Imagine having leading industry experts teach your students filmmaking in your classroom or studio.

I must admit I was intrigued with the idea when Elinor Actipis and Jason Tomaric from Focal Press called me about their new creation In fact, not only industry leaders, they claimed, but everyone from the executive producer of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and the 1st assistant director of "Avatar" to Emmy-winning television directors and Oscar-winning cinematographers, studios, equipment manufacturers, and network executives come into a class and lecture  students on the film industry.

WOW, quite a claim!  Is this the answer to every teachers' prayer: To have the resources available on-demand to lecture aspiring filmmakers?

I immediately fired up the computer and registered for FilmSkills to see if their claims were accurate. Now, for those of you that know me, you know that my background is NOT in TV or FILM production. Its true that I have always toyed with the idea of going to film school but never thought I could take the time it requires. From the moment I first watched the info video, (click screen below) I was hooked.


Across the bottom of their home page is listed the entire filmmaking process from writing to distribution and expertly organizes each lesson into 93 multimedia modules. These modules correspond to the various activites of filmmaking. Current modules are:

The Crew

Within each module are many sub-modules (approximately 93!) that can be selected and viewed in any order, depending on the structure of your course or program. For example, under PRE-PRODUCTION is Scheduling and Budgeting, Casting the Roles, Working with Actors, Production Design, and Technology and Equipment. Further, under each of these topics are many resources that relate to that specific topic. Again for example, under Scheduling and Budgeting is Breaking down the Script, Scheduling the Production, Scheduling the Day, Budgeting, and Insurance.

Now here is where the beauty of FilmSkills comes into play. Under any topic is a VIDEO LECTURE by Jason Tomaric, the courses creator, which includes interviews/insights/demonstrations from leading industry experts.  There is also SUPPORTING INFO which is expanded material on the topic. They dont stop there. The next tab is ON THE SET, with additional supporting material. There is a RESOURCES tab which lists recomended products such as other Focal Press titles, and most importantly, downloads for your use in class or in the studio.  In our example of Scheduling and Budgeting, you will find under RESOURCES:

A Curriculum Guide to this section
Student exercises
A sample script
A Scene Breakdown Form
A "Currency Script" for use in the exercises
and many include tests, quizzes and PowerPoint presentations

There is an INSIGHTS tab where industry experts can post blog-style, their thoughts and anecdotes. and finally within each topic is a listing of the CONTRIBUTORS.

"Our objective is to provide a real-world education of the complex world of motion picture production through a series of easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive videos, workbooks and resources. By partnering with industry leaders in the creative and technological fields, we strive to teach real, cutting edge techniques to filmmakers around the globe. We also seek to build an online community of filmmakers to help forge long-term connection between filmmakers from all disciplines", said Focal Press publisher Elinor Actipis. truly takes your students behind the screen to teach them the inner workings of the Hollywood film industry. They have partnered with the world's largest publisher of filmmaking books, Focal Press, to give you the most detailed and accurate look into one of the most secretive business in the world... the film industry.

“Filmmaking is a collaborative art,” said FilmSkills co-creator Jason Tomaric. “Working alongside the masters of the industry provides those of us in filmmaking with a career-long education. In FilmSkills we’ve recreated that collaborative atmosphere so young filmmakers can learn from the best filmmakers in the world.”

With FilmSkills, you can:
•Learn the latest film industry techniques
•Access streaming videos, illustrated instructional guides and downloadable forms, video footage and resources where and when you want them.
•Learn from experienced, working film industry professionals
•Frequently updated content
New Modules Every Month:   Just a sneak peak of some of the future subjects that Jason shared with me:
•Production Design - This series of modules takes you through the process of building sets, set dressing, working with the art department and translating the script into what you see on screen.
•Locations - Learn how to scout locations, work with location owners, unlock the power of film commissions, the roles of the Location Scout and Location Manager, and how to work within a community.
•Director's Craft - Learn the director's process of breaking down the script, storyboarding, blocking, determining ccoverage and creating a visual story.
•The Business of Film - This extensive series takes you into the executive office as you learn how the studio system works, how to work with agents and managers, how to fundraise, package a movie, develop a business plan and know how to create a production executives, financeers and audiences alike will want.
•Distribution - Learn how the Hollywood distribution system works - from film markets to film festivals, creating trailers and poster art to hiring a sales rep and preparing deliverables, it's all here.

About the creator of FilmSkills


Jason J.Tomaric is a multiple Emmy, Telly and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer. With four feature films, sixty commercials, music videos and an educational DVD series on the market, Jason's approach to filmmaking has made for a successful, fulfilling career. Jason has worked in over 20 countries as a director and has taught at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA and the New York Film Academy. Jason's book, "Filmmaking"(Focal Press) is available in bookstores worldwide.

To answer my question:  YES! FilmSkills provides resources for those new to teaching film, those who want to hone their skills, and its already used in over 40 countries and dozens of film schools.

All of us at SVN encourage you to check out the 93+ multimedia-rich modules. If you're not subscribed, you can watch preview videos and learn what each module contains. Simply click here or go to