Student Spotlight: Kendra Goff

Kendra Goff is a current Digital Filmmaking Program student and is producing & directing her thesis project, a short film entitled, “Marvin’s Purse.” Kendra is from Sebastapol, CA and is 20 years old.

In her own words…

marvins purse kendra goff“Ever since I got ahold of my parents camcorder filmmaking has been a gateway for me to tell any story that’s on my mind.  It started by just making goofy videos with my friends, but as I got older, I found that I was able express myself more than ever. I realized that this was going to be my megaphone for all the feelings and passions inside me, and if there was anyway I was going to make a difference in this world it would be through film.  My hope is to put out as much  joy into the world as I can with my work, because I think we can all use that every now and again.”

Tell us about your journey to find San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking.

I’ve known for some time that I wanted my career path to be in filmmaking, I just didn’t know how to approach it. LA? Not LA? 4 year Film School? No Film school at all? FilmSchoolSF was the perfect middle ground,  where I could create a good quantity of high quality films for my portfolio, but not spend 4 expensive years in a huge city I wouldn’t like.

Describe the 3 most valuable learning experiences, or accomplishments you got from being here.

  1. Plot grows out of character.
  2. Making a film is a team sport.
  3. The movie I’m making will never look like the movie in my head before I start, and that’s okay, because most of the time if I try hard enough, it will turn out better.

Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years? 

IMG_2320I hope to be contributing my skills to a local production company, collaborating with creative people that open my eyes to a new way of cinema. On the side, I hope to never stop producing my passion projects and use the language of cinema to raise my voice in the things I care about the most.

What would you tell aspiring Filmmakers who are considering enrolling?

Filmmaking can be for anyone. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t know the latest 4k camera or the best editing software. Filmmaking is for anyone who has a story to tell and this school is here to help bring those stories come to life in possibly the most exciting way.

Check Out Kendra’s Film, “Marvin’s Purse” Below

Student Spotlight: Jacintha Charles

2012-04-28 16.20.14

Jacintha Charles is a Writer and Director from Singapore. Her previous films have been supported by the Singapore Film Commission. She is currently in pre-production for her thesis film, First and Last.


Tell us about your journey to find San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking?

I first joined the school for their 5-week narrative program back in 2010 and have gone on to make more short films after completing the course. Since I have been seriously considering making my feature film in the next couple of years, I decided to head back for the 1-year course.

Describe the 3 most valuable learning or accomplishments you got from being here.

Lining my script! Learning about framing / composition and lighting for the scene, camera work. Mostly technical but for a director, is a huge help to gain this kind of knowledge.
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Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years?

Hopefully, I would have finished directing my debut feature film and will be continuing to write stories with characters of a diverse cast. In particular, strong roles for women.

What would you tell aspiring Filmmakers who are considering enrolling?

Embrace learning the technical aspects of filmmaking. It may seem overwhelming but give yourself the chance to understand what the camera, lights, editing programs can do for you. You will be surprised how it will help shape your stories when you are writing or directing them. The screenwriting sessions with our instructor, Fred Ritzenberg, have also been invaluable. To have a vastly experienced AND working screenwriter teaching in our program has helped with my goals and vision for my stories. Be open to the changes and the criticisms. They are always offered only with good intentions.

Jacintha’s films:

Kurt Brown Doc BTS Teaser  :
“Reconnection” movie:
Trailer for “The Dance”:
“The Dance” movie:

Interview with Keith Curry, Jr. – Veteran in 18 month Filmmaking Program

Keith Curry, Jr. shares about being a U.S. Veteran, Filmmaker and student in the 18 month Filmmaking Program at FilmSchoolSF. The challenges and opportunities for Veterans to tell their stories and develop new creative careers in entertainment:

“Who really cares about veterans? They all say “Thanks for your service” but they don’t know what they are thanking me for. They don’t have a clue. But another veteran does. And the more people get to this kind of work – when you do have a voice, when you have a camera, when you work on a project and give a veteran’s point of view in that project – the more they help American population really understand what a veteran does, so people can be more engaged with us. The more veterans can pick up a camera, pick up a pen and write a screenplay or a script, the more people can really understand who we are as people.

My name is Keith Curry Jr. and it will be till the day I die but the day I raised my hand and joined the military I became a different person. My parents don’t understand me, nobody understands me. So we have to really find ways to get people to understand what we are coming from. For me that’s the most exciting gift that I can give to anybody. This is the way you can make a living, and while you are making a living you are not out breaking your back anymore, and at the same time you can apply yourself and contribute back to society by giving us a voice. That’s what fires me up.

The truth is that if you want to go to college, you either need to be very smart or play a sport and get a scholarship, or you have to get a student debt, or until recently you have to join the military and go to war and get your college paid for. So the price of my school was over 38 months of combat time. That was the deposit for my education.”

Watch the video to hear the rest of Keith’s story!

Sammy Maamar Interview with 6 month documentary filmmaking class international student

This is a recent interview with Sammy Maamar who is from Tunisia, he talks about enrolling at FilmschoolSF and his dream of making a difference in the world thru filmmaking.


