Diploma - Part 2

Subjects Semester Two

After completing semester one and publicly screening all the films, all students will have experienced the complete process of dramatic film and documentary making from concept to completion at first hand and witnessed the response to their work.

In semester two students push on with two-week specialist workshops in the aspects of filmmaking that most interested them, as preparation for making another set of more ambitious films.

The productions in semester two include: 10-15min major group projects and/or documentaries with continuing professional advisors. Every student also makes their own thesis film, enabling him or her to find their individual creative voice. The thesis films are crewed by the student’s peers providing numerous opportunities for every student to pick many valuable hours of hands-on production experience in a variety of roles.

Again through a strong practical focus we help students to master skills that can win them a place is this industry, or arm them with the understanding, skills and contacts they will need to go on to produce their own quality work.

The school supplies all the equipment and budgets for the projects.


                                 

Digital Editing 2
The students will be focussing on the editing of their individual thesis films under guidance from a professional editor.

Story through Sound and Image 2
This course is an opportunity to build on an understanding of screen language in the light of the outcomes of the first semester major projects and help in the planning of the second semester major projects and thesis films. Because students have now been directly involved in all aspects of the film production process, students take this opportunity to bring their own questions, observations, doubts and discoveries to the sessions that enhance the relevance and productivity of the sessions.

This course begins with a frame-by-frame review of the previous semester's work, done with the support and guidance of a panel of teachers / filmmakers.
In response to more in depth explorations of cinema students will produce and present new pieces of work, through which they will continue to explore the power of screen language, this time including a greater emphasis on the qualities of sound design.

This Subject is delivered in seven, three-hour weekly classes.

Major Project 2
The major film project is designed to further develop professional crewing skills, artistic judgement, filmmaking knowledge and experience.  One film project will be produced for every 12 students.  Students must complete at least one key role on any two projects (which can include a Major Documentary - See Documentary Specialisation above).

The film project is allocated a cash budget in addition to the film camera and facilities provided by the school. There is no limit placed on the length of the project, however screenplays are sourced and pitched from the Screenwriting Lab (see the Workshops: Screenwriting / Script Editing Lab above). Students are encouraged to attend extra workshops and seek mentors in order to make the most of this learning opportunity.

Every major film project is taken through to final completion and is publicly screened at the end of semester Sydney Film School Festival at a major Sydney Cinema.
It is our belief that deadlines and audiences are of vital importance.
 

Thesis
The thesis project subjects involve each student attending a weekly class / forum with a small group of peers and a thesis supervisor in order to develop a short personal film project. This process involves screenings and discussions designed to challenge personal set notions of what cinema is and how it may connect with an audience.

Each student is helped and encouraged to go on a personal and fulfilling journey of discovery, to investigate a compelling cinematic issue, question of style, or technical challenge. Each student will seek out relevant examples of their thoughts from cinema history (visual and written references) and keep a diary of their ideas through images, sketches, quotes, etc to be shared with their colleagues and teacher.

This process of exploration builds up to the making of an individual short thesis film as a practical embodiment of the student’s answer to their personal challenge. Each student is to also submit a 3,000-word paper explaining the development and production processes behind their film work and a short analysis of the final film.

Students are given access to a range of film equipment and a small cash budget to shoot their thesis project.

Every thesis film is taken through to final completion and is publicly screened at the end of semester Sydney Film School Festival at a major Sydney Cinema.
It is our belief that deadlines and audiences are of vital importance.

Though these projects are modest in scale they have consistently been the source of some of our most exciting and successful films.
The Thesis Class Subject is delivered over 14, three-hour weekly classes. The Thesis Production Subject occurs over a three week thesis production period. The Thesis Editing subject is supervised during the last three weeks of the course.


Meet the Filmmaker Part 2
Sydney Film School introduces students to a variety of working professionals on a weekly basis. At the conclusion of the presentation by the featured filmmaker students are encouraged to participate in a question and answer discussion.

