InFocus Film School Blog


graduation screenings film production 56

graduation screenings film production 56

With another semester of talented filmmakers heading out of InFocus’s doors into the film industry, we are delighted to announce our graduation screenings for Film Production 56! From comedy to drama, thrillers and murder mysteries, there will be something for every film fanatic. We can not wait to see their hard work on the big screen. We are so proud of our film production students and excited to see where their future takes them.

Join us on March 2nd and 6:30PST at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts to view their grad films. Click here to RSVP!


The Films

Era of Genius

Written and Directed by Mysa Barasneh


The Shearers Coat

Written and Directed by Connor Aubrecht



Written and Directed by Jonas Pascual


Between the Crossroads

Directed by Levi Plessis

Written by Calvin Wong


I Love Ya! Goodbye!

Written and Directed by Robin Moir


Odd Job

Directed by Riel Pearce

Written by Levi Plessis


Wind of Hell

Directed by Nessie Blanes

Written by Mysa Barasneh



Directed by Aidan Tong


Memories in a Dream

Written and Directed by Jelica Rojas


The Last Scene

Written and Directed by Mark Fogwe


The Milkman

Written and Directed by Alex Richmond



Directed by Nessie Blanes


Jonathan Castillo – “Master of Ghosts”

Directed by Nuray Sahin


Kapa Arkieh – “Unfamiliar”

Directed by Calvin Wong


Learn more about our Film Production program.

How to become a filmmaker after film school

Wondering how to become a filmmaker after film school? Here are five tips from film director and InFocus instructor David Michán on developing in the film industry.

How to become a filmmaker after film school

By: Kennedy Randall

The journey to becoming a filmmaker is not always an easy one. I sat down with David Michán to hear about his life-long love of filmmaking, teaching, and learning. Michán grew up in Mexico and has been drawn to filmmaking ever since he was in middle school. When I asked him what made him decide to become a filmmaker, he has know it was his destiny since he was twelve years old. Michán said, “I was already doing storyboards about my friends in class and putting them into ‘movies’.” His savvy eye started young; if his friends paid him a nickel, he would tell them how his story would end – “everybody wanted to know if they were the hero who saved the day.” Attracted to stories and films from a young age, he always knew he wanted to pursue filmmaking. 

The day after graduating from his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Science, he took a chance and flew to Los Angeles. This is where his filmmaking career began; where determination, hard work and creativity have led him to a successful career in film. Keep reading for five tips from award-winning film director David Michán on how to become a filmmaker after film school.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Get The Basics

When David first made his way to Los Angeles after getting his bachelor’s degree, he was determined to jump right into the film industry. Los Angeles has some of the best filmmakers in the world, and he wanted to “learn from the best.” He worked hard for five years in LA and tried out many roles on set. Michán wanted to reach his dream of directing films and this was hard to do without the basics of film school. Rodrigo Prieto, alumni of Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, recommended that Michán go back to school and gain the theory, history, principles, and other knowledge that film school provides. 

He decided to go back to school and attend Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica to gain the skills he was missing. Film school perfectly complemented his experience on set, completing “the knowledge circle.” Mixing real world experience with practical education of film school creates a well rounded filmmaker and opens up your potential in the industry. After getting the basics, David found it easier to pursue directing in the film industry.

How to Become a Filmmaker After Film School

2. Network

Film school teaches you the basics of filmmaking, but beyond that, you gain a network of friends and coworkers. Michán highlighted the importance of networking in film school, saying “the friends you work with in school are the friends you are going to work with in the future.” He has been working with a friend from film school across the globe. For fifteen years, he calls him whenever he has a new project. 

Keeping in contact socially and professionally is another important part of networking. Keeping your ears open to oppurtunity will help you become a filmmaker after film school. Michán said that if he can’t do a job, he will pass it along to the people he keeps in contact with from film school and vice versa. By exchanging work, experience, and passions, after film school, you can continue learning and growing from your classmates.

3. Work Your Way Up to Become a Filmmaker After Film School

When I asked Michán whether it was difficult to make a name for himself in the film industry after school, he replied, “it was no easy task and it still isn’t.” Michán says “You have to be very proactive in the film industry … go and look for opportunities after you graduate.” You also have to be willing to start from the bottom, which can be hard for the ego, especially after finishing a degree!


Michán took a film he made during his undergrad to production agencies in LA, but nothing panned out. However, the companies saw the drive and passion in Michán and offered him a production assistant role on set. He saw this as a chance to learn how things functioned on set and learn as much as he could. He would ask to be closer to the director so he could hear what the director was saying. The production company saw that Michán was committed and wanted to work hard. They promoted him, eventually to second assistant director. Being open to starting from the bottom and working your way up is important when you become a filmmaker after film school.

How to Become a Filmmaker After Film School

4. Keep Diversifying

In an industry like film, there’s always more to learn and expand your knowledge. After getting a bachelor’s degree in Science and Communication, years of on-set experience in Los Angeles, and a degree from one of the top film schools, Michán still makes it a priority to diversify his skill set. He saw special effects becoming more common in film and he decided to learn more about them. He came to Vancouver, Hollywood North, to learn more about VFX and is involved on many special effects teams. By learning another skill that is becoming valuable in the industry, Michán put himself one step ahead of other directors.


As well, when you are a film director, your hours are not always stable. This gives you a lot of time to learn new skills. Michán said that in between projects, he focuses on writing his script for his upcoming feature film. He also brushed up on other skills useful for filmmaking like photography.

