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School’s in Session!

The following review is copied and pasted from my Greg’s Toolkit December 2010 article in www.christianvideomag.com:

I’ve written a column in this magazine since its inception. In many instances (including the little blurb bio at the end) I made mention to the fact that I had no formal training. All that I’ve learned has been through trial and error and/or tutorials, books, and blogs, etc. This month I’ve had to amend the blurb, because school is in session. That’s right. I’m going to school. And I’d love to tell you where I landed.

For some time, and funny as it may be, I prided myself in having no formal training. At the same time, I earnestly yearned to enroll somewhere to study filmmaking. This is because I believe that we should always strive to make better and more quality films that have a lasting impact. Formal education can make a real difference; but, where to enroll? There are many good places to learn, but they were simply out of the question for me, and I suppose for some of you, too. I can’t simply uproot and move my family to some campus and go through college again. It’s not feasible for me. I thought about taking some classes at a local college, but again, the cost factor was intimidating. To pay such prices per class, and possibly not learn much until having to ante up for a later class? No thanks. If there was only something online that I could work on from home (at my own pace), that would certainly be an answer.  That’s what I needed. I looked into a few options – only to find the same thing – too expensive for a narrow scope approach. Then I came across my answer – Lights Film School (http://lightsfilmschool.com).

Lights offered all of the features that I was looking for. Number one, on my mind and yours too probably, is the pricing. Lights is extremely affordable, and I say affordable because the product is anything but cheap. As I write, their website states the course is “now being offered for 50% off our regular enrollment fee of $600 and is now being offered for only $299 (USD) (a full $300 discount).” The value in what you get for their unbelievable low price goes way beyond anything I thought was possible as I shopped around for a place of learning.  It’s a bargain! A real steal! 

The scope was a big selling point for me as well. I wanted something broad that would give me an understanding of the many different skills needed. Lights has designed a comprehensive 8 module film course that allows students to systematically work through the different areas of the filmmaking process. The 8 modules of their course are: 1. INTRODUCTION TO FILMMAKING & ONLINE LEARNING, 2. SCREENWRITING, 3. DIRECTING, 4. CINEMATOGRAPHY, 5. SOUND DESIGN, 6. EDITING, 7. DOCUMENTARY, 8. FILM DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING. This all-encompassing syllabus is tailor-made for people like me, and if you’re reading this magazine, probably you as well.

I also love that Lights is not simply a theory based school. They provide a hands-on, practical learning environment. When you enroll, you’ll learn about their philosophy of “outcomes based” learning, which differs from the traditional approach of objective based institutions. Simply put, “objective based learning focuses on providing opportunity for learning while outcomes based learning focuses on how learning is used.” With a limited time scale and an online structure, their model is much better than traditional models.

I am still a student and have much of the course ahead of me yet to be completed. However, I can already say that I genuinely appreciate the hard work and resources that have gone into making Lights possible. So far, I’ve learned a wealth of information and ideas on storytelling, which is invaluable to me. I have been challenged through the assignments, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The personal attention given each student is also such a positive aspect of their educational system.  The Student Grading Center “acts as a collective learning experience for all of the students in our school. It’s a great way to learn from other beginners´ mistakes.”  It’s a true community of like-minded folks, with an international flair.  At a live online Lab chat conducted recently, there were students from Italy, Kenya, Canada, and the USA. We, as students, are able to see what others have done and learn from them and the instructor’s reviews of each assignment. Constructive feedback is a necessity in any work of quality substance. This is provided when you enroll in the course.

The course is a tremendous resource. A buddy of mine, who has a college degree in the same field, mentioned to me that he had the same assignment in his college course that I just completed at Lights. Lights will point you in the right direction and expose you to great films and interviews that compliment the subjects being taught, as well as software and other online tools that will aid in the process. Upon completion you will receive a certificate, but even more importantly you will literally embark on a journey of a life-long learning and refining the craft and powerful art form that is filmmaking.

I’m so glad that I enrolled. I look forward to working hard through this course and gaining so much at the same time.  For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.  How about for you? Give yourself a Christmas present you’ve been wanting (or needing). Or make your New Year’s resolution be the completion of this course. It will be such a benefit to you in your filmmaking aspirations.


http://lightsfilmschool.com

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  1. CynDaVaz
    September 27, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Can you elaborate on how the rest of the course went for you? I’ve been researching it but can’t find much information beyond what’s offered on their website.

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