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5 Sessions
Audit (Free)
Certificate (Incl. w/ Premium)
Credit Eligible ($300 USD)
California College of the Arts
Visual Arts, Storytelling
Skill Level
Design, Storytelling, Art, Animation, Movies, Post Production
Course Description

This course is an introduction to the methods of cinematic storytelling, with an emphasis on visual grammar and techniques. Students will learn story structure, and how to develop written or spoken ideas into a clear dramatic narrative arc, and how to edit and juxtapose images to create a clear and emotionally engaging result. They will also learn how collaboration and the ability to show work in progress, giving and getting notes from peers, make everybody’s work better.


This course is in scheduled mode "." Learn more about scheduled courses here.

Session 1: We Are A Story - Intro
Stories are a part of us. We’ll cover story structure, including the classic 3 acts. A movie is more like a symphony than a painting. A cinematic story has one job: Convey emotions. The technical term for a movie that fails is boring. The hardest part of making movies: Getting and giving feedback, or notes. Do it early. Do it often. Get lots of eyes on the screen. Cinema is writing, but with a different grammar. Guiding the viewer’s eye. Let’s learn to see movies in a new way. If you don’t like watching them, you won’t like making them.
Session 2: The Elements Of Visual Storytelling
Contrast and affinity Bruce Block’s basic elements of visual language, including: Line, color, shape Space (deep/flat) and perspective Rhythm, intensity
Session 3: Perspective-Based Composition
Composition is more than where things are in screen space, but where the camera is in world space Camera myths Depth cues Rule of Thirds Always ask: Why is the camera here, now, running, and pointed this direction?
Session 4: Staging For Clarity, Lighting For Effect
Stage line (180º rule): Establishing and moving the line Hitchcock rule Camera grammar: Camera angles and shot types. The uses of camera motion. Move the camera because you should, not because you can. Make it understandable even with no words. Light, shadow, specularity, falloff
Session 5: Montage
Editing: Where movies get made. Eye hookups (affinity of motion). Cutting for emotion. Make movies for yourself, not an audience. The rule of rules: Break any rule as long as you understand it. Review and conclusion
Enroll for College Credit

Credit Eligible

Kadenze has partnered with California College of the Arts to offer this course for 1 college credits.*

How much does it cost?

This course costs $300 USD to take for college credit.

*Upon completion, this rigorous college-level course will provide credits that are recognized and transferable from the partnering institution. Credit as workload and transferability is defined by the granting institution. Participation in these courses does not represent an acceptance decision or admission from the institution that offers them.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

There are no required materials for this course.

Additional Information

PLEASE NOTE: Taking part in a Kadenze course For-Credit does not affirm that you have been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by the institution offering this course. Successfully completed For-Credit courses are recognized by the offering institution, and transferability of credits into or between institutions is at the sole discretion of the issuing and receiving institutions. Some institutions may require additional information from you in order to generate an official transcript from the institution. In addition, completion of a course for credit shows up on your Kadenze resume/portfolio, which can be valuable for presentation to potential employers, or schools to which you might apply.

Peer Assessment Code of Conduct: Part of what makes Kadenze a great place to learn is our community of students. While you are completing your Peer Assessments, we ask that you help us maintain the quality of our community. Please:

Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.

Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.

Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

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