Filmmaking 101: Crash Course in Filmmaking

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Class #17506: Filmmaking 101
"Crash Course in Filmmaking"
Tuition: $150 + $10 registration fee
Wednesdays, 6 pm-9 pm
3 meetings: 9/19, 9/26, 10/3
Seattle: University of Washington
Maximum enrollment: 10. Spaces left: 9

Want to learn the basics of FILMMAKING, but not ready to spend $50,000 or more for film school? This Seattle film class will teach you the key essentials of how to make high quality INDEPENDENT FILMS on a minimal budget, at a tuition you can afford.

You’ll learn how movies are made, and what needs to be done during each stage; how to use camera angles to tell your story visually; how to record high quality video and audio; some key basics about lighting; how to find actors and crew; how to get movies into film festivals; whether a camcorder or DSLR is best for your project; and how to find one that has the features you need at a price you can afford.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students taking this class often also sign up for Let’s Make a Movie. Let’s Make a Movie is a good “practicum” to go along with this theory class.

You’ll learn about camera angles, including closeups, medium shots, and how to use them to tell your stories; how to record high quality audio, and avoid common audio problems; how to get your movies into film festivals; the two easiest ways to raise money for your movie (that you’ll never have to repay); and more.  You’ll learn how to fund your movies, and if you’re not raising the money yet, how to make high quality professional looking films on a very tight budget.


The class is taught by Nils Osmar, a Seattle filmmaker whose movies have played in major international festivals. Nils has made his living in the arts since the 1980s,  working as a visual artist, writer, director and independent filmmaker.  He has taught acting classes, filmmaking classes, and other classes and workshops for over twenty years through a range of different schools in Seattle.  His films have played at major international film festivals.  To visit the instructor’s IMDB (professional film credits) page, click here.  



1) Is Crash Course in Filmmaking a hands-on class, or is it lecture/discussion?
The lectures cover the fundamentals you need to know to go out and start making movies. The hands-on exercises (some in-class, some in the form of homework exercises between class sessions) give you practical experience applying what we’re learning in class.

2) What’s the difference between this class and your other film class, Let’s make a movie?
Answer: In Crash Course in Filmmaking, you learn how to make movies. It’s an information-based class, aimed at giving you the key basic information you need to start going out and making your own films. (A large number of the students who take Crash Course in Filmmaking actually go out and make their own movies, and have gotten them into some major film festivals).


3) Do you offer any totally hands-on Film classes?
Answer: For those looking to “get their hands dirty,” we recommend also taking Let’s Make a Movie. In Let’s make a movie, we jump in right from the first class meeting and start filming one. The students choose a script, cast it, and actually film it. (And students can act in the movie if they want to.) Because we’re racing the clock to finish filming it by the end of the quarter, there’s no time to sit around chatting about things like types of camcorders, all of the different lighting setups, types of microphones, types of contracts and release forms, types of camera angles and their uses, etc. So we started the Filmmaking 101 class to give us a place to cover all of those things.

If your goal is to make your own movies, and have them turn out well enough that you can submit them to film festivals, you should take both classes. Taken together (either the same quarter, or in subsequent quarters) they’ll give you both theory you need to make high qualitym ovies, and a chance to apply it working on an actual film.

4) Will I learn as much in this class as I would learn in a four year film program?
Probably not :-)  But you will learn a lot, including some key basics to get you started, that can make the difference between your films appearing amateurish and home-made, or looking like you had a much higher budget than you actually did.

Student comments about our film classes

FILM1…I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to the other students and to thank you. I just want to thank you for the (crash course in filmmaking) classes. I never learned so much over a short period of time and remembered it. You wasted no time on the non-essentials. I greatly appreciate the fact that you were very receptive to everyone’s questions. Your experience, dedication, and passion for film making made this a fantastic learning experience for me. I want you to know that taking this class has truly made a difference for me. I lost the fear to shoot and produce films. It has given me the knowledge and skills I was seeking and the confidence I need to step into film making.  I have to tell you — you are an incredible teacher! I cannot thank you ENOUGH!    I’ll definitely recommend this class to all my friends. Thanks so much for the highly engaging and inspiring class.- J. Vega

The instructor is professional and well organized and had patience for questions from beginners. I will recommend the class to my friends. – R.W., Seattle

I learned exactly what I have been wanting (and needing) to. – Chris L., Seattle

Thanks for showing us how to make a low budget movie look great. – H.T., Seattle

You took me from doing amateurish films to making the kind of movies I had been trying to. Thank you for all of your help. – Jerry W. Kent

I liked that we covered so many elements of filmmaking, including visual storytelling, camera angles, lighting, and audio.  I recommend your class for people who are looking for excellent introductory filmmaking classes. Your film classes and acting classes are a real resource to the community. – S. Frey, Seattle

… just to say thank you for the class Nils. I feel like I’m on track now to make more professional movies and actually start getting them into film festivals. – Alan D., Bellevue

I was hoping to learn some basics about filmmaking and see how it was all done. That’s exactly what I got. I will recommend the class to my friends. – J.G., Seattle