What is Screen Tools?

Screen Tools is a four-week practical course for emerging filmmakers.

Discover first-hand what draws the global film industry to New Zealand, while creating your own short drama for your showreel. Structured around a practical production process based on professional screen industry practice, Screen Tools is a hands-on course designed to set you up with the essential skills you need to launch your career in film, television and digital media industries.

Field trips

Hobbiton movie set

Visit the set of “the Shire” from The Hobbit film series and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Accompanied by course tutor John Callen, who plays the deaf dwarf Oin in The Hobbit, you will hear first-hand about life on set as you explore hobbit houses, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, the double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films.

Weta Workshop

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Weta Digital is an Academy Award® winning design and digital effects studio. Founded by two Kiwis in their back room in 1987, Weta Workshop has grown into a world-leading company producing sets, props, makeup and digital effects for productions including Mad MaxThe Hobbit, Elysium, Man of Steel, District 9, Planet of the Apes and Avatar.

On this field trip, you’ll get an insight into how Weta Workshop creates weapons, armour, costumes and creatures for film. Learn from Weta Workshop Prosthetics and Make-up Artists how to make your own set of prosethetic hobbit ears and get your hands dirty in the “Art of Fake Blood Workshop”.

Tutor: John Callen

John Callen has over 45 years’ experience as an actor, director, writer and producer in the film, television and theatre industries. As a tutor he's spent 25 years teaching acting skills and television production at tertiary level. His most significant film credit to date is as one of the core-cast roles in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy where he played the dwarf Oin. John has acted in or directed more than 100 stage plays as well as several dozen television dramas. John’s expertise in working with actors and training television directors will be an integral part of the course.

John Callen as Oin in The Hobbit (Warner Bros)
John Callen as Oin in The Hobbit (Warner Bros)

Guest tutors

Throughout the course guest tutors working in New Zealand’s television and screen industry will be invited to work with students on various aspects of the production.

Develop your tool kit

At the end of the four-week course, you will have developed a “tool kit” of skills to add to your resume:
  • Production methods
  • Multi-camera
  • Single camera
  • Editing
  • Script writing
  • Casting
  • Directing
  • Industry connections