How to Become a Filmmaker after Film School

5. Always Listen

“Listen to your teachers… you don’t go from crawling to running a marathon,” Michán said with a laugh. When we were talking about the most valuable lessons he learned from film school he reflected on being a young aspiring filmmaker. When you are young, believe you know more than anyone else and that nothing can stop you. You want to just rush right into your dreams. Sometimes, when teachers tell you to slow down and be patient, it seems like a waste of time. But it is important to learn the basics and follow steps to become a filmmaker. Teachers are there to guide you with their experience, not cut your creative mind.

How to Become A Filmmaker After Filmschool

Lucky for us, we now have David as an instructor on our team to guide our students to their dreams! Michán finds teaching to be extremely rewarding because he gets to “motivate new students to create.” His love for the film industry is unmatched and finds it rewarding to inspire others. By teaching, he gives back the magic that his teachers have inspired him in. David said that the magic of filmmaking lies in the power we have to transform something from paper to pictures and shares that everyday with our students. We hope that these five tips on how to become a filmmaker after film school help you find your magical place in the film industry.


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Five paths to success after graduating film school

Wondering what to do next after film school? Here are 5 different paths our students have taken to success in the film industry.

Five paths to success after graduating film school

By: Kennedy Randall

You’ve studied the in’s and out’s of filmmaking and honed your creative skills. You have the rest of your career ahead of you in a constantly evolving and growing industry. But deciding what path to take to success after film school is a big choice. There are many different career paths you could take. Becoming your own boss by producing your own films or freelancing is a popular one. You could also join the best in the industry and work on blockbuster sets. Whichever path you choose, success is just around the corner. We took a look at some of what our InFocus alumni have done after film school to lay out five different paths to success in the film industry.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Produce A Feature Film

For an emerging filmmaker, producing your own feature films is one of the most exciting prospects to take in the film industry. Though a lot of work, producing and directing your own movie is incredibly thrilling and fulfilling as you have greater control over the creation of your film. Having full creative control is one of the best ways to find your voice as a filmmaker and it is a common path that our students take after film school. 

However, creating your own feature film can be daunting. But no project is ever too small! There is no need to spend the big bucks on your film. Use your friends or classmates as cast and crew, your house as set, and rent equipment to make your ideas come to life. If you are looking for more tips on how to write a low-budget feature film, check out this article

Luckily for you, after film school you graduate with plenty of ideas that you can turn into a feature-length film. If you are struggling to come up with an idea for your film, take one of your favourite short films from class and expand the story. Add more characters and plot – then you’ve got yourself a feature film!

2. Direct Music Videos or Advertisements

Five Paths to Success After Film School

Although best-known for his Oscar winning Dramas, critically acclaimed director Martin Scorsese often dabbles in directing commercials. Many of our students take his lead, getting experience on other sets before jumping right into producing feature films. Directing music videos or advertisements is a great way to get hands-on experience in the industry and make connections. Getting comfortable using a wide variety of equipment is a valuable experience for an emerging filmmaker. Adding different experiments to your CV is always a good idea!

As well, learning how to take someone’s vision and create a film is an extremely important skill in the film industry. It isn’t always going to be your vision you have to follow but often someone else’s. Listening to a band or artist’s creative direction on the set of a music video is a great opportunity to learn how to take direction and produce something for the client. Many of our students take this path this after film school. Check out this epic music video by Julie Gomez that she made while in our InFocus Film Production Program! 

3. Work on BlockBuster Film Sets

Five Paths to Success After Film School

Finding a job on set is one of the most common paths our graduates take. Being in Vancouver, AKA Hollywood North, there are many production companies in our neighbourhood. Every year we have hundreds of films that shooting in our backyard. InFocus students have gone on to work with big networks and companies like Disney, Marvel, Hallmark, Netflix and Warner Brothers after film school. As well, with so many TV shows being filmed in Vancouver, this is a great option. Finding a job on a TV set ensures steady work as production time is consistent. Students have worked on BatWoman, Yellowjackets, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and many more!

After film school not only will you have the skills needed to land a job on set but strong connections with fellow students and teachers that will help you find these opportunities. Your teachers may also get wind of a production coming to your city and recommend their students.

4. Take Your Projects After Film School to Festivals

As we mentioned before, after film school you end up with an arsenal of great ideas. While in film school, many students submit their films to film festivals. This should not stop after you graduate! It is sometimes worthwhile to reshoot or expand your initial film if there were any suggestions from your professors or peers to improve the film. You can take your passion projects to festivals to gain recognition and start your filmmaking career.

Our students have produced many short films that have gone on to win awards at festivals both in Vancouver and abroad. By submitting to as many as possible, you get your film and your name out there in the industry. This is valuable for making connections, meeting fellow filmmakers to partner with one day, and gaining professional experience.

5. Freelancing

Five Paths to Success After Film School

If you aren’t sure what path you want to take after film school, freelancing is a great choice. Being a freelancer can offer you so much freedom and flexibility. With potentially a new location every day, filled with new people, your job becomes a way to network and meet other film professionals. 

It is important to have a strong portfolio to show potential clients. Using your projects from film school to show off your editing, videography, and camera work is a great place to start. Being your own boss means you get to say no to the projects that don’t appeal to you and only focus on the ones you want to work on.


Overall, there are so many different paths you can take after film school. When you leave film school, it is important to reflect on what you enjoyed the most and tailor your career path to help you achieve your dreams. Stay in touch with your classmates and teachers to continue connecting and collaborating throughout your career. Many of our students continue to work on films together and have made live-long friendships. Wherever you want end up, use the skills that you learned and the portfolio projects you made to help you on your professional path.


