As a co-host of Blumhouse's Shock Waves podcast and co-writer/co-director of the upcoming holiday horror movie All the Creatures Were Stirring, Rebekah McKendry is not only an avid student of the horror genre, she teaches it as well at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. This upcoming summer, McKendry will teach one of her most exciting courses yet: a six-week Horror Film Production Workshop that will take a deep dive into horror cinema's history, the business side of the industry, and how to make your very own short horror films! 

Kicking off on June 24th and running through August 2nd (with class time scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday in that time span), McKendry's Horror Film Production course is open to everyone, even those who don't attend the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to learning about horror cinema, each student will complete 2–3 short horror films by the course's conclusion.

If you've ever wanted to learn more about what it takes to make your own horror films, or you've just wanted to gain more insights into what makes the genre tick, this sounds like the perfect class for you. There are only 18 seats available, so if you're interested in signing up, don't hesitate to read on for more details and visit the class' official page on USC's website.

"Horror Film Production

Units: 4
Student Level: Beginning

Jun 24 - Aug 2

Schedule: Tues / Thurs 9:00am - 12:50pm
Max. Seats: 18
Orientation: Jun 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Faculty: Rebekah McKendry

About the Class

Are you a horror movie fan? Then this is the film class for you! This course will teach you the fundamentals of horror filmmaking and working within the horror genre portion of the industry. You will learn not only how to create films, but also how to craft and focus your skills to create compelling and effective horror content. The course will also give you the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the top minds in the horror industry through panels, lectures, and field trips. Each student will create two horror short films during the 6-week course.

Additionally, the course is a historical exploration of horror films and their relation to society, with both a national and an international perspective. The course will look at horror markets within the US, examining historical and social contexts, as well as looking at the affects and effects of international markets such as Japan, Germany, France, and others. The class will trace how present day horror movies have been a product of a vast and plentiful history of cinema, as well as how social and global forces have changed the path of the genre, such as wars, social movements, trends, and other factors.

To study a genre, especially one like horror, one must take into account the marketing and business side in addition to audience receptions. The course will be a forum for ample discussion on the meanings of horror film, as well as the business and social aspects.

This class is designed for both beginning filmmakers as well as seasoned production veterans looking to hone their skill set. It is a combination of lecture, film screenings, production, and class discussions. You are expected to attend each class and be an active participant. You are also expected to complete all assignments prior to class.

The format of the course will be a combination of lectures and screenings. You will learn a number of filmmaking tools – including:

  • Discussions of genre and what is a “horror film”
  • How to craft a compelling story
  • Creating strong characters
  • How to communicate with the cast and crew
  • Create a mise-en-scene and texture
  • Manage and use your post-production effectively
  • Utilize sound design

Class sessions will also include tutorials on such topics as:

  • Directing
  • The history of genre films
  • Creating a visual palette
  • Creating a scare sequence
  • Determining horror trends
  • Discussions of genres and sub-genres
  • Editing
  • Production Sound
  • Production Lighting
  • Cinematography
  • Global horror markets and how to sell overseas
  • Examining the concept of “formula” and how to utilize or avoid it
  • Discussions on FX and creating monster and creatures
  • Pre-Production (storyboarding, casting, permits, and more)

Students will work in groups and will perform various roles, and the films will be carefully developed using a comprehensive process.

This process will ensure that you bring a certain discipline to guide your creativity – in this class and throughout your filmmaking career.

Students will be asked to bring their own digital recording devices/cameras. This can be anything from a basic cell phone up to a high-end digital camera. USC will provide the rest of the major filmmaking resources, including:

  • Digital cameras
  • Tripods
  • Lighting kits
  • Sound kits
  • AVID editing suites
  • Access to free on-campus locations
  • USC SCA Sound Stages
  • Access to our Cinema Film Library (with over 13,000 films)

*** Please note that there is a strict ban on the use of prop weapons during the Summer Program and first year projects. No project will be allowed to use a weapon in their film and all projects must complete a production book of permits and clearances prior to principle filming. ***

*All projects are created outside of scheduled class time.*

INSTRUCTOR(S): Rebekah McKendry

*Please note that dates and times of the course are subject to changes. Additional tutorials are taught during outside hours.*"

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.