The San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking is thrilled to announced that it has been approved to participate in all Federal Student Financial Aid Programs by the Department of Education. Students who are accepted into the Digital Filmmaking Program are now eligible to receive Title IV funding, including Pell Grants and federal loans. FilmSchoolSF President and Co-Founder, Jeremiah Birnbaum, says "Last year we became a nationally accredited institution and this year we are able to offer financial aid. With our students having access to federal grants and low cost loans, we continue to enhance and improve the FilmSchoolSF experience."
FilmSchoolSF is delighted to announce that award-winning writer/producer Fred Ritzenberg has joined the faculty. Fred has been in the film business for over twenty-five years, writing and producing motion pictures. His latest feature, the acclaimed film, ZAYTOUN, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before being distributed worldwide.
Sammy: Hello, my name is Sammy Maamar, I'm from Tunisia, North Africa. We just had the revolution in 2011. Everybody knows Tunisia now, it was unknown before that happened. No oil or anything. I'm just kidding. 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.
Be Organized - This may sound obvious but I would say that most filmmakers, especially beginners, begin production without being truly organized. There is an old adage in filmmaking, "pre-production = production." What this means is that the more you prepare BEFORE you start shooting, the better the shoot will be and the better the film will be. Make sure your shot list and shooting schedule are detailed and real. If you're trying to film 10 locations in two days or get 50 shots in one day - you're fooling yourself. Do your homework and have a plan that is doable and will lead to success. And really sweat every detail. Scout your locations at different times of the day and decide when the light is best, and know where the best parking is and, if you're shooting outside, where the closest restroom is located. Create overhead diagrams of camera and lighting set-ups for every scene. Maybe use the phone on your camera to create a digital storyboard. If the scene calls for an actor to throw red wine in another actors face, make sure you have at least three sets of the same clothes for the lucky actor getting his face drenched so that you can do multiple takes. Good filmmaking is in the preparation.
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 15-months Filmmaking course I know I could commit to, and an emphasis on the hands-on practice of the technical craft of filmmaking. In 15 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.
We are proud and delighted to officially announce that the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking has become a nationally accredited school. After more than two years of work, the Council on Occupation Education (COE), one of only a handful of national accrediting organizations recognized by the US Department of Education, certified that FilmSchoolSF satisfied all the requirements to become an accredited institution. The mission of the COE is "assuring quality and integrity in career and technical education," and FilmSchoolSF is honored to be a member of their family of accredited schools.
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.
One of the things I love about Thanksgiving is how we are encouraged to focus on all we have – not what we lack. To be grateful for the wonderful people in our lives and all the blessings – both tangible and intangible – we possess. One thing I ‘m grateful for is that I found my love of filmmaking early and that I have had the opportunity to successfully pursue my passion. I believe making films is a privilege and whenever I finish a day of shooting, I make sure to personally thank everyone on set for their work and contribution. Saying “thank you” is powerful when it comes from the heart.