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What is Hollywood North and what does it have to do with the Vancouver film industry? The answer is, EVERYTHING! Read more to see what makes Vancouver a hub for Canadian film production.

Vancouver Film Industry

If you’re a film fanatic or as aspiring filmmaker, you’ve probably heard Vancouver referred to as Hollywood North. In 2018 alone, the film industry added 3.2 billion dollars to BC’s economy. This included a good balance of international and domestic productions. Every year, hundreds of films, TV shows, and documentaries are shot in Vancouver. As a result, the city is ranked as the third largest production center for film and TV in North America. Because of the amount of activity within the Vancouver film industry, the city has certainly has earned the reputation for being a hub for Canadian film and television. With all that being said, what exactly makes filmmaking so successful on Canada’s west coast? Why has there been so much success within the vibrant Vancouver film industry?


Vancouver Film Industry Facilities

Vancouver is home to most of British Columbia’s production and post-production activities. That is to say, the city has the capacity to support the biggest Hollywood movies in casting, set-building, location filming, and audio and special effects. It also has some of North America’s most highly-developed studio spaces, as well as numerous FX and sound stages.

vancouver film industry

Major film studios include:

Top VFX & animations studios include: 

Location, location, location!

A simple 2-hour flight from Los Angeles, both Vancouver and L.A. share the same time zone. This eliminates any issues with operating hours, accessibility, and travel time for actors and key crew members, for example.

vancouver film industry downtown

On top of this, Vancouver’s mild climate allows for year round shooting. Consistent cloud cover also naturally diffuses sunlight. This makes it easier for technicians to add additional light when needed. Furthermore, there is also a strong community of skilled crews, technicians and creative experts to work with within the Vancouver film industry.


Vancouverites Love Film

The film festival scene in Vancouver is alive with local and international fare. For example, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is one of the largest and most recognized film festivals in North America, with over 500 screenings held over a three week period.

vancouver film industry

It also features a VIFF Talks film forum with a variety of high-profile speakers. VIFF 2022 featured Clement Virgo, the director of Brother, and Deborah L Scott, an Academy Winning costume designer of films such as Avatar & Titanic.

Other major film festivals in Vancouver include:

With it’s dynamic film community and mix of Hollywood and indie productions, the Vancouver film industry is a great place for emerging and professional filmmakers alike!



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breaking down art direction

Interested in set design? Keep reading to find out what job roles and departments are integral to art direction on set. 

breaking down art direction

By: Sophia Lin

Ever considered how the background in a movie comes together? Where do the props come from? Or what a setting says about a character? Chances are, like most viewers, you were probably been immersed in the story. Our eyes take such elements for granted within the world built by the film. The world that appears on our screens takes careful, methodical, and purposeful work — and huge teams of people with various specializations.


As you may have heard before, terms like production design and art direction often float around. But the process isn’t quite so simple. In fact, there are at least 7 departments and anywhere from dozens to hundreds of job positions relating to art direction — some of which are broken down even further into smaller sub-departments. These include the set designer, prop master, set decorator, and construction crew, to name a few. There’s often cross-department collaboration too, commonly with the costume or makeup departments, to create an overarching visual appearance of the film.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Without further ado, below are 7 of the key job roles and departments within art direction, involved in every step from fashioning storyboards to carpentering sets.

1. Production Designer

First and foremost, the production designer is the head of the art department. They lead the visual creation of the director’s vision. Though they work with other job roles, such as the director and the producer, they closely collaborate with the art director.


Often, production designers deliver sketches detailing atmosphere, colour, and texture. They then oversee the work of the construction and sets departments under them. Production designers come in at the early stages of pre-production to immerse themselves with the film, so as to best design visuals to serve the story.

2. Art Director

Job Roles in Art Direction

The art director is a highly multifaceted role. Though primarily responsible for overseeing the designers and artists behind the film’s visuals, they also analyze the script to determine the props and sets needed. Typically, this involves quick creative solutions, especially on the front of set construction.


A good deal of art direction calls for coordination with other sub-departments as well, most notably with the director of photography. In fact, some bigger studio films even prefer to employ multiple art directors, due to the breadth of the job. 

3. Set Designer & Set Decorator

Job Roles in Art Direction

A set designer, also called a draughtsman, creates technical drawings of sets. These sketches become instructions for the construction crew. These days, physical and computer models get the job done, needing key specifications like the precise measurements and construction materials needed.


On a slightly different note, set decorators decide the furniture and decorations that will be used on set. This requires a thorough knowledge of both the story and the characters’ internal and external motives. Anything from the colour of a picture frame to the style of a sofa is all there to elevate the plot.

4. Property Master

The property or prop master heads the prop department, a team of prop makers and prop runners. Props can either be custom-made, found, or altered, and the property master is in charge of making these decisions. Furthermore, the coordination and tracking of all prop-related details and maintenance fall into their hands too.


Detailed research can be another one of the daily duties of a property master. Along with the preparation of props, property masters ensure the authenticity of each and every prop, which is especially important in period films and biopics.

5. Concept, Storyboard, and Graphic Job Roles

Each of these artists plays a highly specialized role, and these all eventually come together in the overall art direction. To begin, concept artists focus on a highly specific set-piece. For example, the design of a creature or a spaceship, then creating computer-generated visuals to illustrate their vision.


The work of storyboard artists, however, is broader. They produce drawings of each individual shot as envisioned by the director. Storyboards include the proper camera angles, movements, and sequence of events within each scene. On the other hand, graphic artists create work made up of purely physical, graphic elements. They make any props requiring design or text, such as posters, newspapers, logos, and the like.

