artists through seminars, panel discussions, lectures, rough-cut and open screenings, as well as networking events and other opportunities for artistic exchange. Chicago Filmmakers develops diverse audiences through its year-round weekly film and video exhibition programs and its two annual film festivals, Reeling the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and The Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival.

About Chicago Filmmakers

Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. Chicago Filmmakers’ twofold mission is to serve independent film and digital video artists by supporting the creation and dissemination of new media arts works and to serve Chicago audiences by screening artistically innovative, socially relevant, and diverse films and videos.

Chicago Filmmakers nurtures the development of aspiring filmmakers of all ages by offering classes, workshops, and summer camps; empowers artists to create new work through production grants, equipment access, fiscal sponsorship, and other services and resources; and encourages the professional advancement of media artists through seminars, panel discussions, lectures, rough-cut and open screenings, as well as networking events and other opportunities for artistic exchange. Chicago Filmmakers develops diverse audiences through its year-round weekly film and video exhibition programs and its two annual film festivals, Reeling the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and The Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival.

For more information contact:

Chicago Filmmakers  
Kristen Hanson, Marketing Manager

[email protected]

(773) 293-1447 ext. 1003

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