Sept 23 - Nov 14
Film Producing: Core Elements
Registration is open until August 26, 2021
Summer Shelton

Course applications are now being accepted. APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, August 26 at 2pm PT. 

Acceptances start after the deadline, and occur on a rolling basis.

Learn the fundamental concepts of creative producing for independent fiction films—from development to financing to budgeting and more—with accomplished producers as your guides. In this introductory, live online course, you will become familiar with the basic tools and techniques used by producers to manage projects from development through distribution and you will create pitch materials to communicate your project’s vision to funders and key collaborators.

In interactive class sessions, the instructor and advisors will define key producing terms, demonstrate contracts, budgets, and other materials used in film production, and lead you in interactive exercises group discussions. Weekly homework, reviewed by your course advisor, is designed to help you build the pieces of your final pitch materials and deepen your understanding of fundamental producing concepts. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session with your advisor focused on your project.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • understand your role in creative development and identify your core producing philosophy.
  • learn how to assemble a strong team and key crew.
  • practice verbal pitches of your project.
  • understand the process of optioning material and hiring and collaborating with screenwriters.
  • learn industry standard deal terms and the fundamentals of deal negotiation.
  • identify financing available to independent filmmakers and begin to develop your financing strategy.
  • learn how to break down a scene and schedule your days on set.
  • identify key steps of the marketing and distribution process.
  • consider festival and distribution options for your project.

This course is ideal for:

  • first-time feature producers who would like to understand the core concepts of creative producing and how to move their project forward.
  • producers who have made a short film(s), but are moving toward features and looking for a more formal educational environment to enhance their skills, toolkit, and creative community to develop confidence.
  • non-fiction filmmakers looking to transition into producing narrative film.

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants per session, with a participant-to-advisor ratio of 12-to-1. Please come prepared with a short or feature film script that you plan to produce.


The course will be held live in our virtual classroom. All sessions are recorded for registered participants who are unable to attend live. If you have any questions about the course, please email

  • DURATION: Eight weeks, September 23 - November 14
  • SCHEDULE: Thursday, 9am - 11am PT
    • Extended first class session: Thursday, September 23 - 9am - 11:30am PT
    • Extended last class session: Thursday, November 4 - 9am - 11:30am PT 
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Nov 8 - Nov 14
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, August 26 at 2pm PT

Sundance Co//ab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at to arrange for services. 


Click the yellow “Apply Now” button on the top right of the page.

Summer Shelton was the recipient of the 2018 Independent Spirit Piaget Producer’s Award. She produced MAINE, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and KEEP THE CHANGE, the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature that was also awarded a FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize at the 2017 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. She was Executive Producer of PEOPLE PLACES THINGS, which premiered in US Dramatic Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival; produced ICARUS (short), which premiered at the 2015 New Directors/New Films Festival; and produced LITTLE ACCIDENTS, which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. more...

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