The Independent Film School

Indie Films

Become the producer you’ve been looking for.
with Ela Thier
All images and clips in the video above are alumni of Producing Indie Films: Ekwa Msangi, Neal Hemphill, Jamie Canobbio, Nabil Viñas, Dylan Rogers, Rocio Mendez, Cary Patrick Martin, Isabelle Pierre, Nazli Sarpkaya, Richard Joseph, Nadhege Ptah, Alexis Holloway, Nina Gielen, Prashant Sehgal, Pallavi Rohatgi
Are any of these you?

YOU’RE A WRITER …one of those shy introverts who gets a rash when you hear the word “networking”.

YOU’RE A DIRECTOR or you would be one, if someone gave you that chance.

YOU’RE AN ACTOR tired of booking “Cop 2” and want roles that do you justice.

YOU’RE A TRIPLE THREAT …one of those hyphenated creatives who does all of the above depending on the day.

I know my peeps. We’re the creative sort. Budgets, contracts, marketing: these words send us into a catatonic coma. Please don’t kill the messenger, but successful artists become producers and produce their own work. 
Did you try some of these?

But you still haven’t made a film! Or you tried, wasted a ton of money, and it’s collecting dust on a hard drive with an outdated cable connector.

What if…

What if you understood the steps to creating the films or shows that you’d like to create, with the resources that you already have (no using credit cards!)

What if you had the support of a community as you took those scary steps, and you didn’t go it alone?

What if you had the tools to reach audiences, and build an ever-growing, loyal fan base that follows your work and tells everyone about it?

What if you never again relied on industry gatekeepers to determine whether your work sees the light of day?

Your work is too significant to be left up to luck and gatekeepers.

Indie Films

Ready to receive the guidance you need and not go it alone?

lifetime, on-demand access​

Work through the course at your pace and on your schedule. Binge watch now or take your time. Refer back to the course as many times as you need. Many alumni go through it with every production. When I get stuck, I still go back to it myself and use the exercises in my own productions.

30-day money back guarantee​

If you watch at least 20% but not more than 50% of either course, and you're not happy, ask and we'll refund you in full. No questions.

If opportunities don't knock
you knock out opportunities
I spent 20+ years in Hollywood, working for Disney, 20th Century Fox, NBC and most other studios and networks, but hadn't created any of my own projects. Since taking Ela's online course, I shot my first passion project which I wrote and directed. Ela helped me pitch myself and my film. Thanks to this course, I raised the money I needed rather than spend my own.
TW Miller
As a recovering film school alum, I learned hands-on information on how to create my film right now ...I wish I'd taken this class earlier, I would have avoided all of the mistakes and the wasted time and money.
Picture of Mercedes Brazier
This course could save a lot of people a lot of heartaches. I’ve seen train wrecks before in other productions, and this course validated my instincts, and gave me the confidence to know that my next film would not be that train wreck. I found a mentor who showed me the ropes, I love the film that I created, and I look forward to my next project, now that I know even more.
This course has gotten me back to filmmaking. I used to shoot every weekend and I stopped as I got older. As a parent I have other priorities, but this course has brought me back!
Richard Lalonde

Let's get your movies made


Funding & Audience Building

Set up for success

10 units (1.5hr)

Networking & Community

Pipe Dream to Action

Packaging & funding

25 units (4.5hr)

Your Audience

The Package

Raising Money

The Business Plan


8 units (2.5hr)

Film Publicity

Lessons in Distribution

Peek under the hood, as I share distribution stories of 3 of my films, and what I learned from marketing my film school. In these stories I openly share:

I end by sharing my distribution plan for my upcoming self-produced series.

Physical production A TO Z

Production & post production

24 units (2.5hr)

The Company

Film Budgeting


Post Production

Downloadables & Resources

Template agreements

Blank templates

Additional resources

Let's get your movies made – and seen!

Meet Pallavi Rohatgi

Pallavi Black Lady award copy

When Pallavi joined Producing Indie Films, she had, at that point, created one short film.

Months later: Pallavi let me know that she was attending the premiere of her first feature film, Greater Elephant.

Years later? Pallavi finished shooting her third feature. Her YouTube channel, HumaraMovie, has over 1.17 million subscribers. Among many highlights, her short film, LIFT, has over 29 million viewsOne of her favorite shorts, the award-winning film Pressure Cooker, in which she also performs, has over 3 million views.

Community & Support

Work in our virtual coffee shop
ONE MONTH FREE MEMBERSHIP when you join with a payment plan.

Procrastinations have no chance with us.

