Rona Naomi Mark

BA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. MFA, Columbia University. Award-winning writer, director, and producer. Festivals and awards include: Best of Fest, Edinburgh International Film Festival; Audience Choice Award, Filmmaker Magazine; Scenario Award, Canadian International Film and Video Festival; Best Short (second place), Galway Film Fleadh; Best Comedy/Best of Night, Polo Ralph Lauren New Works Festival; BBC’s Best Short Film About the Environment, Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival; opening-night selection, Three Rivers Film Festival; Hong Kong International Jewish Film Festival; Irish Reels Film Festival; Seattle True Independent Film Festival; New Filmmakers Screening Series; Hoboken International Film Festival; Miami Jewish Film Festival; Munich International Student Film Festival; Palm Beach International Jewish Film Festival; Pittsburgh Israeli Jewish Film Festival; Toronto Jewish Film Festival; Vancouver Jewish Film Festival; finalist, Pipedream Screenplay Competition; third prize, Acclaim TV Writer Competition; second place, TalentScout TV Writing Competition; finalist, People’s Pilot Television Writing Contest; Milos Forman Award; finalist, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Film Awards. Current feature film projects include: screenwriter/director/producer, Strange Girls, Mdux Pictures, LLC; screenwriter/director, Shoelaces. SLC, 2007–

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Script to Screen

Open , Seminar—Year

This class will introduce students to all aspects of filmmaking, from conceiving a script through exhibition of the final work. The first semester will focus on screenwriting, and students will write short scripts that they will then produce and direct in the second semester. Simultaneously, students will learn to use the school’s filmmaking equipment and editing software and utilize those skills in a series of short, targeted video exercises. Those exercises will not only familiarize the students with the gear at their disposal but also will introduce the students to concepts of visual storytelling (e.g., where to put the camera to tell the story). The second semester will focus on preproduction and previsualization of the student’s conference film. Students will learn how to craft shot lists, floor plans, look books, and other tools to help them organize their film shoots. Students will also practice directing actors and finding a method for effective communication with their cast. They will also learn some basic production management skills, such as breaking down scripts for production and scheduling. After shooting their conference films, students will workshop their rough cuts in the classroom and fine-tune their edits in preparation for the final class: THE SCREENING!

Faculty

Writing Movies

Open , Seminar—Fall

During the course of this seminar/workshop, students will learn how to write narrative screenplays with an eye toward completing a feature-length work. The course will cover basics of format and style, and there will be weekly assignments aimed at developing students’ screenwriting muscles. Students will “pitch” ideas, rigorously outline stories, and write and revise pages of their blueprint for a feature-length film. The class is designed to help the beginning screenwriter find his or her voice as a film artist, using the written language of visual storytelling.

Faculty

Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking: No-Budget Strategies for Getting It Done

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Has there ever been a better time to be a no-budget filmmaker? Recent technological advancements in camera and editing equipment have made it possible for just about anyone to create slick, high-resolution images for very little money. As films get easier to produce, however, good films become harder to find. So, how does the nascent filmmaker distinguish his/her work from the crowd? With a great script, sure-footed direction, and a smart allocation of his/her available resources. In this immersive filmmaking workshop, students will develop and shoot a project over the course of the semester. First, we’ll discuss scripts not only in terms of their story but also in terms of their scope and their producability. Then, we’ll practice our directing skills with a series of weekly shooting assignments that target specific directorial challenges. Next, we’ll break down our scripts for production, figuring out low-cost ways to achieve various cinematic effects. Our next step will be to previsualize the film by making shot lists, floor plans, and look books. Students will then go out and shoot their films and bring back the footage for editing. We’ll review basic post-production procedures and introduce software effects that can add polish to a project without adding cost. The goal of the course is to push the student creatively without multiplying costs beyond what is necessary. With the school’s equipment and other resources at your disposal, the only limitation to you as a filmmaker is your imagination and resourcefulness.

Faculty

Graduate Courses

Writing 2019-2020

Fiction Craft: Visual Storytelling: Writing for the Screen

Craft—Fall

To make a great film you need three things—the script, the script, and the script. —Alfred Hitchcock

The world’s directors are in agreement—a solid screenplay is the foundation of any great film. The screenwriter is the architect of a film, the one to sit down with a blank page and create something out of nothing. The job of the screenwriter is to convey complexity of character and plot visually rather than through verbal explanation. The screenwriter shows rather than tells. In this craft class, students will learn the fundamentals of visual storytelling, specifically for narrative fiction screenplay writing. The class will cover story structure, character development, dialogue, outlining, and formatting. Students will have outside writing assignments that will be reviewed during class in a workshop format. In addition, students will be responsible for reading several screenplays and providing analysis. Students may work on short or feature-length films, web-isodes, or full television episodes; there are no limitations on content.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Script to Screen

Open , Seminar—Year

This class will introduce students to all aspects of filmmaking, from conceiving a script through exhibition of the final work. The first semester will focus on screenwriting, and students will write short scripts that they will then produce and direct in the second semester. Simultaneously, students will learn to use the school’s filmmaking equipment and editing software and utilize those skills in a series of short, targeted video exercises. These exercises will not only familiarize the students with the gear at their disposal but also will introduce them to concepts of visual storytelling (e.g., where to put the camera to tell the story). The second semester will focus on preproduction and previsualization of the student’s conference film. Students will learn how to craft shot lists, floor plans, look books, and other tools to help them organize their film shoots. Students will also practice directing actors and finding a method for effective communication with their cast. They will also learn some basic production management skills, such as breaking down scripts for production and scheduling. After shooting their conference films, students will workshop their rough cuts in the classroom and fine-tune their edits in preparation for the final class—THE SCREENING!

