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Directing Independent Films [IN-PERSON]

Starts July 20

4 sessions: Tuesdays, July 20-August 10, 6:30-9:30pm

What do we mean when we say someone is a director? It takes a lot of different hats to make a film, and the director of an independent film will likely wear all of them at one time or another. This course explores the entire process of directing, from discovering that initial idea to production to navigating distribution options to walking the red carpet at festival screenings.

The primary focus is on the independent director’s responsibilities during production, including:

  • Maximizing your resources (low-budget doesn’t need to look cheap!)
  • Getting the best performances from your cast
  • Shooting with the finished film in mind
  • Working effectively with your crew
  • Creating a productive and enjoyable set

But the job of the indie director doesn’t stop there – we’ll also cover:

  • Choosing the right material
  • Determining your budget
  • Assembling your team
  • The value of pre-production
  • Securing great locations
  • Equipment: What you really need to know
  • Finding an audience for your film
  • Navigating the film festival circuit

Participants will learn what it really means to sit in the director’s chair and will walk away with the tools they need to make their next (or first!) directing gig a success. The course is open to directors of both narrative shorts and features. Participants should have basic cinema production experience.

NOTE: this in-person course will be held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. To ensure COVID-19 safety, no other classes or workshops are scheduled at FilmNorth during these course times. With enrollment limited to 8 students, this course will be held in our large classroom, equipped with a professional grade air purifier and hand sanitizer. FilmNorth will follow the State of Minnesota guidelines for mask wearing in effect at that time.

Tuition: $235 regular | $175 member | $130 low-income


Matthew G. Anderson is a screenwriter and filmmaker whose work has included spec scripts for Hollywood production companies, no-budget independent short films, and most things in between. He is probably best known for creating Theater People, one of the most acclaimed and longest running independent web series in the country. An Official Selection at more than two dozen international film festivals, Theater People has received numerous awards including, most recently, Best Screenplay at Russia’s Realist Web Fest. Matthew is the director of former FilmNorth Web Series 101 class participant Alan W. Porter’s web series Fallin’ Off, which has been selected for numerous festivals from New Jersey to New Zealand. He recently completed the pilot for a fifth season of Theater People and is currently producing a number of independent projects for Twin Cities filmmakers.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




July 20, 2021 @ 6:30 pm
August 10, 2021 @ 9:30 pm
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Matthew G. Anderson
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Class count or Info
4 sessions: Tuesdays, July 20-August 10, 6:30-9:30pm