Film Commission Specific Education & Training

AFCI University

Today’s film commissioners play many roles including producer, director, photographer, writer, and publicist. They are called upon to market their jurisdictions, prove the value of their industry through economic reporting, and manage financial incentive programs all while juggling the demands of production in an increasingly high-tech, fast-moving world.

The AFCI is committed to providing film commission staff members with the educational tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. We have developed a three-tiered education program that provides valuable information and training opportunities tailored to interest everyone from industry newbie to seasoned veteran. Professionals who need a basic overview of film commission work will benefit from Film Commission Fundamentals, while others may require the targeted training found in the Master Classes or choose to enroll in the Certified Film Commissioner Program.

The production industry has come to expect that an AFCI Member Film Commission will possess a high level of competence and expertise. In response, the AFCI is committed to providing educational opportunities for its members that will continue this tradition of excellence.

Required Courses

Film Commission Fundamentals

Film Commission Fundamentals (FCF) is an online course providing valuable information and training to individuals involved with film commissions in any capacity. Paid participants will be tested and, if successful, will be deemed graduates of the course. Only FCF graduates can register for Film Commission Professional or any AFCI University course. This course is now available in English and Spanish.

Who Should Take It?

This course is an introduction and orientation to film commission work and is required of anyone who plans to take advanced AFCI courses. It should be taken by every staff member employed in a film commission. Government officials, local film liaisons, and others associated with on-location filming are encouraged to take our community course, Film Liaison. Film Commission Fundamentals and Film Commission Professional must be completed by at least one employee of each AFCI Member Commission seeking Full Membership with AFCI.

What will you learn?

Film Commission Fundamentals will give the participant an overview of all aspects of film commission work. Topics of study include film commission operations, marketing your jurisdiction, an overview of economic development, film incentives programs, scouting, location photography, plus working with production and clients and within the local jurisdiction. Graduates of the course will gain an understanding of the skills required of every film commission staff member, and the way in which film commissions can successfully interact with the production community and their jurisdictions.

What’s Involved?

You can register for this course on the AFCI website at any time. The course will take approximately eight hours to complete, and you will have 30 days from the time of registration fee payment to complete the course. Each chapter of the course is followed by a short quiz which you must answer correctly before you can proceed to the next chapter. When you have completed all the chapters, you will be awarded a certificate of completion for the course and will be eligible to take Film Commission Professional if you would like additional training or your office is seeking Full Membership with the AFCI.

Film Commission Professional

Film Commission Professional is an online course building on the information presented in Film Commission Fundamentals by providing more in-depth information on several of the most important elements involved in film commission work. Each section of course content was developed by a professional in the field. This course is now available in English and Spanish.

Who should take it?

This course must be taken by a member of a commission seeking full membership in the AFCI. The course is also designed for those interested in acquiring more knowledge about film commission work, particularly those who aspire to a career as a film commission staff member. Finally, anyone who wishes to enroll in the AFCI Certified Film Commissioner Program must first complete Film Commission Professional unless he/she can demonstrate successful completion of Film Commission Fundamentals prior to 2007.

What will you learn?

Course participants will explore important topics in greater depth including the business aspects of film production, effective marketing techniques, economic development impact and reporting, and the importance of alliances and partnerships such as working with crew, guilds, unions, and economic development officials.

Master Classes

Master Classes

Master Classes were created in direct response to feedback from the AFCI membership. In developing the program, the AFCI staff surveyed member commissions and worked with an education committee and the AFCI Board of Directors to determine what film commissioners wanted to study. Frequently requested topics included marketing principles, economic impact and reporting, business and leadership training, and in-depth study of the production industry.

Who should take Master Classes?

Master Classes are designed for professionals who have worked extensively in the industry and are interested in advanced educational opportunities. Although it is permissible to take one or more of these classes, Certified Film Commissioner Program graduates must complete all four Master Classes. The courses are written and taught by experts in these and other subject areas.

What are the Prerequisites for Master Classes?

Individuals interested in Master Classes must demonstrate successful completion of Film Commission Fundamentals and Film Commission Professional. Once a Master Class is completed, the participant will receive a Certificate of Mastery for the respective specialty.

Master Class - Management for Film Commissioners

When most people think of management they think of dealing with the day-to-day issues of employees, managing workflow in an office and generally doing day to day office work. While a film commissioner does all of these things, they also have some unique factors that play into the management of their office and their program. This course discusses the structure of a film commission, the various stakeholders involved, the budget challenges, and the specific skills needed to succeed.

Master Class - Economic Development for Film Commissioners

The Film Commissioner as Economic Developer takes a professional look at established economic development techniques, including ways to assess and develop key business relationships to create community value and maximize economic development tools and resources to achieve better results. Group activities will demonstrate how to handle economic impact data, create effective reports, and apply economic information for grant and proposal writing. Participants will also discuss and evaluate incentive programs and strategize what’s right for a jurisdiction.

