About the Class
This course brings together the facilities and resources of two of Hollywood’s longtime, outstanding contributors: The Walt Disney Studios (est. 1923) and the USC School of Cinematic Arts (est. 1929).
One day per week, the class will travel to Burbank to spend the day at the Walt Disney Studios. Students will visit all major departments (costume design, lighting, set design, post-production, etc.) receiving a first hand, in-depth teaching from those who do this work professionally. Through weekly meeting on the the Walt Disney Studios’ lot, you will meet filmmakers and professionals who have contributed to prestigious motion pictures such as Star Wars, Zootopia, Maleficent, The Marvel Movies, Beauty and the Beast (both the animation and the live-action films), and many other great titles.
The format of the course will be a combination of lectures and screenings. You will learn a number of filmmaking tools – including:
- How to tell great stories
- Establish strong characters
- Acquiring the ability to communicate with the cast and crew
- Create a mise-en-scene
- Discover the importance of post-production
- Use innovative sound design
- To “pitch” yourselves and your stories understanding how the industry works
Students will also be instructed in basic cinematography skills, including camera menu set-up, tripod use, proper use of lighting and grip gear, composition, exposure, and the creative use of color.
The centerpiece of the class is the opportunity to shoot a short film on location on the Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, informally known as the Disney Ranch. Students will work in groups and will perform various roles and the films will be carefully developed using a comprehensive process. This process will ensure that you bring a certain discipline to guide your creativity – in this class and throughout your filmmaking career. This process includes:
- Writers pitch their stories
- Directors pitch for their choice
- Casting and Preproduction
- Shooting on location at the Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall
- Class screening
Before arriving, each student is recommended to prepare several story ideas that they wish to make into a short film. Students will be able to choose from all the major genres including drama, comedy, horror, and suspense.
Students will also be able to prepare and shoot two individual projects, on top of the group project at the Golden Oak Ranch. The student is the AUTHOR of the pieces and can start working on their individual projects from day one, while receiving advice and consultations throughout the program.
All necessary equipment and production resources will be available for student use, including:
- Digital cameras
- Lighting kits
- Sound kits
- AVID editing suites
- Access to free on-campus locations
- USC SCA Sound Stages
- Access to our Cinema Film Library (with over 13,000 films)
*All projects are created outside of scheduled class time.*
*Please note that dates and times of the course are subject to changes. Additional tutorials are taught during outside hours.*