All posts by softsystemsolution

Goal Setting

As we transition into the New Year, many of you may still feel stuck in old habits, and goal setting can be an easy tool to help us overcome obstacles. We still have many of the same challenges that we faced the year prior. The pandemic is still a threat to public health and safety and we are all adjusting the best we can.

goal setting. white wall with professional lighting equipment.

For many of us, our dreams and goals were pushed to the side due to challenges resulting from the pandemic, both financial and health-wise. 

So, how do we get back on track? Let’s talk about goal setting. 

The first step in setting a goal is to think about what we want to accomplish. We can write this down with as much detail as possible. Do you want to become a successful filmmaker? Why? Do you want to focus on directing, cinematography, or sound design? Think about what it is you truly want to accomplish and write it down on paper or electronically. 

Once you have a goal in mind, we need to set a timeline to accomplish that goal. Realistically, how long will it take to accomplish? Are we ready to take action now? Where do we go from here? At this point, we need to consider what actionable steps we are going to take to make our dreams a reality. 

This is where Digital Film Academy comes in.

Studying with Digital Film Academy could be the first actionable step to fulfilling your filmmaking goals. 

Digital Film Academy offers two programs: A year-long Certificate program and a sixteen month Associate’s Degree program. In both programs, you receive free lifetime access to our equipment.

This means long after you graduate, you will have access to the equipment you need to fulfill your goals. Our Associate’s program also includes a personal equipment kit including a Blackmagic 6K camera, Canon M50 camera, Sound Recording Equipment, Lighting Kit, etc. 

Attending Digital Film Academy can serve as an actionable step towards achieving the goals you make for yourself. DFA makes it easy for you to set timelines with future intakes in May and September, allowing you to plan what works best for you. 

Digital Film Academy offers a variety of professional media training including Cinematography, Sound Recording, Directing, Video Editing, and Screenwriting. These classes allow for exploration of your true passions while developing skills in every facet of digital media.

Contact our admissions department for more information about our programs and how to align it with your goals: admissions@digitalfilmacademy.edu

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Every Ending is a New Beginning

“Every story has an end. But in life, every ending is just a new beginning.”
Dakota Fanning as Ray From the movie: Uptown Girls

As we begin a new year, we reflect on the past. This past year was challenging and full of ups and downs. For some, the end of 2021 may have felt like a huge relief. For others, this ending may have felt bittersweet. 

What goals did we have for ourselves that we didn’t quite meet? Is there something missing in our personal or professional lives that we want to incorporate into this new year? 

As we reflect on our goals for 2022, the question of training and honing in on our talents might arise. 

Digital Film Academy is here to help you meet your professional filmmaking goals and fine-tune your talents to become a better filmmaker. 

For instance, if you are interested in pre-production, we offer lifetime access to our equipment, saving you time and money when producing your own projects. 

We also have an equipment kit included in our Associates Degree program featuring a Blackmagic 6k Camera, Tungsten and LED Lights, and more, yours to keep. 

For post-production, we have cutting edge technology available to you such as Davinci Resolve, Avid, Pro-Tools, After Effects, and many other softwares. 

DFA’s training is geared towards giving you all of the tools and resources you need to succeed in the film and media industry. 

While new beginnings aren’t always easy, taking this step for your career could be very rewarding. Many students have taken this leap with our programs to become a more well-rounded film professional.

You can take a look at what some of our students and alumni have said about our school here: DFA Students and Alumni.

If you are ready for a new beginning, consider attending our Open House on Thursday January 6th at 1pm EST. You can add your name to the guest list here: https://www.digitalfilmacademy.edu/open-house/

We look forward to starting this new year with you. 

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Do It Yourself

Woman sitting in front of a computer screen while wearing headphones, learning online.

Nowadays, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. Websites like YouTube provide resources on topics we never thought possible! You may find yourself asking, why do I need a film school when everything I need to learn is online? Doing it yourself can be helpful in many ways, but you’ll need a little more to be a successful professional in the film industry. We give you (at least) three reasons:

Connections 

Attending Digital Film Academy will expose you to professionals in the industry. Our instructors are working film professionals with firsthand experience in the field. There are people to support you before, during and after completing the program. 

