SCR*W FILM SCHOOL…SAVE $300,000 (Produce & Direct A Feature Film… Step #4 is Fun )


Now here’s why: The worst film schools in the world, without a question of a doubt, are probably NYU, USC & UCLA.

IDEA-1 (Got an idea? Want to make a movie? Then a 4-year Film School is not the best route)


Simple…. Cost, Money, Moola, Dollars… They, especially NYU, with all expenses, cost over $300,000 and consume 4-years of your life.

I hope you just read that.

Now let it sink in…. THREE… HUNDRED… THOUSAND….DOLLARS… Huh?

There are a lot of better ways to spend $300,000 to launch your film career.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not stating that NYU or UCLA or USC are not very good film programs… They are.

But, what I am saying is “Are they worth $300,000 and 4-years”?

The answer of worth-it is, if your parents are wealthy (wealthy being a net worth of no less than $10 Million) then I truly advise a 4-Year Program offered by either NYU, USC or UCLA and is definitely worth it.

However, if your parents aren’t wealthy and you accept one of the many bogus Grants or Scholarship BS and enroll into a debt/loan program, that even filing bankruptcy won’t eliminate, and graduate owing $100,000-$200,000 to quickly discern that Warner Bros., Disney, Spielberg, HBO & Lucas aren’t recruiting, with $70,000/year starting salaries, to Produce, Write or Direct then I say “Don’t go to a 4-year Film School”.

It’s your call. But let’s take a look at what NYU’s website states NYU Film School costs.



Let me back the $306,456 number with actual monetary facts/costs.

PRODUCER-9-Money (4-Years at NYU can cost over $300,000)

If you “Google” NYU Film School Tuition or NYU Tisch School of the Arts costs a graph/chart will pop up from NYU stating that…

(A) TUITION & FEES: $52,614/year

(B) LIVING EXPENSES: $24,000/year

TOTALS (1-Year): $76,614

TOTALS (4-Years): $306,456

Wow. And I do not even know if that includes books, travel, rentals, laboratory fees, etc.

$306,456. FR*CKIN’ WOW

Is there a better allocation of this type of money and time?


OK, How and How Much.

Simple. It entails six steps and costs a mere $300-$3,000…

$300 if you just do Steps 1 & 2 and $3,000 if you do all the 6 Steps and graduate with a great, 90-page script ready to shoot.

The 6 Steps to learning filmmaking are…

  1. QUICK LEARN (Courses)
  2. LEARN MORE (Books & Webinars)
  3. WRITE (Teaser)
  4. SHOOT (Teaser)
  5. WRITE (90-Page Script)
  6. PRODUCE & DIRECT (1-Week Shoot)

Permit me to explain.




(Step 1) QUICK LEARN (COURSES): $500-$700.

Attend 2-3 weekend or week-night intensive Film & Screenwriting Courses for adults (Yes, of course I believe mine is superb) by entities like Hollywood Film Institute (myself), No-Budget Film School (Stolaroff), Raindance (London), MET Film School (London) ISA (Sydney), UCLA Extension (not film school), Film Connection (LA), Industry Workshops (LA), The Writers Store (LA), etc. but stay away from those 1-2 year, for profit institutions, that charge $20,000-$80,000 for 2-years.

EDIT-ROOM-5 (A basic editing course will give you a solid understanding of directing)

Repeat: Take only 2-3 weekend intensive workshops on Screenwriting, Directing or Producing.

Two other methods of finding these affordable, alternative film education workshops close to you is to either (A) Contact your local Film Commissioner ( or (B) merely Google “Film Workshops & Your State’s Name, or go to YouTube and Search “Film Schools”.

I strongly advise sitting in 3 weekend or 1-day courses, given by professional film instructors, over two months to garner the basics of Producing, Writing & Directing. and allow the info to sink in and germinate.


(Step 2) LEARN MORE (BOOKS & Webinars): $100-$200

Now, with basic knowledge under your belt expand it with home study, while watching movies on tv, with books on Screenwriting, Budgeting, Directing, Shooting & Distributing.

1st-From Reel to (I wrote “From Reel to Deal” 12 years ago and it made all the “Top 10 Filmmaking” lists)

Books always have more depth and details (charts, graphs, facts, clarifications. etc.) than are offered by instructors talking but are only truly applicable once you have a basic understanding of the skill you are trying to master.

