It's a Class Act at the Filmmakers Academy

Libby Slate

July 12, 2022

What's the best way to film actors in the unflattering light of the noonday sun? How do you shoot a horror show? How does a camera operator work differently on reality versus scripted television?

Tips on these and other aspects of production, prep and post abound at the Filmmakers Academy, an online enterprise that offers members more than 800 hours of training and advice from industry professionals via recorded videos, plus one-on-one pro mentorship and social-media interactions with other members.

The brainchild of cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC, and wife Lydia, the Academy began in 2009 as an informative blog, Shane's way of giving back for a career that has included AMC's Into the Badlands, Syfy's Resident Alien pilot, the Disney+ sports biopic Safety and such features as We Are Marshall. The blog eventually morphed into the online Hurlbut Academy in 2018, with video courses emphasizing elements of cinematography and lighting. This past November saw the launch of the expanded Filmmakers Academy, where courses now include directing, editing and producing; it reaches members in more than ninety countries.

"Shane and I created this because it's the resource that he always wanted as he was coming up the ladder in cinematography," explains Lydia, the Academy's CEO. "But it's not us, telling our members what they should be learning. We create all of the content based on their questions and on what they say they want to learn about."