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Online Filmmaking Courses, Free And Paid – Which Are The Best?

Photograph of the blog post author, Tanja Gavrilovic

Tanja Gavrilovic

30.9.2020

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Regardless of your current status, an established filmmaker or a beginner in this field, education in this imaginative and entrancing business never ends. It is well known that filmmaking schools are extremely particular in their selection of students, and being dismissed from the selection can make you quit dreaming. Good news is that many extraordinary online film classes are available to all. Your location is irrelevant because craftsmanship knows no borders, and more importantly, some online film courses are totally free of charge.

The fascinating masterclasses held by masters of the film are a must. Some of them charge the fee but it is not even close to the sum that you imagine. These courses are available for a very modest price.

How Can Online Film Classes Benefit You?

working on laptop

Competition in film is fiercer than ever, so anything you can do to stand out for the rest you must do. Learning from industry professionals gives you a personal feel to the information, potentially making it a lot easier to digest. There are lots of online filmmaking courses, and most of those offer free trials. This is a good practise because you get to decide if you like your teachers and if this works for you. When you attend a film school, you can’t choose your mentors. A selection of courses includes film editing courses, digital filmmaking courses, online training in acting, screenplay writing, casting, cinematography, animation and many more. 

Not only do film classes give you a plethora of new information, but they’re also great for networking. Meeting like-minded people can spark your passion while advancing your connections. Lots of people say in film ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, and to a degree this is correct. Further down the line, you might need an actor for a certain movie you’re directing and you remember someone from your class who would be perfect. Similarly, people from your class might be looking for someone to fill a role you’d be perfect for and think of you before extending the vacancy to the general public.

Online courses can also be great if you’re not quite sure which avenue of filmmaking you want to go down. Understanding what each role entails can give you a good idea of what you might want to get into. Online film classes can be a fantastic way to learn and gain knowledge from wherever you’re based. There isn’t the stress of travelling to and from and you can be comfortable while you learn! 

Platforms To Check Out

Platforms like Udemy, Skillshare and YouTube offer a variety of courses. Free trials are available in periods of 1-2 months, and after this period you can decide if you want to continue. When you sign up for free trials you can organise the lessons and attend a couple of classes per day, just like you would in film school. Youtube is a master source for free online film school courses. It may appear like you can’t trust information and you may wonder why they are giving classes for free, but most Youtubers get paid by YouTube. 

Online Film Courses

David Lynch

david lynch filmmaker

Let’s start with uncompromising cinema rule breaker and fighter for the last cut, ‘David Lynch’. Every filmmaker knows his greatest works, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘The Elephant Man’. By the off chance that you are not a fan of this outrageous aesthetics, you could still learn so much about idea flow, rules and why you should break them, and just be a part of this poetic multi-talented artist. You can browse the lessons plans and see a class trailer to see if it’s something you think would be beneficial. There is also a free trial on the website so you can have a go and then pay if you enjoy it!

Masterclasses and film workshops by famous filmmakers are great, they are usually a couple of days long but incredibly inspiring and eye-opening. Just to be in the presence of an artist and listen to the experiences is rewarding enough. In this digital filmmaking course, Lynch will share insights, creative and writing processes, casting and working with actors, and so much more. This masterclass offers 13 lessons which are immaculately filmed.

Martin Scorsese

martin scorsese director

The next Masterclass is held by Oscar-winning director, Martin Scorsese. His masterpieces include ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘The Irishman’, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, ‘Shutter Island’ and more. In this masterclass, Scorsese teaches his approach, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make and watch movies

Samuel L. Jackson

samuel l jackson actor

This is more of an acting for film masterclass. Samuel L. Jackson speaks about his experience in the film industry. In this masterclass, he speaks of screenplays and what to pay attention to, as well as how to create memorable and unique characters. In his long-lasting and successful career, his performance is highly memorable and influential. His performances in Pulp Fiction, Star Wars and Avengers set standards and expectations. 

Jodie Foster

jodie foster actor and director

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. In her masterclass, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Foster discusses her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage. 

A membership at Masterclass will give you access to all of the above masterclasses. $180  annual membership gives you unlimited access to all masterclasses held by great names of cinema who can truly change your perspective and infuse your understanding of filmmaking. 

Cinematography Online Courses

cinema

Cinematography studies are very specific in every possible way. To be a film director or producer, you have to be knowledgeable in every aspect of film: Screenwriting, Casting, Light, Sound, Editing, Postproduction, Distribution, Equipment. If you just want to be a sound designer, along with knowledge of sound equipment, software, music, you still need to know other aspects of the industry so you can communicate and understand the projects you are working on. 

Can you learn about all of this online? Online film courses offer the opportunity to learn from all kinds of professionals can be a plus. The difference between a film school and courses is the availability of projects. While in school, creating films is part of education, most schools fund projects and those are included in scholarships, in most cases, you already have crew in the school as film schools offer a variety of classes. Online courses are theoretical and rarely practical.

Free Online Filmmaking Courses

The National Film And Television School

national film and television school

The National Film and Television School offers free courses in a variety of fields. A very interesting course is ‘Getting Your Film off the Ground’. Many filmmakers struggle to get their films off the ground. The course focuses on film funding and film grants, marketing and gaining an audience. A large part is focussing on how to use social media in promoting your film. The course includes fiction and documentary films.

WW1 Heroism: Through Art And Film

This course in an individual travel through time. It is at the same time a history lesson and early 20th-century art lesson focusing on German cinema, slightly more niche but fascinating nonetheless.

Explore Filmmaking: From Script To Screen

This all in one course promises to lead you from script to screen over six weeks. A team of award-winning filmmakers will elaborate on the mechanisms on their own examples of work.

Even platforms like LinkedIn offer courses with free trials. This film production course from the NFTS and the BFI Film Academy will expand your view on filmmaking processes, and help you with choosing a career path. You don’t have to be a filmmaker to attend and you don’t have to own equipment, this is especially good news if you are a beginner and just want to get a full picture of the field.

On the page, you can find so many different courses and approaches to cinema. One of the courses is Filmmaking and Animation Online and in the Classroom. This course is limited to younger ages 5-19. If you fit in this age group you will be able to get basic knowledge in simple animations.

Final Thoughts On Online Filmmaking Courses

filmmaking camera

Facebook groups and pages, forums and blogs offer lots of useful information. This allows a direct approach and ability to ask questions and your peers can give you some insights from their personal experience. These are also pages where you can communicate your fears and queries, which is one more reason to connect with the community of filmmakers. Many times filmmakers need help with transportation, batteries, deliveries… and members of the community who were nearby can help.  

Lots of film festivals are taking place online in the current climate. Some of those are free of charge, and some offer workshops with cinematographers, directors, producers. 

The possibilities are endless with online filmmaking courses, with information and knowledge at your fingertips. There are hundreds of different site with online filmmaking courses, paid and free, so it’s just a case of finding the best course for you!

If you are interested in the crossover between music and film, check out our article on music supervisors. With our concierge and service and extensive music library, allow us to help you find music for your film. Sign up free for Music Gateway now!



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