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Cinema Language

No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 8/27/11

No Budget Film School

Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The...

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, August 27 & 28, 2011 • 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 instructor Tom Provost, writer/director of the award-winning new Lionsgate feature The Presence,  (see bio below) at Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater, from 9am to 6pm, on August 27th & 28th.  Single day tickets are also available for each day. Tuition includes a complimentary lunch and class materials.

And now for the first time, "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, August 20th & 21st.  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.   


"Cinema Language"


Morning Session:  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)

Afternoon Session:  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)

Writer/Director Provost discusses the process of traveling from script to final edited product of his new feature The Presence, which stars Oscar Winner Mira Sorvino, Golden Globe Nominee Justin Kirk and Shane West, and is being released by Lionsgate in October 2011 This will be a candid, insightful dissection of the filmmaking process, examining a just-completed feature that has been chosen as the opening or closing night feature and won Best Film, Best Director and Best Cinematographer at various film festivals over the last several months.  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.  

"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. Students will have the opportunity to see the film months before it opens to the general public and have an open forum with the filmmaker regarding their thoughts on the movie.


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 Netflix, some on iTunes as well. 


"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


Morning Session:  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 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) 

Afternoon Session:  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) 



"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


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. Long in development, Provost's feature directorial debut The Presence, (www.thepresencemovie.com), which he also wrote, was recently completed and is set for release 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. 


Discounts are available to attendees who pay before the end of day August 6th.  Further discounts are available to students, (both former No Budget Film School students and all other students with a valid Student I.D.).  To pre-pay with a check, please email us at nobudgetfilmschool@earthlink.net for instructions.  Tuition includes complimentary lunch, 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 No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 8/27/11? Contact No Budget Film School

When & Where

5300 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, 90038

Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, August 28, 2011 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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No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling" 8/27/11
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