Sammy: Hello, my name is Sammy Maamar, I’m from Tunisia, North Africa.

So yeah, I’ve been in San Francisco for a while. I just discovered this school, not long ago and signed up for the 6 Month Documentary Program. It’s been two months now in the program and it’s been great. It’s a hands on program. I’m doing my documentary on Community Gardens in San Francisco. Urban Community Gardens and I’ve got a lot of feedback and help from peers as well as from teachers. The facility great here, its downtown, in the heart of San Francisco. Easy to get to.

I went to the Art Institute for four years but i didn’t finish because of some financial difficulties. Also they didn’t offer any night classes versus here you can also have a professional life and go to work, 9 to 5 and then come to school and pursue your hobby or future career or whatever you want to do with this program.

The admission process was very easy, it was a couple of weeks emailing back and forth with the admission manager. It was very easy and straight forward. No problems. You just fill out the application, talk about the financial stuff and you’re good to go.

But it’s really up to you, if you want to be serious and pursue your documentary making you can do it. If you’re just going to blame others and be lazy, you’re not going to do it. It’s more up to you, it makes you more responsible to make your own films.

What i hope to achieve with my documentary is to produce something for my portfolio and master every equipment used for filmmaking, also I would like to make connections with other people that i could work together in a crew. Like your classmates, which i could contact for future projects.

I am letting myself discover that i think i’m more into camera operating and cinematography than anything else. So, I’m not really that into writing the scripts and doing fiction stories, i like more nonfiction subjects.

My dream goal is to go back to Tunisia or anywhere over there, and just touch some taboo issues and present them to the world form my own perspective and what i learned from here.

The project i have in mind, it’s never talked about in the media, are the original people of North Africa. They call them Berbers and because as you know form history, the Arabs came form the east and colonized the entire region, which caused them to lose their language and customs. I just want to retrace that culture and go talk to people who still speak Berber language and reveal their culture.

A while ago i did a geneology DNA test and i found that 83% of my genes are Berber. I have no Arab genes, so i’d like to retrace where my people come from because i don’t know. I’d like to do that. That’s a documentary I really want to make.

Maybe thats what pushed me to do a documentary program, to learn this stuff, in order for me to go back and do a state of the art documentary about that particular subject. I always encourage people to travel, anyway, but coming to San Francisco and pursuing your hobby and dream of being a Filmmaker in San Francisco, there’s nothing better than that.

First of all the school is great, its in downtown San Francisco. The city is very exciting. You’ll learn a lot on your own, you will discover yourself. You will be put in uncomfortable situations and in those situations you will discover yourself.

What film school should I go to? Interview with FilmSchoolSF graduate Julien Bettelheim

what film school should I go to or not

Read an interview with Julien Bettelheim, Graduate of FilmSchoolSF’s Digital Filmmaking Program Class 15, and maybe you’ll answer the “what film school should I go to” question for yourself

1. Tell us about your journey to find FilmSchoolSF:

I found an accelerated film school program in Berkeley shortly after I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker. The program was appealing because of its 5-weeks format, but I still could not have followed it because I was working full-time and could never get the necessary vacation days.
This led me to visit another film school. They had a night program but a more academic style and four-year degree curricula, which was not of as much interest to me after having already completed a college education.
Then, I have found FilmSchoolSF. They had the night program I was looking for, a 18-months Filmmaking course I know I could commit to, and an emphasis on the hands-on practice of the technical craft of filmmaking. In 18 months, I would get to learn, understand and practice all of the different aspects of the craft, learning effectively how to make movies, and throughout this learning experience I would be making my own movies, thus starting to be a filmmaker on day one, as opposed to only preparing to become a filmmaker. My search for a film school was over.

2. Describe the 3 most valuable learnings or accomplishments you got from being here:

Filmmaking is hard work, the kind that will take everything you have. But making films will also feel like the best job in the world, and what you make will stand out on a personal level among some of the most important things you have made in your life. If you put in the work and the sincerity, the films you make will also be among your proudest accomplishments, and the stepping stones before your films to follow.
Making a film is an enterprise, filmmaking is an art. It will stretch everyone of your muscles and bang every part of your brain. It will never let you down because you will never be done with it. If filmmaking is what you need to do, do it.

3. Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years?

I will be making a feature film in 3 years time, writing, directing and producing. I will have studied the films of the masters (and the others) long enough, and will know and understand filmmaking just enough to be able to give a singular voice to a low-budget project and drive a story and a vision to completion, to the big screen.
If it does happen to take more than 3 years, I will still be somewhere on my way, closer to this goal than I am today.

