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Cinema Language

No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling"

No Budget Film School

Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 6:00 PM (PDT)

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

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No Budget Film School Presents 

"Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling"

Saturday & Sunday, August 27 & 28, 2016 • 9:00am - 6:00pm

Raleigh Studios • Chaplin Theater

5300 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038


"As a film editor, I am in constant search of ways to grow my art. Tom Provost's brilliant dissection of every aspect of story telling for the screen opened me to a new and greater understanding of my craft, and the filmmaking process as a whole. I highly recommend this weekend to filmmaking professionals and newcomers alike." - Sean Albertson, A.C.E  (Warrior, Rocky Balboa, The Killing Season, Rambo)

"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


No Budget Film School presents "Cinema Language," four terrific courses rolled into a single weekend.  "Cinema Language" is an intensive and highly entertaining exploration of the narrative art of cinema.  The kind of instruction usually found only in expensive film schools, “Cinema Language” is a practical exploration of how to get the most out of your story, independent of budget. 


After taking this course, you will:

  1. Make a much better movie. Period.
  2. Approach your next script/project with the confidence of even the most seasoned professional.
  3. Create your script and/or film with a clear understanding of the cinematic gifts at your fingertips.


 "Our ability to successfully produce a feature film can be traced directly back to what we learned at No Budget Film School and the follow-on Cinema Language weekend. They provided valuable insight into making a low-budget film, and, more importantly, inspired us to do it. Great investment of time and money!" - Ron and Wayne Jackson, Producers of 5 Hour Friends


"Cinema Language" is taught by award-winning filmmaker and Pepperdine University Graduate Screenwriting professor Tom Provost, writer/director of the award-winning Lionsgate feature The Presence, as well as the upcoming features OrpheusMr. Clark and Exile (see bio below). The classes will be held on August 27th & 28th at Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater,  9am to 6pm. Single day tickets are also available for each day. Tuition includes complimentary refreshments and class materials.


"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

"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 20-21.  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.



No Budget Film School has partnered with Write Brothers to bring you an incredible offer:  all registered attendees will receive Movie Magic Screenwriter software absolutely FREE!  (a $250 total value!).  And we'll be raffling off some goodies, too. (see below for details)

"Cinema Language"


Course 103: "Mastering Visual Storytelling"

"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

Tom Teaching HitchcockHow often have you seen a friend's indie feature and thought, 'Wow...that was...not good." It's every filmmaker's nightmare. Yet people make bad or mediocre features, on any budget, all the time. "Mastering Visual Storytelling" is an in-depth, entertaining intensive on the specific strengths of the motion picture medium enabling you to craft the best movie possible on any budget.

"Mastering Visual Storytelling" explores how our best filmmakers expertly use the grammar of cinema to create the most effective and moving stories. Instructor Provost will give practical, hands-on specifics regarding the language of cinema: framing, editing, lighting, color, sound, POV, music, sound effects, etc--all will be covered. With over 100 clips and stills, the class will illustrate and illuminate how to use the grammar of film to the best effect possible. Whatever your area of expertise on set or off, "Mastering Visual Storytelling" will expand your knowledge of the craft of filmmaking and elevate your next feature to another level. You will learn not only basics but how to turn classical film grammar on its head to great effect.

After taking this course, you will:

  1. Have a firm grasp on both the basic and advanced tenets of how great movie storytelling works.
  2. Understand how to tell your story visually.
  3. Approach your storytelling with an ability to affect the audience's reactions and feelings through your filmmaking technique.

Suggested Homework Assignment

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


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 and entertaining look at how filmmakers effectively reveal characters to the audience, whether in a straightforward or purposely misleading fashion.

In this class we will watch and discuss a variety of clips from over ten hit movies such as The Dark Knight, Erin Brockovich, and The Devil Wears Prada, as well as John Dahl's retro thriller Red Rock West, to explore numerous ways you can provide fast, compelling and incisive information to your audience, even in a single line or shot. In the words of Instructor Provost, "This is a kick-ass class."

After taking this course, you will:

  1. Introduce your characters with a practical and fast approach.
  2. Be able to compare and contrast your characters to set up the most effective dramatic tension.
  3. Understand how to eliminate boring exposition from your plots and films, and instead convey information to your audience in a dramatic and satisfying way.

Suggested Homework Assignment 

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


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 what we do. It's the single most important aspect of storytelling and affects every single position on a film, in production and post. Every single choice you make reveals information to the audience. How to do it, when to do it, why to do it, as well as 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 a script.

While the entire Cinema Language 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, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Carrie will be used, as well as intensive explorations of two Hitchcock classics, North by Northwest and Psycho.

After taking this course, you will:

  1. Understand how to tell the your story in the best manner, whatever genre: thriller, comedy, drama, sci-fi, etc.
  2. Have the practical, hands-on ability to make specific and correct choices about your stories.
  3. Emerge with the confidence and understanding of some of our best filmmakers when approaching whatever job you might have on a film.

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 independently produced feature was acquired by Lionsgate after a successful festival run.  This is 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.

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.

After taking this course, you will:

  1. Have practical, hands on knowledge of many "do's and don't" when approaching your own feature.
  2. Know many mistakes to avoid on your own features, in every step of the production.
  3. Have the freedom through practical knowledge to make a better film that will cost you less money.

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.. 

Included in this weekend is an extra class: “29 Do’s and Don'ts Of Rewriting”, a must for anyone thinking of making a movie. Collating his experience from years of script doctoring and consulting, Provost will take you through his steps to rewriting and honing your screenplay, whether it be a major rewrite or a tweak. Pop your screenplay up a few levels with this super-practical lesson.


"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, 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). He is attached to direct three upcoming films, OrpheusMr. Clark and Exile.  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




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.



Significant discounts are available to attendees who pay before the end of day August 13th.  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, ($175 for a single day). 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:


For more information on Tom Provost's Cinema Language class and his consulting, please visit:


Have questions about No Budget Film School Presents "Cinema Language: The Art of Storytelling"? Contact No Budget Film School

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When & Where

Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater
5300 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, August 28, 2016 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"
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