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The goal of this class is to teach you filmmaking through the process of making your own films.

Just like in real life, however, there are no grades. Rather, if you follow the assignments and do the work, you pass the class.

You may be wondering about getting feedback on your work. That is not what this class is about. It is true that I’ve set up a way for students to comment on each others’ work, but I may not give you feedback on everything you create. This is also like real life. You need to learn to be your own best critic.

As you progress, I’ll step in and look at what you’re doing. This may not be for every lesson, although I will try to get to all of them. Please note that it sometimes takes me up to a few weeks to review things – just move on to the next lesson as soon as you finish one. And, of course, I will look in-depth at your final project and give you some critical thoughts on it.

Here’s the thing: I am not the end-all, be-all expert in film. In a way, I’m learning how to make films just like you are. I may be a few steps ahead of you in terms of experience, but my opinion is ultimately irrelevant. If you are trying to make films according to other people’s tastes, you will struggle to make good films. Instead, if you make films to suit your own personal vision, you have a chance of doing some very interesting work.

How do you get opinions? There will be no lack of them in this class from other students. But you should also show your work to your friends and family, then listen to people you trust. If you send out your films, ask for honest thoughts; if people say they enjoyed them, you should be happy. If they say they didn’t love them, don’t be discouraged – ask them what they didn’t like and consider it. But always remember you must become your own best judge.

What’s the takeaway? Don’t worry about grades and don’t worry about “being right.” Listen to the lectures, follow the instructions to the best of your ability, and make films. My hope is that you can free yourself of having to make a certain grade or please a certain person, and instead just concentrate on filmmaking itself.