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TV, Film & Digital Production

The production program is about empowering content creators with the knowledge of what it takes to be successful in the TV and Film industries. The classes in this program focus on screenwriting, film production, and editing and distribution. To reflect the true collaborative nature of film, this program is open to people at completely different levels of writing, improv, or acting experience.

Comedy Film Production

Comedy Film Production

  • Levels 1-3
  • 3 Hours, 8 Weeks

Comedy Film Production 1

Formerly Introduction to Filmmaking

Comedy Film Production 1 for anyone who wants to learn the nuts and bolts of comedy film production in a collaborative setting—actors, improvisers, writers, creative polymaths. It’s also for those who want to learn how to elevate the production value of their work and support their great ideas with great technical skills.

What will I learn?

The basics of lighting, sound, and how to use a camera. Think guerilla-style filmmaking (which is different and far less dangerous than gorilla-style).

What will I do in this class?

Learn how to make a film as an ensemble. You’ll write and shoot short films together.

Who can take this class?

Love making your own movies? Want to learn how? Maybe you work in a corporate video department and want to polish your skills, or you want to take Funny or Die by storm with your next comedy short. It’s open to all adult students ages 19 and up.

How long is this class?

Each level meets once a week for three hours. The term is eight weeks.

What do I need to bring?

Comedic ideas and a willingness to collaborate.

Will there be a performance?

Potentially, if you act in your classmates’ films.

Why is this class important?

It gives a holistic view of the filmmaking process and helps you ensure your next short or web series looks as professional as possible.

Comedy Film Production 2

Formerly Short Film Making

Comedy Film Production 2 is for anyone who finished Comedy Film Production 1 and is thirsty for more.

What will I learn?

More skills and nuances of film production (pre- through post-), including lighting, sound, script revisions, and camerawork.

What will I do in this class?

Film an original short, walking through the entire process from pre- to post-production.

Who can take this class?

Students who have completed Comedy Film Production 1 or Intro to Writing for TV & Film.

What do I need to bring?

An idea for a comedy short that you’re ready to write, rewrite, and put into production.

Will there be a performance?

Potentially, if you act in your classmates’ films.

Why is this class important?

It gives a deeper dive into all the moving parts of a film production and gives you confidence to write, shoot and produce your own material.

Comedy Film Production 3

Formerly Advanced Short Film Making

Comedy Film Production 3 is for those who are gluttons for film production and want to learn more.

What will I learn?

More film production nuances, when and how to handle/introduce the many moving parts of filmmaking, all with a real-world twist.

What will I do in this class?

Film on location and kick it up a notch by learning and getting experience in the roles of producer and casting agent. Create a high-quality short that is festival-ready.

Who can take this class?

Students looking to take this class must first have their script approved by the instructor. For consideration send your script to chicagoadmissions@secondcity.com with COMEDY FILM PRODUCTION 3 in the subject line.

What do I need to bring?

More comedic ideas and a love of collaboration.

Will there be a performance?

No.

Why is this class important?

It gives you crucial glimpse into the various roles involved in film production, including the world of a producer and a casting agent, and you leave with a festival-quality short that can be your new calling card.

These workshops may not be offered every term. If you would like to be informed when a class becomes available, please click here.

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Writing for TV & Film

Writing for TV & Film

  • Intro & Comedy Writing
  • 3 Hours, 8 Weeks

Intro to Writing for TV & Film

Intro to Writing for TV & Film is for anyone who wants to learn the crucial basics of writing for film and television or anyone with a great idea of a movie who needs help putting it into (properly formatted) words.

What will I learn?

The language of film/TV writing. The importance of deadlines. The unique qualities of a cinematic story versus a sketch, lots of screenplay formatting, how and what to pitch, the scale of your ideas.

What will I do in this class?

Watch films and TV shows with a critical ear for dialogue and structure, read scripts, learn how to pitch, pitch those great ideas, and create outlines or treatments for that million-dollar sitcom or film idea. Oh, and table reads!

Who can take this class?

Do you have a great idea for a buddy cop comedy? Is your Great Grandma Hazel convinced she has the idea for the next Westworld? Are you your Great Grandma Hazel? If you’re an adult aged 19 or older, sign up!

How long is this class?

Each level meets once a week for three hours. The term is eight weeks.

What do I need to bring?

Ideas to pitch and a realization you’re probably formatting everything wrong.

Will there be a performance?

No.

Why is this class important?

It gives you a strong foundation for TV and film writing, demystifies the language and process of writing, and gives you the tools to begin turning your great idea into the next Citizen Kane/Troop Beverly Hills (same thing).

Comedy Writing for TV & Film

Comedy Writing for TV & Film is for people passionate about turning their great ideas into awesome scripts people will be clamoring to produce.

