Program Overview

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Students gain proficiency in the skills and crafts of filmmaking in a hands-on environment, focusing on screenwriting, directing, producing, and post production (editing, mixing, music and delivery). In the first three semesters each student produces, writes, directs and crews on several short films. In the fourth semester students form production teams. Each team produces a Motion Picture Production Final Project for their professional portfolio, film festival entry, or Internet distribution. Students are introduced to the many different formats currently available in film and digital. At KD Conservatory, all “films” are produced in the digital format as the digital camera’s ease of use allows students to delve deeper into filmmaking without the burden and complexities of shooting on film. Preparing for the realities of the marketplace and the business of filmmaking is fortified with an understanding of how the industry works for independent films, the major studios, over the air and cable TV networks as well as commercials, industrials, Web based productions and other mediums. An emphasis is placed on students attaining proficiency in the basic skills and crafts of filmmaking needed for entry into the film industry.


Teach students a proficiency in the basic skills and crafts of filmmaking, providing them potential opportunities for entering the film industry. Equip students with the procedural processes and skills to make quality short films culminating with a Motion Picture Production Final Project in the fourth semester. Prepare students for the reality of the marketplace for dream projects as well as films made to fit a genre by teaching the business of filmmaking and how the industry works for independent films, the major studios, and networks as well as commercials, industrials, Web based productions and other mediums.

First Semester – 15 weeks

The first semester courses give students an overview of all aspects of filmmaking including: writing, directing, producing, casting, editing, post-production, distribution, sales and marketing, plus how to use a digital camera and the basics of cinematography and lighting. Mac computers and industry specific software used in screenwriting and editing are covered as well as other professional equipment used in filmmaking. Students learn camera techniques, directing and basic production and make several very short films and/or simple exercises in the digital format. These hands-on courses teach students to work both independently and collaboratively in a high-pressure creative environment that simulates professional filmmaking. Courses cover the basics of producing and how the industry works for independent films and the major studios, TV and cable networks as well as commercials, industrials, Web based productions and other moving image industries. To provide students with a basic understanding of the marketplace realities of distribution, examples including films made to fit a genre and dream projects are explored. Emphasis is placed on the creative process, the study of narrative literature, film analysis and the history of film.

Second Semester – 15 weeks

Building on the fundamental skill set developed in the first semester, students now broaden and intensify their training by investigating more advanced creative and technical approaches to fiction and non-fiction filmmaking. Assigned exercises progress towards more substantial personal projects and simple ideas are developed as students work independently and collaboratively to produce more complex and sophisticated work. Human Biology class helps students better understand the human body, the primary tool of the actor. The foundation of physical production, scheduling and budgeting, is taught using industry standard software such as Gorilla Scheduling and Budgeting.

Third Semester – 15 weeks

Technique and aesthetic converge in the third semester as the focus centers on production. To this end, filmmakers are pushed to expand their skill set to include tools for more nuanced control over the story telling process. The collaborative process by which Director and Actor bring a performance to life, and the power of a well-crafted soundtrack to influence emotional response are among the topics explored. Student filmmakers will also delve deeper into the Producer’s domain to reveal the wide spectrum of producing possibilities, from creative catalyst to organizational wizard or inventive entrepreneur as well as public speaking. A colloquium course provides a forum to address specific issues that arise and is supplemented with guest speakers on various industry topics such as art direction and costume design. Students will continue to hone their screenwriting craft, generating several short scripts while considering advanced topics in narrative storytelling. By the end of the semester, each student is encouraged to submit a screenplay for production as one of the Motion Picture Production Final Projects.

Fourth Semester – 15 weeks

The cumulative knowledge and experience garnered throughout this program is the foundation for the Motion Picture Production Final Projects. These projects are approved and selected by the faculty. Students collaborate on these projects, forming all the positions of a complete film crew, pre-production through post-production. These projects then become the centerpieces for a real-world study of the business of film. Courses cover contracts, marketing, distribution and the creative use of cinematography to shape mood and tone. Insight into human behavior, gained through Psychology, will prove useful when dealing with cast and crew in the pressure-filled environment of the working set. The colloquium provides a discussion format, including guest speakers, to address specific issues that arise along the way. The ins and outs of submitting films to festivals (students may qualify for an internship at one of the film festivals in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area) as well as marketing and selling films to studios, networks, independently, and on the Internet, will be covered this semester. A unique Advanced Development course uses the skills learned from previous semesters to create a production plan for projects developed after graduation or to concentrate on furthering their skills in the discipline they prefer, while a companion series of lectures assists students in the transition from academia to the professional world.

View our Alumni Success Stories to see how we have helped others achieve their dreams, and get a glimpse of the career path that is waiting for you.

For more information on the Motion Picture Production Degree Program contact a representative at (469) 364-9638. KD Studio offers a variety of Accredited Degree Programs, Short Courses, Summer Camps and Workshops designed to hone your skills, develop your talent, and prepare you for a successful career in entertainment.

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