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Independent Digital Film - Madison

What is the Independent Digital Film program?

The Independent Digital Film program is a new program specifically designed for the filmmaking business including the behind-the-scenes production process, writing screenplays and setting up a business. This program prepares students for the reality of a filmmaking career. The film industry market is changing and there are three powerful influences.

  1. With the influx of online distributors like Netflix's Red Envelope, YouTube's Screening Room and Amazon's Studios, more opportunities for outlets and exposure are given to all filmmakers.
  2. Hollywood film is still one of the biggest exports of American entertainment and more states are courting Hollywood as location sites creating many working opportunities.
  3. According to the Bureau of Labor, the employment rate will increase rapidly over the next six years. For well-trained producers, writers, directors and editors, the increase is expected to be at least 17%.

The Independent Digital Film program prepares its graduates for a career in this growing industry.

Who is this program for?

The Motion Picture and Television production industry has been America's biggest creative economy and it's biggest export. It is dominated by small businesses, individual craftsmen and freelancers and it's an industry which combines creativity, technology, business and production. A demo reel and an approved Associate's degree is a prerequisite for this program. So if you love how film can inspire and entertain but want to know how to run a film business, this program is for you. The industry depends on an economically diverse workforce and vast project collaboration. Over 285,000 people in the US are employed in the production, marketing, manufacturing and distribution of creative film works.

What you will learn

The Independent Digital Film program covers all areas of the industry and you will obtain the skillset you need to get started as an Independent Filmmaker. This program prepares students for the reality of the marketplace through the instruction of the filmmaking business and behind-the-scenes aspects of filmmaking including how the industry works for independent films, web-based productions and other avenues of exhibition.

Some of the areas of study are

  • Screenwriting
  • Art Design
  • Directing the Actor
  • Production Management
  • Funding and Distribution
  • Sound Theory

How you will learn

You will receive training by industry professionals. Our instructors have the knowledge and experience to get you started. You will learn how to

  • Write a script
  • Break down a script for pre-production
  • Budget a script
  • Shoot a script
  • Develop post production workflow
  • Distribute and market a film

What's the takeaway?

Bachelor's of Science Degree

60 Weeks

This program will equip students with the hierarchical processes and skills to make quality short films culminating in a Digital Film Final Project in the fourth semester. From managing productions, to finding distributors and production assistants, there will continue to be an increased need and a priority given to highly trained and experienced employees.

Students who have completed the Independent Film program will be able to create an independent film business as well as work in the many aspects of the film industry. Students gain the basic skills and crafts of filmmaking and provides them potential opportunities for entering the film industry. This program also culminates into a major Digital Film Final Project in the fourth semester. This program also prepares students for the reality of the marketplace through the instruction of the business and behind-the-scenes aspects of filmmaking and how the industry works for independent films, web-based productions and other avenues of exhibition.

You want to be an independent filmmaker? The keyword here is "Independent."

Career opportunities for qualified Independent Filmmakers

There is no complete list of where these skills can take you but some opportunities could be

  • Digital Imaging Technicians
  • Cinematographers
  • Editors
  • Art Supervisors
  • Producers
  • Directors
  • Grips
  • Associate Producers
  • Production Assistants

Consumer Information

On Time Completion Rate


Placement in the Field


This is a new program with no graduates as of the ACCSC year below. No data is available at this time.

The placement data are as reported to the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. It includes program completers that started the program between 06/01/2009 and 02/28/2010.

State of Wisconsin Employment Verification

Graduates Employed


Calculated for the calendar year 2011.

Program Cost - Based on the standard course sequence.

Cost Per Credit


Total Credits


Total Tuition


Campus & Lab Fees


Total Program Cost










Median Loan Debt


This is a new program with no graduates as of the 2011-2012 Award Year. No data is available at this time.

The median Title IV loan debt for Media Institute students for the Independent Digital Film Bachelor's of Science program is N/A for the 2011-2012 academic year. (The median private and institutional loan debt for this program is $0.) This figure represents all funds borrowed by students in this program during that academic year, including monies to support these students during their time as students. It is not limited to the cost of tuition and fees for this program.

SOC Links



CIP Code


O*Net Link

Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture

IDF Spot

Meet Our Staff

Madison's Independent Digital Film Staff

Nella Citino
Program Chair

Nella is a media veteran with over 20 years experience in the video and broadcast industries. ( Read More... )

Sean McMahon

Sean has worked as a recording engineer and producer for over three decades, and has several RIAA certified Gold and Platinum records to his credit, and has worked on four projects that were nominated for Grammy Awards. ( Read More... )

Sean Little

Sean Little has a Bachelor's degree in Communications (emphasis in Radio, Television, and Film) from UW–Whitewater and a Master's degree in English Education from St. Mary's University of Minnesota. ( Read More... )

Natalie Pohorski

Natalie has worked as the Staff Production Coordinator for the horror channel, and as a marketing/production consultant for FEARnet , a Lionsgate/Sony/Comcast company. ( Read More... )

Gainful Employment Info Link

Independent Digital Film - Gainful Employment