PROGRAM

Overview

Theoria College is led and taught by 5-time Emmy Award winner Jonathan Jackson. Mr. Jackson is present with the students in Houston, TX throughout the entire program. An online version is also available. This 11-week program focuses on the timeless art of filmmaking. Close attention is given to filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Terrence Malick, and Mel Gibson: true “poets of cinema”. Included with tuition, each student receives their own filmmaking backpack. This backpack includes all the items needed to begin making films. Seven guest lectures are included to introduce the students to experts in their field. The Theoria program is unique in its approach, focus, and content. We focus on empowering the artistic and spiritual nature of the student by studying the timeless art of filmmaking.

ONLINE: Online students will be able to access about half of the sessions (the didactic lectures). Most of these lectures will take place the first several weeks of the program. The last several weeks are mostly focused on the applied learning. The applied learning sessions will not be available to online students.

As lectures are given, a recording is privately posted just for students within 48 hours. Students have five days to watch and respond with questions for Mr. Jackson, who will respond personally. This helps the online students maintain their own schedule. Online students do not receive a Filmmaking Backpack.

Schedule

  • Every cohort starts on in January on the first Monday after New Year's Day and ends 11 weeks later..

    • 2022 Calendar: January 3-March 18​

    • 2023 Calendar: January 2-March 17

    • 2024 Calendar: January 8-March 23

  • The program is 11 weeks long.

  • In-person students meet Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 4 PM local time with a one hour break for lunch from 12-1 PM. 

    • Online students have 5 days to watch the lectures and respond with questions.

  • Fridays are free time for students to study, collaborate, and implement what they have learned. This is encouraged but not required.

Location

The in-person program takes place at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, located in the metropolitan area of Houston, TX. The online program takes place on Zoom.

 

Courses

Except for Camera Boot Camp, all courses are taught by Mr. Jackson. Each course includes at least one guest lecture from an expert in the field. Online students will attend didactic lectures only. This is about half of the program.

“Approaching the Mystery of Art”
“Acting in the Spirit”
“Parables of Light, Part One: The Art of Screenwriting”
“Parables of Light, Part Two: The Art of Directing and Filmmaking”
“The Mystery of Music in Film”

 

“Approaching the Mystery of Art” is a course on the spiritual vision of the Artist. This course is not focused on details of craft, but rather the orientation of the soul towards Beauty, Goodness and Truth. Once the student’s heart and mind are opened to the Mystery of Art, they can assimilate knowledge-of-craft, without diminishing Beauty or succumbing to vainglory. 


“Acting in the Spirit” focuses on the art of acting as a spiritual vocation. In this course, students will learn all the basic skills an actor needs to pursue his or her career in this field. Students will learn through lectures, scene studies, watching great performances on film—as well as shared personal stories and experiences from Emmy Award winner, Jonathan Jackson.  

“The Art of Screenwriting” surveys the writing of a life-changing screenplay. Before light is captured and a film is made—the dream is written on paper. In this course, students will study some of the most influential screenplays and also walk through the process of creating their own parable of Light and Dark. 

“The Art of Filmmaking” is a series on the craft and poetry of film. This course focuses on the art of directing—the spiritual vision of filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Mel Gibson and Terrence Malick. Students will be immersed in the power of film as an artistic medium capable of transforming the lives of those who witness true works of art. This course will take future filmmakers from the page of a screenplay to the screen—where they will experience the vast landscape of what it takes to make a life-changing film. 

“The Mystery of Music in Film” evaluates the role of music in film. Students will study some of the best original scores and learn how these compositions enhance the visual journey of a film. “The Mystery of Music in Film” explores themes of Silence, Anticipation and Transcendence. 

"Camera Boot Camp" takes place during the first week of the program to equip students with a guerilla style of filming, also known in the industry as a "run and gun" style. Many documentaries have won awards using this style. Robert Rodriguez intentionally used this style with his El Mariachi series. Students will also study solving problems with creativity instead of money.

The program includes several guest speakers. Confirmed for this coming class are the following (in alphabetical order)

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