From Text to Moving Images:
Visual Storytelling Masterclass
from designer Sarah Cogan
Your mission -- if you choose to accept it -- is to develop an in-depth fluency of film design language and a new way of world-building for your films. Communicate your vision with any designer or collaborator on ALL of your projects!
Next Masterclass Begins in Spring 2021
Weekly Calls Monday at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET.
Enter your Name & Best Email below to get notified when registration for the next Visual Storytelling Masterclass Opens
Filmmakers, Screenwriters, Producers...
Is this you?
- You went to film school or studied film but you didn't get the KEY education in how to create the design of your film or project: your visual storytelling language.
- You think in-depth film design and world-building is a luxury (pro tip: it's a necessity regardless of budget).
- You aren't getting into the festivals or hired onto the types of projects you want and you're not sure how to break through to the next level of craft in your filmmaking.
- You're confused about the questions to ask to deepen the design of your key visual storytelling areas: composition, location, set dressing, costumes, etc.
- You're unsure about how to craft high-quality visual design on an indie budget.
- You feel like you’re not moving forward with your career because you’re not using all of the visual tools at your disposal.
All is not lost!
This is not the dark night of your visual storytelling soul.
It IS possible to develop your visual storytelling fluency, expanding both your skill as a filmmaker AND how you articulate your vision to your design teams.
You're here because you have confidence as a storyteller but you’re ready to expand your visual storytelling language and style. You want to better translate that from the text to the screen to enhance your visual product.
In From Text to Moving Images you will come away with:
- Enhanced clarity about how you are telling your story visually.
- Deep-dives into visual research (moving beyond the reference image) and a process to cultivate your vision out of that research so you can share with your design teams.
- Tools and language to work with your design teams to further your vision’s articulation, and to present your visuals for collaboration.
- A more visually interesting film, regardless of your budget.
Everything you need to craft a bold, clearly-articulated visual direction so you can have a more effective (and enjoyable) collaborative experience and arrive on set fully prepared and able to focus on what is being created in the moment.
Learn How to Create:
using the must-ask questions for every genre to take your films to new depths.
Your Own Visual Style
to say what you mean with every shot and every moment.
that inspire others around your creative vision.
Deeply Connecting Films
that stay with the audience long after the initial viewing.
Meet Your Instructor
Hi, I’m Sarah Cogan.
Over the past 14 years, I’ve designed the visual worlds for feature films (including the Sundance darling Bushwick), episodic TV like Blindspot and Kevin Can Wait, and commercial projects. I work with indie film producers and directors to make the most of their budget when designing their story’s world.
I received an MFA in Theater Design from the renowned UCSD, and I also host the podcast Designing the Void, which is dedicated to film design, its influence on story, and the worlds we see on screen.
In my experience working with filmmakers, there are three reasons they don’t have a clear vision or can’t communicate their vision clearly:
- They don’t know the questions to ask or how and where to do visual research beyond simply pulling reference areas.
- They don’t know the full scope of visual storytelling design tools that are out there or how to use them.
- They don’t “speak designer” or have a toolkit to collaborate with designers to further their vision’s articulation.
My goal is to support you in creating truthful and lasting visual stories through design, building worlds that audiences identify with and get lost within. I can’t wait to work with you to bring your moving image storytelling skills to the next level!
I’ve been especially impressed with Sarah’s comprehensive creative process, which has included in-depth discussions about character, time, place, and theme, extensive research into the world of the film, and a host of renderings and color palates to illustrate various design options. Sarah’s contributions have already allowed me to envision its life on screen in a way that I had not been able to do before.
- Susan Murphy, Writer/Creator -- GIRL/GROUP
As a screenwriter and first-time feature director, Sarah Cogan's class From Text to Moving Image was like learning a new language for how best to communicate with my creative production teams. Beyond her expertise and stellar preparations for each class, Sarah's passion for the topic and commitment to her students' comprehension made each class a joy to attend. From learning about production design to costumes to framing to the power of color choice across the board, I now see every script I write in technicolor and possibility thanks to Sarah Cogan.
- Claire Ayoub, Director
Sarah is a great teacher in addition to being a brilliant visual storyteller. In addition to thoroughly covering the nuts and bolts of foundational techniques, she helps you get inspired, and she helps you understand why any of this matters. Having these tools in my back pocket has greatly increased the production quality of my shots, even if I’m shooting on the fly. I came away inspired and ready to take on my next project with a new eye for visual details. Highly recommend!
- Kiwi Callahan, Documentary Filmmaker and Head of Video Production at Delphi Strategic Marketing + Design
TTMI was exactly the course I was looking for to focus on my weakness as a director -- visuals and design. Sarah takes you step by step through the process and most importantly, she guides you to ask the right questions. I approach my lookbooks with clarity and technique now. I dive so much deeper now that I have a frame of reference about what to think about. The course and workbook is something I have already gone back to over and over again, when I work on each new directing project. This approach has given me more confidence as a director.
--Tricia Lee, director
Your From Text to Moving Images 8-Week Visual Storytelling Program includes:
- 8 weeks of community learning calls to guide you through the process of building your visual worlds. The calls are at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET every Monday.
- Worksheets and exercises to support you along the way and to apply the principles and ideas I teach you to your own scripts and visual creation process.
- Opportunities to have your visual creative work reviewed on our weekly calls so you can receive feedback from me and the community.
- Weekly Q&A “office hours” inside the Facebook group where you’ll get answers to your specific questions while getting that extra punch of inspiration and support.
- Bonus trainings & support throughout the course -- both via additional live calls and through the premium Facebook group, where you can ask your questions live during regular office hours.
All of the elements of the Text to Moving Images Visual Storytelling Masterclass are valued at over $2000.
8 Weeks of Training & Classes covering the following:
Week 1: Cognitive Science, Story, and Worldbuilding Foundations
Week 2: The Tools at Hand -- Color, Texture, Line/Shape
Week 3: The Tools at Hand -- Movement, Scale
Week 4: Worldbuilding in Any Genre
Week 5: Visual Research -- How to read, think, and talk about images
Week 6: Cultivating Your Creative Vision and Visual Storytelling Language
Week 7: Ways of Visually Presenting Your Creative Vision and the Tools Available
Week 8: Bringing Your Vision to Life -- Leadership and Collaboration Best Practices
8 Weekly Q&A Calls for In-Depth Exploration of Your Projects +
Bonus Training and Support Throughout the Program
BONUS Training: Beyond the Images -- Experimental creative exercises for worldbuilding that deepen our relationship to the stories we tell
BONUS Training: Budgeting the World You've Built with Gilana Lobel, PGA
CELEBRATION/BONUS Session: Present your work, get feedback and celebrate what you've created