Master Class - Advanced Studies in Filmmaking

Understanding how films are envisioned, made, and distributed is an important aspect of being a successful film commissioner. This course will examine topics such as finding and using material, working with writers, raising financing, getting a green light, shooting a movie, post production, distribution and marketing, and the future of the industry as it relates to technology — all from the perspective of the producer.

Master Class - Marketing for Film Commissioners

Marketing has become increasingly essential for film commissioners; this course will guide participants through the process of developing a marketing program to effectively promote a jurisdiction. Seasoned faculty will cover essential topics such as advertising strategies, building public relations campaigns, budgeting and best practices for allocation of marketing funds, tracking results, and successful sales tactics and strategies.

CFC Program

Certified Film Commissioner Program

The designation of Certified Film Commissioner (CFC) will be awarded to members who have completed the AFCI training program, signifying achievement of the highest level of accomplishment in the profession.

The CFC program has recently changed. The point system has been eliminated and modules have been consolidated into single classes. These changes were made to simplify the proceess.

To become a Certified Film Commissioner, members must take the two required courses:

  • Film Commission Fundamentals (FCF)
  • Film Commission Professional (FCP)

Followed by the four Master Classes:

  • Film Commissioner as Economic Developer
  • Marketing for Film Commissioners
  • Advanced Studies in Film Production
  • Management for Film Commissioners

Once the online coursework is done, members complete the CFC program by attending our primary educational event, Cineposium. The Cineposium program  builds on the knowledge gained from these courses, applying it to current issues impacting film commissions and allowing for discussion of more complex problems with experienced colleagues.

Renewal: The certification period is three (3) years. Within that time, a CFC must attend one Cineposium to extend for an additional three years.

Appeals Process: Should a unique opportunity for education arise, a member may wish to propose an alternative for additional points, or resolve a dispute over points, he/she may take this matter to the Certification Committee.

Please note: While individual courses are available to anyone for their own educational purposes, only members may achieve Certified Film Commissioner status.

Current Certified Film Commissioners

Community Courses

Community courses were created for non-film commissioners in mind. Film Liaisons assist film commissioners with scouting visits and ongoing production in their respective communities. Hotel Liaisons learn about the needs of housing productions and serving as their headquarters (“home base”). The Film Studies: Drones course covers the mechanics of drones, best practices, and current laws relating to this new technology.

Film Liaison

The AFCI Film Liaison course has been developed to assist film commissions in training contacts in their region to support film productions. Film commissioners can’t be at all places at once, nor can they have intimate knowledge of every location in their jurisdiction. We believe communities that have a designated, trained film liaison working in concert with their film commission will meet with a higher level of success.

After taking this course, film liaisons will have a basic understanding of:

  • the roles of film commissions and liaisons
  • the fundamental needs of on-location film production
  • working with the film industry
  • location scouting
  • economic opportunities for local labor, businesses and services

This course is designed to be licensed by a member film commission to distribute to contacts in their jurisdiction. It may be purchased at the individual rate of $150. Members can purchase 10 or more licenses at $100 each and 50 or more licenses for $50 each

Hotel/Hospitality Liaison

The AFCI Hotel/Hospitality Liaison role is the key to securing and servicing film production business. This role requires knowledge of the filming process, the demands and needs of film production companies, and the ability to make prompt decisions, react immediately to issues as they arise, and service the client during what will appear to even seasoned hotel/hospitality professionals as massively un-organized chaos.

This course is intended to introduce and train key individuals to the Hotel/Hospitality Liaison role, how it fits in the film production process, the expectations and requirements of production companies, and the procedures this key individual will use to secure and successfully service film production business. It was developed by Mr. Keoki Wallace,  Adjunct Professor in the Business Management School at Brigham Young University, Hawaii and former film liaision at Turtle Bay Resort.

After taking this course, you will have a basic understanding of:

  • the roles of film commissions and film liaisons
  • the fundamentals of film production
  • working with the film industry
  • servicing the hotel/hospitality needs of film production
  • marketing your hotel as “film friendly”

Hotel/Hospitality Liaison is the second in a series of Community Training courses, following the Film Liaisons course. These courses are not intended for film commissioners, but rather to assist our members in training the contacts in their community that need to better understand both the film industry and the job of the film commissioner.

Single licenses can pe purchased for $100. AFCI Members have the option of purchasing licenses in groups of 10 for $500 ($50 per license).

Film Studies: Drones

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly referred to as Drones, can dramatically change the way film & television productions are created on location. For film commissioners, drones are likely to complicate your role in terms of regulation and balancing the needs and expectations of both production and the public you serve.

In this module, we will explain the mechanics of drone photography, address the issues surrounding the use of this technology, and take a look at the regulations for commercial use of these devices in the United States and several other countries.

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