If you’ve been following the world of indie film lately, you’ve probably heard about Jim Cummings and his SXSW 2018 winning feature Thunder Road. Or maybe you’ve just heard of his Sundance winning short version of the same film. Or perhaps you’ve just seen the video of the cop losing his shit at his mother’s funeral and dancing around to the eponymous Bruce Springsteen song. (Or you’ve listened to our interviews with him on the No Film School podcast here or here.)

Regardless, Cummings has had a busy 2018 trying to find a distributor for his feature (and may very well have paved a new path for self-distribution which indie filmmakers should absolutely take notice of). In his spare time, however, Cummings and his long time producer Benjamin Wiessner found time to launch a Kickstarter for a ‘Short to Feature’ workshop lab in Malibu.

The inaugural lab, which hosted 10 up-and-coming filmmakers for a backyard campout in Cummings’ Malibu locale, was an intensive 5-day workshop which included some reputable indie mentors like Derek Cianfrance, Frankie Shaw, Trey Shults and David Lowery.

As promised in their Kickstarter, Cummings has now released the full curriculum from the workshop available online for anyone to read and follow along.

The Short to Feature Curriculum

Short to Feature Lab

Written in a long Medium post, Cummings’ write-up includes everything an aspiring filmmaker needs to ideate, write, shoot, edit and distribute in today’s burgeoning new indie digital landscape. Taking notes from Thunder Road’s rock and tumble path, the 9-part curriculum is a great exercise if you’re starting from scratch or looking to tightly refine your own feature or project.

Here are the 9 chapters, or lessons, or prompts, included - but go here for the full curriculum.

  1. Manifesto

  2. Ideation

  3. Writing

  4. Pre-pre-Production

  5. Production

  6. Post-Production

  7. Distribution and Advertising

  8. Hollywood

  9. Work/Life Balance

Thunder Road is currently in theaters and can be streamed on Amazon here. And if for whatever you need any more inspiration, try checking out Cummings’ Twitter feed, which is an endless source of filmmaking grind fuel.