4. What would you tell aspiring Filmmakers who are considering enrolling in film school?

You stop being a film school student after graduation but you never stop being a student of Film.
Completing film school is only the start of your journey. What you will get out of the program will depend on what you have poured into it in the first place. It has to be sincerity, it has to be work, it has to be love of cinema.
If you are not looking for the school that promises to get you there but maybe does not deliver, but if instead you are looking for the school that can guarantee it will get you started, FilmSchoolSF is a great place. Going to film school is not the only way to get you further along on your filmmaking journey, but it is one of the ways.
And is FilmSchoolSF a great film school? YES!

what film school should I go to film school lessonsStill thinking on the question what film school should you go to or even if you should go to film school? Read this conversation with Ryan E. Walters, an award-winning Oregon-based cinematographer. His work has allowed him the opportunity to travel worldwide in the pursuit of telling stories that are visually compelling. His experience includes feature films, documentaries, commercials, and shooting for Comcast, TLC, Oxygen, and the Discovery Channel.

Click here for more information on FilmSchoolSF Digital Filmmaking Programs and Workshops

Student testimonial from Cameron Lockwood (Class 14) 12-Month Digital Filmmaking Program

Tell us about your journey to find California filmmaking program at FilmSchoolSF.

After two years of interning at a production studio and working as a production assistant on feature length documentaries I realized that I needed to develop a stronger background and knowledge if I wanted to take the next step in filmmaking. I researched many different schools and programs but found very few programs that offered practical experience.

After finding FilmSchoolSF in California and coming to an information session I realized that this was the perfect place for me to grow my craft and learn about the practical side of filmmaking. I immediately enrolled in a 5-week course and just one month later started the year long film program.

Describe the 3 most valuable learnings or accomplishments you got from being here.

I had a great experience at FilmSchoolSF and grew both personally and professionally. The three most valuable things that I learned/accomplished while at FilmSchoolSF were:

  • Collaboration. I learned that in order to create a successful film you
    need to collaborate from the very beginning. One must take criticisms and
    questions to heart and adjust a story in order to make it appealing to a
    broad audience of people.
  • Preparation and communication. Preparation and communication are the key
    to any successful shoot. If you are unable to communicate your vision to
    your crew then you will never be able to achieve the look/tone/feel that
    you are striving for.
  • Confidence. Upon entering FilmSchoolSF I had a reasonable amount of
    experience in the industry but never felt confident that I could run a
    shoot or feel comfortable with terminology on set. After graduating I know
    that I can work with any professional crew and have the confidence to take
    leadership roles with larger productions.

Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years?

My goal is to continue to work on my craft and write, shoot and edit as
much as I can. Currently, I am working on a Discovery Channel show as 2nd
AC and would like to progress into a 1st AC and eventually be able to
become a DP within 3 years.

What would you tell aspiring Fimmakers who are considering enrolling?

Be prepared to commit to pushing yourself and your classmates to your
limits. Filmmaking is not always easy and sometimes you will want to just
quit but lean on your classmates and the school’s faculty for help and
advice, because it is all worth it.

Cameron Lockwood (Class 14) 12-Month Digital Filmmaking Program

Short Film Workshop – Alumni Testimonial and Music Video

I received an email from a Short Film Workshop alumni last week, with a really well done music video and testimonial that I’d like to share with you. You can watch it in the link below and see the results that taking this intensive course can generate outstanding results.

If you are interested in the Short Film Workshop please use the form on this page to contact the admission team.

– Jeremiah

Hi Jeremiah,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. My name is Daniel Tantalean. I was a student at SFSDF several years ago for your documentary summer course. Your school really laid the foundation for me as a filmmaker. As I continue to progress in my career, I’m extremely thankful for the SFSDF program and the skills it taught me.

I just wanted to shared my recent work with you. I directed a music video for an R&B artist named Rickstar. I hope you can take the time to view it. I value your professional opinion. Here is the link:

“Been Around the World” music video –

Thank you for your time.

Daniel Tantalean

Testimonial from Randy Hall – Digital Filmmaking Program, Class 16

1. Tell us about your journey to find FilmSchoolSF.

I was in the midst of following my passion for digital filmmaking when I stumbled across FilmSchoolSF and took one of their one-day digital filmmaking seminars. I was hooked from the beginning, and knew this was the right place: a program rooted in *doing* film production and building your craft, not just studying it. In twelve months I would learn what I didn’t already know about digital film: not just directing, editing, lighting; but also the role of the producer, including budgeting, putting together a packet, and making your pitch. This was easily the most productive and transformative 12 months of my adult life.

2. Describe the 3 most valuable learnings or accomplishments you got from being here.

1. How to produce a film.
2. Working on a feature film. The personal network built there still pays off to this day.
3. How to write a creative brief that drives to the heart of what a client needs, not just what they want.

3. Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years?

I honestly don’t know. The environment is transforming around us so quickly, it’s hard to know what exactly I’ll be doing in the next 18 months. I know it will be behind a camera, and I know it will be visual. But whether it’s producing webisodes, corporate shoots, commercials, music videos, webcasting live events, narrative shorts, or documentaries, I know I’m prepared for any of it based on the training I got from FilmSchoolSF, the best digital film academy!

4. What would you tell aspiring Fimmakers who are considering enrolling?

If you know in your heart that you were put on Earth to tell stories, then you owe it to yourself to explore this and create yourself as a filmmaker. Don’t do it because you can; do it because you must.


Randy Hall
Filmmaker, Raconteur, Scoundrel