TEACHER of FILM STUDIES and FILMMAKING
From the beginning of his industry career as a child actor in Australia, Steven Jacobson has had an abiding passion for all things film. An accomplished director, Mr. Jacobson also has extensive experience in all aspects of motion picture production and cinematic storytelling. In addition, he has served as a film festival programmer, a screenplay dialect researcher, a film book editor, and has performed in a variety of film industry administrative roles.
A film production graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and a member of the Directors Guild of America, Mr. Jacobson was the Second Unit Director on the DreamWorks/Paramount blockbuster musical Dreamgirls and directed the Sony Pictures dance movie Center Stage: Turn It Up. He has also served as a programmer for Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival and has edited or co-edited several film-related books, including a film studies textbook and a movie novelization. A dedicated educator, Mr. Jacobson is currently teaching introductory, intermediate, and advanced film production, film theory, and screenwriting to middle and high school students at New Roads School in Santa Monica, California.
The Screenwriter’s Craft: Action Screenwriting
It all starts with a script! Screenplays are at the heart of almost every film production, from summer blockbusters to long-running TV series. Screenwriting is also an exciting practice for anyone interested in honing their storytelling skills. This course introduces the fundamental tools and elements every adept screenwriter uses, including the three-act structure, professional screenplay format, brainstorming and character development techniques, and dialogue writing. These skills will be put into practice during the writing of short action sequences, giving students the experience of crafting high-octane cinematic thrills via the written word.
This course will give students the opportunity to work collaboratively as part of their own film crew while they develop, shoot, and edit a short narrative film. Each student will take on a variety of responsibilities in turn, gaining experience operating a professional cinema camera, recording sound, acting, and directing, with the course culminating in a screening of the finished movie. Skills refined along the way will include visual storytelling, shot design, the essentials of post-production, and the art of successful collaboration and teamwork.
In this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of the underlying meanings and aesthetic properties of the movies and TV shows that so many of us consume. The course will guide participants through a close examination of narrative construction, visual and sound design, and cultural context. Specific time periods, genres, styles, and the work of major directors will be investigated as we analyze scenes from a broad range of movies and TV shows. Students will have the opportunity to expand their media literacy and critical thinking skills, which are vital in a world so dominated by the moving image.