Educational Modules

Students will receive in-depth, hands-on training across several key disciplines of filmmaking:

The above courses offer an across-the-board view of the entire filmmaking work process to students, who at the end of the first semester will be ready to make a decision on their choice of major; (i.e, the area of film in which they want to dwell deeper). In their second semester, students are encouraged to compile their own curriculum.

Besides the above mentioned practical courses, our students can choose from ELTE’s Film Aesthetics and Film History classes.

 

DIRECTOR

Great directors must be great storytellers. Our Directing program is based on the idea that one’s vision as a director is developed through practice, encouragement, critical feedback, collaboration, and a lot of practice.

A young director’s best chance to get the money for his/her first film is to present a screenplay which is sold on the condition that he/she can direct it. To achieve this and ultimately create a great film, the director must know what makes a scene work and how it should be written and edited. He or she must also be fully aware of the proper structure of the screenplay and its dramaturgical elements.

But mastering the written word is not enough. To bring the script to life, we teach our young filmmakers to tell their stories visually. We also train them to do it with a distinct and clear style. Students practice the methods of mise-en-scène, text analysis, casting, working with and leading actors, and more. They receive both instruction and positive critiques on their classwork in each of these areas. During the workshops we provide them with the necessary equipment and training to apply what they learn in real-world situations.

Directing students also learn another part of their job: running a set. This includes effectively communicating with the various on-set departments (camera, lighting, art department, costume, hair and makeup) to work together toward a clear, shared vision. Only through effective coordination and collaboration with all of these creative parties can a film realize its full potential.

In summary, our goal is for Directing students to master visual storytelling within an atmosphere that allows them to express their ideas with ever-increasing creative and technical skill.

 

CREATIVE PRODUCER – LINE PRODUCER

The creation of a proper financing structure is the key responsibility of the producer. He/she confers with other producers and puts together the co-production team. To do so, the producer needs to be well-versed in the film financing requirements of different countries, precise methods for obtaining tax and other local subsidies, and strategies for combining the various foundations and funds.

The aim of the Producing module is to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the basics of international film financing and a blueprint for how to create co-productions. Particular attention is paid to the legal and business aspects of independent filmmaking, including the basics of distribution agreements, option deals, copyrights, contract law, and other legal matters. We also examine how different deal structures affect movies.

Effective producing also requires superb communication skills, the power of persuasion, the ability to motivate, and a penchant for generating excellent ideas. The producer develops a common vision with the screenwriter and director, and acts as the motor that organizes and leads all efforts and excitement for the movie.

Our students learn the processes of pre- and post-production (including how to create financing plans, budgets, shooting schedules, call sheets, etc.), and they get to know about the duties of line producers, assistant directors, and script supervisors. During the student films our producing students will take on different tasks and in a real life situation will learn how to run and control a set.

BFA’s specialization in Creative Producing teaches students how a producer makes films possible by harnessing the above skills within the international market. They learn how to become a unifying force between the artistic, organizational, and commercial aspects of a film.

 

SCREENWRITER – DRAMATURGE

The importance of the screenplay in filmmaking cannot be overstated. To paraphrase a popular saying: it’s possible to make a bad film from a good script, but impossible to make a good film from a bad script. But even before the cameras roll, it’s nearly impossible to get financing and cast in place if the script doesn’t sizzle.

In our Screenwriting classes, students explore the writing process in depth, from concept through final draft. Using both the student’s writing and that of the masters of cinema, we discuss story structure, theme, genre, creating tension and conflict, handling exposition, storytelling through dialogue and action, and perfecting pace within well-constructed scenes, sequences, and acts.

We also cover archetypes, the hero’s journey, and other useful concepts within the world of story.

Hand-on exercises give students the opportunity to try their hand at creating characters and dramatizing conflicts in various formats, group tasks help foster their ability to create and develop stories within teams.

All of this is taught within our brand’s framework: as both an art and a business. BFA students learn to craft a screenplay that will stand on its own artistically while also distinguishing itself within a competitive marketplace — by appealing to actors, directors, producers, and investors. At the same time, they refine their skills in creating the supporting materials they’ll need to sell their script: the logline, synopsis, one-page, and more.

 

CINEMATOGRAPHER

A cinematographer creates the visual world of a film. From the first stage of pre-production, he/she acts as the creative partner of the director. During the production he/she helps to create the proper artistic and technical conditions and the visual realization of the story.

Our students learn the aesthetic, technical, and organizational aspects from first-rate cinematographers, helping them to become versatile and innovative director of photographers themselves.

Lighting is the basis of cinematography. In this module, students learn the nuances of controlling light source and shadow, and discover how to create the lighting that helps the director to tell a great story in a unique atmosphere.

But lighting is just part of the story. The heart of cinematography is composition: camera placement, framing, angles and movement, and lens choice. Together with the lighting style, color choices, and shot flow give the film life.

The cinematographer’s last task is the digital polishing, color timing of the film. Its art and technique are taught on a laptop for low-budget student films, but in preparing for professional film shootings we work in a professional post-production film studio as well.

Students get experience in preparing for and shooting on location: outside, inside, or in a studio. They are also introduced to multiple-camera shooting. The course ends after completing production cinematography exercises under the mentorship of the instructor.

