Narrative Filmmaking – Finding Opportunities in Constraints

Online Workshop

Drawing inspiration from movements like the French New Wave and Dogme 95, this filmmaking workshop aims to encourage novice and emerging filmmakers to view obstacles as hidden opportunities and to find creativity in everyday life. You will be asked to think about your resources in a new light—whether it's a location, an actor, a prop, or an action—and will choose one or more elements from your everyday life to serve as a tentpole for your story. Supported by group conversations and carefully-curated presentations, you will explore and develop your stories through outlines, scripts, shot lists, storyboards, and eventually into a fully realized 3-to-5-minute short fiction or experimental film.

Register by June 28

More details | What you'll need | Instructor | Session info (click here or see sidebar)


This workshop combines scheduled real-time virtual class meetings via Zoom, asynchronous material, and independent work.

  • Number of weeks: 6
  • Session dates: 7/7/20–8/13/20
  • Number of meetings per week: biweekly plus access to instructor for one-on-one instruction
  • Meeting schedule: T/Th: 6:00 pm –7:45 pm CT
    (with optional office hours by appt.)
  • Tuition: $595


The workshop will be divided into three distinct cycles:
• Preproduction, where we will focus on screenwriting and storytelling
• Production, where we will turn our attention to composition, visual language, and sound recording
• Postproduction, where we will find and finish our films in the virtual editing room.

We will celebrate the end of the workshop with an online premiere to screen the work for friends and family.

What you'll need at home


  • Smartphone or Digital Camera

  • Computer: Laptop or PC with

    • 8GB RAM minimum & 16GB RAM or more recommended

    • Wi-Fi

    • Web cam

  • External Hard Drive (optional)

  • Tripod (optional)

  • Sound recorder (optional)

Software / Apps

  • Adobe Premiere Pro
    Non-linear editing software: 1-yr subscription for $21/mo; month-to-month subscription: $31.49/mo; or bundled with the Creative Cloud monthly or annual plan

  • DaVinci Resolve (free download)

  • Writer Duet (free screenwriting software)

  • Google Docs, Google Sheets

  • Zoom (free virtual conferencing app)

Hailing from NYC, Taniel Kilajian is an independent filmmaker who has experimented in both documentary and fiction media. His films explore marginalized identities, the mysterious processes that shape human nature, and the rich complexity of everyday life. Taniel aspires to make films that challenge audience expectations, while promoting a deeper sense of empathy and awareness. He earned his MFA in Film and Video Production from UT Austin, and his work has screened and won awards at several film festivals.