the Visual Story

A six week course designed to introduce and improve the elements of visual storytelling for new filmmakers and explore the prep work which will allow for a creatively satisfying experience on set.

Using demonstration and examples from a wide range of films we will explore the preparation process and why it's so crucial. The course will take a very practical approach. A sample script of a short film which has already been produced will be provided as a basis for homework assignments between each session. Students who already have a well-developed script for a short film will be invited to apply their learning to their own work and build their visual portfolio to prep their film during the course.

Programme Overview

Week One: The Director's Script breakdown

What is your story really about at its core? How to read the script as a director. Working out the narrative point-of-view. Finding out the theme and sub-themes of your short film and illuminating them. Symbolism and visual metaphors. Adhering to the visual conventions of your genre or subverting them.

Week Two: Basic Screen grammar

What types of shots enhance the story you want to tell? The impact of shot size on the frame. The impact of lens selection and camera angle of view.

Week Three: The Moving Camera

What kind of director are you? Are you hand-held or a moving camera maestro? Do you like one-shots or do you prefer filming multiple coverage of your scenes? How and why we move a camera during a shot. The impact of moving the camera. The single developing shot and one-shot coverage.

Week Four: Pre-visualisation (pre-viz) - Storyboarding And Shot Planning

The pros and cons of planning your shots or not. Should you go for overhead diagrams, shot-list, storyboards or all three? Methods and digital tools to plan and develop the visual style of your short film along with shot planning techniques. Planning the shots ahead versus blocking actors while on set, what comes first?

Week Five: The Director & Cinematographer Creative Relationship and beyond

Who does what, and what they require from each other. Lighting as a storytelling tool. Working together in pre-production to enhance the director’s vision of the story. Colour palette, look-books and mood boards as effective tools to communicate. Looking into costume design and production design to enhance your vision for your film. The psychology of colour in film. A cinematographer will be joining us during this session.

Week Six: The read-through with Actors

How do you prepare to work and discuss your characters with your actors? How do you work through scenes with actors? Breaking down the beats of a scene. During this hands-on session the students will work with actors on their scenes via Google Hangout.

Programme Facts

6 weeks – Online, Part-time

Every Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

3rd June 2021

4th November 2021


Limited places available

Entry Requirements

Minimum age: 18
Minimum English Language level: Upper-Intermediate

Are you ready to Tell Your Story?

Our Tutors

Stéphanie began her career in story development at TF1 International and Canal Plus, worked as a story editor and screenwriter for French TV for several years, creating among others a Sci-Fi animated series for Luc Besson’s Europa Corp: VALERIAN & LAURELINE. Her first feature film, THE QUIET HOUR, a sci-fi thriller starring Dakota Blue Richards (The Golden Compass, Skins, Endeavour), premiered at Galway Film Fleadh, was nominated Best British Film at Raindance Film Festival, won Best Film at Kansas City Film Fest, sold to Sky Cinema and UK Amazon Prime in the U.S. and was distributed around the world. She is now producing THE LAST MOON, an elevated suspense horror film by Sean McConville (DEADLINE starring Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch).

Stéphanie Joalland,

Writing and Directing Tutor