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Courses in Filmmaking →
Course #1:
Basic filmmaking (pre-production)
Course #2:
Practical narrative film editing
Course #3:
Film scoring for dramatic scenes
Script writing for high school dramas
Poser / DAZ Studio animation

Wikiversity Film School
The Courses in
Narrative Film Production

Click on the course name to begin the course. →

Note: These courses are only for dramatic motion pictures (movies with a script and dialog).
These courses are not for documentaries, event video, corporate video, educational programs, or multimedia.

Anyone can learn to be a filmmaker

Filmmaking is easy
Filmmaking is not rocket science. Everything about filmmaking is extremely easy to learn. Anyone can do it if they wish.
The challenge of learning filmmaking
The challenge is filmmaking requires learning a huge number of skills. Each skill is easy to learn but the number of things you must learn is huge.
If you want to be an independent filmmaker, you must learn the equivalent of 20 different careers. Even if you are a fast learner, it can take you years to learn everything.
Telling a story
In a dramatic motion picture, the story is told by many people. The cinematographer tells the story with the camera. The lighting person tells the story with lighting. The film composer tells the story with music. The actors tell the story with action and dialog. The editor tells the story with editing. The sound designer tells the story with sound.
You have to learn all of this
And as an independent filmmaker, you must learn all of these skills.
If you fail to learn even one of these skills, people will notice and be turned off by your movie. You must learn everything!!!!

Film School Preparatory

Wikiversity Film School is a preparatory school for budding filmmakers who plan to go to film school or take classes in motion picture production.
Each year, USC Film School receives 800 applicants to fill just 50 undergraduate positions.
We teach you the things that film schools expect you to know before you get to film school so that you can have a base to work from when you first start film-school.

Learning filmmaking software

Intel processor
First, you need to do is learn about the computer software for filmmaking. See below for a list of the software you will need. Most is free!
Designed for the Macintosh
The Film Scoring course is designed for Apple's GarageBand with Jam Pack: Symphony Orchestra
The Film Editing course is designed for Apple's Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.
Where possible, free Linux software is listed.
However, there is still no standard movie file format for Linux and nothing which matches the quality and usefulness of Apple's GarageBand for film scoring.
Therefore, Linux is currently not a good choice for filmmakers.

What do we do?

Make a tiny movie
In the filmmaking class, we create a short motion picture. It is less than a minute long so it is very simple.
But before you complete the animatic for the movie, you will also need to learn film editing and film scoring.

Where to start?

Filmmaking, editing, and scoring
Budding filmmakers should start with the basic filmmaking course. For the first lesson, you will format a very short motion picture script. After that, take the pop quiz where you tell me how you would begin to film this scene.
If you want to be a film composer (but you are not a musician), screen writer, or a film editor, you can go directly to the courses in film editing or film scoring or the script writing exercise.
If you are a musician who wants to be a film composer, click here.

Note: These courses are designed for the Macintosh computer.


These filmmaking courses are free. The only requirement is you submit your homework assignments so others can benefit. (see right)
I always try to select programs which are free.

Sharing your work

Your homework assignments
Your completed assignments must be submitted under the Free Documentation License or as Public Domain.
This allows what you have learned to be shared by others.

Free Software used at Wikiversity Film School

Free Filmmaking Software at Wikiversity Film School

There is some of free software used at Wikiversity Film School. Sometimes, this software is demo versions or simplified versions of software but this is good enough to complete these lessons. Using free software, you can learn a tremendous amount about filmmaking.

FrameForge 3D Studio Free Demo Version

Basic filmmaking (pre-production)
The heart of the Wikiversity Film School's basic filmmaking course (pre-production) is FrameForge 3D Studio 2 Demo Version. This is the most educational program used at Wikiversity Film School. And the demo version is free for both the Macintosh and Windows operating system.
This program simulates the motion picture camera, the movie set, and the actors. The program is useful for experimenting with the different lenses on your motion picture camera. And the final output of FrameForge 3D Studio 2 Demo Version is completely frame accurate (including depth of field effects) ready to give your cinematographer for creating all the shots of your movie.
The free demo version is limited to 20 uses. Other limitations apply. However, this is more than enough to complete your assignments at Wikiversity Film School. Download this free program today and begin learning how to use it.

Apple's GarageBand

Film Scoring
All film scoring lessons at Wikiversity Film School can be done using Apple's GarageBand which is free with each new Macintosh PC.
In addition to a midi program like GarageBand, you will also need a good selection of musical instruments for the symphony orchestra. Some musical software instruments of the symphony orchestra for GarageBand are free (such as the packages from Boldt) and some are not. I recommend Apple's Jam Pack:Symphony Orchestra. I have not tried Apple's new Jam Pack for voices which should also be useful.
  • Filmmakers should NOT use Apple's Logic 7 which is poorly designed and exceedingly awkward. I have not tried version 8 yet.
  • I do not know what to recommend for Windows.

Film Dailies

Starting in 2009, Wikiversity Film School will have a simple course in 3D animation. This will use the free programs of DAZ Studio and Bryce 5.5.
If you have Poser and Vue, you can use those programs but they are not free.
DAZ Studio and Bryce take time to learn so if you are interested in working with 3D, you should download these free programs and begin to learn them.

Other useful programs
  • ArtRage 2.5 Starter Edition is a free paint program used for matte painting and creating the movie poster. This is a simple and fun artistic painting program. Feels very natural. Extremely useful. If you need any kind of digital painting with traditional artist materials, this is your first choice. This is the free version which is fully working but more limited than the full version which is also remarkably inexpensive.
  • GIMP is a free paint program comparable to Adobe Photoshop. Surprisingly mature program but definitely not as easy to use as Photoshop. Requires X-11. If you do not have Adobe Photoshop 4 or later, this program is absolutely necessary for some of the classes at Wikiversity Film School.
  • Audacity is a free useful utility for working with audio and converting audio to OGG files. It is a bit awkward but it is free.
  • Tux Paint is a free fun paint program for kids. It has the added advantage of using rubber stamps and creating matte paintings easily. Has the unique feature of doing rough storyboards with special storyboard artwork. Also useful for one of the lessons about learning matte painting at Wikiversity Film School for kids.

Where to begin?

  • The most important course of all is film scoring. You will need the Film Scoring Course to complete the other two courses.

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this filmmaking class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here.

External links

NOT RECOMMENDED for these lessons
As far as I know, currently none of the programs listed below is compatible with the disks used in these lessons. -- Robert Elliott, your Instructor
  • Musix - A multimedia Linux distro (music and video)
  • Jashaka - comprehensive open source player and editor - "Powering the new Hollywood"
  • VirtualDub - Open source nonlinear editor with recent release
  • FSF - list of free video editing tools
  • Avidemux - open source video editor