Digital Filmmaking: From Initial Concept to Final Edit

I - June 28–July 16, 2021
II - July 20–August 6, 2021
Modality, Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.

Yudho Aditya, Johnson Cheng, Mark Christopher

This class is intended for current 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Younger students should apply for Introduction to Digital Filmmaking.

“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

Participants learn all the basics of making a strong, visually-driven short film with an emphasis on narrative storytelling. The course focuses on the fundamentals of video production: essential film grammar, story development, script, music, and sound.

Working in small groups, students shoot three shorter pieces before collaborating to make a final film. The exercises start off simply, adding a new element of filmmaking with each new assignment.

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 participants learn how to work in a group to plan for and realize a short film from concept to shooting script. During production they work together to coordinate and shoot their script. And finally in post-production they edit and polish their projects. The instructor provides guidance throughout the process, emphasizing the students’ responsibility for carrying the project from inception to completion.

The emphasis throughout the three weeks is on collaborative teamwork. Over the course of the various exercises, each student takes on a number of different roles within the production teams (director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, sound). For the final projects, only a handful of proposals are selected for production, so not every participant directs or writes his or her own film, though everyone plays a crucial role in the production.

On the last day of the program, students screen their completed films at a film festival attended by friends, family members, and other program participants. The completed films can potentially be used for submission to short film festivals and as portfolio pieces for film or art school applications.

Students should plan to be available to work on their final films on the weekend preceding the final week of the program. Laptops are recommended but not required for this class. Cameras and other film production equipment are provided.


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, Europe, and Brazil. He 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. His current TV pilot deal is with Warner Brothers, and he has written one-hour pilots for CBS, Fox, Miramax, and Logo/MTV. He 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. In addition to the Berlinale, it has been honored as the Gala Event, Opening Night, or Closing Night film at such international film festivals as 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. The shorts are currently being re-launched on a variety of platforms by Frameline. 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.