Digital Filmmaking: From Initial Concept to Final Edit (Online)

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 29–July 17, 2020 (Course Filled)
II - July 21–August 7, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.
Yudho Aditya, Johnson Cheng; Mark Christopher

“I learned how to frame a shot, direct, post-edit, and all the prep we need for making a film. The whole process became a lot clearer for me and it allowed me to have a vision for my future.” – Tian P. | North York, Canada

Course Description

In this course, participants use their personal cameras (iPhones, iPads, or DSLR’s) to create strong, visually-driven short films and video exercises with an emphasis on the foundations of narrative storytelling. They learn a wide range of elementary film production techniques and build a technical and aesthetic foundation structured around film grammar, story development, script writing, sound, and editing.

For the final film, students work sequentially through the stages of production: initial concept, synopsis, treatment, script, storyboards, and final shooting and editing. During pre-production they learn how to plan for and realize a short film from concept to shooting script. During production, they coordinate and shoot their script. In post-production, they edit and polish their projects collaboratively, sharing feedback on scripts and cuts. The instructor provides guidance throughout the process, emphasizing the students’ responsibility for carrying the project from inception to completion.

Classes include both lectures and workshops, in which students thoughtfully critique and learn from each other’s work. Course instructors provide, in addition to guidance on film production, practical information regarding the film industry, film schools, and career paths.

The completed films can potentially be used for submission to short film festivals and as portfolio pieces for film or art school applications.

Participants are expected to have either an iPhone, an iPad (newer models are preferable, with the oldest possible iPhone model being the “6S”), or a consumer-level DSLR camera. If using an iPhone/iPad, they should be prepared to download the mobile video camera app FiLMiC Pro ($15). Students will also be required to have one of the following types of software (most are either free or offer a free trial membership): Premiere Pro, Final Cut, iMovie (free), DaVinci Resolve (free).  


Yudho Aditya

Yudho Aditya earned his MFA for film directing and screenwriting from Columbia University. He is currently working on his first feature while also directing commercials. Yudho was the recipient of the 2016 Directors Guild of America Best Asian American Student Filmmaker Award and of the National Board of Review Student Grant. His student film, “Pria,” won best Short at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film festival and the Hawaii International Film Festival. Additional screenings included BFI Flare, Outfest, Frameline, the L.A Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest, Uppsala. and Tokyo's Short Shorts. 

Johnson Cheng

Johnson Cheng's films have screened at over a hundred international film festivals, including Tribeca, TIFF Kids, Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award), Reykjavík (Golden Egg Selection), Atlanta, Nashville, Uppsala, and Giffoni. His film, Iron Hands (铁手), had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was featured on Vimeo Staff Picks, Directors Notes, Topic Studios, and Film Movement's Over the Limit DVD. Most recently, Johnson was a 2019 Film Independent Project Involve Writer/Director Fellow, where he wrote/directed Lonely Blue Night, starring Diana Lin, available on HBO in 2020. Johnson is a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award (Cary Grant Film Award) and the AT&T InspirASIAN Student Film Award. He is an alumnus of the New York Film Festival Artist Academy, Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium, Reykjavík Transatlantic Talent Lab, Short to Feature Lab, and the Visual Communications’ Armed With a Camera Fellowship. He will graduate from Columbia University’s M.F.A. film directing/screenwriting program in May 2020. Johnson began his career as an intern at PIXAR and is credited on feature films such as Monsters University and Coco. He has worked as a story editor on The Book of Mojo, assistant editor on Reel FX's The Book of Life, and assistant editor on DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3, the first animated co-production between the U.S. and China. Johnson is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

Mark Christopher

Mark Christopher works as a writer/director in Los Angeles, New York, and Europe and teaches directing and writing at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. His current projects in pre-production are Sara, a Czech/German thriller set in Berlin, and the stage musical, Mid-Century Moderns, set in 1966 Palm Springs. He has TV pilots with Warner Brothers and Miramax as well as a three-script deal with Avenue Pictures. He has written one-hour pilots for CBS, Fox, and Logo/MTV, and was the creator/executive producer of Real Life: The Musical on the Oprah Winfrey Network. His feature, 54: The Director’s Cut, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival to excellent reviews worldwide. Set at New York's Studio 54, the film stars Ryan Phillippe, Mike Myers, Salma Hayek, and Mark Ruffalo. It has been honored in the Gala Event, Opening Night, or Closing Night film at international film festivals in San Francisco, Turin, Guadalajara, Sydney, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Prague, and at Lincoln Center. Christopher's festival comedy hit Pizza won an Independent Spirit Award. His award-winning short films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art and numerous international film festivals, including the Berlinale, where his film Alkali, Iowa won the Teddy Award. His work has been reviewed and he has been profiled in The New York Times, The Guardian, Variety, The Wall Street Journal, Art Forum, and Vanity Fair. Christopher holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.