Faculty

Ghouls, Cyborgs, and Elves: Making the Genre Film

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

This is a hands-on production course with a focus on producing genre films. Working within a genre can greatly assist the fledgling filmmaker by suggesting content and stylistic elements, thereby freeing the artist to focus on self-expression. While exploration of all genres is welcome, our class discussions and video exercises will explore various ideas present in the so-called “lesser genres” of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Students will shoot several short video exercises, both individually and in groups, each with a certain directing and thematic prompt. Film viewings will demonstrate how genre films handle sexual politics and repression, societal and personal anxieties, naturalism as opposed to fantasy, as well as the smart use of special effects and other strategies for the low-budget, independent filmmaker. In addition to class exercises, students will each produce and direct a short video project for their conference work.

Faculty

Writing Movies

Open , Seminar—Spring

During the course of this seminar/workshop, students will learn how to write narrative screenplays with an eye toward completing a feature-length work. The course will cover basics of format and style, and there will be weekly assignments aimed at developing students’ screenwriting muscles. Students will “pitch” ideas, rigorously outline stories, and write and revise pages of their blueprint for a feature-length film. The class is designed to help the beginning screenwriter find his or her voice as a film artist, using the written language of visual storytelling.

Faculty

The Last Picture Show: Advanced Writer/Director’s Workshop

Advanced , Seminar—Year

Experience and permission of the instructor are required. Though not exclusive, preference will be given to third- and fourth-year students.

This workshop is geared toward the student who has taken several narrative filmmaking classes and would like to work on a capstone project. In the first semester, we will develop ideas into screenplays and get them ready for production. Students may work with outside producers but will be responsible for some preliminary breakdown work in the service of producing their films. Directing exercises will focus on working with actors and creating sketches from the student’s final work. Labs will be chosen by the class members to develop certain technical skills that they may need to execute their projects. The class will include periodic film screenings to analyze the work of other established directors. Students will produce their projects early in the second semester, leaving the last portion of the term to edit and refine their films. We will workshop rough and fine cuts of their films so that the students might finish their films with a high degree of polish.

Faculty

DIY: Do-It-Yourself Filmmaking: No-Budget Solutions to “Getting It Done”

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

A basic knowledge of screenwriting, camera operation, and nonlinear editing is required.

Has there ever been a better time to be a no-budget filmmaker? Recent technological advancements in camera and editing equipment have made it possible for just about anyone to create slick, high-resolution images for very little money. As films get easier to produce, however, good films become harder to find. So how does the nascent filmmaker distinguish his/her work from the crowd? With a great script, sure-footed direction, and a smart allocation of available resources. In this immersive filmmaking workshop, students will be introduced to the great, self-reliant world of DIY filmmaking. Want a smoke machine? We’ll make one! Need a portable jib arm? We’ll make one! Students will undertake several DIY builds—such as fig rigs, snorricams, panel lights, and air-pump squibs—and then work those projects into several shooting assignments. For conference, students will develop and shoot a short film over the course of the semester. We will discuss scripts not only in terms of their story but also in terms of their scope and their producability. Our next step will be to previsualize the student’s conference film by making shot lists, floor plans, and look books. Students will then go out and shoot their films and bring back the footage for editing. We’ll review basic postproduction procedures and introduce software effects that can add polish to a project without adding cost. The goal of the course is to push the student creatively without multiplying costs beyond what is necessary. With the school’s equipment and other resources at your disposal, the only limitation to you as a filmmaker is your imagination and resourcefulness.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Introduction to Narrative Fiction Filmmaking

Open , FYS—Year

This course will be an introduction to all facets of film production, from screenwriting through exhibition. The first semester will focus primarily on the art and craft of screenwriting, and students will emerge with a screenplay that they will then produce during the second semester. In addition to written assignments, students will produce several video assignments that will familiarize the students with the equipment and techniques of filmmaking. Students will form film crews from within the class and will learn the various roles on a film set. Students will learn some basic production management skills that they will then apply to the making of their own short films.

Faculty

Making the Genre Film

Open , Small seminar—Fall

This is a hands-on production course with a focus on producing genre films. Working within a genre can greatly assist the fledgling filmmaker by suggesting content and stylistic elements, thereby freeing the artist to focus on self-expression. While exploration of all genres is welcome, our class discussions and video exercises will explore various ideas present in the so-called “lesser genres” of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Students will shoot several short video exercises, both individually and in groups, each with a certain directing and thematic prompt. Film viewings will demonstrate how genre films handle sexual politics and repression, societal and personal anxieties, naturalism as opposed to fantasy, as well as the smart use of special effects and other strategies for the low-budget, independent filmmaker. In addition to class exercises, students will each produce and direct a short video project for their conference work.

Faculty

Advanced Projects

Advanced , Small seminar—Spring

This small seminar is for students with some experience who have a project that they are ready to produce during the course of the semester. Students will workshop their screenplays in class and present shot lists, floor plans, and look books for their films. In addition to creating detailed schedules and budgets for production, students will hold auditions to cast their projects. In-class directing exercises will focus on eliciting performances from actors and finding the right visual language for the students' individual films.

Faculty