This is a recipe for how to create an online filmmaking course that your students will love.
There are so many online filmmaking courses available online today, many of which I have taken. But, how do you create an online filmmaking course that students absolutely love, to the point that they are actively referring their friends to take your course?
Now, I am not a professional course creator. But, I would say that I am somewhat of a professional student. After logging and completing literally hundreds of courses, I’ve developed a list of what specifically filmmaking courses do (and can do) to make their course amazing.
Calling All Filmmaking, Videography, & Video Production Course Creators
In this article, I want to take a look at what some of my favorite online courses do to create an experience that students love. If you are a course creator, I hope this helps you think about ways to make your filmmaking course better. And, if you are a student, I hope this can help you be a more informed buyer so you can purchase the course that best suits your needs.
Let’s get started!
- Identify A Very Clear Transformation
- Organize Your Course So You Don't Confuse or Overwhelm Your Students
- Make Downloadable PDFs that Are Actually Useful
- Build a Community That Students Want to Stick Around For
- Provide Insane Value for Free
- Final Thoughts On How to Create a Filmmaking Course Students Love
Identify A Very Clear Transformation
How will I be changed after I take this course?
A very clear transformation is an essential part of every course. If this transformation is not clear for potential students, it will be difficult to sell the course and the content can feel unfocused.
Full-Time Filmmaker does a fantastic job establishing this in the clearest way possible. Quite simply, after taking their course, you will be able to become a full-time filmmaker. This clear focus of the course allows students to easily wrap their heads around what they are getting when they purchase a course.
In addition, Full Time Filmmaker’s Parker Walbeck creates videos that people want to learn how to make. Course creators get bonus points when they offer a transformation that students themselves wish they could be like. In this case, there are many people that wish they could film like Parker Walbeck so selling this type of transformation, with Parker as the instructor, sweetens the deal even more.
What Is Your Course’s Main Transformation?
When creating your course, establish the core transformation you want them to go through. In FTF’s case, you go from an aspiring videographer to someone making a full-time living as a filmmaker.
After watching your course, they will go from (beginning) to (new transformation). How do you fill in these blanks?
Organize Your Course So You Don’t Confuse or Overwhelm Your Students
If you confuse, you lose. To add to that, if you overwhelm, you… also, lose.
Have you ever enrolled in a course, were excited to dive into the content, only to see a massive sea of videos that you need to watch with no clear indication of what videos you needed to watch first? This is one of the biggest problems I see with courses that have a ton of content.
90 Day Filmmaker, by the team at Tomorrow’s Filmmakers (led by Justus McCranie), solves this by providing clarity in the form of structuring the course in a 90-day course.
Each day, you will be presented with content to go through and you are encouraged to go through the course from beginning to end.
This takes the guesswork out completely and provides a very clear direction of how to go through the course. Your students will thank you for providing them with a roadmap of how to get the most out of the course.
Is it clear how my students should go through my course content?
If a student joined your course today, is it easy for them to access the content they want, and are they aware of how to best go through the content?
Consider creating an onboarding video to introduce them to the different sections of the course or re-organize your course in a way that makes it easy for students to consume. In one of the courses I joined (not a filmmaking course but a great high-ticket course), they even filmed custom screencast videos to onboard me to their course. This is a nice way to delight a new student and feel like you made the right purchase while also providing strong guidance on how to use the course.
Make Downloadable PDFs that Are Actually Useful
Downloadable PDFs are great bonuses and add-ons to courses. Done correctly, these can be powerful tools to provide amazing quality of life convenience for your students.
In Sean Cannell’s Video Ranking Academy 2.0, Sean has created an amazing workbook that you actually fill out as you watch the videos. You are encouraged to fill in the blanks, answer open-ended questions, brainstorm, and so much more. A workbook like this is a great way to provide clarity on what the students need to do and help them feel a sense of progression.
