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Cinema Language

NBFS Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 5/18/13

No Budget Film School

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

NBFS Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of...

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Both Days - Pre-Paid   more info Ended $275.00 $16.12
Both Days - Student   more info Ended $200.00 $11.99
Single Day - Pre-Paid   more info Ended $150.00 $9.24
Single Day - Student   more info Ended $100.00 $6.49

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Event Details

No Budget Film School Presents 

"Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling"

Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19, 2013 • 9:00am - 6:00pm

Raleigh Studios • Chaplin Theater

5300 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Join the Cinema Language Facebook Fan Page and get a taste of what the class is all about.


"If you're in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend attending this series of classes.  Brought to you by two excellent filmmakers and instructors, Mark Stolaroff and Tom Provost, you really can't go wrong." - Huffington Post

"Every producer should take your classes before taking on a film. These classes are beneficial not just for writers or directors but for anyone who works with or has a love for movies." - Andy Henderson

"This was an excellent class. It is very rare that you can talk to a filmmaker so openly about every aspect of production and really delve into the film. Especially one who has so much knowledge of film as Tom does." - Alden Anderson

No Budget Film School presents "Cinema Language," four courses rolled into a single weekend.  A departure from previous No Budget Film School courses that have concentrated solely on no-budget production, "Cinema Language" is an intensive and highly entertaining exploration of the art of cinema.  The kind of instruction usually found only in expensive film schools, these tenets of film language are some of the most cost-effective ways to improve the quality of a production no matter what the budget.  Whether you're spending $100 million or $100, you're going to be pointing your camera at something.  “Cinema Language” is a practical exploration of how to get the most out of what you shoot, independent of budget. 

These classes are taught by filmmaker and professor (Pepperdine University) Tom Provost, writer/director of the award-winning Lionsgate feature The Presence,  (see bio below) at Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater, from 9am to 6pm, on May 18th & 19th. Tom will be joined by famed USC screenwriting professor and screenwriter Janet Scott Batchler (see below), who will present a terrific intensive on 'How To Pitch'. Single day tickets are also available for each day. Tuition includes complimentary refreshments and class materials.

"Cinema Language" is being taught alongside Mark Stolaroff's famed no-budget filmmaking class "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking," which takes place the weekend prior, May 11th & 12th.  You can take each class separately, or together and save.  For more information on "Cinema Language," see below.  For more information on "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking," visit the Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking Eventbrite page.  The two weekend, four-day bundle can be purchased on this page or on the Art & Science page.  **Attendees to both weekends will get a free 30 minute consultation from either Mark Stolaroff or Tom Provost, plus a special "gift bag" of free goodies.



No Budget Film School has partnered with Write Brothers and Showbiz Software to bring you an incredible offer:  all registered attendees will receive Movie Magic Screenwriter and Showbiz Producer software absolutely FREE!  (a $340 total value!).  And we'll be raffling off some goodies, too. (see below for details)

"Cinema Language"


Course 103: "Mastering Film Grammar"

"You gave me a whole new appreciation for visual storytelling. Your presentations will forever have an impact on my own writing and storytelling." - Joe Coddington

"Mastering Film Grammar" covers the specific strengths of the motion picture medium. What are the artistic elements that make up a film, and how do they work together to create a singular, multi-sensory experience?  Instructor Provost will explore the colors, shots, shapes, symbols, lines, shadows, and sounds that prompt specific emotions and make up the extremely visual and aural art that is the motion picture.  Framing, moving, editing and lighting the image, depth of field, POV, score and source music, sound effects:  these are the elements of the language of cinema, and we as filmmakers make creative decisions based on these elements no matter the budget of our projects.

The course dives into classical film grammar, examining how to use it properly and then how it can be twisted to great effect.  The course also covers specific examples of how to use Frame, Light, Shadow, Color, Sound, and Editing, with over 100 clips and screen shots from various movies to illustrate and illuminate.  Whether you are a writer, director, producer, or just a film buff, this extremely entertaining class will expand your knowledge of the craft of filmmaking as well as help inspire and prepare you for your next feature project.  

Suggested Homework Assignment

Watch  All That Jazz  (1979 dir. Bob Fosse);  Notorious  (1946  dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Course 205:  "How To Pitch"

Taught by working screenwriter Janet Scott Batchler (see bio below), this is an incredible lecture on 'How To Pitch' from one of the best 'pitchers' in the business. Janet will take you through the pitching process, including what works when you pitch, what is expected when you walk in the room, how to present your material, etc. Anyone working in the film business at some point has to pitch a project. Most people in the business also dread pitching because it is so stressful and difficult and there are no guidelines to follow. A good pitch, however, gets you work and gets your work on the screen. Janet Scott Batchler will teach you how to, well, knock a pitch out of the park.


