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Film and Digital Media Frequently Asked Questions

Film Production Training Programs

Film and Digital Media Certificate FAQ

What is the difference between the Georgia Film Academy Certification and the new Film and Digital Media Certificate Program?

The Georgia Film Academy trains students for traditional, on‐set, union film crew positions. The Film & Digital Media Certificate Program trains independent filmmakers who will gain a strong foundation in the complete process of developing a film project: pre-production, production, post-production and master delivery of the finished film. Contact a Film and Digital Media representative for a more detailed description of the major differences between GFA Certification and the FDM Certificate Program.

How long is the Film & Digital Media Certificate Program?

The Film & Digital Media Certificate Program takes 10 months to complete. However, you may take the courses at your own pace if you need to take the required courses over a longer period of time. The cost will be the same even when taking ‘time off’ in-between required courses in order to work around your personal obligations. As long as you complete the required course offerings for one or more tracks, you will earn your Film & Digital Media Certificate.

What is the total cost for Film & Digital Media Certificate Program?

The total cost for completing one of the tracks (Writing, Production or Post-Production) is $2000 ($399 for the first three 7-week courses and $799 for the final 16-week Workshop II course)

How do I know which Track is best for me?

The track you are most interested in and passionate about is a personal choice. You may potentially want to ‘specialize’ after completing the Film & Digital Media Certificate Program. However, all three tracks require two Production Workshop courses where you will ‘crew’ for another film project as well as work on your group film project. Therefore, you will be exposed to various experiences in development, production and post-production of independent filmmaking regardless of the track you select. Your specific track courses will allow a deeper dive into writing, production, and editing.   If you are unsure of which track may be right for you, please contact us so that we can talk you through the different tracks.

Do I need prior film experience to apply for the Film & Digital Media Certificate Program?

No. The Film & Digital Media Certificate Program is for students who have little or no experience in filmmaking regardless of which track(s) they select. You will have hands-on support from our Film and Digital Media team with your homework assignments outside of class.

I have some experience in filmmaking, do I still need to start with the Level I courses for the Film & Digital Media Certificate Program?

 Advanced standing will depend upon both your technical knowledge of the filmmaking process as well as your ability to tell a story. Contact the Director of the Film & Digital Media Certificate Program to discuss your experience as well as the content and depth of the coursework.  The Director will discuss options with you after assessing your work and your previous experience.

Can I just take only the Level I & Level II courses for Writing, Production or Post-Production?

Yes. If you are not interested in obtaining the Film & Digital Media Certificate in a particular Track, you certainly may only take the Level I and Level II courses of any of the Tracks. Please note, however, that Level I is a pre-requisite for Level II.

Can I take two or three Tracks at once?

Yes. Some students may choose to take one track because they have an interest in that track and want a deeper dive into that content. Students can also take two or three tracks at the same time because they want to learn as much as possible about all aspects of Independent Filmmaking and to prepare themselves for as many opportunities as possible upon completion of the program. However, if a student has work responsibilities, personal obligations, etc, then one track might be a more realistic time commitment for success.

Will the Film and Digital Media Certificate courses be offered in the evenings or on Saturdays?

Course scheduling will vary from session to session. We understand that some students have challenges with weekday courses due to other obligations and sometimes prefer night courses and/or courses on Saturdays. We try to factor this into our course scheduling whenever possible.

Do I need textbooks, supplies or other resources for the Film and Digital Media courses?

Textbooks, supplies and other resources will vary from course to course depending upon the track that you select. We will supply the equipment necessary to successfully complete your assignment work. However, you may need expendables such as batteries, an external hard drive, props for a scene, etc. We will strongly encourage you, as independent filmmakers, to find ways to acquire what you need (like locations, actors, etc.) by offering services in-kind or by other creative ways to minimize your resource needs while maximizing your production value as demonstrated in your assignment work.

What film jobs will the Film and Digital Certificate Program prepare me for?

The Film and Digital Media Certificate Program will give a strong foundation for entry -level positions in the film industry. The entry-level positions that you may be most qualified for may related to the Track that you choose. However, as you will also be required to complete two film Production Workshop courses, you will develop a diverse set of skills by creating your own work as well as by crewing on your fellow students’ projects.

How much time is required for homework outside of the class lectures?

This will vary week to week and among the three different tracks. However, you should plan for around four hours of homework time per week. This may change if you are working on a final project for a course and choose to devote more time to the assignment to get the technical and creative results that you desire. Similarly, there may be other weeks where you have less homework required as that week’s classes may be focusing on a learning outcome to prepare for the next assignment given later.

Georgia Film Academy FAQ

Are textbooks required for GFA classes?  The craft courses may require textbooks.  Every on-set production student is also required to have a set of “Production Tools”:   

  • “Leatherman”‐type pocket multi‐tool; available at hardware stores or home improvement stores;
  • “Maglite”‐type or LED pocket flashlight; available at the above stores as well as large volume retailers;
  • pair of leather or leather‐palmed work gloves,  
  • pair of closed‐toed shoes  
  • small pocket notebook (for taking notes on‐set in productions). 
  • set of colored pencils;

There will be also be a significant number of background and support hand‐outs that all students will need to download from the internet.   GFA typically uses D2L for distribution.  They will provide the link.

How long is the GFA certification program and do I have to take both courses?  The entire program takes about 12 months (40 weeks plus holiday time) to complete. Successful completion of  all courses is required to obtain the Georgia Film Academy Certification and a transcript from the Film and Media Center of Clayton State that details courses completed.    

What does GFA  cover? The first GFA course assumes no prior experience or knowledge of film, with a focus on job descriptions, organizational structure and order of operations divided into 3 pathways:  on-set production, post-production, and Esports.  The introductory courses will build basic skills in the chosen field.   Students will then take 2 craft courses dedicated to the path they have selected.  The GFA internship is available by application only.  Please contact for more information.  

How do I get into the film union?  There are two locals of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) union operating in Georgia: Local 479 (headquartered in Atlanta) covering most of Georgia and Local 491 (headquartered in South Carolina) which covers the Savannah, Georgia area.  If you are able to get on recognized working set(s) for a stretch of time (60 days is typical), you can ask a member of the Local to sponsor you for membership, and you will need one to three additional recommendation letters from industry professionals.  You then submit your application to the Local along with an application fee and membership dues in advance (from$600‐$840).  The general membership then votes on your application. 

Does the program provide job placement services?  The Georgia Film Academy does provide some job placement assistance for its graduates. Additionally, GFA provides a strong path for students headed for on‐set jobs , including union‐member mentoring, networking opportunities, time on working sets, and the development of a professional portfolio. 

Do I have to join the film union to work on film or television projects? If you are a GFA student in the On Set Internship course, no.  However, union membership is a strong path to film employment, so upon completion of the certification, it is encouraged to join. Film, television (and increasingly) high‐end web projects negotiate with the national union for labor contracts and with the union local to arrange for crews. 

What sorts of jobs will the GFA certification prepare me for?  

A. Traditional on‐set film crews, production assistants in post houses, Esports management of tournaments and venues.

B. Other positions:   

         1.  Art Department construction (props, sets, wardrobe) 

         2. Production Office (accounting, general office, pre‐production)  

What is the pay rate for film workers?  Hourly rates for professional workers on major film sets (most commonly union members) range from $25 to $32, depending on the budget of the production and the level of the job.  Note that most productions operate on a 12‐hour work day, with hours over 8/day paid at time‐and‐a‐half.