Create compelling stories, without relying on gatekeepers

—Jessica Hutchinson, writer/actor/producer

“Iterate quickly to significantly expedite film development.

—Melanie Rowland, producer

“Gain resilience, confidence and courage. 

—Chelsea Denny, writer/director/producer

The Art of Lean Filmmaking

An unconventional guide to creating independent feature films

By Kylie Eddy & David Eddy

Online course with 40+ short video lessons


We get it. Independent filmmaking is fucking hard.

Working on a passion project for years: writing the script, pitching to producers, networking with talent, all while juggling a family, social life and the 9–5 grind.

Let alone during a global pandemic!

But good news, conventional ideas about how to make an independent feature film simply don’t hold true anymore.

At the very least they can be treated with healthy skepticism. 

Many of the things you’ve been told that you must do are not required, including:

  • Writing a perfect script
  • Raising lots of money before production
  • Pitching to industry professionals
  • Planning everything in advance

Although there are other things that are normally postponed to the end of the filmmaking process, or ignored completely, that you’ll need to do instead, like:

  • Forming a small creative squad
  • Talking to fans early and often
  • Working within constraints
  • Embracing the motto “Done is better than perfect”

The Art of Lean Filmmaking will teach you how to go from development to distribution with our unique Five-Step Method.

You’ll learn how to make a feature film around your day job, without the pressure of raising a big budget or writing a script first.

And there’ll be plenty of other good stuff along the way, like learning how to:

  • Increase creativity
  • Empower talent
  • Deepen fan engagement
  • Minimize the risk of a flop
  • Reduce the fear of starting
  • Use data to make informed decisions
  • Make more films, more often
  • Take control of projects (and your career)

It’s perfect for experienced filmmakers, writers, directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, editors and any other creative-types wanting to make feature films.

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking…

  • I’m tired of pitching to industry experts who don’t care about my story
  • I don’t have the energy to write another draft of my script that leads nowhere
  • I’ve spent years trying to fund my feature and maybe it’s never going to happen
  • I don't want to make any more short films, all I want to make now is my feature
  • I’m sick of not being taken seriously because I don’t have the right connections
  • I’d be willing to try something different, radical even, if it got results
  • I want to stop saying “One day I’ll make my film” and just do it already

We created this course for you!

Give me the nitty-gritty details

The Art of Lean Filmmaking is a self-paced course and delivered 100% online.

Training includes:

  • 42 x on-demand video lessons (total approx. 5 hours) 
  • 12 x checklists and transcripts
  • Access for 365 days
  • Downloadable guides including running fan feedback interviews, building a story scaffold and hosting paid screenings
  • BONUS: video case studies with real-life examples

Price: $149 (USD)

Get instant access after a simple enrollment process.

Enroll now

What people say about the training

Melanie Rowland

Lean Filmmaking revolutionizes how filmmakers work. 

If you have a background in production, Lean Filmmaking goes against every instinct you’ve ever been taught. I spent a long time resisting it but in the end, I was convinced. It changes the way you think about how to make your film.

Filmmakers rarely get taught the importance of audience development and marketing – which for an independent filmmaker looking to make a living on their craft, is actually vital.

We found the Lean Filmmaking method incredibly rewarding. We were able to iterate quickly – significantly expediting the writing/development of the film and ensuring we had an audience when it was released.

The momentum needed to start such a huge project is daunting but if you have a method that takes you through the process, you’ll find a way to actually do it.” 

—Melanie Rowland, producer

Chelsea Denny

Lean Filmmaking is a powerful tool that has given me resilience, confidence and courage.

I’m savvier with business decisions. I’m less afraid of making mistakes and kinder to myself when I do. Overall, I’m a more creative filmmaker.

Lean Filmmaking feels uncomfortable at first because it challenges the ‘correct way’ we’ve been taught to make films. But that narrative doesn’t accurately reflect the realities of making feature films. I found out the hard way that what I’d been told at film school wasn’t so easy to execute in the real world.

The mentality of Lean Filmmaking is refreshing – it’s not filmmaking at any cost. Instead of pushing through, you’re encouraged to ask, is this working? You can turn things around before it’s too late, increasing the likelihood of success.