Our co-working format will keep you focused and working, but without the isolation. Even our shiest members end up with connections.

Facilitated work hours Monday through Saturday, mornings and evenings. Join for as long as you want to fit your schedule – or mood.

The room is a 24-7 peer-run co-working space when we’re not there.

Join our producers’ roundtable

Meet with an experienced producer every month to ask questions, receive guidance, and connect with peers.

Whether you’re in the throes of post-production on an epic film, or you haven’t gotten started: we got you.

Our production coaches are trained to get you out of potholes and over any humps by offering support, connection, and encouragement when that’s what’s needed; and offering challenges and a hearty push when that’s what’s needed.

Private forum
Lifetime access

Use our private forum to share wins, goals, rely on peers and moderators for accountability, or ask questions as you work through the course.

It works like a Facebook group, but it’s not on Facebook.

Our world would be a better place if your films got made.

6 monthly payments of

$ 197
  • Producing Indie Films (lifetime access)
  • Production documents (lifetime access)
  • Private forum (lifetime access)
  • Live monthly sessions
  • The IFS Studio (ONE MONTH FREE)​
  • 24-7 peer-run studio (ONE MONTH FREE)​

one payment of

$ 997
  • Producing Indie Films (lifetime access)
  • Production documents (lifetime access)
  • Private forum (lifetime access)
  • Live monthly sessions
  • The IFS Studio (ONE YEAR FREE)
  • 24-7 peer-run studio (ONE YEAR FREE)
  • Pay in full and SAVE $185
Save $185
For over 20 years, I've worked on roughly 50 feature films (Silence of the Lambs, Thirteen Days, Wonder Boys, Mona Lisa Smile). Since taking Ela's producing course, I finally shot the first feature film that I wrote and directed.
James Schneider
There are dozens of film producers and directors online that offer classes and consultations. But few as passionate about your work as Ela. She is a mentor, a guide, and a future fan of the people she coaches. For years I scoured the internet, asked friends in the industry and bought books. I became disheartened and almost quit. I feel like I finally found real help.
Tyrone Ross
My sister and I took Ela's Producing Workshop and our lives have been changed forever. We have completed three of our own short films in less than 10 months, and produced numerous others in the Columbia, South Carolina area. In addition, we have given back by starting a film networking group in our area. Ela's workshops are worth every penny - and more.
Picture of Sharee Washington
I've gotten more done in making my dreams come true since I took your workshop, than in the last 10 years combined.

No Time!

Spend 10 minutes a week (or 10 minutes a month!) with this course, and a year from now I’ll be hearing about your premiere.

You don’t have to go at an all-or-nothing pace.

Too Expensive!

These prices are per year, as of 2019. Multiply these numbers by 4 to figure out what a degree would cost.


Ela Thier, 1974. Photo by Uri Thier

My name is Ela Thier and I’ve wanted to make movies all my life. I can hardly believe that that’s what I actually do. None of it came by luck, and I’ve never had money or industry connections. Like, none.

My work was the result of decades of learning, trying, failing, giving up, trying again, giving up again, learning some more, making embarrassingly unwatchable films, getting better with time, and eventually arriving at producing, writing, directing, and acting in films that I’m absolutely in love with. You can find me on IMDB if you spell my name right (i before e).

In 2009 I began teaching screenwriting, but as I wisened up to the necessity of producing my work, I began to encourage and guide my students to do that same.

All these writers, actors, and directors, put those query letters down and began to their own work. The results shocked me. The initiatives taken of producing one’s own work, was ultimately the catalyst that led my students to building careers.

Here’s to creating films we love with people we enjoy. Go us.


The course is delivered as a series of on-demand videos, organized into short, bite-size but comprehensive units so you can learn it all – fast.

The course allows you to skip around and reference the topics that are relevant to you at any given time. One person may need to learn how to budget a $300 short, while another needs a business plan template because they’re approaching investors.

Each module includes PDF cheat sheets outlining the bullet points of each lecture, and actionable exercises to get you on your way.

Your on-demand access to the course is for life.

The IFS Studio Membership is a separate program that includes daily, facilitated co-working sessions, and monthly live Q&A calls.

When your complimentary membership ends, you’ll have the option to rejoin for just $49/month. Regardless of whether you remain a member of our studio, the course and alumni forum are yours for good.

This course is definitely for you. I don’t use industry jargon without explaining it, I leave nothing a mystery, and I assume no prior experience.

By the time you complete the first 2 modules, you’ll be in development on your next production, even if you have no script or even no idea about what you’d like to create.

The only idea you need to get started is that you’d like to create a film.

