So you want to be a filmmaker?
If you want to learn about film, the obvious option seems to be taking film studies as a degree. Film Studies is offered as a program at the University of Calgary, and mostly covers critical aspects of film. There are also a variety of acting classes for film offered through Theatre Alberta, Studio 7, Stage and Screen, and the Calgary Actor’s Studio.
However, if you want to make your own movies, the options seem a bit more daunting. Where do you get equipment? How do you learn to operate it and set up shots? Here are a few local options to get you started on your way to Academy Award fame:
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology offers a two-year, hands on, film and video production diploma. The course covers a variety of aspects involved in the film industry, including “scriptwriting, producing, directing, cinematography, sound recording, editing and business aspects.” You can augment your foray into the film industry with courses at Mount Royal University, including Set Etiquette and Protocol (a requirement to be admitted to the Director’s Guild of Alberta), Scriptwriting, and a Film Production Assistant Workshop.
One of the best ways to improve your skill-set is through communicating and collaborating with other film aficionados. There are clubs for film offered at the University of Calgary, SAIT, ACAD, and Mount Royal for students. The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) also offers two clubs: a screenwriting club and an experimental filmmaking club. Both clubs are focused on experimenting and providing feedback, and meet monthly.
CSIF offers a variety of workshops – from shooting with different types of film or digital cameras, to learning editing software, to writing, producing, and casting, you’ll definitely be able to find an opportunity to hone your skills. You can visit their website to see their seasonal workshop offerings.
If you’re more interested in animated rather than live action films, the Quickdraw Animation Society is the place to be. They offer a series of seasonal courses and workshops, covering topics like stop-motion, motion graphics, and traditional 2D animation.
Right next door to Quickdraw is the EMMEDIA Artist-Run Centre for the Media Arts. EMMEDIA offers similar workshops to CSIF, again focusing on filming, editing, web design, and production – all the things you need to bring your creative vision to life.
EMMEDIA, CSIF, Quickdraw, all offer equipment rentals and use of post-production facilities. You can also look into film production companies or camera shops for rentals, but they’re often more geared toward big budget film projects.
Know a great resource for indie filmmakers that I missed? Please let me know!