6. Carpenter & Construction Crew

Job Roles in Art Direction

This is one of the most crucial departments, responsible for the actual making and painting of the sets and props. In essence, the construction crew brings ideas and concepts to life. This includes not only what we know and see on-screen, but also off-screen support structures and platforms.


The head carpenter leads the crew, supervising carpenters, scenic artists, painters, plasterers, and sculptors. Though their focus is on woodwork, the construction crew can have technical and creative input when it comes to the details of the art direction.


Within the construction crew, the paint department would be responsible for wall painting, ageing, vinyl, graffiti and more visual details on set.

7. Production Buyer

On the more logistical side, production buyers coordinate the purchases or rentals of all set dressings and decorations. With the shooting schedule in mind, the production buyer ensures that these items, sometimes including props, are delivered and ready for each scene.


They take charge of any and all financial considerations related to set dressing, typically with several assistants working under them. This means that they have a close understanding of the production budget, making pivotal decisions to ensure that operations stay on budget.


Art direction is an integral part of filmmaking that we often do not see. From picking important details of a scene to building props with your own two hands or going on a hunt to find the most accurate prop, there is a job for everyone.  If you are creative, hardworking, and imaginative, the many job roles in art direction could be a great fit!


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10 Ways to get started in graphic design

Looking to get started in graphic design? Check out 10 tips on how to get the ball rolling.

10 Ways to get started in graphic design

By: Carmen DeCampo

Graphic design is a very popular field, and it’s expanding year upon year. The combination of creativity, communication skills, and knowledge of current trends appeals to those who thrive on challenges.

However, getting your foot in the door can be tricky.

There are many methods to make this process easier. We’ve put together a short guide to give you a leg up into the industry and get started in graphic design. InFocus Film School Graphic and Digital Design Program | Learn More


1. Do Your Research Before You Get Started in Graphic Design

Becoming a graphic designer takes a lot of hard work, along with loads of creativity and passion. Before committing to a career, it’s important to do some research so you know what you’re getting into.

There are many people who initially choose a career path focused on something they enjoy doing. However, they may end up unhappy as their interest/hobby transforms from pleasure to pressure.

If you love art and design, graphic design may be the perfect choice. It’s advisable, nonetheless, to take your time before making any concrete decisions. How to Get Started in Graphic Design

2. Choose The Right Course

It’s very difficult to get your foot in the door in any career without some sort of formal qualification. There are thousands of courses to choose from with graphic design—online and offline.

Some people can break into the industry without having studied design, but they are few and far between. That’s not to say experience isn’t important, but it’s a lot easier to get started with a solid grounding in theory and principles.

Doing a course that combines theory with practical experience is an excellent way to get started in graphic design. Understanding theory and putting it into practice are fundamental steps in pursuing a career in design.

3. Nurture Your Creativity

It goes without saying that to excel in any artistic field requires creativity. Design is leaning towards the digital realm. The field is beginning to emphasize skills like web design, UX and UI design (User Experience and User Interface), and online marketing.

When you’re getting started, practicing your creativity in all these fields is essential.

How to Get Started in Graphic Design

4. Get To Grips With Software

As we mentioned, graphic design has shifted towards digital media. Thus, a thorough understanding of design software is essential for newcomers to the industry.

Even more important than understanding, though, is the ability to use that knowledge in growing your creative skill-set. Getting started as a graphic designer isn’t easy. While knowledge of software is good, experience and curiosity are valuable beyond comparison.

A graphic design course and/or qualification is often the best path when it comes to combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills in software like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop.

5. Learn Design Principles – Observe And Practice

Whether you pursue a formal qualification or plan on teaching yourself, having a comprehensive knowledge of design principles is a prerequisite.

Look at the work of other designers for inspiration and then decide why they appeal to you. The best way to understand concepts like space, color, and balance is to see how they work in practice. You need to know what role images and visuals play, how text and font set a tone, and how color use influences emotions and evokes a response.

Analyzing a design you like can make it evident how the use of different elements evokes different feelings and reactions. Understanding the application of theory is what helps a designer develop and perfect their own style. Knowing what works, why it works, and how to use it creatively is crucial.

6. Self-Brand As A Freelancer

If you’re just starting out in graphic design, you’ll most likely find yourself facing many decisions: where to study (or whether to study at all), what specialization to pursue and more.

Research has shown that the vast majority—around 90%—of graphic designers work as freelancers. Therefore, every new entrant into the industry is facing fierce competition.

It’s never too early to start building yourself up as a professional with your own brand and style.

Looking at others’ work for inspiration only goes so far. Perfecting your own creative approach is what will ultimately make you a sought-after design professional. Apart from that, starting to freelance early is a great way to gain experience and add to your portfolio.

7. Build A Portfolio

Having a portfolio is a must for anyone working in creative industries.

For a graphic designer in the 2020s, a portfolio must include work that demonstrates a high level of skill and a thorough understanding of design principles. As we mentioned earlier: building an impressive portfolio begins early in a designer’s career. You can bolster your portfolio with any and every freelance assignment you complete.

Even if you have yet to finish your studies, laying the foundations of your career is something that you must give attention to. The keystone of which is your portfolio. It is important to you put yourself “out there” as a designer. Every job will depend on convincing potential clients that you have the knowledge, talent, and creative flair to deliver what they’re after.

How to Get Started in Graphic Design

8. Seek Out And Welcome Feedback

Not many people who enjoy being criticized. However, there are some careers in which taking feedback is a prerequisite.

