January 15 to February 1, 2009


During the Prep, Production and Post Production Module (PPPM) held at The Banff Centre, participants receive coaching and mentorship from seasoned professionals while they explore aspects of working with actors, cinematographers, editors, designers and crews, practice casting, rehearsing, leading and communicating through hands-on production experiences. 

Participants are expected to have a working knowledge of the prep, production and post production process however, in the safe learning environment at WIDC, there is room for those questions you might have been afraid to ask. At WIDC, what might be considered mistakes in the real world, are considered learning opportunities.

Participants emerge with a DVD of the works-in-progress* for personal promotion and analysis and a new network of professional associates.

*The works-in-progress are not for broadcast or festival screening.


Director participants attend classroom sessions led by program Mentors with the objectives of determining and filling skills and knowledge gaps and exploring story-telling styles.  Classroom sessions are followed up with practical hands-on exercises designed to build confidence and develop working relationships with editors, cinematographers and designers. Classroom Sessions and Hands-on Exercises include:

Mentor Director's Overview: leadership, vision, creative style, casting, problem-solving, shot-listing

Aspects of working with Actors
: eliciting dynamic performances, communication, scene breakdown

Aspects of working with the Cinematographer
: lenses, lighting, depth of field, eye-line, blocking for camera, shot-listing

Aspects of Post Production:
finessing emotional arcs, compressing/stretching time, style choices

Aspects of working with Designers
: production, costumes, music and sound

Mentorship Sessions:
Individual meetings with mentors are arranged to discuss learning goals and director's vision for the MAIN Scene Exercise.


Actors and Crew join the workshop.  Casting and warm-up production and post production exercises provide an opportunity for building confidence, developing working relationships, testing and exploring creative theories and techniques learned.  Exercises include:

Casting/Audition Exercise: a simulation of the casting process allows each director to conduct auditions with the acting ensemble while benefiting from the insights and mentorship of the Mentor Director and Mentor Actor.

Blocking for Camera Master Class
: an opportunity to observe the Mentor Director with Mentor Cinematographers, crew and actors as they block and shoot a short scene in studio including running commentary, discussion of vision and process deconstruction.

Guerrilla Shoot Exercise: Each of the 8 directors is given a 2-3 minute pre-cast script, sent out on location with their crew (no lighting, art dept, makeup or hair) and given 4 hours to capture the essence of the story. They are then given 4 hours with an editor to execute a rough cut of their Guerrilla Scene.  A group discussion with the Mentors follows this exercise, again deconstructing vision and goals, process; what worked and what didn't, and lessons learned.

MAIN Scene Exercise: With their respective casts and crews all 8 director participants cast, prep, block and rehearse their MAIN Scenes (the original scripts that were story-edited during the SIM). Each director is given a 5-hour studio block to shoot her 2-3 minute script.  She is then given a 5-hour block to execute a rough cut.  Following individual sessions with the Mentors, directors are given a second 5-hour studio block to re-shoot the entire script, capture missing footage, or experiment using the same set, cast and crew.  A final 5-hour editing session followed immediately by a short music and sound mix is offered to bring the project to a work-in-progress stage. Following intensive individual and group exit/feedback sessions with Mentors, a private premiere screening of these works-in-progress takes place on the final weekend of the PPPM.  Complimentary DVD's are provided to all participants.



In addition to serving the various productions as cast, Acting Ensemble members have the opportunity to participate in actors work-outs with the Mentor Actor.  Information sessions with Mentor Cinematographers and Editors may also be scheduled.

Professional Crew have the opportunity to apply for upgrade positions (e.g. 2nd assistant camera to 1st assistant camera).  In their respective crew positions they are expected to offer mentorship and guidance to their department (e.g. 1st assistant camera coaches and mentors the 2nd assistant camera). They are expected to conduct mini-workshops within their respective departments to orient work study / volunteer crew to the job as well as on set process and protocols.

Work study / Volunteer Crew members have the opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience working on set with professional crew.  Senior film studies program students may use this opportunity to fulfill a practicum requirement.  Union Permittees may apply this opportunity towards their required on-set hours.