Hands On Experience 

YouTube is great for visual learning but sometimes you need hands-on experience. At Digital Film Academy, we put equipment in your hands and teach you how to use it correctly. Our online classes are engaging and interactive, no more boring zoom classes… 

Equipment 

Digital Film Academy offers FREE lifetime access to our production equipment and facilities including our RED Cinema cameras. This means no more paying for rental equipment, ever. In the classroom, Digital Film Academy uses state-of-the-art industry equipment to make sure you receive the best training possible, including DSLR’s, RED Cinema cameras, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere and Protools just to name a few.

Doing your own research and learning online can be fun and valuable but it cannot replace a quality education from Digital Film Academy. Our goal is to give you all the tools and resources you need to succeed in this industry. If you are ready to take the next step, join us at our Open House on Tuesday December 21st at 6pm EST.

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10 Reasons to Make the Move to Atlanta

Many production companies are making the move to Atlanta. Some examples of recent movies shot in Atlanta include: Hawkeye, Spider-man: No Way Home, Red Notice, and Jungle Cruise. Atlanta is also a hotspot for television series including: Stranger Things, Ozark, and The Walking Dead. So, should you make the move? We’ve made a list of ten reasons to make the move and kickstart your career in Atlanta. 

Montage of film productions shot in Atlanta. In order: Hawkeye, Spider-man: No Way Home, Red Notice, and Jungle Cruise, Stranger Things, Ozark, and The Walking Dead.

Tax Incentive

The state of Georgia offers a 20% tax incentive to production companies who complete production and post-production in their state. This is advantageous for creatives looking to budget their work effectively.

Multiple Established Production Companies

Secondly, Atlanta is already home to many production companies including LionStar Films, CNN, and Carbon Film making it a well-established film and media city. Having these well established companies makes breaking into the industry easier.

Employment Opportunities

Because Atlanta is currently hosting production companies and film projects, there are jobs to be filled every day with the job market increasing every year. You might find that Atlanta has more opportunity than NYC or LA where the competition is massive.

Casting

Atlanta is home to a diverse population of people and that is reflected in the casting coming out of the city. You will have talented actors from many different backgrounds auditioning for your projects. Perhaps you’d like to step in front of the camera, too? Atlanta is a great starter city for an actor to build their career.

Tourism

Atlanta tourism brings in more attention and money to the city every year. There is plenty to do from watching theatre productions to eating at award winning restaurants.

Landscape

Aside from the entertainment, the land itself brings exciting views and great shots for a filmmaker. Georgia has it all from suburban neighborhoods, city buildings, farm land, and space to build. (Everything but an ocean…)

Creative Communities

Atlanta is full of artists from different fields such as theatre, fine arts, filmmaking, and dance. Having artistic communities right next door allows you to build connections with like minded creatives. Who knows, maybe you could find a group to make a short film or series?

Low Living Expenses

Compared to Los Angeles, Atlanta’s cost of living is affordable. Georgia’s rent prices run lower than the rest of the country making rent manageable. Find a roommate or two and you are saving A LOT of money!

Location

This southern city is still centrally located and a major US city. You have access to all major flights through Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport and driving is a breeze compared to LA.

Education with Digital Film Academy

At Digital Film Academy, we see the value of having an educational institution in the fastest growing film production area in the country. We want you to succeed and we do that by giving you the tools you need to thrive in the digital media industry. All DFA students and graduates have lifetime access to our equipment, facilities, and exclusive Jobs Board. If you’d like to hear more, join us for an Open House.

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3 Ways to be Professional

Profile view at young African-American sound mixer wearing headphones while editing at home recording studio.

Let’s talk about professionalism. We often hear that we need to “be professional” on set but what does that really mean? We’ve broken it down into 3 ways to be professional: be kind, listen, and focus.  

Be Kind.

For the first example, we have Martin Scorsese whose birthday was earlier last week and his words give us a sense of the type of people he wants to be around on set as a film professional.

“And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things.” –  Martin Scorsese

No one likes to work with someone who is angry or intolerant all the time because it can create a negative work environment. For this reason, having a positive attitude and displaying kindness conveys something to those around you and sets up a more positive environment to film.

Listen.

So, why is listening important? Martin Scorsese has another quote for this:

“Now more than ever we need to talk to each other, to listen to each other and understand how we see the world, and cinema is the best medium for doing this.” ― Martin Scorsese

Professionalism doesn’t always mean being the loudest voice in the room. Sometimes, you need to step back and really listen to what others on set are saying. Practicing active listening and responding to ideas is a great way to convey professionalism on set.