Graphic design is, undoubtedly, one of them. 

Success as a designer, therefore, requires a thick skin and the open-mindedness to see your own weak spots. As well, a desire to put in the necessary effort to improve them. 

9. Gain Experience – Any Experience

The unfortunate reality is that almost everyone only wants to employ people with experience. Alas, this may leave younger designers between a rock and a hard place.

How do you get experience when nobody wants to hire someone without it?

This might mean doing some design projects for NPOs which, unfortunately, are not financially profitable but look great on your resume.

How to Get Started in Graphic Design

10. Learn To Communicate And Collaborate

Your ability to make connections with people is a skill necessary to get started in graphic design. Although graphic design involves a lot of creativity and individual effort, carving out a career in the field demands the ability to communicate and collaborate with all sorts of people.

Working for clients and working with clients are an integral part of the design field. As soon as you start focusing on graphic design, it is wise to start to practice networking and seek out clients.

It isn’t easy to get started in graphic design, but it is rewarding. Especially if you’re following your passion.


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five benefits of film production training

Looking to break into the film industry? Here are five benefits of film production training.

five benefits of film production training

By: Sophia Lin

As they say, the hardest part about getting started… is getting started. While it this may be true, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. As a beginner in the field, there are some critical steps you can take to give you a running start. Continue reading and set yourself on the path of success.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

That’s exactly what we’re here to get to the bottom of. What are those steps? How should you approach them? What should you be focusing on? These questions, and many more, form the basis of the list below. All the way from choosing film production training courses to getting acquainted with the job market, this list will cover all the bases when it comes to taking your first step in the field of film production.

1. Paths in the Industry

Benefits of Film Production Training

Before you even dip your toe into the industry, your first step should be to know your options. In this case, it would entail researching and getting to know all the different, diverse paths in the film industry. Don’t forget that researching extends to initiating informational interviews, attending Q&As, and the like. Consider each of your possible directions. Additionally, assess these paths in terms of your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and your level of experience as well.


As someone new to film production training, chances are there are some niche positions in film that you may not have been aware of. This is your chance to search them all out. The more thoroughly you conduct your research, the more well-informed your career decisions will be. Start with the more prominent roles like directors and producers, then work your way towards the lesser-known elements of the production team, like the editors, production designers, and music supervisors.


2. The Job Market

It certainly doesn’t end there. The next component of your initial research should involve the job market. This should include current job opportunities, future outlook, and even past changes. Additionally, be sure to look at the various ways of entering the industry. Each of the many possible paths have slightly dissimilar structures when it comes to getting hired. While those working as producers may need to apply to a production company, those working as directors may have to tackle the film festival circuit. Not to mention, most positions will have differing requirements when it comes to the level of film production training required.


At the moment, a significant consideration is the rise of streaming services. In both the film and TV world, this has caused jobs to multiply — and spawned countless new positions as well. Increased demand for content has undoubtedly changed the landscape, with the industry continually welcoming more diverse stories and perspectives. The advancement of technology and the unprecedented accessibility to filmmaking are also key factors impacting the job market today.


3. Courses & Film Production Training

Benefits of Film Production Training

One tried and true move known to pay dividends is taking courses and obtaining formal film production training. Most often, this is done at a film school, where students can be surrounded by industry-experienced professors and top-of-the-line filmmaking resources. For those looking to jump right into the industry, film school doesn’t have to be the hefty commitment it appears to be. In fact, there is a wide range of programs that are able to cover all you’ll need to know. You will learn technical, creative, and analytical skills needed to excel in the film industry in just one year.


Similarly, other short online courses or week-long boot camps can also be fantastic options. Aside from the benefits of high-quality film education, courses and training can equip you with soft skills as well. These can take years to develop and feel out on your own, including assets like effective leadership, productive collaboration, and clear communication. Often, it is these skills, not the technical know-how, that will make or break a career in film.


4. Gear & Equipment

Benefits of Film Production Training

Getting your hands on the right cameras and gear may seem somewhat self-evident. The reality, however, isn’t necessarily so easy. To begin, it is integral to note what the industry standard is for your field. For instance, when it comes to cameras, ARRI, RED, and Panavision are some of the main ones — be aware that there often only isn’t just one standard brand.


For beginners in the field, however, professional gear is almost always too expensive. The key here is to instead focus on mastering the craft of filmmaking. Student films are typically made on a small budget, so learning to make the most out of what you have is the best way to go. These days, a good starting point would be phones — which now boast quality cameras — and a cheaper lighting set-up. The exception would be if you were enrolled in film school or film production training courses; this would automatically give you easy access to a host of professional equipment.


5. Professional Networking

Finally, no list could be complete without mentioning the element at the centre of the film industry, networking. Job opportunities often travel through word of mouth and every film project being a team effort. Thus, the necessity of an expansive professional network is a no-brainer. Luckily, there are tons of places to start! Volunteering on sets, helping out at local film festivals, and attending filmmaking events require little to no experience, which make it perfect for those starting out to meet new people.


Beyond that, the options are plentiful as well. Enrolling in film school, for example, would immediately situate you within a community of like-minded, hard-working filmmakers. Similarly, joining online forums and social media groups is a great idea. Local forums and groups gets your name out there and puts you right in the film scene. Ultimately, the goal here is to meet future collaborators and find interesting projects and positions to sign onto. As your network grows, so will your filmmaking experience and skill.


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How to conduct a documentary interview

Wondering how to conduct an extraordinary documentary interview? Here are 6 documentary interview tips from award-winning documentary filmmaker Julia Ivanova.

