Sample Programs

No more one size fits all! Entire programs and even the content of individual lessons (how technical do you want to go, for example) are all tailor made for you. The examples below are provided for demonstration purposes only. Actual programs are determined after you sign-up.

Click on the scenario which is closest to you, or browse to see how programs are built and lessons adapted to your needs

Director working on first feature

Producer needing more technical knowledge

Lighting technician learning about camera

Screenwriter creating visually striking films

Film student looking to work with professionals

The Director

Much like a conductor of an orchestra, the film director does not need to know how to "play all the instruments" but does need to know their capabilities and limits, as well as collaborate with the creative professionals involved. It may take years for a director to develop, pitch, finance and finish a single feature film, while cinematographers and other film crew may gain experience much faster. This puts a film director at a disadvantage. Insecurity may lead some directors to hire collaborators who are less experienced. Our goal is to empower you to collaborate with authority by learning to think and see like a cinematographer, understand some of the most important cinematographic tools, and hire the right professionals, collaborate and resolve conflicts.

Suggested Program

Shoot the story, not the plot

How are impactful images, the kind that make us feel without being told, created? We will learn to find the subtext and emotional essence of a scene and turn it into visual language. This lesson covers:

  • Visual language, what is it?

  • Story vs. plot. Why does it matter and how to tell the difference?

  • Effective images and the tools we have to deliver an idea visually.

  • Methods of extracting the story and create a roadmap to effective images.

 Lesson 1 

The Camera's Perspective

Narrative perspective is the most powerful visual tool available to the director. Take control and learn to place the camera and what shots are needed to tell the story. This lesson covers:

  • The types of narrative perspective in literature and how they are used in cinema.

  • How the use of camera placement and lens choice expresses narrative perspective.

  • The relationship between the audience, characters and storyteller through narrative perspective.

  • Practical methods of controlling narrative perspective.

 Lesson 3 

The Interpretive Lens

Picking the right lens is one of the most important visual decisions. What makes one difference from another? We will learn the technical and creative considerations. This lesson covers:

  • How do different lenses tell stories differently?

  • What is a lens and how does it work?

  • The characteristics of lenses and how they are expressed in images.

  • The vocabulary of lenses, how to talk about lenses.

  • How to pick the right lens brands and types for your film and the right focal length for your scene.

 Lesson 2 

The Director and Cinematographer

Casting and hiring are decisive moments for a film. Define what you need, how to interview and how to kickstart a successful collaboration. Learn how to lead with authority without being a technician. This lesson covers:

  • The role of the cinematographer in the different stages of production. What should you expect and what do they expect from you?​

  • Interviewing and hiring a cinematographer.

  • Script breakdown and how to lead a successful collaboration to build a visual style and shot list.

  • From blocking to post-production collaboration.

 Lesson 4 

Post Production and the Director

Digital cinematography requires certain decisions to be made early and have a decisive effect on the film in post-production. This lesson covers:

  • The stages of a digital production workflow.

  • The decisions that need to be made and how they relate to creative or technical considerations and even sales & distribution of the finished film.

  • What is important for a director to know, pitfalls and how to use collaborators in a highly technical process.

  • The director and color correction.

  • Advanced topics such as VFX and how to prepare.

 Lesson 5 

Program Type: 4 x Paid + 1 Free
Each lesson in-person, in groups of up to 5, two hours minimum (a lesson never billed more than two hours)

4 x lessons, $200 each = $800
1 x free lesson
Total of 10 hours at $80 per hour

The Producer

A member of a film production team such as a creative producer or line producer is directly in charge of allocation of resources and collaboration with the creative team. In today's digital filmmaking world, a producer lacking technical training may find themselves at the mercy of their collaborators or vendors. Lack of knowledge may also exclude a producer from participating in important decision-making moments and deny the film from a strong collaborative force leading it. Our goal is to impart the necessary technical foundations so that you can understand and participate in making decisions from pre-production to post.

Suggested Program

The Right Camera For The Job

The choice of a camera is rarely trivial. It affects anything from crew choice and post production to budget and schedule. We will learn what makes cameras different, what to look for and how to decide which camera to use. This lesson covers:

  • The main components of a digital cinema camera.

  • How do cameras differ in a practical way; On screen, on set and in post-production.

  • The truth about 4K and higher resolutions, high ISO, Raw, LOG, and other common technical choices.

  • Delivery requirements and camera choice.

 Lesson 1 

Digital Workflows

Knowledge is power and a real understanding of modern digital workflows can save a producer money and realize a director's vision. We will demystify the vocabulary and empower you to collaborate at the highest level:

  • What is a modern digital cinema workflow, its stages and the professionals involved. What does each need.

  • Building your own workflow. How to properly create an efficient and safe workflow for an independent film.
  • LUTs and on-set monitoring.
  • Color correction, DCP and delivery.
  • Creative solutions, pitfalls, shortcuts and more.

 Lesson 3 

Lenses: Everything You Need To Know

The choice of lens is regarded as one of the most important visual decisions in a film. We will learn why, how lenses differ and what considerations go into making this decision. Learn the vocabulary and communicate with vendors, cinematographers and directors. This lesson covers:

  • Types of lenses, including prime, zoom, spherical and anamorphic lenses. Why are they chosen?

