Distance Learning

Adventures in Filmmaking

July 13-18, 2014








Making movies has never been easier. Today’s digital cameras and editing tools have simplified what used to be a complicated and specialized process. This program is designed to give students a hands-on introduction to the pre-production, production, and post-production process of making a narrative short film.

Under the guidance of an experienced filmmaker, students participate in all aspects of producing a film—from script to screen. Participants are involved in various steps of the filmmaking process, including developing a story, script breakdown, casting, lighting, shooting, and editing.

The week begins with an introduction to filmmaking terms and procedures. The group takes up various job responsibilities associated with pre-production, production, and post-production. All participants have varying jobs in each phase of production and work as a team. Once a script is completed, the actors cast, and the filming finished, participants get a hands-on introduction to the non-linear editing process. The group uses a Macintosh-based editing system to realize the final cut. The week culminates in a screening of the final edit of the film made by the students. Copies of the final cut are mailed to participants after the conclusion of the program.


Mark Dial is a writer, director, and producer of short subject films. His credits include Model Citizen and Crisp, featuring Greg Tavares and Tim Finch of The Have Nots improvisation company. Dial is the writer/director of the film documentary Cypress Gardens – A Vision Realized, which has aired on South Carolina Public Television. He has produced and directed numerous episodes for television including Cooking Kids and Apples Magazine .

Dial produced and directed The Stinky Onion Gang television pilot, the troupe featured on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizen Brigade and was first assistant director for The Corn Dog Man, starring Noble Willingham. The Corn Dog Man premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently in national video distribution. Dial continues to develop a feature-length screenplay with the intention to be produced independently.

Dial holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier and is employed at Western Illinois University as a producer/director. He has produced numerous video projects for the Athletics Department, the President’s Office, and Alumni Affairs as well as other areas on campus. His current film Plain Folk has been screened at the Cardiff School of Art and Design in Wales, UK and the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, Alaska. In addition, Tall Grass LLC released Within Houses, a Fine Art film directed by Lisa Ulik and produced by Dial in the Spring of 2013.


“Adventures in Filmmaking” is conducted in a freely creative environment. All subject matter and scripts are selected and written by program participants. There is an inherent focus on professionalism and defining artistic integrity. With this in mind, the enrollment is limited to students who are in ninth, tenth, or eleventh grades and who will not have graduated from high school before the program start date. Participants should have sufficient curiosity, motivation, achievement level, and maturity to benefit from the workshop. Students must be recommended for the program by a teacher or school administrator by means of a signature on the registration form. A recommendation to the program does not guarantee acceptance; recommended students are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. We take all recommendations seriously and may call for further information.



Enrollment is limited; please register early. The registration fee is $525 and includes tuition, supplies, all scheduled extracurricular activities, lodging, and all meals. Commuter students are not accepted. Parents who wish to use a Payment Plan , may send a $100 deposit at the time of registration, up to 60 days before the program start date. Fifty percent of the registration fee is due at 60 days prior to the program and full payment is due 30 days before the start of the program. Mail registration form with check or credit card information to Outreach Programs - Horrabin Hall 8, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. You may fax your registration with credit card information to 309/298-2226.


Participants stay in Corbin/Olson Residence Hall, a student resident hall on the Macomb (main) campus of Western Illinois University. Students are supervised by faculty and carefully selected resident counselors to ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the Western campus.


Students do not qualify for university health care, so parents should check family insurance policies for health and accident coverage. Western is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Please let Non-Credit Programs know how we can accommodate any special needs students may have at least two weeks prior to program start date. Our toll free number is 866/933-8964. The office phone number is 309/298-1911.


Western Illinois University reserves the right to withdraw a program because of unforeseen circumstances or insufficient enrollment. If a program is withdrawn, participants are notified and fees are refunded. A $50 fee is charged to participants who cancel after Friday, June 26, 2015. No refunds will be made on or after Wednesday, July 8, 2015.


For further information, call the Outreach Programs Office toll free at 866/933-8964 or at 309/298-1911.



Western Illinois University complies with all federal and state nondiscrimination laws, orders, and regulations. Western Illinois University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity institution and affirms its commitment in all programs and activities to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, national origin, and status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam Era veteran.