Course 104:  "Introducing Your Character"

"You have unique insight on form and character that I will incorporate into my own directing. And the class was extremely entertaining." - Julie Cohen

One of the most difficult things to do in any kind of story is quickly and efficiently set up a character...and in a manner that pays off further into the narrative. "Introducing Your Character" is an in-depth, intensive look at how filmmakers effectively reveal characters to the audience, whether in a straightforward or purposely misleading fashion. Using a variety of clips from movies such as The Dark Knight, Erin Brockovich, and The Devil Wears Prada,  as well as John Dahl's retro thriller Red Rock West, the class examines numerous ways you can provide incisive information to your  audience, even in a single line or shot.  In the words of instructor Provost, "This is a kick-ass class.” 

Suggested Homework Assignment 

Watch Red Rock West (1993, dir. John Dahl)

DAY TWO - SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2013

Course 105:  "Disclosure of Information"

 "The information you presented was just incredible. It will have a profound effect on how I approach my own stories." - Alice Garcia

“Disclosure of Information” is the essence of storytelling. Every single choice you make in storytelling/filmmaking reveals information to the audience. How to do it, when and why to do it, what the effect will be on your audience--all are determined by the manner in which you disclose each and every piece of information in your script. 

While the entire weekend in essence is an exploration of how to disclose information, this class looks in-depth at the myriad choices a filmmaker has--right and wrong--and how to master those choices to create the most effective experience for the audience possible. Clips from various films such as Jaws, Blood Simple, and Carrie will be used, as well as intensive explorations of two Hitchcock classics, North by Northwest and Psycho

Suggested Homework Assignment 

Watch North By Northwest and Psycho (1959/1960, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) 


Course 204:  "From Script to Screen"

"The most innovative ghost story I've ever seen...Tom Provost gives a clinic on storytelling through a lens of a camera." - Bruce Kooken (review of The Presence for HorrorNews.net)

"Aesthetically riveting. Without a doubt one of the most unique genre entries to be released this year." - Joseph Airdo (review of The Presence for the Phoenix Daily News)

"Exuding a sinister serenity that brings to mind Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining,' 'The Presence' is one of those films that linger with you days after viewing." - Nathan Page (review of The Presence for the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"From Script To Screen" is an extremely frank and revealing discussion about the realities every filmmaker faces whatever the budget, offering filmmakers a rare insider's look at just how a movie comes to fruition.  Writer/Director Provost discusses the process of traveling from script to final edited product of his feature The Presence, which stars Oscar Winner Mira Sorvino, Golden Globe Nominee Justin Kirk and Shane West. The film was released last fall by Lionsgate This will be a candid, insightful dissection of the filmmaking process, examining a recently-completed feature that was chosen as the opening or closing night film at a variety of festivals, winning various Best Film, Best Director and Best Cinematographer awards as well.  Students will read the first act of the screenplay as homework before attending the class, and then watch the complete film in the afternoon. 

Following the screening, Provost will cover extensively how he and his creative team worked to bring what was on paper to life, given the typical compromises and considerations of budget, time, personnel issues, weather, and planning.  Particular focus will be placed on what "went wrong" on the set, as well as what changed from the script and why.  The discussion will also include the "writing" that went on in the editing room as the film took shape and became something apart from the shooting script.  Specific clips and production stills will be used to illustrate the various decisions made on the set and after.  

Students will have an open forum with the filmmaker regarding their thoughts and questions on the movie and the filmmaking process.


Suggested Homework Assignment

Read the first 30 pages of The Presence


NOTE ON HOMEWORK:  Once enrolled, students will receive the pages to read along with an email from Tom Provost.  All of the movies suggested for viewing before the seminar are available on either Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, etc.. 


