SOCAPA’s Advanced Filmmaking intensive is the next step after our Core Filmmaking program and is geared towards students with prior filmmaking experience. The program is competitive and requires applicants to submit at least one completed film or video project and a short film treatment (story idea) for review during our selection process. Students applying to Advanced Filmmaking should be familiar with writing, directing, and editing their own work, and be comfortable with dual-system sync-sound production and other fundamental skills taught in our Core Filmmaking program.
Students accepted into the Advanced Filmmaking intensive focus on making two longer, more polished films that they can use as part of their college applications and submit to film festivals. In addition to advanced classes in cinematography, sound, and digital editing, students attend writing and directing classes where they learn advanced techniques for developing scripts and working with actors. Students receive extensive one-on-one advisements from our seasoned staff of instructor/filmmakers — all of whom have experience at festivals and with agents.
Make it a Plus Program by adding a week or more of SOCAPA's screenwriting and producing workshops to the front end of our regular Advanced Filmmaking Program. Plus filmmaking students get substantially more time to develop their ideas, write their screenplays, and prepare for their upcoming productions.
Film Festivals and agents like short films to be just that - short. Festivals, which like to showcase as much talent as possible, prefer shorter films because they can program more of them into a given time slot, thus exposing their audiences to more stories by more filmmakers. Agents like shorter films because they can watch more of them in a given day and thus expose themselves to more talent per second than by watching longer films. Agents would even prefer two good eight-minute films by the same director than one good twenty-minute film because in two separate films, a director can show a broader range of styles.
Thus, it is our steadfast belief that our students should keep their films under ten minutes in length. The idea is this: if you can show that you can write creatively, cover scenes visually, and elicit strong performances from actors in an eight-minute short film, then you can do it in a twenty-minute film or even a feature-length film. Short films are more economical to make and are more likely to be watched by agents, festival programmers and even your friends and family.
Strong films require strong stories and believable performances. The Advanced Filmmaking Program provides the time to focus on both these components. Scripts are workshopped in class as well as one-on-one, and students have time to make changes and improvements before going into production. An emphasis is also placed on the relationship between the director and their actors, and the performances the director is able to elicit from them. Students learn tools to communicate effectively and draw out truthful performances.
In the afternoons, students take advanced technical camera and sound classes. In Cinematography Class, students are introduced to lenses, jibs, sliders and basic lighting. After conducting exterior shooting exercises, students come back and project the footage in class for critique. In Sound Class, students get a quick refresher on how to use handheld audio recorders, shotgun and lavalier microphones, production slates and discuss the best strategies for recording high quality production audio.
Strongly emphasizing the importance of well-developed scripts and pre-production in successful filmmaking, SOCAPA’s Plus programs add a week or more of screenwriting classes and producing workshops to the front end of our regular Core Filmmaking and Advanced Filmmaking intensives.
For example: our 4wk Advanced Filmmaking Plus program starts with a full week devoted to developing one or more of the short screenplays that will then be produced in the following 3wk Advanced Filmmaking program.
Students accepted into the Advanced Filmmaking Plus intensive focus on making two longer, more polished films that they can use as part of their college applications and submit to film festivals. Students begin with 1, 2, or 3 weeks focused on screenwriting, and then continue on to follow the curriculum of our Advanced Filmmaking Program to produce, direct, and edit their films for the screen. The time given to screenwriting at the start of the program provides a space for students to write, re-write, and revise scripts within a structured environment. Students receive instruction on conflict and character development, writing techniques, and story structure, and can thoughtfully craft the stories they will go on to produce and direct in later weeks.
In addition to advanced classes in cinematography, sound, and digital editing, students also attend directing classes where they learn advanced techniques for working with actors. Students receive extensive one-on-one advisements from our seasoned staff of instructor/filmmakers — all of whom have experience at festivals and with agents.
SOCAPA offers the immediate opportunity to learn the most recent advancements in digital technologies. In the Advanced Fimmaking intensives, students will be using state-of-the art 4K video cameras. All students are encouraged to edit on Adobe Premiere digital editing systems (students with experience editing in other software may consult their film instructor for permission to use an alternative editing system), the current industry standard.
Alfred Hitchcock was a master of visual storytelling. He would often convey information using a single silent shot that it would take a lesser filmmaker pages and pages of cumbersome dialogue to get across. In this film, students are encouraged to take a visual approach to telling their stories. Dialogue should be used sparsely, if at all. Instead, we urge students to use composition, camera movement, shot selection, blocking, lighting, color and nonsynchronous sound to convey meaning.
Renowned globally as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Akira Kurosawa was a master of all genres; The Seven Samurai, Ikiru, and The Hidden Fortress (one of the main inspirations for Star Wars) are just a few of his many masterpieces. Along with his supremely artistic visual style, which became an inspiration for many of America’s most famous directors of the seventies, Kurosawa was also especially attentive to performance, eliciting bravura acting from all those with whom he worked. In this culmination film, we challenge our Advanced Students to elicit the best and most truthful performances they can from their cast without losing sight of all they have learned about visual storytelling.
Students at our Los Angeles summer campus enjoy the advantages of being in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world. Chosen as home base by the film industry because of its nonstop sunshine and beautiful scenery, Hollywood, California, has become synonymous with making movies. SOCAPA's summer camps in LA are held at Occidental College, known as the Princeton of the West.Los Angeles Campus Details
SOCAPA has two campuses in New York City. Our pre-college campus for ages 15-18 is located in the East Village of Manhattan at Astor Place where we use NYU facilities (classrooms, studios, theaters) and the New School's Residence Hall. Our shorter boot camp programs for younger high school students are hosted at Pratt University and FGSC on the Steiner Studios Film Lot in Brooklyn. Our Brooklyn Campus is temporarily closed.New York City Campus Details
SOCAPA has two summer camp locations in Vermont: one at Champlain College, situated in the picturesque city of Burlington, and the other at the Burke Mountain Hotel in East Burke, a summer haven for mountain biking and other outdoor sports.Vermont Campuses Details
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