Academy - Hero


Academy - Hero




Academy - Intro

Academy - Intro

No longer do you need a degree to make good documentaries.

Learn the ins and outs to Lean Production in just 6 weeks

The 6-week Immersive Program of Observatory Academy is crafted by top industry leaders in the field, with a specific focus on helping you gain the knowledge and confidence to produce successful films

  • Save money and time compared to traditional educational avenues
  • Gain hands-on experience and engage in discussions inside and outside the “classroom”
  • Create a film, judged by professionals and expand your portfolio
  • Network with leaders in the field
  • Learn from industry executives and the Oxford School of Business


Career Support

We provide constant support throughout the six-week program as well as personalized tutoring in regards to our industry proven lean production methods, so that any student, whether a  film student or YouTuber, can leave the program with a well-rounded grasp on our evolving industry. Observatory by nature, with our foundation in lean production, is different. We teach you to be iconoclastic and independent. In turn, every student leads a successful, creative career after their participation in our Academy ends - a large difference between us and traditional academic institutes and other film programs.



At Observatory Academy, students will participate in curriculum learning and production projects during the week and will attend lectures and workshops with media executives and lean production specialists, as well as take part in events hosted by the Academy, during the weekends. The Academy leads students through their creative ideas and works with Oxford’s Business School to teach students how to market and sell their creative content through lean production processes.

Academy - Syllabus

Academy - Syllabus



    In this week long section of the course, gain the skills in research and the structural foundation for creating an efficient and effective system for pre-production under the larger frame of lean production. Moreover, work with film writers and expert researchers to learn the background steps to understanding how demographics and analytics play into creating a film.

    ● Research Strategies
       ○ Uncovering the perfect film
    ● Conceptualizing & Unravelling Characters
       ○ Identity Constructions
       ○ Interactions
    ● Writing The Film
       ○ When
       ○ Where
       ○ Why
       ○ How


    In the intense two-week period dedicated to production, students will gain expertise in every aspect of production through a lean production approach. This section of the course covers all topics of production from understanding control of equipment to mastering management techniques. Students will work one-on-one with our executive producers at Observatory and gain meaningful network experience with directors, cinematographers, and equipment specialists.

    ● Interview Techniques
       ○ Composition and Preparation
       ○ Operation and Observation
       ○ Contemplation and Reflection
    ● Master Control of Equipment
       ○ Understand Equipment
       ○ Movement and the “Shot”
    ● Elements of Composition
       ○ Fixed vs. Dynamic
       ○ Color
       ○ Subject vs. Object
    ● Management
    ● Lighting
    ● Directing


    This fast-paced week long segment dedicated to post-production is designed to show students the ropes of how to edit films and manage lean production processes that come with a more efficient system of post-production development. Students will master skills in editing, color correcting, lighting, and music, among other techniques in order to create a clean, quick final cut. Additionally, students will work with award-winning editors and Observatory’s lead management team.

    ● Editing
       ○ Equipment and Technology
       ○ Techniques
       ○ Color
    ● Lighting
    ● Music
    ● Filters and Effects
       ○ Software comprehension
    ● Creating Final Cut
    ● Management
    ● Show Reel


    The fifth week of the program is the most jam-packed section of students’ time at the Academy. During this week, the Academy partners with the Oxford Business School in order to substantially educate students in finance, legal, and fundraising aspects of Observatory’s lean production model. Moreover, students will network and workshop with industry executives, legal counsel of the leading law firm in the film industry, and our fundraising team at Observatory to gain a well-rounded knowledge of the entire financial and legal scope of documentary production.