"A brilliant debut film...unlike anything you've ever seen...surprising at every turn." - DAIFF Daily News

"One of the best movies I've seen all year...a visual an audio feast." - Bitterbalcony.com

"Visually stunning...will have you talking for hours...it's awesome." - moviebuzzers.com

"Creates quite an impact...part Alfred Hitchcock, part Rod Sterling and, to some degree, Agatha Christie while delivering the creepy goods those names are known for." - goseetalk.com



"Your class on form and construction of image is of the utmost importance and, as a director, to say it affected my own work in a profound way would be an understatement." - Bill Garrett

"A very candid, humble, and talented guy! Loved the class!" - Bart Baggett

"I had such a good time!!! It was wonderful!" - Joy Young

For a taste of what this class is all about and to get you into the mood, check out this montage of film images--taken from the films covered in the class--put together by instructor Tom Povost:


Instructor Tom ProvostTom Provost has enjoyed a varied and successful career in the entertainment industry as an author, screenwriter, editor, director, producer, actor, and instructor.  Before graduating from The University of Texas in Austin's prestigious Plan II honors program with an emphasis in film, he wrote and directed several shorts and authored a published thesis on director Alfred Hitchcock.  He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.  After landing several parts in film and TV, including a recurring role on Steven Spielberg's SeaQuest DSV, Provost took up editing, learning the Avid system just as non-linear editing was beginning to make its way on the scene.  After editing short films and a couple of features, he worked for several years cutting  and producing award winning promos for the WB and Bravo Television Networks.  

During this time he was hired to adapt a script for Morgan Freeman's production company, Revelations, a screenplay eventually made into the film Under Suspicion starring Freeman and Gene Hackman, directed by Stephen Hopkins. The screenplay was nominated for an Edgar Award.  This lead to work as a script doctor, where his ability to shape story has been highly prized. Provost's feature directorial debut The Presence, (www.thepresencemovie.com), which he also wrote, was released by Lionsgate Films in Fall 2011.  The inventive ghost story/modern-day gothic romance stars Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), Shane West (ER), Golden Globe Nominee Justin Kirk (Weeds), and Tony Curan (Pearl Harbor, Gladiator).  In addition to directing commercials and editing reality TV (The Bachelor, The Apprentice [Emmy nominated], and several others), Provost has been a popular film instructor at a variety of venues all over the country for many years. 

A graduate professor of Screenwriting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, you can read some of Provost's writing at his blog:  onfoodandfilm.com



Janet Scott Batchler is a writing professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, a screenwriter with numerous Hollywood credits (Pompeii (currently filming), Smoke And Mirrors, Batman Forever, among other projects), and, perhaps coolest of all, author of What Will Harry Do?: The Unofficial Guide to Payoffs and Possibilities in Book 7



Movie Magic ScreenwriterMove Magic Screenwriter is the best screenplay formatting software, an industry standard, and the choice of Hollywood professionals. Screenwriter formats while you write so you can focus on what you're writing, not where it goes on the page. It also formats for television, stage, novels and comic book scripts so you've got it all in one package for any story you want to write. With a massive set of features designed to make the rewriting process fast and simple you can get from FADE IN: to FADE OUT effortlessly. Developed by writers for writers, Write Brothers is the first and ony creative team ever to receive a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for screenwriting software.  All Cinema Language attendees get this terrific product FREE just for registering.



Showbiz SoftwareShowbiz Software's Producer allows you to schedule your tasks, set priorities and manage your entire project from one piece of software. All Cinema Language attendees get this program absolutely FREE, (a $90 value!). Showbiz Budgeting allows production accountants, production managers and independent producers to create all types of budgets for film, TV, commercials, music videos, web series and corporate videos. The program also actualizes, so you can see what you've spent and how it affects your overall budget. Showbiz Scheduling has become the go-to software for producers and production managers who want the most control  over their shooting schedule, combined with the flexibility to change elements on the fly. The program comes with fully customizable reports, including call sheets, production reports, shooting schedules, Exhibit G's, and more.  All Cinema Language attendees will receive a generous discount on these two products:  save $220 on Budgeting (that's 55% off the list price); save $150 on Scheduling (that's a 50% savings); and save $425 on the bundle, (60% off the list price!).


Discounts are available to attendees who pay before they arrive for the class.  Further discounts are available to students, (both former No Budget Film School students and all other students with a valid Student I.D.). All tickets at the door for the 2-day class are $300, ($1175 for a single day). Cash and credit cards accepted at the door. Tuition includes complimentary refreshments and class materials. 

Can't make the class? For more information on future classes and to sign up for the No-Budget Newsletter, please visit:


Have questions about NBFS Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 5/18/13? Contact No Budget Film School

When & Where

5300 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, 90038

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

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No Budget Film School

NO BUDGET FILM SCHOOL is a unique series of classes specifically designed to help the NO-BUDGET filmmaker, whether he or she is working with a budget of $200,000 or $2,000.  The lessons, tools, and techniques gained from these courses are intended to maximize very limited resources and minimize critical errors that can doom otherwise worthy projects. 

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NBFS Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 5/18/13
Los Angeles, United States Events Class

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