How to conduct a documentary interview

By: Sophia Lin

Making a successful, compelling documentary is no easy task. It takes a creative idea, dutiful planning, and an undeniably unique voice.  The backbone of a documentary film are effective documentary interviews. Having the right subjects and engaging answers are what makes a great documentary film. Documentary interviews are what gives a film that intangible quality that makes it resound with thousands, or maybe even millions, of audiences. 


No one knows this better than acclaimed documentary filmmaker Julia Ivanova. Having stepped into the doc world no less than twenty years ago, her work has received recognition around the world. Focusing on topics of love, family, and cultural differences, Ivanova’s documentaries have screened at Sundance and IDFA. Her 2011 film Family Portrait in Black and White winning Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs Festival. As well, her most recent work, Pipeline in Paradise, was one of four Canadian films showcased at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film.


As we go ahead with these proven techniques and tips for a great documentary interview, Ivanova’s insights and insider knowledge will be featured at every step of the way. From considering the backdrop to the ordering of questions, we’ll be getting down to the nitty-gritty of interviewing, with a master of her craft sharing her secrets.

How to Conduct a Documentary Interview


1. Conduct a Pre-Interview

How to Conduct a Documentary Interview

“Be consciously on the lookout for subjects who are expressive, relaxed, and love the attention of the camera,” says Ivanova. “These are the people who will come alive on-screen! Those who speak coherently and with emotion are the ones who will give you more, and can come across better in voice-overs as well.”


Pre-interviews can be beneficial for multiple reasons. The first being an additional chance for you to decide if the subject’s right for you. It’ll be an opportunity to hear how they speak, as well as get to know them a bit more through conversation. On the flip side, it too allows for your subject to get used to you and your interviewing style. This preview will make for a more comfortable, familiar environment when filming begins. 


“Another consideration is to seek subjects who speak in shorter sentences; this can help with editing and clarity,” she adds.

2. Prepare Complex Questions

How to Conduct a Documentary Interview

“You should aim to phrase your questions in a way that allows more to be said or a story to be told. Questions can be started in ways such as, ‘can you explain’, ‘could you please share’, and ‘what is your opinion’,” advises Ivanova. “And be sure to have done lots of research before you prepare your questions. Especially if you’re interviewing an expert in their field.”


A rule of thumb is that a great answer arises from a great question. As such, asking nuanced, layered questions allows for those same important qualities to be reflected in your subject’s response. Avoiding yes-no questions is a must, and instead, strive for questions that are open-ended and perhaps more challenging, ones that demand reflection and welcome vulnerability. The more complex the questions, the more engaging the documentary interview.  


3. Consider the Backdrop of the Documentary Interview

“Try to avoid putting subjects up against a wall, as it’s much more ideal to have a depth of field,” Ivanova suggests. “I sometimes aim to film subjects as they’re living life. Almost as if they were caught in the middle of doing something. This would mean using their own environment as the backdrop.”


When it comes to the environment you’d like to place your subject in, the options truly are limitless. There’s a lot to consider. Lighting, for example, is one aspect to think about, with the main choices being either to use natural light or a three-point lighting set-up. Next, remember that the backdrop can and should add to the story, or at least fit into it in a way that makes sense. Including meaningful, personal backdrops can be one way to make your documentary richer and more immersive.


She continues, “In terms of lighting, I prefer to use natural light. Bringing your own light makes your subjects feel like you’re making a film, which breaks the spell. Not to mention, they get pretty hot under those lights too!”

4. Begin Open-Ended


Something that is not to be overlooked is the ordering of documentary interview questions. However, it’s almost always the best idea to start open-ended. These questions help encompass a wide variety of topics, aiding you with choosing which areas to build upon for your specific, personal questions down the line. For example, you can ask about the subject’s work background, recent daily experiences, and other less taxing, perhaps light-hearted topics that can give them a chance to open up.


“I like to start with questions that are not so important. My subjects can warm up to me and feel more relaxed. Next, I try to quickly lead into my important questions. Some subjects tire easily in front of the camera and I want to catch them before that happens,” Ivanova says, elaborating. “At this point, they’ll feel more comfortable with me and still have the energy needed to form passionate and dynamic answers.”


5. Lead Into More Specific Questions

How to Conduct a Documentary Interview

As the interview progresses, I always ask questions that build on my prior questions,” states Ivanova.


After crossing that initial barrier of getting to know one another, it becomes time for the subject’s individuality to come out. Finding that comes as a result of complex and personalized prompts. Meaning, prompts that speak solely to your subject’s unique perspective and experiences. It’s a fine line to tread — keep your questions open-ended but gradually narrow the scope of questioning.


She adds, “I also love to give some of my questions to another person in the shot and have them ask my subject. This creates a conversation that I can visually capture. Often, I try to spend time with my subjects too, outside of the interview. I’ve found that they start to feel my energy and become willing to share their story with me.”


6. Stay Flexible & Allow For Irrelevance


A great documentary interview must have a balance of preparation and spontaneity. This means, in addition to researched, carefully worded questions, you also have to let go. Follow the conversation where your subject takes you, embrace moments of irrelevance, and build off of their answers. The most insightful and the most candid answers can come from going off-script, so always expect the unexpected.


“One tip I have for prompting a natural, authentic conversation is to hide your list of questions. Take that piece of paper and try to memorize it. Put it under your seat, inside your jacket, what have you. Now, give your undivided attention to your subject,” Ivanova recommends.