Redefining success is a challenge that artists worldwide are facing post-Covid. Lean Filmmaking looks to the future of where filmmaking is going, rather than being stuck in the past.

—Chelsea Denny, writer/director/producer

Paul Anthony Nelson

Lean Filmmaking is nothing less than revolutionary for those looking to channel their voice into a viable, affordable feature film project with results as close to instantaneous as this business gets.

With its focus on fans, it’s an incredibly smart way to get filmmakers to not only think about the end pipeline from the start, but to find, cultivate and maintain their audience.

The lessons on developing, refining, making and remaking the film were challenging, but endlessly invigorating and motivating. 

It was the kick up the backside we needed. It was both inspiring and, in a more practical sense, essential to making our debut feature film.”

—Perri Cummings, writer/actor/producer & Paul Anthony Nelson, writer/director/producer

Jessica Hutchinson

Lean Filmmaking is a beautiful way of making feature films accessible to emerging and underrepresented artists by giving them tools to create compelling stories, without relying on gatekeepers.

Feature films are daunting. Not only are they a huge time and budget commitment, but there’s often no guarantee you’ll reach your intended audience, or even achieve your distribution or film festival goals. 

But what I love most about Lean Filmmaking is that it’s designed to mitigate most of the risks feature films face in the first place.

This course has given me confidence to move forward with the stories I’ve always wanted to tell.

—Jessica Hutchinson, actor/writer/producer

Enroll now - $149 (USD)

Take a peek inside the course contents

Lean Filmmaking Fundamentals

An introduction to the Lean Filmmaking philosophy, including the four core values and Make-Show-Adjust Cycles. Before learning the “how” of the Five-Step Method, understand the “why”.

Lessons include:

  • Introduction to Lean Filmmaking Fundamentals
  • Collaboration is key
  • Fan focused first
  • Story before production values
  • Learn by doing
  • Make-Show-Adjust Cycles (MSA Cycles)
  • Bonus Case Study: inciting incident from Time Apart developed through three MSA Cycles

Step 1: Form Squad

Working in a squad fundamentally changes filmmaking. The skills, talents and resources of the combined squad members determine the film that will be made, rather than a script or preconceived budget.

Lessons include:

  • Introduction to the Five-Step Method
  • Start with a squad, not a script 
  • Recruit for skills, not roles
  • Align squad goals
  • A squad needs transparency and moxie
  • Special notes for all cast and crew

Step 2: Discover Fans

A film needs a compelling reason to exist, an idea that deeply resonates with fans and the squad.

Lessons include:

  • Who are fans?
  • Let’s talk about talking to fans
  • Research interviews
  • Tester videos
  • Basic MSA Cycles
  • Bonus Case Study: tester videos and fan feedback interviews from Solo Women Traveler

Step 3: Develop Drafts

It’s crucial to find a connection between a story worth telling and the fans who want to see it.

Lessons include:

  • Full-film drafts
  • Overlapping activities
  • Just-in-time production
  • Story Scaffold
  • Standard MSA Cycles (Drafts)
  • Make
  • Show
  • Adjust
  • Bonus Case Study: draft videos from The Bridge developed through four MSA Cycles

Step 4: Produce Polishes

It’s pivotal to find the connection between a well-crafted film and the fans who want to buy it. 

Lessons include:

  • Full-film polishes
  • Paid screenings
  • Scale the squad
  • Impact-vs-Difficulty Matrix
  • Standard MSA Cycles (Polishes)

Step 5: Launch Film

To launch a film, it’s important to communicate the fan experience through distribution channels and marketing campaigns that consistently sell the film.

Lessons include:

  • Distribution is a big part of filmmaking
  • Stop obsessing about film festivals
  • Demystify self-distribution
  • Theatrical
  • Video on demand
  • Unconventional sales channels
  • Run marketing and sales experiments
  • Release the film
  • Let’s celebrate!

Start making an indie feature sooner than you ever thought possible!

Enroll now $149 (USD)

Frequently asked questions

I’m an experienced filmmaker, is this course for me?