Our young cinematographers serve as the directors of photography on all projects written and directed by BFA students.

 

EDITOR – SOUND ENGINEER

Editing is an art and a critical part of cinematic storytelling. The results of pre-production and production land in the editing room, where an editor assembles the footage, then uses his/her creativity to cut the movie. It is the final ‘rewrite’ of the film.

Under the mentorship of an experienced editing instructor, BFA’s Editing classes cover everything from the basic, practical components of editing to the final desired effects. We teach our students the artistic and aesthetic aspects of editing along with the technical side. In addition to covering the basics (cutting shots, scene construction, in and out points, title sequences, transitions, pacing, rhythm, continuity, color correction, and more), we place a special emphasis on communication with the director during production.

To further develop the skills they learn in class, students edit films directed by our Directing students. During the editing of student films, we focus on the use of both traditional and non-conventional editing techniques.

In this module, we also explore the world of sound in film — a world whose importance is emphasized by the use of the word ‘audience’ to refer to the viewing public. Designing the audio elements of the film helps the picture in myriad ways, and that design has to be in complete harmony with the editing, the cinematography, and the storytelling style of the director.

We use our student films to teach the mastery of sound recording (including microphones, space acoustics, and handling on-location problems) and sound post-production (including Foley, dubbing, and effect fundamentals), and we illustrate the importance of all of these in effective storytelling. The course also covers the most complex part of sound post-production: the sound mixing. In a professional sound-mixing studio, our students learn from a sound engineer about the usage of different sound effects and music.

 

ANALYSIS OF FILM LANGUAGE FROM THE FILMMAKER’S POINT OF VIEW

It is essential for filmmakers to understand story structure, dramaturgical principles, and the background of both artistic and technical choices. That’s what this course is all about.

Via in-class film screenings and follow-up discussions and presentations, this class analyzes different film structures and the trend-setting elements of cinema. Students learn how to convey crucial information visually and how to enhance drama through the structure of cause and effect. They also learn what makes scenes and movies credible and complex.

Students get to know how a cinematographer augments the vision of the director and how a story is told by using images without dialogue. The different cinematographic styles and tasks are illustrated through specific examples.

By analyzing film rhythm, students will learn about the editing techniques that best match different dramatic structures. The class will see examples of dramatic montage, parallel editing, and excitement-increasing editing.

When examining sound and music, the focus is on their dramatic power and their role in storytelling and character forming.

 

SCREENWRITING BY KAROL HOEFFNER, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT PROFESSOR AT THE BUDAPEST FILM ACADEMY

Writing a feature screenplay

Course goal:

Building on the skills developed in SCWR 220 (Beginning Screenwriting), students will take a fully developed treatment for a feature-length screenplay and turn it into a completed rough first draft. We will explore long form narrative in a writer workshop that focuses on character development, scene construction, dialogue and story structure. A completed draft is required to receive a passing grade in the course.

Learning objectives:

  • Students will refine their knowledge of screenplay structure as it applies to acts sequences and scenes.
  • Students will practice visual storytelling techniques.
  • Students will expand their knowledge of scene writing and construction, including
  • action, atmosphere, and dialogue.
  • Students will refine the practice of giving and receiving notes from the professor and classmates, as well as incorporating them into their work.
  • Students will and utilize the principles of character in terms of dramatic roles and plot progression.
  • Students will increase their ability to use standard screenplay format in narrative style.
  • Students will deepen their understanding of professional standards and expectations for screenwriters “in the real world.

Course outcomes:

A completed rough first draft of a long form screenplay

Process:

This course will focus on building the skill set necessary to become a working writer. Because the class is largely based on a workshop environment, participation is key. Constructive criticism and feedback are required from each student. One of the most valuable aspects of being in a workshop class is to share ideas with other writers, to support and learn from one another as we delve into the creative process. As the writer, you are in the unique position of taking the suggestions that make sense to you and discarding the rest. Use criticism to spur you to greater work, to create a richer screenplay. And when it is your turn to comment, offer only constructive criticism. Be honest; be supportive; be kind.

Feature film adaptation

Course Objectives and Goals:

Adaptations of existing novels, plays, short stories and historical events have long been important sources for Hollywood in creating feature films for screen and television. This course explores the process for choosing and adapting pre-existing source material to the screen. Through careful analysis, students will study how others have solved the problems of adaptation. By examining what works and what does not work in various adaptations, students will learn how to approach source material and develop their own unique perspective as they develop screenplays based on adapted sources.

The Students will:

  • Develop critical skills in analyzing the process of adapting one medium to another and the influence of film and television on culture and vice versa
  • Improve oral presentation skills and demonstrate the ability to pitch story ideas and projects in a simulated industry/professional setting
  • Develop entrepreneurial skills through creating a portfolio of work (conceptualization guides) that could be pitched to producers, managers, agents, studios cable outlets and networks.
  • Develop a personal strategy for discovering and choosing “adaptable” material
  • Demonstrate mastery of story development, character development, storytelling structure and cinematic style through writing the first act of a feature length film or a thirty-minute short film based on another medium.

Assignments are expected to be delivered on time and to be written in a professional manner. All scripted work must be in standard screenplay format. The work we do together in class is essential; therefore, it is of utmost importance to attend class and to be on time.

 

Upon request we will provide further details about these courses.