“This makes it feel like a real conversation,” she explains, “not like it’s your job to interview them. Now, the subject can feel your genuine interest and offer you answers that reflect that.”


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how to make money after film school

You’ve finished film school… now you’re wondering what’s next? Here are six ways to make money in film after school.

how to make money after film school

By Kennedy Randall

Though the next chapter of your life may be nerve-racking, it is also an incredibly exciting time to be a filmmaker! The film industry is growing alongside society’s need for content, meaning there are more opportunities for filmmakers. There are many different career paths or side hustles that will bring in the income after film school. From traditional positions in the film industry, freelance filmmaking, social media, and more, you can make money in film or as a filmmaker in many different ways. 

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Make Money in Film by Finding a Job on a Set


The traditional film industry is what likely most of your training in film school revolved around. Whether you want to be a director or behind the camera or even a lighting expert, there are many different paths you could take on set.


Reflect on your time at film school. What skills did you develop the most? Were you stronger on set or in post production? Interest in audio? Think about what roles you enjoyed the most at school and which you want to focus on post-graduation. 


Because of streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and more, the need for content is on the rise. More productions = more jobs = people make more money in film. More skills and interests means more opportunities. 


In your community and online, there are many ways to find a job on set. Your peers at film school are a great built-in network. Not only could they mention opportunities they hear of, but you could gain experience working on a friend’s film set. Your teachers may also get wind of a production coming to your city and tell their students about the opportunity. 


Online, join local Facebook groups based around film. Some of these groups are for networking but often people post job opportunities. As well, Craigslist is a common place for indie filmmakers to post call-outs. Some jobs will pay more than others, but it will give you the experience needed to make money in film and land bigger gigs in the future. 

How to Make Money in Film

2. Create Content for Social Media


Businesses in this digital age are always on the lookout for video editors, content creators, and other film-based positions that can help them engage clients. The content could be anything from posts for social media, advertisement videos, articles, and more. Having experience behind the lens is very advantageous for creating engaging visual content. Editing skills are also very valuable.


Using your demo reel from film school, choose your best shots, spruce it up a bit to attract clients. Don’t be afraid to cold call or email businesses in your area. Offer your skills, a bit about you and how you would create good personalized content. This career can be quite lucrative if you work hard. You could always offer an influencer or a small business your services for cheap, or even pro-bono to start building up your portfolio before taking on bigger clients. 

How to Make Money in Film

3. Become a Freelancer


If you aren’t ready to choose a permanent gig, you could always try to become a freelancer. Freelancers can specialize in anything from videography to sound. They hire themselves out to production companies or businesses at a daily rate. 


Using your skills from film school, build a portfolio you can showcase to potential clients. Ensure that both the videography and the editing is seamless in your portfolio to show that the clients will only need to hire one person for the job. Being a jack of all trades in the freelance game will give you an edge on the competition. 


You will also have to secure your own equipment and software, which can be expensive. Creating a plan outlining your spending and potential return before you take the plunge is very important. 


Though, as a pro-tip, some freelance videographers will take a day-job at film rental studios. This oftentimes allows them to rent the necessary gear at a discounted rate. 


Being a freelancer can offer you so much freedom and flexibility. With potentially a new location every day, filled with new people, your job will always be fresh and new. This is also a great way to network and meet other film professionals, which one day may lead to another film industry job.

4. Submit to Film Festivals and Streaming Services


After 12 months at film school, you leave with 12 films. This means you have twelve films that could be pitched to producers. Pick the project you are most proud of and start submitting it to festivals. If you feel like there’s still more you can add, feel free to edit it, shoot more scenes, and polish it to get it big-screen ready. 


A good tip would be to enter as many film festivals as possible, both before and after school. This will get your name and your film out there. As well, network with your teachers. They could one day recommend your work to a producer or distributor that could pick up your film.


If you have an idea for a unique film festival, gather a couple friends and start your own! You can include your own film and other films that complement its narrative. In your community you can also host local screenings as well as virtual screenings with Q&A periods. The more people that see your film, your chances of making money in film increase.


Finally, you can submit your film to streaming services. The ins and outs of getting your film distributed is sometimes confusing, but many streaming services allow you to submit your film for free (including Amazon!). There are also some indie short-film streaming sites like SOFY, which you can submit for free and earn revenue if your film is streamed. Not only do opportunities like this increase visibility for your work, but if your film makes an impression, you could find your financier for your next project! 

How to Make Money in Film

5. Work On Commercials


Though working on commercials may not fulfill your professional filmmaker dream, it may be a stepping stone to get you there. Gaining practical experience, whether it be shooting, editing, lighting etc, is always helpful for your career.


It may not be the blockbuster feature film you wanted to shoot, but gaining experience behind the camera is always valuable. By working with other professionals in your field, you will be able to learn technical and creative skills from them. Constantly learning, practicing and improving will help your filmmaking career tenfold while ensuring you have income. 


Many successful filmmakers like David Fincher, Michael Bay, and entire animation studios like Pixar spent their early years making commercials. Many famous filmmakers like Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Wes Anderson continue to make cinematic commercials. Read more about the pros of doing commercials here


6. Make Your Own Film and Market It For Sale


Paranormal Activity (2009) has a success story that will forever inspire young filmmakers. Made on a budget of only $15,000 by first time director Oren Peli, the film was bought by Paramount Pictures. The first Paranormal Activity ended up grossing around $195 million dollars worldwide. It was followed by five sequels and a multi-million dollar franchise.


Though this is a rare occurrence, The Blair Witch Project is another low-budget independent film that brought in millions of dollars. Writing and producing your own is not only a good experience but it could pay off! 


