Fellow Achievement: First to Second Year Retention, 2011-2017

2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
92% 92% 92% 90% 92% 96%

Fellow Achievement: Graduation Rates, 2011-2017

2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
90% 92% 91% 88% 87% 93%

Program Level Learning Outcomes


  • Technical Proficiency:
    • Knowledge of tools used to create images, the ability to pre-visualize, and to imagine and communicate images well Leadership.
  • Artistic Maturity:
    • Help evolve visual approaches serving the story in a team environment, understanding and evaluating how well images serve a story, and drawing on a deep knowledge of visual arts to nurture images needed to tell a story show sound aesthetic footing and artistic taste.
  • Leadership:
    • Able to analyze the amount of physical work required to accomplish the project’s work, predict how much work a given scene will take, break down assignments and management skills to empower those working for him/her while requiring the least amount of verbiage/instructions.


  • Narrative Structure:
    • To learn the elements of dramatic structure. To understand and articulate the turning points of story. To create and maintain narrative momentum throughout a film, beginning, middle and end.
  • Visual Storytelling
    • To learn and practice the language of visual storytelling, using action, performance and the camera to convey information, emotion and drama. To stage and shoot with an emphasis on character objectives and on narrative point of view.
  • Collaboration with Actors
    • To learn how to cast and work effectively with actors in order to elicit the best possible performance.
  • Collaboration with Production Team
    • To learn how to collaborate effectively and lead with Producers, Cinematographers, Editors, Production Designer, and Screenwriters and other key crew members in an effort to realize the story’s intentions.


  • The Art of Editing:
    • Able to select pieces of shots from dailies and put them together to form a Narrative Story.
    • Able to identify how a shot, or scene, or performance is working to inform the audience about the intention of the Story.
    • Able to effectively articulate their insights into how a shot, or a scene, or a performance, or a Story is working, and how the shot selection or sequence of shots can be improved.
    • Develop analytical skills in viewing a “cut”; learn Editing vocabulary, how to articulate the intent of the piece; how and why it succeeds or does not. Learn to cut for: POV, narrative clarity, tone, subtext, character arc, performance.
  • Technical Process:
    • In the Avid Media Composer/Symphony program: create a project, import media, organize the media, manipulate picture and sound files, and output project to tape.
    • The ability to manipulate picture and sound files with an artistic intent of telling the best version of the Story from the material.
    • Organizing dailies and their projects in a way that conforms to professional standards, learning the vocabulary that professionals use to describe the process.
    • In the Digidesign Pro Tools program: create a project, import media, organize the media, manipulate sound files, create a final stereo mix, output final mix to Avid and layback to tape.
    • In the Adobe Photoshop and After Effects programs: ability to import and export media, ability to composite and manipulate digital files for the desired effect.
    • Understand and engage in the various post production stages that comprise the Editorial process from pre-production to final delivery in multiple professional formats.
  • Socio/Political:
    • Collaborate with the Director, Producer and Cinematographer to assist in realizing the “vision” of the film.
    • The collaboration aspect is at every stage of the filmmaking process (pre, production, and post), and each phase has its own unique challenges for the Editor.
    • Understanding how to push, how to go easy, how to get their point across, and how to pick their battles in the somewhat “charged” atmosphere of the Editorial process.
    • Time management; meeting deadlines and working well under pressure.
    • Able to handle themselves and behave appropriately and professionally around all aspects of the post-production environment.


  • Creative Development Skills:
    • Develop knowledge of dramatic structure and practice story critique as it pertains to short Cycle and Thesis projects as well as feature films, from story genesis to marketing.
  • Leadership/Collaboration:
    • Solidify skills in leading and organizing production, while maintaining a collaborative team, mediating creative feedback from each key team member, while delegating responsibilities in an effort to best serve the intentions of story and production.
  • Production Expertise:
    • Develop skills in budgeting and managing both short and feature film production, from pre- through post-production.
  • Business/Legal Expertise/Marketing
    • Learn the business aspects of filmmaking, including contracts, development- and production-related legal issues, financing, distribution, and marketing.

Production Design

  • Applied Production Design
    • An understanding of mill safety, carpentry, set construction and scenic painting.
    • Search, secure, adapt, and restore set locations.
    • Collaborate with other disciplines in the making of cycle, thesis, MOS, and DWW projects.
    • Build relationships with vendors and studios in the industry.
  • The Art of Production Design
    • Analyze the story and translate the written word into concrete visual language.
    • Use research to find inspiration, factual accuracy, and emotional authenticity that best supports the story.
    • Pre-vis the look and feel of the sets/locations using both traditional and digital methods.
    • Find and express a personal design aesthetic in support of the story using perspective illustrations.
  • The Science of Production Design
    • Articulate a design into a comprehensive set of plans, elevations, details and white models that can be budgeted, shared with other departments, built, and implemented into a full production setting.
    • Create a digital model of a set and use that model to create plans and renderings.
    • Awareness of the art department’s pipeline with visual effects and post production.
  • The Business of Production Design
    • Market yourself with a compelling website, portfolio, and resume.
    • Write, speak, and present design concepts with confidence and clarity.
    • Familiarity with budgeting and scheduling for short and feature films.
    • Foster meaningful relationships with AFI alumni and other working professionals in the industry.
    • Anticipate and manage the uncertainty and ambiguity which is built into the industry.


  • Craft/Aesthetics:
    • Hone one’s visual storytelling techniques, including three-act structure, character development, effective dialogue, scene construction, in order to build plot and emotional arc. To cultivate one’s “voice” in communicating effectively in the screenplay medium with impact and power.
  • Story critique:
    • Sharpen analytical skills in order to effectively and objectively critique the scripted work of one’s own and one’s peers.
  • Process:
    • Give, receive, and address notes from faculty and peers during the ongoing revision process – crucial to the effective writing of short films, series episodes, and feature films.
  • Professionalism/Presentation:
    • Effective work habits in order to deliver polished, compelling screenplays of a professional caliber. To engage in creative collaboration with a production team and contribute to the film’s realization through screenwriting and other production activities. To demonstrate skill in the presentation of story ideas and screenplays to buyers, including producers, feature and television executives, and agents/managers.

Portfolio Reviews, Continuation, and Thesis

First Year Portfolio

On the designated week in May, all First Year Fellows are provided with an individual First Year portfolio review with their Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence and/or key faculty member(s). This is a comprehensive review of their quality of work, attendance, participation, collaboration, professional attitude and creative potential.

Continuation in the Program

Faculty assesses the progress and performance of Fellows on a continuing basis throughout the First Year of the program. An Unsatisfactory evaluation or a Fellow Progress Report on a serious infraction in the First Year may result in the Faculty deciding not to invite the Fellow to continue on to the Second Year. Regardless of grades, the Faculty may determine, upon review of an individual Fellow’s progress, that he/she does not meet the expected standards of the program or that he/she has not or does not engage fully and constructively in the program. When this occurs, the Conservatory is not an appropriate learning environment for the Fellow and the Fellow may not be invited to continue into the Second Year. Letters with invitations to continue in the program are issued in the spring following First Year portfolio reviews and general Faculty review of all Fellows’ work and performance in the program.

Second Year Thesis and Portfolio

The Second Year curriculum centers around a substantial thesis project, which for most of the disciplines involves the production of a professionally executed moving image production. Screenwriters may participate but have discipline specific requirements. Each Fellow develops a personal portfolio demonstrating his/her skills and professional creativity.