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Use this help page to guide you as you create your IDS Focus Document.


Getting Started

Your independent study in Film allows you the freedom to customize your film course to tailor to your needs. To get started, you will write the Course Focus Document outlining your purpose for taking the course, a focus statement, list of resource materials, and a list of assignments and projects to be completed.  Use this page to help you write your customized Course Focus Document.​

Step One: Focus Area​

Choose an area of focus for your study.  Your previous media classes have provided you with a general overview of the media area.  Your IDS course allows you to further delve into a particular area of study in media that interests you. Some examples of focus areas include:

  • Acting for Film

  • Script Writing

  • broadcasting

  • Directing for Film

  • Cinematography

  • 3D Modeling

  • 3D Game Design

Please note: this is not the only focus areas to choose from!  You design this course and therefore you choose what will be the media focus!

Step Two: Course Focus Statement

Write your Course Focus Statement.  This statement must include an expanded definition of your area of focus (ie: Directing), why you chose this area, what will be the cumulative project you create for your course (ie: Long Form Film), and where you will get your learning resources from.  Have your instructor read this paragraph first before moving on to check if you are on the right track!

An example of an IDS Course Focus Statement might look like this:

I am interested in learning more about Directing in Film.  I’d like to develop my directing production skills with a focus on production management, Shot Visualization, Mise En Scène, and cinematography.  I want to learn about this area of Film/TV as I’m fascinated with the behind the scenes in film and I’m thinking of pursuing a future in this industry.  I would like to create 3 films in all; 2 film shorts and 1 long form.  The two film shorts I will use to hone my skills and the long form will be my final project.  I’ve already got the general outline of my long form – a story of a student being interrogated in the principal’s office shot as a parody of “Usual Suspects.”  I will be using “Developing Digital Short Films” by Sherri Sheridan for my readings and exercises.  I have a number of Internet websites that provide helpful tips in directing and I’m looking into what resources our library has on the subject of directing in film.


​Step Three: Resource List

List the resources you will use to support your learning in your area of focus.  What textbooks will you use?  What websites & forums could you use to expand your knowledge?  What books and/or videos will you watch?  Who could you interview? Example:

  • “Developing Digital Short Films” by Sherri Sheridan

  • "Understanding the Film" by Jan Bone & Ron Johnson

  • Action-Cut!-Print, a website with helpful tips on Directing

  • Filmmaking Tips for Independent Filmmakers Website 

  • Because Of Mama: Creating a Short Film (Website)

  • Directing A Film (Website)

  • Stanley Kubrick Films (As many as I can watch!)

Step Four: Assignments/Projects List

​In the Table provided, list the assignments, readings, projects and videos you will watch to support your learning.  Your table must include the mandatory projects for IDS!  A due date needs to be assigned - no projects or assignments should have a due date beyond the end of the semester.

All IDS students must complete a Porfolio Website - Vimeo is highly recommended for Film, Flickr is excellent for photography. Please include your course focus on the site and fill out all relevant information. Each IDS Film student must have a Production Company Name & Logo Assignment (#2 Film 12).

An example of a completed Table might look like this:


Step Five: Approval and Publishing

Once you have your first draft, ask Mr. Schoenhals to look over it. Once approved, please print a copy for signatures and also submit a digital copy using the assignment form to the right. Please name the document using your full name, then your focus area.

Eg: MScoenhals-Directing.docx

Step Six: Hand In Your Focus Document

Submit your Course Focus Document AFTER you have shown your draft to your instructor. Use the Digital Hand in folder on the top menu.

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