The Independent Film School Logo

40,000 members

free training sessions for
screenwriters & filmmakers

with Ela Thier

Get the skills and support that you need to do the work that you’ll be remembered for.

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trainings listed below are free

Members receive an invite each time I release one

screenplay writing free online course

Say goodbye to writing blocks and hello to your next screenplay. Discover a fresh approach to story structure that excites rather than stunts the creative process. 

free online course, movie budget

Whether you have a million dollars or ten bucks, you can make a film you’re proud of. Budgets are a work of art in it of themselves and their impact is all over the screen.

free training online, film directing, shot planning

Film directing isn’t rocket science, so don’t be scared! Yet even experienced directors grossly underutilize the moving camera. This 1-hour training will prepare you to direct professionally and powerfully – with any budget.

This training offers simple but shockingly powerful tools that lead to performances that steal hearts.

What else do members receive?

Weekly love

Tip Tuesday, free trainings, online film school

On Tuesday of each week I write a short article, sharing what I know about screenwriting and filmmaking. It’s the stuff they don’t teach us in film school…

Below are a few appreciations from Tip Tuesday readers, among hundreds that I’ve received over the years. Scroll to the bottom of this page for more 🙂

Dija Henry

Inspiring, real, funny at times, and actually implementable.

Picture of Patrick Malone

I get a ton of emails every day, many I ignore, but I am always delighted when your Tip Tuesday shows up and I anxiously open it.

Independent Film School free membership, testimonial, Molly Russin

I have paid subscriptions that are less valuable than your Tip Tuesdays …I always learn something new – even about subjects that I thought I knew a lot about.

Independent Film School free membership, testimonial, George Wilson

Today’s tip was a deeply heartfelt message that I needed to hear, coming at just the right time. Thank you Ela.

Independent Film School free membership, testimonial, Kathy Petrakis

Thank you for your Tip Tuesdays – I read them every week. Unlike other emails about screenwriting or filmmaking, your tips are about humans. I still have some tips that I keep especially near to read over again… to keep repeating to myself.

there's more...?!

Yes. Lots more. But without the overwhelm. The 6-day screenwriting challenge requires just 10 minutes a day. The 6-day filmmaking challenge – also 10 minutes a day. Raffles; live events; past events that I can’t remember right now; future events that I haven’t come up with yet… One baby step at a time is how we reach our most ambitious goals.

Why is membership free?

Is there a catch?

I offer paid programs. But every free training is in-depth and complete in and of itself.

You are right to ask. And I’m all for transparency. So here goes:

I’m a teaching artist, and I offer paid programs as well. When I offer free trainings, I promote online courses for further study. My courses are bananas amazing, so I promote them with gusto. They’re the courses that I wish I had gotten to take. That said:

You have my signature guarantee that every free training is a complete, in-depth, and valuable training in and of itself.

No obnoxious infomercials that disrespect your time. That’s a guarantee that I’ve never ever compromised on, and never will.

If a course interests you: I also send my subscribers deep discounts and promotional rates on paid programs. If it doesn’t – move on. More free resources are coming your way. Most of what I offer is free. By a long shot.

Any time you receive support – that's a win for everyone.

Besides the self-promoty component, my other win is knowing that these trainings will serve you, and I don’t say this to blow smoke.

Working in creative fields is crazy difficult, emotionally and economically.

If I can ease and improve your work  – that’s a win for both of us. Any time you receive support – that’s a win for everyone.

I believe in artists. The world desperately needs you, your creativity, your work. Societies organized around profits rather than human needs don’t support artists. My life will be richer – in the real sense of that word – knowing that I’ve helped you move.

Thank you for joining me. And thank you for finding the courage to live a creative life.

Ela Thier

Appreciations of Tip Tuesday

I write them down and often make the picture you send my wallpaper!

There are tips and techniques that I learned from you ten years ago that I still use daily.

helpful info that I don’t get in my writing class. 

It has gotten me out of ruts.

As always, your Tip Tuesday makes me feel like you’re reading my mind, actually my soul. Thank you for your ever-encouraging words.

They can be inspiring, good reminders, a quick pep talk and are encouraging.
Motivating and makes me feel like I am not alone.


Tip Tuesday seems to work for me. I’m often inspired to get off email and get back to work. 

Topical and informative.

Thank you so much for Tip Tuesdays! …they really kick me in the butt to stop procrastinating and remember that I love writing!

Educational, informative and always motivating and inspiring.
They encourage me to keep fighting for my dream of being a filmmaker.

All the information you provide is relevant. 

They’re concise yet meaty and they leave me percolating with inspiration. 

I like the advice and your personal voice. It feels like getting an inspiring mail from a friend.

Thank you Ela. Your tips are always appreciated, always helpful, and always right on time. 

Your Tip Tuesdays are something I look forward to each week!

As a novice screenwriter and actress I find all of them useful. I gain insight on things I may have never considered.

Interesting insights on the industry.
The knowledge is so vast and widespread.

It feels like you’re the long lost friend (I never had) from my film school days. The encouraging words of your emails have awoken me from the heavy slumber of motherhood… Thanks for your tips, tricks and megaton of inspiration!

This [tip] really grabbed me and moved me! …As a registered nurse in isolation, I use Facebook as a means to promote healing, and you provided some powerful insights …Thank you more than I can express!

You’re shining your light, and making it okay for others to shine theirs.

You know what you’re talking about and you get to the point.

I appreciate your practical wealth of knowledge and sense of humor.

Valuable information that may be difficult to find.

They motivate the s#it out of me. Some days I just go back to reread them because I need a little sugar😊😊


I so look forward to your Tuesday Tips. You seem to read my mind. You often make me cry – which makes me happy! Better to feel than be a stone.

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