You will find all the books you need at either a Burbank, California store (A) The Writers Store ( for Screenwriters or a Hollywood store for Actors (B) Samuel French ( Bookstore or a (C) Seattle based publisher, (C) Michael Wiese (, with over 100 titles.

Need to hear someone talk: Then two sources of excellent $39-$79 Webinars on the skills/crafts of Film & Television are (1) Stage 32 (, a superb filmmaker social network, and (2) The Writers Store ( an excellent Filmmaker & Screenwriter how-to Aggregator.

2-3 Courses first. Maybe 1-2 Webinars and 3-4 Books next.


(Step 3) WRITE (TEASER): $5-$205

Now, let’s put into action what you’ve been learning and write a 3-4 page scene, with Interior & Exterior locations, that takes place in a building, house, office, apartment or store that you have access to…

Writing-12 (Writers-write & Thinkers-think. Now move your fingers and knock out 3-4 pages.)

The cost to buy the software to write the scene, in proper screenplay format, is either $0 if using the Free Software/Shareware ( or purchasing the most commonly used program (“FINAL DRAFT 10.0”) at The Writers Store (

Next buy a ream of paper (500 sheets) at either Staples or Office Depot for $5.

Software ($0-$200) and paper ($5).

Grand total $5-$205.


(Step 4) SHOOT (TEASER): $1,700-$2,000

Now budget $1,200 (you’ll spend a little more) and do a weekend shoot.

FILM SHOOT-3 (Your apartment, with 4-5 friends, 3-4 actors and a bunch of Burgers & Fries)

Hire someone with a DSLR Camera and some lenses for $300 for 1-day.

Hire someone with sound equipment and microphones for $150 for 1-day.

Hire someone for $150, with a 3 piece lighting kit, to do Key, Back & Fill lighting.

Cast your 4-5 actors via the internet on Friday. Pay them each $100/day and a cassette of the shoot along with an Opening Title Credit). Rehearse on Saturday.

Burgers, Fries, Diet Coke & Pizza for 7-8 people on Saturday and Coffee, Donuts & Yogurt for Breakfast on Sunday will cost $150.

Shoot 3-4 pages on Sunday and the total cost is now $1,200-$1,500.

Hire an editor at $500 for 1-week and do a rough cut, 2nd cut and final edit with liberated music and titles..



You have your screenwriting software. You have your paper.

Writing-1 (90-pages, 1-location. Correct Format. No Exterior-Night Scenes. No Montages or Flashbacks… Doable for Micro-Budget Dollars) 

Now write a 90-page script that takes place in one-location (house, courtroom, elevator, bordello, jail cell, etc.) with 40-60 scenes, back stories, fleshed out character with unique voices and 3 sub-plots that all come to a satisfying climax and resolution.



You have the script.

Casting-2-Girls (Cast great actors. SAG or Non-SAG. They won’t be names but pay each one $100/day or $500/week)

You have done a weekend shoot and discovered casting, directing, lighting and editing.

You have spent approximately $3,000.

You are not in debt.

You have experience.

You have saved $303,456 by not going to an expensive 4-year film program.

This is cool and I bet you’ll find someway to come up with $20,000-$30,000 for a 1-week shoot, with 2 DSLR cameras, to Produce & Direct your 1st Feature Film.


Plus, (A) you have only taken 1-year of time rather than 4-years and (B) will Premiere at your first Film Festival with a No-Budget Feature Film and are “Under the Radar”.

“Under-the-Radar” meaning you made it for so little money that no one is allowed to criticize you… You are “Under-the-Radar”

Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens

PS: Remember, talent and work ethic is important, actually super important, and I, along with anyone at USC, UCLA or NYU do not know how to teach either; so if God gifted you with talent & work ethic and you create a $3,000 School of Hard Knocks I believe you are on the road to Fame & Fortune.




$89-$389 FILM SCHOOL (Master Filmmaking in 16-Hours…Why Wait?)

Want to Produce, Write, Direct?  Want facts… not theory?

Then my 3 film programs are affordable & perfect for you…

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2 comments on “SCR*W FILM SCHOOL…SAVE $300,000 (Produce & Direct A Feature Film… Step #4 is Fun )”

  1. Richard says:

    Hello i want to have more info

  2. Jessica says:

    Why would you shoot a teaser before the movie when you’re ALREADY AIMING to shoot an entire feature? Doesn’t make sense – since you can cut a trailer from your footage/feature anyway.

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