The Los Angeles
Diana taught: Producing (all four levels), Screenwriting (two levels), Story, Marketing and Distribution, and Life as a Filmmaker (a career guidance course), in this year-round, immersion program. She designed course syllabi to cover every aspect of creative producing for film and television, as well as revamped the distribution and marketing curriculum to include digital and social media. Diana consistently achieved perfect ratings of 5 out of 5 in every category in student evaluations.
This course comprised the fundamentals of producing for film and television, while exploring the art, business, and technical aspects of filmmaking as a whole and throughout all stages of production. Subjects covered: the role of different producers, the various markets inside the domestic and foreign territories, script development, writing script coverage, pitching and networking (mastering communication skills), structure of studios and independent film production companies as well as television and cable networks, the “greenlighting process,” creating business plans, securing film financing, the various stages of physical production, while adapting industry practices to the production of short films.
This course expanded upon the producer’s role in script development, pitching and networking with an emphasis on mastering communication skills, market and demographics research, budgeting, and legal aspects of intellectual property. Subjects covered: researching, developing, acquiring, pitching, and selling film and television projects, oral and written communication skills in the form of treatments, story notes, pitches, and business correspondence. Students completed a series of exercises that challenged them to develop a script based on an idea that was assigned to each of them. Additionally, students were given the tools to secure industry mentors to aid them with their thesis films and with their transitioning into the industry.
This course specifically prepared students for the thesis production cycle. Students continued to master communication skills, leadership abilities, negotiation techniques, on-set management styles, and networking strategies. In addition, this course addressed in greater depth business practices and technical aspects of producing, such as: working with writers and directors, pitching, dealing with the guilds, the casting process, negotiating with agents, managers, and entertainment attorneys, hiring production legal services, securing film financing, creating business plans and financial projections and achieving an advanced understanding of financial waterfalls.
The final producing course in the series prepared students for their thesis cycle and resolved any production issues encountered during pre-production. Subjects covered: raising film financing, negotiation techniques, securing casting directors, attracting name talent, managing crews, collaborating with writers and directors, securing permits and locations, enlisting industry mentors, preparing marketing materials, obtaining music rights, and the post production process. The students mock produced feature films from inception of idea to post production.
These two sequential courses were focused primarily in the creation of short films for the thesis cycle. Short scripts were developed in a lab environment. Unique writing and rewriting exercises were completed that were theme based and led to the creation of psychological profiles, plotting, visual elements, and dialogue.
This course explored the historical and contemporary sources, uses, and mythology of storytelling in society.
MARKETING and DISTRIBUTION
This course delved into current market trends, exploitation of short films (film festivals and distribution outlets), as well as all aspects of feature film distribution, from traditional release methods to self-distribution, analyzing new media, building awareness of niche markets, territories, and promotional resources, hiring foreign sales agents, traveling film market circuits, executing marketing strategies, and gaining insight into the exhibitor and distributor relationship. In the arena of television, discussions included Nielsen ratings, seasons, and the world of network and cable programming.
LIFE AS A FILMMAKER
This course prepared students to transition from school into the film and television industry. Guest speakers shared experiences, expertise, and career advice.