Chicago Filmmakers offers college-level classes in film and video production. For newcomers, we recommend starting with Digital Moviemaking for a broad overview of the production process, then taking classes in various disciplines that interest you. Persons with experience in filmmaking may further their training with specialized courses and workshops. In either case, you will find a quality education similar to those found at accredited schools and universities, but for a fraction of the time and cost. Plus, you can become part of a filmmaking community that can support and sustain you for many projects to come. 


Please read our Class Registration Policies for more information.  


Upcoming Classes


Want to translate your idea into a feature film? This course covers the fundamentals of writing a feature-length screenplay and is designed for beginning students and writers. Through screenings, outside readings, discussion, and critiques, students will engage with such issues as character development, dialogue, structure, narrative progression, and what to do with a finished screenplay. Students should use this course as a springboard towards generating the first draft of a feature-length screenplay.
8 weeks: February 3 - March 24 // Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tuition: $395/380 members
Limit: 10 students
Instructor: Paul Peditto

This is our basic production course designed to cover key concepts and practices for making a film or video project. Topics include a thorough introduction to the professional DV camera, important aspects of lighting, sound, shot composition, camera movement, visual storytelling devices, working as a filmmaking crew, and editing. In-class demonstrations and exercises will allow students to work collaboratively on group projects as a digital cinema team. Prerequisite: Basic Macintosh computer literacy.
6 weeks: February 14 - March 21 // Saturdays, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Tuition: $595/580 members
Limit: 12 students
Instructor: Bryan McHenry

Achieve a million-dollar glow without a big budget! Creating great moving images is an art by itself. Learn how to use cameras and lights for a variety of applications. Digital camera operations will be examined in detail with an emphasis on imaging devices, lens options, shooting techniques, 16mm comparisons, and technical and aesthetic differences. Lighting fundamentals will incorporate camera strategies with the 3-point lighting philosophy and classic lighting styles. Students will gain proficiency on digital video cameras, complete several lighting exercises in class, and learn how to set up shots with a minimum of equipment and time. Prerequisite: None, but Digital Filmmaking or HD Camera Seminar are recommended.
6 weeks: February 23 - March 30 // Mondays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tuition: $325/310 members
Limit: 12 students
Instructor: Casey Puccini

Apple's digital nonlinear editing software has long been used by professional editors around the world. This course will provide students instruction on the complete process of digital editing on Final Cut Pro X, from logging footage to mastering onto DVD. Topics covered include basic editing, transitions, titling, sound, filter usage, and aesthetics. Students may sign up for 10 hours outside of class to practice during regular business hours. No previous editing experience is required. Prerequisite: Basic Macintosh computer literacy.
5 weeks: February 24 – March 24 // Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tuition: $395/380 members
Limit: 6 students
Instructor: Jillian Hansen Lewis

This course will cover basic elements of directing actors for the camera, including aesthetics, tone, text analysis, and controlling dramatic aspects of film through acting. The relationship between the director and the actor will be emphasized: building effective communication, evaluating performance, and understanding the rehearsal process from both ends. Students will work in groups to audition and cast actors, rehearse and plan the execution of a scene with scripts, floor plans, and blocking; and shoot scenes for evaluation.

6 weeks: March 5 – April 9 // Thursdays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tuition: $365/350 Members
Limit: 8 students
Instructor: Stephen Cone


Recording clean audio on location is a tricky job and often the Achilles' heel to many low budget productions. This workshop will cover audio recording and microphone techniques using professional microphones and state of the art flash memory audio recorders. Learn various recording techniques such as recording solo and group musical performances, interviews, sound effects and background room-tone, as well as sync and non-sync dialog for film and video. Topics such as microphone choice, booming, level adjustment, monitoring, sound physics, and alternative creative tools will be covered. Students will create an audio project using multi-track, timeline based editing software. This workshop is designed to bring professional production values audio/visual work and is perfect for film and video makers, musicians, journalists, and artists.
March 22 // Sunday, 11am - 5pm 
Tuition: $145/130 Members
Limit: 6 students
Instructor: Adrian Anguiano

Come learn new format used by industry professionals and independent filmmakers alike. This technology is now becoming available at the Prosumer and consumer level. Demand for 4K content is on the rise. We will cover all the aspects of 4K video: Development, Pre-production, Production, Post and Exhibition. Topics include purchase/rental of cameras, software, and displays. The workshop will discuss different cameras and compare shooting formats, including UHD, DCI, and RAW. Topics include lenses, compression, lighting and production design issues and new post-production problems and solutions. We will demonstrate 4K acquisition for Documentaries, corporate and Narrative.  

March 28 // Saturday, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $145/130 members
Limit: 12 students
Instructor: Chris Peppey







Upcoming Shows

Sat, 02/07/2015 - 8:00pm
Wed, 02/11/2015 - 6:30pm
Sun, 02/22/2015 - 7:00pm
Sat, 03/07/2015 - 8:00pm
Fri, 03/13/2015 - 8:00pm
Sat, 03/14/2015 - 7:00pm
Wed, 03/18/2015 - 6:30pm