Smile Politely

Training the next generation of Illinois filmmakers

An award-winning director, producer, and co-founder of Shatterglass Studios, Luke Boyce wears his passion for filmmaking on his sleeve. In fact, his passion weighs so heavily on his sleeve that I’m shocked he’s able to hold up a camera.In my case, it was a computer camera Boyce manned. A virtual meeting.

A few days previous, Boyce had agreed to discuss his latest filmmaking venture: the Central Illinois Film & TV Production Training Course. However, even with the pixelated padding of a Zoom waiting room, I was still nervous to meet Boyce.

It’s not that I haven’t met filmmakers before—I  have. In truth, it’s precisely this previous experience with filmmakers that caused my apprehension in the first place. In my experience, filmmakers are a “tough” breed, to say the least. (Long-winded, egotistical, pompous, to say the most.) Mostly, all I can think is how glad I am that filmmakers spend most of their life behind a camera rather than in front of it. So imagine my surprise when—in spite of all my meet-and-greet horror stories—Boyce popped up on my Zoom screen, smiling and enthusiastic. I was completely at ease.

This is the feeling I believe students will feel when they get accepted into the Central Illinois Film & TV Production Training Course—a free 8-week program for individuals interested in the production process on a filmmaking set. Intensive, hands-on, and comprehensive, this course is a boon for those seeking job opportunities in the film industry.

“There’s not a real strong workforce of production professionals in Illinois.” Boyce said when explaining the origins of the program. “There’s more and more shows coming and not enough people to support it.”

And it’s true: According to producer and the course’s co-founder Brett Hays, Illinois has become a national hot-spot for film and TV production, yet a shocking lack of professional training has become a huge obstacle to creative development. Given this urgency, it comes as no surprise that Boyce and Hays saw a great opportunity in founding the Central Illinois Film & TV Training Course. These two film experts sought to remedy Illinois’ production shortage by designing a program that could expand the narrow bounds of so many existing film programs.“Our program is not a workshop to teach you how to make a movie. It’s a workshop to show you what it means to be on set. Our program is going to go through safety regulations, it’s going to go through how to communicate on set… It’s workforce training.”

Not only does the course cover such a sweeping purview, but it also features instructors who are experts in the field. For instance, the program will host guest lecturers such as cinematographer Robert Patrick Stern, art director Sarah Sharp, sound mixer Mario Coletta, location manager Tom Lousbury, and producer Iman Sharabash, to name a few. These diverse range production professionals are key to giving the program its real-world applicability.

“What we’re trying to promote is if you want to be a full-time laborer in the film industry, of which there are many departments that you can be a part of, whether that’s art, camera, or sound, and you want to do this as a career. This is the program for you.”

If you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking: How can such a brilliant opportunity for professional development possibly be free? Enter: the countless sponsors of Boyce’s program. This 8-week course is presented by Shatterglass Studios, the Illinois Film and TV Workforce Development Program from the Illinois Film Office, and even the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In other words, everyone’s on board.
And if you want to join in on this opportunity, too, anyone has the chance to apply. Boyce says that they’re looking for applicants who are going to be committed, and people seeking a full-time job in the film industry.

The course is broken up into 8 weeks, starting July 16th, and consists of both physical and online classes. If you’re 18 years or older, you can apply on the Central Illinois Film and & TV Production Training website.

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