Focus.

Lastly, focusing on your goals will help everyone to stay on the same page. This includes time management and communication. Eliminate outside distractions and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes, the simple solution is actually the most concise and important one. 

And we’ll leave you with a final quote about simplicity: 

“There’s no such thing as simple. Simple is hard.” — Martin Scorsese

Digital Film Academy is here to help you become a more well-rounded and marketable film professional through our Associates Program and our Advanced Certificate Program.

We have Pre-Production classes with leading professionals in the industry who will help you to excel with practical experience. Our Post-Production classes includes learning from the top editing softwares like Davinci Resolve, Avid, Pro-Tools, and After Effects; giving you professional experience from your own computer. 

Join us for our next Open House Tuesday November 23rd at 6pm EST. You can sign up here: 

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Call Your Own Shots

A black man operating a Red camera, calling his own shots. Two other man setting up a different camera in the background.

Have you found it difficult to find work during the pandemic? Are you scrolling through work pages waiting for the next opportunity to come along? Do you miss having the power to call your own shots?

Let’s talk about creating your own work. 

Instead of waiting for opportunities to pass you by, why not pick up a camera and shoot something of your own? Get together with some friends and write a short film or a web series and get it on camera.

Creating your own work comes with many benefits… it gets your name out there, stretches your creative muscles, and gives you hands-on experience with equipment and working with other like-minded people in the field. 

Maybe it’s time to step in front of the camera and try your hand at acting. If you have stage fright and want to stay behind the camera, try having a brainstorming session about new and creative ways to tell a story. There are plenty of ways to get involved in building your own creative career. 

How can DFA help?

At Digital Film Academy, you are set up for success with everything you need to become your own production company.

We have an Associates Program that gives you equipment to own (yours forever, no joke), included in the tuition and that’s in addition to our lifetime access to equipment that you will gain through the school.

This allows you to create your own work, anytime, anywhere. We have multiple classes such as Directing, Cinematography, Screenwriting, Video Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Design, Producing, etc. Having a diverse curriculum gives you the opportunity to learn all facets of filmmaking making you more marketable and experienced. 

Come learn more about how we can help you jumpstart your career, by joining our Online Open House.

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Leadership is hard

A camera operator and two other people from the camera crew are adjusting the camera for the next shot.

I’m not going to speak directly about the tragedy that happened during the filming of Rust because it’s too soon for us to know the exact truth of what happened. But I will say that regardless of the details, Halyna Hutchin’s death was entirely preventable, and it was a failure of leadership. 

And I’m not blaming Alec Baldwin, because again, it’s too soon to say, and I’m not even looking for one person to blame. Because the truth is, the failure in leadership happened among many people. The leader is the person in charge, but everyone can embody the concept of leadership, all the way down to the bottom of the food chain. A good PA has leadership skills. A good actor can be a good leader. The camera crew who walked from the set that morning had leadership in them.

Leadership is the ability to stand up for what is right when the people around you aren’t. It can mean being “the bad guy” and making the people under you follow safety requirements they don’t want to. And it can mean standing up to the people above you who want you to do something unsafe. Leadership works in all directions, not just top down. 

And it’s not going to make you a popular person. Very few people are going to appreciate you, though many will benefit from you. 

There are a lot of pressures in the film world, and people are going to ask you to do things quickly and cheaply, but please, if it’s unsafe, say no. Value your life and the lives of others above ANY project. Enough people have died.

So how do you know what’s the right thing to do? 

If you choose to come to DFA you will have production management classes. Besides learning how to make schedules and budgets for your films, you’ll learn the appropriate person that should be present for stunts, weapons, crowd control, car setups, etc. So even if you don’t go into the production-side of things, you’ll be able to recognize when things are being handled appropriately and when corners are being cut. Safety on set is always a priority and DFA values that above all things.

If you’re interested in learning more about our school, join us for our next Online Open House.

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Work Smarter

There’s lots of hard workers out there. But they’re not all successful. You have to learn how to work smarter, not just harder.

What are the missing elements? 

1) Improve your methods. 

Working hard is wasted if you’re not working smart. What does that mean? That means being efficient. Taking the time to question your methods and find the best way to accomplish a given task. 

2) You have to value your hard work.

If you don’t value your own time and efforts, most people won’t volunteer to. You’ve got to know what you’re worth and expect others to act accordingly. 