Decide on a budget that you could feasibly create a short or feature length film with. Brainstorm some resources that you already have at your disposal. For example, don’t waste money on renting a location. Consider using your house, your old school, or any outdoor spaces near you.


Find friends that would be interested in the idea. If you found a co-director, you could split the production costs. As well, many filmmakers starting out offer their services for free in exchange for experience.


After submitting your independent film to festivals, you can try submitting it to streaming services. As well, best case scenario, you could pitch your idea and show your film to producers or distributors. Continually be reaching out, cold-calling, emailing and networking within your community to find these meetings and make money in film. A successful pitch may lead to it getting a higher budget for you to reshoot and extend. Eventually, you could get your self-made film into theatres or supported by Netflix!

How to Make Money in Film

Having side hustles is always important when you are starting your career. You can choose one of these paths to focus on or try doing multiple at once. Work hard, stay determined, and you can make it big! These six opportunities are ways you can ensure that you will make money in film while achieving your dreams. 


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how to pick the best screenwriting school

Want to be a screenwriter? Check out these five things to consider when picking which screenwriting school is best for you.

how to pick the best screenwriting school

By Kennedy Randall

Say you have a passion for writing or a natural way with words. Maybe you are a film buff and want to see your imagination play out from the page to the screen. Choosing the right screenwriting school may not only help you tune up your writing skills, but teach you a handful of other skills that can aid your professional growth. 

During screenwriting school, you will develop your storytelling skills, understand the inner workings of the film industry, and make connections that will help your personal and professional goals. Here are five things to consider when choosing what screenwriting school will be the best fit for you. 

InFocus Film School Writing Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Writing for Film and Television Program!

Instruction During Screenwriting School

How to Pick the Best Screenwriting School

One of the most important things about any education is your instructors’ ability to make a creative impact on you. There are some online, prerecorded screenwriting workshops you could check out if you wanted to dip your feet in. 

Having the opportunity to learn storytelling skills directly from an industry professional in screenwriting school is invaluable. You will learn how to screen write side by side with your teacher. This teaches the accountability needed to create great first drafts on time. With face to face instruction, you get carefully crafted workshops and exercises, as well as always having a professional to turn to with questions or ask for creative advice. 

You can always look up the teachers on IMDB or Linkedin while researching programs. Researching to see if they have industry connections and experience that will help you with your goals is always a good idea. Having an experienced instructor give you feedback and constructive criticism will undoubtably make you a better writer. 

Variety of Skills Learned

Who you are learning from matters. Your instructors are the ones who know the field, therefore, they know what makes a successful portfolio or pitch. When picking your screenwriting school, make sure that you will learn a variety of skills. Some basic online screenwriting programs may only teach you writing, only one out of many important aspects of becoming a professional screenwriter.

For example, learning how to pitch your idea is a valuable skill that may not be found on an online screen-writing school. Your ability to pitch your great idea is what is going to bring home the money in the long run.

In screenwriting school, you also get the opportunity to network with other top industry screenwriters. Teachers often bring guest lectures from their professional network to chat with students. Meeting more professional screenwriters means learning more skills from talented individuals. In an online program, you miss this opportunity to network and learn from various people in the field. 


Connecting With Peers

How to Pick the Best Screenwriting School

During screenwriting school, your peers become your team and your instructors are your mentors. With an online program, you may not even get to meet anyone. This may be good if you are an introvert and enjoy working by yourself. 

Working with your peers is an important aspect of developing your talent. Your peers in screenwriting school allow you to grow as an artist. Sharing your work with each other and providing feedback is great way to learn more. This peer editing process gives you a unique opportunity to meet students that you could befriend. They could even become future co-workers or business partners! 

When choosing your program, look for team based exercises, as they allow you to connect with your peers. These kinds of exercises are seen throughout in-person screenwriting school, giving you an opportunity to connect with students throughout the writing process. These relationships you build will help propel you into strong creative and professional relationships. 


Building Your Portfolio

Having a portfolio to show future business ventures after you finish your program is essential. Some programs will focus solely on getting one script written from start to finish. This can result in a very strong end product that you can take to a producer. This is fast and efficient, but in reality, screenwriting does not finish on the last page of the script. 

Some screenwriting schools however, will leave you with a diverse portfolio containing many different projects including TV pilots, feature screenplays, and short film scripts. Learning the fundamentals of all aspects screenwriting prepares you to work in many different companies and jobs. 

Though you don’t need film school to get your script picked up, having a variety within your writing samples is useful. As well, learning how to multitask by writing multiple scripts at once is a great skill to have later on in your career. Ending your screenwriting course with a diverse body of work opens up your career to multiple opportunities.


Career Paths

How to Pick the Best Screenwriting School

If you already have a passion for writing, you may be surprised about the paths you can take within screenwriting. In any screenwriting school, you will be learning the most fundamental skill of all, storytelling. This not only opens up your writing opportunities in the film industry, but the skills you learn can be applied to other industries like journalism, advertising, and literary writing. By learning professional screenwriting skills your ability to tell a captivating story will set yourself up for success.

Networking is also a great way to see what opportunities are out there. You can always do this through platforms like Linkedin, but your teachers are a great resource for networking. They can share opportunities they may have heard about from their professional circle or even pass along your name to other industries. As well, a good tip would be looking at the ‘student success’ page on film school’s websites. You can often see what films or companies their students worked on after graduating from school. This can give you an idea of where your career and education take you. 


Kennedy Randall is a Content Writer for InFocus Film School


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