10 Free Learning Resources for Filmmakers During Lockdown

Full lockdown in the UK officially began on the 23rd March 2020. While some people may feel the need to escape through watching films and television shows, others may see this time as an opportunity to develop their skills.

Fortunately, there are a variety of courses available for filmmakers – and in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, many organisations have made their content free to access.

We’ve curated a list of ten free learning resources for cinephiles and filmmakers alike to delve into during lockdown.

Mark Cousin’s 40 Days To Learn Film

To help aspiring filmmakers and cinephiles, film historian and filmmaker Mark Cousins has uploaded an extensive two and a half-hour lecture titled 40 Days To Learn Film. More a visual-essay style lecture than a typical film course, you can watch it on Vimeo.

Getting Your Film off the Ground with Michigan State University

This course is an introduction to many of the possibilities that exist to fund your film, market it, and create an audience for it. It will give you a sense of possible options and avenues to explore and it will start you on the process of making your film dreams a reality.

The course covers the grant researching and writing process for fiction films and documentaries, strategies for developing impactful film websites, best social media practices for filmmakers, and how to approach crowdfunding and seeking investors. Through these experiences you will be prepared to seek funding for your film and to build your own audience through digital spaces.

An Introduction to Screenwriting with the University of East Anglia

Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films, the essential work from which all other filmmaking flows. All of the tender romance, terrifying action and memorable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk. This free online course will introduce you to the basic elements and key concepts behind a professional screenplay.

Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen with NFTS

Over six weeks, a team of award-winning filmmakers will take you through their approach to telling stories. You will explore a variety of film production specialisms, from writing and directing to cinematography, editing and composing. Each week your filmmaker host will use examples from their work as well as films that have influenced and inspired them.

This film production course from the NFTS and the BFI Film Academy will deepen your understanding of the filmmaking process and show you how to take it further – whether making your own short films, thinking about a career, or simply a deeper appreciation of the films you watch.

The Business of Film with The Open University

This free online course, The business of film, will show you how film production works. It has been created with Pinewood Studios – the leading provider of studio services to the global screen-based industries.

Using the value chain concept and film case studies, with input throughout from individuals involved in making those films, the course provides a practical, in-depth exploration of how film financing works, and the key business decisions that are made along the way.

Film Distribution: Connecting Films with Audiences with FutureLearn

With over 800 films a year being released, the choice for cinema goers is massive and ever changing. How do we, as members of the film audience, find out about films? What methods are available to film distributors to attract our attention to specific films in the digital age? In such a crowded marketplace, how do films find their audiences?

Through this online course, you’ll discover the ways in which films make their way to cinemas and beyond through the film distribution process. You’ll find out how film distributors play a pivotal role in connecting films with audiences.

Filmmaking Lessons with MZed

There are a variety of lessons from MZed that you can watch for free, without having to purchase a course or paying for a subscription. The only requirement is to create a login – which you can do here.

Current available classes include: Cinema Sound with audio guru Mark Edward Lewis; Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass; Directing Colour and Mastering Colour with Ollie Kenchington; The Definitive Guide to DaVinci Resolve; and The Secrets of Optics.

Free Webinars and Masterclasses with Sundance Co//ab

During these difficult times, Sundance Co//ab have made many Member benefits free to all – including access to live, online Master Class and Member Events. These online learning experiences are for creators seeking to take their craft to the next level.

Available Master Class Archive Videos include: Immersive Writing Workshop – Unlock Your Story; Film Producing – An Entrepreneurial Approach with Jason Berman; Screenwriting with Meg LeFauve; and From Short to Feature Film.

CrashCourse’s Film Series

Through a series of short, fun videos, YouTube channel CrashCourse gives you a whistle-stop tour of a range of topics ranging from philosophy to psychology. Though brief, they give you a strong overview of a wide variety of subject matter and manage to cover a great deal in enjoyable bite-sized chunks.

Check out their series on Film HistoryFilm Criticism and Film Production.

Write A Feature Length Screenplay For Film Or Television with Michigan State University

In this course, you will write a complete, feature-length screenplay for film or television, be it a serious drama or romantic comedy or anything in between. You’ll also learn to break down the creative process into components, and you’ll discover a structured process that allows you to produce a polished and pitch-ready script by the end of the course.