Master Class: Filmmaking

Understanding how films are envisioned, made, and distributed is an important aspect of being a successful film commissioner.

This course examines topics such as finding and using material, working with writers, raising financing, getting a green light, shooting a movie, post production, distribution and marketing, and the future of the industry as it relates to technology — all from the perspective of the producer.

This course was developed by Dale M. Pollock. Dale M. Pollock was born in Cleveland, Ohio, earned a BA in Anthropology from Brandeis University in 1972 and eventually earned his masters degree in communications from San Jose State University.

Master Class: Filmmaking

In 1977, he began his career writing for Daily Variety. He became the head film critic for the paper until he was hired by the Los Angeles Times to be their chief entertainment correspondent. He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in the early 1980s while at the LA Times and also wrote Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, the biography of filmmaker George Lucas in 1984.

In 1985, Pollock joined David Geffen’s company as a development executive. He joined A&M films a year later as vice president in charge of production, and was named president in 1990. He led the company to financial and critical success, producing such films as The Beast, A Midnight Clear and Mrs. Winterbourne. Pollock ran his own film company Peak Productions for 10 years, for which he produced the box office hit Set It Off.

In 1999 he became Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the (then) North Carolina School of the Arts. Pollock stepped down from being Dean in late 2006 and is currently Professor of Cinema Studies at UNCSA.

Dale writes and speaks frequently about film at schools, conferences and festivals around the world. He was awarded the honor of an Endowed Professorship in Film in his name at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, and is a 2016 recipient of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

Chapter One: Filmmaking – An Introduction

In this chapter we’ll look at the very beginning of a project: looking for the correct literary material to conform into a visual medium.

Chapter Two: Working With Writers

Chapter Three: Raising Financing

Once you have the perfect literary content, the next major step in lifting a production off the ground is raising financing.

Chapter Four: Getting a Green LIght

There is no quantifiable way of determining the best time to try to sell a project, since the marketplace is a constantly evolving entity that has its own rhythms, moods and needs. Gross-out comedies may be successful one year, and just as quickly fall out of favor.

Hollywood is littered with the failed careers of those who tried to chase a trend, or capitalize on a popular movement that has dissipated in the (minimum of one) year it takes to plan, shoot, edit and release a movie.

Trying to tie a submission to a genre which is hot at the moment is usually a doomed strategy, because the moment will pass, and that which is now hot is later not.

Chapter Five: Shooting the Movie

Once a script is chosen and secured, crew are in place and jobs are performed, the movie can actually be shot.

Chapter Six: Post Production

The work on set duesn’t conclude once the director yells “That’s a wrap!” A series of individuals devloted to post production pick up the reigns and finese every aspect of the film, from its editing to sound design, its color correction to its titles.

Chapter Seven: Distribution & Marketing

Once a film is completed, it enters another major phase: that of distribution and marketing.

Master Class: Filmmaking
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