Yes. If you’re a film school graduate, or a self-taught filmmaker who’s already made short films, web series or online content, this is perfect for you. Maybe you’ve tried making a feature the traditional way but it didn’t work out or just want to experiment with a new process – this is also for you.

I’m a beginner filmmaker, is this course for me?

No. This is an advanced course. It requires previous filmmaking experience, like making short films, web series or online content.

I want to produce a feature film in the future but right now I’m writing a script and/or in development, is this course for me?

Yes. You’ll learn how to save time, money and energy from the earliest stages of development and/or screenwriting. Maybe we’ll even inspire you to start production sooner than you currently imagine is possible!

I want to make a documentary feature film, is this course for me?

Yes. There are different challenges and opportunities for documentaries and narrative feature films but the Five-Step Method works for both.

I’m a director (or insert any of these roles: writer, actor, producer, cinematographer, editor, film marketer, multi-passionate creative), is this course for me?

Yes. Working in a collaborative, cross-functional squad is essential to Lean Filmmaking. The more filmmakers who understand this method, regardless of their role, the better.

Is this course only for low-budget or cheap ideas?

No. It’s suitable for all budgets. But because Lean Filmmaking is an iterative method, it’s easy to start with a very small investment and gradually increase the budget once you’ve discovered fans.

You keep talking about “lean”, what do you mean?

We’re referring to the broader ideology that is used in industries like manufacturing, software development and startups. In this context, Lean is a set of principles that focuses on providing high value for customers with the least amount of waste. (It’s not just about being cheap!)

What’s included in this course?

  • 42 x on-demand video lessons (total approx. 5 hours) 
  • 12 x checklists and transcripts
  • Access for 365 days
  • Downloadable guides including running fan feedback interviews, building a story scaffold and hosting paid screenings
  • BONUS: video case studies with real-life examples

What is the price?

$149 (USD).

What is the refund policy?

We think this course is great value for its price tag. We don’t offer a refund (unless there’s some kind of emergency). We understand you’re taking a leap of faith but real talk…if you feel unsure, you’re probably not ready right now. And that’s ok! This is a FOMO-free zone. We don’t believe in high-pressure sales tactics. This course will be here when you’re ready.

How much time do I need to complete this course?

That totally depends on you! Spend an hour a week over a few months or binge it all in one weekend. There are five hours of pre-recorded videos plus written resources. Go at your own pace and revisit the lessons at any time. No need to worry about falling behind as you have access for one year from the date of purchase.

Who teaches this course?

The content is created by Kylie Eddy and David Eddy, authors of The Art of Lean Filmmaking. The video lessons are delivered by filmmaker and agile creativity coach, Kylie Eddy.

Is the course content inclusive?

Yes. We use gender-neutral language and avoid ableist terminology. We recognize language is constantly evolving and we will sometimes unintentionally get it wrong. When this happens, we’ll apologize and rectify our mistake. We take responsibility for continuing to educate ourselves.

We welcome all filmmakers and treat everyone with respect, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds, sexualities, disabilities, ethnicities, races or genders. We want the film industry to be inclusive and for more diverse films to be produced.

Racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia and any other forms of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated on our platforms. 

Do you offer scholarships?

We offer scholarship places for people underrepresented in the film industry, including those who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, neurodiverse, women or non-binary and those experiencing financial hardship. 

There’s no formal application process yet, we’re working on it! But for now, email your request to [email protected] and we’ll respond within five days.

Will you produce my film?

No. This isn’t a funding program and we aren’t a production company. This is an educational course to teach The Art of Lean Filmmaking.

Will you read my script?

No. We don’t provide script coverage or feedback and we aren’t a production company. This is an educational course to teach The Art of Lean Filmmaking.

Can I pitch you my film idea?

No. If you enroll in the course, you’ll find out why we don’t believe in pitching to industry peers (spoiler: it’s better to pitch directly to your fans).

I’m still not sure if this course is right for me...

Send questions to [email protected]. We’re happy to say if it’s not a good fit because we want to give our students the best chance for success.