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2021-2022 Dubai program 
the making of a short fil
from story idea through post-production

Beginning Level


(open to beginners)

  • Hollywood Paradigm (three-act story structure) 

  1. ACT I (Set-up): first 10 min., Inciting Incident, Plot Point I

  2. ACT II (Confrontation): Pitch Point I, Midpoint, Pitch Point II, Plot Point II 

  3. ACT III (Resolution): Crisis, Climax, Obligatory Scene, last scene (slow curtain)

  • action-driven vs. character-driven story

  • scene structure

  • text analysis

  1. types of conflict

  2. text & subtext

  3. beats

  4. dramatic arc 

  5. shift of power

  • character development and analysis

  1. conscious goal vs unconscious desire

  2. characterization vs. deep character

  3. character flaw

  4. back-story, character flaw, and story plot causal correlation

  5. given circumstances & character's emotional charge

  • functions of dialogue

  • script formatting

  • writing exercises  

  • script formatting 

  • the business of screenwriting (how to get an agent and sell your screenplay)

    ROBERT TUTAK, MFA director, professor of film at the City University of New York



(required: Screenwriting or equivalent)

  • directing the camera

  • grammar of the film language

  • image sizes and camera distances 

  • in-depth vs. flat frame composition 

  • visual emphasis and de-emphasis

  • 180-degree rule

  • scene coverage with a shifting line of action

  • master shot with covering angles

  • overlapping action

  • development of a non-dialogue story

  • story interpretation

  • character development

  • blocking the scene

    ROBERT TUTAK, MFA director, professor of film at the City University of New York


(open to beginners)

  • digital cinematography: tools, techniques, and workflow

  • types of cameras​ & camera sensors 

  • camera set-up & operations 

  • frame rates & aspect ratios

  • lenses 

  • lighting instruments and gear

  • lighting terminology

  • exposure 

  • color & aspects of lighting:

  1. hard & soft light

  2. motivated light

  3. direction, intensity, texture

  4. lighting practicals

  5. lighting through window

  6. using available lighting

  • basic lighting techniques & setups

  • hands-on lighting exercises: three-point lighting (key, fill, back) 

  • grammar of the film language:

  1. image sizes and distances

  2. frame composition (in-deph vs. flat)

  3. 180-degree rule

  4. types of camera movements

  5. master shot with covering angles

  • visual styles

  • working with the director on pre-vizualisation 



(required: Directing 1, Cinematography 1 or prior experience)

Film Preproduction:

  • story development

  • casting

  • location scouting

  • pre-visualization

  • budgeting & scheduling

  • film crew functions

Principal Photography

  • blocking

  • lighting

  • shooting

  • working on the set: crew collaboration, set rules and ethos

Film Post-Production:

  • editing hardware & software operations

  • basic picture editing techniques

  • editing the non-dialogue film project

  • elements of sound design

  • color grading

    ROBERT TUTAK, directing, editing
    YANN SEWERYN, cinematography, color grading
    ELLA SLOBODA, acting


(open to beginners)

  • Study The Method: the most prominent acting technique in the U. S., as taught at the New York City's legendary ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL. Taught by ELLA SLOBODA, the graduate of the ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL. 

  • Learn on-camera and on-stage acting techniques

  • Do monologues

  • Act in scenes directed and critiqued by the instructor

  • Basic concepts covered:

  1. The Method vs. the classical style (inside-out vs. outside-in technique) 

  2. being in the moment  

  3. acting vs. being

  4. effective memory & censor memory

  5. psychological destination vs. physical destination

  6. given circumstances & objective

  7. psychological gesture

  8. playing from yourself vs. playing yourself

  • basic techniques and exercises:

  1. Relaxation, Concentration, Observation, and Sense Memory exercises

  2. Body Work: exploring the "subtle" or "kinesthetic" body to help actors integrate mind and body and prevent "talking heads"

  3. Basic Sensory: exploring sensations, people, places, tastes, smells, music, and objects

  4. Sensory Monologue: learning to speak clearly and communicate through deep and unexpected emotion

  5. Sensory Notebook: keeping a sensory exercise notebook to help students realize what each exercise does for them; it serves as a reference when implementing the exercises into a scene work

  6. Exploring Writing: writing assignments designed to help students uncover the “hidden self” and bring to the forefront people, places, objects, sensations, and events that should be explored in sensory class

  7. the art of the face

  8. the voice and the breath

  9. the inner monologue

  10. listening exercises

  11. camera as partner

  12. monologue with substitution

  13. speaking to the lens

  14. creating an imaginary place 

  15. improvisation

  16. Scene Work (A): 
    Sensory specific scene work: working on short scenes that call for strong sensory elements; incorporate elements sensory into scene work

  17. Scene Work (B): 
    Need Exercises: learning to bring up a strong emotional need by tapping into one’s own present need, through the use of sensory work, and by using an "as if"

  18. Meisner Training: exercises designed to help students be & stay in contact with a scene partner, learn to work moment to moment, understand public solitude, and learn to follow one’s impulses

ELLA SLOBODA, actor, acting coach, graduate of the renowned ACTORS STUDIO DRAMA SCHOOL in New York City


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Directing I
Cinematography 1
Film Production 1
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