Directing Intensive

Units: 4
Student Level: Intermediate

Jun 12 - Jul 27 Sorry, this class is currently full
Schedule: Tues / Weds 1:00pm -4:50pm
Orientation: Jun 12, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Max. Seats: 24
Faculty: Michael Uno

Jun 25 - Aug 3 Sorry, this class is currently full
Schedule: Mon/Weds/Fri 9:00am - 11:50am
Orientation: Jun 24, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Max. Seats: 15
Faculty: James Savoca

Directing Intensive is all about preparing you for the responsibilities and functions a director must successfully navigate in order to direct a polished short film.  The lessons you learn in this class will help you finish a 5 to 12 minute narrative short as well as  learning directing fundamentals that will help you begin your career as a director. 

The core of the course will be the individual project.  Your imagination is the first step to a successful summer.  Students should arrive to the first day of class with a 5 to 12 page screenplay or 2 well-developed, detailed story ideas.  A Writing Instructor will be available during the first week or so of the class to help solidify your narrative.  In the first two sessions, the Writing Instructor will schedule individual non-class sessions to work on your scripts, and review your progress.

Early in the course, the instructor will lead you through a two-week preparatory period during which you will develop a story idea into a workable script, workshop scenarios with actors and camera set-ups during in-class exercises, and stage and rehearse actual scenes.  This section of the course enables you to pre-visualize your directing vision before you begin principal photography.

After you have developed your detailed shooting plan and revised your script, you will begin translating your words into a vision of images, action, and performance. You will become acquainted with nomenclature, procedures, and techniques of the professional working world.  Special sessions will devoted to script rewriting, directing/actor interaction, and non-linear Avid editing training.  In other words, you will begin to discover how a director guides a film to completion.

As is done in all SCA undergraduate production classes, you will join a small group of 3 or 4 filmmakers to bring your vision to completion.  You will direct your project as well as work as a crewmember for the other students in your group.  Collaborating with other filmmakers in the spirit of teamwork will also allow you to gain valuable experience as a director of photography, boom operator, or allow to perform a different production role.  Final films will be completed outside of class, so relying on the students in your group is essential.

Along the way you will receive training in a number of valuable topics, including story conferencing, camera tutorials, lighting demonstrations, sound kit demo, casting information, lessons in production design, script breakdowns, shooting methods, editorial considerations, and pre-production planning, among other subjects.

After your weekend shoot, your footage will be screened and critiqued by the Instructor and your classmates during the final week.   This feedback becomes a valuable tool for making decisions about what will make it into your final cut.  Eventually, you will screen your final cut for your classmates.  Top projects are selected by class vote, and the selected film will represent Directing Intensive in the Summer Program film festival.

With all of your hard finished work, you will surely want to screen your film elsewhere.  Your instructor and teaching assistant will show you how to prepare a Production Notebook that contains all “prep work” (including your shooting script, breakdowns, storyboards, shot lists, permits & releases, schedules, and more).  A completed Production Book will ensure that you comply with all the rules and regulations of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, allowing you to submit the final film to festivals.

About Your Faculty:


Adult Section Instructor:

Professor Michael Toshiyuki Uno has directed 15 movies for cable or television, with one theatrical release and 12 episodic, shorts and specials. His AFI thesis film was nominated for Academy Award for Live Action Short in 1982. Since then, his work has received: three nominations from Independent Feature Project West, now FilmIndependent, including Best First Feature; 15 Cable ACE Award nominations with two wins and five Emmy nominations with two wins. Uno has also received a Golden Globe Award, a DGA Award nomination, Best Television Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival, an NAACP Image Award with a second nomination and a SAG Award nomination.


Uno has directed such award-worthy actors as: Joan Allen, Laura Linney, David Strathairn, Cicely Tyson, Joanne Woodward, Wesley Snipes, Beau Bridges, Piper Laurie, Tess Harper, Eric Roberts, Stephen Root and Michelle Williams; and such distinguished notables as: Rick Schroder, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Crystal Bernard, Clifton Powell, Doug Savant, Penny Johnson, Gary Cole, Nicollette Sheridan, Kyle Chandler, Jason Priestley, Jenny Garth, Luke Perry, Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson.

Uno is a founding member of the Independent Directors Committee of the Directors Guild of America. He is currently involved in Independent Documentary feature production, long-form television & feature film scriptwriting and project development.


Minor Section Instructor:

James Savoca is a writer, director and prodcer of independent films. Prior to starting his own production company, he founded the theater group BigHead Productions. His first full length play Talk To Me, which he wrote and directed, sold out audiences at Tom Noonan’s Paradise Theatre. He followed up with several Off Off Broadway productions, then assembled a sketch comedy group called The Guilty Players, performing weekly in Greenwich Village.


His first short film Revelation made its broadcast premiere on The Sundance Channel. Through his own production company, James made his feature debut, Sleepwalk, which premiered at SXSW Film Festival. The Independent Film Channel showcased Sleepwalk as part of IFC's Next Wave Films where it ran monthly for 3 years. His most recent film Around June played festivals around the world and was theatrically released in 2012, and is currently airing on Showtime.

*Please note that dates and times of the course are subject to minor changes. Projects are created outside of schedueled class time. Additional tutorials are taught during outside hours.*