Another great example of a downloadable PDF is in James Cameron’s MasterClass. Instead of a fillable workbook, the MasterClass team opted to create essentially a filmmaking 101 handbook that has concise notes from his class, additional reading, and actionable tips. In many ways, it’s the text version of his video course. It’s well-designed, it’s fun to read, it’s a good reference, and it’s something that adds tremendous value to the learning experience.
What downloadable would help my students succeed?
Would adding a workbook, text-version of the video course, or even a round-up of actionable tips in the form of a PDF be useful for students of your course?
One useful frame I have heard others use when thinking of PDFs is a public note-taking journal. In other words, what notes would someone take if they went through this course and how can those notes be pieced together into a PDF that helps students?
Build a Community That Students Want to Stick Around For
In many of the higher-priced courses that I’ve purchased (one of them being literally $12,000), a constant theme I see the members of the course relay is that they bought the course for the knowledge but stick around because of the people.
When I think of the successful courses, even the ones already listed above, I think many of them stand out because they do take care of the students enrolled in their course.
In particular, the course The Real Deal Video Strategist Club, take this to the next level by providing weekly accountability sessions, one-on-one sessions, frequent challenges & giveaways, and more. This course is amazing because it teaches the content very well, but I think the bigger piece of the value comes from the accountability from the instructors through the accountability sessions and the relationships with the other members.
I don’t know about you, but there are many times when I enroll in a course, hoping to level up my filmmaking skills, but not actually end up creating anything. I think it’s easy to get into a learning loop where you are constantly learning but not acting as much.
And I think this presents an awesome opportunity for course creators.
If there’s a way to help keep members accountable and get them creating, I think your course will be much better off for it. And, in this case, The Real Deal Video Strategist Club does this through their extremely engaged community.
How can I help my members apply what they have learned & keep them accountable?
Is there an opportunity to add an accountability aspect to your course? Is there a way to include a community aspect to your course to move the mission of the course forward?
Giveaways, accountability sessions, 1-on-1 training, contests, feedback days, and live Q&As are some great ways to leverage the power of the community for your course.
Provide Insane Value for Free
When’s the last time you bought a course online?
When we think of a customer’s journey from not knowing your product to eventually purchasing & referring it, they typically go through this process. First, they get to know you, like you, and trust you. If you have done those three things, they will want to try out what you are selling in some way. Finally, if they liked everything up to this point, they will buy. If they love it, they will consider buying it again and then refer it to their friends.
To take a look at this process, let’s review Full-Time Filmmaker. For many, people get to know them first by watching a YouTube video. When watching, they may see the value of the information and the quality of the production and begin to like and trust Parker Walbeck and the FTF team. At this point, they may want to purchase their flagship Full-Time Filmmaker course but still want to try it out first.
Enter the insanely valuable free webinar on how to achieve cinematic shots.
If the person loves this webinar, then they will love the course. They have gone through the whole journey and are now ready to buy. Since you only need to purchase this once, you’ll find that many will end up referring this course to their friends because it delivers what it says it will deliver.
So, what does this mean for you as a course creator?
Is there a way for people to try out my course content?
Take a look at each of the stages of the customer journey. Do I have something in each step? Do I have a way for people to try out my content?
Examine the last course you bought and map out your own journey to buying that course. What convinced you to buy? Try implementing those tactics in your own course.
Final Thoughts On How to Create a Filmmaking Course Students Love
I love taking filmmaking courses and I have tons of respect for those that put themselves out there to teach the amazing things they know to the world. This list is by no means the exact blueprint to a course that makes millions, but I do hope that it helps course creators brainstorm and also helps students better identify courses that will serve their needs.
Do you have any other thoughts on what makes an amazing filmmaking course? Let me know by reaching out – I’d love to hear from you.
If you want to learn step-by-step how to build an online course, take a look at Course Creator Pro. It’s the best-in-class course on how to create an online course. You can watch their free webinar on how to make money online with courses here.
Happy learning and I hope this was useful for you!