Digital Equipment Workshop 2
Students refresh their knowledge of the digital cameras and accessories in preparation for their part 2 shoots.


Specialist Workshops Part 2
Each student is to choose three out of the following six workshops.

  • Screenwriting / Script Editing Lab
    Students need to come to this workshop with a first draft of a 10-15min screenplay. They will develop these scripts under the supervision of their teacher / mentor and in discussions with a small group of their peers.  These screenplays must then be pitched to the school and are eligible for selection for production as part of the slate of major film projects.

    This Subject is delivered in eight, three-hour sessions with a one-week break between sessions 4 and 5 to allow for further writing. The workshop finishes with an extra full day of readings and review of all scripts. There is then another week available for polishing of the scripts before they are due for pitching. Selected scripts will go into production.
  • Documentary 
    For students wishing to explore this discipline in greater depth and for students wanting to pitch a documentary as a major project in semester two. This workshop provides the opportunity for meeting up-close talented Australian documentary filmmakers, view their work, gain insights into their motivations and working methods and also to test out the student's own ideas for projects with people who have been there before. Students will develop, research and pitch a documentary project as part of this course. Selected projects will go into production.

    Each documentary selected for production is allocated an HD digital video kit and a small cash budget to cover a range of possible expenses.

    This Subject is delivered in a number of master classes and mentoring sessions spread throughout the semester in order to provide the very best support for the development and completion of the documentary projects generated within it.

    Every documentary from semester two is taken through to final completion and is publicly screened at the end of semester Sydney Film School Festival at a major Sydney Cinema.
    It is our belief that deadlines and audiences are of vital importance.
  • Acting / Directing Workshop
    After instruction and with guidance of their teacher, students will work with each other to develop scenarios, short scripts and improvisations as explorations of acting / directing techniques. These will be filmed and then presented to a larger group for analysis and feedback. This workshop is also of much value in preparation for work on the major films and thesis projects and may incorporate segments of either.

    This Subject is delivered in eight, three-hour sessions with a one-week break between sessions 4 and 5 to allow for casting and rehearsals. The workshop finishes with an extra full day of review and analysis of the filmed scenes. These scenes may be used in support of a pitch to direct a major project.
  • Cinematography Master Class
    With further instruction and demonstrations from professional cinematographers students will develop their skills to a higher level. Using professional equipment students will explore the differences between film and digital imaging; test sophisticated lighting set-ups and gripping solutions (including dolly, crane and jib-arms). In teams of three, students will design, light and shoot a scene.

    This Subject is delivered in four, seven hour days of instruction and workshops with a one-day break before a fifth day of screening and review of the recorded scenes. However the teams of three will set and film their scenes outside of class time. This provides the experience of early starts and late finishes as is commonly experienced in the film industry. Photographic ideas and challenges relevant to impending major projects and thesis films may be tested in this subject.  
     
  • Digital Workshop
    This workshop is designed as an introduction to digital image manipulation, including After Effects, basic animation and DVD authoring.  This workshop exposes the students to digital possibilities for adding new dimensions for improving their films.
    Each student will complete a challenging work incorporating a range of digital techniques.

    This Subject is delivered in eight, three-hour sessions. The workshop finishes with an extra full day of screening and review of all projects, plus a short practical exam to ensure each student's working knowledge of the systems. 
  • Sound Lab
    Under the guidance of a film sound professional students will immerse themselves in the expansive, enigmatic world of postproduction sound design. Students will also learn track laying and soundtrack mixing on ProTools. Particular emphasis will be given to the design potential of the major film and documentary soundtracks.

    This subject is delivered in eight, three-hour sessions. The workshop finishes with an extra full day of screening and review of all projects, plus a short practical exam to ensure each student's working knowledge of the ProTools system. 


The outline above summarises what is an extremely busy, productive and transforming year of activity delivered with passion, care and attention by the fulltime staff and the industry professionals who believe in the mission that is Sydney Film School.




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