    ● Finance
       ○ Models
       ○ Funding
       ○ Taxes
       ○ Pre-sales and Co-Productions
       ○ Deferrals
    ● Legal
       ○ Fair Use
           ◆ Copyrights
       ○ Contracts and Release Forms
       ○ Exclusive rights to character
       ○ Clearances
       ○ Consent forms
       ○ Lawyers
    ● Fundraising
       ○ Landscape
           ◆ Festivals
           ◆ Markets
           ◆ Pitching Forums
           ◆ Funders Interested
           ◆ Non-profits
           ◆ Online tools
       ○ Strategies
           ◆ Hosting Events & Parties
           ◆ Screenings
           ◆ Crowdfunding
           ◆ Capitalizing on the Landscape


    As the final week of the Academy, students will wrap up their own production projects as well as gain a firm understanding of the “final” steps to creating a film. During the Sales week, the program shifts focus to the numerous processes of lean production that occur after the film is largely complete. These processes include but are not limited to marketing, distributing, and creating a presence for the production company as well as the film. During this week, students will hear from the industry’s leading distributors and marketers, as well as experts in sales from companies like Netflix and Vice.

    ● Product Placement
    ● Marketing
       ○ Demographics
       ○ PR
       ○ Analytics
    ● Festivals and Events
       ○ Speaking engagements
    ● Advertising
    ● Management
    ● Distributing
       ○ Rights
       ○ Self-Distribute
       ○ Impact Producers
    ● Online Presence
       ○ Social media
       ○ Trailers
       ○ FAQ pages



OCT 1 - NOV 12

£ 8,995
*Observatory Academy offers advice on multiple methods to cover these costs. Check out the methods below.


Monday - Thursday: Curriculum and Production
Friday - Saturday: Workshops, Lectures, and Events with Acclaimed Speakers
Sunday: Catch-up Day

Academy - Finance Options

Academy - Finance Options


The total price of the all-inclusive Academy program is £ 8995. However, Observatory Academy offers advice on multiple methods to cover these costs.



Observatory Academy is an educational path for creators looking to make a difference in the modern film industry. Thus, accessing modern funding techniques is crucial to this success. Observatory advises applicants to look at any and all methods to access donations and crowdfunding opportunities. Apps, websites, organizations, and departments can all offer funds to rising, dedicated creators who are passionate about production, and who will take on a rigorous film program. Crowdfunding is an independent process from the Academy; however, Observatory will offer as many resources and as much guidance as needed.




Colleges and Universities all have departments and programs that offer grants and scholarships to students looking to finance paths to success. Observatory works with individuals who have access to colleges and universities in order to create opportunities for funding access. Academic institutions are major funding options for many of our students in Observatory’s intensive six-week program.




Observatory suggests for each student to research external funding opportunities to help finance their education in the Academy. Options for funding can be found internationally, and Observatory will always aid in offering direction and application guidance for any student in need of external funding. We help you succeed.




After the application period, candidates pay 995 pounds (non-refundable) to confirm their position in the program. The 8000 pounds for the rest of the Academy fees can be paid through various payment plans. These plans are set up individually between Observatory and the individual. Observatory tries its hardest to guarantee a workable option for each student.




Apply before August 15 and earn up to a 2000-pound grant from the Academy. Numerous grants are awarded to accepted students who show promise, dedication, and innovation in the film field. Observatory works with individuals to ensure that this process is efficient and effective for both students and the Academy.


Academy - FAQ

Academy - FAQ


Is room and board included in the cost?

Yes, all living expenses are paid for during the six-week program. Students will live together in London.

Do students work during the program?

Students will engage in production work for Observatory, as well as create their own films, network with leading film producers and executives, and study the curriculum. However, some students may also get part time jobs during the six-weeks to maintain a steady income. Nonetheless, most students remain just in the program without working externally.

How many films will a student create during the program?

Students will work in groups to create films. Thus, a student may end up working on one to three films specifically within the program. Nevertheless, when students work on Observatory films outside of the production projects, they will also gain experiential knowledge on film making. Regardless, of the number of films a student creates, each student will walk out of the program with an earned co-director credit.

Is equipment provided through the Academy?

Yes, for the six week program, students are provided the latest technology in film production and editing equipment and software. At Observatory, we focus on quality and efficiency. The Academy focuses on the same, and so students are not only provided equipment, but shown the ins and outs of how to utilize that equipment. However, we do recommend that students bring headphones and an SD memory card.

Do students need a laptop?

Any student who does not have a laptop of their own will be provided one for the duration of the six weeks.