Filmmaking

George Escobar

Welcome to the SchoolhouseTeachers.com Young Filmmakers Series!

Professional filmmaker George Escobar presents “The Young Filmmakers Series” at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. The course syllabus, outline, and links to every class are below. We have heard great things from many families that used this course.

The course is designed to be studied at your own pace. George presents assignments at the end of virtually every lesson.

Note: George is willing to field your questions on his course or the weekly assignments. To send a question or one or more of your answers to George for review, click on our Ask a Question button near the bottom of this page and write to George! – Eds.

Course Introduction

Advent Film Group’s cofounder, George Escobar, is presenting a 30-part narrated series of short lessons for young filmmakers. Each weekly lesson encapsulates basic but core information about different aspects of filmmaking. Topics will include story structure, screenwriting, casting, and the many elements of film production, including prep and post-production editing. Other topics will cover sales, marketing, distribution, evaluating film equipment, and career planning.

Following each lesson, a brief assignment or exercise is given to reinforce key points of the subject matter. Links to online film tools or video clips will also be provided to expand or facilitate the lesson.

Advent Film Group is an independent film production and distribution company established to create excellent Christian films by raising up excellent Christian filmmakers. Advent is committed to creating entertaining films that are good for families and that affirm biblical values and principles.

In addition to making entertaining films with powerful messages, Advent is organized around the idea of training the next generation of Christian filmmakers by providing high school students, college students, and adults with hands-on exposure and experience in filmmaking. By making movies that utilize students’ skills and passions, Advent seeks to inspire them to serve God in this crucial message-making and culture-shaping field.

The first opportunity was with Come What May, as 40 students participated in all aspects of the film—from pre-production to filming to post-production to marketing. Since 2007, Advent has produced four feature films and one documentary.

Advent also has held film workshops across the country, some with more than 600 students. From these workshop attendees, nearly 120 aspiring filmmakers were selected to received hands-on training on Advent film sets, with more than thirty  of them holding long-term internships at Advent’s offices in Purcellville, Virginia.

With its vision, Advent Film Group looks to serve and honor God by:

  • Awakening and germinating vocational filmmaking seeds God has placed in the hearts of many young people.
  • Building long-term relationships with these young filmmakers, nurturing and encouraging them to grow in their skill and their focus on God’s vision for their work.
  • Helping seed and establish young people in the field of filmmaking.

Advent Film Group’s goal is that within two generations a new crop of well-trained storytellers committed to Christ will be leading major studio productions of faithful, fruitful, God-affirming films.

Learn more at AdventFilmGroup.com.

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Here is your course syllabus from George Escobar and Advent Film Group.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com note: George provided bonus webinar material as part of this course. These one-hour sessions were taped at Advent Film Group’s fall 2012 national webinar: “Christian Filmmaking: Providing a Competitive Alternative to Hollywood.” These three lessons are outlined below (Weeks 16, 17, 18).

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Week 1, Course Introduction.

Week 2, Discovering God’s Stories, Lesson 1, Part 1.

Week 3, Discovering God’s Stories, Lesson 1, Part 2.

Week 4, Lesson 2: Basic Story Structure. Assignment: Visit www.storymaster.com; explore novel vs. script structure; and more.

Week 5, Lesson 3: Introduction to Screenplay Format (How to Write a Screenplay). Assignment/further study: Read and study further about screenplay writing at the recommended websites and resources.

Week 6, Lesson 4: Casting Basics. Assignment: Recast an old movie with today’s stars. (George provides a great suggestion!)

Week 7, Lesson 5: Meet the Crew. Assignment: Determine your gifts and talents and how you can honor God with those gifts through the various crew positions available in filmmaking. George has much more on this at the lesson!

Week 8, Lesson 6: Script-to-ScreenAssignment: After watching the lesson, go to www.herofamilymovie.com and write your best slogan or tagline for the upcoming film. Submit them to Advent Film Group for possible use in promotions.

Week 9, Lesson 7: Choosing a Camera. Assignment: Research more about DSLR cameras; record your answers to George’s questions.

Week 10, Lesson 8: Principles of Composition. Assignment: List the compositional elements that don’t work, and do work, with two different film shots.

Week 11, Lesson 9: Image Resolution. Assignment: List various display resolutions (TVs, computers, phones, tablets, etc.).

Week 12, Lesson 10, Part 1: Lighting. Assignment: Watch a favorite scene or scenes from a favorite movie, take notes on the lighting, and describe it (more on the lesson).

Week 13, Lesson 10, Part 2: Lighting. Assignment: Study the two assigned pictures and describe the various lighting elements and schemes.

Week 14, Lesson 11, Part 1: Basic Audio. Assignment: Visit the four websites assigned by George and make notes on these various ways to record sound.

