Short Term Practicum: Filmmaking, The Creative Process

WiebkeLead Instructor: Wiebke von Carolsfeld

Course Overview: This course aims to demystify the creative process of visual storytelling while providing the students with the basic tools to develop their own ideas into pitches, scripts and potentially films. What does it take to develop an idea into a full-fledged project? How do you find your subject? Voice? Style? What is the appropriate medium for the story you would like to tell? What is a story worth telling? And why?

Filmmaking is a highly collaborative art form and being able to work with others is essential for success in the field. The course examines the interpersonal skills necessary to building successful teams, to uniting as a group toward a common goal, being able to dispense, and receive, feedback, moving on from setbacks, allowing doubt into the process.

Finally, what does it take to actually make a film? To write a script that is doable with the resources available, to cast, to shoot, to edit? Throughout the five-week course, students will work on their own projects as well as on those of their colleagues, while receiving general instructions on the creative process of filmmaking.

Class Meeting Times: M/T/Th 10-12 & 1-3; M 3-5 (some weeks for film screenings)

Learning Goals:

  1. Understand the basics of the creative process.
  2. Learn the basic steps involved in developing and creating a film.
  3. Experience the creative process first hand, from conceiving an idea, to working through the different stages of development and production, to finally sharing your project with an audience.
  4. Develop skills of collaboration. Give notes. Receive feedback. Build consensus. Work within a group dynamic.
  5. Learn about the responsibilities of being in a leadership position; how to build a dynamic team to realize your vision within a fair, constructive and equitable work environment.
  6. Learn to support somebody else’s vision. Contribute toward a vision that is not one’s own.
  7. Learn to turn limitations in time, budget, crew into an advantage.

GEC Credit:

  • The Collaborative Project
  • Evidence: Documentation and Reality
  • Film & Media Studies
  • Theater Arts

Assignments

All students will be encouraged to keep a journal throughout the process. This is not something that will be handed in or presented to the class but will prove useful to the individual to chart their own creative journey throughout the five week course. The idea is not to have a finished product but a depository of images, sounds, epiphanies, frustrations, ideas.

There will be several short, practical assignments, mostly to be worked on in small groups. These will be time-based, visual exercises to give the students first-hand experience of creating content, collaborating with others, taking an idea and turning it into a project that can be presented to an audience.

Additionally, the students will be working on their own projects for the final presentation. What form that final project will take will depend on the student’s interest and level of experience. It may be a pitch, a staged presentation of a script, or a full-fledged video. Personal interviews will provide the opportunity to receive direct, individual feedback from the instructor, should the student so desire.

Biography of Instructor

Wiebke von Carolsfeld was born, raised and educated in Germany (University of Cologne) but has made Canada her home since 1989. Over the last twenty some years, she has worked extensively in the Canadian film industry first as a picture editor (October Gale (DGC nomination), Fugitive Pieces (DGC nomination), Eisenstein (Genie Nomination), Five Senses, then a writer and director.

After directing several award-winning shorts, Wiebke made her directorial debut with Marion Bridge (starring Molly Parker and introducing Ellen Page). The film went on to win numerous awards including the Award for Best First Feature at Toronto International Film Festival and a nomination for Outstanding Direction from the Director’s Guild of Canada. Marion Bridge played at festivals in Canada and around the world (Competition Rotterdam, Pusan, Karlovy Vary, Sydney, London, Hof) and opened to critical acclaim in Canada as well as in the US and several countries in Europe.

Since, she wrote and directed Walk With Us, a documentary about the creative process of internationally acclaimed artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, as well as STAY, a Canadian/Irish co-production, starring Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) and Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall). The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and has since played at festivals around the world. It can currently be seen on Netflix and iTunes.

Her most recent feature film as a writer, director and editor is The Saver, based on the Young Adult novel by Edeet Ravel. For her work, Wiebke received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay (Canadian Screen Awards). The film will be released theatrically in 2016.