3) Find the people who value and support your hard work. 
Some people will take advantage of your hard work. Others will resent your hard work. But if you keep looking, eventually you’ll find people who will give their best along with you and together, the sky’s the limit. #findyourcrew

What does that have to do with us? 

1) We put cutting edge equipment in your hands. 

When you have great equipment, you’re able to work efficiently. If you join our Associate’s program, it includes ownership of a Zoom F6, whose 32 floating bit technology simplifies audio recording, making you more efficient.

2) With us you will learn how to self promote. 

Our Career Portfolio class teaches you how to show the world what you’ve got and what you’re worth. It teaches you how to create your own website and significant online presence, the best self promotion tools available nowadays.

3) Your success is our success. 


We’ve built ourselves around the idea that film students deserve more. They deserve ongoing support, including after graduation. All DFA students and graduates have lifetime access to our equipment, facilities, and exclusive Jobs Board.

If you’d like to hear more, join us for an Open House. If you’re in the Atlanta area, we’re excited to invite you to our first in person Open House at our new Atlanta Campus, located in the heart of downtown! You can also attend online through zoom.

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“Call it”

It’s your first day as AD (Assistant Director) and everyone is ready to shoot. The director just looks at you and tells you to “call the shot”. What do you do?

“Picture’s Up!” or “Quiet on Set!”

This is your first step. Loudly, without screaming, let everyone know they’re about to go into an actual take. Anytime you hear this on set, stop what you’re doing and get comfortable because you shouldn’t move or make a sound until you hear “cut” and sometimes that can take a while.

“Roll Sound!”

First thing you want to do is get the sound recorder to start recording (On your very own Zoom f6, if you’re in our Associates Program with equipment included*). Why start there? Sound is cheap. It runs on cheaper cards, taking up less space on the drives. Don’t get me wrong – it is not the sound mixer or boom mixer that are cheap, they’re looking at up to $800 a day for their expertise.

Your Sound Mixer will start recording audio and they will let you know by saying: 

“Sound Speeds” or “Sound Rolling”

You will then say:

“Roll Camera!”

Now your Operator will start the camera recording (with your 6k Blackmagic*) and they will let you know by saying: 

“Camera Rolling” or “Camera Speeds”

You’re now getting audio and video recordings so it’s time to capture the slate “clapping” this is used (when you don’t have timecode) to synchronize (sync) the audio and video clips. (Slates are also included in the Associate equipment package*) You will now tell the 2nd AC to:

“Mark it!” 

The 2nd AC will read the pertinent information from the slate so the editor can identify which take it is by listening to the audio.

“Scene 1 Charley, Take 4”

The 2nd AC will clap the slate and clear frame. At this point, on most sets, your job is done. When they are ready the director will finally call: 

“Action!”

This is the basis for every take, but things change on the fly and there’s lots of special circumstances and some different ways to call the shot.

If you’re interested in learning some of these industry specifics and so many other important elements of the filmmaking and media business, consider coming to one of our Open Houses. You will be able to get a feeling for our school, programs, and more!

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We’re changing, are you?

Students working as a film crew, directing, operating the camera and recording sound at Central Park in New York.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

– Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein, I checked)


Everything around us is constantly changing, and that’s never been more true. I’ll throw another quote at you:

“For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled”

– Bob Dylan


The best way to succeed is to be on the forefront of change. And that’s what we’re doing. Digital Film Academy is always on the lookout for how we can change to better serve our students. We’ve pivoted to a hybrid learning environment that allows our busy students to do most of their classes remotely. We bring our seasoned professors to you, wherever you are. 

We’ve designed an entirely new Associates Program that gives you equipment to own (yours forever, no joke), included in the tuition. That means that as you’re building your portfolio, working on school projects, or working with clients, you’ve got everything you need. You become your own production company. When you’re learning the equipment you have it there, in your hands. We did this because it’s the best way for you to learn and that’s our top priority. 

We’ve adapted our hands-on classes so that we can still deliver the essentials, while keeping our students safe. We just finished our intensive 3 week summer classes that had students performing in real life scenarios. From shooting walk-and-talks in Central Park to dramatic dollys in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. 

Our mission is and always has been to prepare you to make money and we’re always looking for new ways to do that better. 

Maybe it’s time you think about making a change? 

Come to one of our Open Houses and see if we can’t help you take a step in a new direction.

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