Week 15, Lesson 11, Part 2: Basic Audio: Gear for Location Recording. Assignment: Answer the questions on various approaches to recording audio.

Week 16, Christian Filmmaking: Providing a Competitive Alternative to Hollywood webinar, Part 1: “Making a Micro Budget Film—’The Screenwriters.’”

Week 17, Christian Filmmaking: Providing a Competitive Alternative to Hollywood webinar, Part 2: “Every Dad Can Be a Hero: Movies Really Do Matter.”

Week 18, Christian Filmmaking: Providing a Competitive Alternative to Hollywood webinar, Part 3: “The Power of Documentaries.”

Week 19, Lesson 12, “Audio Recording” (final audio recording lesson). Assignment: Answer the questions, which wrap up three weeks of study on recording excellent audio.

Week 20, Lesson 13, “Color Theory: An Introduction”. Assignment: Watch your favorite movie and answer the questions about use of and dominant colors.

Week 21, Lesson 14, “Post-Production”. Assignment: Visit three post-production websites and write about which you favor, and why.

Week 22, Lesson 15, “Introduction to Color Grading”. Assignment: Study two images and list the steps needed to fix the color problems, and then to “grade” each shot.

Week 23, Lesson 16, “Introduction to Audio Sweetening”. Assignment: Watch both audio tutorials provided by George and answer the questions on: the number one rule for audio, and previewing audio effects in Final Cut Pro X.

Week 24, Lesson 17, “Distribution Methods”. Assignment:  Assume you have made a micro-budget movie (example given). Answer the three questions: on why self-distribution may be the best option; the number of DVD units you will need to sell; and who will be your likely buyers.

Week 25, Lesson 18, “Forming an LLC”. Assignment: After watching the presentation, find the LLC rules for your state. What are the fees? Can you file online? How often must you renew?

Week 26, Lesson 19, “Micro-Budget to No-Budget Filmmaking”. Assignment: What potential stories can you make into a movie? List your assets, write a 1-to-2-page story outline, and solicit reactions. After reactions, consider expanding your script.

Week 27, Lesson 20, “Learning Your Craft”. Assignment: Answer the three “sobering questions” about filmmaking provided by George; take some time, don’t rush. Discuss your answers with your parents.

Week 28, Lesson 21, “Career Facet: Production Assistant”. Assignment: Visit the listed websites and learn about various Christian filmmakers. Use the websites to track the various trends in the industry.

Week 29, Lesson 22, “Career Facet: Producer”. Assignment: Visit the three assigned websites and learn more about producing. Use the websites to track the various trends in the industry.

Week 30, Lesson 23, “Career Facet: Director”. Assignment: Visit the three assigned websites and learn more about directing. Use the websites to track the various trends in the industry.

Week 31, Lesson 24, “Career Facet: Line Director/Unit Production Manager”. Assignment: Visit the five assigned websites and learn more about line producing/production managing. Use the websites to track the various trends in the industry.

Week 32, Lesson 25, “Career Facet: Assistant Director”. Assignment: Answer the three questions, from varying industry scenarios and ethical situations, that George provides.

Week 33, Lesson 26, “Career Facet: Cinematographer/Director of Photography”. Assignment: Answer the three questions, from varying industry scenarios and ethical situations, that George provides.

Week 34, Lesson 27, “Career Facet: Production Designer”. Assignment: Answer the three questions, from varying industry scenarios and ethical situations, that George provides.

Week 35, Lesson 28, “Career Facet: Film Editor”. Assignment: Answer the three questions, from varying industry scenarios and ethical situations, that George provides.

Week 36, Lesson 29, “Planning Your Education and Career”. Assignment: Go back over George’s “Final Thoughts” and reflect on this course. Visit www.AdventFilmGroup.com and www.AdventFilmmakers.org for more. Write to George with questions and your thanks!

Escobar Director - MediumGeorge Escobar, Director/Producer/Co-Writer, is co-founder of Advent Film Group (AFG), which produced Come What May, and the upcoming films Hero and The Screenwriters. He is the co-writer and co-director of Alone Yet Not Alone and director of The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment. He has more than 25 years of experience in film, television, and interactive media. Before cofounding Advent, George was Vice President of Product Development for Discovery Channel, Executive Director for AOL/Time Warner, and is a former Producing Fellow from the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies. He holds seven U.S. patents in technology and user-interface design.

 In his career, George has worked for top executives in the industry, including Howard Stringer (Sony CEO), Sandy Grushow and David Grant (Fox), Kit Laybourne (TELE-TV), and Kim Friedman (TV director).

George and his wife homeschooled their three sons in northern Virginia.