  • Characteristics of lenses in a practical and creative way. Learn to see the differences on screen.

  • Proper handling of lenses and procedures.

  • The vocabulary of lenses, how to talk about lenses.

 Lesson 2 

Lighting And The Producer

Lighting begins with location choice and scheduling. Become an ally and collaborator to the creative team by understanding the vocabulary and developing an eye for lighting. You can't unsee it once you do! This lesson covers:

  • The language of light. How to turn impressions into words and communicate intentions.

  • Motivated lighting. How do we decide the way a scene is lit and with what?

  • On location lighting vs. soundstage work. Learn to quickly analyze the electrical situation at a location.

  • Lighting procedures: Block, Light, Rehearse, Shoot.

 Lesson 4 

Program Type: 3 x Paid + 1 Free
Each lesson in-person, in groups of up to 5, two hours minimum (a lesson never billed more than two hours)

3 x lessons, $200 each = $600
1 x free lesson
Total of 8 hours at $75 per hour

The Lighting Technician

Technical crew members often find themselves in a weird spot. On one hand, their many hours on set give them invaluable  knowledge and insight into the workings of their department. On the other hand, their experience is limited and they may find it difficult to ascend to higher positions. Solutions like going to film school or assuming a different role in smaller productions may not be possible for various reasons. Our goal is to expand your understanding of camera work so that you can be better at yuor existing job but also be better prepared to move up the ladder. 

Suggested Program

Exposing The Story

From Ansel Adams to Gordon Willis, ASC, artists have demonstrated the power of exposure. We will deep-dive into exposure and reveal how cinematographers use exposure tools for anything but the brightness or darkness of the image. This lesson covers:

  • Exposure and how to get it "right."

  • Controlling exposure: The aperture, shutter, ISO - what do they really control and how not to misuse them.

  • Measuring exposure: From the zone system, light metering, histograms and waveforms.

  • Lighting and exposure: chiaroscuro, depth and more.

 Lesson 1 

Lighting And The Camera

What are the technical considerations for a cinematographer when lighting on set? We will look at lighting from a completely different angle: the camera. These often dictate many of the choices made by the cinematographer. This lesson covers:

  • Contrast ratio and the camera dynamic range.

  • What happens at wide apertures and why some cinematographers never shoot 'wide open.'

  • Lighting considerations for multi-camera.

  • Color, gels and camera considerations such as color sub-sampling and color correction.

 Lesson 2 

Program Type: 2 x Paid Lessons
Each lesson in-person, in groups of up to 5, two hours minimum (a lesson never billed more than two hours)

2 x lessons, $200 each = $400
Total of 4 hours at $100 per hour

The Screenwriter

The screenplay is religiously studied by both the director and the cinematographer of a film. Beyond the plot and characters, they expect to find subtext and patterns which dictate anything from camera angles to lighting and staging. When answers are not found, they fill in the blanks themselves. And yet, it is considered bad practice to include literal directorial or camera instructions in screenplay drafts. How should a screenwriter convey ideas to visual collaborators in such a way that doesn't offend them? Knowing your reader can make you a better writer. Our goal is to show you how both the director and cinematographer approach a screenplay. By watching finished scenes and comparing with their written versions, you will learn a method to reveal the workings of both the director and cinematographer.

Suggested Program

From Words to Images

We will examine the process both directors and cinematographers take to extract information that is often subtextual. What information should be in a screenplay and what should be left to collaborators. How to 'nudge' the reader towards visual ideas. This lesson covers:

  • Elements of a screenplay from the eyes of the director and cinematographer.

  • Script breakdown as it is performed by different collaborators, from the creative to the logistical.

  • Back engineering a finished scene while comparing with the written version to actually see directorial decisions.

 Lesson 1 

Visual Language

What is a visual language and how is it similar to any other language? Understanding the fundamentals of visual language can assist the screenwriter in embedding  opportunities for both the director and cinematographer to expand on. This lesson covers:

  • The process of creating shots. How are decisions such as lens, camera movement, or even height, made?

  • The director and the cinematographer: Blocking and the opportunities in designing a space. What do cinematographers look for, creatively and logistically?

  • How is lighting conceived and/or designed?

 Lesson 2 

Program Type: 2 x Paid Lessons
Each lesson in-person, in groups of up to 5, two hours minimum (a lesson never billed more than two hours)

2 x lessons, $200 each = $400
Total of 4 hours at $100 per hour

The Film Student

Good film schools are expensive. It's not only the tuition. Production costs for short films can weigh on a busy film student who may also have a day job. While film students are more than welcome to sign-up to in-person lessons, a more affordable option is available. Zoom classes on subjects that are in-demand will be offered based on the number of people requesting them. All you need to do is sign-up and indicate you are interested in a Zoom class. You do not have to be a film student to join a Zoom class. 

Program Type: 1 x Paid Zoom Lesson
Scheduling determined by polling those interested
A minimum of 20 people required
Duration: 90 minutes


Cost for Zoom lesson: $40

"Tal opened up my understanding of visual storytelling, which even improved my screenwriting!"

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"Tal's classes are fundamental for the needed communication between the cinematographer and production"

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