What will I learn?

You will build on all the fundamentals you learned in Intro to Writing for TV & Film and go deeper into the specifics and nuances of each of those building blocks.

What will I do in this class?

Examine more films and TV shows to uncover their script secrets, refine your pitching process, write and rewrite, participate in more table reads, hone and refine the skills you gathered in the first level.

Who can take this class?

Those who completed Intro to Writing for TV & Film and want a deeper dive into this world.

What do I need to bring?

You and your great TV and film ideas.

Will there be a performance?

No

Why is this class important?

The idea-to-script-to-production-to-winning-an-Emmy/Oscar process is long and complicated, and this demystifies that crucial first step of taking an idea, getting it off the ground and turning it into a dynamic, exciting pitch.

These workshops may not be offered every term. If you would like to be informed when a class becomes available, please click here.

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Intro to Writing for TV & Film

How to Write Better Female Characters

Learn all about how to write better female characters through the power of harnessing tropes (Tropes = overused plot device). Each week will feature a unique challenge that will empower each writer to conquer their fear of writing for female voices. Through in class writing exercises, you will develop scripts…

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Comedy Writing for the Web

Writing Humor Pieces for the Web

Learn the craft of writing long-form humor pieces for sites like McSweeney’s, Shouts & Murmurs, and the Second City Network. Whether you’re looking to get your work published online or just want to push yourself as a comedy writer, this class will help you find and polish your comedic voice….

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Film Production

Directing for Film

This Directing for Film class is an introduction on how to access your creative vision to realize written and improvised materials. Good for beginners or if you have experience directing stage or short films but want a more formalized approach to directing film. We focus on film directing terms, how…

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Editing Comedy

Editing Comedy is for aspiring or working editors and filmmakers who want to learn how to edit comedy well.

What will I learn?

You will learn the basic rules of editing comedy and when you can break those rules to enhance the comedic storytelling. You will gain an understanding of how to…

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Micro-Budget Film, TV & Web Series Writing

There has never been a better time to break into the business. Now all you need is a script that can be shot for a micro-budget price. This eight-week intensive class will teach students to create micro-budget scripts for web series, pilots, short films, or features. Students will create a…

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Producing for Film

Producing for Film is a crash course on how to get your project made. You will come to class with a written short, sketch, web series or feature that you want to make. The objective is to take your project from the page to the screen. You will learn how…

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Smartphone Cinema

Smartphone Cinema will help you make use of the tiny movie studio in your pocket, your phone! We’ll cover image stabilization and composition techniques, peripheral accessories like lenses and microphones, and common apps that will give you greater control of your phone’s camera and allow you to begin editing your…

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Screenwriting

Screenwriting 1

Screenwriting 1 is for serious screenwriters looking for help turning a jumble of ideas into a sharp script that will turn heads.

What will I learn?

The specifics of screenwriting format and structure.

What will I do in this class?

Table reads, workshops and class discussions that will culminate with you leaving the…

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Screenwriting 2

Screenwriting 2 is for the next Diablo Cody/Geoffrey S. Fletcher/Dustin Lance Black/Callie Khouri/Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (these are all Oscar-winning screenwriters so you should probs Google them).

What will I learn?

More of the architecture of a successful screenplay. How to take your great first act and crank it up a notch…

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Developing Your Movie Idea: A Crash Course

Developing Your Movie Idea is a two-day story workshop that will demystify the process of developing a movie idea into a feature-length screen narrative. You will be taken through a lively, step-by-step story development process in real-time, then watch the magic happen as the process is applied to your own…

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Web Series

Viral Video Writing with The Onion

What does writing have to do with creating an online video that gets a lot of traffic? Everything! Learn the magic formula developed by Scott Dikkers, founder of theonion.com and its video subdivision ONN — a system of short scriptwriting calculated to create videos with the best possible odds of…

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Writing for Television

The Sitcom Writers Room

The Sitcom Writers Room is for improvisers who want to get a feel of what it’s like to work in a professional writers room. It is good for anybody who is considering moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in writing.

What will I learn?

You will learn how a writers…

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Writing the Sitcom Pilot

Writing the Sitcom Pilot is for serious writers who want to develop an original sitcom pilot script. It is also for people who feel they have a great premise for a sitcom but don’t have a lot of writing experience.

What will I learn?

You will learn about story structure, outlining, formatting…

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Writing the Sitcom Spec Script

Writing the Sitcom Spec Script is for serious writers who want to get into writing television sitcoms as their career. It is valuable for those planning to move to Los Angeles to become a working television writer and those looking to have a professional writing sample packet.

What will I learn?

You…

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