I went to film school too. If you’re fortunate, you met a really great teacher. But in truth, everything I teach in this course is something I’ve picked up since film school. This course is the real-life stuff that you’ll need when rubber hits the road.

There have been experienced producers who have taken this course and told me that it was invaluable. The overall approach might be useful, or you might find that one tip that will be the difference between getting that investor on board or not. And of course, the community and support are alone worth the price of admission.

All that said, you have 30 days to check out the course before you make a commitment. If you work through modules 1-3 at minimum (but not more than half the course), you are free to request a full refund and receive it – no questions asked.

The lectures add up to roughly 10 hours. If you do even some of the exercises, it’s a lot more than that. And if you use the course as intended: a guide to help you throughout the process of creating your films, it will become a lifetime companion.

I’m afraid the course is available only as a whole.

If you learn even a few things about production before diving in to write a script, you’ll write material that can be 1) self-produced, and 2) reach audiences.

I’ve written many scripts before I learned to produce, and they’re still sitting on shelf. Once I learned how to think like a producer, the scripts I wrote came to life on the screen.

If you can’t afford the course, then I don’t think you should enroll. However, if you plan to spend more than $1K making a film, then I say with confidence that this course is likely to help you avoid making mistakes that might cost you thousands or more. The course will also guide you in how to successfully raise the money you need to create your films, whatever your budget is.

Then there’s bringing your talents out of the dusty closet and into the world – that part can’t be measured in dollars.

As a micro-budget producer who’s had to make pennies stretch far, I know all about putting every last dollar on the screen and nowhere else. I speak with integrity when I say that the price of this course is a fraction of its value.

Celebrities can offer excellent tips and insights. But they can’t offer a complete system that takes you from A to Z.

Jodie Foster (I’m a big fan!) is not going to teach you how to approach friends, family, and colleagues to raise $6K so you can produce your calling card short. It’s not something she’s ever had to do. 

Martin Scorsese is not going to talk about how to find and choose the right production designer when you have $200 allotted for your set design.

David Lynch won’t tell you how to reach your audience with an $80K feature. These folks haven’t had to do these things. When they got started, this was a different industry.

Getting a slew of tips from celebrities who’ve worked within the studio system has its usefulness, but mostly it’s a more robust version of the “bonus features” you get after watching a movie. It’s not comparable to receiving guidance from someone who’s been in the trenches and knows, from having done it time and time again, how to turn sticks and rocks into an epic film or show, without waiting around for a studio or a name producer.

Let’s get your movies made.

lifetime, on-demand access​

Work through the course at your pace and on your schedule. Binge watch now or take your time. Refer back to the course as many times as you need. Many alumni go through it with every production. When I get stuck, I still go back to it myself and use the exercises in my own productions.

30-day money back guarantee​

If you watch at least 20% but not more than 50% of either course, and you're not happy, ask and we'll refund you in full. No questions.


I know that ten years from now I’ll look back and see this workshop as the turning point.

If I had spent 5 times more, the money would still be worth all the knowledge and resources that I received.

Even with so much information covered, it never felt overwhelming.

Without Ela and her workshops, I would not be making movies.

Not only do you teach but you empower, a much rarer thing.

I learned more about producing than I could imagine, and this is coming from someone who has produced 10-million-dollar films with Academy Award Winners.

If you had not done this, I would still be inventing excuses not to move forward. You also gave me a platform that enabled me to connect with old friends, some of whom I had not spoken to in some time, and realize that they believe in me and are willing to take concrete action to support me. My heart is full from all of the wonderful conversations I’ve been having. If you hadn’t led me down this path, I might still be ignorant of just how blessed I am. I have you to thank for helping me realize this.

I thank you for getting me back into the world of filmmaking. I thought of giving it up after working on films for the past fifteen years, never thinking it’s going to go anywhere. After taking your workshop I feel confident again. Thank you Ela!

Working on a pitch deck, this course takes the guesswork out of it so I can focus on the creative work.

I love the way you’ve laid everything out into clear manageable chunks and action steps, and that you begin at the beginning, with the soft skills. I haven’t come across this in the books I’ve read. I’m really happy I bought this course. It’s exactly what I need.

Everything is spelled out in an organized manner so that I’ll be able to easily go back and reference any of the information at any point.

A very organized overview of what it takes to produce a film, delivered in an accessible way …It demystified a lot of the complexities …that I encountered in other forums and books.

I took Ela’s Producing Workshop in November. By January I shot my first short.

Worth ten times the money I paid.

© Thier Productions Inc. | Contact | Privacy policy